Well that last one was a bit heavy, wasn’t it? Don’t worry, this one is sunshine and rainbows.
The purpose of the Game Pile is to both work through my games collection and to write about games in a way that isn’t just lawnmower speak. I’ve used games as metaphors to talk about the creator-creation relationship, games as a way to talk about mortality and fairness and translation across media forms.
I don’t want to do that here, though.
I want to tell you how great the Marvellous Miss Take is.
Now as far as I know, nobody I know worked on or developed this game. I’m pretty sure none of my friends are associated with it. With that caveat cleared, let’s just talk about how great this game is, because this game owns.
I love me some stealth games! I love thief games, I love assassiny games and I love games that are about avoiding conflicts while quietly trying to achieve list of things that let you feel like you accomplished something. No metaphor there I’m sure. In some games you’re advancing yourself (like Thief), sometimes you’re averting disaster (like The Swindle), and in some games you’re pursuing a singular end like revenge (hi, Dishonored).
Wow, I do like a lot of Stealth games.
Anyway, Miss Take shifts a little out of these games’ style, because while the character certainly has a moral directive (revenge) it’s not expressed through violence. It’s actually most interesting because this story is happy to tell you you’re a thief, but also happy to tell you that your opponents are such jerks, and they stole from you. There isn’t a hugely complicated moral dimension to the story of Sophia Take – her stuff was taken, by assholes, and she’s taking it back. Along the way she meets other thieves and comes into a story of expensive conspiracies, but the core moral complex is pretty steady:
They took your stuff.
The gameplay of Miss Take is a pleasantly rare type too – it’s what I call responsive, where you click at a thing and your character immediately moves to it. There’s no timing of turns, so you just act and the game responds. You don’t have the tarball stickiness of the Swindle, or your own huge invisible elbows like in Dishonored. What you see is what you get, and the game makes your choices as clear as that – you can see the things that are problems, and you get to weave your way through them with your choices.
With that responsiveness comes a slickness of movement, a sort of needle-game threading without the frantic failure state. Your character doesn’t belt along at high speed unless you tell her to (and draw attention to her) so you can have these amazing tense moments of trying to navigate around a guard’s attention but not sure if you’re going to make it like you’re trying to slide a boat into a back pocket, stunned that you pulled it off and feeling excellent as you do.
This is all complimented by an array of tools that let you turn the greater stealth puzzle into smaller sequences ofo ther puzzles, and bops along to an absolutely killer soundtrack that evokes Ocean’s 11 more than it does any of the dramatic tension of those other games. In the end, Miss Take is a stealth game that’s not just about being a thief like Garett, with his grungy need for rent money, or Henry Beresford, seeking freedom from the Basilisk or Corvo, who crawls through the mud. This is a stealth game more in the vein of The Thomas Crown Affair – where you’re going to be effortlessly cool in your theft.
I think Marvellous Miss Take gets to live in the same space as Snakebird, a game of such pedestrian excellence that there’s really no reason to want to use it as a launching off point to talk about things like capitalism or ownership of art or the conception of power as expressed through your presence. Sure, I could, and maybe another time I will – but no two ways about it, my primary thought about Miss Take when I want to talk about it is to effuse about how cool it is!
I think that’s the point of this episode of Game Pile: The Marvellous Miss Take is really good. It’s a fun game, I recommend it highly, and videogames can be really cool and fun.
Get it if:
- You like Stealth games
- You want to play a stealth game that can be forgiving
- You want a stealth game with a lot of replay value, but not a lot of randomness
Avoid it if:
- You don’t handle panic situations well
- You think art is for chumps