- Compelling narrative
- Hacking mini-games that provide little challenge
- Weekly chapter releases limit your gaming sessions
Based on the hit Netflix series Money Heist, Money Heist: Ultimate Choice is one of the streaming service’s latest mobile games. An interactive narrative title that features some fun puzzles, Money Heist: Ultimate Choice lets you join the crew for the La Perla de Barcelona heist, planned by The Professor.
Upon launching the game, you can choose from several avatars to represent your character. You’ll also select your character’s code name from a list of cities and specify their preferred pronouns. Many interactive narrative games don’t allow players to customize their character, making this a lovely touch. Further, the ability to choose your character’s preferred pronouns makes the game more inclusive and, thus, more immersive for many players.
The La Perla de Barcelona Heist
To the rest of the crew, the La Perla de Barcelona job is just that; for you, it’s personal. Within the museum walls is the heirloom that cost your family their lives. Now, thanks to the Professor and this new job, you’ll finally have your revenge on the people who hurt your family. However, what was meant to be a simple heist quickly becomes a complicated hostage situation after one of your teammates is recognized by a mobster. Luckily, the Professor always has a backup plan.
Money Heist: Ultimate Choice throws you right into the action. The game is divided into chapters, with 11 chapters available at the time of writing this review. As you meet and interact with crew members such as Tokyo, Rio, and Berlin, your relationships with them will change depending on your reactions. Will you lay on the charm or push your crew members away? The choice is up to you, but remember, what pleases one crew member may royally piss off another.
Tune in Next Week
Unfortunately, chapters are rather short, often offering only ten minutes of gameplay. This means that with the current 11 chapters, you only get about two hours’ worth of gameplay. While Netflix is still releasing more chapters, right now, the game feels half-finished. I would have preferred the streaming service to release the entirety of the game like it does with new seasons of television shows, rather than dole out chapter releases over time. It’s hard to stay immersed in a game when you can only play one new chapter every week.
Every chapter features difficult choices and the various options which change the narrative give the game a high level of replayability. Will you call the Professor or whip out your gun when things get tense? Do you side with wild card Berlin or doe-eyed Denver when the crew is divided? Every choice will affect how the rest of the chapter and the overall narrative play out.
Can You Hack It?
Together, you and Rio are the crew’s hackers. Because there are two hackers, you’ll often have a choice between two hacking tasks. Money Choice: Ultimate Heist’s hacking mini-games are too easy to be called puzzles. There are two main kinds of hacking mini-games – cracking passwords and connecting wires.
Passwords are 5 or 6 digits long and are very easy to guess if you’ve been paying attention to the narrative.
There are a handful of options for each character in the password. You scroll through the options, select what you believe to be the correct characters, and hit enter. If you get the password right, you’re done. Otherwise, any letters or numbers you got right will turn green and be locked in. You’ll then need to find the correct remaining characters. Considering the clues you get, it isn’t much of a challenge. For example, when hacking a particular phone, you’ll get a hint stating that the password is the owner’s last name.
Connecting wires is also fairly simple. You’ll see three coloured wires that are not connected. You’ll rotate pieces on a grid until each wire connects. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to the number of moves you can make. Ultimately, the hacking mini-games fail to provide a challenge, making them feel pointless.
Money Heist: Ultimate Choice offers a compelling interactive narrative experience. Since your choices change how the story plays out, the game is worth playing a few multiple times or will be once it’s out in its entirety. However, failing to release the game’s entire story upon launch was a poor decision. The game is engaging, but it’s likely that you’ll have moved on to a new game by the time another chapter comes out. Yes, the plot is engaging and the characters intriguing. Still, the flaws above, combined with the game’s lacklustre mini-games, bring the game down a few notches.