A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Peaky Blinders Mastermind is a puzzle/adventure game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The game is based on the hit television series. While it doesn't feature cutting-edge graphics or polished cutscenes, it's still loaded with mature content, including violent encounters, harsh language, alcohol, and more. Women are referred to as "whores" early on (though the game does have a strong woman as one of the characters). The puzzles require players to manipulate time, and there's a learning curve to this, but once it's grasped, the game gets much easier.
What's it about?
Set before the events of the show's first season, PEAKY BLINDERS MASTERMIND follows the rise of Tommy, who discovers a plot to put the family out of business after a Chinese opium dealer is killed. Players will control virtually all of the characters from the show, including Tommy, Polly, and Arthur. The game's hook is the manipulation of time. You can rewind and fast-forward time to affect the timing of events, letting you set up complex strategic plans, and missions must be completed in a certain amount of time. It's a game that relies on coordination between characters -- and you're in charge of making that happen.
Is it any good?
Time manipulation in video games is almost always a good thing. Peaky Blinders Mastermind uses it in a compelling way that lets this game rise above many of the slapdash offerings that are so commonly released as tie-ins to TV shows or movies. If you're a fan of the show, you'll enjoy the ability to play as the characters, but you don't need to have watched an episode to have fun. The joy lies in coordinating your on-screen characters via the time manipulation element (arranging an action, then rewinding so that you're able to pull off an entirely different one in that same period). And you'll use this power to coordinate attacks against guards, burn obstacles, and cause mayhem throughout a level.
The hiccup with Mastermind is that once you figure out the solution to the puzzles, the replay value of the game disappears. There are no random events that can affect your chances of success. You can only try to improve upon your time or find more of the game's collectible items, which don't do anything to help you with your missions. And once you get past the learning curve on the time manipulation, the puzzles aren't incredibly hard. Also, if you're playing on a small screen -- like the Nintendo Switch (in mobile mode) -- the on-screen text can be challenging to read. That's usually not critical, but if you need a hint, it can be frustrating. If you're willing to overlook these minor shortcomings, Peaky Blinders Mastermind could spark an interest in the show and in putting your own stamp on Birmingham.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about family loyalty. How far would you go for your family? Would you be willing to commit a crime for a family member?
Was life as dark in the time period after World War I as it is depicted in the game? Do you think this was done for dramatic effect in the show, and it just carried over to the game?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $24.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Curve Digital
- Release date: August 20, 2020
- Genre: Adventure
- ESRB rating: M for Mature Blood, Drug Reference, Strong Language, Violence
- Last updated: September 2, 2020
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