REVIEW : The Big Con (XBOX Series X)
The Big Con is an adventure game published by Skybound Games and developed by Mighty Yell. You play Ali, a teen girl attempting to salvage her mother’s video business after moneylenders charge her a big quantity of money. To raise the money, Ali decides to deceive his mother and go on a road trip with a young con guy. Ali will have to steal wallets, con people, and disguise himself during the journey.
The Big Con is a game that evokes a sense of nostalgia for the 1990s. If you grew up in that decade, you’d recognise many of the components and references in the game, including Furbys, VHS slasher films, Seinfeld, and much more.
The Big Con offers a humorous and engaging storey built on all the components that will revive your memories for everything you experienced in the 1990s, especially if, like Ali, you were a youngster who lived by what happened in the movies of the time. The references he makes to specific components of nineties pop culture are quite clever; you will instantly recognise what they’re talking about, what’s hot right now, and why Stan Up Comedy is the way of the future.
And while The Big Con’s adherence to the nineties’ storyline makes the storey a little predictable, this is not presented as a flaw; on the contrary, that sense of familiarity completes the nostalgia for the decade’s pop culture.
The Big Con’s characters are congruent with each other, which adds to the narrative’s naturalness; most of the characters could easily fit into an episode of Doug or Rugrats. But, on the other hand, the individuals you meet along the way are cartoonish in personality, with simple wishes that Ali may help fulfil.
The Big Con stands out visually; the graphics are hand-drawn and colourful, and the locales and the characters’ styles are faithfully reminiscent of the 1990s. But, of course, the elements with which Ali interacts, the dialogues, and the plot all contribute to the overall visual impression of the period.
Musically, the game delivers many variants of the same theme, with these variances highlighting the unique characteristics of each location where the song is heard. You can, for example, listen to a melody while walking and then hear the same tune played in a cafe in a rock rendition, or hear a completely different arrangement of the same song in a store or at the hotel reception.
Stealing, finding stuff, selling, and scamming are all part of the Big Con. Since meeting Ted, a teenage con artist, we’ve learned how to quickly steal money from the wallets of individuals we pass by; all we have to do is press a button at the correct time. Stealing from pockets allows us to get from one place to another faster; growth is related to reaching a certain cash amount, and stealing wallets are required to do so.
If you get caught stealing and have to disguise yourself, you can try stealing from the same individual again. You can only be caught stealing three times; whether in disguise or not, your penalty is to rewind VHS cassettes, which Ali despises. This is a simple assignment; you have to hold down a button while Ali replaces the tapes and presses the rewind button.
You can also opt-out of wallet thievery, and even if you do, the game will still give you other options for earning money. However, before you can advance to the next level, you must first earn a particular amount of money. For example, you can get money by selling stolen goods or by hunting down themed objects to sell to a moneylender who has a shop at each point along your journey.
The lender is looking for things usually in the garbage or dumped on the floor, and the amount they will pay you for each product is substantially larger than what you can receive by simply swiping wallets. And, to sell a stolen item to someone, you must first have listened to their talks to understand exactly what they require and how much they are willing to pay for it.
Another of the game’s mechanics is listening in on other people’s conversations, which is one of the necessary characteristics of a skilled thief. Of course, you can’t listen in on everyone’s talks, but the game will let you know who you can approach. The data you collect is saved in Ali’s notebook, where she keeps track of everything, including each expedition. This information will come in handy when you need to know who has the card that will allow you to continue on the train or who you can sell the Furby you found for a fair price.
Almost every level has a PIN or lock that uses a numeric code from a suitcase or a safe, with the combination buried somewhere on the stage. The difficulty of deciphering the codes is an excellent motivator to investigate the events. Normally, you’d locate something to steal and intriguing folks with whom to converse.
After you’ve raised enough money to move forward, you can either continue exploring the area or convince Ted it’s time to leave. However, the missions themselves aren’t noteworthy. Instead, they serve as a motivator to explore more of each level, but after a few robberies, they become monotonous.
The Big Con will take you about 3-5 hours to finish. It is a good choice if you are prepared to spend that time recalling the nineties; you have the option to proceed quickly or take your time exploring, finding additional money, interesting personalities, and completing the secondary goals.