Review: Whiskey Mafia: Leo’s Family

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I don’t know about you, but I love danger and I’m drawn to things that I probably shouldn’t be. This is why I am fascinated by the crime and gangster world of the 1920s. I recently covered Whiskey Mafia: Frank’s Story and I was not impressed so when I was given Whiskey Mafia: Leo’s family I was naturally a little dubious.

Developped by Fast play and published by ChiliDog Interactive, it is a detective story based on the narration. Set in the 1920s, this comes across as the prequel to Franck’s story. Subsequently, this helps fill in some blanks, but no prior knowledge of the franchise is required to play this game.

Hard work is honest work.

Whiskey Mafia: Leo’s family has a confusing timeline.

You control Christopher, an Italian descendant of a port worker who is fed up with life. His family is poor, his father barely survives and he doesn’t want to live like that. His father is a good and honest man and wants his son to have these traits. He puts him in car school and finds him a job in a garage. However, Christopher wants more, so he visits his shady uncle who runs unsavory company. From there, his life becomes more exciting and dangerous, and you join Leo’s gangster family. Many crimes ensue, and thereafter, there are many run-ins with the law.

Theoretically, the plot is pretty good as the inspiration is clearly drawn from popular gangster movies. The characters are stereotypical, cliché and dated, but they add charm and courage to the story. In addition, the protagonist is likeable, and his fate will resonate with many people. Unfortunately, if you’ve played the original, the timeline of events doesn’t match. Whiskey Mafia: Leo’s family is intended as a prequel, but there are a lot of events in sync which was confusing. This misunderstanding does not impact the gameplay, it just does not match the description of the game.

A shady place, full of shady characters.

Mini-games, poorly translated text, and lack of action.

Whiskey Mafia: Leo’s family took a different approach from the first game. Franck’s story insisted that you walk the streets while doing chores. However, this uses a point-and-click method mixed with visual novel elements. It was a weird combination that limited your ability to explore and slowed down. It made me feel like a spectator as opposed to a player, and it was very strange.

This sense of intrigue was sometimes interrupted by simple, mundane mini-games. You will solve car problems in the form of a set of pipes or move boxes using your cursor. Neither is difficult or interesting, and doesn’t add much to the plot. Their sole purpose is to cement the character of Christopher at this point in the story. For example, is he still a mechanic and a good boy, or does he move goods as a gangster?

Unfortunately, the disappointment continues with the poorly translated narration. Now I wouldn’t normally mind. However, every element of the game is text-based. Fortunately, however, it was not impossible to read between the lines, and much of the text was recoverable. The developers should have reread the game before its release, as the issues undermine a really interesting story.

Whiskey Mafia: Leo’s family is the epitome of the 1920s.

While much of the gameplay didn’t work out, by FastGame the presentation was perfect. The authenticity of the city, vehicles and clothing perfectly captures the era. This was then complemented by the excellent pixelated artistry. Moreover, the mixture of colors represented the oppressive lifestyle of the poor and the extravagance of the rich.

The audio did wonders to bring an otherwise slow title to life. The combination of jazz music and powerful sound effects added a lot of energy. It was fantastic, as the lack of action and the mundane mini-games undermined its potential.

It plays like a visual novel.

I like a good visual novel, so when a game borrows a lot from that genre, I don’t mind. However, most gamers won’t expect a Mafia game to take this approach. Whiskey Mafia: Leo’s family is an adventure title with a punchy theme, so it should be more practical. Most players will be disappointed with the direction this is heading and it will leave many disappointed. There is however a positive point to be drawn from this, the control system is easy to understand. Afterwards, if you like the gameplay, you won’t have to worry about a thing.

One element I liked was the two separate endings. Like many visual novels, you can influence the path of the protagonist. Therefore, you decide if Christopher will be good or bad, and that adds a bit of longevity. Unfortunately, the developers did not develop this area and it was a missed opportunity. Still, all is not gloomy, especially if you are a completion. With an easy to-do list, you’ll finish this in under an hour.

Whiskey Mafia: Leo’s family falls into the same traps as its predecessor.

the Whiskey mafia franchise has such potential that I will be looking at other additions. Yet the two that I have covered fall short of their potential. It’s disappointing because Quick play gets some items correctly, but far too many were wrong. I enjoyed it, but cannot recommend it. If you want an easy winning game you can buy it here! Live the life of a gangster or obey the law. The choice is yours.


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