Preview: The Swindle (Wii U)

Steampunk hackery.

By Anthony Pershkin. Posted 07/31/2015 09:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

Roguelike games have been growing in popularity over the last couple of years. We’ve seen many different takes on the formula, yet some new games of this sub-genre still manage to feel fresh nowadays. One of these games is The Swindle, a steampunk cybercrime simulator you should definitely keep an eye on.

In The Swindle you play as a band of thieves trying to stop a new surveillance technology from being made, which will ultimately ruin your little hobby of breaking and entering. You only have 100 days to achieve this goal, with each day dedicated to one heist only. With every heist you have to steal as much money as possible and bring it back to your little airship base. After collecting enough money, you can upgrade your abilities to even the chances or buy yourself access to a brand new part of the city to steal a bigger prize.

The gameplay of The Swindle is based around the eternal conflict of being too greedy or knowing when to quit. Every level is procedurally-generated with random structure and enemy placements. Your goal is to get into the building and steal as much stuff as you can, without being noticed. Staying stealthy is the only sensible approach, so you’ll have to carefully sneak around the various enemies and traps. Once you’re done with your thieving shenanigans for one heist, you have to get to the escape pod placed at the beginning of the level. In case you’re detected, escaping becomes quite difficult due to the police rushing over to the place of your crime. If killed, your character and the money he acquired in this level will be lost forever. Your new thief will be randomly-generated and assigned to continue the job of his fallen comrade. The money that you transferred to the bank will not be affected by this, so don’t worry about losing all those precious funds. This is also true for all the acquired abilities.

Your character in The Swindle starts slow and sort of empty, so it’s up to you to try and level up as fast as possible. The game gives you a lot of control in terms of traversing various obstacles, yet feels somewhat not as precise as you’d want. Thankfully, I’ve come to the understanding that this was made deliberately, as the game is designed around these types of imperfections. Being a thief, your character doesn’t have amazing fighting abilities. A whack to the head or two could take out a guard, but first you’ll have to outsmart him by analyzing his pattern and field of view. The enemies, being robots and such, are not very smart. They walk over their fallen comrades’ bodies, without noticing anything suspicious, and do other questionable things. All you have to worry about is not getting into their field of view and making too much noise. The game’s challenge comes from combined enemy placements, rather than the abilities of a single enemy.

One of the major features of the game is hacking and it is absolutely necessary to progress. Hacking a computer or a trap is done with a simple, yet stylish quick-time event. The whole game focuses on the concept of cybercrimes in a steampunk-inspired world, which is not awfully original, yet still incredibly cool by itself. The Swindle oozes with a very confident steampunk style, from its designs to classy adventurous tunes.

The Swindle is shaping up to be one of the strongest eShop releases for Wii U in 2015. If you like endless roguelike fun or just miss stealth and hacking games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you should look forward to this title being released in the eShop soon.

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