Game Spotlight: Town of Salem-Townies vs Mafia vs Werewolves vs Vampires vs Suicidal Jesters

Trust isn’t exactly a trait common among gamer’s. Whether it’s the competitive multiplayer games constantly pitting us against each other or  the countless betrayals we witness in story-based games, gamer’s are often reluctant to work together, even when forced to. So what happens when a game tests you on those few, solitary threads of trust you actually have and strains them to their limit? Town of Salem is what you get. Inspired by the party game ‘Mafia’, Town of Salem is an online multiplayer game where a murderous mafia is causing big trouble in little Salem. The villagers have to come together to find and execute these villains before they completely take over the town and turn it into a den of villainy. There is just one catch though. No-one knows who is an innocent townie and who is a masked murderer hiding behind a facade of purity. You play the role of one of these townies, the scheming mafia or one of the many neutral roles each with their own unique skills to help them figure out just who is on who’s side. Can you rally your allies and take back/over the town before you end up hanging from the gallows?

When you start a game of Town of Salem, you’ll first be presented with the town centre. Everyone comes from their respective houses to talk for a while as communication is one of the main gameplay elements. Eventually, you’ll all go back inside for the night, which puts you at risk of being murdered by the mafia, a trigger-happy townie or something more sinister such as a werewolf. You may be thinking, wouldn’t that make being the first to die boring and a waste of time? Well, yeah, it is incredibly dull being the first to die before you can really do anything. Unless you’re really unlucky however, it won’t happen all the time and most of the games you’ll get into will last at least another night or two. You can also write a will; and if you’re a killing role, a death note. Your will can be used as a log of all the discoveries you’ve made to help your team or just as a joke if you prefer… the spaghetti mafia will never yield! Your death note can be used to taunt the people your killing or if you’re really into roleplaying, leaving your mark with cryptic clues. Death notes pretty much have no effect on the gameplay but they’re a nice touch nonetheless.

Each team has different roles each with their own unique skills. The town mainly have roles that allow them to deduce who’s a mafia member or something worse. Sheriffs can interrogate people overnight and determine whether they are suspicious or not. Retributionists can bring someone back from the dead after their role has been revealed to question them. Vigilantes can take the law into their own hands and shoot someone overnight but they commit suicide if they kill an innocent. The mafia has roles more suited to killing and framing innocent villagers. They can communicate overnight and the godfather can assign mafioso to kill certain people. Forger’s can change people’s will to the mafia’s advantage and janitors can completely destroy someone’s will. Currently there are a massive thirty three roles in Town of Salem which ensures that almost no game is the same and you’ll always have new skills and roles to adapt to.

As well as the town and mafia there are many neutral roles. They have the most variety in what they can do. Witches can control people to do what they want, survivors only job is to survive until one team wins and jester is completely the opposite. In fact, when playing Jester, your goal is to get lynched by the town. After this, you can choose someone who voted against you and kill them from the beyond overnight. There’s even a mafia-like group of neutral roles; vampires who bite people and bring them into their ranks. My favourite neutral role however, is the werewolf. Every two nights, there’s a full moon which turns you into a werewolf. You can then choose to visit someone overnight to brutalise and annihilate them or stay at home. What makes playing werewolf so fun though is that you slaughter anyone who visits you or the house of your victim. A simple killing turns into a bloody massacre and in one game, I even butchered half the town in a single night.

Town of Salem receives pretty regular updates and it has had many, many changes since I started playing it back in 2014. One of the best parts about it, is it’s completely free! You can play it online, on the official website here. There is also a Steam version  you can purchase for the small price of £3.99 if you want to support the developers like I did. You get some decent cosmetic stuff along with it for your patronage though even if you don’t buy the Steam version, it doesn’t pester you mercilessly about the micro-transactions. Finally, you can earn over 200 achievements in game and on Steam which is always a plus for me being an avid achievement hunter. You’ll find a lot of replayability here.

Overall, Town of Salem is a neat little expanded party game that’s more than worth your time. The large variety of roles keep every game fresh and prevent the gameplay becoming too stale. There’s plenty of content, and the game is completely free to play so there’s really no reason not to spend an hour or two checking it out. It’s quite impressive how such a simple concept can become so complex with enough work and imagination put in and… yes! I’ve just got the serial killer role… this should be fun.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Achievements add lot’s of replayability
  • Variety of roles mean no game is ever the same
  • Micro-transactions aren’t in your face
  • Death notes are a nice touch
  • Unique art style

Cons:

  • Dying on first night can be dull and abrupt
  • Trolls can ruin the game
  • Not much interactive gameplay

Verdict: 8/10

Play the game for free here: https://www.blankmediagames.com/

Buy the Steam version here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/334230/

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