Title: Town of Salem
Publisher: Blank Media Games
Mode: Multiplayer Player
Genre: Strategy, Indie, RPG
Platforms: Browser, Steam
What do you get when you mix The Godfather and the Salem Witch Trials? You get the all new game Town of Salem. It's an odd mix to be sure, but just wait til you give it a shot. You'll either be the town hero or the old world's biggest crime boss. You decide!
The gentle pilgrims of Salem, Massachusetts have a big problem. Their town has been infested with thieves, bandits and most of all, the mafia! Players are split into teams and given random character assignments. You can be placed with either the Townies, Mafia or Neutral characters. You'll be given a role to play, and you must be willing to lie and deceive in order to win the game.
There are over 30 unique roles in Town of Salem. The three teams each have their own goals to accomplish, but the most important aspect of your character is his or her ability to lie and tell when others are lying. Although the goal of the Townies and Mafia are quite clear, the members of the Neutral team each have their own agenda and must execute it come nightfall.
Daytime for both teams is spent questioning and finding clues. You see, none of the players (except for the Mafia team) knows which citizens are imposters. When the townspeople come to the conclusion that a particular character may be guilty of a crime, the members of the community take a vote. If enough votes are collected, that character is then put on trial. Judgement ends with a “guilty” or “not guilty” verdict. Should you be found guilty, you are immediately sentenced to death by hanging!
Your character has his or her own role card that tells you what your mission is and what type of character you are. The 30 different roles are anything from Body Guard to Cleanup Crew to an Amnesiac. There are also mythical creatures such as the Werewolf character. Obviously, he or she isn't a werewolf in broad daylight, so they have a normal human appearance as well. And yes, there is a Witch character! It wouldn't be Salem without an actual witch amongst the ranks.
Players can customize their characters to some extent, as well as other aspects of the game. For example, you have the ability to choose your in-game username and the appearance of your living space. You can even have a pet or two. If you're wanting to play the game with friends, you have the option to add certain people to your friends list. There are over 200 in-game achievements you can get that allow you to purchase items in the game's shop. Although the Kickstarter campaign for this game (which was a rousing success) is over, players who donated to the cause received special character skins and other bonus features.
As far as the graphics are concerned, they look like a cross between the newer Oregon Trail games and the animated Lego series. Not that we're complaining! It actually gives the game a creepy vibe to see Lego-like characters murdering one another and committing evil deeds. The fact that a character can look so innocent and be so dastardly curdles our blood and chills us to the bone. The ambience of the game is equally sinister, with an in-game soundtrack that's sure to send shivers down your spine.
Since the game's release, the creators at Blank Media Games have spoken about porting it out to other platforms such as a hard copy PC game, Xbox and Playstation. Although problems may arise when crossing from an online multiplayer to console gaming, they've assured buyers that they would re-code to fix the problem. The game is currently available at their website, and you can register for free.
This is one of the most interesting multiplayer games we've seen so far. It's modeled after the popular game Mafia, which uses many of the same game mechanics and role-playing strategies seen in Town of Salem. That being said, Town of Salem takes place in a time before America was settled and had learned not to lynch people on a mere suspicion. It's fair to say that the game does give those accused a better chance than the Salem Witch Trials did, but the majority vote will win out regardless. If a bunch of players conspire to eliminate another character from the game, not much can be done.
It's really fun to see the sheer variety of roles you can take on and the abilities that come with them. We can't help but be excited about the peculiar Harlequin doll or the malevolent Serial Killer. Some of the game's elements seem to be taken from ancient folklore that was around at the time of the Salem Witch Trials, so the game is interesting from a historical perspective as well. The differentiation between day and night activities adds a lot to Town of Salem and lets players experience the game like it was an After Dark special.
You can have anywhere from 7-15 players in a single game, so not all of the roles will be utilized at once. It's great that all you have to do is register on the creators' site to play instead of downloading a large file to your computer. You get to keep your computer space free and engage in a fun online multiplayer at the same time. It's a win-win! The game costs you nothing, though expansions to other platforms will carry a price. However, the current version is absolutely free to play.