The Big Con is a game where you play as Allison or Ali for short. You work with your mom at a small video store. Everything is perfect, or so it seems. Apparently your mom borrowed money from a loan shark to keep the store going, and now it is time to pay up. She has secured you a space at a band camp, and sends you on your way.
Allison wants to help her mom, but doesn’t know how. She runs into a dashing boy named Ted who shows her the ins and outs of pick pocketing people. Yes, that is significant game mechanic in The Big Con. Your adventure starts in your hometown, and goes on a train and eventually to a big city. The Big Con takes place in the 1990’s, specifically 1994. They even explain the save icon when you are starting up the game. It will be sure to make anyone who was using floppy disks in the 80’s and 90’s feel very old.
You play as Allison, and you can control her movements with the left analog stick and interact with the environment with the face buttons. The main mechanic of the game is using a sliding bar with narrow sweet spot to determine success or failure at pick pocketing someone. At the very beginning of the game you have the option of turning off the mini-game, but I think that just makes the pick pocketing automatic.
I didn’t find the mini-game all that difficult, and the times where it was a little difficult provided consequences for my failure. As a part of the mini-game, if you fail, you will have made the person you attempted to pick pocket suspicious of you. If you make too many people suspicious of you will essentially have to back track to a previous save point. Once you fail three times on the train you get kicked off the train. Elsewhere in the game you will get sentenced to work at the big box video store. Presumably the same one that is buying out your mom’s video store. You can circumvent these consequences by wearing disguises. This is useful when you really need to get something from a character, and they are suspicious of you, and are hostile towards you.
The main quest of the game will be recorded in your notebook. This game also has a lot of side quests which can earn more money. If you ever find yourself not sure what to do next just check your notebook, and if that fails to jog your memory, talk to your faithful imaginary friend rad ghost for some tips.
This game is very well stylized, and looks like a 90’s Nickelodeon cartoon. Specifically the cartoon “Doug” comes to mind. The environments in the game are very colorful, and detailed. Pretty much everything in the game can be interacted with in some way. Characters are also very detailed, to the point you can make out how they are feeling. The one thing that only occasionally noticeable is that sometimes the word bubble gets really hard to read in handheld mode. It doesn’t happen often, but if you plan on playing in handheld mode as I did, prepare for the occasional tiny word bubble.
The game starts off with a great theme song that screams 90s after school shows like “Saved By the Bell”. There isn’t any voice acting aside from a few vocalized words your character and other characters say while the dialog box progresses. The background music is also nice, and makes each area unique, and compelling.
The controls are very responsive, and that is very important for the pick pocketing mini-game. The one thing I might note is that they use the ‘y’ button a lot to initiate conversations with other characters you happen upon. Its not a big deal, but it wasn’t all that intuitive at first.
The Big Con: Grift of the Year Edition is available on the Nintendo eShop for $15.00. It is a relatively short game, but is a fun experience. If you like point and click adventure games, this is a no-brainer. If you like 90’s nostalgia, this game will appeal to you as well. I mean it has fanny packs for goodness sake. If you wait for a little while I am sure it will end up on sale again. It was recently on sale for $11.99. Either way The Big Con will provide a fun experience for you.
The Big Con is a game that screams 90’s nostalgia. The devs even stylized it so it looks like a 90’s Nickelodeon cartoon. You play a kid who is desperate to help her mom, and will go to great depths to do so. The game has great writing, great visuals, and a lot of fun gameplay. You can purchase The Big Con: Grift of the Year Edition on the Nintendo eShop. I would like to thank the publisher, Mighty Yell, for the review code.