Have you played Tiny Wings? If so, Time Surfer will feel very familiar, but in a good way. Like its inspiration, Time Surfer has you control a character by making him dive into a landscape of rolling hills. Dive onto a downward slope, and your surfer gains momentum, soaring higher and farther to a better score. Mess up, and you slow down, which leads to your inevitable death. Time Surfer does just about everything Tiny Wings does, but it adds a great new idea to the equation: time control.
The game adds a few other things as well, like enemies, spike walls, power-ups, and flying slices of cake. In lesser hands, the game might feel like a shoddy rip-off of Tiny Wings, but instead the additions coalesce into a game that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
A moving sidewalk, just like at the airport.
The most important addition is the ability to rewind time. When you fall down a pit or plow into a wall of spikes, all you have to do is press the left side of the screen, and your mistake is magically undone. But like all good things in life, your time control ability is limited. Once your meter runs dry, you’re back to relying on nothing but your wits, with certain death soon to follow. That’s why you need to keep gobbling up the time pellets that are scattered around.
As you play, you also collect pieces of cake that act as the game’s currency. Cake lets you buy helpful pets and new skins, some of which you might recognize from other iOS games (or James Cameron movies). They also dangle three achievements in front of you at any time. Earning these helps you raise your rank and unlock new stuff to buy in the in-game store.
Remember the prime directive.
That’s about all there is to Time Surfer, but it’s enough to keep you entertained for a weekend or two. They’ve taken the core gameplay mechanic of Tiny Wings and added a substantial twist that turns it into a fresh experience.
Time Surfer is an intense, enjoyable game that rarely stumbles. It’s probably not the kind of game you’ll find yourself playing a few months from now, but it’s kinetic and fun in short bursts, and well worth a try. The only way the developer could make it more exciting is to rewind time and release it before Tiny Wings.