App review: Tiny Wings HD
- — 25 July, 2012 22:00
|Name||iOS game: Tiny Wings HD|
|Summary:||A fresh, fun little game, despite its very simple game mechanics.|
As it turns out, Tiny Wings 2 doesn't exist. Instead, the new content came as a free update to the massively popular Tiny Wings. As we never reviewed the original game in the first place, we thought we'd just review Tiny Wings as a whole, new content included.
We tested using the iPad version of the game, Tiny Wings HD, which looked great on our iPad 2 and was just released along with the Tiny Wings update. Tiny Wings HD also supports the new iPad's Retina display. However, Tiny Wings is one of the few games where it almost doesn't matter whether you play it on a tiny iPhone screen or a bigger tablet screen - regardless, the game's mechanics are so simple that you're going to be able to play smoothly on either device just fine.
Actually, when we say 'mechanics', we really should just say 'mechanic'. In Tiny Wings, you control a little bird that wants to fly, but can't very well because its wings are too small. Instead, the bird you control has to glide along the ground to build up speed, and then use slopes to boost itself into the air for short bursts of flying. You have to hold your finger down on the screen to make the bird glide along the ground, and release the screen at just the right moment to send it flying into the air. Success, and speed, comes down to timing your finger presses. That's really all there is to it.
In the most basic game mode, 'Chapter 1: Day Trip', you have to see how far you can get your bird to travel before night falls and it can't fly anymore. By completing certain objectives, like holding your device upside down while you complete a level, for example, you can unlock better 'nests'. Each time you upgrade a nest, you increase your score multiplier.
But all of that was present in the original Tiny Wings - what's new for Tiny Wings HD is a couple of extra chapters, Chapter 2: Flight School, and Chapter 3: Hill Party.
Chapter 2: Flight School is an entirely different game mode, but it relies on the same game mechanic - hold down your finger to glide, lift it off the screen to fly. However, in this game mode you're racing to the end of a level with other , AI-controlled birds. If you get there first, your nest gets upgraded and your bird gets fed the best fish. Get there last, and your bird gets the dregs. There are three different islands to compete on, and each has several levels which get progressively harder until you're constantly swearing at the damn blue bird.
Flight School is a very fun addition to Tiny Wings, even if it's a very obvious mode to add into the game. What's not such an obvious choice is the inclusion of Chapter 3: Hill Party, which introduces multiplayer on one device. It's exclusive to Tiny Wings HD for iPad, however, for obvious reasons - it's a bit difficult to do splitscreen on an iPhone.
Hill Party is a two-player race mode with different objectives and handicaps. The more times you beat your opponent, the greater your handicap. In this mode, there are no bonus points awarded for touching the clouds, or getting what's called a 'perfect slide' - where you push down and let go of the screen at just the right times. Instead, your score is based on how quickly you can get through a level.
The art style in Tiny Wings is just fantastic - bright, well-drawn, and the pastel colour scheme is likely to appeal to kids and adults alike. Like the rest of the game, the design is at first glance a simple concept, but manages to be fresh and full of whimsy. On second glance, you'll start to notice the textures and detail in the art.
But what's most important here is how the game actually plays. Tiny Wings HD is incredibly addictive despite, and because of, its simplicity. When you get frustrated, you won't stop playing - you'll just keep going until you get it right. While the game is obviously designed for short bursts, so you can play on the bus or while waiting in your GP's office, we found ourselves saying "Just one more try" many, many times. The game is surprisingly difficult, but in a way that makes you want to keep going, because you know you can do it - eventually.