by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
Extra tools at your disposal
On top of all this, items can be purchased, or found in each level. These are one-use items which essentially give one of your crew members the skills of another. A key will get you through a locked door without needing the locksmith and chloroform will allow you to knock out a guard without having the muscles of your brawler nearby. The cash you accumulate from each heist can be used to buy items before the next one and each crew member can carry a maximum of three. You never need to do this to complete a level - you can find your way around just about anything as long as you have the right crew and necessary items are usually scattered around the level in accessible places.
Because of this, I never found myself going out of my way to find all the optional briefcases full of money and other extra cash opportunities that present themselves. A completionist may want to get the best score on every level and find every hidden item, but I never felt the urge. You’re not even punished that much if you get spotted on a security camera, or a guard chases you for a while before giving up. Crooks isn’t a particularly hard game to complete. The difficulty comes in doing everything perfectly.
A little more challenge
That said, a little more challenge would be nice. Levels seeme fairly open but this is mostly an illusion. There are only a few ways you can complete each one, and some are quite linear indeed. I found myself locating the overall objective while the game was paused, and working my way back, figuring out which tools and which crew members I would need to get there. You basically figure everything out before the heist even begins, which can make actually playing the game a formality.
Still, it’s quite rewarding to be able to do this, and usually something unexpected happens that you missed in the execution phase or just didn’t account for. You might not have noticed that one door was attached to a timed switch. For that, you’ll need someone nearby to hit the switch so someone else can go through. Maybe you didn’t notice that one door was covered by a security camera, so you’ll have to sneak back around and turn it off before continuing. If you’re looking for a more difficult option, a Challenge Mode is unlocked fairly early into the campaign. Here you’ll have things like a time limit and more dangerous guards to contend with.
Presentationally speaking, Crookz hits the right notes without being spectacular. Things like the aforementioned giant afro, as well as flares and big jewellery make sure you know exactly what era you’re in. The soundtrack too has plenty of funky bass and wah pedal. The animations of the characters can be a bit clunky at times, and I’ve had people clipping through open doors because they were in the way of something they needed to get to. Nothing detrimental to the game experience, though.
Crookz: The Big Heist is a game with a lot of options, but not enough of a sandbox to use them all in. A bit of the unknown would be nice to liven up the action a bit. When you know everything you need before the heist begins, it’s not as exciting. However, it is fun to use everything at your disposal, and having extra things unlock as you go is a good way of seeing you through to the next level. This game has laid the groundwork, the big score could be yet to come.
Large number of tools at your disposal. Stays true to heist influences.
Variety of tools is not matched by variety of levels. Action is formulaic once you’ve figured out what to do.