At first glance, Tiny Thief appears to be a simplistic point-and-click puzzle game with cheery and minimally-detailed graphics, accompanied by a stunning soundtrack. A few clicks later, the bite-sized levels begin to reveal meticulous thought and the miniscule bandit you control is bound to steal many hearts, keeping you hooked onto Rovio Stars’ latest offering.
Being the forward-thinking company that developed Angry Birds, Rovio has branched off into Rovio Stars, which will see releases that separate themselves from the massive success that undeniably solidified the standing mobile devices now have in the world of gaming.
Tiny Thief sees the player adopting the role of a child-like Robin Hood-wannabe, and hence, you’ll be stealing from baddies like a corrupt sheriff, pirates and grumpy bakers. Thievery is made difficult by the presence of guards, and falling in their line of sight swiftly ends the level, forcing players to analyse the surroundings and time their moves carefully. Safety buttons above the barrel might prove to be a hindrance for players using the iPhone. Thankfully, the game has checkpoints, saving gamers from having to repeat previous actions. The puzzles are a clever test of wit and perseverance and offer variety in terms of solutions, preventing gameplay from getting too stale and repetitive.
Cut scenes (wordless yet entertaining comic strips) give a backstory to the upcoming level, and doing away with flashy dialogue and hyper-realistic graphics show how the game designers have tailored Tiny Thief to fit the mobile platform perfectly. Interactive items in game are designed to be subtly distinct next to the background graphics, again a thoughtful move in planning for this addictive mobile game.
Scoring will be relatively familiar to anyone who has played Angry Birds, with a series of 3 objectives to fulfil at every level, the completion of each earning you a star. The first objective is typically a piece of loot that’s relatively easy to find. Spotting your little friend, a ferret burrowed deep in the folds of your surroundings, on the other hand, won’t be as simple. In certain stages, you’ll have to perform a certain action to reveal his hiding place, before you can tap on him to secure the objective.
Random objects are the final piece of the puzzle, and will quickly prove to be the hardest checkpoints to clear. Gamers must keep their eyes peeled and go through multiple rounds of trial and error to secure these items. At the harder levels, the lack of directional dialogue is definitely frustrating, especially on hindsight as the solutions are often right in front of you, skirting behind a thin veil of disguise. As a result, replay value is richly enhanced as gamers may find themselves missing out on all 3 objectives at first try, due to a lack of awareness for the finer details. Obsessive-compulsive gamers will also probably find the quest to achieve all 3 stars across every level, like people do with Candy Crush, to be extremely satisfying.
Tiny Thief is hardly a game of speed, killing sprees or adrenaline junkie material, unlike many games popular with youths. Yet, trying to evade capture using stealthily timed movements will keep you on your toes, and fingers, as you delve deeper.
Compared to Real Racing 3, Infinity Blade and Dead Space, this point-and-click adventure pales in terms of flashiness, but players will quickly appreciate that thoughtful design, witty challenges and the muted cheery graphics are equally rewarding albeit in a different manner.
Make no mistake, Rovio has safely proved they’re far from being a one-trick pony with the indie Rovio Stars initiative, as Tiny Thief has already been presented with the coveted “Editor’s Choice” accolade on the iOS app store. And if nothing else, Tiny Thief will be a definite breath of fresh air when one considers the seemingly countless Angry Bird variants available on the app market.
Pros: Simple, Witty
Cons: Subdued Graphics
Operating system: iOS and Android devices