Ski On Neon provides stylized, retro-themed evolution of Tiny Wings’ gameplay

The recently-launched Ski On Neon from Hawaiian indie Esoteric Development showed that it understands what people want from an iPhone game by shooting to the top of the charts at the end of last week. At the time of writing, it’s still clinging on to a No. 3 position in both the Top Free Apps and Top Free Games chart, according to our tracking service AppData.

The basic premise of Ski On Neon is very similar to the popular independently-developed title Tiny Wings. It’s a one-touch game where players must gather speed and perform enormous jumps over an undulating landscape by pressing the screen as they ride downhill, and releasing as the hill starts to slope upwards again. Performing perfectly-timed slides rewards players with speed boosts and higher jumps, making quicker progression and higher scores easier to achieve.

It’s not a straight clone of Tiny Wings, however. Ski On Neon evolves its Tiny Wings’ gameplay and structure with a variety of different modes and a discrete level-based structure rather than a “survival” mechanic.

Modes include: 1) High Flyer, where players must reach a jump height target before reaching the end of the course 2) Speed Trials, where players must get to the finish line as quickly as possible 3) Tech Slopes, which combines the two mechanics 4) Vertigo, where players must achieve the highest possible cumulative height score against a strict time limit 5) Air Time, where players must stay off the ground as much as possible and 6) Slide Pro, where players may only continue playing so long as they achieve perfectly-timed slides.

There’s also a single-device pass and play multiplayer mode in which two players compete against each other for the most victories out of time taken to complete the course; total air time; highest individual jump; and highest cumulative jump height. On top of that, there is also a $.99 in-app purchase available known as The Red Menace, which offers 30 new challenging levels, 12 new backgrounds and 4 new Game Center achievements.

The game’s current popularity can likely be attributed to the fact that it has launched as a free app, making it a risk-free proposition for fans of games like Tiny Wings to try out. Esoteric Development hasn’t said how long the promotion will last as yet, but thus far it has allowed the developer to acquire a large user base which could potentially be monetized with future updates and in-app purchases.

The game doesn’t really have social features outside of Game Center integration. Some form of social sharing or score bragging mechanic would help with viral promotion. It’s early days for the game as yet, however, and this is a feature which could easily be added in the future. To enjoy as strong a start as Ski On Neon has bodes well both for its own future and that of Esoteric Development as a whole.

To follow Ski On Neon’s progress through the App Store charts, check out AppData, our tracking service for social and iOS games and developers.