App of the Week: Tiny Wings

Name: Tiny Wings
Platform: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Cost: $0.99

Tiny Wings is a cute addictive game for the Apple platform. It practically demanded that I write about it, because I can’t seem to stop playing it this week. You play as a little blue bird who doesn’t have the wingspan to stay aloft. ‘ By sliding down hills and building momentum, you can fly higher and farther. The goal is to get as far as possible, collecting coins and perfecting your slides, before night falls.

I think this guy would make a good plushie.

Even the marketing description of this game is cute: ” You have always dreamed of flying – but your wings are tiny. Luckily the world is full of beautiful hills.”

Tiny Wings is a great example of an all ages game. It’s pure fun and peaceful. The vivid, but soft tones that make up the stripes on each hilly island remind me of a picture book. Combined with’  soothing music and fluffy clouds, it creates a relaxing experience even in the midst of challenging achievements.’  As you fly, you can discover new islands, and unlock new challenges in groups called “nests.”

Teens showed me this game months ago, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to play it. ‘ A friend showed it to me again, and now that I’ve figured it out, I’m getting a lot farther in each game.’  At first I was just tapping the screen to decelerate.’  I didn’t understand that you can hold your finger down on the screen to keep your wings closed for longer.’  There is the potential for even more advanced strategy, tips for which can be found on the game’s website.

The look of the game changes each day, thanks to something called “procedural graphics.”‘  At first I found this disorienting, but was intrigued when I learned it is intentional. ‘ It makes the game more interesting, moves the coins around, and changes the colors and slopes of the hills on each island.

Simple app games, like this,’  are great icebreakers.’  Next time you find yourself sitting around a table full of teens with’  iPods (or smart phones or whatever),’  ask them about their favorites and challenge them to a game.

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