From the off, I kind of wanted to leave how The Swindle plays directly in the player’s hands. To a degree, I want you to be able to play it however you want. Like shooting things? Of course you do. There’s enough gunplay hilarity that you can blast your way through every level. Like sneaking around? Who doesn’t? Bide your time and plan your moves to slip in and out without anyone noticing.
Or, you can do what I do in this sort of scenario, which is try to be oh-so clever and sneaky as long as possible, but then just wind up murdering everyone on your way out after it’s all gone tits up.
Up until recently, ‘stealth’ has amounted to little more than waiting around for guards to wander off, hoping that their cheaty-computer MEGA VISION doesn’t catch you. Fortunately, there’s been some rather excellent new stuff that’s gone in this week to bring a lot more depth to the sneaking-around gameplay.
You can now shoot out lights, for example, and hope that you’re shrouded in enough darkness that a nearby guard can’t see you. Or maybe you’ll duck behind a pillar until they pass? Or you could activate Stealth Mode which covers you in enough steam that they won’t notice there’s a crafty thief behind it all. There’s loads going on, and it all feels kind of genuine – don’t clomp around in your size 13 boots near a guard or he’ll hear you and give chase.
I’m not generally big on stealth in games, to be honest. It’s all too stressful for me. But because there’s no punishment for stealth going wrong in The Swindle, sneaking about the place is definitely the most-satisfying way of doing it at the moment. I’m now going to have to work at bringing gunplay up to speed, to make sure that’s just as much fun.
Stealth in 2D was a tricky worry because there are less planes to hide on, no corners to dart behind, but the systems I’ve got up and running at the moment all work really well. It’s all coming together nicely; The Swindle’s gaining a lot of depth gameplay-wise.
No, I’m not quite ready to show it off yet. Soon.