Developer: Branium Studios
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Going in, Hand of Greed was a game that I was really rooting for. From what I had gathered, the game would be like something that should’ve been included in the Thief trilogy. In fact, a large part of me really wanted this game to be about pickpocketing, but it’s not. Instead, Hand of Greed is a timing game in which you are on a treasure grabbing adventure with your hand in some sort of gauntlet with all sorts of sharp objects trying to hack your fingers off.

The kicker is that the game is played with you (literally, you) using your own fingers to grab the treasure. Instead of dealing with some kind of difficult control scheme, Hand of Greed makes you physically touch the screen to collect the treasures that are being protected by some fierce, sharp digital objects. Because of the extremely intuitive control scheme, the game is extremely simple to pick up and get into, which is as much of a blessing as it is a curse.

Each level consists of an assortment of sharp things moving around the screen in a predictable manner. Beneath these blades are an assortment of treasures that you must retrieve by tapping them without getting your fingers chopped off in the process. When you get caught by a blade, the iPhone violently vibrates and you lose a bit of life. As with most games, once you lose all of your life, you lose the game and must attempt a retry. Each level is just a slightly harder version of the last with more blades, faster speeds, and harder treasure placements.

The obvious challenge, and reason that you would continue playing the game, is the difficulty that comes with trying to tap on the treasure without getting stabbed. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much of a reason to play on past that. Each level is just a slightly harder (eventually becoming extremely, painfully hard) version of itself, providing no real reason to play on after a short gaming session. The only real reason I can see to play would be to get a global high score, but the score system is somewhat complicated and seems like a completely independent part of the game, unlike a seamless addition.

Hand of Greed is the classic tale of a great idea that doesn’t really pan out as well as I would’ve hoped. While I did enjoy the game for a period of time, the repetitiveness of the tasks and the insane to a fault difficulty at later levels caused me to put the game down without hesitation. To me, there just wasn’t enough of a payoff for the amount of pain and anguish that some of the levels inflicted upon me. While it’s true that this is a game that can only be enjoyed on a touch screen device and is in fact a great show of the devices technology, it just doesn’t do enough for me to justify the time expenditure. Perhaps if there were some twists included, like moving treasure or some sort of puzzle element, I would be more entertained, but as is, Hand of Greed is a shortly lived experience.

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