Many, if not most, of the abundant amount of casual endless running games on the App Store are simply variations of one another varying solely in graphical theme. There have been a few titles that have spun the genre wildly like the popular Jetpack Joyride and now most recently On the Wind ($1.99) that puts you in control of leaves with hopes of blowing in the wind throughout the course of all four seasons – it sounds different, and it truly is.
Your finger is the wind so long as you’re making contact with the screen. This is the driving force that directs the direction of the flying leaves. As you progress, you’ll have to collect leaves from appearing trees to replace the leaves that will imminently fall to the ground and quickly dissolve. If all leaves are lost to the ground or if you’re chased out of the left side of the screen due to the increasing variety of design within the gameplay, it’s game over.
The whole thing isn’t a new idea in truth, but the execution has been mastered artfully with the gameplay having a calming effect on the player. The art in coalescence with the humble background music creates a mood that would otherwise not be present within the game. Developer David Buttress’ focus on creating a relaxing experience outweighs the attention paid to creating a seamless game with tons of features and fun to boast.
The actual gameplay is hindered greatly because of the inclusion of flawed controls. Your finger on the screen controls the movement of leaves, which often causes you to be blind with direction especially with the various areas of land strewn all around in the randomly generated game world that could potentially end your game if crashed into. It’s recommended to play with your left finer all the way to left side of the screen with the sensitivity of your touch cranked up to the highest possible amount, though that’s a disaster when used on an iPhone or iPod Touch. However, playing on the iPad offers some redemption.
With a main focus on alleviating artwork, On the Wind is populated with creatively designed sprites and UI elements. A mix of pixel artwork and more modern techniques produce highly varied environments that differ by environment and sport wonderful background that look absolutely stunning thanks to their optimization of the new iPad’s retina display.
On the Wind doesn’t hold much in terms of gameplay to hold a serious gamer in its grip for too long, but the mood it attempts to retain throughout deserves your $1.99. It’s a good departure from the usual endless running concept that has since become trite and overused. There’s no doubt whether or not On the Wind can be considered a graphical marvel.