Sony’s sneaky Sly Cooper series has always enjoyed a wide array of mini-games. The emphasis certainly became more pronounced in later entries, with Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves dividing fans due to its hearty helping of side content. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time – the fourth entry in the series – follows in its predecessor’s footsteps, and in order to recognise that, new developer Sanzaru Games has siphoned off some of the title’s best activities for Bentley's Hackpack on PlayStation 3 and Vita. But is the cheap and cheerful cross-buy download a steal at £1.59/$2.99, or is it merely fool’s gold?
It’s a surprisingly well crafted package, that’s for sure. Boasting a brand new arcade environment – which you can rotate using the left analogue stick – and the same silly sense of humour as a mainline Sly Cooper game, you’ll almost certainly get a kick out of seeing your favourite characters in a new environment. Even former crook Dimitri Lousteau’s hanging out – and you know you’re in for a good time when the funky fish is in town.
The gameplay revolves around three of the main hacking mini-games from Thieves in Time, but, impressively, they have been completely overhauled for the downloadable application. In order to give the digital release more substance, Sanzaru Games has created all new levels, complete with multiple objectives and fresh visual tricks.
Playable activities include a side-scrolling twin-stick shooter, an isometric puzzle blaster, and a Marble Madness-esque ball rolling game. Aside from the latter’s forced motion controls, all three titles play well, and are surprisingly moreish at first. However, it’s the inclusion of the aforementioned sub-objectives that make these mini-games especially enjoyable to play, even if you’ve already powered your way through Thieves in Times’ main campaign.
All three titles are split up into a series of different stages, with each level including multiple objectives for you to beat. These range from high score targets, to collecting hidden items, and more. Completing any task rewards you with a token, which can then be spent in the gift shop to unlock treasures and bits and pieces of lore. It’s a compelling reward loop, that’s made all the more engaging by the addition of a unique set of Trophies. Sadly, despite the game supporting cross-buy, there’s no cloud save option, meaning that you have to start the campaign from scratch if you want to switch between platforms.
Still, it’s not enough to deter from the overall download’s appeal. The mini-games do lose their lustre after a while, but assuming that you play in short bursts, there’s a good chance that you’ll keep coming back for more. And considering that the package costs less than a McDonald's Happy Meal, there’s more than enough on offer here to raise a smile.