Even with one arm tied behind its back, One-armed Robber outshines Payday 3

Safe door explosion
(Image credit: Duhndal)

One of the newest free-to-play games to pop out of Steam’s long grass and into my library is the hilarious heist simulation One-armed Robber, and apart from standing out in a crowd of heavy hitters like Payday 3, this co-op heist has introduced me to my new calling in life.

Sitting outside a high-end jewelry store in an inconspicuous white getaway van, our group of amateur robbers divided up the jobs for the heist. There was a leader who would take out all the security guards and clock their pagers in, so no one suspected anything, the bag-guy who followed suit with a loot sack at the ready to rob the place clean, and our lookout who watched doors and streets for police activity. Lastly, there was little old me armed with a single lockpick and enough adrenaline to kill an elephant. 

Why was I so nervous? Well, in One-armed Robber, each player only has a single arm with which to attempt the game's tense heists. 

Our main point of entrance would be the employee back door; the only hitch was that a security guard was pacing up and down the alley on the lookout for people just like us. Without any warning, I was directed into the alley and straight to the back door. after the security guard was disposed of, I only had 14 seconds to open the door so we could deactivate the pager. With only one arm to pry the door open, I was left desperately hitting the lock with the lockpick, a method that wouldn’t work as well in any other game. 

I may not win any prizes for lockpicking speed, but I did get that door open just in time. After this, the rest of the operation went relatively smoothly. Apart from some restarts because of a loose trigger finger and my classic blunder of dropping my only lockpick right in front of an active security camera. Otherwise, it was a clean operation, which ended in us getting over $70k of jewelry and cash out of the store. 

Tied up

picking a locked door

(Image credit: Duhndal)

One-armed Robber has one simple premise, and it’s hilarious: you and up to four other people are tasked with making a name for yourself and completing heist missions of scaling difficulty. There are two core ways to go about each level; you can go in all guns blazing or be more precise and under the radar. There are also options to be somewhere in the middle, so each mission can change depending on your mood and how many bodies you want to try and hide.

There are various free levels, like the jewelry store and an art museum for you and your friends to explore and rob. There are also different guns, tools, and upgrades that you can get with the scores you take in robberies. These can help reduce recoil, quiet down shots, and even shorten the time needed to pick locks. 

Other than this, there isn’t a whole lot more to One-armed Robber, but that’s ok, as this hilarious heist game is currently free to play on Steam. While it may not have flashy graphics or expansive maps, this free game is just as enjoyable, if not more so than some expensive heist games.  

It just works 

Shooting at a glass window

(Image credit: Duhndal)

One-armed Robber is a hilarious heist game but is more than meets the eye. The antics, trials, and tribulations of manning a competent heist with one arm tied behind your back - not to mention the seemingly endless horde of S.W.A.T. constantly knocking at the door - makes for a great new way to add some spice to a genre that can go stale at times. 

One-armed Robber won’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s still nice to change things up

Titles like Payday 3 suffered from this repetition. 10 years after Payday 2 was released, Payday 3 felt like a more polished version of its predecessor, opting for simpler stealth and a few more guns instead of a whole new approach to robbing banks. While the Hitman-like levels did provide some new content, the most recent addition to the series did fall flat on its potential. 

One-armed Robber doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it’s still nice to change things up every now and again. If you’re looking for a new game to play with friends but don’t want to break the bank, then this free game is definitely worth a look at; just make sure you practice your lockpicking skills beforehand.

If you’re in the market for more fantastic games which come at no extra cost then check out the best free games and the best free-to-play Steam games that are available right now.

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.