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Half-Inch Heist

For: iPhone

Half baked

Product: Half-Inch Heist | Developer: Mutant Labs | Publisher: Mutant Labs | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Arcade, Hardcore | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Half-Inch Heist iPhone, thumbnail 1
If you boiled down the bullet-hell genre, stripping away all of the periphery mechanics as you did so, you'd be left with something similar to Half-Inch Heist.

This is a game that's all dodge, with giant hails of rockets, bullets, lasers, and bad guys inundating you from the second you start.

While it's a twitchy test of reactions, and pretty good-looking to boot, in the end is hamstrung by its own simplicity.

You're nicked

You control the game with a single finger. A diamond appears at the bottom of the screen, you push down on it, and the game starts. If you lift your finger for even a split-second then you lose and have to start again from the beginning.

IAPs explained
Coins buy you continues, but they only occur in the game after you've killed a boss, which doesn't happen very often. The other way to get them is to pay.

You get a pack of 1500 for 69p, which equates to five second chances. The most expensive pack is £3.99 and gives you 20,000 coins, or just under 67 second chances.

Leaderboard scores show how many coins you've spent, so you'll know if someone's ahead of you on skill alone. They're not exactly cheap, but if you want to get further into the game they're pretty essential.
The key to survival is weaving your way through the shower of munitions flying in your general direction. Last for long enough and you have to take on a boss. Here you need to hover over an exposed weak spot, all the while dodging and weaving through the boss's minions.

At first it feels like a great idea. It's a burst of arcade action that requires concentration, but it isn't hampered by the lack of physical controls the iPhone offers. But after a few tries the problems behind the game's simple premise start to become evident.

For starters, no matter how you play you're going to be obscuring a good chunk of the screen. In a game where split second darts out of the way are the norm, not being able to see a rocket blasting in your direction is a major problem.


Then there's the difficulty level. Half-Inch Heist is uncompromisingly tough. Within the first hour of play you'll have died countless times and not made it past the first boss. Endless runners offer the same death-to-play ratio, but with more variety.

Here you're fighting against the same obstacles over and over, and it starts to become a little wearisome - especially when you keep dying at the same spot time and time again.

With a floating stick control and randomly generated levels, these problems could have been avoided. As it is, Half-Inch Heist feels like a good idea that hasn't quite been thought through.

Half-Inch Heist
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 25 January 2013
While it has an interesting central idea, Half-Inch Heist is more about frustration than it is fun
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Sep 2012
Post count:
Ron Goodrich | 13:02 - 25 January 2013
My biggest problem was the stupid diamond doesn't move as fast as my finger. I couldn't get past the guided missiles at the very beginning because they diamond varies from being under my finger to a good 3/4 inch behind it at time. LAME.
Nov 2011
Post count:
mr_bez | 13:01 - 25 January 2013
"Leaderboard scores show how many coins you've spent, so you'll know if someone's ahead of you on skill alone."

Is this true? As far as I can see, there's only a single leaderboard and it's based purely on score, with no consideration for number of coints earned/bought/spent.
Nov 2011
Post count:
mr_bez | 12:26 - 25 January 2013
Made it past the first boss the first time I played, but still can't quite manage the second. Can't help but think that the high difficulty means that the freemium model won't garner the developer much money, either - paying 69p for 5 continues, each of which might get you an extra 30-60 seconds into the game, is too steep for me. Also, there's a fairly limited amount of content here - if you buy a few continues, you might get to the end, but then what?

Would have much preferred this if it was a cheap paid download, but continues weren't so harshly rationed.