Well, Euro 2012 really has been a festival of football, with epic games, amazing goals and nail biting penalty shoot outs. So, to coincide with the tournament there has been a slew of apps released, one of which is UP 2012 FREE.
The game is a Tiny Wings clone, which seems strange at first, after all how has that got anything to do with soccer or football? Well, the developer has cleverly incorporated a bouncing football as the main ‘bird’ character, and each of the levels takes place in one of the tournament’s host cities.
Well, it ends up being an above average Tiny Wings clone with not a lot going for it besides the cool theming. As with other games of this type, you have to guide the ball to the end of a hilly course. The ball moves forward automatically, but slowly, and the only control you have is the ability to speed things up by holding the touch screen down. If you are moving downhill, this will make the ball go really fast, but will slow it down if you are travelling uphill. Mastering the timing behind this uphill/downhill mechanic is the key to getting the ball to fly high in the sky. When in the air, touching the screen will cause the ball to fall faster, and the whole point of all this is to time the drops so you land at the correct angle on a downhill slop, letting go as you go uphill and reaching even higher heights.
The game does well in this regard, as I have no complaints with the way the random hills work with each other, or with the responsiveness of the control. It is entirely possible to get the ball flying massively high.
The only thing to remember for Tiny Wings veterans is that the ball is really bouncy, so any mistakes are harshly punished here.
The idea is to beat the time limit on each stage, and unlocking the next, but I feel the time limit is very harsh, so be warned that this is not an easy game, and you may very well be stuck on the first stage for a while until you get the hang of the bounciness of the football.
There are eight stages to play through, 4 from the Ukraine and 4 from Poland, although the only difference between all of them are the backgraounds. You can also choose between a large variety of balls, but rather disappointingly, they all seem to have the same physics attributes.
The game is ad supported, although there is an option to upgrade to a non ad version for a 99c IAP. I don’t mind ad supported games, in fact I think that they are generally a good thing, but I do have a golden rule: No pop up ads during gameplay, which this game breaks often. You can be in the middle of a stage, flying high and bang- a massive ad pops up, pausing the game and taking over the entire screen. This is really, really annoying, and is far more likely to get people to uninstall the game rather than upgrade it. Ads after gameplay, during menus, these are all acceptable, but never during gamepley, especially with an action orientated game that pop up ads can literally ruin.
The game also suffers from a lack of variety in what you do in each stage. Unlike Tiny Wings there are no boost sections, or changing light conditions, just some flags to increase your score. The game actually plays fairly well, and the random level designs are welcome, but I doubt many will play long enough to unlock all the levels. You can find out more about the game on its Facebook page.
The graphics are nice, the ball is animated well and the hills and backgrounds are decent enough, and the game also lets you listen to your iPod music, although there is a distinct lack of sound elsewhere.
Overall, this gets the basic gameplay right, and is well presented, but a lack of visual and gameplay variety, coupled with the lack of sound and those atrocious ads, are enough to drag the score down from what would have been mid 70′s to what you see below. Not bad for free, but not as good as it could have been either.