ReviewsReview: The Big Con

Review: The Big Con

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Growing up, you are taught to understand right from wrong, and there is an unwritten rule that you don’t cross that line. However, sometimes the water is muddied so much that the line is harder to define, and you can overstep the mark with the best intentions in mind, of course! The Big Con is a coming of age title that explores this philosophy in its witty and crime induced gameplay.

Developed by Mighty Yell Studios and published by Skybound Games, this is a colourful 90s inspired adventure title. Older gamers will love the trip down memory lane, thanks to the gaudy clothing, old-school tech, and cliched dialogue. However, younger players can experience how cool the 90s was with its ridiculous music, bright attire, and basic technology.

A distracted “mark” ripe for the picking.

The Big Con is a touching story about doing the wrong thing for the right reason.

We have all been there when we’ve been backed into a corner and feel like there is no way out. Can you imagine how you’d feel if you thought your entire world was about to be taken away? You wouldn’t sit back and take it, you’d do everything possible to stand up and fight for what you believe in. This is the core concept of The Big Con, it’s a touching story that shows one girl’s plight and how she must commit multiple crimes to solve her family’s problems.

You control Ali, who is a hip but aggro teen who loves her simple life of working in her mum’s video store. She is being shipped out to band camp for two weeks to get her invite to a prestigious art academy, but Ali protests and refuses to leave. Her mum, who has mountains of debt to support her daughter’s talent, insists she must go, but a chance encounter with loan sharks starts a chain of events that Ali can not ignore.

Her life as she knows it will be taken away because her mum owes $97,000 to a shady individual. You turn to a whacky ghostly apparition of a hip hop poster for help, and then you see a dodgy looking man called Ted who offers further advice. His genius plan is underhand, not legitimate, and involves pickpocketing, shoplifting, and a heist of a cash-rich safe. A once straight-laced girl is about to take a journey of crime that she can’t come back from. You’ll experience a strange but touching story that spans various locations and has many twists and turns.

No one will suspect a thing in this disguise.

Steal everything in sight and listen for clues.

The Big Con brilliantly blends multiple elements to tell its humorous tale while ripping off everyone you meet. No one escapes your sticky fingers, and every person is a “mark”. You’ll creep behind victims, stealing their wallets using a mini-game that involves timing a moving bar to perfection. If you fail, you are spotted, and the person is wary when you approach them. Don’t worry about that, though, simply steal a costume and they won’t recognise you. Theft has never been so easy and you quickly become rich from your crime spree.

Alongside your pocket thieving ways, you’ll steal items, pick up objects, and fulfil quests. A life of crime has some interesting characters at its core, and sadly, Ali meets them all. A dodgy pawnbroker will happily take any items you have acquired legally or illegally. He has no qualms about holding “hot property” and you get rich off of his lack of morals.

Stealing items is all well and good, but the big money is in the long game! Listening to people’s problems and handing them a solution is worth a lot of cash. You must sneak about in the shadows, searching for clues to rip people off. I loved this element of the game, as it required both logical thinking and detective skills. Whether it was stealing a sold-out toy to appease a screaming child, or following around a dodgy safe fitter to get valuable information, it was great fun.

The Big Con is colourful, striking, and spans many locations.

I love it when a game treats you to a variety of locations and The Big Con didn’t let me down! You flit from a quaint town to a shopping mall, a bustling train, and a Vegas-style city. It was fascinating to experience, and I admired the attention to detail that extended to the look of the NPCs. The colourful scenery and garish tones enhanced the 90s theme and made me chuckle at the various fashions on show. I appreciated the Paper Mario 2D character models and the bizarre robotic movement was clunky but worked brilliantly with the zany gameplay.

The audio was equally fantastic and incorporated a mix of 90s styles throughout. I loved the blend of songs and the change of pace and tone that represented the emotion in each scene. Sadly, The Big Con uses no spoken dialogue, and interactions with characters are restricted to odd sound effects and a few inaudible words. This was fine, mostly, but it quickly became an annoyance and I’d rather the developers took a minimalistic approach.

Discover their weaknesses and exploit them!

The mini-games were a joy to play.

Mighty Yell Studios has concentrated on making The Big Con as accessible as possible, and I appreciated the effort. Moving around each episode was easily achieved, and completing any task or mini-game was straightforward. The accessible approach was helped by the excellent UI and well-labelled objects. There is also a diary that highlights available quests and any information you’ve discovered. Every element was well thought out, and this makes it a joy to play from start to finish.

Much of this plays out linearly, which impacts the replay value. However, there are many side quests that you may miss on your first run-through, so you’ll be tempted to complete those. Its longevity is extended thanks to the large and thorough achievement list that requires you to explore every nook and cranny. If you are a completionist, you’ll need to set aside many hours to complete this title.

The Big Con will have you hooked immediately.

I instantly fell for its charms and retro gameplay, and I couldn’t put it down! The characters you interact with are fascinating and I loved the dry and witty humour. If you grew up in the 90s, you’ll adore how The Big Con captures the best and worst elements of the decade. Everyone else will admire its bright colours, interesting story, and accessible mechanics. It’s fantastic and I recommend you to buy it here! A life of crime isn’t for everyone, but sometimes you must do bad things for the greater good!

Here is my video review of the above article with footage captured on my Xbox Series X, enjoy.

SUMMARY

The Big Con is a fantastic coming of age adventure title. Filled with 90s nostalgia, you must explore several locations while committing crimes to save your family business. Will you be successful, or are you part of the con?

+ Fantastic striking graphics.
+ Excellent varied locations.
+ Nice 90s inspired audio.
+ Easy controls and a simple UI.
+ Witty humour and a great story.
+ Well thought out mini-games.
+ Lots of replay value.
- The sound effects were annoying.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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