The Fabulous Fear Machine review

by on October 9, 2023
Reviewed On
Release Date

October 4, 2023


Games come and go, but certain titles stay with you and leave a big impression. The Fabulous Fear Machine has done just that and for all the right reasons. It’s a strategy title that has some fantastic writing and a great series of stories revolving around three shady characters and a concept that, as people, we are all too familiar with. Every day, we’re surrounded by people in power spinning a narrative aiming to corral us with fear and paranoia, except now, you’ve got your own shot at doing so in Fictiorama Studios’ latest.

What took me by surprise is the writing of each of the three main stories you’ll play through. Each character has motivation for using the machine and getting their hands on everything they ever wanted, but what is the cost? What are their demons and what are they hiding? Be it political corruption, pharmaceutical mishaps, or evangelical cults, The Fabulous Fear Machine is a dark and twisted web of different narratives that are far too close to home than you’d imagine in a fictional video game.

Every campaign gets more engaging as it progresses, and the gorgeous art style runs through every element of its construction. The pulp comic aesthetic is utterly stunning, whether it’s when you read the story or admire the Legend cards and their evolutions, it’s around every corner, on screen for you to soak up and enjoy. It’s one of the nicest looking games I’ve ever seen, and I couldn’t wait to see everything The Fabulous Fear Machine had to offer.

When it comes to the gameplay and mechanics, there’s a lot to familiarise yourself with, but ideas rarely evolve beyond the fundamental concepts. In order to allow you to spread fear among the masses, you must plant an initial seed in a city or country, then send out an agent to help spread the message requirements you choose to implant. Everything takes time, and that’s why constantly monitoring your agents is important because any moments spent not paying attention can lead to a loss of potency in your message.

When you’ve gained an understanding of each region and what is needed to spread fear, your Legends are the carriers, the plague, and the catalyst. There’re plenty of different Legends that range from abduction to climate change, and murderous clowns to homicidal nurses. Whether you’re fond of paranoia, hysteria, or horror, there’s a legend for every trigger. Each Legend can be upgraded with the right kind of resource, gathered by completing tasks and expanding your hold on a region.

Rivals can throw a spanner in the works by sabotaging your progress. You can return the favour by uncovering dirty little secrets about them, forcing them to disappear and let you continue with your dastardly plans. These rivals add extra story elements to the campaign, and force you to play strategically, trying to balance time and resources in order to wipe them off the map. This filters into the game as a whole, as you’ll find resources don’t need to be gathered by the bucketload, but rather cleverly gathered and used efficiently.

The Fabulous Fear Machine is a narrative-driven strategy that is immersive and intense, where uncovering new legends is always a highlight, but the real joy comes from uncovering the story piece by piece, seeing how each of the characters become too greedy for their own good. It’s part-social commentary, part-realistic horror, never resting on its laurels and offering a gripping story with an addictive gameplay loop. It can be tough trying to gather resources when rivals try to hinder your plans, but I was blown away by the writing and the exceptional art style, making it one of the surprise hits of the year.


Stunning art style
Addictive gameplay loop
Smart ideas that come together well
Fantastic writing


Tough to recover your footing
Mistakes can be costly

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

The Fabulous Fear Machine features a unique pulp art style and some straightforward ideas that make it a wonderfully addictive strategy title.