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Art Heist HD review (iPad)

May 1, 2011

 “Some people try to pick up girls
And get called an asshole
This never happened to Pablo Picasso”

10 word description: Play, learn as art thief Angel. Infiltrate museums, use stealth.

You are obliged to memorise the paintings of famous artists. Maybe not the most exciting premise for a videogame.

10 word review: A game of memory and simple timing exercises, lacks depth.

Wait for the green lines to disappear. Walk past. That's it.

You will like this if you enjoy: Memorising “who painted what” and 2D side-view maze-based gameplay.

If you walk through the red camera beam, it's game over. No alarms, no guards, just start again.

The good news: The promise of a deep and entertaining game is apparent (just not realised yet). You actually learn about famous art and artists, assuming you wanted to do that…

Some of the women he painted who weren't the Mona Lisa

The bad news: The disappointment comes from realising how much deeper and more engrossing this game could actually be.

Maps are available on unconscious guards and large green terminals. But you can't take the map with you, so it's fairly useless.

Arcadelife verdict: The concept of the game is memorising a selection of paintings by a famous artist, then wandering around a 2D maze (art museum if you want to stay behind the 4th wall) stealing the right paintings and trying not to waste time stealing the wrong ones. Each maze (museum) is available to select right from the start and has slightly different background graphics and varying levels of anti-theft security.

There is no "sneaking". You walk up behind a guard and hit him.

There are three difficulty levels, Tourist, Normal and Hard. Tourist is just a very easy game with loads of time available, also where all the best online leaderboard times come from.

What I would have liked to have seen was a much more strategic game, along the lines of Hitman or the Thief series. Easy enough to do, even with the side-on 2D view. First of all, make Tourist mode a non-theft mode where you enter the museum in the guise of a visitor and have a limited amount of time in which to map as much of the museum as possible and tag the painting or paintings for your current contract, before returning when the place is closed to carry out the theft(s). And, yes, I’d have contracts for art theft so you have to steal specific works from specific places to earn rewards. I’d also have most of the museums and contracts locked until earlier/easier contracts had been completed. As in Hitman, you could have primary and secondary objectives and earn money to spend on helpful items such as better mapping tools, code breaking devices, etc.

You can hide behind objects such as that suit of armour, but there's hardly ever any need to do so.

As it stands, the basic game works but isn’t deep enough or entertaining enough. The graphics and game engine are ok, no changes needed there, just the way it is presented and how the missions work. I don’t want to have to wander around a museum trying to remember who painted what, that isn’t FUN. A contract based storyline with some kind of progression and purpose with a proper tourist mode where you map out museums and tag paintings before doing a speed-run to steal them – that would be fun.

Any mistake involving security measures is instantly Game Over. Angel stops and raises her arms in surrender even if there are no guards anywhere near her. This is a bit silly.

Arcadelife rating: 60/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0

iTunes link

Art Heist HD website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (OS 4.3.2)
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