Tiny Wings looks great; the art is superbly cartoony, rounded, not pixelated, and colorful. The game play is also easy to learn and difficult to master. On that last part, I plateaued at about 100,000 points a game. Then the game lost all appeal for me.
What makes the game fun? The one touch controls in Tiny Wings are brilliantly done. You can touch the screen and watch the bird go into a steep dive or let go watch the bird flaps its comically puny wings. The trick is making the bird dive into a down slope and flap its wings in an up slope. Then the fun is watching the bird cry out as it soars into the clouds. The sounds are as polished as the graphics.
The game was a blast as I mastered the one button controls and flew the bird all the way to the 8th island and over 100,000 points per game. Then I checked the leader boards. I am such a dummy that way. Players were maxing out at 400,000 points per game, per day. I kept playing in a futile if not Quixotic struggle to climb the leader boards. How many games should I play before giving up? You may as well ask how many hairs should you lose before you are bald. Either way, you do not really want to find out.
The broader question here is how much of the the fun of playing a game is the game play itself, the reward process, and the bragging rights. This is an old conundrum. In the old coin op arcade days, well reasoning people would spend a week’s wages in quarters in for the goal of writing their three initials at the number one spot. Others would strive to see the elusive final screen, a screen that most games did not have. The fun factor would get people in the arcade but it was the ties to obsessive, compulsive traits that really opened up wallets. The wheel goes round and the games are pretty much the same, only with fewer buttons.
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