Welcome back. Today we’re doing a smaller review of what is, at first glance, a pretty simple game. Town of Salem (by BlankMediaGames) has you controlling a person in the titular town as all hell breaks loose. There are dangerous people inhabiting the town, and you’re generally trying to avoid the death they bring. Suspicion is often the only thing you have to go on, as it is very rare to get positive proof of another player’s treachery. Of course, even if you manage to do so, you have to convince the other players that you’re speaking the truth. Lying is typical, as no one wants to admit being the bad guy.
You can talk to your fellow players during each day, before deciding who, if anyone, will be executed. You also get a will, where you can leave clues as to who you think the villains are, and a death note, displayed whenever a person slain by your hand is found.
To keep things interesting, you get a role. Roles determine your abilities and goals. Normal townsfolk try to lynch all evil-doers, for example, while the Mafia tries to wipe out enough of the former to take control, and the serial killer is up against everybody. You’ve also got more specialized roles, such as the Jester. The jester actively tries to get executed as that wins the game for them, and lets them haunt another player until they die of guilt. Anyway, some roles are only good for uncovering (or helping others to uncover) the identities of the villains, others are only good for killing people, and some can stop others from spying or killing or whatever else they might be doing during the night. As such, there’s a lot of information that can be put out to the players, but you never know what they’re going to believe. Even Last Wills are suspect.
Before we go on, I have to admit, I didn’t see the point of this game at first. I watched a friend play a few games, and got caught up in the suspense of seeing who survived the night and the thrill of playing townsfolk against each other as you work towards your own nefarious goals. That said, I’m still terrible at it. My best play so far is getting executed as Jester because I asked the town to execute me. Truly, my genius knows no bounds.
The graphics and animations are simple, yet charming. The interface is easy to learn, but the game itself takes some practice. The music is particularly effective at encouraging the ideal emotions during the night (when you can die) and in morning (when you discover those who perished). The gameplay is primarily driven by how you interact with the other players, and a bit of luck. It is entirely possible to die on night one, and/or get a role that never accomplishes anything. Thus, there isn’t much incentive to stay if you’re doing badly. That’s about the only bad thing I can say. Since it comes down to luck with regards to your starting role, you’re bound to get someone you want to play as eventually.
Town of Salem can be played for free, with an option to pay for extra options for villagers and executions. It can also be found on Steam for $5.