Breakout App Store hit Tiny Wings has opened the floodgates wide for cute and quirky side-scrollers, the latest of which is Launching Pad Games’ Mighty Fin (out now, $0.99). And while this particular spin on the ever-popular endless-running/flying/swimming genre doesn’t really bring much new to the table in terms of gameplay mechanics or innovative features, it still manages to feel fresh thanks to its wacky premise, oodles of outlandish environments and a central character who oozes charm from every pore scale!
Giving new meaning to the phrase ‘holiday from hell,’ our hapless hero, Fin, embarks on of Shady Sal’s “suspiciously cheap — and possibly deadly — Round the World Tours.” Now, a breakneck paced race through the world’s most terrifying and downright dangerous locales probably wasn’t what Fin had in mind when he decided to take a vacation, but icy-cold, penguin invested waters and storm-ravaged tropical reefs do provide the perfect setting for an exciting and addictive highscore-a-thon.
If you’ve sampled the aforementioned Tiny Wings or any of its ilk (and at this point, who hasn’t?), you know the drill by now: Fin is automatically propelled from left to right through levels, while intuitive, one-touch controls allow you to move up and down the screen, dodging obstacles and enemies and snagging collectables as you go. The idea is to make it to the end of each stage unscathed and with the highest score possible (yup, before you ask, Mighty Fin boasts full Game Center integration). Once you’ve completed this primary challenge, an additional endless variation on each level is unlocked.
As fast-paced and fun as it is, Mighty Fin’s core gameplay is a bit predictable, so thankfully inventive level design and delightful, retina enhanced eye-candy save the day. Each of the game’s eight different environments are bustling with life and chock-a-block with peculiar obstacles, while its kooky art style instantly put me in mind of John K’s fantastic animated oddities. Notably, Mighty Fin features a darker, edgier sense of humor that you might expect from what, at first glance, looks to be a cutesy, kiddie-friendly title.
Also bound to get a few chuckles are the 26, count ’em, 26 bizarre hats that Launching Pad have stashed throughout the game. Tracking down each and every piece of headgear provides an extra incentive to replay levels and I’m not ashamed to admit I got a real kick out of dressing Fin up in the likes of a top hat and monocle, daft sombrero and bunny ears!
Mighty Fin does come packing a decent amount of content for a 99 cent title and endless levels, leaderboards and sampling all those comedy costumes means you’ll get good mileage out of this one, but that doesn’t stop me wanting more, so let’s hope Launching Pad continue to support this fun title with frequent updates. The Round the World Tour premise certainly lends itself well to new locations being made available and I’m positive Shady Sal has plenty more skulduggery up his sleeve…
iFanzine Verdict:A tad formulaic perhaps, but still offers up enough exciting side-scrolling action, memorable characters and original flourishes to keep you hooked for the duration and leave you craving more. All in all, Mighty Fin is mighty fun!