Bite Sized Reviews: Mini Continental Saga
Previous Gamedev Interview: Quasimorph
Bite Sized Reviews: Thief Simulator 2
Ah, video games. Entertainment is where we can fulfil all our vices without being judged. I could not say that with a straight face, but it’s amazing how much variety exists in the video game industry. You can explore the universe, run around fantasy worlds, run as a private mercenary in a dystopia city, build massive colonies with questionable ethics, and develop cute little farms. The possibilities are endless.
In today’s episode, I cover Thief Simulator 2, a worthy sequel of the original game, developed by the Cookie Dev team. I played a fair bit of the original Thief Simulator a while ago. It was one of those games that saw frequent heavy discounts, so I bought it. While it was rough around the edges in many ways, I enjoyed the potential it showed as an entertaining life sim where you live out your dreams as a kleptomaniac. There was even a Switch port that could be bought for pennies, although it wasn’t particularly well optimized for the platform by my experience. It was playable, but I wish they did a better job. It would have been a great little niche for the Switch.
Noble Muffins was the developer for the original Thief Simulator — probably the coolest name for a studio I’ve heard in a while. Both teams share the same publisher in Playway, and Thief Simulator 2 has expanded upon the original vision. The premise is the same; develop a budding relationship with the joyful criminals, break into homes and pull off heists like a discount Grant Theft Auto. The usual stuff, but after spending a chunk of time with the free mode and trying out the story, I find Thief Simulator 2 an impressive upgrade. It launched in early October, and players can buy the game on Steam for 20 USD.
The story mode throws players right into the deep end. There is a tutorial of sorts, but you’re given perhaps 10 seconds before the police catch you. That’s what happens with criminals! I was taken aback by the demands made so early on. It took a few attempts to get through that section, but once that happens you get a bit more time to relax. Some may get turned off by the way it chucks people out of the pub, but I liked the realism behind it. Police are coming to arrest you — there’s no time to dawdle about twiddling your thumbs.
In terms of gameplay, there’s plenty to do. Start small as a petty criminal, scope out buildings for easy thefts, and research the victims. More things unlock the more you play and steal, accessing even more mechanics like pickpocketing, drone reconnaissance, and more elaborate gigs. Free mode is the best way to experience this as it provides the sandbox world without the story attachment. I enjoyed myself playing as the world’s most incompetent thief like that TV show ‘Dumbest Criminals’ — roaming neighbourhoods in my crappy car and working out how to make my hustle. There are a few larger heists available alongside procedural smaller jobs, providing enough content to enjoy. With a large in-game set of tutorials and frequent tips on
Playway games tend to feature some jank, and while Thief Simulator 2 contains plenty of odd bits, it’s not bad either. The graphics while simplistic still offer some pleasant environments, and I enjoyed sneaking around the streets, looking for quick scores to fulfil my peasant Thieves Guild career. Enemy AI is rather basic, and I found them able to detect me from unrealistic differences a couple of times, forcing me to run away from the cops. This did not happen often, however. Performance was solid even on my modest GTX 1060 Max-Q laptop, although I saw a few framerate drops during scenes of high activity like police chasing me through a building. Overall, I’ve seen a lot worse, but the developer’s been hard at work fixing bugs since launch, adding new features, and tidying up sloppy ends.
Good work. I was a little apprehensive about Thief Simulator 2’s release. I’m not sure what made me feel that, but I was expecting a rougher game than what I’ve experienced. I’m glad I’m wrong about this one. While Thief Simulator 2 takes a significant amount from the original vision, it adds and improves on almost every level. It’s how a sequel should be made. Sure, it is a little janky in places, but there are a lot of games here for 20$. Give it a go, and it might surprise you. It is receiving frequent updates, so if you are turned away by jank, I recommend holding off for a few more fixes.
A chunky thief simulator (pun) that offers players plenty of content and tools
Civilian and Police AI can be a mixed bag
Solid progression across two solid game modes
Some rough edges to the game hold back an otherwise solid title
Overall solid performance and frequently updated
Bit of a new thing for me: I have a Ko-fi page! I’m not making anything doing this, so if you enjoy the content, feel free to take a look. I’ll be committing all income through Ko-fi into purchasing games and tech for reviewing on the site.