Considering how universal the allure of being an evil overlord is, it’s surprising that so few games have properly explored the concept. Wild Factor’s murder-mansion management sim MachiaVillain might not tempt you with the possibility of world domination, but perhaps being evil middle management is a safer career path anyway. Better than being a henchman, at least. The game just got itself a shiny new trailer to go along with its May 16th release date.
While you’re broadly trying to operate your mansion at a profit in MachiaVillain, the game playfully explores the unwritten handbook by which evil lair-havers operate. Horror protagonist cliches (The Jock, the Nerd, the Last Girl, etc) wander into your hand-built lair to be lulled into a false sense of security, spooked until tender and then devoured by your hungry minions/employees. The more by-the-book you play it, the less likely monster hunters are to come rap rap rapping on your chamber door.
It looks like a good time all round, and the addition of villainous rules and regulations may go some way to preventing you from building hyper-optimised structures to exploit every AI quirk you can bend to your will. If nothing else, it should at least delay the development of dominant strategies. Plus, playing as an overt villain does provide a little more wiggle room to get into the role, as opposed to the morally ambivalent unseen overlord like you’d be in Dwarf Fortress or RimWorld.
This has been a slow-burn project for Wild Factor. MachiaVillain started life way back in 2012 as a dev-jam game called The Villain’s Rules. It was a much simpler, single-screen take on the concept, although shared a very similar art style and the same focus on adhering to monster-movie rules. It’s interesting to see how much they’ve managed to build on top of that foundation, and I’m eager to get my hands it once it launches in about a fortnight.
MachiaVillain will be out on May 16th, and will cost $20. While no official UK price has been set, that should be somewhere around the £15 mark. In the meantime, you can wishlist it on Steam here.