by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
While developer Kalypso may have just revealed Crookz for the very first time at Gamescom, the game looked as if it was ready to be released. One part puzzle, one part strategy, Crookz is a 70’s style ‘burglary game’ that has players defeat ingenious traps, evade guards, and fool security systems to get to the big prize at the end.
To do all that players will need a team of experts, and they be groovy. For the demonstration the team consisted of three people. The first an athletic woman wearing an Afro twice the size of her head whose speed and agility allow her to outrun any guard. Next up, a serious looking man in a suit and a beard that’d make Dan Haggerty jealous (Grizzly Adams - I know, I’m old) with dexterous fingers to defeat any lock. Lastly, a bulky side-bearded dude whose electrical skills make him the perfect crook to bypass security systems.
The three arrived late at night at a mansion of considerable size. Their goal? A golden statue situated in the main entertainment room. To get there, the team had to get past laser detection systems, live guards, locked doors, security cameras, and a slew of traps. The three do not like killing - there’s no killing in the game, though you can knock out guards or put them to sleep with Chloroform - so stealth is a major component of the game.
The game plays out in real-time but can be paused for time to plan and strategize the moves of each of your characters in detail. Also, the location and types of all security systems are known prior to starting the game, giving you some idea of who you should bring along. While that leaves out some of the surprise factor, the devs were keen to point out that there is at least one big surprise in most levels. The most successful missions are planned out carefully beforehand, but players should expect to deviate from their path if they want to pick up additional loot on top of getting to their main goal.
You will need whatever you can get your hands on to help you buy new gear, which you will need if you want to break into more secured buildings in later missions. You can also buy consumable items to overcome shortcomings of individual characters. With the right kit, even the fast lady will be able to disable an alarm.
The mission briefing stated that once three pressure plates are weighed down, the final security system guarding the statue would come down. From there, an elevator would be able to take players up to the roof from where the three would make their escape. Only... the big surprise in this level was that the elevator did not go up but down and the team found themselves in the well-secured basement rather than the roof.
It will be possible to set challenges for other players. Hopefully this will be with some ranking system attached, but we ran out of time before we could ask.
Crookz looks to be a game sitting somewhere in between a hardcore game and a casual one. Casual players can focus on “getting out alive,” while the hardcore crowd can try to shoot for “completionist” and loot for maximum rewards. Its fun 70’s art style is accompanied by what at first glance sounded like a Ocean’s Eleven worthy soundtrack, immediately getting us into the right mood for playing. We’re looking forward to getting our hands on it soon. If we do, we will tell you if it’s time to break your bank upon release.