Thursday Appdate: Tiny Thief

Thu, Jul 11, 2013

Android, Casual, iPad, iPhone, Mobile, Puzzle

If there’s one thing you can always count on in a Rovio game, it’s charm. Every title in the Angry Birds series is loaded with it, which is what’s made the franchise a household name, and it’s extremely evident in their new Rovio Stars publishing initiative as well. The newest title in that initiative, Tiny Thief, is one of the App Store’s features this week — and is so full of adorable charm that you just want to grab the game’s adorable protagonist and pinch his mischievous little cheeks.

Tiny Thief plays something like a cross between a puzzle-platformer and a point-and-click adventure game: the player controls the titular miniature miscreant across a series of discrete medieval levels in an effort to steal a broad assortment of goodies, one by one. Simple tap controls with contextual actions help guide the thief through a variety of actions — tap a ladder, and then tap the resulting arrow button to climb; tap a barrel and the the resulting jump icon to hide inside. Puzzling through the levels is an exercise in logic, ranging from the rational to the absurd: in order to distract a guard so you can steal the objective, for example, you might have to first drop a sausage to a hungry dog so the guard will go chasing after the lost food. Or, you might have to place a piece of foul cheese near his post so the smell will nauseate him into a coma. Figure out the correct sequence of events, steal the goods, and exit the level to advance. The experience is like Hapland, but with quicker levels and generally simpler puzzles.

What sets Tiny Thief apart from other puzzle adventures, though — as mentioned earlier — is the incredible charm gushing from every part of the game. Levels are introduced with cute little comic sequences that set the stage — often indicating that our hero is righting various wrongs, his crimes helping to retrieve goods cruelly confiscated by the guard, or punish the greedy. Animation and art within the levels is delightful, with the thief switching naturally from a quick jog to a delicate tiptoe when he’s near a guard. There’s even rewards for exploring the adorable level designs, including a bonus star for locating the thief’s pet ferret, who hides somewhere in each screen — and for stealing optional treasures which may not be immediately obvious.

Tiny Thief
is a rewarding game for those willing to take it all in — and the quick level design makes that experience casual-friendly. It’s a worthy addition to the Rovio catalog, and to your own mobile library.

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