Reviewed by: undED
Back in November of 2016, up and coming UK publisher Playstack announced a partnership with Swedish developer Foxglove Studios. Around the same time, Foxglove was pleased to announce their newest creation, Snipers vs. Thieves for mobile. According to an article by develop-online.net, SvP had been in development for two years, by a team of highly skilled devs with a multitude of pedigree in AAA gaming. SvP itself is an online multiplayer game centered on thieves robbing a bank, and the snipers who try to keep them from escaping. A simple premise that has a gameplay concept unlike anything else I have played on mobile.
The simplicity of the game does not make much room for a story. There are not any main characters, no side characters; you just play as your own thief/sniper, which you name. Your reason for robbing a bank as a thief can only really be attributed to gathering money. As a sniper, your only motivation is to stop the thieves. The lack of story however, doesn’t hinder the game in any way. I never felt like I was missing out on anything by a lack of narrative.
SvT sports cartoony visuals that could easily be mistaken for Team Fortress 2 (on a smaller scale). The movement of thieves is also very caricaturized, akin to Looney Tunes. Bright cars/fences/trees all help you scope out thieves against their black suits. It helps that there are several different locations for you to play in. From the city, to a farm, even shipping docks. Snipers will see thieves move very jaggedly, especially when they climb up or jump from obstacles. I lost many headshots because of this, but the challenge was welcomed.
The musical score probably matched SvT better than any other mobile game I’ve played. During the match, music was at first oddly absent. I later started to appreciate this during both thieving and sniping. In the menus however, an original, jazzy tune plays that is cheery and fun. Like everything else about SvT, the music doesn’t take itself too seriously and helped bring up my mood when I lost a match. It doesn’t convey intensity, instead the music ops to sit in the background while you methodically plan your next move.
Thieves will start across a map from the getaway car, with a minute or so to get away before either the sniper kills you, or the cops get there to arrest you. A series of arrows show cover you can take while making progress to the car. You have a finite amount of stamina though, so you have to plan your escape wisely, lest you slowdown in between areas leaving you open to be capped off. Thieves have grossly bigger proportioned upper bodies than lower, which makes for easier sniping. As a thief you will see smoke trails from bullets that will help you detect where you are being shot from. You can also earn bonuses to help you with your objective like ‘big head’ bullets for the sniper, and decoys for the thieves. There is even a cheeky homage to the Metal Gear series that made me laugh. By level 8 (roughly 4-5 hours in) I had enough diverse tools for each job that I could comfortably play how I wanted.
Snipers vs. Thieves is a rare gem in a time when app stores are filled with “games” entirely centered on you spending money. Matchmaking is quick, never took me more than 20 seconds to get into a match, with or without Wi-Fi. Loot cases open for you every few hours so long as you remember to start the process. They are fairly generous I’d say. SvT does have micro transactions, but I never felt like any amount of money I spent would genuinely help my gameplay. If you enjoy this game, just keep playing it. Your skills will win you matches, not purchases.