It seems it's a good day for good game design, as not only did the audio visual feast that is Wave Trip [$0.99] launch earlier today but we stumbled across another incredibly stylish little game called Wide Sky [$0.99] from developer and motion design specialist Marcus Eckert. In it you play as an adorable little hedgehog who must swing around each level trying to smash into an orb, breaking it into a bunch of shards, and then go around and collect those shards as quickly as possible. You're given a grappling hook-like rope that can attach to clouds and swing your hedgehog around to build momentum and launch yourself towards your targets. You tap and hold the screen to attach your rope and tilt your device to swing around.

They're really interesting mechanics, but also incredibly tricky. Like, I am terrible at this game so far. Unlike most other hooking games, in Wide Sky your rope will only launch from the top of your hedgehog, so you need to keep an eye on its rotation before launching so you can aim properly. It takes a certain kind of finesse that I just don't seem have yet to attach the rope where you're intending to. I'm just fumbling around at the moment, but I think it's one of those things that will eventually "click" and I'll improve. You can see Wide Sky in action in the trailer below, which I should add is one of the nicest game trailers I've ever seen in my life.

While I'm still figuring out the mechanics in Wide Sky, I can't help but marvel at just how thoughtfully everything else has been designed in the game. It reminds me of the kind of minimalism and ingenuity showcased in an app like Figure [$0.99] mixed with the whimsical audio and visual styles of companies like Simogo and Lucky Frame. It's also a hilarious game, as the description texts and tutorials are all colored with a ton of humorous dialogue.

Wide Sky is just oozing style all over the place, and while I'm still waiting to come around on the gameplay portion I'm enjoying myself a lot nonetheless. If you've got a spare buck lying around and can appreciate tremendous design, then I'd suggest giving Wide Sky a look and checking out our forums for more discussion and impressions while you're at it.

  • Jazzpha

    That's probably one of the only times a trailer has almost pushed me into impulse-buying a game before seeing a gameplay impressions video first.

    Holy crap, that animation was gorgeous. If the game doesn't work out for Eckert, he should go into the short-film business.

    • Jazzpha

      Okay, so I bought it and just got through the tutorial. Here are some early impressions:

      While the central swinging mechanic seems a bit odd at first, it's easy enough to get used to and then it feels natural. The swings are tilt-controlled, but in a really non-obtrusive way.

      The visuals are incredibly polished; simple and charming without feeling gimmicky or overly-cutesy. The music is great, and the writing in the tutorial alone was wry, witty and hilarious. Best snarky, play-by-play learning the game commentary I've seen since Puzzlejuice.

      I can see myself playing this one for a while to come. Grab it; it's a steal at a buck.

  • Illuminerdy

    Any word on this going universal? I do all my gaming on my iPad Mini lately.

    • http://twitter.com/marcus_eckert Marcus Eckert

      depends on how well it does. (i don't even have an ipad mini, yet)

      • adin

        Bought as a vote for universal support.

      • Illuminerdy

        Well, sir, the trailer got me. Here's to one day. For now, I will enjoy on the phone.

      • http://twitter.com/PrayForDeath Pray For Death

        Bought it only to find out it's got no ipad mode. And my 3GS cannot run it.

  • JRaynor

    that trailer just sold me

    its only a 1$ so its not a huge deal and beside the art is amazing good job Marcus

  • thesporkwithin

    Yeah, got halfway through the trailer before going "a dollar? why the hell not?" and clicking purchase. I'll check it out later tonight, but that trailer is really something special.

  • Mrwubbs

    Great,no gamecenter. Seriously, not having gamecenter integration is like a ps3 game not having trophies at this point.

    • http://twitter.com/PrayForDeath Pray For Death

      Bad analogy, cause I find trophies just as useless heh.

      • Mrwubbs

        Then wouldn't that make it GOOD analogy?

      • Chester_Copperpot

        Your Kung Fu is good.

      • Chester_Copperpot

        Your Kung Fu is good.

  • Rasec46

    I'll probably give this game a go. It was a nice trailer and nice detail and good designs and if what the article say it's true i like a game that has care with details.
    Only thing is that it could be universal and the app store page description of the game is kinda bland. Should be more attractive.

  • http://twitter.com/danmills8 Dan Mills

    Incredible trailer. Bought the game, hopefully it's as polished as that trailer.

  • HelperMonkey

    I like the art, and I commend the devs for giving us something so pleasing to the eye. But with this game, as well as the just-released Wave Trip, sometimes things get so stylized that I don't know what I'm dealing with - what's good, what's bad, what I should be doing, etc.
    Of course, I'm judging based on the trailers alone. I imagine that after spending time with these games I would learn to discern what I'm looking at. And they do look cool.

  • JRaynor

    OK one bad thing and really annoying it really needs a option to rotate the screen, i like to play with the home button to the right side right now with the home button to the left i'm putting most of the times my hand in the speaker, this is only good with you are playing with the headphones

    And no i dont have auto rotate lock

  • cclogg

    Gave it a go: it has amazing design and style for sure, but I still can't figure out the mechanics (and I've had to watch the tutorial twice). I'm not a huge fan of tilt mechanics either, but regardless, I can't get a grasp on the roping. Am I missing something? After I tap him up into the air, it seems impossible to get the rope to come out at the right angle, and then if you do hook a cloud, you're stuck holding onto the screen and then tilting your device... and then praying that your next rope comes out at the right angle again while he's spinning madly lol.

  • benexclaimed

    I'm in love with the art and sound design but I really can't figure this game out. I've already put more time into than I do with a lot of iOS games but I still never feel nearly as in control as I'd like to be.

  • http://www.wildfactor.net/Rhythm_Game wildfactor - Rhythm games Dev

    I played it. The visual style is amazing. But the control are bad.
    you have to mix tilt and tap. You through your rope anyware with the hope to touch a cloud.
    Even after 10 minutes of play I still didn't master it (I improved a little).
    The tutorial is way too long. And the mission, touching circle, is not very fun! Maybe it's better after, but it takes too long to enter in the fun part.
    Visuals style are beautiful so.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=893770175 Steve Woolf

    Not a good game. It's beautiful to look at, but that's about it. The mechanics suck, totally frustrating, and not worth the buck IMHO.

    • vic_viper_001

      Couldn't agree more, the actual gameplay sucks pretty badly...

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202150 Kristen Stewart

      Agreed. Fantastic style, super polished graphics, witty commentary in the tutorial - but the gameplay is incredibly frustrating. Partly because everything is so stylized that the clouds barely stand out against the background, partly because the controls are just plain confusing, and partly because the mission (hitting circles to make them explode) doesn't feel at all satisfying.

  • http://twitter.com/Atomic_Monster Atomic Monster

    Looks great, that much has been established. The mechanics however are a bit wonky. You have to tilt or rock your phone to gain momentum once on a rope. What I find frustrating is it's hard to aim your rope while doing so. In fact I'm not entirely sure you can. It seems to extend from the same point of the hedgehog, so if he's spinning in the air it's really hard to line up the next shot. It's also a bit too wordy. I get the trying to be cute and clever but I really just want to get to the game after a while. I'll stick with it some more and see if I'm just not doing it right... but I'm a dev and I've been playing video games for over 30 years. I'd hate to think it's me.

  • thachizzle

    Really excited about this game because of the screen shot and the trailer. Booted it up and fell in love with the art and sound of the game. When the gameplay started I said to myself, Simple enough. I was wrong, gameplay isn't as polished as the art style at all. I was playing this in the car while waiting for my girlfriend and I had to constantly tilt my phone just to gain momentum to swing and surely I would look silly doing this in a crowded public place. If you love the art of this game purchase it. But I got too frustrated at the gameplay and controls to actually enjoy the game. Hopefully updates fix it.

    • cuw

      I appreciate the style of the game but I don't think telling people to buy it because they like the art to be a good idea. The game is all flash and then just a bad execution after you get past the design, at least according to everyone here. While I think a person who puts a lot of effort into something like this should be rewarded they need to remember the fact that these are games and are meant to be fun and playable and not just pretty looks.

      I feel like way too many games slip by real criticisms because people want to claim that true art exists in video games. You can look at games like Fez getting tons of coverage and great reviews for what amounted to an average platfomer because gamers want to legitimize their hobbies' artistic merit.

  • http://twitter.com/pocketpcandgeek Masa

    I don't like the gameplay of Wide Sky. It's a beautiful game but, i don't know when the rope can to grip the clouds . I always miss the objective. Use tilt control it isn't a good idea for this game.

  • http://twitter.com/pocketpcandgeek Masa

    I don't like the gameplay of Wide Sky. It's a beautiful game but, i don't know when the rope can to grip the clouds . I always miss the objective. Use tilt control it isn't a good idea for this game.

  • Veoren

    More hipster trash, great. Stop being in love with yourselves and your "godly" creativity hipsters, please.