Whale Trail for iOS Proves You Don’t Need Wings to Soar on the App Store

It seems to have sprung forth from The Beatles film Yellow Submarine. Whale Trail from UK design firm ustwoTM is one of the most fanciful games currently on the App Store. Launched on October 20, the title resides in the endless high-score category of action games, drawing inspiration from the likes of the extremely popular Tiny Wings from Andreas Illiger and Jetpack Joyride by Halfbrick Studios.

Like those titles, the core mechanic of the game is based on players tapping or holding one finger on the screen in order to make a character fly higher or lower. In the specific case of Whale Trail, that character is a whale named Willow, who just so happens to … fly. As Willow, players soar through a pastel kingdom, passing clouds and trying their best to follow the “Whale Trail,” a colorful stream of bubbles. They need to do this in order to keep flying; if they veer off the path for too long, they’ll dip off the screen and the game will end.

Willow’s not alone in the wild blue yonder: the minions of Baron Von Barry, an evil dark cloud, appear as menacing obstacles. Players often need to navigate some pretty tight paths in-between these grey gaseous goons, and if they touch, the meter that needs to stay full for Willow to keep airborne will drop. Thankfully, players can collect a series of sparkling sprites to launch into a fury mode for a short time, during which Willow can barrel right through the Baron’s minions.

Players can also hold their fingers down on the screen to make Willow perform a score-boosting loop-de-loop. Following the Whale Trail for more than a few moments causes a score multiplier to kick in, which grows exponentially the longer players stay on the Trail.

The game is continuous, comprised on one endless, randomized level. The vibrant graphics are matched with a soundtrack by Gruff Rhys, a Welsh musician.

Whale Trail ties player’s high scores into Game Center leaderboards, which display the best runs for global players and friends. The game also features a number of achievements to unlock, which sync with Game Center and appear on players’ profiles there.

Developer ustwoTM was founded in 2004, and has since established studios in London and Malmo, Sweden. The privately-funded company is currently in the process of opening a U.S. studio in New York. Since opening, ustwoTM has primarily worked as a user interface and design firm, developing non-game or partially gamified apps for clients such as the BBC, Intel and Sony Ericsson. The company employs more than 100 people. Currently at No. 29 on the App Store’s list of top paid apps, Whale Trail sells for $0.99. It’s a universal app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

You can follow Whale Trail’s progress using AppData, our tracking service for mobile games and developers.