A little late to the party I know but I played this game not long after its release last year. I never played the first Evil Genius game but have played plenty of base building similar games. Initially I found the controls awkward, but once I was used to them after an hour or so the game was very easy to control and play.
You play as an Evil Genius Mastermind (obviously) and get a choice of 4 different geniuses that each favour slightly one of the 4 types of minions that do your evil bidding, namely workers (your basic unit, no real special skills but vital to build and keep your base running), science (for researching new technology), muscle (stompy attack troops to better defend your base) and deception (sneaky units who distract investigators so your evil deeds go un noticed). Each mastermind has their own plot but effectively the game play is the same.
The game is split into 2 worlds, your base which is viewed as a 3D top-down view and the world map which is a 2D view of the world split into regions where you can establish criminal networks in each to run various schemes to make money, complete game objectives or go into hiding to conceal their activities.
The base is where most of the action takes place and is a classic base build affair akin to dungeon keeper where you need to keep a management of power, gold storage, training etc. Each minion (up to a maximum of 300) can be clicked on and each has personal quirks that don’t do much in game but helps to add to the games humour. You don’t control each directly but as you demand things get done available minions will spring to work doing the various tasks. You do get to directly control the Genius and his loyal henchmen which you recruit throughout the game in a series of mini objectives and each of the henchmen have their own special abilities and fall into one of the 3 specialist types. The more zoomed in you are the more you can hear and when completing objectives such as “deliver a speech from your impressive desk” hearing the Genius babble in pseudo language about their diabolical schemes is worth the minute away from the rest of the base.
The real fun happens when everything goes a bit wrong. Initially investigators get sent to scope out your base. If they succeed and report back tougher and tougher specialist enemies will be sent such as rouges who will steal your gold from your vault and saboteurs who plant explosives causing fire and mass chaos. If you really get noticed, then super agents get sent who are akin to your henchmen with special abilities and a much higher health and fighting ability.
Defending your base needs you to identify the intruders (who often are very good at disguises) and then mob them with guards and henchmen before they cause too much trouble. Traps are another fun way to keep your valuable areas safer and leads to some fun creative combo trap designs like multiple pinball bumpers and then drop them into a shark pit. Though most super agents are effectively trap proof, so you’ll need to Where’s Wally (or waldo) to find them in your base and then dispatch good spotting units to deal with them instead.
As you progress through the game better and better versions of the minion types unlock that are needed for the world map activities but also in the case of muscle are a serious asset to have when your base comes under attack. On my most recent playthrough I didn’t need to get my henchmen to assist at all as hordes of elite hitmen with assault weapons made mincemeat of anyone foolish of assaulting my lair.
World map missions you don’t do very much other than pay a certain number of the specified minion types and possibly gold and they go off and do the grunt work for you. Though sending off all your top muscle minions to missions right before the forces of good launch a counterattack might leave your base a little unprotected.
There is a big optional quest to find various unique loot items that each give a minor bonus to your base or minions that are acquired by doing various quests thorough the globe. Each does take a fair while, but you get a snazzy unique item and feel very pleased with yourself over.
A notable downside to the game is reorganising your base, especially from one floor to another can get tedious as you can only seem to move a single item at a time, and if this is 200+ gold safe racks that you want to move to the furthest point from the entrance when you unlock better mining techniques but that happens to be 2 floors up this can take a long time and a lot of careful clicking. I really wish there was a mass move option. I bit the bullet and sold and re bought more often than not rather than painstakingly moving each item.
It’s an incredibly addictive game if you like base building games and I’ve put a lot of hours in completing the game on all 4 geniuses and the tougher difficulty was very tough mostly because of the shortage of money so expanding the base was very hard going. After a certain point money becomes more of a problem of where to store it than how to come by it and a large proportion of your base ends up being an extremely oversized piggy bank. Sometimes there does feel a long wait for a super-agent to take their eye off the objective you need for an important side mission, but again you can just allow them to watch and follow you back to your base, so you get the fun of battling them.
4 Paws out of 5
Any game where you can lose hours and hours not realising how late you’re playing is always a good indicator for me. I’m still enjoying it and looking forward to launching up another game with improved base design options.