Game Info:

The Swindle
Developed by: Size Five Games
Published by: Curve Digital
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Available on: Linux, Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, Xbox One
Genre: Stealth platformer
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: E 10+ for fantasy violence
Price: $14.99 (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Curve Digital for sending us this game to review!

The Swindle is a 2D steampunk stealth platformer game that has randomly generated levels and a limited number of attempts at completing the main objective.  The year is 1849 and Scotland Yard is 100 days away from completing a surveillance project called ”The Devil’s Basilisk” that if completed, will end your career as a master thief.  You must hone your skills with simple targets and work your way to the final heist to steal this technology from the police headquarters.  

In total there are six levels and you can complete them as many times as you wish as long as you haven’t run out of days.  Every attempt, successful or not, will subtract a day from the countdown.  In order to unlock the next level, you have to purchase security clearance with funds collected from successful heists.  It should go without saying that the higher the level, the harder it gets, and the better the payout.

The enemies get tougher and in order to increase your odds in each randomly generated level, you’ll have to spend your money wisely on various upgrades.  Some of the upgrades increase your melee strength or your ability to double jump or climb walls better.  Many skills like hacking have several levels and each level costs more than the previous one, but they’re all worth it.  The hacking ability quickly pays off as you can hack terminals for money and can convert drones and land mines to attack the enemies instead of you.  If you’re running out of days, you can pay for the ability to hack into Scotland Yard to infect their computers and add forty-eight hours to the count down.  Each attempt to do so will cost more than the previous one.


Strong Points: Randomly generated levels;  neat upgrades that are worth splurging on
Weak Points: Permadeath though you don’t lose most of your upgrades; controls are not very intuitive
Moral Warnings: This is a game about stealing; violence against security guards, but they’re robotic

Your goal in each heist is to collect all of the cash in it without being detected.  If you do get spotted it’s not necessarily game over, but soon the police will arrive and they are hard to avoid.  Some of the upgrade options let you slow down their arrival or jam their radio signals.  

Besides the police, the levels have dangers like spikes, giant drops, and land mines to avoid.  Many of these obstacles can be easily avoided, but if not your thief will die along with their successful heist history. While many of the upgrades will transfer over, there are Steam achievements for completing ten missions and the entire game with the starting burglar.  If the final level, The Swindle, is botched you’ll have to re-purchase the security clearance for it to try again.

The enemies range from simple guard robots with a limited vision range to spiked caterpillars that cannot be jumped on.   There are flying drones and some of the security guards have better vision ranges and take multiple hits before they go down.  Violence in this game is minimal since all of your foes are mechanical.  There’s still the moral issue of stealing throughout the game though.

The Swindle
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 82%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 86%
Violence - 7.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 5.5/10

Graphically The Swindle has a neat style to it.  I like the unique levels though they greatly vary in difficulty so you’ll never know what you’re walking into.  I highly recommend finding and backing up your save if you want to aim for the perfect thieving Steam achievements. The background music and sound effects are fitting and set the mood nicely.  The music really intensifies when you trigger the alarm.

I had no trouble running this game and it worked well with my Xbox 360 controller.  The button scheme takes a little getting used to but the game’s menu will explain all of the controls if you need a refresher.  While I felt that most of my in-game deaths were earned, I did wonder how I died a couple of times.

In the end, The Swindle is a neat stealth platformer that I’m not very good at.  It’s still a fun game regardless and I kept going back to it despite my 90% failure rate.  If you like steampunk, stealth, or platformer games check out The Swindle.  The normal price is $14.99 and if you can find it on sale, it’s worth checking out. 

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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