British design studio ustwo is making their first iOS game, Whale Trail. This is a charming endless high score game where players control a whale who is flying through the sky. The goal is to collect bubbles that extend the eponymous whale trail that powers this flying whale, which also extend the points multiplier. Evil dark clouds line the sky as well, and these must be avoided in order to keep the multiplier and whale trail up. Holding down on the screen causes the whale to fly upward, eventually performing loop-de-loops.
This is a game centered around its visual and artistic design. The theme is key here; the visuals are bright and colorful, representing a rainbow of colors with a whimsical style, contrasting the dark, evil clouds. The music, created by Gruff Rhys, continues that whimsical style with the lyric version of the Whale Trail theme that plays on the title screen, along with the instrumental version that plays in the game itself. Everything in the game is meant to be friendly, fun, and inviting.
One part of the game design that becomes apparent is that sessions last longer than the average endless/high score game. Failure is not an imminent threat like in other games like Jetpack Joyride; bumping into a cloud is not a death sentence, and refilling the whale trail bar is easy, though the bubbles do become more sparse over time. This was an intentional design decision.
As according to ustwo's co-founder and "Chief Wonka," a man who goes by the single name of Mills, "Whale Trail is about creating a longer gameplay experience - it's about manifesting an almost endless/neverending gaming experience. You can't appreciate this wonder if the game ends quick...you can't rush beauty." However, he adds that the game is meant to also appeal to a wider audience, including those who want to go for high scores: "It's there to be enjoyed on the most simple and subtle of levels if you're that way inclined, or to be enjoyed on a more serious and competitive level, for those who really want to push it to the limit and just focus on achieving the highest scores possible." However, he reiterates the ultimate goal of the game: "This game is all about the joys of flying."
Whale Trail will set sail on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on October 20th. Those looking to get their hands on this game right away can visit ustwo's Whale Trail Facebook page and become eligible to test out the game for themselves before the game's final release.