The Big Con Review | Pretty Darn Radical

The Big Con Review

The Big Con is a comedic adventure game about a teenage girl named Ali who finds out that the video store that is so near and dear to her and her mother is being threatened by some loan sharks. Figuring it is time to take matters into your own hands, you set out on a cross-country conning adventure to make over $90,000 to help save the family business and to stop it from being swallowed by the big-bad corporate-run Videoville. Cue Gimme Money by Rockapella and let's talk about The Big Con from Mighty Yell.

The premise is straightforward and the gameplay follows suit. You walk up behind strangers and play a quick mini-game to take their money. If you get caught, which can happen for a number of reasons, you not only lose the stealing mini-game but you will also have to find a new disguise in order to steal from that person again. As you play there are tons of masks, fake mustaches, and paper bags fit for your head that can be found lying around the map or tucked into trash cans. Other than occasional puzzles that require you to do some thinking to loot greater sums of money, that's pretty much the entirety of The Big Con's gameplay loop. You go to a new level, are given a minimum amount of money to collect, and you are let loose on the map to steal. The gameplay won't have you writing to the home you ran away from but it's everything else that the game throws at you that makes it so much fun to play.

If there's one compliment I can confidently give The Big Con, it's that it's funny. I laughed a lot while playing the game and Alexa did the same when she joined in an hour into my playthrough. The great thing about the humor is that it's not just from one place. There is no one character who always says something funny (although Rad Ghost is great) and there isn't one repeating gag that makes you laugh out loud. The comedy in The Big Con comes from self-aware writing that knows its target audience paired with visual gags that don't always require words to deliver a punchline. As Ali travels across the country, she will come across numerous colorful (often literally) characters and though they aren't built to be three-dimensional (also literally) they do serve their purpose without feeling like a convenience.

You cannot have a review for The Big Con without talking about the aesthetic. The game has a color palette fit for Ed, Edd n Eddy, Rugrats, and CatDog, which it uses to embellish its 90s setting. While the neon pinks and blues can look overstimulating, the game leans into the tone and seeing a person with green skin and yellow hair wearing a Hawaiian shirt doesn't feel out of the left field. I do want to mention that due to the nature of how the game is created, what with the 2D characters and locations with 3D gameplay mechanics, it can sometimes lead to odd overlaps where your character will seemingly walk on top of a building. This happened a few times in my playthrough, so be warned if things like that bother you. For me, it was just something I laughed at and moved past. Most of what I said about the game's visuals carries over to the music for The Big Con. It's appropriate for the setting and, other than the musical queues for Rad Ghost, doesn't really take to the foreground of your attention. It just plays softly in the background and fits right in with everything else.

Right from the opening screen, The Big Con presents a very strong vibe and before I go on to end this review in which I praise this game for providing me with five colorful hours of entertainment, I want to make clear the fact that the 90s don't hold strong nostalgia for me. So if there's one big takeaway from this, it's that you can still enjoy this game even if you aren't particularly attached to this time period. I can't say how long The Big Con will stay with you after you roll credits. But in the hours between pressing start and getting to those credits, it is a joy to play. The Big Con is out now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam and Epic Games Store. A review code for the game was provided by the publisher. Please note that this review was meant to go up a the end of 2021 but due to technical errors, we had to push it to the new year.

The Big Con | 7 | Good

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