by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
The Midnight Hour
A hot blistering July night, with the only solace being an air conditioned office. This office had been doubling as my home for quite some time now, my desk pushed up against the wall with my bed neatly made behind me. I like to keep things orderly, everything in its place from the knick knacks on my desk to the drink in my hand. I was just winding down with the work of the day when I got a hit, my contact at the office enticed me with another story, another investigation. This time they'd put me on the trail of a thief, one supposedly so crafty he could see the moves of others before they even made them. I was more than ready to call the bluff.
Sorry, got a little too into the noir style buildup there didn't I? I was tasked with checking out the game Third Eye Crime, a mobile-to-PC port in which players take on the role of a thief named Rothko who uses his 'third eye' to predict the movements of security in the different places he visits in an effort to take home the next big score. While generally well received in its mobile form, does it deserve a place on PC?
Breaking And Entering
Third Eye Crime provides players with a top-down puzzle perspective where the task at hand is to guide Rothko through levels evading capture, stealing priceless items, and... that's it. That's where the goals of the game begin and end. Each level is different and scales up in terms of difficulty but the difficulty level seems inconsequential because if you get stuck, it's as simple as clicking skip after a few failures. As for the gameplay itself, it's neither bad nor is it anything groundbreaking. It's bland, and in some ways bland can be almost as big of a turn off as if the game had been a complete and total failure. To move about the levels, you simply draw a path for Rothko with your mouse and then rinse, and repeat. The game tries to pass itself off as a puzzle game with stealth influence, but the truth couldn't be any further from that.
While the stealth is certainly present, after the first few levels it hops into the backseat and takes a nap and the game becomes more of a cat and mouse chase with multiple cats trying to run you down the entire time while you have to plan around it and figure out how to beat the levels. Well, as said before, you don't really have to figure out how to beat them. If you get stuck, you're able to skip to the next level and while it's easy to understand why the developers would include such a feature (some of the levels are difficult enough to put off players who don't like things challenging) it violates the spirit of the game to essentially encourage people to just pass it up and move on. However, don't think you can just skip your way through, you still have to beat a certain amount of levels to advance further into the story.
While the gameplay itself leaves much to be desired, it does improve rather quickly after the first batch of levels. The inclusion of enemies ready to shoot first and ask questions later along with a myriad of powers and gadgets you can use tactically to succeed improves upon the base cat and mouse chase mechanics.
Though the gameplay might not be the most unique or rewarding experience, from many other standpoints this game excels. The overall noir theme lends itself quite well to the gameplay, the art style making each level visually appealing in a mix of old school Dick Tracey blurring lines with Sin City (with a top-down perspective of course). Between heists, when the story is moved along, we get interesting comic-style cutscenes to scroll through with decent voice work and again a very appealing art style.
But what shines the most out of the whole package, is the music. From booting up the game, to the music players will hear in the levels, I love the old jazz-inspired mystery music of decades past. Old spy flicks, detective movies, the very first grizzled cop movies, they all utilized their soundtracks well. Third Eye Crime follows in that same vein, where I found myself pushing forward just to hear more of the music. While there isn't a huge amount of music in the game, what is there is catchy. If anything, it saved me from boredom.
A Slippery Getaway
This game really has me torn, even as I finish this review for it. There are some aspects that really shine, but none of them are the gameplay elements. But the gameplay also isn't terrible, but neither is it great or even good. Gameplay wise, it left me with an empty feeling. But in other aspects, I was fulfilled. The music, story, and art style made me want to play more where the gameplay didn't. One thing that is indisputably better in this PC port, is the fact that you get the entire 120 level package for $4.99 as opposed to having to buy the base game for $2.99 and then the additional content for more. Overall, I think I could only see this game as being worth it if you just need a little taste of something different but still familiar. Third Eye Crime is a well built title that serves as a time sink if nothing else and while it is forgettable in terms of gameplay, the story, art, and music may make it worth at least one playthrough.
Fantastic soundtrack, great art, good noir-style story
Gameplay is a forgettably generic puzzle experience disguised only slightly by stealth