Developer: Andreas Illiger
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Tiny Wings is one of those one-button mobile games meant for casual gamers. Like NinJump Deluxe and others, the key to getting a high score in Tiny Wings lies in perfectly timing when you tap the screen. Other games in the genre are hurt by this limitation, but Tiny Wings is a success on every level. The game is gorgeous, challenging, and, most important of all, addictive.
Tiny Wings is so named because the bird the player controls has—get this—very tiny wings. These wings are so tiny, in fact, that the only way this bird can become airborne is to use a series of rolling hills as ramps. The player can touch the screen to cause the bird to tuck its wings and dive, and not touch the screen to let it flap its wings in an attempt to stay in flight. If you time it just right, this bird can get some real altitude.
Simple and repetitive as this sounds, the game has plenty of re-play value. As the game progresses the terrain becomes more difficult. Additionally, every so often there will be a giant ramp that lets the bird fly to another “island,” with a different layout and color scheme. There are power-ups to be collected, and bonus points to be earned. There’s also the element of suspense: the player must race towards the horizon in an effort to delay the sunset. If the bird doesn’t move fast enough, and the sun is allowed to set, the bird will immediately fall asleep for the night and the game will end. It’s a pretty cute and harmless way to end a game, as opposed to, say, Falling Fred.
One of the best things about Tiny Wings is the cool, water-color-painting-like look to the levels. The colors are fantastic, and the pin-striped hills look like they wouldn’t be out of place in a Dr. Seuss book. What’s more, thanks to something called “procedural graphics,” the colors will be different every day you play Tiny Wings. I’m not sure how procedural graphics work, but the end result is certainly enjoyable.
While different birds and different obstacles might arguably make this game more compelling, they would certainly cut into the appealingly bare-boned simplicity of the thing. In a way, Tiny Wings is perfect as is. It’s also worth noting that this game runs smoothly on an old iPhone 3G, something that wouldn’t be possible with a bunch of bells and whistles. Tiny Wings is highly recommended for any casual gamer who can spare a dollar.