After the entire last year of Presidential campaigns and their ridiculous shenanigans- we can make light of this extremely absurd election process with a wonderful satirical game called Megalo Polis. The game tosses you into the role of one of this year's candidates with the seemingly simple goal of becoming the next President of the United States of America by going out on the political trail, and it becomes our job to convince the public to vote for us... by any means necessary.
To start, you choose whether you want to run as a Republican or Democrat. Each party gets a special bonus the other doesn't. Republicans earn an extra $5,000 a minute while Democrats have a higher population conversion rate.
Then you get to choose who to run as, and any character can run as either party. For the playable characters there's the big two, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but there's also Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and inexplicably, Obama himself, attempting to run for an impossible third term- and what better way to show support for your candidate than campaigning as them? Each character receives their own pros and cons aiding or hindering the ability to sway certain social classes. Trump has a harder time convincing the educated, but gains an extra aggressive bonus to the speed in which he can take over opponents' district, and Hillary has a tough time convincing people due to trust issues, but starts with a lot more funding.
Players need to go from district to district, and state to state in a race to the White House gathering as many supporters as possible and locking them down. The more districts loyal to you, the more money you make, and in turn the more you can spend on gaining even more followers.
To help garner even more support players can complete challenges to earn cards that act as special abilities like jailing your opponent for a short time, developing a smear campaign, or creating a scandal to hinder other candidates.
The caricatures of the candidates and their silly-voiced soundbites are a comedic treat, and the way developer Black Sheep Studios handled them all is fantastic. Though the highly repetitive nature of the same handful of lines over and over does become a bit grating over time, the bright and colorful cartoonish visuals never get old. They were just as good at the end of my playtime as they were at the beginning.
Overall, Megalo Polis is a hilarious RTS strategy game that holds quite a bit more depth than I first gave it credit for. Attempting to gather new followers and thwarting the opposition might be the surface game, but understanding all the types of classes and districts you need to influence really alters the game. Add on top of that the fact that you can both interfere with others and they can impede your progress through all manner of small ways with the cards you collect- and the game does fill out with nice complexity. I must also point out that there's also a lot that isn't spelled out in the tutorial that you must learn on the go, such as the fact that to receive money from your districts you need to walk back to them- it isn't automatically added to your campaign fund.
Megalo Polis is definitely not something anyone might play for days on end, but it is a surprisingly great binge treat to waste a few hours playing while we await the election results. Who knew it was so fun to play as a manipulative, corrupt, and patronizing politician trying to persuade the public I am the prime choice?
Official site [ Megalo Polis ]
Megalo Polis is available on [ STEAM ]
*Review copy provided, thank you!