Thieves, by definition, are usually the dishonorable sort, as these shadowed figures live to steal without the slightest of detection. But what happens when those skills are put to good use? This is just one of the many surprises of Rovio Stars' latest game Tiny Thief, a beguiling point and click puzzler which works on many levels.
Although our nimble footed protagonist's skills are frowned upon, he lives in a medieval world of corruption, filled with rogue adventurers and coin hungry lawmen. Your job is to set the thief on his Good Samaritan path, as you solve intricately plotted puzzles within each stage. The key to each section is to accomplish the main objective without being seen by your adversary. A ferret serves as your companion during the quests, and tapping the animal during each mission adds a star to the section's overall score. Since most of the objects on the screen play an integral part of solving each equation, scanning the area for a ferret is the last thing on my mind, especially since there's a ton of welcomed sensory overload with Tiny Thief.
Although the images found in are cutesy and two dimensional, don't let that supposed simplicity fool you. Since there is a linear progression into solving the challenges, paying attention on how each object or animal interacts with the thief is mandatory. Deception is just one of a swindler's trademark tools, and Tiny Thief's touch and tap control mechanic belies its true sophistication.
The true joy of playing the game, however, doesn't solely exist in the actual completion of a level. Each section has its own little mini-story, and figuring out the interrelatedness of each element is, at times, fascinating. The developers' love of storytelling is conveyed with the short intro to each section, as we are given a brief glimpse of our future endeavors. One of this week's personal highlights was putting a mischievous beat down on this corrupt, candy eating, child bullying, sheriff.
If a certain puzzle is getting your goat, the Book of Hints can be employed once every four hours to help you on your merry way. To date, I still haven't used it, and since I'm not exactly the brightest bulb in the room, chances are you won't need too many hints either if your sole goal is to progress through the game in an expedient fashion.
For perfectionists who want to uncover every nook and cranny of the title and unlock bonus content, the Book of Hints may be necessary. Personally, I'd rather stay stumped on a puzzle for 15 minutes on a game which is not just fun to play, but also a delight to watch. I'm a fan of visual candy, and anything swathed in pink should keep me entranced and enchanted for quite a spell. For Game Center achievement fanatics, completing 20 levels of Tiny Thief without resorting to hints will grant you 40 points (the title features 26 G.C. achievements).
Tiny Thief is an inspired puzzler which should grab you from the get go. Although the moniker sounds a bit too humble for its own good, maybe its title is completely fitting. A thief is expected to catch you unawares before vanishing with your assets and a sliver of your sanity. Thankfully, this adventurer has a kindhearted soul, and even if it costs $2.99 for the pleasure, you won't be leaving this experience empty handed.