Playing Hand of Greed is best described as a surreal experience. You play the role of a jewel-hungry thief who snatches his treasures from between rotating swords and swinging pendulums. Getting hit by one of these obstacles causes you to lose virtual blood, but the effect may fool you into thinking the pain is physical and you’ll be saying ‘OW!’ before you know it.
Hand of Greed succeeds in creating a realistic experience due to the excellent execution of its concept. The crisp graphics, sound effects, and blood splatter effect immediately put you into a somewhat frantic state of mind.
To make matters worse, you risk death by losing too much blood, or if the timer ticks down to zero. The rush to collect every item and move on to the next round isn’t just due to adrenaline: Your (virtual) life is on the line.
Go ahead, put your hand in there.
There are 50 levels spread across five environments in the game. Each environment has visuals specifically tailored to it, making it obvious this is no cut-and-paste job. Every location also introduces a new kind of weapon that makes the game even more difficult. This ultimately leads the game to become ridiculously challenging, but at least you can move on to the next environment after completing just some of the levels in the previous area.
Despite how much fun it is, Hand of Greed is missing an endless mode. Levels are pre-rendered, so replaying them will always be a similar experience. There is the option to max out your score on OpenFeint, but we would have enjoyed a survival mode with randomly generated levels.
We think Hand of Greed is easily worth every penny of the $0.99 asking price, just for the experience of role-playing a thief on a deadly mission. Pick it up, peril-free.