Sean James McKenzie is a head honcho-type over at Armor Games, but also is a long-time developer under his own label Bacon and Games. Many moons ago, or rather about 8 years ago according to Sean’s tweet, he collaborated with artist Ajay Karat and composer Randy Heidema to create a Flash game called Lazy Thief. Principles and morals aside, we’d all love to steal some shiny jewels, no? But do any of us really want to, like, get up and physically move to do so? No. No we do not. That is the premise behind the aptly titled Lazy Thief. This thief has discovered that he can steal a bunch of oh-so-shiny colored gems just by chucking stuff at them. What that means in a practical gameplay sense is this is a physics puzzler where you must lob various types of objects to cause each gem to fall into its same-colored goal area, where it will be whisked right over to your lazy butt. Here is the original trailer for the Flash version of Lazy Thief.
It’s a clever and humorous setup for a puzzle game that is backed up by a fun physics system. Things move much quicker than in something like Angry Birds, and there’s even some elements of Cut the Rope as sometimes you’ll need to toss ninja stars to sever the ropes that are hanging gems in the air. No, it’s probably not going to redefine video games as we know them, but Lazy Thief is really good at scratching the itch for anybody who remembers the more straightforward 3-star physics puzzlers from the early days of the App Store. What really pushed this one to another level for me personally is that 3-star system. The first star is earned simply by collecting all the gems, and the second star is for achieving a reasonable par number of objects thrown to do so.
That third star though is the “Expert" star and it requires you to beat a level by throwing the least amount of objects possible, and oftentimes just one object only. This is fascinating to me because there are some levels where it seemed this just isn’t possible, but tons of retries and getting the physics engine to behave “just so" has proven me wrong time and time again. Just playing through and beating the 50 levels in Lazy Thief is a good time, but trying to figure out how to snag that third star in every level adds a whole other layer for puzzle game aficionados. That you can restart a puzzle instantaneously makes it easy to try a particularly tricky level over and over dozens and dozens of times, perhaps without even noticing. But once you finally nail it… man that is a feeling.
The reason I’m talking about all this is that Lazy Thief the Flash game would have been lost to time when Flash was finally put to rest at the end of 2020. However, Sean McKenzie notes that “A very kind soul" by the name of Antony Lavelle put in the time and effort to port Lazy Thief to Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. You can download the game from the Bacon and Games Itch.io page, with the desktop versions being completely free and ad-free but accepting donations for anyone to show their appreciation. The iOS and Android versions are ad-supported with an IAP to remove those ads, though it seems that IAP isn’t quite live in the actual app just yet. I also have yet to see an ad, so maybe those just aren’t live yet either. Either way this is a feel-good story and it has allowed me to experience a game I never would have otherwise, so if you’re a fan of puzzlers of a certain vintage don’t hesitate to check out Lazy Thief for yourself right now.