MachiaVillain is a well-illustrated game featuring you, an aspiring evil villain, building and running an evil mansion from scratch with the aid of your minions. No, not the yellow kind overused in marketing.Your minions are an assortment of monster creatures that you hire to fulfill the roles needed to run a successful evil lair. “What makes a successful evil lair?” I hear you ask. Keeping your employees happy while luring unsuspecting victims to your mansion and killing them to sustain said employees, of course!
Ok, on with the horrorshow!
Actual Gameplay and Playing of the Actual Game
The game begins with our evil asses being treated to a cute introduction to the perilous journey a minion must endeavour upon to register with the League of Machiavellian Villains. It starts to have a bit of a Harry Potter vibe with an owl delivering a life changing letter to a minion…which is quickly stabbed dead. Literally.
After we discover that even evil-doers of evil need to face the evil of waiting in queues (but have fabulous pink unicorn-print toilet paper to compensate), we are ready to hire our starting team. Each minion has varying skills levels, nature that affects their loyalty to your organisation, special traits and a charming bio. You may select up to three minions off the bat.
Some things to keep in mind while selecting your trio of diabolical founding employees include:
While vampires, in my experience, tend to make great receptionists (it’s a role they can really sink their teeth into, you know?) they suffer from the ‘sunburns’ trait. This trait means that they continuously sustain damage to their health during the day time unless they are indoors. Later in your gameplay it is possible to keep them exclusively indoors or pick up a stylish-yet-practical rainbow umbrella cap that protects your vamp from ultra villainous (uv) rays, but initially I’d suggest hiring lower maintenance employees. Overall, constantly being injured from sunburns really sucks the loyalty out of vampirical minions.
Zombies tend to have great skill sets but a huge drawback is how little health they have…which I guess would make sense if there really is a zombie virus, although seeing the death of a co-worker can be understandably traumatic for your minions, affecting their loyalty and thus their productivity for a long time. As much as I’d like to say selecting a zombie is a ‘no brainer’, it can be a bit of a gamble.
Skeletons are great because they’re cannibalistic. No, really, bear with me here. They eat bones of victims that don’t go off or spoil like all the other types of foods you can harvest from victims. Your bone stock tends to be the easiest to maintain and grow, and comes in handy later to construct furniture.
Perhaps you’d like to take the route of a psychopath? True to form, they seem to be pretty normal employees. And tend to be excellent cooks. They have the ability to use various weapons you can pick up throughout the game, such as shotguns, golf clubs and aerodynamic vinyl records, and can develop the ability to steal these from others.
Mummies tend to have faster walking speeds and can be a great choice to contribute keeping your mansion under wraps, but they also eat victim meat. Victim meat is the most common food source of different types of interesting minions you can unlock later in the game to join your team. Therefore, hiring mummies can really tie up the supply of victim meat and limit your choices later.
A minion’s loyalty is also boosted if they have another minion of the same type on their team. Which I guess makes sense; a skeleton minion could plausibly feel like they have no body to talk to, that others see right through them…I’m just saying, it would be hard.
Embarking like a Werewolf – A beginner’s guide to beginning
Once you have your team, they and some supplies are unceremoniously dumped in the middle of a road. Your two new favourite shortcut keys will quickly become the spacebar (pause) and F (fast forward). Because your minions are literally brain dead, you need to assign them jobs otherwise they just stand around, presumably looking evil. As you are building your mansion from scratch, the jobs you need to select for each minion initially are build, chop and dig. Then to assign what they are to chop and dig, you use the resource tools. You also need to look for this bad boy (comprehensively labelled for clarity):
Yes, a mail box. Finding it may require you to select one of your minions and right click their way along the road a bit. You are going to build your first room, a home office, near this thing to save you time and frustration later. To make it a home office you need to put a writing desk in it, which you should click and set up to produce letters indefinitely (yes, you also need to tell the furniture what to do to some extent here). You also also need to assign a minion to letter writing, and I would recommend using the jobs menu to slide the home office the in between build and chop, as priorities for jobs run left to right.
The Hipster Horrorhouse
Being in the 21st century, don’t be afraid to construct a “deconstructed” mansion with rooms on both sides of the road. In fact, you’ll probably realise rather quickly that once you have the flooring planned out you can start putting on furniture and the room will still be assigned the relevant type by the game, no walls required! But I do recommend putting walls and a door around you home office; not only does it feel more homely, but it provides a place for victims to go to be murdered. Huzzah. Of course, you won’t be killing unsuspecting people in your home office forever – that would be barbaric. No, you will eventually have special victim rooms for that. But for now, victims will gravitate to anywhere with a door.
Before luring some victims to make lunch with, you need to create a kitchen with a butcher’s table for…well, you know. Things. I advise making this across the road and in line with where you intend to construct your dedicated victim rooms. So that you don’t have victims accidentally wonder into your kitchen, chuck a wall around it with no doors. This also shields view of your meal preparation from victims, who find viewing blood and dead bodies suspicious for some reason and may run away before even getting the chance for your minions to meet, greet and eat them.
You will need to assign one of your minions the job of cooking and another of sweeping (up the blood), which need to be top priority jobs. Now to finally invite your victims to the party. But how do we lure victims to a seemingly abandoned mansion in the middle of nowhere? Spam letters.
Phishing for Victims
Your first mail delivery “ad campaign” will be *puts on best game show host voice* “You won a set of 24-karat gold-plated serving dishes!” that allows you to lure two “basic” victims that will start heading your way at approximately 8pm that evening, provided that the mail has been delivered by this time. Speaking of mail delivery, you may have noticed that it only takes a few seconds for your minion to run this errand as your home office is right next to the mail box. You’re welcome, shmellcome.
When you hear the funky voice over guy announce that “Victims are coming” it is about time to hit “Ctrl+A” to select all your minions in one foul swoop (yes, I do realise it is really “one fell swoop”, but the common misconception felt like it fit here and I went with it), put them in attack mode, and use right click to assemble them somewhere hidden from view of your victims, such as behind the home office. Stealth at its best.
As soon as they enter your home office (and become visible), ensure your minions are all selected and right click one of your victims to attack them until they make one the game’s standard dying sounds. Repeat until all victims are satisfactorily deaded (sic), then resume usual play mode.
At this point you will be summoned to an office of the League of Villains to sign a contract in blood promising to adhere to certain guidelines while offing your victims. These aren’t so much hard and fast rules that you must follow, but do guide you to make the most of your killing experience by generating as much Evilium as possible. Evilium allows you to unlock other minion types, advertise job vacancies as your team expands (or dies off) and resurrect your undead from the dead. I guess you could say that having it allows you to avoid potential dead ends.
Finally, put down some flooring where you intend to build your mansion’s laboratory and build yo’self a fundamental research bench (it’s fun and mental!) and set it to produce fundamental research points indefinitely. Once you hit the League of Villains rank 2, you will unlock an additional slot in your team of staff to hire a research minion. I’d advise setting the research priority in the same range as letter writing, so your jobs menu should look something like the following:
From here its up to you, but it is my several-hundred-hours-of-experience-informed-belief that the above is definitely the smoothest way to start this game in terms of sinking your fangs into it quickly and sustainably.
- Accumulate research points to acquire a means to preserve your food using a smoker; ‘smoked’ brains, blood and victim meat cannot spoil, ensuring that they will be devoured by your monsters and not the wasteful maw of decay. Pro tip: Set up three smokers and dedicate each to preserving a different type of minion snack indefinitely.
- Manually assign a minion to sweep up (although, surely a mop would be more efficient) any blood spilled outdoors. Even minions assigned sweeping jobs in the jobs menu will not think to do this (brain dead, remember?) This should be a priority, as spotting blood outside your mansion can cause potential meals to flee, greatly increasing your mansion’s suspicion levels and consequently making it more difficult to lure victims to your murderous abode.
- Complete more research to obtain the broom of doom [insert melodramatic thunder clap here]. It allows you to bag and keep the blood cleaned up from your minions’…uh…clients. Not only does it only require only fundamental research points, but once you are able to generate these and preserve them, they can be sold to the food merchant and/or Sharp Canines Bar, and you will have an additional source of income to keep your mansion going. Again, you are welcome, shmellcome.
- A funny thing happens as your play this replay this game – you are tempted to rush by doing silly things like trying to lure more than two victims at a time in your first week. DON’T DO THIS! I think in general, rushing this game inevitable leads to dead ends.
- Don’t believe the descriptor of trees that look like the one depicted below, which tells us that it is a “perfectly normal tree”…honestly, the fact that it has specified this should raise suspicion.
- Don’t be tempted by the offers bestowed by the Undertaker or Reanimator unless you have the resources to deal with the body parts provided by the Undertaker before they go off (experience says this will be nearly all of them) or are actively trying to dispose of excess monies.
Wrapping it all up!
I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will advise to keep in mind that:
- Time is a hypothetical construct any way, and,
- You can fight the invisible! Ooooouuuu…
Overall, while the game can be a bit glitchy, I really admire the developers’ continual communication and updates to benefit players and continually improve the game. The animation, humour, soundtrack, accessibility and various horror references make it an enjoyable and worthwhile experience that I highly recommend. I rate it 4.5 out of 5 skulls.
And who could dislike a game with such fabulous toilet paper?
If you want MOAR, this article has in fact been broken into two separate sections for your perusal, there’s also a nerdy analysis of horror film references in the game, as far as we know it is the most comprehensive reference breakdown on the interwebs! To view these various references that can be found throughout the game, clickity click here.