Massive Chalice Review
 CHEATfactor Game Review by:  Joe Sinicki Reviewed on: PC 

Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Massive Chalice. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.

In recent year's Tim Schaefer's Double Fine Productions has gone from just another sort of well-known studio to one that's publishing some of the video games industries most creative titles. Now, hot off the heels of the incredibly well done Broken Age comes Massive Chalice, a fun and remarkable turn based strategy game that would be even better if it weren't drowning in it's own content. Don't get me wrong, everything in Massive Chalice works, and when you get the hang of it it works quite well, but there's a lot to digest here and it's all thrown at you pretty quickly. Sticking with the game though gives players a strategic and well balanced turn based game that's not afraid to poke fun at itself.

...a pile of ingredients to make a stew.
Massive Chalice Review Screenshot

It's perhaps best to look at Massive Chalice as a pile of ingredients to make a stew. When you look at everything on it's own, it seems like a lot of work, but once you put everything together you see how everything mends so well together and the longer you let it simmer the better it will taste. In the beginning of the game you're introduced to The Cadence, a force that threatens to rip your nation apart at the seams. It's up to you not to save your people, but prepare future generations to be able to save them. The fact that Double Fine made Massive Chalice as much a Eugenics styled dating sim as it is an action game was a huge risk but it paid off quite well here. Cultivating relationships and playing match maker is a lot more fun than it sounds.

I poured hours into making the very best matches that I could for my armies, over examining each trait and trying to see how I could eliminate those that would make my armies weaker. Once you get deeper into the game and you're playing with centuries of bloodlines everything becomes a lot more personal and I found myself caring about the eventual end-game much more than I thought I would. Perhaps I was most interested because I found that making a mistake in Massive Chalice is not an easy thing to move on from. There's never a shortage of things to do in Massive Chalice and you're more than likely neglecting a good amount of them at any given time and that's neglect that can take decades of in game-time to fix.

The main problem is that these errors could cause your entire play session to change course and while that adds some variety for sure I often found myself too worried to enjoy what I was playing at the time. The warriors you breed take three basic forms, hunters who excel in long range attacks, hulking Caberjacks and alchemists. The big allure of the game comes from mixing the genes of each class to create unique and individual traits that will make your army stronger but not giving equal attention to everywhere you have troops can lead to trouble. For instance I realized a bit too late that only one class was being born in one region of the map and it became a lot harder to find great matches there as a result. You'll also be in charge of allotting where to put your resources as only a handful can go into battle and others have to stay home and tend to the armies and the kingdom.

...somehow they're still repetitive.
Massive Chalice Review Screenshot

Interestingly enough it was the game's actual battles that I liked least about Massive Chalice. Each battle takes place on a grid and you'll take turns moving your characters much like XCOM. All of the maps are randomly generated so there should be a good amount of variety here but somehow they're still repetitive. It wasn't long before I looked at the battle screens as just mere exercises to see how my Eugenics experiments were playing out. It also doesn't help that the maps and characters all look incredibly dated, even for a budget title. Hey, at least the voice-overs are done well and have that classic Double Fine humor.

If Double Fine's Massive Chalice really were a stew it's one that I would take without a few of the ingredients. It takes a massive number of risks and while some of them pay off, others just manage to water down the features that do actually work. There's a lot to love with Massive Chalice, but there's also a good amount to not.

Overall:  7/10 Presentation: 6 Gameplay: 8 
Lasting Appeal: 8 CHEATfactor: 5 
CHEATS USED: Super Health, Easy Kills
While the trainer for Massive Chalice from Cheat Happens features some great cheats like Easy Kills and Super Health, it also doesn't feature anything for the game's best feature, the lineage and Eugenics system. I would love to see a cheat that helps make better matches or maximize your skills regardless of choices.