'The Marvelous Miss Take,' a Red Headed Robin Hood

Very simply put, Miss Take is an exceptionally executed game, advancing a kind of minimalist, arcade-style form of stealth that never wears out its welcome.

The Marvelous Miss Take

Publisher: Rising Star Games
Players: 1
Price: $19.99
Platform: PC
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Developer: Wonderstruck
Release Date: 2014-11-20

My friends and family who caught a glimpse of The Marvelous Miss Take as I was playing it all asked some similar questions: “Are you playing a Barbie game?” or “Are you playing doll house?” These questions might suggest an aesthetic that is detrimental to what isn't a doll house game at all, but a stealth game. However, this aesthetic does really work for the game, which at a quick glance resembles something like an isometric view of a doll house, akin, perhaps, to the perspective and aesthetics of The Sims.

The Marvelous Miss Take is not Assassin's Creed, is not Thief, is not Mark of the Ninja. It's a game that is more light hearted, altogether non-violent, about a red headed Robin Hood that steals art from the rich in order to share that art and the culture that it represents with the poor. It's a good hearted cartoon full of nicely designed toons that set the tone of a family friendly stealth game that is most often about playing hide and seek with brutish, oafish guards, not in taking them out. You won't be slicing the throats of guards or engaging in furious melee with your opponents. You'll be sauntering with style through art galleries and swiping everything in sight before gliding unnoticed back to your hideout.

Quite simply put, there is nothing heavy about the game. The game is easy to learn, the controls are intuitive, and the plot is minimal and straightforward. All of this makes for an exceptionally fun and engaging experience. Early levels give the impression that the game is pretty easy, but as Miss Take unlocks each of the game's chapters (represented in wings of an art gallery that serves as the game's hub), the difficulty escalates in a very reasonable way. By the time you reach the final levels, you will no longer simply be trying to avoid being spotted by a security guard or two, but dodging lasers, throwing hounds off your track, and using some cool little gadgets like glue bombs, a teleportation device, and tape recordings to create distractions and make a clean escape with the goods.

A couple of additional characters, a crippled, semi-retired art thief and a disaffected, young pickpocket unlock as you play, and the game requires you to replay earlier levels with these characters in order to fully unlock all of the later heist missions. These repeated missions are brief and simply offer the opportunity to play the game in a slightly different way to break up the more standard form of play as the titular character. The pickpocket missions are probably more fun than the slower paced play of the more experienced art thief, but again these just offer breaks in a game that could easily wear out its welcome by offering the same kind of play over and over again. Variation in play is always simple here with some levels offering you the chance to use one of the various gadgets at Miss Take's disposal, as opposed to her full arsenal, which again is just enough to keep the game feeling fresh as it incrementally increases its difficulty.

Very simply put, Miss Take is an exceptionally executed game, advancing a kind of minimalist, arcade-style form of stealth that never wears out its welcome. It's fun to look at, it never takes itself seriously, and its simple hide and seek puzzles are a pleasure to engage with in brief, but eventually fairly challenging levels.

This game won't change your life, but it will provide a pretty pleasant diversion for a few hours one afternoon. The game has style and enough substance to heartily recommend to anyone who wants to play a quick and breezy stealth adventure that knows when to slow things down and meticulously plot a course to its goal and when to simply strut on out the front door.

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