Tiny Wings HD Review: Finally on iPad! It’s a Big Day for the Little Birds
When you’re trying to tell someone why you love your iPhone or iPad as a gaming device, it’s often a game like the original Tiny Wings that will finally make them understand. After all, the little project of developer Andreas Illiger brought a memorable art style, cute main character, and addictive gameplay that involved nothing more than tapping the screen with one finger. Luckily, the greatness that was Tiny Wings is now available in a Retina-optimized iPad version, and incredibly crisp visuals aren’t the only thing that’s new. Tiny Wings HD introduces several new gameplay modes and a much broader world that is, without a doubt, worth every penny of the $2.99 asking price.
Say you own the iPhone version of Tiny Wings from last year, you might be wondering—doesn’t this iPad version feature the same-old tapping mechanism that I mastered the first time? Well, first of all, it’s basically impossible to “master” a game as subtly complex as the original Tiny Wings, and secondly, this HD sequel is much more than a better-looking older cousin to the original. Instead of just giving us a big-screen version of what has worked so well in the past, Illiger went above and beyond by adding layer after layer to the Tiny Wings experience. Those who purchase Tiny Wings HD will not only have the classic day-to-night stage that was featured last year, but also get two new modes: Flight School and Hill Party.
The Flight School in Tiny Wings HD pits the player against three other birds who are controlled by AI. So, instead of racing the setting sun, you rocket over the hills and through the air on your way to a nest at the end of the level. Be the first to get to the momma bird and you’ll receive the largest fish (it’s more rewarding than it sounds). If you manage to come in first place on one level, don’t worry, there are 14 more (and even more to come?). You’ll also be challenged to “nest up” each bird by changing your character and giving the levels another play through… This might all sound like a lot of repetitive flying, but you’ve yet to experience the trampoline flowers or slow-motion puddles that make each stage different than the last and add entirely new challenges into the mix.
There are many hours of gameplay to enjoy in the Flight School, but if human competition is more your speed, then Tiny Wings HD has got you covered. Welcome to Hill Party. With this innovation, Illiger makes it possible for you and a friend to race through the skies at the same time—and on the same device! The multiplayer of Tiny Wings HD is executed perfectly—only requiring that you put the iPad between yourself and your opponent before watching the birds hop from their nests and take to the races. There are even multiple ways to score multiplayer races—either by points or over the course of several levels.
If all of the above doesn’t have you sold on upgrading to Tiny Wings HD, maybe all you need to do is install the Tiny Wings 2.0 update to your iPhone version. With that done, envision the action taking place on a Retina iPad screen, and you’ll have a good idea what you’re missing… Tiny Wings HD doesn’t reinvent the gameplay that made it such a success in the first place, and boy are we glad. The sequel is the perfect mix of innovation and capitalization, and I’m even left feeling appreciative that Illiger didn’t jump the gun in bringing his game to the iPad earlier than now. Clearly, there was a purpose behind the delay, and the game that we now have is the best version of Tiny Wings we could have asked for. Let’s hope it gets even better with age and updates.
Our Score: 5 Out of 5