Game Review: The Swindle (PS Vita)

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

Vita Player Rating - 09

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About Marcos Codas 321 Articles
Lover of portable gaming and horror cinema. Indie filmmaker and game developer. Multimedia producer. Born in Paraguay, raised in Canada. Huge fan of "The Blair Witch Project", and "Sonic 3D Blast". Deputy head at Vita Player and its parent organization, Infinite Frontiers.Like what I do? Donate a coffee: https://www.paypal.me/marcoscodas

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