It seems like an odd choice to pick an aging cartoon character born in the 1940s for a new iOS game, but that hasn't stopped Chillingo from bringing out a Woody Woodpecker game. It also looks like the person who had the idea can pat themselves on the back, because it works brilliantly.
First we need to deal with the elephant in the room, though. From the first few seconds of the first level you'll be muttering it anyway. Two words; Tiny Wings. Chillingo probably won't admit it, but this game is heavily based on the hit iOS endless flying game. It uses the same sort of hills, the same physics and the same touch based gameplay, but that's not to say it's entirely the same game.
Woody Woodpecker distinguishes itself from Tiny Wings not only through the main cast of characters, but also by the extras it brings. While pressing the screen to go downhill fast and then letting go as you shoot back up the hill is still the idea,the controls and the colourful cartoon backdrops both set this apart, as does the racing element.
Aside from the touch control, there are two more buttons which will help you. First is the boost, which gives you a big push in the direction you are facing. Pressing this in the air will boost you forward, or going up a hill will shoot you further in to the air. Using it at just the right time is the key to getting the most out of this aid. Secondly, there is a weapon, which is unique to each character, from rockets to oil slicks that slow people behind you down. They both need time to recharge after being used, so working out when to use them becomes important, especially as they both disappear on the final downward slope before the finish line appears.
Graphically, the game takes an obvious inspiration from the more recent cartoon series of the late 90s. The first set of levels are built around a golf course and feature golf caddies riding back and forth over the hills and lightning strikes that threaten to electricute you if you stray too near. The next set is snow covered and features snowmen and blizzards. Finally we have the circus, which is the most colourful set of levels and feels more like a rollercoaster. The styling is beautiful and time has obviously been spent on capturing the look and feel of the cartoons.
There are 5 characters to choose from in the game; Woody, Winnie, Ms. Meany, Buzz Buzzard and Chilly Willy, all of who will be familiar to fans of the cartoon. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and a specific special weapon. They also have phrases taken from the cartoon show when you use one of your tricks. There isn't that much difference between them, but it's nice to have a choice.
The main game consists of racing against the other AI characters to the finish. Finishing in the top 3 will give you a chance to move on to the next level and finishing these with a certain number of points (shown as thumbs) opens up the next set of levels. With only 30 levels in total at the current time, the game could be fairly short for more experienced players, particularly as it's fairly easy to place first on the golf levels. A choice of difficulty might have helped here.
Luckily there is also the multiplayer mode, which uses Game Centre on WIFI to find players. It doesn't, unfortunately, let you pick players though and throws you against anyone who happens to be online with a different character to yours. If you have someone in the same room playing the game, however, it tends to match you against them first, so local multiplayer is much easier to set up as long as you can agree not to be the same character.
While Woody Woodpecker does have its flaws, there's no doubt that this is a fun game that is well worth the asking price. It won't last forever, unless Chillingo decide to support it with further levels, but it's certainly entertaining while it lasts and with its colourful cast of characters, thanks to an interesting licence, it's a great little take on the Tiny Wings idea.
- Sound: 9
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 7
Page 1 of 1