The Swindle Is the Most Fun You’ll Have Being a Thief

Cybercrime gets a healthy dose of Steampunk in this new indie puzzler.

Bust out your lockpick set and summon your inner thief because The Swindle has arrived and this steampunk cybercrime caper requires you to be on top of your criminal game. The sidescrolling stealth puzzler litters cash across the game’s procedurally generated level—this means there’s never an end to the heists and you’ll never see the same level configuration twice.

The Swindle puts you in control of a set of master thieves and hackers and tasks you with figuring out how to navigate their world—getting into buildings, past heavy defenses, into that safe, and out before the cops show up—preferably with lots of loot to show for your efforts. RPG elements allow you to put that cash to good use by upgrading your thieves. Spread the love, because The Swindle puts an emphasis on finality: Once you’re caught, kiss that player goodbye. Like any good criminal knows, it’s best not to get too attached to your compatriots when the stakes are high and the cops are on your tail.

This is the epitome of an indie game: It’s created, coded, and marketed mostly by one person, yet it accomplishes a fair amount more than big publisher games in the same genre. The Swindle’s endless levels give the similar sidescroller, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, a run for its money and even nails the stealth aspect better than high-profile games like Thief or Hitman  where the ostensible stealthiness is often abandoned in favor of a “murder everyone who saw you” strategy. There’s a difference between stealth and savagery—The Swindle takes that contrast to heart, then forces you into adhering to its credo that a thief should be neither seen nor heard.

The Swindle is out on PC (via Steam) right now with several console versions expected to follow shortly for anyone looking to dig join into the heist fun on Xbox or Playstation.