Title: The Swindle
Platform: Steam, Windows, Mac, PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox One, Wii U
Reviewed on: Windows
Genre: Stealth, Platformer
Players: Single player
Written by Whistler 5th September 2015
It was within mere seconds I could find Spelunky written all over the 2D side scrolling stealth based steal-
Set in an alternative 19th century London you take the role of a ‘skilled’ thief who from your air ship the town is your playground; however it seems in 100 days Scotland Yard will have completed their latest breakthrough in security AI codenamed “The Devil’s Basilisk”.
In order to pull off the ultimate heist though you’ll need start off looting for small change in the slums. If you’re lucky enough it’ll only take a day or so to get the mandatory computer hacking skill needed to make any kind of notable loot. After a day or so you’ll grasp the very simplistic gameplay; you choose your location, drop in, grab as much dosh as possible then make it out safely. Much like Spelunky it’s not difficult to get ahold of the mechanics but The Swindle lacks the simple enjoyment to be had in the former, instead The Swindle relies on needless grinding and outstretches its simple mechanics.
Stealth revolves around simply avoiding guard sightlines and later to avoid making noise for certain robots. The fact is despite touting its unrelenting difficulty following true roguelike fashion, the game itself is dull and uninteresting. Cash you loot from unsuspecting buildings is in turn used to upgrade your thieving capabilities such as double jumps, faster hacking, a temporary invisibility or increased damage which in turn allows you to steal more and unlock later levels. However the amount of money needed for simple upgrades is often set rather far out of your grasp requiring you to grind away before you can even unlock the more interesting locales.
The more I played The Swindle the more I long for developers to take a step back from procedural generation, what was once a method of level design that I would defend as it can lend itself to a game’s longevity. But here it just seems lazy, the game doesn’t take into account of your character’s abilities meaning you can just as easily get handed a level with no means of entry without a triple jump or even a level with no accessible computers to hack.
This affects other elements as well, as due to previously mentioned severe costs for upgrades then it removes the freedom to choose abilities more to your style instead making it blatantly obvious which upgrades are needed and when. Should you remove the upgrade system then it leaves The Swindle rather bare bones, without the need to upgrade then the loot to be had looses it’s meaning which when all things were considered left me pretty unmotivated.
Then there are the game’s ‘intentional’ issues, marred in technical failings.
For requiring precise platforming the small delay in jumping and the clunkiness of wall jumping will often drive you insane.
The Swindle’s basic concept is a promising one but sorely lacks in refinement, poor procedural generation, dull repetitious grinds and an deprivation of substantial variety kill my interest in this stealth platformer.
Stand out visuals,
A dull repetitious grind,
Poor procedural generation,
Intentional flaws harms early experience,
The Swindle’s biggest crime is lacking enjoyment with a 4/10.