I enjoyed the BBC’s Peaky Blinders so much that I nearly went to its official festival. They do up Digbeth to look like post-war Birmingham, and recruit bands like Primal Scream. Everyone walks around in tailcoats. I am a fool for not going when I had the chance, but at least I’ll soon get to tour pretend post-war Birmingham in a videogame. Peaky Blinders: Mastermind has been announced for this summer, and it looks like a vaguely Shadow Tactics style sneak ’em up. You choreograph heists by coordinating gangsters on easily-tweaked timelines, getting them to distract guards and slip each other keys through fences.
It’s a genuinely interesting idea, even without the branding.
It’s set just before the events of the first season, with Tommy Shelby out to fool a “sinister plot to put the family out of business”. Here’s that that looks like, then.
And here’s what that looks like a bit more.
S’got promise. That’s a slick, forgiving way of puzzling out robberies, where you’re free to “reset and rewind each character’s path”. There’s a bit near the end where a young ruffian opens up a gate, and whoever’s playing tweaks the timeline so Tommy walks through it just as it opens. That’s good. Walking up to doors just as they swing open for you is one of the most underrated pleasures in both life and videogames.
I like the system, but I do worry the puzzles themselves might not be up to snuff. With that Shadow Tactics comparison fresh in my mind, the idea of figuring out a prescribed route rather than puzzling out my own solution feels lacklustre. It’s worth noting that this is being billed as a “puzzle-adventure game” rather than the “hardcore tactical stealth game” that is Shadow Tactics, so they are trying to do different things. And hey, I’m basing that suspicion off the early level above, so it could well grow into something more exciting.
It’s being made by FuturLab, and more details can be found over on the Steam page.