Review – MachiaVillain

Remember Dungeon Keeper? Back when the name “Peter Molyneux” was synonymous with “great gaming experiences,” the Dungeon Keeper series was known for being one of the most unique and hilarious simulation franchises available for PCs. Instead of building a house, a city, or a hospital, your role was to create the best dungeon you could come up with, and pray to the dearest gods of the underworld that heroes would come to it and get mercilessly slain by its traps. It was a good time indeed, until EA ruined the series with that abysmal free-to-play version that was a more shameful money grabber than a rigged pachinko machine.

It’s safe to say that Dungeon Keeper is as good as dead alongside near hundreds of other franchises currently owned by EA. Enter MachiaVillain, a game that might look different from Dungeon Keeper, but it plays and feels just like it, with no Molyneux to be seen.


You just went too far

At its core, MachiaVillain‘s gameplay is also centered around building trap-filled dungeons for poor innocent souls to get slaughtered in. Instead of just going full cliché villain, your task is to actually build a haunted hotel of sorts; which means that you need to create death traps everywhere, but you also need to provide guests with some barely decent hotel amenities. Think of it as “Dungeon Keeper meets The Sims.”

It ain’t easy being evil. Sometimes you need to offer a nice TV or a decent banquet to your vict . . . er, I mean, guests before they become piles of meat on your carpet! You also need to think of your evil minions: they’re people (sorta) too! They each have their own personality, hopes, dreams, yadda yadda, and also need to sleep every now and then, which sounds a bit weird if you ask me. Why would a zombie, of all creatures, want to sleep?

That’s the best aspect from MachiaVillain: its style. The game oozes personality and has a great (and deliciously dark) sense of humor. Every single minion you hire has his/her/its own personality and a brief but funny “life summary” (I couldn’t come up with a better explanation). Looking at all the possible ways your victims can die inside your own evil manor is hilarious, if not a bit sadistic. The few cutscenes featured in the game are also quite funny, even if the voice acting can be obnoxious at times.


He looks so sad…

The voice acting is one of this game’s main issues. Besides the cheap sound department, I have to point out the dark visuals (I know evil and darkness walk around holding hands, but you don’t need to be that dark!) and some pacing issues. As previously mentioned, the game also features some elements you’d see in a title like The Sims, forcing you to wait for you minions to sleep and mind their business every now and then, and that’s a bummer when you want them to collect resources in order to build a new room or a death trap.

MachiaVillain has some pacing issues, but you’ll be able to enjoy it a lot if you put enough time into it. This is the best Dungeon Keeper type of game available in a long time, an interesting take in monster movie clichés with a peculiar sense of humor and a ton of charm, even if its art department looks a bit cheap at times. Hey, at least you don’t need to spend over four digits in microtransaction money in order to build a torture room in this game!

Graphics: 6.0

A funny and unique art style, sadly hindered by the game’s overall darkness.

Gameplay: 8.0

Your typical PC simulation control scheme, in which you basically just use the mouse. The menus are simple and intuitive.

Sound: 5.5

The soundtrack isn’t interesting enough to write about, and while the voice acting can occasionally be funny, it’s incredibly cheap.

Fun Factor: 8.0

Despite some pacing issues, it’s the best Dungeon Keeper game you’ll be able to play without some abysmal microtransaction scheme behind it.

Final Verdict: 7.5

A copy of MachiaVillain was provided by the publisher.