MachiaVillain Review for PC
MachiaVillain is a game that could so easily have been a complete mess. While the central premise is undoubtedly great, the flash game’s art style and cheesy voiceovers give it a low-budget feel that’s so rarely good for a simulation game. Fortunately, clever systems and a forgiving tutorial segment make the game much better than it has any right to be, and when it finds its feet, it’s definitely a joy to play.
MachiaVillain is a horror management sim from Wild Factor, the team behind Freaking Meatbags, that tasks players with building and maintaining a mansion filled with four-star quality monsters, traps, and gear. It features a refreshing take on the management sim genre, in that the player must build a mansion to attract victims to trap and murder later. It’s a concept that never gets old and is the catalyst for much of the game’s humor and wacky charm. It would have been easy for the team to just drop the player into the game with a brief dump of text and a passing explanation of the diabolical premise to follow, but instead there’s a really fun intro that sets the tone for the game going forward. So many simulation games stumble during their first few minutes, failing to convey information and ending up being overwhelming. MachiaVillain forgoes this by presenting very clear goals with low stakes and low penalties for failure. The first hour is a blast, as you move from an empty lot to building your very first room and start luring victims to their doom.
Shortly after that though, the game kind of stops giving the player goals to achieve and things quickly get a bit tedious. The path to the third row, in particular, really creaks after a while. You’re expected to kill 30 kills, which really dampens any plans you might have when it comes to building your dream monster mansion. It’s back and forth between what you want to do and what you feel should doing that really holds the game back in those early hours. Fortunately, the commands and menus in general are easy to use, so it’s easy to automate almost anything and progress quickly. The task assignment method is particularly intuitive. Each monster has a three-star rating next to each possible job, and you can assign tasks in order of priority. This means that the monsters will carry on with their tasks with very little player intervention. There comes a point in the game, however, where things really turn a corner, after which most of its issues start to fade into the background. Once the player has built each type of room and can craft machinery, store food, and begin to automate the majority of mansion functions, it becomes much easier to focus on decorating and luring kills.
MachiaVillain values player time for the most part. There are options to speed up time, stack tasks, and the game can be saved at almost any time. The way the game handles sleep is a bit frustrating, however, as monsters tend to spend a lot of their time completely out of the action (who knew monsters had to sleep, too?). There’s very little to do in these times, which can be very annoying when you’re eager to mine more resources or build a new room. The way time moves through the game can also be a little shocking, and it can be difficult to plan each day accordingly.
MachiaVillain is surprisingly deep, offering a dense web of systems that are simple to understand but difficult to master. Each monster has its own skill tree, with different attacks and passive abilities unlocking over time. As more monsters join your team, more possibilities are added to the game. Each kill begins to become an exercise in experimentation and careful planning, though the silly humor keeps things from getting too serious.
The game’s dark sense of humor is absolutely its greatest asset. Luring a victim in with a shiny new TV and a nice lamp before slapping a werewolf on them is always a good time, and watching your monsters race to clean blood and guts from the ground in time for the next visitors is downright hilarious. It’s this twisted take on the more traditional hotel sim genre that shines through. In many ways, the core experience is no different than The Sims. You’re basically trying to make your surroundings as attractive and inviting as possible so that unhappy humans are comfortable enough to stay. There are bonuses applied to killing victims in certain ways, so running a hospital facility is key. When set against the backdrop of a group of mummies trying to set up lamps and bookshelves, everything becomes charming as hell, and the sporadic cutscenes involving the player’s brief entanglements with monster bureaucracy add hilarious context. to insanity.
The low-budget approach to audio and visuals ultimately prevents the game from growing. It can be difficult to distinguish the elements and the screen sometimes becomes incredibly dark. The soundtrack really doesn’t lend itself to long gaming sessions, given its repetitiveness over time. It’s a shame, because the gameplay is solid, I just wish more care had been taken to make the screen less busy and more user-friendly. The cutscenes are a different story, each a real treat to watch and often containing nods to iconic horror movies.
Once things start to fall into place and the monster mansion starts to become self-contained, the game becomes more about building and customizing, which is by no means a bad thing. Some may find the lack of mission variety a bit boring, but may be swayed by the prospect of building individual chambers for each of their monster minions. Eventually, as things start to get more and more self-contained, MachiaVillain is a great game to sit back and admire. It’s no doubt fascinating to watch your monster-run hotel slowly expand and become more efficient. There is definitely a limit to the procedure, however, and I found myself hitting a wall over time. Still, the trip up to this point was fun and well worth the asking price.
MachiaVillain is a monster hotel management sim that is definitely worth your time. The brief moments of frustration and confusion are offset by genuinely hilarious moments of dark humor and satisfying management bliss. If you’re a fan of the genre, or looking for a more laid-back management experience, MachiaVillain is a fun and clever offering that’s way deeper and more satisfying than it has any right to be.
Rating: 3.5/5 – Fair
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