Machiavillain was a game I was incredibly curious to see. I’ve always liked the role reversal games, where you’re the villain. My friends know how much I love the Overlord series. And while I’ve never played it, I’ve always wanted to give Evil Genius a shot. So when I saw what French studio Wild Factor Games were doing, a Dungeon-Keeper style game but featuring classic horror monster and horror film rules for killing teenagers, I had to check it out!
Machiavillain makes you the mastermind behind a monster mansion. At the start, you’ll have a façade and gold to buy, but only Mummies and Zombies to do your bidding. The first thing you need to do is build your house, add furniture and make sure to add accommodations for your monsters. They might be minions and possibly soulless but they deserve room and board just like anyone else!
Then it’s time to start bringing in the victims, ranging from jocks and cheerleaders to geeks and virgins. Killing them drops loot and materials you can use to craft and feed your minions. Your zombies like Geeks very much because of their big brains! The more you kill the better your reputation is and you can recruit even more monsters to your mansion. But if too many victims escape, you get too much notoriety and then the authorities show up, followed by hunters if things get worse.
Monsters shuffle around rather slowly, but you can increase the game time to make time go faster, but you need to be careful because overworked monsters will abandon your mansion.
Each of the monsters has a different power. Zombies infect, Dracula can turn into a bat and hypnotize victims, The Werewolf is fast, etc. When I went through the monster list I saw there was a Freddy Krueger one and I immediately turned to face Wild Factor Founder and Lead Programmer, Alexandre Lautié, and Zimra the artist, and asked them “What does he do? I’m a massive Nightmare on Elm Street Fan!” They beamed at me for this but then gave me an embarrassed “We don’t know!” Poor Fred had just been added to the roster and they still weren’t sure what to do with him. And being big fans just like yours truly, they wanted him to be special. I can respect and applaud that. Only the best for that depraved monster Freddy!
On their inspirations, they mention Dungeon Keeper on the gaming side, but Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods as well. For the Horror game rules, a mix of classic horror films and the Scream series. I joked with them, saying, “Rule, don’t ever say ‘I’ll be right back!’” and we shared a nice laugh between us film geeks.
My turn with the game was terrible, but I had a ton of fun losing. I built a simple 1-room house and made the mistake of rushing to get victims in before my minions had finished. A couple came in and caught my monsters brick and carpet-handed and they both escaped to fight another day, while my minions kept at their original tasks completely embarrassed. I’d seen screens of them cleaning up blood and I didn’t even give them that!
You get victims into your house by putting up ads, and they range from generic ones that bring you random teenagers to specialised ones to bring in some of the bigger fish, such as the virgins and geeks! Then you just need to make sure your monsters are prepared and you have enough traps to lure the stupid teenagers away from each other. Remember, you can only kill them when they’re alone, unless they’re having sex! For this particular scenario, Wild Factor have even included a bed that folds on itself, as seen in Freddy vs Jason. You can’t imagine how delighted I was to hear that!
From what the team told me, you can build as large a mansion as you want, there’s enough space for it. The only limitation is you can’t build upper floors, though they did tell me the finished version of the game will have basement for the house’s spirit energy generator. To prove their point they loaded a previous game and the mansion made everything you’ve ever built on any of The Sims to shame! Compared to that, my little murder shack was sad and pathetic, but they assured me I would one day have my own monster murder mansion!
I found the visuals quite charming. Everything, including the monster carnage looks just so bloody cute! The first thing I did with my mummy was make it hide as a lamp by wearing a lampshade. It was too cool!
I can’t wait to know more and will be keeping an eye on this game and try to get as many previews as possible as they move from Alpha to Beta to release!