Upon first glance, Tony and Clyde instantly reminded me of Kane and Lynch: Dead Men. Especially Tony, who is almost Lynch’s doppelganger. However, what we have here instead is a straightforward shooter, which could also just about be described as an action and adventure game.
Titular criminals Tony and Clyde are described as not being “simple thugs from the streets”. This is rather ironic, as the gameplay is perfectly summed up by this quote. Despite an edgy looking cover, this book is severely lacking in substance.
The game is made up of several chapters which are split up by cutscenes. You learn about both lead characters through these, but to be honest the more I saw of them the less I liked them. I’m not particularly sensitive, but the dialogue is littered with gratuitous foul language seemingly for the sake of it. As a result the cutscenes felt too long and chatty, adding nothing to a pretty common story about small-time crooks trying to make it big.
Although stylised, Tony and Clyde looks pretty average truth be told. The hand-drawn, 2D cutscenes stand out in their own way, but the in-game engine looks as if it could have easily run on consoles from a couple of generations ago. Your character will also shout the same couple of lines of dialogue over and over again which gets irritating very quickly indeed.
Tony and Clyde plays from a third person perspective. The left thumbstick moves your character, and the right is used to aim your weapon. Rather oddly however, RT swaps your weapon and RB fires it which is the opposite way around from nearly every other shooter. This sounds like a minor issue, but old habits die hard and when you press the wrong button, you’ll be instantly punished with death. Even when you do press the right button, aiming is so horribly inaccurate it’s better to just spray bullets and hope for the best.
The fixed camera which follows you is also somewhat frustrating, as offscreen enemies will often get the drop on you. You’ll blunder into gunfire and get shot down almost immediately. You can dodge by hitting LB, but you’ll need super sharp reactions to beat the bullets travelling towards you if caught by surprise.
Each chapter is very linear, there are no items to collect or incentives for taking out every enemy you cross paths with. However, you cannot simply leg it for the finish line because it doesn’t take much to kill you. Dodging works a lot of the time but is no guarantee of survival, especially when you are surrounded. Enemies will slowly pursue you in a Terminator-like fashion whilst endlessly spraying bullets in your direction.
If you manage to get close to, or sneak up on, an enemy then you will quickly whip out your knife to execute them. As you do horrendous lag kicks in until the sequence has finished, and this happens every time. You can also get shot through walls, and scrolling up and down through the main menu is inverted for some unknown reason. It’s safe to say Tony and Clyde has its fair share of rough edges.
At the end of each chapter you’ll usually come across a more powerful enemy who takes an awful lot of bullets to put down. This feels especially unfair as if you take just a few hits you’ll have to restart from the last checkpoint (which despite being frequent don’t feel nearly frequent enough). Their health bar is also confusing, at first looking like it’s been depleted before requiring you to “fill” it rather than empty it like in the traditional sense. These encounters are a real grind, and before long your hands will feel the strain.
As a result, surviving feels like a lottery. You essentially end up firing at your enemies whilst rolling around like a hyperactive gymnast in the blind hope of surviving, only to repeat the process numerous times which turns into a repetitive, anger inducing death filled groundhog day.
You can make some use of explosive scenery, but be careful not to take yourself down in the process. Put bluntly, you’ll die a lot in Tony and Clyde. This isn’t an issue in itself, but because it feels like you have little to no control it sucks the fun out of the game. I suppose this means you could describe the game as difficult, but it far from delivers an enjoyable challenge.
The only sense of progression in Tony and Clyde comes from unlocking new weapons as you play. This is achieved by killing the “juice man” in each level, which is a slang term for a loan shark. However, they either like fancy dress or are literally human juice cartons here; for reasons which I don’t wish to ponder on.
You can customise your loadouts with new weapons which may make things a tad easier, but offer no substantial difference to the gameplay. You can also switch between playing as Tony or Clyde in the same menu. Don’t choose this from the pause menu mid-game however, because you’ll lose your chapter progress without any warning.
What really cements my opinion on Tony and Clyde is the price. It will set you back an extortionate £16.74. There is no dressing it up, it’s far too expensive for what it is.
The good news is that it’s ridiculously easy to earn all 1000G in Tony and Clyde. The Gamerscore is thrown at you for essentially doing two things; shooting and dying. There is no better metaphor for this game than that.
Tony and Clyde is a frustrating, repetitive and, frankly, offensive game. I can’t in all good faith recommend it.
Tony and Clyde is available from the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S