I… am a thief. I’ve broken into houses and stolen various items from them. Televisions, microwaves, pots, pans, toasters — anything that’ll sell for a buck. At least, in the last week I have. I’ve been playing Thief Simulator by Noble Muffins. Now, without incriminating myself, I may or may not have experience with such things… Okay, I don’t, but if I’m going to simulate being a thief, I’m going SIMULATE being a thief!
Anyway, Thief Simulator begins like most — entering my name — and I hit start. First-time players are greeted by a brief tutorial. I honestly feel like they could do more here, such as giving the player a motive more than ‘You owe someone a favor.’ Who are they? Why do I owe them a favor? What was I in jail for in the first place? The way the narrator makes it sound, I’m not exactly known for being a thief or this is my first go of it, which is fine, but the story doesn’t hook the player as much as I’d like. Otherwise, the tutorial is actually pretty decent at teaching the core mechanics of the game. Each skill you learn feels necessary to your success as a thief and you do feel accomplished when it’s all said and done. But that beginning line… ugh… Skyrim intros are the worst!
After the tutorial, I was brought back to a garage-like hideout. Here, I was taught about other mechanics like the computer and how to get jobs and buy information and tools. You can even sell certain items for a bigger payout, otherwise you’re stuck with whatever the pawnshop owner will give you. That’s not too bad, as most of what you give him goes for around $10 at the beginning of the game, give or take a few. The larger items, of course, go for a bit more.
Once you’ve done a few jobs, you should have enough experience to level up and get your first skill points — which is good, because you can begin to upgrade your skills to be a better thief. This is awesome, because once I could pick some locks, that opened up a lot of new doors for me (pun totally intended). Needless to say, your first couple of upgrades are essentially made for you, as there are only two choices: one for each level up. Once you get to level three and above though, the tree expands out more and you can learn a wide variety of skills. Pro-tip: Expand your inventory as much as you can. The more loot you bring back to your home base after each job, the more experience you gain!
My first few jobs went without a hitch. They are pretty simple and I guess you could still consider them the ‘tutorial’ levels if you wanted to. After you get cut loose to do your own thing to progress the story, that’s when things get challenging. I had to start planning my own jobs and thinking logically about how and when I would hit each house. The tenants usually have a particular schedule they move on and are out of the house at differing times. This makes striking in the night at every house impossible. Which is, suffice it to say, realistic. Given that this isn’t Grand Theft Auto or Payday, you don’t have a weapon either. Stealth is your best friend here. So, being the terrible stealth player I am, this was very challenging for me to even get used to. Sometimes I’d do a job without being seen, other times I’d be rushing out to my car past a crowd of screaming pedestrians carrying a huge TV or painting. I… may not be the most graceful of thieves, but I got the job done!
While I enjoyed my time playing Thief Simulator, I really wish it had more controller support. I was able to get it working for the most part, in game, but the menus still required me to use my mouse and keyboard. This isn’t so much an issue for me, but if you’re going to let people use game pads, why not just program it in entirely? I know not everyone will agree with me, but sometimes I prefer a game pad to mouse and keyboard — fight me! (In all seriousness, some people do find it more comfortable and I would recommend any developer remedying the exclusion of certain players by researching and supporting alternate controls within your games.)
Thief Simulator is extremely fun and if you’re into stealth games, this is one I highly recommend you add to your collection. You can pick up a copy on Steam for $19.99!