The Marvellous Miss Take Review (PC)
The Marvellous Miss Take is a stealth game set in the world of art galleries, but one doesn't have to be a painting connoisseur to appreciate the title. Although its control mechanics may seem perfectly suited for iOS and Android devices, it subtly finds its footing in the PC arena.
Gamers initially play as Sophia, an heiress who's seeking vengeance against the crooks who stole her great aunt's extensive art collection. Though she's a novice thief, Sophia is determined to reclaim all the stolen items that are housed in these high security galleries.
To evade and distract security guards, Sophia can whistle, run, and crouch behind objects within the gallery. During her missions, Sophia will also run into Harry, a gimpy yet experienced pilferer and Daisy, a pickpocket who's a bit more fleet of foot than Sophia.
Each of these characters are playable, and since each hosts separate skill sets and weaknesses, The Marvellous Miss Take's gameplay variety is one of its strongest assets.
Another outstanding facet is the title's visual design. With its modernist and isometric aesthetic, coupled with its playful jazzy score, The Marvelous Miss Take is an adventure that would snugly fit into a 1950s heist film starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. The creative linchpin, however, is its top-down, isometric view and its insistence in not giving gamers a complete picture of the galleries.
As players move their characters throughout the floor, certain sections of the gallery will be revealed, but successfully completing each stage requires a somewhat photographic knowledge of the gallery as well as correctly predicting the movements of the security guards that hover throughout the area. In short, The Marvellous Miss Take is a nuanced stealth experience that is quite difficult to master. If keeping quiet, tiptoeing around a room, grabbing a treasure, and exiting stage left is the only way you can play a stealth game, then you've come to the wrong place.
To complete each stage, gamers must take down all of the great aunt's stolen artwork in the gallery without being caught. Since each alarm system and security guard has a cone sized line of sight, getting caught within these boundaries could signal one's doom. Catching the attention of a guard, however, is a wise strategical move to get him from one place to the next. Once he has a vague idea where the thief is located, players can quickly move their cursor to another room, and grab whatever treasure is located within that area.
Each character has his or her own way of hiding in plain sight and confusing the guards. Along with running, Sophia can whistle (a feat accomplished by momentarily clicking and holding the mouse on Sophia), to distract the guards and send them off to their desired direction. Teleporters, which send Sophia from one section to the next, are also part of her arsenal.
Daisy's pickpocketing skills give her keys to unlock safes, which are needed to complete certain stages, and although Harry's dexterity is non-existent, he throws noise-making balls for some much needed misdirection.
I initially believed The Marvellous Miss Take would be a perfect tablet or mobile title since touch and tap controls would have made the gameplay a much more seamless experience. The limiting structure of the click and drag of a mouse makes, for example, throwing Harry's ball across a room or utilizing Sophia's teleporter, an often difficult proposition.
Still, it's within these limitations that The Marvellous Miss Take shines. The idea behind a pure stealth journey rests within its sheer complexity, and the game's control scheme is far from clunky. Players who love having the cards stacked against them, whether it's the seemingly inescapable alarms or even Harry's all too frustrating immobility, will be seduced by this title's love for adversity.
For stealthy experts, The Marvellous Miss Take offers up par times to beat on most of its levels, and if you want to ramp up the difficulty level a bit further, you can steal encased masterpieces that aren't part of the great aunt's collection. Breaking the glass and grabbing these items results in the scream of a random art enthusiast, and if you're not fast on your feet (or quick in the brain), your thief will immediately be captured.
The game is also penned by BAFTA winning scribe James Leach, whose dialogue is imprinted on such video games as Fable, Dungeon Keeper, and Black & White. Though the Marvellous Miss Take doesn't have the most immersive storyline, its gift for snappy dialogue does shine through ("Show Me The Monet" is now my art conversation go-to pun).
The Marvellous Miss Take may, considering its refreshingly light color palette and cutesy moniker, be mistaken as an all too easy stealth experience, but looks are definitely deceiving. Sophia and her partners are beguiling, artful dodgers, and along with stealing a ton of masterpieces, they will also capture a healthy chunk of your time.
This review is based on a code provided by the publisher for The Marvellous Miss Take for PC.