Such games are few and far between, the most memorable being Silicon Knight’s Eternal Darkness, a twisted fourth wall breaker that caught me off guard a few times, even though I was expecting it.
So, it was an even bigger surprise when The Heist, a seemingly innocuous puzzle game made me do a genuine double take.
While I was booting the game up for the first time, the phone rang, and brought up the phone app, as expected. It was someone called Sophia. I didn’t recognise her, but I answered all the same. It was only as I was about to say ‘Hello?’ when I realised I was holding an iPod Touch, not an iPhone.
Considering The Heists’ massive sales, I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one who fell for it, at least I hope so.
So, The Heist, you have my attention, what else do you have? Well in terms of breaking the fourth wall, aside from some clever Facetime stuff, that’s about it, although what you are left with is, thankfully an excellent puzzle game that never stops trying to be different.
The aim of the game is to break into a bank vault, aided by Sophia, and the key to doing this lies in breaking four locks. Breaking each lock will remove some of the security mechanisms in place, so security camera and laser netting will go for example. It’s a really nice way of showing your progress in a graphical way.
The are four puzzle types to play with, and each time you complete a puzzle, a status bar will fill a little toward removing the next lock. There is a Sudoku style puzzle, that gets really complex; a block moving robot puzzle, a tangram-a-like and a square slider puzzle.
To be fair, none of them are particularly original, but the presentation and graphics used are really good, and the fact that you can switch and change between them gives a fresh feeling to the experience that helps to stop frustration. You don’t need to finish all the puzzles to unlock the vault, so if you don’t like any of the formats available, you can always leave one be if you so choose.
There are a couple of niggles I should mention. On the robot game, you tap different areas for the little guy to move to, but the problem is that there is no way of cancelling where he is going, so, particularly on the larger levels, you sometimes have to wait for him to go all the way back around the screen if you tap in the wrong place. Tapping anywhere on the screen to cancel his current movement would be a good addition here.
The other slight problem is that, on the Sudoku style stages, on the later, more complex levels, the board pieces can be worryingly close to the back button, meaning you may exit the stage by mistake. A pop up question asking if you really want to leave, usually an annoyance, would help with this problem.
These small issues aside, you shouldn’t have many complaints on your quest to unlock the vault. Unlock it you must, as the prize is well worth it, as it really is an actual prize that you get. Believe me when I say you really have to unlock the vault.
The theming of this game is superb, and has the feel of something truly original. I wish the puzzles themselves were things I hadn’t seen before, but they are well executed, and help to make this an extremely addictive experience. You will find yourself desperate to know what is behind that door, and the reward is well worth the hours it will take most people to do it.
Like the prize itself, this game is a real treasure.