“No matter what I do, they find another turncoat. Another goddamn traitor.”

One of the reasons I started this site was to help bring attention to those indie gems that fall through the cracks. Save Koch is one of those games that fell through the cracks and I need to remedy that.

Save Koch is a management game in which you play crime boss Jeffrey Koch in an anthropomorphic cyberpunk world. You are a pig, your associates are a rat woman, a horse thief, a dog doctor (a dogtor), as well as humans and other, weirder things. The art style and theme call nostalgic memories of shows like Biker Mice From Mars or Sonic Underground albeit with a lot more swearing.

The phone, the tablet, and the board to the left are your main ways of interacting with the world.

The game starts with you being smuggled to a safe house and being told you have 6 days to live and that someone in your organisation is a traitor. From here, you contact your friends and enemies by calling them and going through dialogue trees. Choosing who to send on what missions on the map of the city. Reading reports and deciding who to tag as a traitor on the wall mounted board.

The hands off approach of Save Koch creates a real feeling of helplessness as your inept associates repeatedly fail even the simplest of tasks and that really helps to put you in the mind of a paranoid crime boss. Is the dogtor failing the missions I put him on because he’s inept or because he’s trying to sabotage me?

Each of your associates has a particular mission type they’re good at. Always keep that in mind.

As you progress, missions open up new missions in interwoven continuing storylines that do a great job of painting a crime riddled city. Even failures open up possibilities or at least it seemed like they did. Or maybe my successes where what led to my daughter being killed…

Along the way you’ll be in contact with the leaders of other factions like the media-controlling dairy mob and the living mold hivemind called Lying (who, ironically, seemed the most honest with me). As well as city officials, members of your organisation with their own agendas, petty criminals, and an annoying barista called Mr Government who makes you ask nicely for clues and who killed off two of my best people!

I wouldn’t be surprised if the dialogue choices ultimately decide your fate. So I did my best to be nice. Maybe that was my mistake.

The struggle is real in Save Koch and every action feels like its being put on the scales of life and death. Time is constantly ticking in the background and doesn’t slow or stop for you to read conversations or mission reports. Innocuous seeming missions come and go and with a maximum of 4 agents in the field, you have to decide when and where to put your attention. Especially as they can’t be pulled from a mission to deal with some sudden surprise.

The end of my first run, I started the day with a mission saying that my helpful hacker was dead. I sent a squad of rats (useless grunts you can hire on to replace dead useful people) to investigate. Before they had even reached the mission, a dozen more popped up all across the map. My phone as ringing off the hook. The shark tank/tv screen turned on to the breaking news as my agent informed me that they were attacking us all over town. Then, bam, sniper. One of many different ends in Long Live The Queen fashion. Koch was dead and I found out that I’m a terrible mob boss.

The sense of paranoia and unique management gameplay makes Save Koch a damn fine game. The art and theme are just delicious icing on the cake and the quirky characters are the cherry on top.

Go get it on SteamHERE