First of all, being compared to a mobile title nowadays isn’t a bad thing. So the headline isn’t criticising anything, but you’ll see what I mean.
In Antihero you play as a Thief in a big old town a couple centuries ago, victorian london seems to be a good comparison. In this old town you have to build and establish your own guild and of course get rid of any hostile group or guild that is crossing your path. To control the streets you can take over important buildings, assassinate targets, break into houses for money, etc. All these things aim for the main objective: get a certain amount of victory points to win the level against your opponent, either AI or a real person in multiplayer. It’s a simple concept, but it works.
The “Antihero” in this game is your main character, Lightfinger. As a thief it is your task to scout streets and buildings and break into houses. To do that you have to select your hero and then the house or street tile he has to go. Speaking of tiles, the map is made out of it. Each house is one tile and the streets are also seperated into tiles. Kinda like a tabletop game. Back to Lightfinger.
At the beginning the most important part is scouting because the whole map is covered in smoke, or fog of war or whatever. You need to see what’s happening on the streets and where the important buildings are. Each action the character does removes one action point for this round, at the beginning Lightfinger can do two things each round. Walking isn’t an action, so you can move freely through the streets you have already scouted and aren’t blocked by hostile guards (more later).
When you find an important building, a bank for example, you can hire all kinds of people a good gang needs to infiltrate this building and take it over. Doing that gives you certain advantages, the bank (who would have thought) gives to extra money each round. Other buildings make your people stronger and so on.
While controlling the buildings is an important aspect, it’s also a key aspect to be the king of the streets. That’s why you have thugs to guard and block certain alleys or you hire gangs to fight against those you don’t like. Gangs can attack pretty much anything, which means for example you can reclaim buildings from your opponent (and lose buildings as well).
There are two types of currency in this game. Money of course is for buying new gang members and stuff like that. The second type of “money” is lamps. Not to light up your streets, but to unlock new skills. I have no idea why they chose lamps, but ok. The skill tree gives you things like stronger gangs, more money from burglaries or new characters for your guild. These skills are essential to win a game and the key is to find the right strategy in which order you need certain skills.
All this gives you a system that is easy to understand but gives you enough room for strategic gameplay. I really like these concept where you don’t need long to understand the game but then have to learn how to deal with each aspect and each level becomes a new challenge.
A little thing that needs more balancing or improvement was the fact, that it is very early very clear, who will win the round. Because once you got the first bank and you get more money than your opponent you get access to almost everything faster than the enemy and he has no chance to keep up. So it’s too simple to get everything with ten times more ressources than your opponent and there is hardly a challenge, or it is too frustrating because once your opponent is in the lead you simply have to wait for him to finish the game because everything you try will be destroyed the next round. There needs to be some sort of blue shell for this game.
As I said in the headline, this could easily be a mobile title. I searched for it, but I couldn’t find it on my phone, but maybe this will be on mobile devices as well, because the gameplay is too fitting for those kind of games. I would say, this game is rather a mobile game that could be released on PC after some time because why not.
Nevertheless, I had fun playing it on PC and I’m sure I would enjoy it playing this on my phone.