Do you like to lie and betray your friends? Are you a conniving manipulator? Or do you have the detective skills to sniff out a murderer? If any of these statements are correct then you should check out Eville from indie developer VestGames and publisher Versus Evil. Eville is a social deduction style party game inspired by well loved games like Among Us and Werewolves but with a new take on the genre.
The game pits a group of upto twelve players against one another in a village where villagers have to detect the conspirators before it's too late. At the start of the game you are randomly assigned to play either a villager or a conspirator and depending what you're given changes how you approach each game. If you're a village you will need to execute all the conspirators to claim victory whilst staying alive. Villagers can also:
Call in meetings, vote out and execute the Conspirators
Find your dead friends and use your abilities and social skills to find out who murdered them
Brew potions to save yourself, others, or poison people you think are suspicious
Lift the curses and evil magics brought upon Eville by the Conspirators
Trade with vendors and acquire items to protect yourself and gather intel on other players
Use your unique role abilities to observe players, talk to ghosts, see footsteps or place traps in the village
If your a conspirator you need to deflect the villagers accusations whilst murdering them all discretely. Conspirators can also:
Get rid of Villagers by sneaking into their home at night and murdering them, or trick Villagers with your deceptive skills
Wake up at night, steal and deceive the sleeping villagers
Put evil curses upon the village, securing your win
Buy trade goods on the black market, giving you unique items such as boots to protect you from traps
Use the underground to traverse through Eville in secret
When you start a game you will be randomly assigned a role for that session. All of these roles are different and have their own unique abilities.
Detective - A nimble noble with an exceptional eye for the truth. Barbarian - A blade master that got off the right path. Shape Shifter - No one really knows who she is, and those that do never see her again. Ghost Whisperer - A mystic with the ability to communicate with deceased Villagers. Slanderer - Never takes the blame for anything. Always tries to frame others. Trapper - A lone ranger with a powerful arsenal. Seer - Places magical wards and observes other players during the night. Mayor - Everyone knows him and everyone pays him. Thief - Watch out for this one, or you'll soon have nothing! Guard - A crusader of justice and truth. Smuggler - A master of the underground - clearing secret paths directly to a player's home
There is also player customisation so you are able to choose a Skin, Equipment, Accessories, Paintings, Stickers, Emotes, and more! The variety to the roles you can play makes every game different, sometimes you will play a different role in party so it really makes you work together as a team. Gameplay wise, you will play inside a medieval village (there is only one map available at launch but the devs have said more will be come post launch for free). An average game takes around 15-20 minutes and never because of this they never seem to overstay their welcome. It's nice to be able to jump into a game or two whenever you get a small amount of time spare but you can easily spend a few hours playing multiple games due to the variation on offer.
A match takes place across day and night cycles. You can interact with NPCs during the day to raise money by carrying out quest for them (these quests are simple crafting/material gathering), spend your money on potions and items which can be crafted into things for useful or deadly intents. Each character also has their own house, and during the night the conspirator can sneak into your home and murder you if you fail to ensure you door is locked. Graphically the game looks really nice, with a cartoony art style that reminded me of World of Warcraft and Realm Royale. The village is nice and detailed and I really liked the brighter colours to the game. Everything seemed to run well and I didn't encounter any issues of note.
The main issue that jumps out about Eville is its monetization. It's presented to players as a live service game which includes a battle pass. This pass offers 55 levels to unlock which include a variety of new cosmetic items, avatars, emotes and more worth of rewards. There is also a premium track on offer which can be unlocked by paying an extra £5.79. There are also multiple extra paid DLC packs that add new characters (including Mr. Peterson from Hello Neighbour) and items. It very much feels like how a free to play game like Fortnite/Fall Guys is presented except the game is sold at £12.49. Now this isn't a huge amount, especially for the content/quality of the game on offer, but this is one of those social games that needs an active player base to thrive so it feels odd that there is a charge for the game, and then one for the battle pass at launch. Hopefully the fact the game is part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription service will ensure that it continues to maintain a healthy player base to ensure anyone who purchases the battle pass gets their moneys worth!
Eville has a very fun gameplay loop that builds upon the social deduction games that came before it. The variety of villager roles adds alot of replayability and depth, meaning you won't get bored after a handful of games. However as with all games in this genre, its longevity will depend on the support it gets past launch and how the player base continues to play along. Thankfully the game has launched into Xbox Game Pass which will do wonders for player numbers and will ensure lobbies should stay much more active than if the game wasn't available on the service. My only real concerns relate to the live service model and the microtransactions currently on offer, which could alienate some people from giving it a try. Total Score: 7/10
Eville was released on the 11th October 2022. It's playable on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC. The game is priced at £12.49 and can be purchased HERE. It is also available as part of an Xbox Game Pass subscription. A copy of the game was provided for this review. A big thanks for that!