Top Critic Average
Clumsy controls make The Masterplan more gawky than graceful.
For the most part, The Masterplan feels incredibly slight. In the last third, where tactics shift from bull rushes to planning longer routes, the need for tactical complexity becomes too apparent. Though not exactly fast-paced, it works best when decisions are made on-the-fly and risks are taken for monetary distractions. Overall, The Masterplan is not a bad game, just one that misses some tricks because of scaled back designs.
The Masterplan is an open-ended heist game that is genuinely fun to play. It has some teething issues, but with continued support from its developers it can only go from strength to strength.
Thankfully, the game never becomes grim. That light-hearted cartoon style shows its worth, allowing the game to lean heavily on the cruelty of crime in its mechanics without ever tipping into grotesque displays of violence or pain. This would not be the place for such things – the game asks you to experiment and play with life so often that it has to retain the feel of a toybox. And it does so, handsomely.
The Masterplan presents a very unique and welcoming vibe for all who have dreamed of robbing a building establishment. It has some solid visuals that help build a strategy as you navigate through door after door. Unfortunately, that strategy can quickly combust if the mouse-focused controls slip up on you and you find yourself frantically clicking on everything within sight. While a majority of The Masterplan is well done, the bad controls and UI dampen what could have been a true steal in the year of 2015.
A stronger emphasis on an overarching narrative, more flexible range of actions on the field and a proper save system could have made "The Masterplan" into an excellent game. Without all that, it's merely serviceable.
In the end, while the gameplay and repetition required can be frustrating, The Masterplan is very well put together from an aesthetic standpoint. It's a unique gaming experience at a price point that's low enough to forgive some of it's faults. I like the idea behind the game, I like the character interactions with stickups and traversing the world via various paths. I just don't like having no idea what's around the next corner until you actually peek, and if it's bad news it likely puts your game in a state where you're better off starting the mission all over again. The Masterplan is a good game held back by a necessity for trial and error. Give me the intel on who has the key, let me catch him on his break and leave him out cold in the bathroom stall, while I sneak in though the backdoor and use the security cams to my advantage to direct my partner past the patrolling guards. Now you've created a game deserving of the title The Masterplan. Instead I'm fumbling through the dark, my only illumination coming from past mistakes.
The Masterplan is simple, but detailed enough to offer an authentic atmosphere to its various heists.
The Masterplan offers a completely open-ended approach to all of the game's heists, allowing you to return to the locations to test out different tactics. Heists may feel repetitious if you happen to replay them without changing your tactics. I've completed each of the heists multiple times however, using different tactics each time helped kept everything feeling fresh.
Even though The Masterplan will appeal to some due to its tight mechanics, cool setting and unique style, I can't help but look at it and think about what could have been with a few tweaks: a truly stand out indie title.