It’s hard to look at On The Wind [$1.99] and not think, ‘Hey! That reminds me of Flower except without the third dimension’. Like thatgamecompany’s award-winning title, On The Wind will have you guiding plant-based material (you’ll be herding leaves as opposed to flower petals here) through a scenic landscape.
However, where Flower was intended to evoke positive emotions and to be your standard ‘challenging’ title, On The Wind will have demand a little more from your Infinity Blade-honed reflexes.
Because you are defined by the leaves you collect as you progress through the seasons, you must always ensure that there’s a steady supply within the immediate vicinity of your fingertip. Should you find yourself bereft of them, the game ends and you’ll be forced to restart.
The catch here is that leaves have a certain ‘lifespan’. After a certain amount of time, they will drift away from your reach, thereafter reducing your supply. As such, you’ll be constantly called upon to collect more leaves, something that can be accomplished by dragging your finger over a bountiful plant.
Sounds easy? Well, it is. Sort of. The controls aren’t exactly rocket science. To navigate through the artsy-looking terrain, you simply have to move your finger across the screen. If you lift your finger, the game will automatically pause. However, the problem with the controls is this: you can’t really see where you’re going.
Unless you’re graced with the tiniest of digits, chances are that you’ll find your view of your path obscured by your own flesh, something that lead to a disastrous finish and a return to the beginning of spring. It’s an annoying little quirk that some right-handed people have resolved by utilizing the left appendage but that also comes with some problems of its own.
Still, if you’re willing to overlook the fact that movement in the game can sometimes be genuinely frustrating, On The Wind is a pleasant way to wile away your time. Each time you flit through the trees, they respond with a smattering of musical notes. The music is largely tranquil and will provide a pleasant backdrop to your activities in the game. I’m on the fence in regards to the visuals. On one hand, I like the soft colors and the silhouette-style terrain. On the other hand, I can’t help but feel as though I’ve seen the art style somewhere else before.
That said, On The Wind is solid enough for a debut production and for those sick of the guns, girls and gore, it will also be a nice change of pace.