Simplicity is often a hallmark of a great game, and so great games on the iDevices are usually incredibly simple: Angry Birds, Catagugl, Mr. Space, Fruit Ninja, the list goes on and on. But, there is another game on the market, Canabalt, which you are able to operate with one finger, one action, and it’s immensely fun and addictive.
Tiny Wings is similar in such a respect that you use one finger to play it; it’s simple, it’s fun, it’s visually fantastic and it’s very, very addictive. Developed by Andreas Illiger, it tells a simple story of a little bird who has tiny wings (geddit?) so he cannot fly (awwwwww!), but he can use the hills and valleys of the world to launch himself skyward (yaaaaayyy!).
Control is as simple as this: press down on the screen to close his wings and increase downward speed on the downslope, release to open his wings and flap like a madmanbird on the uppety upside. Not only do you have to contend with gravity, but night time is on your feathery tail, which makes your little friend fall asleep and stop his journey. Needless to say, the better at jumping you are, the better you’ll fare against the timer.
The game is split into islands, with a specific colour scheme for each and with varying types of hill. The hills themselves provide the biggest challenge; timing your finger presses and releases to maximise the speed and launch angle can be quite tricky to master, especially as you progress along the islands, but it’s very rewarding when you’re zooming along, out-flying the night. The difficulty curve seems about right, with the first island being easy and each subsequent island getting progressively more difficult, but it’s all relative if you understand the underlying physics, which you’ll get in nearly no time at all.
Now, it wouldn’t be a self-respecting score-based game without bonuses would it? You gain score automatically by the length of time you manage to spend in game. Further to this are score coins which net you ten points a pop, and they’re always in a nice row to get you a good run and boost your counter by a significant amount. You can also pick up blue speed coins which increase your speed, so these are handy if you mis-time a landing or takeoff and you’re set back in pace. Hitting big scores and massive jumps brings a smile to your mug, which is great, as so few games are able to lay claim to making me continuously smile along as I’m playing.
If you’re going fast enough and time your jumps well you can make perfect jumps, with three in a row putting you into fever mode and doubling any points you net – so long as you continue to get perfect jumps. And if you’re going really really fast, you can even hit the lofty heights of the cloud level, which will net you even more points with a cloudtouch. It’s a jumping point frenzy!
There are also in-game achievements set at tiered levels and will let you “upgrade” your nest as you obtain them. Things like getting 5000 points on the first island, getting your first cloudtouch or staying in fever mode for 5 seconds will check off the achievements and unlock more for you to enjoy. Unfortunately, there’s no Game Center support (yet), but there is OpenFeint available if you’re into the whole online leaderboard thing.
It’s cute, cheerful and colourful, so kids, adults and big kids alike will enjoy it. The music and sound is delightful, and the visuals are simply gorgeous: the’ve got an almost rusic feel, but it’s only one part of it and it’s more subtle. The colour schemes work well together and island transitions make for some spectacular visuals, the most pretty being round about island four when the sky gets a nice red shade.
An interesting aspect is the procedural generation at play to change the colours and hills each day. It’s a really simple yet effective way of keeping things fresh, so you’re not looking at the same colour schemes all the time.
Try as I might, I can’t find much to fault with it: it simply clicks and checks all the right boxes and works very well. All I can say is well done Andreas! Keep making stunning games like this and I’ll keep buying them.
- Cheap as any other cheapy cheapness iPhone game.
- Very fun, kid-friendly and colourful!
- Simple and very rewarding.
- Erm, addictive?
- (clutches straws) No Game Center support (as of v1.0).