Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Masterplan

Developer/Publisher: Shark Punch
Steam: The Masterplan
Official Website:

I had the pleasure of playing The Masterplan back in October 2014, during its Early Access phase. When I played the game then, The Masterplan was essentially a single player version of Payday. You had a crew and committed several heists. Every part of the plan was left up to you, planning, execution, and escape. There are new features in the game, the ability to hire goons,  buy weapons, and equipment, Including a new items that lead to other heists or weapon orders.

As of June 2015, The Masterplan has left Early Access and the game is now complete. I am happy to say the game is fantastic and fun. Everything here still works rather well as it did in Early Access, combat, sneaking, and general law breaking. In case your not familiar with The Masterplan, you control a team of criminals from a top down view. The best example is something like Door Kickers or a more far more tactical Hotline Miami. If things get a little hectic you can use a slow-mo button to issue commands and order your goons to perform tasks ranging from, shooting, taking hostages, or safe cracking.

Now while I covered most of how I felt about the game in my Preview. I feel It's important to note how awesome the over all tone of the game is and how well it all works. While the graphics are simple they really do a good job of conveying the grit and crime of The Masterplan, almost in noir style. The music and sound effects are great and fit in perfectly as well. 

For the purposes of this particular article, I wanted to cover the new things I enjoy and the things I wish worked a little differently. There is a story now intricately woven throughout the levels, little snippets of paper building the mystery of whats going on. There are cut scenes telling the tale of how your character broke bad during the Nixon administration. All of these add a little flavor and life to the game.

The hideout has seen a bit of updating as well. You now have the ability to hire goons and purchase weapons, as long as you have the right contact for the weapon. These can be acquired throughout the levels and add an extra objective aside from getting cash. This is all fine and works well but can lead the game to feel a bit grindy in the beginning as you have to repeat missions to earn enough cash. In later parts of the game this isn't a big deal. For the most part the hideout stayed the same, I would've liked to see a bit more added to it. Perhaps some sort of secret or way to expand upon it and make it the seat of your criminal empire. It just ends up being a stash place for your left over equipment/weapons and the place you go in between missions. Not a major complaint just my own personal wish.

There are several new missions and places to rob. Including new levels to finish out the story/campaign. All of these are crafted well and requires your keen focus as your order your team of goons. In general the gameplay felt smoother in controlling characters and maneuvering them, as opposed to the EA version of the game where it was a bit more difficult. Such things as being able to pass through your own men made things much easier. With that said there are still some things that are hard to control. Doors in particular are a nightmare and being such a vital element to the games strategy, I thought this would've been corrected a bit more.

Things such as goon skills and multiplayer have fallen to wayside or replaced with simpler mechanics. I feel that The Masterplan will benefit from simplifying and focusing on the single player experience. While goon skills would've been nice, that is something that perhaps can be added later. In the final version of the game the focus on singleplayer can be seen and the game is very enjoyable. 
So if you haven't checked out The Masterplan yet and you're looking for a heist style game that is solely based off your skill. You definitely want to check out this title.

  • Clever level progression
  • Great graphics/theme 
  • Better control
  • Focused Singleplayer Experience
  • Doors
  • Little grindy
  • Hideout needs more use
  • No Save&Quit

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