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Theft Punk Game Review

Theft Punk Game

How’s this for a mental image: a potato-man with arms and legs dressed up in stereotypical, black-and-white striped burglar attire attempts to collect gems – and when he’s successful, he does a little dance. That’s pretty much what Theft Punk (eh?) by Ticklebot is.

Tons of Character in a Small Package

Your character, for lack of a better description, looks like a potato with arms and legs. There’s a nice little intro at the start of the game that reminds me of those weird cartoons that are made for really young children – the ones that appear creepy to older people but infants love.

Kitted out in the standard black-and-white getup, you need to get through eighty levels of small, square rooms containing a variety of objects – ranging from immovable pillars, to push-able furniture and redirecting escalators.

Mechanically, Theft Punk is one of those games where you don’t have complete control over your character. When you move him/her/it with WASD, they will keep moving until they hit something. You can’t change direction or move a square at a time unless there are objects there to bring your momentum to a halt.

This has allowed Ticklebot to get a little creative with their level design in ways that other games with more standard movement couldn’t pull off.

There are always only a handful of gems to collect in each level, it’s up to you to figure out the route you need to take and the order they need to be collected in to finish the level. There are no timers and no high scores – the only objective is to finish all the levels. This also means that Theft Punk is a relaxing game that you can take at your own speed. So if you want to spend ten minutes attempting to figure out the route perfectly before trying, you can do – and you won’t be punished for it in anyway (unless someone is watching, then they’ll likely tease you a little).

Oh, and when you finish a level, your character takes the chance to groove out a little bit – Dude Love style (Google it if you don’t know, it’s worth it).

Steady Progression

Theft Punk deserves some praise for managing to create a nice curve of difficulty. New mechanics are introduced slowly as not to overwhelm players and keep the game easy to get into. That being said, this is not a unique success, as thirty-level Flash games seem to have this nailed – as demonstrated by Swindle and Swindle 2.

Unique success or not, Ticklebot have done a good job with the level design. Not only are the obstacles there to help you collect all the gems, you also frequently have to use the gems themselves to stop your character from running across the entire level so you can collect other gems. There are a few levels spread throughout the game where there are only gems and nothing else.

Mixing up levels like this stops the game from feeling monotonous and repetitive, which is the easiest trap for short, multiple-level browser games to fall into.

They also manage to keep introducing complexity into what is a really simple idea. For instance, objects that you can push (which move like your character – all or nothing) can also be affected by escalators, which requires a little extra brain work on levels featuring both of these objects.

No Pressure

It’s clear from a couple of design decisions that Ticklebot didn’t want Theft Punk to be overly hard. Firstly, you can view the solutions from within the game (rendered as part of the game and not a link to a YouTube video, for once) if you’re well and truly stuck. This will actually just complete the level for you – although you can stop it part way through and carry on from where it leaves off if you want to. You can also restart the levels at any time and as many times as you like.

Cleverly, they decided to make you wait three minutes for the solutions to become available – so that stops people from just pressing S straight away and skipping all the levels. So they are at least encouraging you to give each level a go, even if you skipped the previous one.

Appropriate Theme

Sadly, Theft Punk is one of those games that feel like the robbery theme has been tacked on a little. Sure, there’s a tiny bit of story at the start and your character is dressed as a thief while collecting gems – but that’s about it. Similar to the two Swindle games, you’re not breaking into anything. You’re not cracking safes or disabling security systems. The levels don’t really have much of an aesthetic to them. They’re always the same size, always a single room and the gems are just floating above an empty floor.

Final Thoughts

Theft Punk is a good puzzle game. It doesn’t rush you or demand your constant attention by reducing your score the longer you take – so you can happily leave it open while you’re working. The levels are well designed and the latter puzzles require a fair amount of thinking through and experimentation.

Give it a look. This is one potato that’s all that and a bag of chips!

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Review written by Ian Wakefield from integritas.link.

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