Humans have a disturbing obsession with the collapse of society, whether it involves how it happens or how we respond after it happens. And as it so happens, you can have a direct hand in several specific scenarios that can cause collapse by playing The Fabulous Fear Machine by Fictioriama Studios. It’s a strategy game about spreading influence across various regions around the world. Everyone who has the power to disrupt has their own agenda, and seems to follow the Machiavellian way of thinking that the ends justify the means. It comes down to you to figure out whether you can use the means effectively to get to those ends.
What Is The Fabulous Fear Machine?
We’ve heard of a lot of stories involving fortune tellers from all walks of life using their powers to change things for worse or… even worse. You get to see one in action in The Fabulous Fear Machine. Apparently, the Zoltar Machine from the Tom Hanks movie Big has a distant relative named Kirlian who has access to a machine of immense power. Three specific individuals have come to Kirlian to have their wishes granted in exchange for their life stories. To help their wishes come true, Kirlian gives each one access to the Fabulous Fear Machine, which allows them to plant seeds of fear to spread their influence and achieve their life’s ambition.
The Fabulous Fear Machine Quality Specs
Like any machine, you hope that it has all the best parts and that it’s well maintained. As ancient as The Fabulous Fear Machine may be, it’s performing in peak condition. You can tell by just how real the entire situation appears to be. The game is almost like a pop art presentation of practices currently happening in the world. It could be seen as commentary and an exercise in learning to question everything. If you weren’t paranoid before, this machine will haunt you with ideas that can definitely change that.
On that note, fear is the name of the game, and it’s pretty straightforward about it. The goal is to plant a seed of fear in the region you’re trying to influence and then help it spread. The way you do this is by playing cards that are connected to certain areas of society and attaching them to locations in cities. Though it’s not as simple as word of mouth, you have to place your agents in the field and have them do everything important. Time also plays an important and interesting role, especially when rival influencers are introduced. You need to balance cultivation, harvesting, pumping, exploration, and sabotage, which is an engaging juggling act.
Now, we’ve gotta talk about the visuals. Pop art was mentioned previously, but to get more specific, the game uses colorful comic art in the noir style. It’s very effective at conveying scenes and character expression, allowing them to have some real impact. All you need to see is the animatronic Kirlian make a snide remark and a mocking expression to feel that he’s not talking to the character, but to you.
The Fabulous Fear Machine Maintenance
Even the most well-tuned machines can sputter and give out on you occasionally, and The Fabulous Fear Machine is no different. This machine’s biggest issue is the lack of flexibility when it comes to decision-making. You could be playing well, thinking that everything is going smoothly, when one thing pops up that completely ruins your system because you had no reason to consider it. You at least have plenty of save slots so you can save after every micro-decision, but the fact that you need to do a bit of save scumming so that you don’t lock yourself out of a victory is the problem.
The other main issue is the shift in focus when it comes to rivals. Unlike other strategy games where you’re expected to grow alongside your enemies and clash with them periodically, this one has them serving as glorified obstacles. Seriously, when a rival shows up, it makes more sense to shift all your focus toward eliminating them and putting your operations on hold until that’s done. It may slow you down a bit, but rivals are a much bigger risk the longer that they hang around.
Fear The Fabulous Fear Machine
The Fabulous Fear Machine is a 2D pop art noir comic strategy game about trying to take over the world through fear. It’s a game that scares you while making you think, and offers nice visuals to accompany effective time-based gameplay. It could stand to benefit from being more flexible in terms of progression and rival behavior. Even without that, the Fabulous Fear Machine calls to you to help people’s wishes come true… at any cost.
The Fabulous Fear Machine was played on PC with a code provided by the publisher. It is currently available for purchase on Steam, Epic Games, and GOG.