A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that MachiaVillain is a downloadable strategic simulation game for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. The game uses slapstick, tongue-in-cheek humor to parody classic horror movie clichés by putting players in charge of building their own evil mansion, managing a minion workforce, and luring victims to their doom. Although violence is a central theme of the game -- and things do get bloody -- the cartoonish, comedic style significantly affects the impact of the gore. The game's dialogue includes occasional crude humor and insults like "douche." There are also references to "killing the virgin last," which is a premise frequently used in horror movies to terrify main characters.
What's it about?
In MACHIAVILLAIN, after eons of servitude to a dark lord, the League of Machiavellian Villains has seen fit to reward your misdeeds with a promotion. You're given a plot of land and a minion workforce made up of the most vile creatures around, with the goal being to build an evil mansion of your very own. From this shadowy lair, you'll need to run an efficient slaughterhouse, luring unsuspecting victims to their untimely demise in classic horror movie style. But don't forget, even bad guys have to follow the rules. Remember: "Kill the virgin last." And most important: "Do NOT kill the dog. EVER." Hey, even homicidal villains have a heart ... even if it wasn't theirs to start with.
Is it any good?
With its excellent black comedy timing, this cartoonish mayhem sim proves that sometimes it just feels good to root for the bad guy. And this time around, you get to actually be the bad guy. You get to set up your evil master plan, bait the stereotypical slasher fodder, and watch as all your planning comes to gory fruition. MachiaVillain's humor is over-the-top and completely self-aware in a tongue-in-cheek cartoon style that's sure to leave a menacing grin on your face and a maniacal cackle in your heart. It's genuinely cute to watch a skeletal henchman gleefully mopping up the bloodstained floors while a vampire decked out in a chef's hat and apron cooks up the bits of your last unsuspecting victims in the kitchen. It's sort of like what would happen if Wes Craven and Clive Barker teamed up to develop a Sims game.
That said, as much fun as MachiaVillain is to play, it also takes a lot of getting used to. At any given moment, you've got many different tasks going on that you have to keep an eye on. You might have one group of minions building a shiny new portal to the netherworld while another is getting attacked by possessed trees, all while your loyal vampires are roasting in the sunlight. Thankfully, the game lets budding evil geniuses catch their breath and plot their schemes by offering options to slow or stop (or even speed up) game time, along with perpetual in-game access to a Start-Up Guide and Wiki. That really helps if you plan to run an enterprising murder house. Killing more victims opens up more expansion options for the mansion, which requires more supplies, which in turn need more minions to manage. So the better you operate, the busier and more difficult the game gets. But, hey, no one ever said that being a ruthless force of darkness would be easy.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Good Shepherd Entertainment
- Release date: May 16, 2018
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.