Miss Sophia Take has a problem. A fiendish bounder has made off with her inheritance, a priceless art collection, and she wants it back. In true her own inimitable style, she dons her fanciest hat and starts to sytematically burgle the galleries that house her stolen Cezannes and pilfered Picassos.
With an intriguing promise of high-speed stealth action (say what?) getting my attention, I spent a few hours as London's best-dressed cat burglar. Having re-appropriated quite a substantial chunk of my art collection, I'm ready to give my thoughts on The Marvellous Miss Take.
The first thing that's hit me about The Marvelous Miss Take is that it is completely different to other stealth-em-ups, and playing it after years of stealth game conditioning means that I failed a lot at the beginning. Guards don't have patterns, making noise can be beneficial, and speed is rewarded. Once I started playing it as a sort of Hotline Miami smash and grab rather than a using a slow-paced strategy the hook of the game became readily apparent.
Thinking on your feet and rapidly switching up a plan of action is essential here, and this really fits the character. Sophia Take isn't a master thief, but she is supposed to be smart. Forcing me to use my brain under pressure, diving behind cover at the last second, or purposefully letting a guard see to draw him away from a painting provides a rush that other stealth games do not. Most levels have a par time that really mean I have to hustle through, taking risks or running to the exit. For an extra challenge, getting a masterpiece out of a glass case causes a bystander to go grab a guard, meaning a swift escape is usually necessary.
Luckily Miss Take has a few tricks up her sleeve to outwit security and change up the game plan. A noise maker can be used to pull guards to a certain location without fear of being seen, and the teleporter allows a swift escape or a cheeky method of entry to a guarded room. Running or whistling creates noise which can be used to draw enemies away to your last location, allowing for unimpeded egress.
There are some allies to meet along the way, who offer the chance to replay levels in a different way. Harry Carver for example is a debonair master thief with an old injury that precludes running. He does however carry his trusty noisemaker at all times, so distraction is key. What I really liked about the extra characters is that although the levels are replayed, they are different. Carver does his misdeeds at night, usually meaning less guards, but more cameras. The challenge of completing the same level with different skills and obstacles breaks the game up nicely.
The quality of the gameplay is generally matched by the bold art style, all bright colours and stong lines. The security guards for me are the high point, slabs of muscle in ill-fitting shirts with massive foreheads. One of them is called Cliff, so you get the idea! I do feel there could have been a bit more work put into some areas, especially the newspaper headlines that pop up between levels as they seem a bit bland. The music plays some smooth swing numbers, and dips and swells depending on cover or danger. The controls are simple, a left click to move, a right click to toss a gadget, but they are tight which is essential in a game like this.
So, The Marvellous Miss Take is a fun and colourful sort-of stealth game that will test your improvisational theft abilities to the max. More difficult than its charming exterior suggests, it's definitely worth a look! It's available here (for 50% until the 2nd of December) or here.