When you think of the heist genre of games these days, of course you think of things like Payday or Grand Theft Auto V, but Crookz provides a new way to play this kind of game and I am happy to say, it's a lot of fun. I got to play the preview build of the game, which is scheduled to be release later this year and I am really looking forward to playing the full version.
The story involves a team of rag tag heisters who on one of their routine heists. Unfortunately they are sold out and they all get arrested. Time has past and they are all released from prison but the group has since split up. Until of course they decide that they should reform the team and continue on with their heisting ways. The characters are fantastic and all have their own personality and fit with the obvious 1970's theme of the game. There is Cleopatra, complete with an afro and looks to be inspired by 70's Blaxsploitation films like Coffy and Foxy Brown. She can run incredibly fast which is great for avoiding guards or for getting through timed doors. There is a John Lennon lookalike that I find so far is one of the most important characters to bring along since he can unlock doors and lockboxes. There is a brute that is also important as he can knock out guards to help your team get around undetected and his sister Rocket, a who the contortionist, who can sneak through vents and tight spaces. You can't bring all of them on a heist with you so it's important to get a feel for the level and bring the best crew with this. This is where the pre heist preparation comes into play.
Each level begins with a flyby overview of the map and an explanation of what objectives need to be completed. Pay attention to this as it's very important to get a good idea of the best approach to each heist. This is also where you will need to think about what characters to bring with you. See a lot of locked doors? Bring the lock picker with you. See a lot of guards? Bring the brute with you. This is not a game where you can just select a random team and go right in without any preparation, you will fail. I can't remember the last time I played a game where I spent a good five minutes or so just examining the level. Seriously, this is Rainbow Six levels of recon before going on a mission.
You can select a character and move them around the map via way points that you place down on the map. Think of it like other isometric games like The Sims or even League of Legends where you point and click to have your character move. In Crookz however, you can pause the game, plan out a series of moves for each of your characters, place down multiple waypoints and then unpause to have them all move. This can be helpful when you have objectives where a switch will unlock a door but only for 5 seconds. Speaking of objectives, this is absolutely a game that you need to slow down and be patient with. You really need to play out each of your movements carefully because if a guard sees you, you accidentally walk into a camera, or walk through a laser alarm, you'll fail the mission. Being seen by a guard or by a camera wont end the mission immediately, but it will raise your "heat-o-meter" which will cause you to lose points for completing the mission. The points convert to cash and the cash can be used to buy valuable items for every mission such as being able to start out with a crowbar for opening doors, chloroform for knocking out guards or the ability to black out camera for a short time. Buying these items will allow you to start out with these items instead of having to find them during the heist.
You do get very generous checkpoints in the game, usually when you do something a simple as activating a switch or opening a door, but you could get into a situation where you are saved into a bad spot such as a point where you were already discovered numerous times. If you want to get through a mission without being seen then you will probably have to restart and you will be restarting numerous times. Some of the missions can also take upwards of a half an hour to finish. At least they did for me. I was extremely patient when planning out my next moves and would often spend many minutes just scouting the area. If you hover over a guard you can see their movement patterns which is great so you get an idea of when to move and when to freeze behind cover. Hovering over doors, cameras and laser alarms will also let you know what switch boxes you are connected to so you can plan out where to move next. There are also various lock boxes and treasures you can pick up on each mission as well which will boost your cash at the end.
As you progress of course the levels get bigger and more difficult but from what I played, I had a lot of fun and this game does a great job of building the difficulty so you are prepared for the later levels. You won't be thrown right in the deep end and have the difficulty spike to ridiculous levels suddenly although to be honest, even if it did, I still think I would be having a fun time. Sitting there, planning out each move, deciding what the best course of action would be is just as fun as executing the heist. Again, you don't have to go through each level undetected, but there is a great sense of satisfaction when you do. I did have some issues with the game crashing at times. There was one point where I knocked out a guard and the game would crash. I reloaded the previous save and the game would keep crashing every time I knocked out the game guard. Thankfully though the issue was fixed if I started the level over, but still, it's something that should be taken care of before the official release of the game later this year.
Aside from those issues, what I played so far was incredibly fun and I think this game could turn out to be a huge hit once it's released. Crookz is an interesting take on the heist genre and provides plenty of challenge and plenty of fun to keep you coming back for more. I completed some of the missions while being seen but I really want to go back to see if I can complete them without being seen and that's more than I can say about a lot of other games released today. Most games, I complete a level and I am done without any want to go back and get all three stars or complete all of the objectives. Crookz makes me want to do so and I hope it will make other players want to do so as well.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My earliest gaming memories come from playing Lady Bug and Snafu on my fathers Colecovision and Intellivision respectively. It wasnt until I was 6 years old and played a Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machine in a game room at a hotel that I truly fell in love with a videogame. I have so many wonderful memories of my dad and I playing Mortal Kombat on SNES every night after dinner. Throughout my childhood NES, SNES, Gameboy and Sega Genesis were the loves of my life. Here I am 29 years old and still as much in love with videogames as I ever was. And for the record... I enjoyed the Mass Effect 3 ending... sue me