Peaky Blinders: Mastermind
Publisher: Curve Digital
Genre: Puzzle, Adventure
Age Rating: Pegi 16
Release Date: 20/08/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
It’s the Year of Our Lord 1919, and things are changing around the industrial backstreets of Birmingham. The streets of Small Heath are about to run red with blood, sweat, and tears. The Shelby family means business, and they are gonna take what they want. Remember “This place is under new management, by order of the Peaky Blinders”.
Peaky Blinders: Mastermind is set just before the events of the first series of the hit BBC crime drama. We join the Shelby family as they plot their rise to the top of the Birmingham crime syndicates. All is not well in Small Heath, and the Peaky Blinders soon find themselves entwined in a murder investigation and war with the Chinese.
Meet The Crew
All our favourite Peaky Blinders are here: Tommy, Arthur, John, Ada, Polly and even Finn. The likenesses of these cast members are really good, they are all easily recognisable at a glance. Their characterisation though, is not quite so close to the mark. It falls a little short of the foul mouthed brummies we know and love. Thankfully, there isn’t any poor imitation voice acting to contend with, just flat text and pleasing artwork.
Each member of the crew has some unique abilities they can bring to the table; Tommy can convince others to do his bidding, John can start fires, Arthur kicks downs doors, Finn can fit through small gaps, Ada distracts guards, and Polly can pick locks. Early levels have you overseeing just two or three of the crew, but by the last couple of levels that you are taking control of the full crew all at once.
Becoming A Mastermind
These later levels involving all of the Peaky Blinders are where the game really steps things up and reaches its potential. You will need to coordinate every member of the crew to achieve your goals in the required time for each mission. But time is not quite the rigid constraint you may expect in Peaky Blinders: Mastermind.
At any point while playing the game you can simply pause, rewind, or even fast forward time. You get a handy timeline at the bottom of the screen, much like in video editing software, and it helpfully charts the actions your characters are completing. The gameplay loop is simple; move a character into place and complete an action, rewind time and repeat with another character until everyone is busy picking locks or bashing fools.
If I Could Turn Back Time
This malleable time mechanic is interesting and initially pleasing but soon gets repetitive, quite literally. It also robs the game of any real fail state or pressure. If you mess up, you just scroll back and have another go. The only time I was actually stopped from progressing was by a frustrating scenery glitch that lost me half an hour of progress and forced me to restart.
There is very little sense of progression within Peaky Blinders: Mastermind, yes you move through the chapters and eventually foil your enemies. But from a gameplay perspective it doesn’t offer much, no upgrades or unlock-able content. There are some gold watches in every chapter that you can collect, for seemingly no purpose or reward at all.
Rock On Tommy!
One area this game really doesn’t disappoint is its soundtrack. Peaky Blinders: Mastermind features a collection of great rock tracks that do wonders for catching that Peaky Blinders tone and feel.
The general detail in level design is impressive. They really look like dirty Birmingham backstreets, full of little detail and design elements. I possibly enjoyed looking at the world and walking around it more than engaging with it. That may say more about me than the game though.
Overall I enjoyed my time with Peaky Blinders: Mastermind. It didn’t quite bring me the stylistic rough and tumble of the show. But it did offer some pleasing visuals, a great soundtrack, and some genuinely challenging puzzle moments in the later chapters. It is a shame the game doesn’t offer you a little more for your time, but a true Peaky Blinder will find some fun here.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You Can Buy Peaky Blinders: Mastermind now from the PlayStation Store