Oct 22, 2014 · 1 minute

Rovio is struggling. In the last year the company has posted declining revenues, replaced its chief executive, and revealed that its Angry Birds franchise lost more than 60 million players between 2012 and 2014. It looks like the roc of mobile gaming has become a hummingbird.

But there's an interesting game company lying beneath Angry Birds' feathers. The game it released via its experimental publishing division today seems much more appealing than the most recent Angry Birds game -- something that was also true when it released Tiny Thief, a game developed by the independent 5 Ants development studio and released by Rovio in 2013.

The name of its new game is called RETRY and, fittingly enough, it's a mobile version of the "Helicopter" game that filled so many browsers in the early aughts. While that might sound about as great as a new version of Neopets or another Flappy Bird rip-off, it's really a fun game that offers some mindless entertainment, even though it doesn't do much to advance the mobile gaming market.

Tiny Thief is even better. The game has been well received by gaming critics and gamers alike, even after Rovio moved it to the unfortunately popular free-to-play model soon after its release. It's well-executed and different from anything Rovio has ever released, and its blend of nifty puzzles and forgiving gameplay makes it perfect for mobile, much like the original Angry Birds.

I'm sure these games won't offer the same revenues that the Angry Birds franchise has over the last few years. They also won't offer opportunities for Rovio to license their characters to snack companies, toy makers, and anyone else who wants to use them, like it has with Angry Birds. But they do show that there's an interesting game maker and distributor just waiting to come out from Angry Birds' overbearing -- but, as the last year has demonstrated, decaying -- wing.

[Image courtesy Denis Dervisevic