Tiny Wings

A review of Tiny Wings that I wrote for the website www.square-go.com

The App Store is at once really annoying and really amazing. It’s annoying because there are so many games thrown at it that it can be hard to sort the wheat from the chaff. And then an absolute gem rises to the surface thanks to word of mouth like it has with Tiny Wings.

Tiny Wings casts you as a bird who wants to fly but his wings are just too small. So, as he runs along the level you touch the screen to tuck in his wings and slide down slopes to build up speed then, as you start going up hills, you let go to open your wings and use your momentum to soar into the sky.

The game then becomes about keeping your momentum, in a similar vein to other run and jump games like Canabalt and Robot Unicorn. The trick is to time it so that as you begin to fall out of the sky you tuck your wings and land on the perfect angle or the next slope and take off again and again. But the night is always chasing you and once the sun sets the game is over.

Its a simple idea with just enough skill to make it compulsive. Points are built up the longer you keep going, extra points are given for making perfect landings and takeoffs, touching the clouds at the top of the screen and for collecting the coins that litter the levels. Three perfect landings in a row puts you into Fever Mode which multiplies your score.

This is all backed up with beautiful visuals done in an almost hand drawn style filled with pastel shades. The levels are generated procedurally which means that you never play the same level twice — stopping the game becoming a repetative chore. You are also given objectives like making certain scores which, when met, upgrades your nest on the title screen and increases your score multiplier in Fever Mode. The music is also a treat that fits the tone of the game like a glove.

All of this builds together to make an almost perfect iPhone game. You can pick it up and you instantly know how to play it and have fun. Half an hour later you have pretty much mastered the timing to make perfect jump after perfect jump. An hour later you’re promising yourself that this really is the last game, really.

Despite their best efforts, Tiny Wings represents the kind of gaming experience that you just don’t get on the Sony or Nintendo handhelds. It perfectly understands the constraints of the platform and uses them to create a crafted, enjoyable game. As a bonus, despite it not being a universal app, it looks a treat on the iPad as well.

Anyone can play Tiny Wings and frankly everyone should. It’s dirt cheap in the App store which, for a game of this quality, is an absolute steal. Go out and buy it now and fly in the sky like an eagle. You know you want to.

Five stars out of five

Reviewed on iPhone

Originally published on February 28th 2011



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