Let me tell you a little story. A few days ago I started seeing a lot of chatter on Twitter about how good a game Tiny Wings was. Supposedly it had dethroned Angry Birds as the #1 game in the App Store. Oddly enough, I hadn’t heard of it. I say that’s odd because every week I write an article that requires me to scour all the new gaming releases from the week before. Surely I must have run across the game as I was researching that week’s article? The only thing I can imagine is that I saw the screen shots, read the description and figured, “eh, what’s the big deal?”
Not wanting to be the type to snub my peers, however, I picked up the game based on all the accolades it was receiving via Twitter. I installed the game, and then… it sat. I had other things to do, of course. After a couple of days, though, the temptation was too much, so I loaded up the game and played it. Then I played it again. Before long I thought, “You know, I’d be remiss not to tell my readers about this game”. So, here we are and now you’re all caught up.
In Tiny Wings you play a little bird that appears to love two things: flying and sleeping. He’ll also eat any coins and boosters that are in his way, but that’s a whole other story. To start the game your bird has a little bit of bounce in him. It’s up to you to get the bird going and keep him going for as long as you possibly can. The longer the bird stays on the ground, the more quickly dusk approaches, and as soon as the sun sets are fine feathered friend will go back to sleep. Keeping him airborne is all about timing.
The landscape is chock full of hills and valleys. Obviously as the bird goes down a hill he will gain momentum, and as he climbs back up he will lose that momentum. You can help things along a bit by making the bird “heavy”. You do this by tapping the screen, which will cause the bird to fold in its wings and weigh itself down. Done at the right time, this action will help the bird accelerate enough that it can use the upward slope of the next hill as a launching mechanism. Done at the wrong time, however, and you’ll slow yourself down even more.
If you get a good rhythm going you can eventually keep the bird aloft for extended periods of time. However, there are also times where you actually want to keep the bird on the ground. You start out with a score multiplier of ten, and you can raise that in increments of two by completing certain tasks. Those tasks might be something like getting a certain number of perfect slides or collecting a designated number of coins. Each multiplier increase will generally require several objectives be completed, though thankfully you don’t have to complete them all in one run. Also, the game doesn’t actually come outright and tell you what the objectives are, so be sure to click the Objectives button at the main menu to figure out what you have to do.
The graphics are decent enough. The bird is cute, and the randomly generated landscapes look like something ripped from a Beatles animated movie. One of the ground textures even makes it look like you’re sliding around on the back of a really long stegosaurus. The sound effects are simple but really effective. Sometimes it sounds like the bird is actually saying thank you, and I chuckle every time he screams “yahoo” when drifting between islands. There’s only one song during game play, but it fits the whole atmosphere so perfectly you won’t care. Besides, it’s a good song.
This is one of those games that sounds like it would almost be too simple to be any fun, yet it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had on my iPod Touch in quite a while. I’ve seen a couple of comments claiming that the game is only worth “five minutes of fun”, but the reality is I don’t think I’ve ever played just one game in any given sitting, and I know I’ve gotten a lot more than five minutes of fun out of it. The truth is that no matter how many times I’ve slipped down the slopes of island number one, it never gets old. I may be singing a different tune in a few months, but the truth is there are almost no games that can hold my attention that long. As for Tiny Wings, I’m confident my money was well spent.
Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]