App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
24/7 World.net has given TinyWorld an update that changes it from a mere toy to... well, okay it's still pretty much just a toy. However, there have been some marked improvements in this 2.0 release. Image previews have been cleaned up a bit and now allow for post-shutter adjustments in order to get things looking juuuuust right. It's now also possible to twist around preexisting images. The biggest addition (in my mind anyway) is the inclusion of image sharing. Now users can send images of their impossible planetoids to friends and such via email, Instagram or Twitter from inside the app. Neat!
It's impossible not to look at images created with Tiny Planet and fail to draw comparisons to the illustrations in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's literary classic, The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince). With the right subject and the right framing, all it takes is one press of a bright red, candy-like virtual button and another fantastic mini-world is born. While the app itself is really nothing more than a funky lens filter for the device's built-in camera, it's still quite a lot of fun to mess around with.
The interface for Tiny World is as simple and no-frills as most photography apps: there's a viewfinder, a screen that shows the filtered image in real-time and a giant shutter button. Aside from the faux leather texture and the logo, there's nothing else to it. Well, that's not entirely true. By making subtle adjustments to the angle of the device (both side-to-side and front-to-back), the composition can be tweaked to a surprising degree. Which is a good thing, because otherwise the majority of the images taken with this app would have more of a spiraled shell-like appearance rather than a spherical one.
As I've mentioned, the app is incredibly easy to use. It's about as point-and-shoot as any app related to photographic imagery can get. But simplicity isn't why someone will be using it. The reason anyone will want to play with Tiny World is exactly that: in order to play with it. It's just plain fun to mess around with it; taking surreal pictures of the neighborhood, various random objects or even pets, as is evidenced in the gallery below. Our cat, Ampersand (yes, that's really her name), was a very cooperative subject.
The toy-like nature of the app is also its biggest problem. Once the novelty of taking warped photos of things wears off, there's a good chance Tiny World won't be getting much use. Sure it'll get some more love when friends and family who haven't seen it before are introduced to it for the first time, but unless someone can find a reason to base an entire photo series around the concept it's not going to get much attention after the first few days.
The brevity of its entertainment value shouldn't be a deterrent, though. Anyone who enjoys using their Apple camera with a phone attached to it will most likely get a kick out of the funky pictures Tiny World can produce. And really, I don't consider a dollar all that much for something that will have people crowding around the tiny screen of my iPhone and asking if they can "try it next."