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A couple of weeks ago I asked my Twitter followers if they had stumbled upon any fun adventure games for iPhone. Ever since I read our magazine feature on Double Fine's upcoming title, Broken Age, I've been looking forward to setting off on an adventure in the vein of LucasArts' classics.
Ben Hanson, Game Informer's video editor and lover of strange things no one else likes, was quick to respond to my question, recommending I take a look at 5 Ants' game, Tiny Thief. I don't know why I assumed he knew what he was talking about, but I downloaded the game within seconds of seeing his tweet. Turns out, Tiny Thief isn't an adventure game. It's not even close to being one, either. Rather than destroying Hanson for misleading me, he deserves to be showered in praise for his pick. Tiny Thief delivers an immensely entertaining experience that best falls into the rarely explored stealth/puzzle genre.
In Tiny Thief, the player assumes the role of a little man with a horrible haircut who steals objects of desire, not for personal gain, but to aid people in need. In one scenario, a miner unearths a gigantic diamond but before he can sell it and live a care-free life of luxury, a greedy politician steals it away. Our little thief won't let this stand. He's going to return the diamond to its rightful owner.
To accomplish this feat, he must sneak into the politician's house. After ascending a wall to reach an open upper floor window, the little thief finds himself in a bathroom. He's not alone. The politician's wife is in the shower, singing her heart out. Since the shower's drape is closed, he can sneak past her with ease. This action is handled by simply tapping the screen to move the thief to the desired location. Along the way, he spots a fancy hat, highlighted by a "grab" icon on screen. Stealing the hat completes one third of a bonus objective. There are two other items to keep an eye out for, and as I learned in previous stages, they likely won't be siitting out in the open.
The bathroom gives way to the bedroom, where the politician and the family cat are snoring up a storm in the bed. The diamond is, for reasons I won't ever understand, glued to a portrait high above the bed, near a chandelier. How will the thief reach it? The answer, as is the case with most levels, is not what you would think. For the sake of spoilers, I won't outline how the thief gets the diamond, but I will say a cuckoo clock and high flying acrobatics are involved in the solution. The gameplay used for this solution (and all the others for that matter) consists of little more than moving the thief and interacting with an object.
Challenge comes from learning when to use them and timing your actions. Like most stealth games, you can't perform an action if someone is looking at you. You'll have to wait until they turn around.
The most impressive aspect of this game is the production values. The animations are beautiful, and the solutions to the puzzles are well thought-out and are often funny. Each stage brings a different story and goal and a gorgeous environment for interaction.
Tiny Thief is available now on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices for $2.99. I highly recommend you give it a whirl, especially if you are looking for a new experience to play on the go.
Email the author Andrew Reiner, or follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Game Informer.