The Heist

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
The Heist App Poster Image
Only expert puzzle fans need apply.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn logic and deductive reasoning as they work to solve the puzzles the game throws at them. To successfully complete the game, players will need to carefully assess the goals and the obstacles. There's a lot of trial and error -- and a lot of frustration -- but kids who stick with it and figure out the puzzles will get a boost of self-confidence. 

Ease of Play

While the first puzzle or two might seem pretty easy, the game ramps up the difficulty quickly. Younger players will almost certainly get frustrated. Further, the game doesn't coddle users, and comes with no instructions or tutorial. It simply throws the puzzles at the players and lets them figure out how they're supposed to win.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Heist is a puzzle game that incorporates espionage elements. Players are thrust into the game with no explanation, no tutorial, and no help. That might be a bit much for younger players (and some older ones), but it does help add to the game's mysterious air. If players do manage to complete all of the puzzles, the vault opens to offer a redemption code for a $10 puzzle game on Steam -- a non-Apple gaming service that parents should investigate before allowing their children to use it. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.

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What's it about?

Players are faced with four types of puzzles (and no explanation of what to do). One tasks them to move wooden pieces around in a maze to clear a path for an electronic tube to plug into a circuit. Another echoes shades of Sudoku with color-coded pebbles. A third has a robot pushing power blocks around a tiny grid to their chargers. And the final is a slide-block puzzle to connect circuits. Solve a certain number of puzzles and one of the defenses guarding the game's vault will disarm. Solve them all and you win.

Is it any good?

It takes a unique game to unseat Angry Birds from its roost at the top of the sales chart -- and The Heist certainly qualifies in that regard. While most games -- especially puzzle games -- gently ease players into the game and take a long time to ramp up difficulty, this app offers no instructions and hits you with some hard puzzles pretty quickly. After you start the app, a "call" (actually a pre-recorded element of the game) on your iDevice explains that you're there to assist breaking into the imposing vault on the screen. From there, you'll have to figure out what the goal of each puzzle is and how to achieve it. It's not a game for the fainthearted, but it is a lot of fun and will test your puzzle-solving skills.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Encourage kids to play other games that teach them to be forward-thinking, such as like chess.

  • Play the game with your kids -- a challenge is always more fun when it’s a team effort.

  • Model problem-solving strategies by thinking aloud. Kids will learn from your example.

App details

For kids who love challenging apps

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