There’s a reason I’m writing this review only a day out of hospital.
As I was lying in bed, with IV’s coming in and out of me, I couldn’t stop thinking about “The Swindle”. I hadn’t even played it that much, and I definitely hand’t “won”. Actually, as I mentioned in my First Impressions article, I’m rather terrible at playing Curve’s latest.
But there is something about “The Swindle” that just clicks with me on such a level, that I can’t really stop thinking about it. I want to play it.
“The Swindle” is a side-scrolling RPG adventure where you have 100 days to pull of the greatest heist in history, and prevent pesky Scotland Yard upgrading their thief-catching systems.
You go through randomly-generated levels, getting loot and money to upgrade your skills. Sidescrolling platforming joins RPG-like (lite?) upgrade systems to round up the gameplay side of the game. It’s quite addictive, I must say, although difficult (at least for me). There are people already speedrunning the game in 15-game days, which I think is nuts. But I digress.
Graphically, the animations are awesome, and the cyberpunk, hand-drawn style of the whole thing has such a charm that I love looking at it. I have a bit of an issue with a cutscene, though: when you jump on your ship to go to a heist, it doesn’t really look that great. Aside from that, “The Swindle”‘s “cyberpunk crime caper” subtitle (say that 10 times fast) fits like a glove, and the game looks (and runs) great on Vita.
I wish there was more variety in the music, but considering how short some levels can be, I see how this may not have been a priority in the budgeting stage. The sound effects are great, though, and put me in mind of good animated-movie foleys (I’m looking at you, Gary Hecker).
There really isn’t any story elements to the game, which I think is fine. The game doesn’t need it: much like I don’t feel like reading Shakesperean-like exposition when playing Super Mario 3, “The Swindle” doesn’t need deep storylines. It’s all about the gameplay.
The algorithms generating the random levels are really, really good. I have had some bad experiences with randomly generated levels in other games, where there’s not that much to do, or you get stuck easily. That’s not the case here: levels are short, to the point, and considering they’ve been dreamed up by a machine-brain (hello, AI), very nicely “thought out”.
Look, I know full well this is not my most well-written review. It will not go down in history with the likes of Colin Moriarty’s “The History of Naughty Dog“.
However, “The Swindle” is a game that I will continue playing (happily) long after the review period ends. “The Swindle” is a game that I would have happily bought on release, full price.
“The Swindle” is a game that I really, really like. I have fun with it. I think that if you like side-scrolling adventure games, you’ll have fun with it, too. That’s the reason I’m writing a review only a day out of hospital.
And you know what? I think that’s as good as endorsements get.
- Title: The Swindle
- Publisher: Curve Digital Publishing
- Developer: Size Five Games
- System: PS Vita
- Format: Digital Download
- Cross Buy: Yes
- Cross Play: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 1.1Gb