In Half-Inch Heist, the evil Dr. Puss has stolen a priceless diamond, and it’s up to you to steal it back. The game kicks off as you break open the display case and grab hold of the diamond. Dr. Puss has installed a doozy of a security system, and the moment you touch the screen, all hell breaks loose.
First, cannons emerge from the walls to shoot missiles at the diamond. To dodge them, all you have to do is use your finger to drag the diamond out of the way. Next, guided missiles fire at you and follow the diamond as you drag it around the screen. Soon, the walls start to move and lasers start firing and mechanical bosses are unleashed, and it’s all you can do to keep the diamond from blowing up. By all accounts, Half-Inch Heist should be adrenaline-fueled gameplay at its finest.
But! (There’s always a “but,” isn’t there?). Half-In Heist is also frustrating. Insanely frustrating. Rip-out-your-hair frustrating. Smash-your-phone-with-a-hammer frustrating.
One reason is because the diamond always trails a little behind your finger. So as your finger darts across the screen, carefully threading a path through a barrage of missiles, the diamond lags behind, often getting blown up in the process. Worse, if you lift your finger off the screen even for a nanosecond, it’s game over. Want to switch fingers? Sorry, game over. Have to scratch your nose? Game over.
None of this would be so bad if the game had checkpoints and a reasonable continue system. Unfortunately, there are no checkpoints and it costs 300 coins to continue. Coins, we should explain, are few and far between. To have any chance at getting far in the game, you need to spend real-life money to purchase coin packs. Currently, a buck gets you 1500 coins, or five continues. But with the sheer number of times you’re going to die in this game, that probably won’t get you very far.
Granted, if you were to travel back in time to an arcade in the 1990s, five continues for a buck wouldn’t be a bad price. But on an App Store where spending a dollar gets you hundreds of levels in Cut the Rope or Angry Birds, five continues looks paltry in comparison.
Because dying is so unavoidable and continuing costs real-life money, Half-Inch Heist comes off as a devious cash grab on the part of the developer. If they gave you a lot more coins in regular play, or simply charged a few bucks for the game and offered free continues, we’d easily recommend the game. But in its current form, Half-Inch Heist seems designed to con players into giving the developer money.