Monday, September 13, 2021

The Big Con Review: Nick Needs To Tap This Company To Make A Doug Game


*Well, technically Disney owns the rights to Doug now. [Chick a-ba-chickapa-ba] 
If you play The Big Con, you might say this looks familiar. If you grew up in the 90's and saw Doug on Nickelodeon you might swear this must have influenced the game. That same influence might have carried over to modern cartoon Big City Greens. And by that, I mean lots of random colored people. Either way, I don't think Doug would ever pick-pocket so many rubes. 
But, Doug's parent might not have a failing rental video store like Ali's Mom Linda. And then, Linda maybe borrowed money from loan sharks. And that's how we have our 90's cross-country road trip adventure set-up, similar to many, many movies of the era.

You play as Ali, learning cons from an older con artist named Ted and you make a deal to work together, so you can save your Mom's video store. On the way you'll have to solve different con puzzles by getting people the right things and then charging them a exorbitant fee for them. Oh, and pick-pocketing. So, much so that the game let's it be an auto feature. There's also a cringy laugh track option, that I left on, that could have worked, if the recorded laugh track wasn't awful.

It's a fairly simple game, where you've got to earn so much money to progress to the next area. The game wants you to chat with the different characters you meet along the way or overhear their conversations and that helps you solve the games puzzles on what they need from stock tips to a trendy new transparent soda. 
The colorful design of the world makes it fun to rip-off said colorful characters. There's not too many different locations, but each reminds you of scenes from before-mentioned 90's films. It's 90's everywhere in this game and some sort of in-joke like beets in Doug with a joke version of Hormel Chili, it should not be a specialty drink.

And nostalgia is crammed into this game from Rad Ghost, a ghost who wears sunglasses and tells you to say, "No to drugs,' to Furbo, a knock-off Furby that's part of another con in the game.
There were a few problems in the game with characters clipping through scenery. The game or possibly me for not giving my full attention to it was a little unforgiving when I was in the mall level. I didn't know if I looked at the train station I'd end the area, so I missed out on a lot more cons. I'd say save at the start of new levels or before you feel something big might happen is a good idea.
Then, there was a, what I felt, tacked on trying too hard moment of Ali having a phone call declaring her love to a friend that didn't really tie into the main story. There was no build up. There's some other story elements that do have more build up dealing with a smoker and a collector that seem earned.

The Big Con did get to me though and I couldn't put it down when I was getting into the rhythm of pick-pocketing or seeing what Ted and Ali would be up to next. It's won't take you too long to beat, but that's how it's priced and it's totally worth it. I'm not trying to con you, this is for real.
The Big Con is out now for PC and Xbox
Game provided by publisher for review purposes