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iPhone App Video Review: On The Wind

by Andrew Koziara

On The Wind is a fluid and elegant yet frustrating new endless runner from David Buttress. You guide leaves through the landscape and survive all the yearly seasons with simple touch controls, always keeping some leaves in your gusty presence. The game is well made with a solid concept, but the execution and controls could use a little bit of work.

Basically, it looks like David played ThatGameCompany's PlayStation Network exclusive Flower and decided to make it 2D, and to replace flower petals with leaves. I have no problems with this, and think it's actually a really cool concept. In the game, you have to deal with dying leaves and the harsher seasons. After a certain amount of time, leaves will die and fall away from your group, and the slower you move, the faster that process is, so you can't take things very slowly and cautiously. You also lose leaves every time they touch the ground, which causes them to transform into flowers. Of course, in spring and summer, plenty of leaves cover the trees, but in autumn and winter, the game can get quite harsh.

It sounds simple, right? It sure is, but the controls definitely add a level of frustration. The leaves move on the exact point that your finger touches the screen, and every time you lift your finger, the game is kind enough to automatically pause for you. Unfortunately, this also means that your finger is constantly obstructing your view, making it really easy to mess up, especially if you are an adult with larger fingers. It particularly makes it hard to film a video review, for example. This is the biggest flaw with the game, and if it were updated so that you could control the leaves by touching the screen anywhere, with leaves moving relatively to your finger, such as in cave shooters like Bug Princess and Deathsmiles, I'd be pleased as punch.

The colorful minimalist art and relaxing music compliment the design pretty well, even if the game is a bit more frustrating than the music seems to think. The challenge in the game comes from the Game Center leaderboards and achievements. If you're into such things, there is a lot to work towards, but if you're apathetic about them, the game might feel kind of pointless and possibly even boring to you. The game is iOS Universal and available for two dollars at the time of this review. In the end, I'd recommend it, though I'd maybe wait for an update or two first.

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