The evil Dr. Puss has stolen a huge diamond and is keeping it deep within the depths of his lair. It is up to you with your all powerful finger to liberate the diamond from his vault and return it to its rightful owner. Your dexterous finger is the superhero and Dr. Puss's arch nemesis. But does your digit look silly in a cape? Is the diamond better off left in Dr. Puss's clutches and your super powered fingers better off fighting crime elsewhere? Let's have a look at Half-Inch Heist and see.

Half-Inch Heist is a somewhat odd action puzzle game. With one finger, you're asked to liberate a stolen diamond from a case within a villain's lair and navigate the lump of carbon out through a series of elaborate traps and bosses. With the 8-bit aesthetic tugging at your nostalgia strings, this game seems to have all the right ingredients to make a pretty decent arcade game.

For adhering to the 8-bit style, Half-Inch Heist looks pretty good, the colors are vivid and each enemy looks silly and unique. From the little fish that emanate from a boss, to the rockets homing in on your position, each one is rendered with dedicated detail.

The music featured in the game is frenetic, brash, and, at times, caustic. But, I think this compliments the gameplay quite well. The constant assault of beeps and boops from the audio track keeps you focused on the onslaught of missiles and laser beams threatening your progression through the game.

There is only one movement for you to do through the entirety of the game. You have to drag a small diamond around and through and ever expanding moving maze of complex levels. If you let go of the screen for even the slightest moment, you are slapped with a failure screen where you can continue if you have enough coins to sacrifice or simply start again from the beginning. You can collect coins for beating bosses, but the 300 required for you to continue can take a bit of grinding to get. Although, if you have deep pockets, you can easily enough buy your way to a host of continues.

Let's make sure that you're aware of this before continuing. Half-Inch Heist is hard and ruthless. You have to be on top of your movements at every moment in order to progress. If you make one mistake, then it is back to the beginning for you. It is this difficulty that may seem frustrating at first, but it reminds you of a time when games didn't have regenerating health or infinite continues. It makes losing not an option.

Each level is cleverly designed with different traps or enemies that are hiding in Dr. Puss's lair. Everything from batteries of missile launchers to moving walls and lasers stand in your way of sweet freedom. By trial and error, you'll learn the patterns to make your way farther and farther into the level before your diamond is inevitably blasted to bits and you have to start over from the beginning once again.

At times, the game seems to be a bit too difficult and almost unfair. Without any coins saved up, or bought, for continues, you won't make it very far past the second boss. As sad as it might seem, this free game might be deliberately frustrating in order for you to drop some coin on the in-app purchases. Or, you could resort to farming the first boss over and over again.

That being said, even though Half-Inch Heist can be difficult and frustrating, once you dial in your finger movements to muscle memory, you'll start to enjoy the charm of this little game. It is fast, frustratingly difficult, and not the worst way to spend some bandwidth in the App Store. After all, there aren't too many games with bosses named LazerPussy, are there?


App Store Link: Half-Inch Heist for iPhone | By Mutant Labs Ltd. | Price: Free | Version: 1.0 | 43.5 MB | Rating 9+

7.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating