Sold Out Software – Hitman Contracts, Thief, Worms Forts: Under Siege review

round-up of £4.99 games
Photo of Sold Out Software – Hitman Contracts, Thief, Worms Forts: Under Siege
£4.99 (each)

It’s been a while since we’ve ventured into the £4.99 bargain bin that’s offered by Sold Out Software. But while we’ve been looking the other way, Sold Out has shown little signs of slowing down. And here’s some of the evidence, all of which are republished titles from popular gaming franchises.

First up we have Thief, the game that kickstarted one of the best stealth-driven franchises that gaming has ever seen. Superceded to some degree by its sequels, this original is still a good game in its own right, putting you in the shoes of Garrett, the thief of the game’s title.

It sees you needing to sneak through the shadows to unravel a mystery, mixing in a requirement to tealeaf, kill, fight and – crucially – not be caught. What lifts Thief above most others that have tried this route isn’t just the tight gaming mechanic, but also the staggering levels of tension it manages to ratchet up. You’ll live on your nerves through a good game of Thief, and the joy should you warm to this one is that the sequels keep the standard pretty much at this level too.

Worms Forts: Under Siege isn’t the finest direction that this particular franchise has taken, though, arriving at a time when most people realised that there are only so many variants you can bring to armies of worms hurling all sorts of weaponry at one another. This time, the spin is that you build up impressive fortifications, adding a full build-up layer before the action gets going (which proves to act more as a distraction than an addition).

So you arm your worms, get them behind impressive defences and then normal service resumes as each team takes it in turns to try to wipe each other of the face of the earth. It’s passable enough, but feels more different than adding anything of note to the franchise. A fiver is about right for it.

Finally, it’s Hitman Contracts, the latest in the series that mixes in the planning of your hits and then the execution of them. As usual for the franchise, it’s a game that doesn’t reward the all-guns-blazing approach, instead asking you to think things through, improvise where necessary, but complete your missions with the minimum of fuss.

You can try the other way around, and be more noticeable, but the difficulty level will soar if that’s the way you play it. On original release, Hitman Contracts was criticised for not really building on its immediate precessor and just offering more of the same. But that’s a hard criticism to hold to a budget re-release, because there’s easily five quid’s worth of entertainment here. It’s not the best Hitman game, but it’s still very good.

We’ll, naturally, be keeping an eye on Sold Out over the months ahead. But on the basis of the three titles here, its standards are as high as ever. The Worms game is missable, perhaps, but Thief is a must-buy, and you won’t be asking for a refund for Hitman Contracts either.

Company: Sold Out Software

Each of the three titles here is worth a fiver, but Thief is the real standout and Hitman Contracts runs it close.