Mobile Watch: Tiny Thief

If you’ve ever owned a touch-screen device, whether it be a mobile or tablet, chances are you’ve come across Rovio’s avian catapult simulator, Angry Birds. Originally released back in 2009, the game became an instant hit for the developer, spawning a global fanbase overnight. Since then there’s been a string of sequels and even a Star Wars themed spin-off, not to mention books, cartoons, and toys.

Angry Birds is now a household name, an undisputed flagship for mobile gaming. Rovio will no doubt continue to support the franchise for years to come, but you’d be wrong in calling the Finnish indie studio a one-trick pony. This is mainly thanks to the studio’s new publishing arm under the name “Rovio Stars” which has already produced a pair of stunning mobile puzzlers.

The second, and most recent, of the two is Tiny Thief from Spanish developer, 5ants. Compared to most of the platform’s heavy hitters, this quirky debut title doesn’t hinge on a single core mechanic like Angry Birds, Cut The Rope, Where’s My Water etc. Instead, Tiny Thief is best described as a point and click adventure diced into bite-sized morsels; an ideal solution for those who enjoy the genre but have limited time on their hands.

Set in a cartoon world that riffs off of numerous fantasy settings, as Tiny Thief’s pint-sized protagonist you’ll embark on an adventure of pilfering and mischievous misappropriation. It’s all fairly light-hearted and the game’s numerous settings giving Tiny Thief a surprising amount of diversity, at least visually. You’ll visit medieval towns, explore ancient ruins, and stalk the decks of pirate galleys.

Instead of gradually unspooling a constant thread, Tiny Thief is cut into a series of levels which can take anywhere between five and fifteen minutes to complete. To clear a stage, the game will usually demand that you steal a specific item and make a beeline for exit. Each level also comes tagged with three stars, two of which require players to locate our hero’s rodent sidekick and bag a small cluster of bonus treasures. There’s no penalty for skipping these side objectives though they do offer a nice diversion and help to lengthen the game’s lifespan.

Gameplay is conducted very simply, by tapping on locations and objects to either move or interact accordingly.

For instance, you’ll need to tap ladders in order to reach rooftops or certain objects like animals to in turn create distractions. Guards are the only real threat in Tiny Thief, forcing players to restart at the nearest checkpoint if spotted. With that said, they are fairly easy to avoid, always patrolling the same 2D spaces, giving specific tells when they’re about to change orientation.

The only problem with Tiny Thief is the game’s pacing. Though a crucial part of the experience, waiting for guards to turn away or change direction is slow and tedious, burdening the game’s stealth mechanics. Luckily, due to the way some of the levels are structured, this isn’t a persistent problem and will only temper gamers prone to impatience.

It’s a tad more expensive than your usual gaming app at £1.99, though the overall quality of Tiny Thief and content the title has to offer justifies the price. Though hardly ground-breaking, the game brings together a number of simple mechanics, creating a point and click adventure built with mobiles and tablets in mind.

It won’t topple the mighty Angry Birds but it is still one of best and most original games we’ve seen on iOS this year. If Rovio Stars can maintain this level of quality, mobile gamers have a lot to look forward to.


  1. This game is quite beautiful :)

    • Couldn’t agree more. It’s stunning looking in its lovely twee art style. Sold!

  2. Nice article, and I’m sold! Also, I just bought it on the App Store and it was only £0.69, not £1.99 – Result!

  3. This looks amazing! Only 0,89€ in the Google Play Android store.
    Bought it!

  4. Hi Jim,
    You might want to update this. It’s only 69p on the store. Good times!

  5. What a wonderful looking game. Probably will be my next iPhone purchase :)

  6. On a different note, 2K are slashing their prices on the App Store as well. I’ll pickup Sid Meier’s Pirates for 69p :)

  7. Tiny Thief is a wonderful game. Perfectly suited to the format, and beautiful.

  8. Bought it, lovely stuff. Looking forward to more of this feature.

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