So Donald Trump’s in the White House which means if you’re a US citizen this is either a time or great celebration or great commiseration. Whichever side you fall on you may still be in the mood for some election gaming goodness. Lusting for a chance to recreate the thrills and spills of the election but in a more hands-on sort of way. Well Megalo Polis by Black Sheep Studios may just be thing you’re looking for?
Choose your favourite presidential candidate and run across each state talking to the voters. It’s your chance to get the people behind you.
Storyline? Well, you’re a presidential candidate and you have to get as many people on your side in order to win the election. Not really a story but a premise, so let’s just move on.
Once you’ve chosen your candidate (Trump, Clinton or Obama) and your state, you’re transported to an isometric style map of that area, split up into various districts each populated with a variety of voters (laborers, teachers, businessmen etc.) When a voter is in close proximity to your candidate they get a little timer over their head which indicates the number of seconds before you’ve swayed them.
Each candidate will have voters they find more or less difficult to convert. You can drop podiums in districts and move the mouse round to encourage voters to walk to you to make converting them easier. Once you’ve converted everyone in the district you can lock it to make sure it’s safe from conversion from other candidates, who are also trying to get the voters on their side.
It wouldn’t be an election without the usual array of dirty tricks that the candidates can pull on each other. Get your opponents suspected of tax evasion, put in jail, or get their voters to go on strike. These are all tricks that the candidates can stoop to.
The idea is simple so if you’re looking for something more in-depth you might need to look elsewhere. Having said that, the game is highly entertaining to play as well. The timescale and the number of other candidates desperate for you to fail or to become impeached add tension to the level and a sense of achievement when you win.
Graphics & Sound
Graphically, Megalo Polis looks like election time in bobble head town. Though, each of those bobbleheads is well designed and it’s clear which leader is which. Visually the game reminds me of ‘Constructor ‘on the Playstation. The graphics are cartoony, bouncy and nicely animated as you move around the various districts.
The sound is jaunty enough and fits within the style of the game, though doesn’t really stand out in any great way.
Your own presidential candidate is controlled with the mouse and the odd keyboard command. Gathering voters is done by moving the mouse in a circle while everything else is simple left mouse button. There are no complex controls or commands to get in the way of your election drive.
The game starts you off slowly and gives you a few free punches but the more you play the harder it gets. Your competitors become more ruthless, and more effective at gathering voters. You’ll need to ensure your best spin doctors and muck-spreaders are with you if you want to succeed at higher difficulty levels.
It’s a game you can just pick up and have a go at occasionally. Are you going to have huge mammoth gaming sessions on Megalo Polis? No, probably not. But with all the different candidates each with their own skills and playstyle, you have some reasons to come back. This is a game that can be updated every four years with new election candidates, if Black Sheep Studios wanted to.