Made by the same developer that created the trial and error puzzler Swim Out, Rip Them Off is a bizarrely interesting mix of capitalism and tower defense. To be clear, Rip Them Off is referring to screwing over customers to maximize profit and has nothing to do with the removal of clothes in an aggressive manner.
It is difficult to describe the gameplay because there isn’t anything quite like it. From a heavily outlined visual interface, players place shops in a row with the goal taking all their money. If a target dollar amount is high enough by the end of the stage, the player can move onto the next. It really is a strange version of tower defense gameplay as shoppers start from one side of the screen and walk in a path to the exit. Instead of killing them, slowing them down, or stopping them in their tracks, the player needs to place icons along the way that makes the shoppers spend their money. Eventually the game grows in complexity with shoppers coming from different directions, they increase in speed, and won’t stop at certain locations.
If this sounds confusing that is because it is. Even after playing through the tutorial and a handful of stages, I still wasn’t totally sure how it all worked. The problem comes from the icons that the player needs to place in certain locations. The game never describes what each one does or how it works. Saying there is a steep learning curve is an understatement and each stage requires numerous trial and error attempts. In fact, there is very little room for error and if you make a bad decision within the opening moments, you are going to fail a stage. It is a lot to understand and there needs to be a high level of dedication to get through the learning curve.
Designed by the same guy who worked on the intro to Mad Man, the clean visuals are easily a standout feature of this digital download. The jazzy soundtrack also leans into this Adobe Illustrator vector art style, placing the presentation values with a high quality.
Rip Them Off deserves credit for being so unique, bizarre, and genre-blending but the learning curve and odd gameplay could easily distract players. If you are into experimental titles and enjoy tower defense with a management simulator twist, this puzzler has potential to please.
Not As Good As: finding a great deal on clearance at Target
Also Try: RIOT: Civil Unrest
Wait For It: Defense Grid 3