The Political Machine 2016 Reviews

AuthorReview
Titanium Dragon
93,503
Titanium Dragon
TSA Score for this game: 170
Posted on 17 October 17 at 09:03
This review has 2 positive votes and 1 negative vote. Please log in to vote.
The Political Machine 2016 is a very simple campaign simulator. Based around the 2016 election, you can play as one of about 20 or so candidates on either the Democratic or Republican side, which affects your candidate’s statistics.

The game is very simple – really, almost board-game like. On each turn, you have a certain amount of “stamina”, which affects how many actions you can take. Going to another state takes one stamina; creating an ad or raising money takes three; giving a speech or building a new campaign headquarters takes four.

Your goal is to win the presidency, and to that end, you can buy ads (either local or big TV ads that affect the whole country) about a particular issue to promote your stance on it or attack your enemy’s stance on it; each state has three issues it primarily cares about, and trying to boost or lower these can help or hurt you. You can also give speeches which seem to have a similar effect, increasing your local popularity as well as showing your stance off to the country.

The headquarters have various effects, mostly seeming to give you some sort of passive boost in the area; you can upgrade them to increase the size of these boosts, as well as their primary effects (giving you money, giving you points that allow you to buy endorsements, and giving you points that allow you to buy campaign operatives, independent units that are similar to buildings, but which can be moved around, and give you some sort of boost in whatever state they’re located in).

While all of this sounds like there’s a fair bit of complexity to it, in reality the game is actually extremely simple; basically, you build some headquarters at the start to maximize their value, building them up as high as possible because that gives you a larger boost to the stats without costing too much stamina, as well as their larger local influences, and then you run around building HQs and ads to try and shore up support, with your visits doing much the same. Every game seems to play out almost identically, with no real crises seeming to appear, or anything really compelling you to react. The game just feels like it is very simple, encourages a very unidimensional pandering strategy, and just fails to engage. Despite the bobble-headed figures, the game isn’t very humorous, and a lot of it is very vague, possibly to avoid offending anyone, but also just making it much less interesting.

The first round let me see all the game had to offer, and after that point, I was left wondering why I should bother playing the game any further. This isn’t really worth your time; it is a very ephemeral experience, and feels like it lacks any real depth or character.
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