Tiny Heist is a roguelike computer game by Terry Cavanagh. The goal is to move your character, represented by the yellow snail, through each of fifteen rooms in the castle, collecting as many gems as possible. The game is tile-based, meaning each move is either one square forward, backward, left, or right.
The game can be played with the arrow keys or the ASDW keys. To keep the character in place while allowing the moving characters to continue their paths, press the Z or space key. To use an item, press the number corresponding with the item slot the item resides in. A maximum of three items can be held at one time, so only the 1, 2, and 3 keys are required to use them. The enter key is needed when talking to the shopkeeper to confirm one of two options. Either the Z, space, or enter key can be used to exit the item information screen. To restart the game at level one, press the R key, but keep in mind the level layouts will be different than the ones played before.
On your quest, there is a range of obstacles to prevent you from escaping each room.
Crossing a guard's field of vision causes them to become aware of your presence in the castle. The field of vision is indicated by discolored spaces on the floor. The color and behavior of a field of vision depends on the type of guard and the shape of the level. The alert of a guard does not carry over between levels, so by reaching the level end, the threat of an alerted guard is removed. Upon contact with a guard (one space of the player, up, down, left, right), the player loses a life.
There are only a few types of guards. Patrol Bots, Laser Patrol Bots, and Elite Bots are moving obstructions. Patrol Bots and Laser Patrol Bots have a sight range rectangle of three by six directly in front of them, which switches positions depending on what they are facing and shape of the course. For example, around one block corners, their vision extends downwards by a few blocks. If against a wall in a smaller room, their vision rectangle changes from a three by six rectangle positioned symmetrically in front of the guard to a three by six rectangle shifted away from the nearest wall, omitting the block furthest from the wall level with the guard. This allows the player to hide in the blind spot and wait for attack.
Patrol Bots have a normal field of vision, while Laser Patrol Bots have red vision spaces, which cause the player to lose a life if they are in one of these red spaces.
Elite Bots will hunt you down even if you triggered no alarm. The five spaces in the direction it faces are red, and moving into one of these spaces results in one lost heart.
Guard dogs are stationary guards with a changing field of detection. After a certain number of moves, the field of detection changes from one of three patterns to another. The number of moves needed to change patterns is random, but consistent within the floor. The first pattern is no squares of detection, then one, then two, then one again, then back to none.
Items are collectibles you can store in your dock, located in the bottom right corner. Only three items can be carried at once, and picking up a fourth forces the player to choose with the space bar which item to drop. Dropped items can no longer be accessed. There are many different items to pick up, each with different abilities. Once an item has been used, it leaves the dock and is no longer accessible.
Banana—When used, a banana peel appears in the square behind the player. If a guard or dog moves on to the square the peel is on, they are knocked out. One guard per use.
Signal Jammer—For a short time, all detection devices, not including guards, are knocked out, meaning they do not detect anything.
Flame—If you use this, fire will spread across the room. It will eventually gulf everything.
Leaf Blower—You can push back opponents with this while dealing paralyze damage to it.
Drill—You can use this to go through any walls and set off something. It can also be used to get out of the Complex if used on the wall and jumps off.
Bomb—It can set a bomb off that hits 9 spaces. You can use it to escape levels 5 and 10.
Pistol—You can have four shots with this, killing anything in sight,but also alerting everything on the floor after you.
Light Bulb—Turns on the light throughout the level to help you see better.
Cardboard Box—Lets you hide and move around without cops going after you,but will end if you kill something. Eventually it will break. Sight is reduced in the cardboard box.
Teleporter—Teleports you randomly anywhere on the floor or current area you are in.
First Aid Kit—Replaces a lost heart. Has no effect if player already has three hearts.
There are fifteen total floors, each with a different layout. Floor 1 is fully lit, and typically consists of one path to the exit. Floors 2 and above are not fully lit, but you can light it up with a light bulb. Floor 5 will have a one layer wall, but will consist of mini-challenges in which the player has to dodge the cameras, guards, and dogs and collect about three keys to open the door to level 6. Level 6 and above are purple skinned, and security is raised as guards now have red view and can damage you if they see you.