When I heard about this fantastic game, I immediately started to think about how I grew up through gaming. I thought back through some of my earliest games on the PC, the amazing games made by the British development team, Bullfrog Productions. These guys had some of the pioneers of gaming behind them, including the very popular Peter Molyneux and Stuart ‘the Balrog’ Whyte (most recently Studio Director of Lionhead Studios).
Whilst they made some great games such as Populous, I am right now focusing in on two of their greatest games: Theme Hospital and Dungeon Keeper (I and II). When I attended Rezzed this past week, I was able to play some alpha builds of some truly phenomenal indie games that are coming our way.
All this chat about Bullfrog, Theme Hospital and Dungeon Keeper can only mean one thing – There’s a game like those coming out… and yes, there really is. More akin to Dungeon Keeper than Theme Hospital, that game is MachiaVillain, a game where you build your own evil mansion and have to kill victims as per the rules of horror films. What are these rules? Rules such as never kill the dog.
The team consists of programmer Alexandre Lautie and artist Zimtra. Along with writer, John Bardinelli, artist Robert Lopatto and game designer Kevin Buchett, the team called Wild Factor are based in Paris, France. They were formed early 2012 and it was apparently formed when Alexandre looked in a bowl of alphabet soup and saw: “strt a gma cmpiny”, which he thought was close enough to warrant the start of his own game company. A great call as they have been working on something great!
During Rezzed, the very first game I went to go and play at 11am was Wild Factor‘s MachiaVillain. I found the experience to be refreshing, a bit like a blast from the past but it was also fresh and new. You built up the individual walls of your mansion, which means you needed to not only build an enticing evil mansion for your victims to actually make their way to, but also then provide the right elements of danger, excitement and room customisation.
You can place chests and goodies down which gives your victims a reason to be in the evil mansion in the first place. Your mansion is maintained by monsters, such as zombies and mummies, eventually moving up the monster chart to monsters such as Dracula’s, Freddy’s and Jason’s. You can instruct your individual monsters to go and hide in specific places and use the monsters to do attacks on the victims, in order to kill them (as per the rules of horror films, of course!)
One of the charming aspects I found about MachiaVillain was that even during it’s alpha stage, the French team of Wild Factor have made something really fun to play and really quite polished. It is a simple mix of old school resource management and a new age engine coming together in a really wonderful way. Another really cute factor to the game was the zombies who helped out with the day to day running of the Evil Mansion.
The zombies, once they seen a victim has been killed, would go and clean up their blood. This was reminiscent of Theme Hospital to me, where the Handymen would take care of the day-to-day operations of the hospital. Here, the Zombies acted as your Theme Hospital Handymen and they also acted as your Dungeon Keeper Imps, as they fulfilled all of your purchases and put your walls up for you. Couple this with the sound strategy you need to make sure you can take out the tougher victims, this will be a fun little strategy game for everyone to play – Fans of horror and fans of resource management.
Keep on the look out for when this game is released, I’m really excited by it and you should be too!