The Swindle is a 2D procedurally generated Steampunk Crime caper set in 1849 London, where players can burgle and hack computers full of money and run away before the police show up! Check out our The Swindle review to hear more about this title.
The game has some roguelike elements and some RPG elements. The Roguelike elements come into place when you die before banking your haul since you will lose it and move on to the next thief. That’s right, The Swindle features permadeath. You have a succession of thieves -who have some of the funniest names (I applaud whoever came up with these!) – to reach your ultimate goal: to pull off the biggest heist of the century by robbing Scotland Yard to steal the Devil’s Basilisk! The catch is you only have 100 days to get ready in order to pull it off. Are you up to the challenge?
As for the RPG elements, The Swindle includes a skill tree that you can use to purchase upgrades with your stolen cash, and you definitely have a lot to upgrade! Each upgrade you level up gets more expensive as you go, so you must, therefore, get more and more cash to keep the cycle going. You can buy and upgrade your hacking skills and bombs, or you can increase your agility, to name a few examples. And upgrading as you go is a must or else you will only be leading all thieves to an early death.
Each heist lasts one day, and upgrades are so expensive that you must make each day count! Each house is full of guards, and if you screw up, and they end up seeing you the alarms will go off, and you only have a minute or so to escape with your haul before the boys in blue show up.
Aside from guards there are other traps to watch out for such. One such trap is the remote bombs you will find, and if you get too close they explode! Once you buy the Level 1 Hacking skill for £100, you can defuse them with QTEs, but if you can’t defuse them quick enough they’ll explode! Also, please keep in mind that if you’re in a high enough location and decide to jump down you will also die.
When you get close to a computer safe, you can hack it by using directional QTEs in the same fashion as with the bombs. The faster you go the higher the percentage of funds you will secure. But if you make a mistake you will lose some money. Nothing like some extra stress to make a game more fun!
In order to progress to other areas, you must rob enough computers to buy a security clearance that unlocks access to other areas. The newer areas get progressively more difficult but are also much more lucrative, so you will need to buy bombs and upgrade them significantly, along with you ability to hack doors and security systems, or else you will be captured before you can blink. Oh, and you will definitely need the teleportation skill as well, or else the game will become very frustrating.
The graphics are really beautiful, and I love the hand-drawn look for the game, as well as the perfect attention to detail. The areas you are robbing most definitely look and feel as if you were actually roaming around in buildings from London.
The only downside to The Swindle is some problems with the randomization aspect. Sometimes you’ll jump to a place and wind up trapped with no means of getting back out, which forces you to terminate the employee and lose a day and all of your current money. That in itself is not only annoying but incredibly frustrating especially if you have had a string of successful hauls without getting caught. Apart from one element that got in my way a couple of times – which I hope Size Five Games and Curve Digital will look into fixing in an update – the game is highly addictive. The game is a must buy and I can highly recommended it.