Do you ever cheer for the villain? Does the bad guy deserve to win sometimes? Did you ever want to be the villain … spreading mischief and evil to the chagrin of the do-good heroes? Elixir Studio’s Evil Genius does just that.
The premise is simple enough. You are an evil genius. You must assemble your army of minions, build an evil base, defend yourself against the agents of good, gain notoriety among your evil peers by perpetrating evil acts and lastly (but definitely not least) develop an evil plan to dominate the world — and execute it perfectly. Tall order… but you’re an evil genius and this should be easy.
The game itself provides a staggering array of tools with which to achieve your goals. On any particular play though, you can win the game with only a fraction of these tools. Or you can try to use all of them — because they’re all fun.
The most basic constraint of the Evil Genius is money. Without money, you can’t build your evil base and you are restricted to one new minion per minute (who arrives based on your evil reputation). Luckily, you can send your minions out into the world to steal money and other items. The minions themselves are a form of currency. There are 13 different classes of minions and each different class is required to perform different duties. Basic minions build things. Social minions take care of your hotels (which distract tourists and agents) and reduce the impact of your nefarious deeds around the world. Science minions fix things, discover new things and help “plot” to devise new and devious schemes. Lastly military minions defend the base and help steal things from the world.
Opposing you are the forces of justice throughout the world. They will send “agents” and “super-agents” to your island which will try to steal back stuff, kill minions and destroy your base. The competence of agents arriving on your island is related to how much “heat” you generate in the world — which is roughly related to how many evil deeds you’ve done recently.
The game contains much humor. As an example, in the picture at the top of the article, you can see a square hallway in an area with no rooms. This is an example of a trap. You can set traps to catch, frustrate, demoralize and kill agents. You get money as a reward for a single agent triggering a series of traps — more money for each successive trap triggered. This hallway exploits this mechanic by having blowers at the four corners of the hallway — blowers are traps that push agents a number of tiles away. By making the hallway eight squares long on each side, the agents spin around the hallway generating money until they inevitably slam into an outside wall. A group of 8 agents can often generate several hundred thousand dollars, so this trap pays for itself.
I could easily go on. I honestly had forgotten how addictive this game can be. This picture shows the main control room of the base with the Evil Genius avatar, control stations and databanks for missions and some of the ill gotten loot from the world. You can also see the freezer room (where we keep the dead bodies), part of the training room (where minions are upgraded and part of the barracks where lockers represent storage for each minion.
The game is fun and rates a “must buy” from me. Be prepared to spend serious amounts of time herding your minions and plotting to dominate the world. The core mechanic of building the base and defending it all-the-while pillaging the world will last several play throughs as my current obsession with it to research for this article.
The game is not without bugs, exploits and weaknesses, but none of them are fatal and some of them lead to more fun. The one thing that can be an extra drag on your time is that there is no mechanic to control time (as in Tropico 3 and many other strategy games). Another more fatal bug I found causes a number of the briefcases of money to be ignored and when this happens enough, no building can occur in your base. Other things like the square hallway trap above exploit the games mechanics to player advantages that were likely unintended…
… but then you’re an Evil Genius!