Tiny Plane Review

Plane with a dog is so much fun

Tiny Plane from Chillingo, is missing a trick. It’s a a side-scrolling flying game where you take control of an admittedly tiny plane, with a lovable dog as a pilot, but for some reason, they’ve refused to reference the fact that a DOG is behind the controls. A DOG.

When was the last time you saw a dog handle any type of aircraft? By my reckoning, the last time a canine completed any type of cross-channel flight was 1958. The airline industry has changed dramatically since then. Dogs are no longer considered pilot material for all sorts of health and safety reasons.

So you’d think they’d call the game ‘Dog Wings’, or ‘Fly Dog’. Something to draw the attention to it’s USP. But I suppose sticking the word ‘Tiny’ in the title equates to a million automatic downloads. Cant blame them for that. Also, let’s be honest, my suggestions were pretty crap.

Controlling it is simple, a tap on the left half of the screen sends your doggy plane into the air, a right hand tap makes it descend. The aim is to fly for as long as possible while collecting fruit to make you fly faster (because even airplanes need their five a day), coins for you to spend on upgrading your plane, avoiding thunderstorms which rob you of your coins and mid air mines which kill you like a good mine should.

Along the way you’ll have to perform a number of landings in order to refill your gas otherwise you’ll crash and burn like a Savage Garden song. The thing is, landing to refuel can be pretty tricky, many times I approached the landing strip at what I thought was a perfectly reasonable angle only to explode into flames. Mr Moore, I’m sorry to tell you that you’ve failed your pilot exam.

The rest of the game is uncomplicated fun. Fruit, coins and power ups such as the shield which protects you from mines, line the sky in generous proportion, and the feeling that you’re an inch away from a massive coiny payoff keeps you playing well past what would you would call a ‘Difficulty Spike’ and I would refer to as ‘Time to Delete This App’.

It also helps that it’s good looking. The backdrops can be somewhat plane (see what I did there?), but the game has a lovely, crisp art style in general, with retina-sharp graphics.

Sound is the standout though. The in-game effects are full of excited whoops and hollers from your dog pilot alongside the charmingly optimistic soundtrack that make it sound like a fun-packed Saturday morning cartoon. The title music is also a cheerful riff, full of 1930′s chutzpah that’ll take you back to the good old days when dogs wore carefully coiffured side partings and kissed their wives goodbye before climbing into their spitfires. Ah, when dogs were men.

There’s also a cool multiplayer mode which sees you go up against three other players in an attempt to see who can crash first…excuse me, stay in the air the longest. It’s an enjoyable extra.

One final thing. Although you can upgrade your plane as I mentioned before, nowhere in this game do I see the option to buy coins with real money. You actually have to earn your new plane the hard way: by grafting. In this day and age of iOS gaming that is tantamount to treason. But I love it, even if the new planes are so expensive it’ll take you till your 50th birthday to afford one (apologies to any 50 year olds reading this. Life begins when you’re halfway to 100, rock on).

Perhaps I’ll come back and update this review when I’m a little bit older and I’ve earned enough coins to buy a new plane then. Until that time, I’ll keep crashing the default one. It’s a good thing I’m not a pilot. Or for that matter, a dog.


Tiny Plane is out now as a universal app for $0.99. Get it on the Tiny Plane™ - Chillingo Ltd

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