Tiny Wings $0.99
Tiny Wings has two things in common with Angry Birds. First, both games give the player control over small birds, and second, both games have been the number one paid app in the iTunes App store. Tiny Wings came out of nowhere, knocking Angry Birds out of the top spot, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a game that boasts its own unique style, is easy to play, and is addictive.
In Tiny Wings, players control only two actions of the playable bird. You either touch the screen to stop flapping and plunge downward, or you do nothing in order for the tiny bird to flap its tiny wings. The goal of the game is to combine the two actions of flapping and dropping to send the bird flying up and down hills so that it can fly as fast as possible. It’s an easy concept to learn, but it’s difficult not to immediately restart when you get a game over.
A high score is the main incentive to keep flying, but there are additional ones, as well. As you progress further into the game and pull off stronger combos, you can choose to upgrade your nest. Upgrades are based on specific tasks outlined to the player, not exclusively high scores.
Tiny Wings works as well as it does because it’s so simple and rewarding. To control the game, all the player must do is lift his finger on and off the screen. There are no virtual buttons, and with translucent control sticks, you just touch and go. If you do well and hop the ramps appropriately, you’ll soar high into the sky, often with confetti trailing behind you. Doing well in this game just feels great, and that enjoyment will make you come back for more.
The game’s style is reminiscent of childhood storybooks; there aren’t any other games that look quite like it. The bird’s animations and audible outbursts when it launches off a particularly well-executed jump are adorable and make you want to succeed all over again.
Tiny Birds is a well-designed iOS game. It’s far from being overcomplicated, it’s quick to load, and it looks great. This is one of the games that defines the mobile gaming experience, and one that belongs right next to Angry Birds on your home screen. The only thing it’s missing is Game Center compatibility, which will hopefully arrive in an update soon.
3D Twist & Match $0.99
In 3D Twist & Match, players must rotate 3D objects and match them to silhouettes. It’s a game that is admittedly difficult to describe in words, but one that becomes instantly understandable and playable when in motion.
It’s a simple game mechanic, and one that is perfect for controlling on a touch screen. You simply swipe the direction you want to rotate the 3D object to align it correctly. The challenge comes from figuring out which direction you should rotate. The silhouettes aren’t instantly recognizable, and you have to quickly determine the angle. With a timer constantly counting down, you’ll have to swipe fast.
Every 3D shape corresponds to a visual and musical theme. The music and backgrounds change every couple of objects and include themes like classical music, the beach, and gothic frights. The changing themes keep the game from becoming too repetitive, and the music is always interesting.
3D Twist & Match only has three different modes—two if you don’t count Practice. The other two modes, Classic and Rush, are basically the same. The main difference between them is that Classic is a little more forgiving. The first shape you miss in Rush gets you a game over, but Classic lets you fail a few times before calling it quits. Each mode has three different difficulty levels, and your high score is tracked for each one.
The game is an incredibly simple one, the type that succeeds on a touch-screen mobile device. It makes playing for a few minutes easy and even has a pause function so you can return to your game later. The more rounds you play, the more opportunities you’ll have to unlock new objects in Practice mode, but the real reason to replay is to set a new high score. Game Center compatibility is built-in, lending some ease to high score tracking and comparing. For a dollar, 3D Twist & Match is a worthy distraction.