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Diabolical

by Nick Aires

Superhero
2015

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Number of Reviews: 1
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Play the villain (or, supervillain) with lots of laughs, September 23, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours
This game came out in 2015, after landmark games like Slammed!, Choice of Robots, Hollywood Visionary, and Creatures Such as We. But it definitely feels like a game somewhere in the transition point from early Choicescript (which was a lot more trope-focused and experimental, with either few stats or tons) and later Choicescript (where games tended to have unique focuses and more standardized gameplay and stat amounts).

You play as a supervillain focusing on one of three main stats: ingenuity, combat, and terror. I played as straight terror, and pretty much every challenge let me just pick a terror option when it wasn't testing one of my personality traits/relationship. I think this game definitely falls into the 'three stat trap' they've mentioned when training newer authors, where you can just pick one thing and stick with it forever.

I'm planning on writing more about this once my odyssey through Choice of Games's catalog finished, but I think the greatest use of stats in Choicescript games is not in providing puzzles or testing you but in showing the game remembers your previous actions. I think the more compelling way of providing 'challenge' and replay value is in setting up strongly motivated courses of action that directly compete with each other, forcing you to choose one at the cost of the others. This game has some of each style.

This game is definitely comedy-focused, and allows you to have a complete disregard for human life if you choose (I did a 'no kill' run). A lot of the humor is sort of mean-spirited, including a recurring news segment (that does a good job of showing the consequences of your choices) where a divorced/divorcing couple repeatedly insults each other. I didn't really like that kind of humor at first, but there were some genuinely funny segments, especially near the end.

The overall plotline and mystery reveals were pretty satisfying. I had a romance I liked. Two things that didn't work as well for me were a pretty abrupt ending (about four paragraphs were all there were after killing the main boss) and a few times where it did that 'Haha just kidding of course you aren't going to do that action you just picked' thing.

Overall, I'd feel comfortable recommending this game to people who like 'funny' villains or antiheroes more than heroes. This wasn't in my top ten, but I'll definitely replay at some point to see some of the other paths.

I received a review copy of this game.