Thief Simulator Articles RSS Feed | Thief Simulator RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Thief Simulator Review: Crime Kind of Pays Thu, 22 Nov 2018 11:00:03 -0500 Tim White

Simulators seem to be all the rage these days, and I must confess, I rarely understand the appeal. Most of them seem to be based on activities I can't imagine wanting to simulate for entertainment value.

Thief Simulator from developer Noble Muffins at least has a premise I can understand and — to some extent — appreciate. I love to make intricate plans and execute them sneakily.

I would obviously never steal anything in real life, but pretend digital crime? Bring it on.


Games that have the word "simulator" right in their titles generally don't have any sort of narrative, and that's fine. I can't very well assess an element that doesn't exist in Thief Simulator. Moving on!


There's an inherent downside to not having any sort of story in a video game: the gameplay is pretty much all that's left. Consequently, it had better be strong enough to hold players' attention for a while.

Is Thief Simulator's core gameplay loop sufficient to keep the whole ship afloat?

Kind of.

It's immediately clear upon starting the game that it doesn't have a huge budget. That's fine; I'm interested in what the developers have done with what they have, not what they might have done with what they don't have.

That being said, the content that's here is reasonably fun — there's just not all that much of it, and once you've seen it all, there's not much reason to go back. The developers regularly roll out new content in small batches, but it's unclear how much the game might grow over time.

You start with no skills and no tools (other than a less-than-subtle crowbar). Steal a few things, pawn them for cash, buy tools and skills with your profits, and then you can lift more expensive things that are more heavily guarded.

On occasion, a perfectly planned and executed heist can be ruined by technical issues, such as an inability to move onto certain surfaces while crouched or doors loudly slamming when you definitely pressed the button to close them quietly.

These problems aren't frequent, but they crop up often enough to merit a word of caution if you're on the fence about buying the game.

If homeowners catch you in the act, police will arrive swiftly, and if you get busted, it's back to the last checkpoint, which are only created when you rest in your car or leave the area, so there's some pressure to take your time and avoid notice.

However, that sense of caution has to be maintained largely through voluntary roleplay once you figure out that it's pretty easy to hide from the fuzz until they go away.

In short, Thief Simulator is only as immersive and challenging as you choose to make it. An optional "hard mode" extends the game's life somewhat by removing the mini-map and making NPCs more perceptive, but it's still ultimately up to the player to refrain from abusing the clumsy A.I. if they really want to play the game as it's meant to be played.


Thief Simulator won't be winning any awards in this department, but that's OK — graphics are too over-hyped these days anyway. I don't think its mildly clunky PS2-era aesthetic counts against it too heavily.

The UI is functional if a bit too crowded. A more minimalist and less distracting visual presentation would have helped maintain the immersion that the game relies so heavily on to create tension.

The display on your in-game computer is especially ugly, but at least it's easy to use.

Sound & Music

The music selection is limited to a half-dozen tracks or so, ranging from a handful of snazzy jazz tunes in your hideout to sparse dramatic strings during a heist.

Most of it is generic enough to fade from conscious awareness, which is probably for the best; there are already some distracting visual elements that make it hard to focus at times.

Voice acting and sound effects are equally amateurish, but far from terrible. Again, that's not necessarily a criticism; it would be ridiculous to expect such a small indie project to hire John Williams or Troy Baker. In the context of the whole package, the sound design gets the job done well enough.


If nothing else, Thief Simulator's dated graphics and simple A.I. make it palatable even to budget-friendly rigs. I experienced no stuttering or any other performance issues on a GTX 1080 with an i-7700 Skylake CPU, and I wouldn't expect most other hardware configurations to struggle either.

Load times can be long, especially when first launching the game — so long that you may think it's frozen. It hasn't (probably). It may be upwards of a minute, but Thief Simulator does most of its loading at startup, so you shouldn't have to wait nearly as long between missions.

The Verdict

Thief Simulator could have been fantastically fun if there were more to do and if it were more challenging. As it exists now, it's just kind of fun, for a while. I hesitate to recommend a full-price purchase at $19.99, but if it goes on sale for 50% off or more, stealth fans may want to give it a whirl.


+ Only does one thing, but does it reasonably well
+ Cautious players who stick to the rules will have more fun
+ Regular updates from devs that seem to be active and responsive


– Not much to do after 5-10 hours
– Rudimentary A.I. can be easily abused
– Occasional problems with input and collision detection

Keep an eye on GameSkinny's Thief Simulator page as the game receives more updates in the future.

[Note: The developer provided a copy of Thief Simulator for the purpose of this review.]

11 Tips for Sneaky Stealing in Thief Simulator Sun, 18 Nov 2018 15:40:46 -0500 Tim White

A good title is snappy, descriptive, and to the point. Thief Simulator certainly fits the bill. As a fledgling criminal, you won't be pulling off six-figure heists right away. In fact, you're a pretty terrible thief at first. Thief Simulator has a fairly bare-bones tutorial; learning how to steal everything that isn't nailed down without getting busted is largely trial and error.

Never fear—follow these 11 simple tips and you'll be lifting diamonds and hacking cameras before you know it.

1. Observe Tenant Routines (or Buy Intel)

The first and most important thing to remember for an amateur thief is to minimize risk. The easiest way to do that is to make sure any house you intend to burgle is empty.

Cautiously approach a home while crouched and peek through some windows; staying low will reduce the risk of being spotted if someone is home. When tenants are home, you can aim at them and click the Mark button (default middle mouse button) to record their routine for that part of the day.

Check back several times throughout a 24-hour period to get an idea of when the house is vacant. When all the arrows in the upper-right of the screen are in blue sections of their respective meters, nobody's home. Get in and get out!

Later on, once you've got some upgraded abilities under your belt, you can confidently burglarize occupied homes, but play it safe to start.

Alternatively, if you've got cash to burn, you can buy intel for many homes on the computer in your hideout; this will reveal helpful facts about your target without having to stake it out yourself.

2. Plan Ahead

Nothing's worse than painstakingly planning a heist, only to realize you left your tools at home. You can buy lockpicks, climbing gear, and other useful kit at Tools4Thieves on your home computer. Make sure you're bringing the right tools for the job at hand (and watch your weight, too—most tools take up some space in your backpack, leaving less room for loot).

Lockpicks can break, so bring several. Also note that higher-level lockpicks cannot unlock lower-level locks, so you'll need to carry a few of each type at all times.

3. Practice at Home

Some of the tools take a little getting used to. For example, there are several different kinds of lockpicks, and they all work differently. Practice on the dummy locks at home before you take them to a job. The middle of a stranger's living room at 2:00 AM is not the time or place to realize you don't know what you're doing.

4. Nighttime is Not Always Better

Sometimes you'll want to start a job at night, but sometimes daytime is preferable—when the homeowners are at work, perhaps. Getting into and out of a house unobserved is harder in broad daylight since there are more people on the streets.

On the other gloved hand, nighttime heists are generally more profitable once you've gained a few ranks in each of your basic skills, which will enable you to sneak through and clean out an occupied home (or several on the same block) without waking the owners. There will be fewer people on the streets, so entry and exit will be easier.

Rule of thumb: daytime jobs are easier and safer, nighttime jobs net bigger rewards.

5. Back In & Pop the Trunk

The job isn't over once you've got your paws on the loot—you still need to escape with it. Make this part easier by choosing a parking spot close to your target(s), but relatively out of plain view. Point the car toward your intended escape route and leave the hatch open and ready for large items to be loaded.

This will save precious seconds when it's time to leave—seconds that can make the difference between escape and capture, if the fuzz is onto you.

6. Don't Get Greedy

Weird advice for a thief, right? Seriously, though, it doesn't matter how much loot you've scooped up if you end up in the back of a police cruiser. Know when to call it a day, especially at lower levels. One full backpack and a clean getaway is worth far more XP and cash than a pair of handcuffs, which is all you'll get if you spend too much time in one place or attempt jobs you're not well prepared for.

7. Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast

Speed is not your friend. It is, but not in the way you're thinking.

Homeowners and civilians in Thief Simulator do, in fact, have ears. They can and will hear drawers slamming all up and down the block. You can press E to fling open doors and containers with wild abandon, or hold E to open them nice and quiet-like. Get in the habit of doing this without fail.

Homeowners generally don't enter different rooms unless their routine is changing due to time passing or unless they have a reason to, so don't give them one.

8. Bottoms Up

"Successful" home invaders are efficient above all else. You'll spend a lot of time searching dressers and cabinets; you can cut that time in half by doing it smartly.

Open vertically stacked drawers and containers from the bottom up, so you can see inside each one without having to close it before you can see into the next one.

Please never, ever put this trick to use in real life.

9. Hide the Evidence (or Yourself, at Least)

A master thief is a ghost. Ideally, the homeowner should never know you were there until they specifically go looking for something you've lifted.

People will notice things that are not as they left them; open doors and drawers, missing items that were in plain view, and broken windows will all blow your cover in short order.

Whether you want to clean up after yourself as you go or do it all at once after you've emptied the whole house is largely personal preference. It's a question of how much loot you want to trade for extra safety. If you do get busted, it's often better to hide and wait for things to cool down than to try to outrun the 5-0.

10. Your Car Can Hold Stuff

Your biggest obstacle in the beginning will be your tiny, tiny backpack. It can't hold much. The game doesn't explicitly tell you that there's a gray box in the passenger seat of your car, and that you can put stuff in it.

If you're doing well on time and things are going smoothly, consider running back to the car to dump your haul and then going back for more.

(But don't forget tip #6.)

When it's time to pawn your pilfered goods, you'll have to pull them back out of the box at the pawn shop and make several trips inside. The extra minute or two of manual labor will be worth it.

11. Sell Online, Then Patronize Your Pawn Shop

In some cases, large or rare objects that you "re-home" will fetch much better prices on BlackBay (accessed from your home computer) than they will in the pawn shop. When a hard day's crime is done, it's worth stopping by home before you visit the pawn shop to see if your loot can be turned into bigger piles of cash, especially if you've picked up something that looks unusual.

There you have it! Keeping these basic strategies in mind will make your entry-level stealing much easier and more enjoyable.

Keep an eye out for more Thief Simulator guides as we get further into the game.