The Nintendo Switch is a great system for party games. You can bring up the eShop without seeing bunches of them. So what then makes a Nintendo Switch party game worth picking up amongst the myriad of others already available? I’d say it’s a matter of ease of play—easy controls, and easy to pick up and put down. Nothing too heavy or complicated unless you explicitly base your party around it. That’s where games like Thief Town come on.
Thief Town is a couch multiplayer game where the goal is to stab, shoot, and trick your friends into victory. The only caveat: this title is strictly local multiplayer—no fights over the internet. But it is a great fit for the Nintendo Switch. All you need is a single Joy-Con to get started, and up to four players can play. It’s all party game, and while it’s light on price, it’s also extremely light on content. But it’s not really about the amount of content, just the amount of quality enjoyment out of it—and, well, that’s up to your group of party-goers.
There are essentially three games in Thief Town, all playing off of the hide and seek motif. Multiple NPCs will run around the single-screen arena, and you will do your best to blend in with them while doling out harsh western knifey-shooty death. Games go quickly, and I mean they’re over sometimes in seconds—and even so, the timer gives each match 60 seconds max. It’s great, because it keeps the line moving if there are people waiting, and you have so many chances for revenge that there are no hard feelings. Well, not many, at least.
“Thief Town Classic” is pretty much the game mode I described above. Blend in, kill or be killed while avoiding sandstorms and tumbleweeds. “Spy Town” is a variation in which each player is given an item to use to help find the other players. They’re one-time use, so careful timing is important, and it leads to some hilarious encounters. In “Drunk Town” one player is designated the Sheriff and must kill the other players before time runs out. He’s got a gun, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. After each match, rewards are dished out to players to crown who is the sneakiest, who had the best moves, etc.
Thief Town is as simple as they come—from the music to the art style. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own charm. While some might get sick of the retro pixelated graphics many indie games adopt, I actually think it adds to the charm, and emphasizes its old school arcade feel.
While my group had a lot of fun with Thief Town, even at its low price tag, it feels like it’s lacking content. The concept is great for us: subterfuge and underhandedness are great icebreakers and make for hilarious stories. But there is only so much you can get out of something that feels like a few WarioWare minigames. That said, the three minigames are fun, and if you’re itching for more party games, Thief Town is good to pick up and play—but you’ll find people will just as easily put it down after too long.
Thief Town is available on Nintendo Switch, Windows, and PlayStation 4
If you like the video game, tabletop, or other technology content that Third Coast Review has to offer, consider donating to our Patreon. We are the only publication in Chicago that regularly reviews video games, and we cover lots of local Chicago-based events and more. If you want to contribute to our coverage of Chicago’s video game scene (and more) please consider becoming a patron. Your support enables us to continue to provide this type of content and more. Patreon.com/3CR