With strong steath and platforming elements all mixed up with a healthy dose of random-generation, The Swindle is a sneakily addicting game that is going to have you playing far past when you plan on stopping. There aren’t going to be many bad things I can say about The Swindle, but I’ll try my best to come up with something for you by the end.

Presentation

The Swindle‘s graphics are what I like to refer to as “better than Flash”, where they still have the cartoonish, jointy, size-scaling look of Flash animation, albeit with incredible detail and depth far beyond what some goofy Newgrounds game would have. The game has a steam punk theme which, against my better judgement, I’m going to say actually works well for once here. Some of the backgrounds are down right beautiful. I mean, dirigibles flying over a carnival ferris wheel at sunset? You can’t beat that.

the swindle

The music isn’t anything particularly note-worthy, but it’s not bad either. Presentation-wise, everything fits the theme very well and more importantly, never gets annoying.

Gameplay

The mechanics of the game are where The Swindle truly shines. You are given 100 days to commit the biggest string of serial robberies the world has ever seen. Each time you either die or complete a heist you lose a day, so it ends up being a game of competing with yourself to nab the most spoils you can in a 100 day run.

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You begin the game in the Crime Blimp (that’s what I call it, at least) which serves as your headquarters. Upon selecting a mission, you rocket down to the location below to begin the fun. Each heist is short and sweet, with a randomly-generated building created for you to ransack and leave whenever you’re satisfied with your earnings. If you leave early, you miss out on funds, but if you get smacked by one of the many robo-guards tasked with protecting the base, you lose everything and must begin anew as the next random thief in line with one less day to add to your haul.

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Sneaking and navigating successfully through the wacky levels is fun on its own, but the real reward is the heap of new abilities, tools and other perks you can acquire with the money you earn. That means TNT to blow up walls, stealthy smoke bombs, hacking skills for taking security down a notch, and many more. Some of these skills will be damn-near required as you progress to more difficult areas of the game, such as being able to hack through locked doors, but others will simply give you a leg up against the swarm of robo goody-goodies tasked with taking you down. And though some of the guards may seem a bit under-powered on their own, if you get spotted by a camera or other surveillance bot you’ll only have a small amount of time to escape before the real threats show up, including armed ships that smash through walls to find you within the building.

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Conclusion

The Swindle takes the ability-collecting heart of the Metroidvania genre and chops it up into tiny, bite-sized chunks of randomly-generated bliss. Though there are times of frustration when the random nature of the levels screws you over, you’re going to find that you won’t be able to stop playing this one, even when you want to. The visuals are well-done and endearing enough to make playing a game about being a rat bastard thief seem lighthearted and charming.

Get it on Steam and Sony systems July 28th, Xbox One on July 31st, and Wii U “shortly after”.

A review copy was provided to IndieRuckus by the developer.

The Swindle Review: It's Going to Ransack your Free Time
In theory, The Swindle is the perfect game to jump in a play for a minute. Only problem is, you're not going to be able to stop.
Presentation8.5
Gameplay9.5
The Goods
  • Addicting gameplay
  • Pretty visuals
  • Randomness adds to replayability
The Bads
  • Randomness can trap/kill
9Overall Score