Evil Genius 2: World Domination (Xbox Series X) Review – Heavy Lifting

Evil Genius 2 World Domination Review

Sometimes, when we want to knock something for its lack of depth, we say it’s “all sizzle and no steak.” Or, “all style, no substance.” In the case of Evil Genius 2, there’s plenty of meat on its bones. There’s lots of style, too. Evil Genius 2 appeared on PC in March, 2021, and it’s making its way to consoles.

Evil Genius 2 is a building and economic sim, with a bit of tower defense tossed in. You play as one of four evil masterminds. Each comes with a set of perks, strengths and weaknesses, and a cool doomsday machine to work towards in the end game. Of course, your ultimate goal is world domination. That comes much, much later.

How to Conquer the World

Your first task is to build the ultimate secret lair. Base building is by far the most enjoyable aspect of Evil Genius 2. You build worker barracks, a cafeteria, vaults, training rooms, and torture chambers. You set traps for the spy invasions to come. To be sure, building your Inner Sanctum is fun, but there really isn’t much creativity to it. You use pre-set room types and each time the product will be almost the same, though each mastermind uses a different color palette and decor.

The world map is where you take on main story and side missions. There are lots of thing to do, from stealing monuments to kidnapping scientists. You can expand your evil influence by building outposts. There’s a feeling of busywork to some of the missions and not everything is well explained. As a result, Evil Genius 2’s middle game can feel like a slog, as it takes a long time to unlock resources. However, the order in which you complete missions goes a long way towards making each game feel unique, as it helps branch the story in a particular way.

While you’re looking at the big picture, your lair is subject to raids by pesky enemy spies. Depending on how much damage they do, you’ll need to rebuild. You’ll need to hire more henchmen and earn more money. If you’ve played any kind of building or economic sim, you get it. Playing the game in sandbox mode takes away a bit of the annoying economic challenge and tedium, as you have unlimited gold and all the game’s resources and tools are unlocked at the start.

The console version of Evil Genius 2 also includes DLC that was released for PC.

Stylish Presentation, Awkward Controls

Evil Genius 2 takes a light-hearted approach to its subject, and everything has a campy, 1960s spy movie feel. The art style is colorful and there isn’t a hint of real malice anywhere, so that the whole enterprise has a genuinely funny, Austin Powers-like vibe. The detailed animations are goofy, the twangy guitar surf-spy music is great and the voice acting is effectively over the top.

On the console, the construction mechanics felt a little awkward using the controller. It was difficult to precisely highlight areas for building, and the camera moved a bit sluggishly. Those caveats aside, however, there are a lot of accessibility options and lots of ways to configure the game. You can ditch the controller and play with mouse and keyboard, for example.

Evil Genius 2’s strengths are its presentation and its base building mechanics. Building the ultimate Inner Sanctum, complete with devious traps and scurrying minions is a lot of fun. But the news isn’t all good. Less enjoyable are some of the game’s busywork missions, lack of clarity around goals, and overall feeling of outstaying its welcome. Playing in the sandbox mode helps with the tedium, but overall Evil Genius 2 would be a better game if lost some complexity and padding, and focused on what it does best.

***Xbox Series X code provided by the publisher for review***


The Good

  • Fun 1960s spy cartoon style
  • Base building is enjoyable
  • Great voice work and music

The Bad

  • Tutorial is pretty basic
  • Could be streamlined and shorter
  • Some mechanics not explained
  • Building with the controller