Time Surfer (out now, $0.99), an endless game by Kumobius, will look familiar to many a casual gamer for its rolling “hills”. But while the game is awfully similar to Tiny Wings, it puts a new spin to the gameplay. In Time Surfer, you can wind back time and try again … and again. Want to perfect that dive and maximize your speed? No problem. Of course, as with any other fun game, the good stuff doesn’t last forever. You’ve got to collect purple gems to refuel your time traveling ability.
The game also tosses in new perks in the form of pets and power-ups, and new obstacles that include spiky balls and death pits. Instead of dusk putting an end to your flight, you’ve got to escape the end of the universe. It’s often easier to die by crashing into a spiky ball or plunging into a pit though. But since we can time travel, you can resurrect yourself and try to escape death. As it happens, there’s a mission for dying 10 times in one game. It’s simpler than it may first appear, and the easiest way to achieve it feels like cheating (because it is).
Through completing missions, you’ll rise in rank, be awarded bonus space cake (the game currency), as well as unlock new pets. You may only take one pet along for each surfing trip, and you’ll also have to feed the pet a certain number of space cakes. There are pets that provide you with initial speed boosts, others that save you from death by spikes (mostly only once), as well as a few that will save you from one pit. This is in addition to the power-ups within the game. For instance, there are speed strips and magnets that help you suck up purple gems within range. Some things, like aliens and asteroids, can either give you a boost (if you bounce on them from above) or throttle your speed (if you crash into them from behind).
All this makes the gameplay in Time Surfer very different from the simple, almost leisurely play in Tiny Wings. With so many variables at work, the ability to wind back time cannot save you from death indefinitely. While some strategy can help, you’ll also need a good dash of luck.
Time Surfer is a fast-paced game with attractive retro graphics and a catchy tune. Aside from pets, you can spend your earned cake on costumes and flair (trail color). More cake is available via IAP, but those who despise IAP, as I do, need not fret. You can earn decent cake through surfing, and even literally catch a few pieces whizzing through the galaxy. As you unlock more powerful pets though, it may get costly to actually use them.
iFanzine Verdict: Time Surfer is a frantic, addictive endless game that should appeal to fans of Tiny Wings. It’s not simply a case of more of the same, since Time Surfer packs in so much extra: speed boosts and magnets, aliens and asteroids, perilous spiky balls and lethal pits, and of course, time travel. For those who crave yet more challenge, the game also offers Hell Zone, which is crammed with a crazy number of spikes. At just a dollar for this universal app, I have to say, why not?