Different ways to replay level
Yahtzee has done it once again. When he is not busy reviewing games for The Escapist in his fast-talking, yet quite humorous style, Yahtzee will always be remembered for his creation of the 5 Days Series of games. That is easily one of the top freeware adventure series of all time. Yet, Yahtzee has not been solely content with staying in the adventure genre and last year released 1213, a three part episodic game that combined arcade like action with an interesting and different sort of story. So after being away from the freeware scene for the last little while after releasing 6 Days A Sacrifice, Yahtzee has added yet another game to that particular series, starring everyones favourite cat burglar Trilby in Trilby: The Art of Theft. Using the 1213 engine, which has been heavily modified, you guide Trilby across many different levels, trying to rob from the rich as much as possible, while staying out of sight from guards, video cameras, and anything else that might compromise his heists. Yet, as Trilby continues to dwell deeper and deeper into his heists, he soon stumbles upon a situation, which will ultimately test his skills and his resolve against a powerful group.
In Trilby: The Art of Theft, your actions and moves are put on display, as you navigate a series of high profile heists, each more complicated than the last, to prove your might as the cunning and silent Trilby. Set two years before the events of 5 Days a Stranger, Trilby has his work cut out for him in these missions, but if there is one man who can make an entrance and steal some of the most valuable items, it is him. Not only is the game play in this game quite open ended with how you can beat each mission, there are also different moves and different strategies that Trilby can utilize. That can make each level a different experience every time. There is also an intriguing story that you will discover little by little, as you are playing through each of the missions. While it is not as extensive as the 5 Days Series, it does have an interesting charm of its own, and perhaps this particular story may be used in a future game for this series before 5 Days a Stranger.
When you start up the game, you are taken through a nice tutorial that explains all the actions and obstacles you will face in the game. Everything from video cameras, to laser traps, to learning how to open safes; you will be guided through what to do in your hideout. When you reach the top level of your hideout, you will encounter four interactive objects that you will be using throughout the game. From Trilbys desk, you will be able to save and load your game, either after you finish a heist, or in case you were fooling around with picking a skill and decided you do not want said skill anymore. There is also the wardrobe where you will be able to earn new suits for Trilby as you complete each of the missions and fulfill certain requirements. The newsstand will show different headlines in regards to Trilby, which changes after each successful mission. It is here where an integral part of the game takes place, which I will explain in detail later. Finally, there is Trilbys car, which will take you to each mission in the game, and will display some background about the heist you will be tackling and what mission objectives you need to complete. Should you wish to replay an earlier mission, you can do so as much as you wish. This is completely necessary, especially if you wish to earn some of the higher ranks.
As you begin a mission, there are several factors you must take into account if you wish to succeed. Number one is to always keep an eye on your alarm and taser icons at the top of the screen; you can access these by pressing the tab key during a mission. What the taser and alarm icons mean is that you only have that number of alarm trips or taser attacks that may be permitted in a mission. If you are spotted by a video camera, fail to open a safe, spotted by a guard, or cut the wrong wire from an electrical box, you will activate an alarm and lose one alarm point. Likewise, if you taser a guard with your umbrella, you will lose one taser point. Should you lose all your alarm points or taser points, Trilby will abandon his mission and you will have to start all over again.
With these aspects in mind, the main objective while controlling Trilby is to be as quiet and stealthy as possible. Trilby is a master thief, and in order to be most effective with stealing valuable trinkets from the rich, he does so by being as quiet as a mouse. That also means that Trilby will have to rely heavily on the darkness of each level and sometimes this can be aided by cutting the right wire from a fuse box. Ultimately, sticking to the shadows and moving quickly will aid Trilby in his endeavors. Moving through all the levels, you will have to contend with guards, video cameras and other obstacles that will test all of Trilbys skills. But Trilby also has an ace up his sleeve, and that is all the different moves he can acquire through the game.
As Trilby completes missions throughout the game, with each item that he steals or with each successful lock pick and safe cracked, Trilby will earn Reputation Points. THis can then be used to buy new moves for Trilby to use in future missions or even in missions that you have already completed. There are many different abilities that can be bought, from a forward roll, to a temporary speed boost, to upgrading your lock picking ability or even safe cracking ability. There are plenty of abilities to choose from, and ultimately it is up to you to decide which the best skills to use are. Be forewarned, with your choices, as some missions do require certain abilities to be used if you wish to be successful.
At the end of each level, you will be judged in four different areas - from the time it took you to finish a level, how many alarms were set off, how many times you used your taser, and how much loot you stole. All these areas will determine a final overall score for the mission. The best grade you can receive is a Trilby hat and the worse grade you can receive is a C, so keep trying to get that coveted Trilby Hat. It is not easy, but it definitely motivates you to keep trying to be faster and smarter in each level.
With the variety of different factors in each level, Trilby has his work cut out for him, but controlling Trilby and using his moves is quite easy within the game. When you buy a new ability, you are told which buttons you will have to use in order to perform that ability. The whole ability system is a great feature to see, as you can play the game in a variety of ways. Maybe you would like the opportunity to taser more people, you can buy an ability to do so, or perhaps you wish to slide your back to the wall and move along it. The choices are up to you, and these choices allow for much replay value over each of the levels in the game. This is especially true, when you go back to the earlier levels and try out your new moves in action.
The story in the game is quite interesting once you begin to pass more and more missions and more of the plot is revealed. While it may seem to be a bit short as you play through the game, and some questions are never really answered, I thought the story was done superbly by Yahtzee and truly fit the style of the game.
Music and sound effect wise, I really did enjoy the music in the game. It seems quite suspenseful, as you are trying to sneak around each of the levels, while trying not to be seen and at times heard too. The different sound effects from the taser firing, to the guards reacting to Trilby, to simply when the alarm rings. All the sound effects sound great, and when you hear that alarm for the first time, it will definitely get your attention, they sound that good.
There are not really any concerns I have with the game, other than the odd jerkiness of the controls, which is understandable as it can be tough to pull off flawless controls in this type of game. Furthermore, once you play more and more as Trilby you will learn how he moves and ultimately it never does turn out to be an issue in the end.
There is plenty of action, stealth, and much to see and do in Trilby The Art of Theft, especially with the extras factored in that you can earn by the scoring in each mission. In addition, should you need some help with the game or wish to participate in a speed run to show your skills, head on over to http://z3.invisionfree.com/unofficialaot/index.php?act=idx. This site was set up by some of the testers of the game, and if you wish to discuss the game, or simply shoot the breeze with other fans of the game, check it out.
So if you are looking for a combination of a finely crafted game, with stealth, action and plenty of replay value, look no further than Trilby The Art Of Theft.
Review by: DeathDude
Safe for ages: 13+