The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Dan Vogt, co-founder of Halfbrick and all around Australian games scene dude, is out there doing his own thing and this week he released his first solo iOS project called Data Wing (Free). Not only is the game our Game of the Week, but it’s also our biggest Surprise of the Week, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost is that you’d probably dismiss Data Wing based on screenshots alone. ANOTHER minimalist arcade game starring a triangle? PASS. At least, I know I did, and boy would that have been one of my all-time greatest mistakes, as Data Wings is absolutely fantastic in every way. Another surprise and misconception on my part: Data Wing is not an endless arcade game. It’s actually a top-down racer, and you simply touch the left side of the screen to turn left, right side to turn right. Hold down both sides to brake. Simple, eh? The One Big Twist™ is that your triangle vehicle has inertia, much like controlling the ship in Asteroids. It takes a bit to get used to, but once you do it’s a ton of fun to drift around corners and the weight and physics all feel spot-on.
The coolest thing however, and what makes Data Wing more than just another top-down racer, is the boosting mechanic. To boost you simply graze the edges of the track which propels you forward. It reminds me a lot of bullet grazing in shoot’em ups, but because you’re accelerating while you’re doing it it’s tricky to maintain. You can’t just slam yourself into a wall and expect a boost; it takes a delicate touch to barely kiss along the “guardrails" of the track and try to keep your boost going. Because of this incredibly satisfying and unique boosting mechanic, racing in Data Wing has more of an organic feel, and I think the competitive aspect will really shine through as earning optimal times on the game’s tracks requires skillful use of the boosting technique rather than simply maxing out your stats or finding the perfect line through a track.
I keep referring to your “vehicle" and to “race tracks" and “guardrails" but the fact is that none of those are accurate, because everything inside Data Wing takes place in a computer. Or is it? This brings me to the neatest surprise of all about this game: There’s a story! And it’s interesting! The main, er, narrator I guess who guides you along right from the beginning has some especially funny dialogue and a terribly blunt but somehow endearing personality, and it’s easy to see that there’s much more to this story and the world of Data Wing than what you see at first. I feel almost silly that I can’t wait to finish writing this so I can pick up this crazy little racing game and find out what happens next, but it’s just so uncommon in games like this and I absolutely love it.
And the final, biggest surprise of them all? Data Wing is entirely free. No ads, no IAP, no hidden agenda. Dan Vogt simply wanted to create a game and then have people enjoy playing said game. That’s it. I kinda wish there was a tip IAP or something so we could hook this dude up with some “thank you" money, but he does say in our forums that if you want to give back in some way then check out the bands who provided the awesome soundtrack for the game, or give the guy a follow on Twitter, both of which can be found by tapping the little heart icon on the title screen that takes you to the About page. At zero cost, with rock-solid and unique mechanics, plus an incredibly stylish look and a compelling story, there is literally no reason for every person reading this not to give Data Wing a try. It might surprise you just as much as it did me.