Fuck The Swindle.
This should be so great. It’s Spelunky, but you’re a thief performing heists in a steampunk world. You break into procedurally generated levels, steal the cash, hack the computers, and get out of dodge before you get detected. When it works, it really works.
The levels are guarded by robot police, each with a vision cone in plain sight. You sneak around, bonk them on the head with your stick when they’re looking the other way as you search for the computer holding the big haul. You hack it successfully, $1000 dollars waiting for you if you make it back out the level alive. Then you get spotted by a guard, alarms are blaring, everything is after you. The police arrive. If they get you, you lose all the money you collected in the level, so your heart is racing as you try to make it out in one piece. It’s such a thrill when you make it, that you think this is going to be a wonderful game that deserves a million kisses.
It’s not. I hate it. I HATE IT. You know how in Spelunky, the controls are perfect? If you mess up, it’s your own fault. Not here, not in this. It controls like a fucking turd. There’s walls to jump up, spike traps to avoid and robots to bonk. Except every single time you fall in the trap, or go flying above the gap in the wall you’re trying to get inside before you get spotted and your potato footed thief completely fails.
There are upgrades for your man, which you can buy with the money you steal from each level. You unlock things like the double jump, but they just feel like ways to paper over the cracks of the utterly shit platforming.
Even the level generation is awful – so many times I ended up in a level I couldn’t escape from because it had generated itself in such a way to make leaving a room impossible once inside it. This happened 5 times in a row, and at that point I uninstalled the game.
It has moments where it really shines, with the music, the art style, the tense escapes. Those moments are too far and few between to put up with the horrible platforming and level design however.
I played it again before writing this to make sure I wasn’t simply having a bad day before. I wasn’t. It’s made me so mad.
Fuck The Swindle. It gets a bonus star for looking so wonderful, but fuck everything else.