Developer: Torpor Games
Publisher: Fellow Traveller
Genre: Strategy, Visual Novel
When you put together a political simulator and a visual novel, you get Suzerain. The new political thriller puts players into the shoes of a newly elected leader in a country that has faced multiple revolutions and turmoil. At a glance it might look like a typical political simulator, but the heavily text-based game feels more like an interactive novel full of high stakes and intrigue.
The game opens up with the birth of the protagonist. Through a brief sequence of text and decision-making, the player will go through the protagonist’s upbringing, political decisions, and party loyalty. They will even get to make a small decision or two regarding love and family after the protagonist finishes university. By the end of the prologue, the player will have a political philosophy, campaign promises, and of course, an inauguration speech.
The rest of the game is full of text and decision making. As mentioned before, Suzerain plays a lot like a visual novel. Events will happen to the nation or main character, then the player will make decisions. It’s not a complex game, and players who are looking for an expansive political wargame will want to look somewhere else. If anyone has ever had dreams of being the leader of a nation, they will be satisfied with what they find in Suzerain. There are plenty of decisions to be made, and there are many routes for the player to take throughout.
As mentioned before, anyone who wants a deep political experience might feel disappointed with Suzerain. Every decision is a simple text decision. That’s not to say that there isn’t depth in Suzerain, and players can build their country however they like, even if they can’t see the nitty gritty results. My character focused on more liberal policies, not favoring the wealthy elites and working to give more rights to the people. My president also found himself working more with constitutional revisionists who aren’t a fan of how much power the Supreme Court has. Players can check in on the cities throughout the country to see the latest news or handle a political matter, but again, nothing is too hands on.
Relationships are a big part of Suzerain, and players will need to appeal to allies, monumental political figures, and their own family and friends. The social aspects of Suzerain really adds to the text-based experience. It give players an emotional stake in the game since characters and citizens have faces and names. Each significant character has tons of personalities, making them easy to get invested in.
Suzerain has a simple but effective presentation. Developer Torpor Games does a great job with their debut, creating an intriguing experience on a budget. Despite all of the text, the art and presentation breathes life into the world that players occupy. A strong score and impressive art keeps players engaged without the need of HD visuals or intricate character models. The text-based journey doesn’t wear itself out either since Suzerain only takes around 10 hours to finish per playthrough. If players can’t get enough of leading a country, the game has tons of replayability thanks to all of the routes that can be taken.
Suzerain is a solid debut by Torpor Games. It’s a game that makes the most out of its minimal presentation, giving a compelling look at the life a nation’s leader. It’s not the deepest experience, but it is certainly a compelling one that fans of visual novels will likely be into.
Suzerain is a solid debut by Torpor Games. It's a game that makes the most out of its minimal presentation, giving a compelling look at the life a nation's leader. It's not the deepest experience, but it is certainly a compelling one that fans of visual novels will likely be into.