Hack ‘N’ Stash.
The year is 1849, the place is London; but much like The Order: 1886, this isn’t the Victorian capital that we read about in history class. This is a Steampunk version of the 1800s, and the con is on. In 100 days Scotland Yard will complete work on their surveillance device, the Devil’s Basilisk, and it will bring an end to all crime in London. This must not happen, and it’s up to a merry band of thieves to join forces and pull of the ultimate heist; steal the Devil’s Basilisk from right under their noses.
The Swindle is rogue-like caper in which the player has 100 days in which to prepare for the job by pulling off heists, stealing cash and then levelling up abilities. The idea being that by the 100th day they will be ready to steal the main prize. Each heist is procedurally generated, but follows the same formula; get in to the building and collect the cash lying about, all whilst avoid the various robotic police patrols, surveillance droids and electronic traps. Succeed and the cash is theirs; fail and the job is entrusted to the next criminal in line, who gets to keep all the upgrades unlocked thus far.
Price I’d Pay: $9.99
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
The early heists are the most important. The first upgrade that the player needs to unlock is the ability to hack the computers dotted around each level. These substantially increase the haul from the heist and speeds up the upgrade process. Unfortunately, the game often hindered my ability to get this upgrade quickly by generating several starting levels that had all of the money littered about areas I could not get to yet, because I didn’t have any upgrades.
Starting off well can make all the difference in The Swindle, as it introduces new enemies very quickly and I found that if I hadn’t had a good run in the first four or five days it became too difficult to progress. There is always the option to reset the 100 day cycle. This will also result in the upgrade tree being reset as well. But at least the option is there if I felt like I had suffered a bad starting run.
There are five locales to venture through, starting with the slums and going all the way up to the main event. All areas, except the slums, are locked off from the start, and can only be explored once the area’s security clearance has been unlocked. But as one would expect, the further the criminals get, the greater the amount of cash there is available to loot. And lots of cash is going to be needed if they are ever going to break in to Scotland Yard. The upgrade tree covers a whole variety of talents; from double jumps to EMP devices, and they all cost a huge amount of money. Without a lot of these upgrades, the final heist will be impossible. Actually, even with a lot of these upgrades it will still be almost impossible.
Getting to the Devil’s Basilisk in time does not guarantee a favourable outcome. Studying each of the upgrades is crucial and it will take a lot of trial and error to find out which upgrades to unlock, and when to unlock them.
The Swindle is a well produced rogue-like, with great style and clever mechanics. The controls are perfect and the 100 day limit creates a sense of urgency and focus. However, it’s not without its flaws, and there are lots of other similar games in the market at the moment. I don’t think this game is for those new to the genre, but if you’re a fan of rogue-likes and crave something super challenging, then you may just want to take a swipe at The Swindle.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.