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The Heist Trivia Games

There’s nothing more exciting than an intricately planned and executed robbery. That helps explain why there are so many great heist movies that have captivated audiences for decades, including titles like Ocean’s Eleven, Reservoir Dogs, and The Usual Suspects. Even if the better parts of our personalities would stop most of us from actually trying to rob a bank or steal valuables out of an impossibly secure vault, it is fun to dream about just how we’d pull off such a stunt.

But just because we might not actually want to be bank robbers doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a little bit of the excitement that comes with pulling off a perfectly executed scheme. That’s the concept at the heart of The Heist, an online gambling game developed by Gamevy. One of a growing number of skill-based games we’re seeing in the gaming industry, this contest asks you to get in and out of a vault without getting caught: a task that is partially up to luck, but also based on your ability to answer trivia questions against a ticking clock. Throw in a press-your-luck element that offers a shot at a truly massive jackpot, and you have a title that is an exhilarating test of your nerves and your knowledge.

Tread Carefully

At the start of each round, The Heist will ask you to pick a bet size. The minimum bet is usually set at £1; the maximum can vary, but is typically at least £10, and sometimes more. The amount you wager will have an impact both on the prizes available in the initial game and on the bonus round, but otherwise doesn’t impact the return to player.

Once you’ve chosen your stake, you’ll be thrown into the game. The game has a very modern design that seems like a cross between a video game and a television game show. The actual playing area is very much like something you might see on TV: there is a path of ten rows, each with three potential locations – left, right and center – that you may step on. At the end of the path is the vault, which holds your potential winnings. At this point, your prize is equal to 2x the amount you initially bet at the start of the game. At the top and bottom of the screen are the overlays that made us say there are some video game elements in play as well: a meter above shows off how many lives you have left, for instance.

At the bottom of the screen, you’ll also see an overlay that includes three large buttons: left, center, and right. Clicking on any of these will choose your next move along the path towards the vault. The game’s design is very intuitive: you can also select your next step by clicking directly on the path itself if you’d like.

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The Heist

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Each time you click on one of these options, you’ll reveal the tile that you’ve just stepped on. Each time, you may reveal one of three possible outcomes. First, you reveal an arrow that points towards the end of the road. That’s the best outcome: you have automatically safely moved one step along your journey, and can continue by picking one of the spaces in the next row.

Much worse is an alarm (represented by a red circle). If you should hit an alarm, you’ll lose a life, though you’ll still move up a spot on the pathway. If you should lose all five of your lives, you lose the game and your initial stake. In addition, each time you trigger an alarm, your potential winnings at the end of the game are lowered, with the first alarm taking a particularly large chuck out of your earnings. The prize amount decreases according to the following scale:

  • No Alarms: 2x
  • One Alarm: 1.5x
  • Two Alarms: 1.35x
  • Three Alarms: 1.2x
  • Four Alarms: 1x

The final type of symbol that you could uncover is a yellow question mark. When this occurs, you’ll be transferred into a trivia round in which you’ll have to answer one general knowledge question. Each time, you’ll have 20 seconds to pick from two answers: one correct, and one wrong. If you get the trivia right, you’ll move on as though you had hit an arrow symbol; get it wrong, however, and you’ll set off an alarm instead.

The questions cover a wide range of topics, and while the difficulty level varies as well, there aren’t many that are truly obscure: it’s just a matter of whether or not you have that particularly piece of knowledge in your brain. Examples include knowing what country Salvador Dali was born in (Spain) or what country the Beaufort Sea is north of (Canada).

A lot of the difficulty variance comes from how tricky the wrong answer is; this also varies, since there are actually three potential incorrect choices for each answer, of which one is displayed to you at random. Sometimes, one answer is obviously wrong, while in other cases, you’ll really need to know your stuff. Of course, if you’re quick, you can also Google for the right answers: there’s usually enough time to do so, provided you can be clever with your search terms to quickly get the information you need.

The game continues with the player choosing spaces on each row until one of two things happens. First, if you should hit your fifth alarm, you immediately lose with no prize money awarded. Secondly, you could make it to the end of the path, opening the vault and being awarded whatever is inside.

Big Risk, Bigger Reward

A game where you could win just double your initial stake wouldn’t be all that thrilling, however. Thankfully, The Heist gives you a chance to risk your winnings for the opportunity to win far bigger in the optional Jackpot or Jail bonus round. At the end of every successful journey into the vault, you’ll be given the option to cash out immediately or to risk your prize. The game will tell you just how much you have the potential to win in this bonus round; this is determined based on how much you’ve won so far (and, of course, how much you bet at the start of the game).

If you choose to risk it, you’ll be taken back to the path for what amounts to a sudden death version of the game. Money bags are placed on every space that you didn’t step on during your initial playthrough. A spotlight will rotate through these bags, each one being highlighted by the words “steal me” when the light passes over it. At any time, you can click a cash out button at the bottom of the screen in order to end the game and take what you’ve earned so far.

Alternately, you can press your luck by clicking on the “Risk It” button, or by clicking on the “Steal Me” when a bag is illuminated. A graphic in the upper left portion of the screen will tell you not only how much your next bag is worth, but also how much money you could potentially win by collecting several bags in a row.

When you pick a bag, you can once again get any of the three options that are available in the main game. That means you could automatically pass, winning the larger prize automatically. You could also be presented with a trivia question: get it right, and you pass, while getting it wrong will set off an alarm. Finally, you could just directly land on an alarm, setting it off instantly.

Alarms aren’t fun in the main game, but they are truly deadly here. You only have a single life, so your first alarm or missed question ends the game and takes away all of your winnings. That means that while you can press your luck as far as you want, potentially trying to hit all 20 bags and winning the Ultimate Jackpot, you must also keep in mind that you could lose it all at any time. The Ultimate Jackpot total is always listed in the upper-left corner of the screen. This amount can potentially be as high as £1 million!

A Very Skill-Dependent Game

Like Gamevy’s other recent trivia game, Gears of Fortune, The Heist is a skill-based game, meaning that your success or failure in the trivia sections will have a material impact on your expected return to player. This makes a lot of sense intuitively: while Gears of Fortune didn’t directly punish you by missing questions, a wrong answer in this game can immediately cause you to lose all your winnings.

The result is a game in which your trivia skill can have an immense impact on how well you’ll do in the long run. The documentation attached to the game offers up some return to player statistics, based on the idea that the player is equally likely to choose to keep their winnings or risk it each time during the Jackpot or Jail bonus. Under those assumptions, the game returns a reasonably fair 90% to players if they get 100% of the answers right during the trivia portion, far higher than in Gears of Fortune.

However, this number quickly drops if you struggle with the questions. Answering 75% of the questions correctly brings your theoretical return down to just 56%. Do no better than random and only get half the trivia right, and you’ll get a paltry 29% back. Those are scary low numbers, so this game is not for those who don’t enjoy testing their knowledge.

On the other hand, this title can be a real thrill for those who do enjoy trivia contests. There’s a real tension that holds throughout each round, and the flip of every tile is exciting, especially if you press your luck deep into the bonus round. This entertainment value makes up a bit for the lower-than-average RTP, which means that this is a game we’re happy to recommend playing for fun at low stakes, even if it’s not something that serious gamblers will want to play on a regular basis.

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