Thanks to large doses of hit indie games such as Rocket League and Overcooked, it feels like we may be in a new golden age of couch-based multiplayer games, those best experienced with friends, all gathered around one TV. But despite all of these games being perfect for parties, there hasn’t really been any big focus on games that fit more into the traditional “party game” genre that Mario Party created, those that revolve around a sort of digital board game. Enter Toronto-based developers Numizmatic with Light Fingers, a board game played by various thieves when they need to unwind after a hard day of looting. I couldn’t help but notice the game garnering a large amount of attention recently, and after playing the game, it’s safe to say that attention is well-deserved.
Like a lot of great board games, the overall goal is simple: Travel around the board and gather the amount of loot needed, depositing it at a the camp. And also like a lot of great board games, achieving said goal is trickier than expected. At the beginning, the game board is hidden, with pieces only popping up and revealing their contents when you move, like in a clockwork jewel box or the Game of Thrones intro. This is what definitely gives Light Fingers an edge in the visual department, with its impressive style helping to create the feel of an intricate medieval board game. A lot of work has clearly been put into the various areas of the board and their revelations, and it pays off.
So each turn, players roll single-sided dies to determine how many spaces they get to move, with the lowest number moving first. New areas include the likes of shops and healing shrines, or items such as scrolls to collect that can provide certain revelations to give you an advantage. But things get particularly interesting when you come across areas that allow you to move in three dimensions. For example, my opponent in the demo was able to move around the shop they uncovered freely, meaning they could jump to the top floor and steal from the chest there, grabbing a piece of loot they need. Unfortunately for them, this also caused their notoriety level to spike sooner, summoning the computer-controlled guards to move around the battlefield with their own dice to roll. Suddenly my opponent had to maneuver their way around without getting caught and facing the consequences, adding one of many layers of strategy.
But where Light Fingers definitely showed influence of the likes of the Mario Party is in its dungeons. When you uncover one, you have the option of heading into a platforming section in said dungeon to grab a piece of loot at the end, along with any gold you can gather along the way. But the dungeon’s traps are being controlled by the other players, allowing them to release more monsters, swing sawblades around, create barricades, and more. With just two players, it was quite fun, but one can only manage the mayhem that appears when the full four players are around. The dungeon sections are definitely one of the game’s most unique aspects, and make for quite the entertaining romp.
Appropriately enough, Light Fingers will be released on the Nintendo Switch, allowing you to bust out this proper party game when needed. Thanks to its winning gameplay that makes for a game that’s easy to learn while still having a large amount of strategy (and the demo didn’t even get to the likes of cards to play for various effects), this is a superb blast sure to please the couch-based crowd and one to look out for when it releases in 2018.