I got to playing two games over the break which are both part of a genre I don’t usually play. Scribblenauts and Tiny Thief are children’s games. Before I give my opinions, I thought it would be worth mentioning what I think constitutes as a children’s game. First of all, they’re G or PG-rated, naturally. Though that being said, there’s probably more pre-teen children playing Call of Duty than adults. Typical children’s game are often simple to play (which these games are), colourful, have bouncy music and when you think about it, often have puzzling elements to help stimulate young minds.
I don’t want all this to sound condescending as there are 3 year-olds out there who can operate an iPhone as well as any 15-year old girl. There are plenty of games that have the above the qualities and aren’t children’s games, and plenty of children’s games that don’t have any of the above qualities. So I’m just going to say that a children’s game can be defined as a game whose developers have aimed it at children.
The first game I’m going to look at is Tiny Thief which can be simply coined as an adorable stealth/puzzle game. You play a tiny thief who really sticks it to the man by stealing everything expensive the man owns, and in the process, becoming an olden day Robin Hood (or maybe current Robin Hood as this is medieval). This game is a product of 5 Ants and Rovio Stars, a start up initiative by Rovio Entertainment, the multi-trillion dollar empire that bought us Angry Birds.
In every level you have three tasks which reward you with three stars (as is Rovio’s style). The important task is to collect a single items which then allows you to progress to the next level. Your two optional tasks are to find you ferret friend and collect a series of other, less important treasure. This game has simple controls, being only the left mouse button. It’s how you move, how you pick up things, how you and the tiny thief interact with the world.
You navigate you way around the 2D levels hiding in bushes, pots or closets, setting off cannons to blow through doors, dressing up in a dragon suit and fooling stupid guards and really, really irritating a mustachio chef.
Every level is preceded by a small cartoon strip detailing what needs to be done and each can be completed in about 10 minutes. There are 6 chapters with 5 levels each and so the game is relatively short, depending if you’re a completionist or not. And being a completionist in this game is certainly an achievable task, as it doesn’t involve collecting two thousand gems or anything like that, but usually on a couple of extra hours of play. You could consider this a stealth game as it often requires good timing of when to hide and what to click. But don’t play this game for a challenge. You can unlock a hint for each level which tells you exactly how to attain all three stars, a hint that can only be unlocked once every 4 hours.
I bought this game for Steam and found that the price far exceeds what the game delivers in hours of play. Then once I started to look into reviewing this game, I realised that it had been original developed for the phone, which made all the sense as it’s a single click game. It would be better played on the system it’s designed for and you can also buy it for the phone for a quarter of the price or less. So I suggest everyone does that.
Cover Image: http://www.droid-life.com/tag/tiny-thief/