Anyone who'd doubted Rovio's commitment to its new third-party publishing arm Rovio Stars should have had those doubts quashed by now. Hot on the heels of the label's first effort, Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage, comes Tiny Thief - a rapid release schedule that suggests we're in for an aggressive App Store push from the Finnish giant.
If Icebreaker leaned too hard on the familiar physics puzzle formula, Tiny Thief represents a more radical departure. In this new adventure, you control the titular tiny thief through a series of puzzle filled levels, grabbing goodies along the way to boost your score, while staying out of sight of the guards at all costs. You've something of a bad reputation in this medieval land, you see, and if the enemy's gaze falls upon you you'll have to restart the level.
To move around the screen, you simply tap where you'd like your adventurer to travel to next. If he comes into close proximity with an object that can be picked up or manipulated, a tappable icon appears so that you can interact with it. There are three mission objectives to collect in each stage, one of which is always a tappable, scampish, ferret-like creature who pops up from his hiding place from time to time. Otherwise you're hunting down specific items such as food and valuables before making your way to the exit point.
All of the puzzles in the game are designed very logically indeed. There's a hint system available every four hours if you really get stuck, but we didn't have too much trouble thinking our way through even the trickiest challenges - even if we did suffer a little trial-and-error along the way. The fact is, the game is such good fun to play around with and explore, that you really won't mind about the odd restart - and you'll have solved the puzzle long before you've tired of attempting it.
The only reservation we have about Tiny Thief is that there are only two dozen or so levels to be enjoyed - without the Rovio name behind it, we suspect the game would have felt quite sheepish about its $2.99 price tag. Still, if you're happy to pay for an experience that genuinely charms and intrigues for a short time, you could do a lot worse than sneak this onto your mobile.
What's Hot:An interesting new direction for mobile puzzle gaming with some clever level designs, great artwork, and humor.
What's Not:There aren't nearly enough levels for the asking price.