By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on January 18, 2017
This month's PS Plus free game line-up brings us quite a few cool games. The game that I noticed straight away was Day of the Tentacle remastered, mostly because I just love it to pieces and have played both versions quite a few times. But, seeing as how I already did a review about both the original and the remastered version, I thought it might be time to try something else. My eye was caught by a 2D stealth / action game called "The Swindle" by Size Five Games. It looked really cool, so I decided to give it a try. And it's a good thing I did, too!
In The Swindle, you play a thief... well, actually, you play a multitude of thieves that are desperately trying to steal an AI called "The Basilisk" that Scotland Yard is currently building. This AI could single-handedly spell the end for the collective thieves' businesses, because it will turn the entire country into one big police state. As you can probably imagine, no thief will take this lying down, so they set out to pilfer their way towards Scotland Yard and their dreaded AI and do what thieves do best: steal the damn thing! And, oh yeah, you have 100 days to complete this task, so get going!
This, however, is easier said than done. One does not simply walk stroll into Scotland Yard and leave with your loot under arm. So, to undertake this gargantuan task, you will have to start at the proverbial bottom and work your way up. As you enter a level, the house you are supposed to rob from is procedurally generated, so no two capers are the same. If you are caught by patrolling policemen, they will beat you to death, quickly ending the life of your wannabe criminal. But, don't worry, there are a lot more of them where that one came from!
Your objective is simple: steal as much cash as you possibly can and make your way back to your "escape pod" safely and loaded with cash. You can return to your escape pod at any time during the level but, as I've noticed, it is kinda hard to play it safe when there are so many riches still left to rob. And keep in mind that, every time you return to your base, a rickety old airship hovering over the city, and set out to rob another house, one day passes by. And, seeing as how you only have 100 days to work your way up the ranks enough to have a stab at stealing from Scotland Yard, it is safe to assume that taking as much money back with you is the wise choice... though not necessarily the safest!
With the money you earn, you can upgrade your band of thieves with new techniques, tools and other traits that let them gather loot with more ease or hack into computer terminals in order to collect a huge amount of cash. Of course, the places you rob from are well-protected by guards, robots and other people or machines that are hell-bent on your destruction, so be careful when you're on a heist! One false move and you will be spotted, resulting in a level-wide manhunt and, more often than not, your untimely demise.
As you progress through the game, you can unlock security clearances, which enable you to steal from more wealthy environments than the one you started in. Although the prospect of a bigger loot is enticing, this also means that these levels are, generally speaking, more difficult and better protected! But hey, no pain, no gain, right? The fun thing about The Swindle is the fact that it is one of the most challenging games I've seen in a long time. Apart from the increase in difficulty in later levels, The Swindle boasts a base difficulty that is not among the easiest that you have ever witnessed. Because the game is built around stealth, one false move can result in a major cock-up! Throw in the unpredictability of the procedurally generated levels and you might be served a task that can range in difficulty anywhere from "oof, I'm glad that I managed to finish that heist" to "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT FROM MEEEEE?!?!"
So, all in all; do I like The Swindle? You bet your thieving ass I do! Although It might not be a game for everyone out there, but it sure is one awesome experience if you're up for a more than decent challenge! Visually, it looks awesome and its music adapts to every situation and enhances the overall experience tremendously. The characters all have a personal touch to them, which makes it even more fun to play. And although the controls may feel a wee bit clunky from time to time, they get the job done and are easy to get used to. And, let's not forget the sheer joy you feel, knowing you're robbing the government absolutely blind!
So now, if you'd excuse me; I've got some high-end pilfering to do (puts on zorro mask and vanishes into the shadows)
Size Five Games
July 28, 2015 (PC / OS X / PS3 / PS4 / PS Vita)
July 31, 2015 (XBox One)
September 22, 2015 (Wii U)