If you are at all a fan of point-and-click puzzle games, stop what you're doing right now and go buy 5Ants's Tiny Thief for your iOS or Android device. Why? Because not only is it one of the most beautifully animated and adorable games to come down the river in a long time, but more importantly, it's fun, clever, and imaginative to boot. As the title suggests, you are a plucky little thief who, along with your sassy ferret sidekick, must steal, trick, and slink your way through six different chapters of adventures. Each chapter comes with its own story, revealed in comic book scenes between levels, and even level represents a puzzle with its own unique objectives to complete.
Tap anywhere onscreen to move, and if you're close enough, certain objects will pop up with an icon above them you can tap to interact. It might be a barrel to hide in for when the guards come your way, or a rope to untie, or a pie to bake, or any number of possibilities. Each stage after the training levels has three items to steal or find that grant you a star apiece... the main object needed to complete the stage, your ferret who hides around the scenery and can be collected when he appears with a tap, and an optional secret item (or two or three or more!) you'll need to experiment with your surroundings to figure out not only how to nab, but what you're nabbing!
It's impossible to be in a bad mood while playing Tiny Thief. It isn't just that the game is gorgeous, with expressive characters and detailed animations. A lot of games are gorgeous. What makes Tiny Thief so special is that it knows you need more than just a pretty face to make a game great, and the level design is no slouch either. It's really impressive how much work and detail has gone into making each one look and feel unique, especially considering how elaborate they get later on. The downside is that while most stages will allow you to go back and forth all over them, performing certain actions in some of them will lock you out of getting items or doing things that needed to be done beforehand, forcing a restart, which is frustrating considering that the patience and stealth required in a few of them can mean they go slowly. But Tiny Thief's strength is in how much fun solving all of those puzzles can be, exploring and setting of chain reactions of events that slip you past guards or otherwise help people. I'd call it the perfect bunch of bite-sized enjoyment, except that implies it's easy to put down, and chances are once you start playing you're not going to want to stop until you finish. Games like Tiny Thief prove mobile titles are capable of great things, and with its professional look and great level design, it deserves a spot of honour in your collection.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the HTC One S. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.