I was wondering what this game would be like; being from Canada and our politics working a little differently I even wondered if I’d understand what was going on. But for the low Steam price of $10 who am I to argue and thus my run for the American Presidency began…
Upon first entering the game you really have no idea what the heck is going on, the game is a turn based strategy game, but one where a turn is equal to how much stamina you have, so both parties can move about the map at the same time, which can actually end up really great if you end up in the same State at the same time, essentially countering everything the other person is doing and coming up empty on both sides. When I say you have no idea what’s going on that’s because the “tutorial” in-game is a bunch of political voter signs that give quick tips on what certain things do; they are more of a helpful hint in case you forget, not something that should be used for teaching purposes. There is a “tutorial” in the game menu, but this is actually a game manual with written words and no actual gameplay examples.
Once you get the gist of the game though things are fairly straightforward; build headquarters to gain money and influence, build campaign offices to increase your political prowess which allows you to buy units that aid in your campaign, and community centers which offer up clout which can be used to gain influence over certain groups, for example the environmentalists. There isn’t much to a story in this game, you’re running for President and doing whatever it takes to win. You can create your own candidate or use one of the many already made ones who are actual Presidents or people close to.
Halfway through your campaign you get to choose your running mate from all the selections available before. They pretty much look pretty and don’t do much else, I not sure if the game is trying to say something about the American political systems, but if it is, bravo. You fly from State to State making speeches and creating ads, both can be for something you support or oppose or to slander your opponent. There is also the raising of funds, as mentioned before your headquarters can make you money, but so can the people of the States. You can host a fundraiser but watch yourself as people don’t like to give and give and give.
In the end the votes are tallied and one man or woman takes over the oval office and that’s the game. There is a multiplayer component where the turns are timed as well as based on stamina. The whole experience flowed quite nicely and I think would be even better now that I know what I’m doing. The game seems frantic and is over fairly quickly, but you can ramp up the difficulty or change certain attributes of the map, for instance which States bring in more votes. It’s a quick play time strategy game that’s perfect if you’ve only got an hour to play. And the price is right too; $10 for one copy of the game or $20 for four copies of the game that you can then share with friends.
The Political Machine isn’t the best RTS to come out this year, or ever, but it does what it was built to do well and I have kept going back to it, so surprisingly addictive (must be something about rulin- I mean running a country). Go pick this game up today if you’re looking for some fast paced, quick fun. So just remember, vote Nerdan Winsalot for President because he wants to be the very best, like no one ever was. To become President is his real test, to rule them is his cause!!!