The industrial revolution and its consequences on the criminal underbelly of the United Kingdom are showcased on BBC’s Peaky Blinders. Now it makes its first foray into gaming in Peaky Blinders: Mastermind, developed by Futurlabs. Peaky Blinders: Mastermind is a puzzle game with a twist. You command not one character, but an entire gang of colorful characters during events prior to the show.
While on the surface, one might think Mastermind is just another isometric item based puzzle game, it does feature the ability to rewind time, allowing for characters to chain events off one another. Unfortunately, this can lead to frustration, as the mechanic offers little room for error. This, combined with less than intuitive controls leads what could be an exciting experience a bit lacking. The tutorial does little to explain how to actually play the game, leaving you with a lot of trial and error. During the few times when things clicked and the game got moving, there’s some enjoyment. As for the non puzzle segments, if your a fan of the show, there’s a lot of rewarding character interactions.
Story wise, fans of the show will appreciate the attention to detail in setting and writing. When you’re not puzzling, the smoggy town of Small Heath makes an excellent backdrop to explore. Despite the good writing, it’s disappointing not to have any voice acting. The main form of achievement here comes in two forms: collectible pocket watches and time based scoring. Pocket watches are fairly easy to acquire while simply exploring the map. The timed level design feels at odds with the rewind function, since the timer continues throughout. While not aggravating, the gameplay feels counter-intuitive at times.
Unfortunately, the graphics of Mastermind leave a lot to be desired. The games over-world is reminiscent of a mobile game. Of course, this may be to have similar visuals across multiple platforms. Stylistically Mastermind uses a painted, almost cel-shaded style that while looking good, it’s just not very impressive. It won’t hurt your eyes, but it’s not very appeasing.
If you’re a big Peaky Blinders fan and need to know what happens, then this will be an essential purchase for you. However, as someone who had no prior interest, this didn’t really click. As a game, it is a passable entry into the puzzle genre, but the license didn’t do much to add to the experience. You’ll probably know early on if this is the title for you.
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