There’s something about Birmingham in the early 20th Century that has piqued an interest in many TV fans of late thanks to Peaky Blinders, a show about gangs in the North of England.
So no surprise, really, that someone should come along and make a game about the show, given its popularity and the fact that games about crime and gangs seem to sell pretty well (I’m looking at you, GTA). What is more puzzling, though, is that it turns out to be a game like Peaky Blinders: Mastermind which feels very little like anything from the show and eschews the usual quality script writing and character development for a more basic attempt at a game. Dare I say the words ‘cash in’?
It’s not all bad. The game starts out with a familiar cast of characters, the focus is on the Shelbys but don’t expect voice acting from the big names , and settings that show promise. Gameplay is loosely based on the Commandos style series of games, an isometric strategy series where you need to think through your actions to avoid getting shot and guide your team to work together, but also includes a countdown timer which would ideally add to the tension if any tension actually existed in the first place.
The issues begin with a complete lack of challenge. It’s very easy to breeze through the initial 8 scenarios and it’s only when you get to the last 2 that things start to become more of a challenge. By then, though, you’ve made it through 90% of the game already. If the developers had added another set of chapters like these last 2 then you could forgive the first 8 for being a tutorial of sorts, there’s actually a lot of potential there from those last few hours of gameplay. Saying that, it also ignores the fact that whoever did the writing for the story in this game isn’t a regular writer on the series or had an off day here. Uninspired plot and a terrible take on well known characters seems to show a lack of understanding of the show’s dynamics and any fans will spot this in the first few hours.
Generally, there’s a lot of potential in this Peaky Blinders game that only becomes apparent right near the conclusion of the story, which is a real shame as it hinted at what a more fledged out title could have been.