Card Thief is striking, fast-paced, and addictive [Android Game of the Week]

Card Thief
Card Thief (Image credit: Jordan Palmer / Android Central)

A lot of card games on the Play Store have real-world, physical analogs, with the mobile version often being a digital adaptation. There's nothing wrong with that — Exploding Kittens is a part of our Best Android Games and Best Card Games lists, after all. However, several titles started as digital-only and have remained thus.

I'm talking games like Hearthstone and Gwent, and my pick for our Android Game of the Week: Card Thief. Whereas Hearthstone and Gwent are player-versus-player, Card Thief is you against the game (or PvE). It's solitaire-style with quick, hard-hitting rounds and a mobile-only design. It's perfect for commuters, thanks to its fast-paced gameplay.

Card Thief is easy to play, but its unique premise is difficult to master fully. The game encourages deep strategies as you stealthily pickpocket guards, extinguish torches, and of course, steal everything you can. It's not just a strategy card game, sitting somewhere firmly between that and a puzzle.

Card Thief's visual design, striking in its own way, reminds me of the dark design of the Thief games. Card Thief looks like nothing else I've ever seen, and that alone made it a pure joy to play, gameplay aside. The fantastical elements play well together without ever being or looking depressing.

This is a game about risk and reward; the further you push things, the more your rewards (and risks) increase. Not every decision will lead you to great riches, however, and you'll have to adapt your strategies to meet the new challenges. I've already mentioned that this is also a stealth game, and you need to be aware of your surroundings. That means line of sight, light sources, and enemy distraction all play key roles in your success or your failure.

The visual design of Card Thief reminds me of the old Thief games.

While it's much more complicated than this, the game's basic goal is to steal a treasure chest card and safely make it to an exit card. Along the way, you'll deal with different guards and their dogs, and you'll need to plan your way across the grid of cards. Light plays a key role in Card Thief. It can reveal your position or prevent you from entering through a door card if a light source is adjacent.

Your precious, finite resource is sneak points. These are required if you want to move across the board. As long as you have some, you'll remain undetected, but as soon as you lose all of them, the guards and such can find you. Running out of sneak points isn't game over, though, and you can still win with a negative balance.

Card Thief may be akin to solitaire, but it's truly its own unique thing and a perfect choice for our Game of the Week. Be sure to pop by our best Android games roundup, where you'll find all sorts of goodies, and check out past Games of the Week, too.

Jordan Palmer