In the iOS gaming world, sometimes the simpler a game is, the better. Sure I love more complex, “console-like” experiences, but it seems that the more boundaries a developer tries to push in adding complexity to an iOS game, the more chances that some aspects will fall short given the inherent limitations of the device. In that case, Tiny Wings [99¢] from first time iOS developer Andreas Illiger leaves very little room for falling short of expectations. Games doesn’t get much simpler than the one-touch mechanic found in Tiny Wings.  Combined with the fantastic art style, delightful music, and brilliant gameplay, Tiny Wings approaches what I would consider the perfect iOS game.

In Tiny Wings you play as a bird who has been pecking a bit too much at the seed bell, making you a bit on the heavy side. You’re not able to fly like most normal birds, as your tiny wings can’t support your weight. But you dream about flying all the time, and with the help of your environment, you make this dream a reality. Using the hilly terrain to your advantage, you’ll gather speed sliding down the slope of a hill and then using the upslope of the neighboring hill as a launch ramp. No matter how hard you flap your little wings, you won’t be able to stay airborne for long, so you must continually land and relaunch yourself in order to keep flying.

Your overweight avian will automatically move to the right, and not touching the screen at all causes him (or her?) to vigorously flap its wings trying desperately to stay in the air. Holding down on the screen ceases all flapping and causes your bird to become nothing more than dead weight. You’ll use this weight to accelerate into the downslopes while immediately letting go after an upslope to launch yourself in the air. This mechanic takes a few tries to fully "click", but works wonderfully well and there’s an almost zen-like rhythm to coasting in and out of the slopes of the terrain.

Each journey starts at sunrise, and your score is based on how far you can make it to the right before nightfall. Collecting coins or perfectly hitting the curves of the hills can add to your score and increase your speed. The terrain is broken up into a series of islands which are procedurally generated and change in real time each day. Completing a short list of specific tasks will earn you a nest upgrade, which in turn increases your overall score multiplier. The required tasks change with each nest upgrade, adding a bunch of interesting goals to shoot for while you play.

The simple gameplay in Tiny Wings is sublime, but there’s an intangible aspect to it that makes it a total joy to play. The charming graphics and music make me feel good, and I find myself rooting for the plump little bird and sharing in his jubilance each time he takes flight. It's such a great feeling to hit several perfect slopes in a row, pick up a ton of speed and just soar through the air. All the while my birdie is yipping and hollering for joy, and I just feel happy for him. It sounds silly, but it’s unlike anything I’ve ever felt from an iOS game in recent memory.

While I don’t hesitate to label Tiny Wings a 5 star game based on the initial release, some simple additions could serve to make it a more fulfilling experience. Currently OpenFeint offers a number of achievements and a single high score leaderboard, but Game Center integration is in the works along with additional leaderboards to cover a wider variety of statistics. More nest upgrades and possibly even additional bird types would be welcome as well. Retina Display support would be nice, but at the same time it might ruin the unique watercolor-esque look the game currently employs.

I could go on saying more nice things about Tiny Wings, but I’d rather get back to playing. There are a ton of positive impressions in our forums, and I can’t think of the last time I’ve seen a game so universally loved by our members. Tiny Wings has found itself a permanent spot on my device nestled snugly next to games like Solipskier [99¢] and SpikeDislike [99¢/Lite] as simple to play, hard to master, and endlessly replayable titles that are perfectly suited to the platform. If these are the types of games that interest you, don’t even hesitate to give Tiny Wings a download.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Cbrowny2009

    Took your time in reviewing this amazing game didn't you ;) Only joking but this is a buy buy buy buy buy,you get the message ;) game.Quality like this deserves,if there's any justice to knock that other,but more angrier bird game off the top of the charts :)

  • Frank

    looks lovely... buying now

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1428761785 Bart Breij

    Oh wow, this looks adorable. Love the ambiance in this one.

  • Anonymous

    Love this game. Tiny Wings is the new king of the "endless" genre.

  • Gwet17

    This game cannot be passed up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=581599010 David Luchetti

    great game! thanks for sharing!

  • HelperMonkey

    Love it. Most addictive iOS game I've played.
    It's irresistible. Definitely headed to a high spot on the sales charts.

    • Gwet17

      I hope so!

  • Aaa

    No lite?

    • lol

      no just buy it.......

    • Gwet17

      There doesn't need to be... just read the reviews, they're all spot on.

  • Anonymous

    Looks great, and I think I'll add it to my list of things to buy, but I'm thinking maybe I should wait until the update is out. Games adding Game Center support to already-existing OpenFeint support have frequently had issues breaking achievements you've already been granted.

    I still haven't quite figured out if it's due to the devs overlooking something or a bug in OpenFeint's achievement sharing. It does make you wonder why people continue to bother with OpenFeint, though.

  • Anonymous

    I've been playing this too. It's cute all right, but as I mentioned in the forum, content updates would be awesome. Unlockable birds and more scenery can take this to the next level.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=581599010 David Luchetti

    i think this game has potential to be the next "cut the rope"

    • Gwet17

      I agree that it has the potential and I think it really deserves to be the next huge app.

      • Decoy Octopus

        This game is just 99 cent junk.

      • Gwet17

        Have you played the game?

      • Hamster787

        yeh you obviously have not played this game......

  • EastsideStompers

    How many people called their bird Orvil then? Great game. Needs a catchy tune, and loads of up-grades and unlockables.

    • Hamster787

      there is a catchy tune listen to the music ;) oh i love this game i named my bird ramirez :)

      • EastsideStompers

        Yes, sorry, when I started the game the music wasn't on by default for some reason: / It's on now: )

      • EastsideStompers

        Yes, sorry, when I started the game the music wasn't on by default for some reason: / It's on now: )

  • http://twitter.com/JZWilliams Zach Williams

    Incredible. I'm gonna have to agree with those saying this should be the next big casual game on the charts.

    • Frank

      You know, im not sure its the next big casual hit. My grandmother dosen't get it. But she loves Angry Birds and Cut the Rope but she has a hard time understanding the timing in this game. But i hope it dose well! I love the game myself.

      • Gwet17

        I'm sorry, but video games aren't designed for grandmothers.

      • Anonymous

        The best video games are accessible to everyone. At least mobile ones.

      • Gwet17

        Good point. And this one does seem like one that's designed for all age groups, I guess. I can see your points, but I still think it deserves to be the next craze, difficult to master or not.

  • http://www.taylorbarclay.com Taylor Barclay

    It will be an insta-buy with Game Center integration, additional content (birds, environments) and Retina display. I will wait :)

    • Gwet17

      Don't wait for the update, get it now if you don't have anything important to be doing!

  • Anonymous

    Is there a way to "put off" or slow down the night coming? It seems like if not there's a definite limit to the score possible.

    • JCGaga

      the idea is to 'beat' the sunset...the faster you keep flying, the slower the night will come.

  • JCGaga

    Beats angry birds haha

    • Gwet17

      Well, it certainly is a different kind of game.

      • Frank

        Are you the dev undercover? :) You will say no, sure

      • Gwet17

        Yes, yes I am.

      • Frank

        Reverse psychology, I got you!

  • http://www.taylorbarclay.com Taylor Barclay

    I'll get it when it's not at half the resolution for my iPod Touch 4G. Retina and GC achievements and stat board. So many of the suggestions in the forum thread are excellent. I will be buying it though, added to my Wish List.

    • AmpliHelix

      I play it on an iPhone 4 and i'm against giving it Retina support. But if he does add it in I hope there will be a toggle to turn it off since the game looks so good without it.

    • Dadasdas

      @ AmpliHelix How in the world could this game look WORSE with higher resolution?

  • Rroger

    hmm looks absolutely boring according to the video.

    • Gwet17

      It may not be your kind of game, but playing it certainly is more interesting than watching the video.

      • Decoy Octopus

        And yes I've played the game. It's just a shallow pickup and play on the go game with no depth.

      • Gwet17

        Fine. It's okay if it's not your kind of game, but I don't think it needs depth to be fun.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Hall/717433594 Matthew Hall

    I picked this up on a whim earlier in the week, as it had a cute icon. Certainly not disappointed :) A Grade.
    Though, I agree that it takes a few goes to figure it out - and some gamers might not have the patience to learn it.

  • The Frost

    This is the fourth site that gives Tiny Wings a 5 star review, and its everything they say and more, i truly recommend this game to anyone, just buy it and feel the joy

  • Elvis

    #2 in the german app store!!! It`s so nice and refreshing to see what the great potential of the appstore is. This guy deserves it so much!!! And I believe that he would have never had the chance to be this successful with his skill and creativity if it wasn`t for the appstore ^^

  • http://twitter.com/MindJuiceMedia Ken Carpenter

    Definitely a fun little game. Not sure how people are getting such high scores though. My multiplier is at 14x now.

    The game is certainly shooting up the charts though...#25 in US right now overall. Was around #45 a couple of hours ago.

  • http://www.paradeofrain.com/ Alex Okafor

    Just picked it up and loving the mechanic and flow of the game. Reminds me a lot of the "skiing" mechanic in the PC game, Tribes. Fun Times!

  • Anonymous

    What the heck? My comment got nuked. So I guess I'll ask again: Aside from minor mechanic differences and an admittedly nice stylistic eye for artwork, what makes this any different from the dozens of other identical games (bird theme and all) that have been released on the App Store since 2008?

    • Elvis

      hmmm, isn`t that more then enough ;) I mean I pay more for a coffee a day and a coffee keeps me entertained for maybe 3 minutes.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      There is no game that is identical to this one. It may appear so but nothing on the App Store uses this particular mechanic, which makes the game what it is. That would be like saying Canabalt is identical to Solipskier.

  • JCGaga

    I can't get past island 6 cause this little fucker keeps slowing down.

    • EastsideStompers

      Yes, I too seem to have hit a brick wall at Island 6. Can't seem to keep the little bugger going. It's border line between 'one more go' and 'stuff this' for me right now...

  • Jaison13

    i've played this like 6 hours in the last 2 days. i too keep getting stopped on island 6... grrrrrrr. but love the game it's a must buy!! i love people waiting for updates on a freakin' $.99 game or want a lite version!!! it's a dollar!!! holy crap!!

  • http://twitter.com/talia_nguyen Nguyen Nhat Minh

    I got more than 70,000. Who can beat me ?

    • http://twitter.com/sidetwo sidetwo

      96903 for me. A bit upset as I was so close to breaking the 100,000 mark!

    • http://twitter.com/sidetwo sidetwo

      96903 for me. A bit upset as I was so close to breaking the 100,000 mark!

      • http://twitter.com/sidetwo sidetwo

        ... and I just hit 100,793! :)

      • Noah

        119,508 - Island 7

        Booya!

  • Gwet17

    Any advice on how to get 200 coins? I know, I suck at this game.

    • phattestfatty

      just get as far as you can, after a couple islands, the large amounts at the end get u there... dont bother with the small groups

  • L Dawgs

    hope it goes to the charts quick

  • Alex Westcott

    buying it now :) its at the top of the uk charts!

  • Alx

    I have 138 000 but is virtually impossible to reach Island 8th, it would be cool if they add more power ups besides the blue coins

  • http://tinywingsgame.com Tiny Wings Game

    Tiny Wings is an awesome game and could be the next angry birds.

  • Yemi

    Tiny Wings is the perfect game , simply amazing. No words can describe how fun it is. Nathan McCoy needs to shut up about tiny wings being a ripp off his horrible graphic game wavespark flash . Tiny wings is the truth of what iphone gaming symbolizes.

  • http://www.jellykid.com adude

    I love Funny Duck because it's simple, it has a new game play, battery efficient and has Lite version:)

  • Peter

    Tiny wings is great, one of my favorite games with angry birds, cut  the rope and electro chuck. Tiny wings is awsome, never had so much fun whith an Iphone game.

Tiny Wings Reviewed by Jared Nelson on . Rating: 5