Adventure Corner ~ Penny Larceny: Gig Economy Supervillain
Welcome to Adventure Corner, a column where members of the RPGamer staff can give their thoughts, impressions, and pseudo-reviews for various adventure titles that don’t come under our usual coverage. Adventure Corner is aimed at delivering opinions on a wide range of titles including visual novels, point-and-click adventures, investigative mysteries, and so forth.
In this edition of the column, we look at Fiction Factory Games’ Penny Larceny: Gig Economy Supervillain on PC.
Penny Larceny: Gig Economy Supervillain
The cost of living has skyrocketed in the last few years; the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and everyone else is living paycheque to paycheque. Even my video games are reminding me that grocery stores are reporting record profits, corporations are union-busting, and workers are rallying, the parallels to the real world are uncanny. Is it any wonder that people are looking for ways to save money, even if it means committing crimes? In Fiction Factory Games’ latest release, Penny Larceny: Gig Economy Supervillain, gamers are introduced to a group of supervillains who may in fact have more in common with Robin Hood than they do with full-on villainy.
Players take on the role of the voice inside the mind of Penny Larceny, a young con artist and grifter who is seeking access to Crimr, the biggest social media platform for villains. With no money to their name, and their best friend Gibson the cat at their side, everything feels challenging, to say the least. But when Gibson’s cybernetic implants being to crap out, Penny will commit crimes all for the sake of helping their friend. During the tutorial mission, Penny must find a way to gain access to the Crimr app by committing a heist at their old job. Once they complete it, the perspective shifts to a mask mixer, wherein Penny will meet three potential bosses during a round of supervillain speed-dating: Doctor Mayhem, a man who was framed and turned to a life of crime; the Overmistress, a sexy cult leader looking to resurrect the Many-Faceted One; and finally Hate-4000, a supercomputer who loathes humanity, but loves cats.
Using the Crimr app, Penny is given three free cases before they are told that they need to upgrade to premium services. With three bosses to choose from, players can opt to work exclusively for one or mix and match for different options. As Penny works with each boss, they are given a brief period to scope out the job beforehand to gain advantages and special intel. Once the caper begins, players make decisions during the caper. These decisions affect the caper’s star rating at the end, and it is entirely possible to receive no stars if they fail spectacularly on the job. Earning stars doesn’t have a major effect on the overall story, they are merely there to rate the player on how successful they were during the caper.
Outside of assisting the crime lords, Penny can also work towards building relationships with them, both platonic and romantic. While the game is chock full of great humour and hilarious shenanigans, the game’s writing is at its best when it takes a more empathic approach to its cast of characters. With each completed playthrough, players receive more information about how the world changed, each building off of the core storyline surrounding Penny’s past, what happened to the world during a significant event, and why many of the villains have the motivations they do.
The cast of characters in Penny Larceny is wonderful and thoroughly developed. Each character Penny interacts with feels genuine, and the game’s sense of humour and confidence certainly shines through every interaction. The game focuses on a variety of themes that include capitalism, disability, and gender identity, and all of it is handled with a lot of love and care. It’s easy to feel empathy towards many of the rogues that Penny encounters, and while certain heavier topics are also explored, such as suicide and self-harm, these topics are well examined.
On the romance front, the cast of Penny Larceny is various flavours of both crazy and sweet. Not only can Penny explore their naughty side, but a lot of the romances are also surprisingly fluffy. The game offers a lot of dirty puns that are laugh-out-loud hilarious, and the game is very open about its fade-to-black sexual content, though this can be toggled off in the options. It’s important to note if you are someone who does not like foul or suggestive language that this game may not be for you, as there is tons of it. Penny can have sex with a computer, ’nuff said.
There are a few interesting accessibility options within Penny Larceny that are worth noting. First are the ability to change the font to OpenDyslexia and a text-to-speech option for the visually impaired. Players can also play with the dialogue display to have it be colourful, more monotone, and even inverted, as well as solid or transparent text boxes. The game features bright, bold, comic book-style art, along with fun speech bubbles that make players feel like they are playing an interactive comic. The music does a great job of providing tracks that are lively and boppy, with the tracks fitting nicely throughout various scenes.
It’s hard to find anything wrong to say about Penny Larceny. It’s one of those games where failing and succeeding both provide comedy gold, and everyone Penny encounters is utterly insane and also stupidly charming. Fiction Factory Games adds another fun tale to its catalog of games, with every character’s story worth exploring. Fans of visual novels will find a lot to love and laugh about, as Penny Larceny steals hearts and your wallet.
Disclosure: This article is based on a free copy of the game provided by the publisher.