MachiaVillain Articles RSS Feed | MachiaVillain RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network MachiaVillain Review Wed, 16 May 2018 16:43:27 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Is it a management sim? Is it a builder? Is it a survival game?

I've always had trouble with pinpointing the exact genre of games like Dungeon Keeper, Oxygen Not Included, Prison Architect, and Rimworld. I've played all these games and more of the same genre to death -- but I still have trouble putting my finger on what exactly to call it in conversation. Wikipedia often says it's "construction and management simulation", but I'd rather refer to it as "my favorite".

It doesn't feel right to strictly compare a game like MachiaVillain to other games within the same genre just because there are always some similarities that hold them together, like worker management and building to your needs and tastes; but each game always has a different focus. Each one has different priorities you need to focus on -- and different ways to approach the whole problem of staying afloat.

Nonetheless, I do have to compare these because MachiaVillain has taken some obvious cues from other recent popular entries in the genre. That in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. Despite its similarities to the aforementioned games, MachiaVillain does stand on its own as a competent construction and management simulation game. Though it is not without its own set of problems.

The Day to Day Life of a Murderous Villain

You have two primary tasks as you push through the game: To increase your rank in the League of Villains and to make sure your minions are well-fed and happy.

To carry out these tasks, you need a mansion as diabolical as you are. You need a spooky home office, a disgusting kitchen, a diabolical laboratory, a well-planned kill room, and... organized stockpiles? Yeah, a lot of those.

Being the boss in MachiaVillain is hard work. You must plan your mansion's layout, make sure your minions have efficient job priorities, and manage crafting tasks to make sure everything is running smoothly.

All of your hard work pays off when it comes time to wrangle and slay some victims, which you can handle the old fashioned way with the good ol' gnashing teeth of your zombies or go the clever route and lure them into traps and kill rooms to get the work done with none of the fuss.

Much of what you come across in MachiaVillain is an homage to classic horror movie tropes or characters. Heck, even the League of Villains follows the horror movie code and requests you kill victims alone, kill the virgin last, and don't slay victims' dogs. Whether you follow that code is up to you.

This tongue-in-cheek humor that invades the very bones of the game's progression is present throughout. For example, minions have some pretty interesting descriptions.

It's a fun, light-hearted take on something that really isn't light-hearted at all. You are here to leave a trail of bodies in your wake, after all.

With this all said, the controls leave a lot to be desired. The Escape key doesn't open the settings menu, keybindings have to be set via the launcher (and the defaults aren't great), and using minions' skills is troublesome. Though that in itself is something we'll get into in a bit.

Killing in the Name of [Brains]

The real meat here lies in the delicious blood and guts stew you inevitably make when you kill victims.

As you progress and lure increasingly large numbers of victims to your home, you have to get creative with the killing. Well-placed distractions and trap doors to rooms filled with lethal traps are must-haves, and their placement is key to your success.

Should you somehow scare victims off before they even come into the house or they slip through your onslaught and out the front door, suspicion about what's going on in your mansion will rise. At critical levels, this can bring heroes to your doorstep who are hellbent on wiping you and your minions out. 

Planning and building a good set of kill rooms is my favorite part of the game, and likely will be for most players because it's MachiaVillain's big, unique feature. Draw them in and kill them. Do it up. It's crazy fun to watch your traps work as intended, and you get the bonus of more food for your minions. It's a win-win.

What makes building in this game special is how easy it is to dismantle and build things again. Dismantling a wall or an object is a simple two-click process, and you don't lose any resources you used when you initially built the object.

Though actually building something takes some time, the quick dismantling and retainment of resources makes it so you can easily expand, remodel, and change up the layout of your mansion without much fuss. It gives you plenty of opportunity for trial and error, which is especially helpful when building your first kill rooms.

The big detractor from all of this is that, at the time of writing, there are not all that many things you can build. There are only a few room types with a handful of furniture/devices you can install in your mansion. You can get creative but you can only do so much.

There are Some Bones Crunching, All Right

For all its good, MachiaVillain is not a perfect game. As mentioned above, the controls leave a lot to be desired and there are not a ton of things to build in your mansion.

I can accept that there aren't a lot of things to build; developer Wild Factor seems keen on adding more content to the game and I am personally looking forward to seeing where the game is going to go content-wise. It's fun as it stands and can only get more so.

But I can't accept the controls being as cumbersome as they are in their current state. Having to click twice (once for the object, once for the deconstruct icon) to dismantle furniture and structures is tiresome. Not being able to press the Escape key to open the settings menu and save is annoying. There are a number of other instances where the lack of hotkeys is just the opposite of ideal.

Please give a dedicated tool or hotkey for this!

These two issues can be fixed and, with luck, they will be with further patches. I've also run into a few bugs, though none have been huge interference to my gameplay.

These aren't things I would say to actively avoid the game over, but these are two facets of the game in its current state you should know about to make an informed purchase. In some ways this feels more like a beta than a full release.

MachiaVillain brings its own favors to the construction and management sim party, and those favors are a little less enticing -- maybe a little stinkier with all those brains laying around -- than those the big boys brought, but it certainly can party with the rest of them, even if it's not for as long.

As it stands, MachiaVillain is a decent game within my favorite genre. It could be a really great game within my favorite genre, and it could still get there.

Fans of construction and management sims will feel right at home with all it has to offer, but may not be too keen with its lack of relative depth when compared with titans like Prison Architect and Oxygen Not Included. Not me, though. I had and am still having a hard time putting MachiaVillain down. There's something to be said about the combination of blood and guts mixed with management that's keeping me going.

You can purchase Machiavillain on Steam for $19.99. 

(Note: The developer provided a copy of Machiavillain for review.)

MachiaVillain Beginner's Starting Guide - From First Tree to Kill! Wed, 16 May 2018 16:51:27 -0400 Ashley Shankle

MachiaVillain's building-and-managing gameplay should be familiar to Prison Architect and Rimworld players, but there are a number of intricacies here that differ from the games it takes cues from. It's similar, but killing victims and chowing down on their corpses is a MachiaVillain exclusive.

A player's first steps in any strategy game can be a little wobbly. I hope to help you gain your footing more quickly and grasp the basics of the game before you end up restarting time and time again due to trial and error.

This guide is going to go over things you should know as you get started with the game. We are going to go over:

  • What to look for in minions when you start
  • How to use the jobs menu to manage your minions
  • What rooms you should build first
  • How to lure victims to your mansion
  • How to kill victims in the beginning

Of course, there's a ton more to know and learn about the game if you want to go from a meager murder-house with only a few rooms to a sprawling mansion with murder rooms and an efficient layout. Much of that comes down to experience and trial and error.

What to Look for in a Minion at the Start of the Game

When you start a new save, you'll be prompted to choose which minions you want to add to your team. The screen will look as it does below.

You are able to choose from the minions listed at the top of the screen and can shuffle the pool if you don't like any of the ones that are available.

At the far left, you can see a minion's daily food consumption, total life, and traits. The type and amount of food a minion will eat per day depends based on its traits and the type of monster it is. Be sure to read their traits.

The middle panel goes over the minion's base job skill levels. In the above image, the zombie is Level 2 for building, extinguishing fires, and storing resources but is a Level 1 at everything else. It's worth noting that a minion can perform any job even if their skill level in that task is 1.

You can also see a minion's walking speed and max number of job assignments in the middle panel. The faster they walk and the more jobs they can handle, the better. But don't stress about how many jobs a minion can handle right at the start.

The right panel goes over a minion's stats, resistances, the types of equipment it's able to wield, and skills it can learn. This information is more important later, but do be mindful of what you see here.

Job Priorities & Doing the Job Dance

The job priority feature is one aspect of Machiavillain any Rimworld player will be familiar with, though the two handle it a little differently. You need to work the system to make it work for you and you have to get started with it as soon as you load into a game.

In Machiavillain, your minions all have a limit to the number of jobs they can be assigned to at a time. The limit itself varies based on their traits and species, but it can be worked around. In addition, there's no way to adjust a minion's individual priorities.

The image below shows my priorities for one of my game saves.

Let's go over this with bullet points so there's no confusion:

  • You can click on the six dots under the job icon (chef hat, envelope, saw, hammer, etc.) and drag it left or right to adjust that job's priority among the rest

  • A minion's priorities cannot be adjusted individually

  • Because minions can only do a certain number of jobs, you will be in the Jobs menu often to adjust an individual minions' jobs to make sure something gets done


  • In order for minions to actually do the work, such as chopping trees or working in the home office, you must manually initiate the tasks first -- so at the start click on the Resources tab, then on chop wood, then select the trees you want to chop down

But that's not all you need to know, no siree! Let's talk about some priority strategies.

You are not going to want to stick to the default priority order for very long. Below are the default priority orders.

These are by no means ideal, for a number of reasons.

Priority arrangement tips

Let's go over some arrangement ideas, but don't take these as set rules. Arrange your priorities to your tastes.

You're going to get to a point where you'll need to have minions working at your factory workstations almost perpetually, so factory work should be one of the highest priorities.

Extinguishing fires should be at the top -- it doesn't happen often, but it's in your best interest to get them stomped out as quickly as possible.

Working in the home office should be a high priority as well, as incoming victims are your primary source of food.

Once you have traps that need to be refilled, the refilling job needs to be set at the higher end of the priority list.

These are just some tips, and it all gets much easier once you have more minions and those with more work slots. You should try to balance an individual minion's jobs so they have one "primary" task that will take up most of their time (factory, laboratory, home office, building, mining) with the others (chop wood, maintenance, refill, training) being less urgent.

How to manually hire new minions later

Sometimes merchants will come by with minions you can hire for cash, but you can also use the Crypt menu at the bottom to unlock new monster types and put out ads to draw in applications.

As a last note, because you need to get your first rooms built quickly, I do recommend setting 3 minions to build and 1 to chop wood for a while to get your mansion ready for your first victims. After that, figure out what you really want them to do.

What Should you Build First?

When you first start a new game, you need wood and to get your mansion up and running. Getting the wood is easy, and you should set more minions to chop wood than you usually would to get it done faster.

You want to start your mansion off in a spot that doesn't have any or much stone nearby so you can expand easily.

You don't want to have to do this early on.

You'll be expanding sooner than you think. If you can't find a good spot and are all right with restarting with a different set of minions, just restart until you get a good map.

You only start with enough food for 10 days, so you need to get prepared for your first set of victims ASAP. Those days just fly by.

I personally build these rooms first and in this order:

  1. Victim room, with at least one lamp found in the 'victims' tab of the construction menu; this is generally the entrance to the mansion
  2. Home office with a writing desk to get the first ad campaign started
  3. A kitchen with a butcher's table (you can build a table and chairs later)

With these three rooms in place, you are ready to receive your first victims.

Past these, your first priorities should be some bedrooms, a laboratory, and a factory.

How to Lure and Kill Your First Victims

Let's go over the very basics of luring and killing your first victims. If you followed the above building order, you should be ready to start your killing career.

Step 1. Choose an advertising campaign

This can be done via the 'Ad campaign' menu you see at the bottom of the screen. You'll later choose one of these based on your food needs and what your minions and traps are capable of, but it's best to start slow. Choose either the 2 victim or 3 victim ads to get started.

Step 2. Write and send the advertisements

To get started writing ads, click on the writing desk you built and select letters. Look to the right and specify the quantity you want to make, then click the 'Make' button.

A minion must be assigned to working in the home office in order to write letters, so be sure to assign accordingly.

Once you've written the amount of letters the day's advertising campaign calls for, a minion who is assigned to store resources (I believe) will take the letters to the mailbox for sending.

Step 3. Get in position and strike

Victims will start making their way to your mansion after you've sent the letters -- don't worry, the game will let you know when they're on the way. Once the timer is down to 00:00, they will spawn on your map and begin walking to your mansion.

Take this time to set the minions you want to attack to attack mode via the button at the top of the screen, the key you have it set to, or via the jobs menu.

You need to have your minions out of sight to get your victims to come inside. Move all of your minions indoors and behind a door leading to the victim room you made earlier. You want your victims to walk into your house, but if they see your minions they may not even come through the front door.

Once they are inside, select your minions and right click on a victim to send your minions to attack. Do this to however many are in your house until they're all dead.

With all that done, you've gotten your mansion established and your first kills under your belt! But you're not done yet. You have slews more victims to lure to your mansion and a load of work to do before you can say your mansion is truly the most evil and efficient of them all.