Tiny Wings returns with new 2.0 update

Tiny Wings, an iOS game from Andreas Illiger, was critically acclaimed on its original release for its attractive graphics, catchy music and simple but addictive “one touch” gameplay. Over the course of the past year, Illiger has been working hard on a “sequel” to the game, and pleasantly surprised fans last week when he announced the new version would be a free update to the original rather than a full-blown new title.

Actually, that’s not quite accurate — as part of the new “version 2.0” update, Illiger has released an all-new, sold-separately iPad “HD” version of the game. The only real difference between the new tablet version and the iPhone edition (which is free to update for existing owners) is the addition of a split-screen multiplayer mode — and the ability to play on a large screen, of course.

Tiny Wings’ basic gameplay sees players controlling a small bird that isn’t very good at flying. Instead, it prefers to skid on its belly down hills and fling itself into the air in an attempt to get as far as possible before nightfall. Tapping and holding on the screen causes the bird to make itself “heavier” and skid down hills faster, while releasing causes it to flap its wings and jump into the sky off the crest of a hill if it has built up sufficient speed. Successfully pulling off slides increases the bird’s speed and allows it to progress more quickly. The goal in the original game mode is simply to get as far as possible against a time limit which is extended slightly each time an “island” is completed. By completing various arbitrary objectives, players “level up” their bird’s nest, which permanently increases their score multiplier and allows them to survive a little longer in each game.

Tiny Wings 2.0 adds an additional game mode to the mix, known as Flight School. In this mode, rather than competing against the clock for score, players challenge discrete levels against three computer-controlled birds and must race them to the finish line. Time records and the best position attained for each level are saved, allowing players to challenge their best times. Game Center leaderboards also allow players to compete against their friends for the best total completion times for each of the game mode’s three “worlds.”

The split-screen multiplayer mode on the iPad version allows two friends to compete against one another and see who can reach the finish line first. There is no facility for iPhone players to compete against iPad players wirelessly, though progress in the original and Flight School modes may be synced between the two versions via iCloud.

The new version of Tiny Wings is a significant and noteworthy update to the original, and to provide it for free rather than as a new app or in-app purchase is a demonstration of considerable generosity on the developer’s part. Creator Andreas Illiger notes that the new version of the game was released as a free update for iPhone owners because he “doesn’t particularly like in-app purchases” and because he wanted to release the new version as a “thank-you to [his] loyal fans.”

App Store reviewers have responded very positively to this move, with one reviewer simply noting “DOWN WITH IAPs!!!” and another noting that he would have happily paid another $0.99 for this new version. Some have noted that they would have preferred the iPad support to be added in to the existing app rather than as a separate, non-Universal purchase, but without this new, separately-sold version Illiger would make significantly less money from the update — though renewed interest in the game is likely to see a large number of new players even for the iPhone version.

You can follow the progress of Tiny Wings and its HD incarnation with AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.