It is time for another ACTUAL Game Impressions post. Again, these are games that are either unfinished or that I simply did not want to cover for my ACTUAL Review series.
Ever wanted a game like Prison Architect, but instead of building a prison, you build a haunted mansion instead? Well, I certainly did not know that I wanted something like that until this game popped up on Steam a month ago. As a huge fan of Prison Architect, I was hoping for a similar experience, but unfortunately, MachiaVillain was more of a disappointment than anything.
There are some good points though, mainly the job system. It can take some getting used to, but once I got the hang of the job system, it made managing all of my minions so much easier. Some minions are better at certain jobs than others, so managing this job system is definitely something that the player will want to do. Minions can even gain proficiency with their different jobs, which was also a nice touch.
The game also offers a variety of monster types to recruit, including zombies, mummies, vampires, etc. Each type has different abilities and stats, but I found these differences to be worthless. The main difference between each usually comes down to their offensive abilities, but this is where the problem lies. Considering that most people that wander into the mansion can be dispatched with just a few hits, the different offensive abilities are basically useless and any points put into upgrading them are just put to waste. Those points are better off being put into the stamina of each monster, allowing them to get more work done. As such, I never really cared about what type of monster I was employing, so long as they had enough job slots.
However, the main drawback with MachiaVillain is the game’s pacing: it is just way too slow. After several hours, I was still struggling to maintain a constant food supply, let alone add stuff to the mansion. It takes forever to get anything useful done, especially after the first couple hours. At that point, I had most of the basic rooms, but simply did not have enough food or building material in order to expand. It would take several more hours of grinding if I ever wanted to add something cool to the mansion, like a spike trap or revolving wall.
I cannot recommend MachiaVillain, it simply takes too long to get anything done and the different classes are basically meaningless. I get that the developers are probably just trying to extend the game time by making everything so expensive, but it really is too much. At least the job system was cool.
This game presented me with quite the dilemma. During its open beta, I had a blast playing with friends, so I was super-pumped to play the game again after its release. However, upon playing the full release, the experience simply was not the same. This is due to the fact that the game is dead. Murderous Pursuits is a multiplayer-only game that relies on having people online in order for matches to be made, but as it stands, finding a match with human players is just not going to happen. The last time I played, there were only eight players online, none of which I was actually able to play with (as I assume they were in private matches). I instead had to play with bots, which automatically populate multiplayer lobbies if there are not enough players.
Looking past this issue, the core gameplay is actually pretty fun. The mechanics are simple enough to be picked up in just a few games, but mastering them is another question entirely. It is the classic “easy to learn, hard to master” scenario. This largely comes down to the different abilities that can be equipped before each match. Some of them are pretty simple, but can have very creative uses. The disguise ability, for example, can provide for some next-level gameplay, tricking other players into thinking the disguiser is someone else.
However, there is one ability that is so good that it is basically a necessity when playing against any experienced player. The game’s counter ability is just that overpowered. With a simple button press, any action against the one activating it, over the next several seconds, can immediately be countered. The activator can then make an easy escape. It is so broken that, when I was playing the game with friends, we had a gentleman’s agreement to not use the ability, opting for more skill-based abilities like the disguise or flashbang.
I would love to recommend this game, but without people to play it with, it is just not worth it. The multiplayer is dead, even after the free content updates, and playing against bots is just not enjoyable. As such, I will not be recommending the title. If you have friends to play the game with, then it is pretty fun, but otherwise, definitely give it the pass.
Now this is an interesting puzzle game. It basically has the player take up the role of the Grim Reaper, harvesting human souls in order to complete each level, but doing so in a very creative fashion.
The game’s greatest strength is its level design. There is so much packed into each level that it is overwhelming at times. In a single level there could be 80 or so different ways to kill people. From falling vases to mutated plants, the game has a little bit of everything. In fact, so much so that each level takes upwards of 20 minutes to complete. This is definitely not a puzzle game designed to be played quickly.
Now the game does not come without some issues, mainly on the technical side. For one, there is no borderless window option and the game requires a restart in order to swap between windowed and fullscreen. It took me six restarts to finally get the game to display the way I wanted it to, which was a bit annoying, but at least I only had to do that once. Also, for some strange reason the game requires the player to accept its terms of service before playing, kicking the player out of the game if he/she does not. I cannot remember the last time (if ever) that a game prompted me to do so while in-game, so this was a bit odd.
Despite this though, Death Coming is a solid puzzle game overall. I do recommend the game, but do keep in mind that it is a bit on the shorter side if you are not one to replay levels for higher scores. It only takes a few hours to clear, after all.
I was provided free review copies of the games featured here. Read more about how I do my game reviews/impressions here.