The Swindle is a game developed and published by British developer Size Five Games, with the British-ness shining through with some of the features in the game. The Swindle is a Steampunk platforming stealth crime game which has some absolutely amazing features and is possibly one of the most frustratingly fun games I have ever had the chance to play.
You play in Steampunk London were a new piece of intelligence software is being designed by Scotland Yard that will revolutionise crime fighting and basically put you out of a job! Your only hope? Heist your way to victory! You start as a low level thief with no remarkable skills, pretty bare and basic which I loved! Your job is to heist enough money to buy security upgrades for your base, which is a Zeppelin, which will allow you to go to wealthier and wealthier places until you reach the Police District where you can steal this piece of intelligence software. The only issue is that it takes a lot of money to get there. Oh and did I mention you only have 100 days to do it?
Each day is broken down into a heist and whether you succeed, die or have to escape it always counts as a day. This brings across some interesting features including the death of your character. When you die you don’t come back as the same character you were playing as, far from it, the dreaded ‘P’ word comes into play here: Perma-Death. All the names are sort of old fashioned British names which I thought was a really nice touch. Perma-Death and the fact that you only have 100 days to complete your objective gives you a real sense of urgency and before you know it you have a lot left to do and not a lot of time left to do it in!
The basic premise is you get into a level, no one knows your there, you steal everything in sight and you leave, simple right? Sure, if it wasn’t for all the swarms of enemies and security bots/cameras that you will need to fight or avoid. You do this by scaling the walls of the building or simply beating them up! You can do different things like wall jump to get up to better places and buy increased jumps as well to get slightly higher. One feature I particularly enjoyed were the bombs which allow you to blow away parts of, if not, all of a wall to gain access to what’s on the other side. This gives you the ability to create short cuts to objectives or around enemies.
The levels in the world are procedurally generated so the basic outline may stay the same but the enemies and rooms will always be different. If you die from a stupid mistake on your end just when your about to finish the level with about £15K in the bank, you’re going to be annoyed! The enemies in the game are very well designed as well because as the levels go on and the more you succeed in your heists the harder the levels, enemies and amounts of enemies will become. Their vision cones become larger and some can actually hear you move around and will come searching for you, others take 2 or 3 more hits to kill, and the most annoying ones will vent some toxic gas upon death and will kill you in about 30 seconds.
All of this shouldn’t bother you because the whole time your playing the game, your engaging your brain looking for weaknesses, blank spots to exploit, looking for the weakest enemy and finding the best path to get around them, or your just taking all that sweet sweet money which is incredibly satisfying. The more you play, the harder it gets which is such a good mechanic. The game is not easy and I feel that games in this day and age have become too easy so as to appeal to a wider audience and allow more people to play and therefore buy their games. The Swindle is a difficult game with a steep learning curve but god damn I love it!
The audio in the game is second to none as well! The game has a great soundtrack which fits really well with what the game is all about; the time, the genre and the era all work with the music and I haven’t found a piece I don’t like. The sound effects when walking across a rooftop or hitting a robot all sound satisfying and again just add to this already deep game.
Upon detection the criminal can do a few things: Escape there and then, run and try to get as much loot as possible with everyone on alert, or just die. Either way it uses up a day that you would rather have spent getting rich and being happy. There is a feature with which to give yourself more time if you spend enough money on it, which is a great feature to give yourself some more playtime but it is expensive and the money you would spend on it could be better spent on other upgrades. The upgrade system is a simple buy it and its done system, easy and quick but everything costs money and all of the spending seems intuitive and well thought out.
If your looking for a game which will interest and frustrate you in equal measure for hours and hours on end, then I suggest you pick up The Swindle from Steam for only £11.99 and please enjoy as I have. I will be doing a video series on this game ASAP because I genuinely love it so tune in to our YouTube channel for that.
+ Great level design
+ Great audio/soundtrack
+ Dynamic stealth system
+ Different experience each time round