Griftlands
Linux Format|October 2021
Management love a tough negotiation but not with the staff, so Sam Greer will be getting a quick visit from the LXF shock troops right about now…
Sam Greer

SPECS

Minimum OS: 64-bit, Steam OS, Ubuntu 20.04+

CPU: 2.0+ GHz 64-bit

Memory: 4GB

GPU: Intel HD Graphics 5000, AMD or Nvidia equivalent

HDD: 6GB

Games have always been looking for ways to make conversations as compelling as the combat. Why can’t a tense negotiation feel as gripping as a tough-as-nails boss fight? That’s the question Griftlands seeks to answer. It makes for a compelling roguelike, experience thanks to great writing and characters, but doesn’t quite live up to the promise of its chatty deckbuilding systems.

The t Griftlands are a chaotic place where corrupt law enforcement and criminal syndicates run things against a backdrop that combines science fiction with fantasy. Brutal it may be, but it sure is pretty. You’ll get to love the scratchy, hand-drawn touch to everything. There’s a smart economy to where the embellishments are made, which ensures the game can deliver on its scope without any rough edges. Character sprites have lovely gestures and expressions that complement the writing, while the overworld map is simply littered with tidy icons.

Gangland style

Griftlands’ factions are written in broad caricature, in line with the game’s cartoonish look – which stands out in a good way among the crowd of indie pixel-art-based games. However, there’s always a serious undercurrent of scepticism about the status quo. Criminal gangs prove virtuous, while the local police prove to be the most ruthless of all. In this way, developer Klei paints a strong picture of (downtown Bath? – Ed) the world you step into as a ‘grifter’, the game’s shorthand for a smooth-talking mercenary. There are three to play as one, each with their own story, but only one is unlocked to start with: Sal, a once-indentured slave now on the hunt for the woman who sold her.

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