Evil Genius Finds a New Home on Facebook

Rebellion, the developer behind the Facebook iteration of Evil Genius, has taken (defunct studio) Elixer's classic game and translated it into something more appropriate for the social gamer. By running with a winning formula (being a jerk is fun; being a jerk on a grand level is grand fun) and streamlining play mechanics to their minamlist core, Rebellion has crafted a successful release with Evil Genius.

Evil Genius lets you pretend to be the head of a vast, villainous empire that profits on the despair of others and, fortunately enough, has been released just in time for the holidays! Now, instead of taking out your inherent cruelty on members of your immediate family around the dinner table, Facebook is letting you retreat to your computer to do harm unto virtual victims.

Rebellion, the developer behind the Facebook iteration of Evil Genius, has taken (defunct studio) Elixer‘s classic strategy title and translated it into something more appropriate for the social gamer. By running with a winning formula concept (being a jerk is fun; being a jerk on a grand level is grand fun) and streamlining play mechanics to their minamlist core, Rebellion has crafted a successful, if a bit shallow, release.

Figuring out your overlying goal in Evil Genius is as easy as pressing ‘play’ for the first time. You begin by creating your avatar (through a fairly impressive set of options like mustaches, scars, facial expressions and more), taking inventory of your evil lair then setting out to, uh, be really evil. You accomplish this by clicking on various mission options (ranging from sending scam emails to stealing candy from a baby) that reward your character with experience points and money.

Evil Genius is a wash, rinse, repeat type of game; the sort of Facebook app that makes excellent use of spare moments between checking inbox messages and doing some actual work. As to be expected, it feeds into itself, requiring you to spend time playing in order to enjoy the ability to, well, play more.

There’s a lot of good to be found in the game despite its inherent limitations — especially for those fond of the Bond supervillain aesthetic that Evil Genius is clearly inspired by. The music is fun, orchestrated, dastardly stuff and the visuals are cohesive and appropriately suited to the style of play. That said, the potential fun to be drawn from Evil Genius requires the player’s imagination to do the legwork more than anything else. Sure, you’ll have access to global destinations and an entire evil lair waiting to be decorated room by room; the only problem is that everything is rendered in abstractions of text or tiny, pixellated representations. For example, you’ll never really get to hear it when you click ‘laugh manically’ — you’ll just have to fill the blanks in with your brain.

Those of you with the desire to play Evil Genius in the first place will likely have no problem with this design hurdle though. The concept itself is so well fleshed-out (with the aforementioned avatar and lair customization) and appealing that its minor drawbacks hardly seem to matter once you get into it.

Simply put, give Evil Genius a shot. It’s clearly been developed with a little more TLC than the average Facebook game and, for those of us that can’t seem to find the right social outlet for our darker side, Evil Genius represents a great option.