I'm a huge fan of puzzle games. Throughout the years I installed almost every interesting game from this genre on my iPod touch: Cross Fingers and Smart Sokoban are some of my all-time favorites. I have to confess, I didn't notice MacHeist coming up with their first iPhone game about a year ago. But today, their very sophisticated iPhone game The Heist got updated to version 1.1 and I had the great pleasure to beta test its new features and gameplay. Finally, I also recognized what a great game concept and visual effects The Heist has to offer.
Let's start out with the actual game features. The Heist has got a small "story" around it:
Some puzzle-obsessed nut has rigged up this vault with state of the art defenses! You'll have to crack a variety of puzzles to short circuit the lasers, security cameras and electrified bars. Are you up for the challenge?
Because of that, you frequently get calls by your spying colleague Sophia who gives you more instructions and (not really existing) time limits. Every time she calls you, new levels and difficulties are unlocked until you finally reach the vault.
In version 1.1 this story and the whole app has been enhanced by various features and fixes (taken from its App Store description):
- iPod play through with remote control support
- Game Center enabled on older devices (iPad 1 and iPod Touch 2nd generation)
- Awards earned achievements if any were missed
- Support for unlocking secret Clear theme
- Vault exit button
As the app is developed by the curators of MacHeist, there are some real loots deposited in this vault: with the new 1.1 version you can get steam codes for various games; you can even unlock a secret theme for Clear 1.1. To get there you have to solve four different puzzle games with 15 levels and four difficulty stages. These games actually include Smart Sokoban-style box puzzles, two sliding puzzles with bars and rectangle pieces. The most difficult — and unique — puzzle game in my opinion was the fourth one: a game where you have to sort differently colored stones marked with symbols on the field without having the same symbol two times in a horizontal or vertical row.
These games are not just addictive: they are surrounded by stunning visual effects and endowed with easy gameplay as well. The Heist is a very good example of how extensive and detailed design and the goal of keeping the gameplay smooth and simple should be mixed. Its use of LED effects, light reflections, and other more or less decorative elements is never disturbing the game's content, and The Heist is easy and intuitive to play and understand.
With its Game Center integration (which now also works on iPad 1 and the 2nd generation iPod touch) and new achievements, The Heist is a quite substantial and addictive collection of tricky puzzles, and it definitely has the capability of captivating you for some time. If you like small time killers for short train or bus rides, go and get The Heist 1.1 right now for $0.99 (introductory sale price) .