We recently picked up the newly released Light Fingers, a board-game action platformer that pits you against your friends to steal the most loot, in an effort to find more four-player games for the Switch. Like most other Switch owners, we’ve already picked up the few couch co-op titles in the Nintendo eShop, but there’s not much left to fulfil our multiplayer appetites. We’ve already played Mario Kart 8, Overcooked, Human: Fall Flat and The Escapists, but for a while now the co-op genre on the Switch has been lacking in numbers.
Fortunately, this is creating room for new indies to experiment in, and Light Fingers is a great example of indie ingenuity stepping up to fill this space. With turn-based play determined by dice rolls and careful navigation, the clockwork board literally opens up as you explore further, with intricate animations that are sure to impress. The basic premise of thievery is fleshed out by different mechanics and environments; stealing the loot is only the first step, as this brands you with a ‘wanted level’ and marks you out for both guards and other players to pursue.
Different actions have their own musical trills to bring your decisions to life, making your heart race when you’re making off with the loot, or helping the guards to become a more serious threat. A card-based system also grants players with various boons and tricks to get the upper hand in their roguish pursuits, ranging from gaining additional movement to hindering the progress of guards and other players. These cards can help your cause, but also help to develop the competition between players, much in the same way that Mario Kart’s infamous ‘red shells’ are certain to cause disputes.
Even when players delve into dungeons to recover loot alone, the developers ensure that other players have the opportunity to interfere, controlling a variety of traps and placing enemy golems to hinder the player’s pursuits. There is some difficulty in traversing the platformer elements of these dungeons, but you’ll get the hang of it after a few tries, and it’s especially rewarding to watch the other players fall victim to your traps. There’s also a dungeon-only mode to practice in, but this is where the platformer elements are weakest with a difficult perspective, and as such the mode can prove tiresome.
More than anything, the board animations help to bring the tabletop experience to life. The act of stealing loot from the blacksmith’s chest is made all the more gleeful by watching your character hang off the clockwork piece, while each building on the board marvellously unfolds like a pop-up book. Likewise, the board remembers and responds to your actions – for example, if you had robbed a marketplace in the opening rounds, you’ll gain a wanted level if you mistakenly return to the scene of the crime later on.
Light Fingers is most successful in keeping each player enthralled with its sometimes tense, but nonetheless jovial atmosphere. Altogether, the game’s mechanics help to ensure that each players’ turns are swift and diverse, avoiding the monotony of classic board games with its light-hearted co-op experience. Alongside its competitors on the eShop, Light Fingers is a wholly different genre of couch co-op that you really should consider playing, and hopefully won’t be the only co-op indie title to experiment on the Switch.
Looking for a more classic indie experience on the Switch? Check out our rundown of all the indies re-releasing on the eShop this month, or follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date on everything indie.