Big Con is a game that tells a compelling story about a teenage girl, her single mother, running wild and making tough choices. Games set in the 90’s refer to some of those times. Although billed as an adventure title, Big Con’s greatest strength is its story.
My favorite element of Big Con is storytelling. You play as a sneaky and rebellious 17-year-old girl named Ali. Once the game starts, you’ll learn more about her relationship with her mother, a single mother who wants to make money by running a video rental store. As with any good story, the key moment is when she learns that Ali’s mother owe $ 97,000 to loan sharks. If she doesn’t repay the money in a short period of time, she will lose the video store. Ali wants to help her mother as she tries to make her own money. Of course, it’s a lot of money, and Ali comes across another teen and offers her the opportunity to make a lot of money by pulling some shortcomings.
The game handles the difficulty well. First, you start by pickpocketing people. The mechanic is relatively easy. As you approach the NPC, you will see a wallet icon in the lower left corner. The more money you have in your wallet, the harder it is to lift. To steal money, hold down the Y button and let go when you’re in the purple zone. The more money an individual has, the smaller the area. Once caught, you can disguise yourself and try the robbery again. I think this is a smart mechanic, but after a while it became old. There is an option to turn off the mechanic so that you can walk and steal money without a mini-game, but I found it too easy. However, it’s great that developers have realized that this gameplay can be a hassle.
As you continue, you will learn other ways to make money. Eavesdrop on the conversation, find out what people have to them, or what they want most, then steal the item (to sell to someone else) or they’re looking for You can find what you have and make money that way. This added a little puzzle solving to the game, and I enjoyed this aspect. There were times when I didn’t get a clue. I was allowed to continue without completing these, but that certainly adds to the challenge for completeists.
You can also do a pawnshop fetch quest. Again, these are optional, but you pay a fair amount for each item. Each city has a store with the same owner (Ali makes some sneaky comments about it). Another way you can make money is to distract the clerk when asking if they can break the cash for you. Looking at their clues suggests whether you should tell them a joke or a strange fact. The more money you try to break, the more complicated the scenario.
All of these situations are handled with witty and funny jokes. The subject is dark, but humor certainly brightens the mood. This is one of the first games in a long time that I really connected with the protagonist and terrified some of the choices she made. I may have been a teenager while the game was playing, but Ali was a friendly and funny character and I didn’t want her to do anything wrong with this story. At first, I was a little late for art. The character’s skin is reminiscent of a blue or green Doug-like show, but the animation is a bit rougher than Doug. But after getting to know Ali and playing more stories, art didn’t bother me. In fact, it was part of the appeal of Big Con.
Big Con is aware of its dark and emotional story. There is an optional scene where you can trick money from one of the clerk. In the conversation, there is a reference to the sad existence of the side characters in video games. It’s an interesting scene that breaks the fourth wall, but in the end, the clerk tells you not to distract from the heavy humor.