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Swindle, The Review

Swindle, The Trainer
 CHEATfactor Game Review by:  Joe Sinicki Reviewed on: PC 
 

Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of The Swindle. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.

I'm a greedy bastard and The Swindle proves it. The side-scrolling half stealth, half action game dangled loads of loot in front of me and I rarely saw the danger between me and it. I failed and failed…but I kept coming back. It's the ultimate in risk VS reward and The Swindle benefits from that greatly. It's not for everyone, as some will view it's mechanics and seemingly lack of substance (at least at the onset) as a downfall but The Swindle is the type of game that's exactly what you make of it and it's got the potential to be one of the year's biggest sleeper hits.

 
It's an interesting concept and it's played out wonderfully...
The Swindle Review Screenshot
 

The game follows a group of amateur thieves in a steampunk version of Victorian London. Scotland Yard has announced that in 100 days they'll deploy a revolutionary security and surveillance device; The Devil's Basilisk and it will make thieving all but impossible. The only option? Sneak in and steal it before it can be activated and maintain the status quo (at least your version of it). It's an interesting concept and it's played out wonderfully through the game's procedurally generated levels and interesting layouts. Each heist is filled with multiple paths and different obstacles you'll have to get past to be successful. The game doesn't hold your hand and tell you how to get past everything but it is user friendly enough to give you enough of a nudge in the right direction to help you figure it out.

You can't just start going after the Basilisk though, you'll have to earn money to buy the technology and skills needed for such a monumental heist. Your first few heists will take place in the slums and you won't encounter much more than clumsy robot guards who are disposed of easily. It's possible to get caught on these earlier heists but it's much easier to not get caught. In fact, the only times I really failed these early heists was when I did something stupid, like attempting to jump off of a larger platform with little beneath me and you learn quickly in The Swindle what to do and what not to do. What I thought was most interesting about The Swindle was how even if you stay in the game's earlier levels the security can change if you've been repeatedly successful in your heists. I went back to the same mission from earlier and found that the slums now had drones and big budget security cameras, making it even more interesting to play through again.

As you progress through The Swindle you'll unlock more high profile heists on the way to your end goal and things start to get incredibly tricky. Enemies become smarter and technology becomes mare advanced; it was incredibly rewarding to finish one of these heists but it can also be a frustrating experience due to the huge jump in difficulty. The game uses the 100 days mechanic as a life system and there's a constant counter letting you know where you're at and it's almost mocking you, especially in the later levels. The key to The Swindle is knowing where you need to upgrade your character and when to do it. You can increase skills like hacking and sneaking to better deal with some of the tougher difficulties and it's really rewarding to see a character go from amateur thief to expert. The game does feature perma-death, well it sort of does. If your character dies or get's caught in a mission they're gone for good but you retain their skills so some of the impact is minimized.

 
...that's not often as easy as it sounds.
The Swindle Review Screenshot
 

The real trick to the The Swindle is knowing when to quit and when to risk everything. The game let's you decide when to end a heist but warns you very quickly that your character can get caught in situations where you can't get out of, and you'll lose everything. A lot of games use a risk VS reward formula but very few do it to the level of The Swindle. The game constantly dangles loot just out of your reach or on the other side of dangers and you'll have to decide if it's worth it (read: it's almost always worth it). While it's rewarding to get these hard to reach steals, it's also incredibly deflating to see your character fall and all of the money you've collected fall to the ground. It's also important to note that to end a heist you'll have to get back to the escape pod you arrived in, and to do so you'll have to dodge police who have been alerted to your presence and that's not often as easy as it sounds.

I realized on about 80-days left that I was playing The Swindle all wrong - I was playing it like a stealth game, and while that sounds like the right thing to do, it's sure to get you into situations you may not be able to get out of. You're better off playing The Swindle in a much more strategic way, always reading situations and reacting to them. The Swindle has a nasty habit of trying to make you believe that you'll spend most of your time sneaking around but you're going to do much more platforming style gameplay. Strangely enough, The Swindle is  much less Solid Snake and  much more Mario than you'd expect.

The Swindle has quickly become one of my favorite time wasters of the year. It's always different and it's always fun - -even if that fun can come at a price. It's a budget title that's sure to give you hours of enjoyment, and you're probably going to be thinking about it even after you step away from it (it's currently loaded on my PS4, PC...and Vita). It's not for everyone, but you may just get surprised at how much you enjoy your time with The Swindle.

 
Overall:  8/10 Presentation: 8 Gameplay: 7 
Lasting Appeal: 8 CHEATfactor: 0 
 
 
CHEATfactor
 

As of this writing there are no known cheats for The Swindle. I'd love to have a cheat to unlock abilities and technology sooner so I can make more money in earlier levels and advance sooner than normal.

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