A straightforward multiplayer game about stabbing your friends in the back… or front.
Thief Town is a stealth-action game about blending in and murdering your friends when you have the chance. Two to four players take on the role of thieves and must conceal themselves by mimicking the movements of non-player thieves on the single-screen map. When you think you’ve identified another player, you can stab and eliminate them, but if you’re wrong, you’ll have exposed yourself to your opponents since the NPCs only walk around and can’t attack. Is it worth being thick as thieves in this here town?
It’s worth noting up front that Thief Town is local multiplayer only; the game cannot be started with one player and there are no online options. That said, the premise is exceedingly simple, and people of all skill levels can hop in and figure out what to do right away. The lack of single-player would be frustrating, but given how the game works, the omission is definitely justified.
In terms of gameplay variety, the modes and stages are fairly limited. The two areas, desert and graveyard, are the only options available. Fortunately, day and night settings, wind storms, and the placement of elements like gravestones change each time you play. Giant tumbleweeds can also blow through and crush anyone in their path. In addition to the standard Thief Town mode described earlier, Spy Town and Drunk Town modes change the formula just slightly. Spy Town introduces items like guns and smoke bombs; Drunk Town is more drastically different with one player acting as sheriff while the other three try to be the last ones standing at the end of a round.
The visuals and sound effects are decidedly retro and reminiscent of Atari, but the music becomes surprisingly intense and upbeat at times and really adds to the tension of the game. Every mode features a countdown timer, and as the timer ticks away, more and more NPCs end up leaving the screen. This means that it becomes even harder to disguise your movements from other players.
In the right situation, Thief Town is an absolute blast to play. Rounds are short and matches can be adjusted to have higher or lower point totals needed for victory. The overall range of options and stages is definitely lacking, but the core gameplay is very enjoyable. Ideally, you’ll have at least four in your group since fewer than that really takes away from what makes Thief Town fun. If you’re looking to add an easy-to-play and satisfying multiplayer title to your game nights, don’t skip town on this one.