Playing as the bad guy is always fun. Many a game have been made about it, but if you had to pick one era where stealing is often seen, it's the Victorian era. Thanks to Oliver Twist and other Dickensian works, the poor street urchin is a staple. And thanks to the popularity of the Thief series and the Thieves Guild missions in The Elder Scrolls, it's pretty popular. So why not put in board game aesthetics to out rob the other players? Antihero does just that.
You are Lightfinger, Emma and other thieves as you expand out of the dreary city, taking over different businesses (Think the Thieves Guild in Skyrim if it were on a board game with less cat-people) and eventually murdering your rival to take over the huge district. Not so much a story as it is what you have to do, but as limited stories go for games with board game like-feels, its pretty great. You need to work yourself up, hire street urchins, gangs and others as you go around and slowly build up your empire, with another big robber trying to protect his own at the same time. It becomes almost a Victorian gang way,, and that's pretty damn entertaining.
Controls were super easy. It's all point and click and drag. As for gameplay, it's based on a board game dynamic, and is turn based. So if you want to make money from robbing, you rob houses, or kill high profile targets. If you want victory points (tokens to win), you need to kill, take over churches or bribe your way up. There's event a truant officer who rounds up kids and saboteurs who can blow them up. It's not that complicated once you get the hang of it, and it quickly becomes a strategy game, as well as a race against the clock. As I said before, pretty damn entertaining.
The graphics and the art were pretty good too. I didn't like the giant head type of art, but I respect it for looking like the board game roots (Plus it reminded me a bit of Don't Starve) and remaining colored in and drawn to set the tone of for all ages, but there can be violence. It's not gritty, but it isn't exactly Disney either. Streets are gas lit, with fog cover with the same kind of artwork, and it really works for the game. Even the movements are fun to watch, and you can't say that for every game.
Violins plus a light orchestra provide the music, being both period appropriate and a little out of place. It wasn't overly distracting and set the mood, so it's not worth complaining about. It was nice. And the sounds are good too. Little punch ups, knife for kills, little street urchins saying hello before you send them off, and even your thief saying they're ready in stereotypical British accents. It isn't over the top in sounds, and gives just the right amount needed.
Antihero performed well on Steam. There were no real glitches, and the frame rate chugged along nicely. There is a slight annoying delay at the end of turns, but it's minor. That was the only hiccup I noticed.
If you're a fan of board games, turn based games or even small Empire Builders, you'll enjoy Antihero. It doesn't have realism, but it does provide an excellent challenge like many board games, and it's a unique setting, with unique characters. I had a good time – the hours melted away. You'll have a good time with Antihero too!
Score: 9.5 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.