Kuklam Studios’ House of Cards-style role-playing political thriller, Shape of America, is a very different kind of role-playing experience. Instead of donning dragon scale armor and the sword of the sun god, you’ll be putting on a suit, heading into debates and attempting to undermine your political adversaries with backdoor deals and under the table machinations.
The game starts in 1999 and you play a would-be hopeful for the 2000 Presidential elections. Your road to fame and potential fortune won’t be paved with candy canes and lollipops, though. You’ll have to tough it out by securing funding, making alliances with powerful people, and securing a spot in the most powerful room in the country.
The game is steeped in a non-linear story that unfolds around corruption, lies, bribery, and scandals. Your objective is to navigate through the maze of backstabbing sycophants and attempt to woo over the general public with electric speeches just like The Rock’s promos during the attitude era in 1999, and attempt to Frank Underwood your way into office… just without the whole real-life underage teenage boy rape scandals that followed Kevin Spacey around during the #MeToo trend.
Anyway, there’s a real-life calendar in the game, a favor system that’s based on whether or not you help characters during police investigations or hearings, and a speech system that replaces the traditional combat mechanics found in most games. Your goal during speeches is to find out what makes the crowd cheer for you and get them on your side while also destroying your opponents in debates using rhetorical devices to demolish them on live television.
It seems like a more character-driven version of a game like Democracy, but with the added flair and panache of the dog and pony show that is real-life politics.
If you’re interested in this political role-playing simulator you can check out Shape of America over on the Steam store page for $4.99.