[Review] The Heist – Live Mission Game
This review is also available in: Deutsch (German)
iDventure paved the way for detective games in Germany 3 years ago with their first detective story case, “Fire in Adlerstein”. There are now countless of these cases, whether from small or large publishers or even directly from Escape Room providers. Now it’s iDventure’s turn to break new ground and launch a live mission game with The Heist. Read here how we liked it.
At first glance, The Heist looks like one of the many crime games on the market. When you open the game box, you will find countless documents, notes, photos and flyers inside. However, this time we don’t have to solve a criminal case. Because this is a live mission game.
In The Heist we are not detectives, but a team directing field agents in the execution of a bank robbery. Similar to the professor in the Netflix series Money Heist.
As mission leaders, we are responsible for the smooth running of this operation. The communication with the agents on site takes place via the messenger app Telegram.
The world is threatened by a massive cyber attack by the Zipacna cartel. Your mission is to break into the cartel’s house bank to steal the financial resources planned for the cyber attack. Take your time to prepare the bank robbery and coordinate the field agents – because the execution happens in real time! Save the world from the cyber attack!
How is The Heist played?
First of all, we had to install the Messenger app, which is the central element of the game and handles all communication. Each of the players can connect to an agent and communicate accordingly.
The Heist combines elements of both escape and detective games. The first step was to look through the supplied documents and get an overview, as is common in detective games. As soon as the communication with the corresponding agents starts, structure comes into the game all by itself.
Each of these agents has a part to play in this mission. We were asked various questions via Telegram about the further course of the mission, were asked for addresses, passwords, etc. and thus drove the game forward to the grand finale.
For this purpose, the aforementioned documents had to be sifted through, information had to be researched and put into context. All this happens in perceived real time. So we always got quick feedback on whether our answers were correct, were kept up to date with small video sequences and voice messages.
If we had been stuck, we would have had an artificial intelligence at our disposal that could have helped us.
Did The Heist convince us?
In fact, The Heist managed to give us a different gameplay feel than the classic detective games. Even though time ended up playing less of a factor here, it still felt like a real-time adventure. Thus, more dynamics and emotion – and sometimes stress – developed during the gameplay, which contributed immensely to the believability of the roles we took on as mission leaders.
The fact that each of the players was in contact with other agents meant that there was much more communication and delegation of tasks than in conventional investigations. The roles were more clearly distributed and thus everyone was involved during the game, which is a big plus in such cooperative games.
The communication with the agents felt quite natural, even though you knew that they were so-called bots that shared pre-programmed feedback.
However, the tasks weren’t too difficult in the end and were fair and logical at all times. If you are looking for real brain teasers, this is not the place for you. Many of the included documents give the answers quite obviously, or they are rather A+B=C tasks. You don’t have to think much around the corner here, but this also contributes to the authenticity in the end. But even if the puzzles are not difficult, the details or clues are partly well hidden in the documents.
The Heist is an entertaining game in which time flew by.
The deal with messenger apps
The only major drawback for us personally was that we had to install a new messenger app especially for the game, which we had never used before and thus had to share our data with this app. This will probably also trigger an uneasy feeling in one or the other. WhatsApp is certainly not the safest solution, but it is perhaps the most common.
Update 01.02.2022 – WhatsApp is now also available.
However, we generally don’t understand why you always have to fall back on messenger services when you already have to do a lot of programming. It should be possible to develop appropriate website-based messengers or own apps that can simulate communication without having to share personal data.
With The Heist, iDVenture has launched a successful first work in this new genre of live mission games. As with the first crime games, this is ultimately just the beginning and we look forward to more exciting adventures in this new genre, which promises so much dynamism and potential.
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Escape Maniac Transparency Promise: The Heist was provided to us as a free review copy.