Thieves' Gambit

It doesn’t seem like too long ago that I reviewed Choice of Games’ Heroes Rise: The Prodigy. This was a neat little text based choose your own adventure game that really hit the spot. The world built was unique and the humor was spot on. It is through my own machinations that I find myself with another of their projects, Thieves’ Gambit: The Curse of the Black Cat. Man, I love these things.

The story, written by Dana Duffield, tasks the player with taking on the role of a master thief with the goal of stealing the blighted diamond, the Black Cat. All of this jewel’s previous owners have met with a grisly and/or adorable demise (don’t ask.) Now you contracted to pilfer the jewel for money, glory, and to show up your arch-rival, Broussard. In the process, you create a character with unique attributes that will come in handy. For example, I played as a rakish, charming gentleman that was as comfortable in high-society as he was arraigning illicit backroom deals for high art. You will need to build a team by motivating them with an outcome they would desire. That is obviously just the beginning…

The player is typically given a situation and then a multiple choice option at the bottom of the screen regarding what action the protagonist should make. This is similar to the old Choose Your Own Adventure books. Some decisions will yield great results, some not so much. These are designed in such a way that one bad decision will not end the player’s game, unlike the old, dusty tomes of yore. That said, it is a good idea to consider your actions before taking them. I lost out on a potentially great ally because I did not entice him into the caper properly.

While I was greatly entertained and amused the whole time, I would like to note that the plotting and world-building isn’t as well executed as it is in Heroes Rise. While the latter presented a fun take on established superhero tropes, this one feels like a by-the-numbers light-hearted romp. There are some great jokes, and some of the players in this story are fun, but this one wouldn’t be remarkable were it not for the interactive format provided. That said, if the idea of an “Oceans 11” type story intrigues you, this certainly scratches that itch. I am certainly not going to claim that I could do any better. (For proof of this statement, please see my non-existent novella Herr Manchester Flash Fries The Bad Guys With His Laser Eyes. (Sample text: “I see that you are a bad guy,” Herr Manchester spat out the side of his mouth. “I will now flash fry you.” Manchester leveled the bad guy with his full gaze, infusing the villain with the full wrath of his laser eyes. His skin split like an over-boiled hot dog.)

For those of you who read the previous review, thank you, and this is going to sound familiar. Based purely on how this game works, I still feel PC is not the best way to play this. The way I play through them is to ease back all the way in my recliner, plop the laptop on my chest, and read away. There is usually a cat in the lap. This set up makes for a truly relaxing evening and is a great way to get a gaming “fix” when I just want to interact with a story without having to be at the top of my game.

That said, I can’t imagine sitting at the desktop to play through this. This might be because I am more of a reclined reader, but it would not work for me. I feel that the best way to enjoy this is via tablet. Again, these are available on iTunes and Android, so you the customer are not wanting for options. At this point, Choice of Games is making a solid effort at tackling various genres and interests. They have horror, adventure, fantasy, a supernatural legal… thing, science fiction, and more. They also seem to bring excel at bringing in a series of talented up-and-coming authors that know how to tell an engaging story. If you like to read, I highly recommend checking them out and finding one that suits your interests. If you like to read, you will not regret it.

4/5

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After being bitten by a radioactive chimney sweep, J.M. Bohn and his trusted friend, Baron Stacheforth, took to the streets to reenact Mediatonic’s Foul Play. (No theater would have them.) The results were…less than ideal. His current whereabouts are unknown to keep his loved ones safe. Love/hate mail can be sent to jasonmbohn@gmail,com.

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