Crookz is Heisting at its Grooviest

Crookz – The Big Heist is a team-based heist game set in the groovy 70s. But despite the year, don’t expect you’ll be encountering low-tech security. You may not be hacking computers, but you’ll still need to use your brain!

The main character is Cleopatra, the apparent leader of a rag-tag group of thieves. Her and her team are met during the tutorial mission, which also thoroughly explains the controls. Despite being a tutorial, it’s truly the start of the game, setting up the entire story.

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You’re stealing the Luna stone, which is just what it sounds like, a rock from the moon (apparently worth a fair bit of cash). Things go sideways at the end of the first mission, though, resulting in its failure.The team splits up for years until Cleopatra decides to go for the Luna Stone once again. Time to get the team back together! Characters are unlocked gradually and selected at the beginning of each mission. Each potential heist-er has their own unique set of skills, so plan wisely. Cleopatra can sprint, allowing her to get around much faster than any of the others. Bishop is the lock-picker, handy when you want to get into some place without a key. Lobkowitz can rewire security boxes on the fly without any tools. Rocket is a bit of a contortionist, and the only one who can squeeze in through air vents. Rufus can knock out guards, which you’ll need sometimes when there’s just no way to sneak by.

The entire game is played from a top down, isometric view that’s fully rotatable, zoom-able and tilt-able. Most all of the controls can either be performed with a mouse or a hotkey. There’s two views that can be switched between; one that’s normal, showing the building and everyone inside, and one that lists objectives, as well as highlights all doors, guards and main objectives.

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There are primary and optional objectives in each level. You may find you’ve taken the wrong crew with you for some optional objectives. Other times, you may not even yet have the right skills needed to succeed in some of these optional objectives, forcing you to return at a later time with a new crew member. This gives the game replayability, along with just being able to finish each mission in a variety of different ways.

Each mission starts with the chance to plan a strategy. Feel free to look around the map, see what security there and where the loot is located. There’s a lot of strategy involved in Crookz, especially as harder missions are reached. Most of your controls lie in your mouse, clicking on where you want your crew to go and what tasks you want them to preform. You can queue these up with the game paused and even have them wait for your cue to act.

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Making noise will alert guards, who will leave their posts to look for the source. Guards can be knocked out, but they’ll be looking for their assailant when they come to. Leaving bodies or broken doors behind can also alert guards.

You’ll need to get past security cameras, security doors and lasers to reach your goals. So get one crew member at the controls to shut off cameras and open doors for the others. You’ll also find useful items strewn around the map, such as crowbars and chloroform. These items are also available to buy before missions with your hard earned money from previous jobs. All the characters are voice acted and often converse with one another while on the job. Their differing relationships and personalities come through in their banter and comments, lending the proceedings more life.

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Crookz isn’t due out until late August, so some mechanics are bound to be tweaked and changed. As of now, the team’s path-finding isn’t the best, which may or may not be intentional. You’ll need to handhold each member of your crew to where they need to go, laying markers along the way. If you just click the location you want them to end up in, they’ll get trapped behind locked doors, walk through the line of sight of cameras and security, and right through lasers, always automatically choosing whatever would be the “quickest path.”

There are eighteen missions in all to be completed in any way seen fit; each map has multiple options when it comes to completing objectives. So find the strategy that works best for you and pick the crew that can preform it.