Leaf on the Wind ($2.99) by Pangea Software, Inc. is a challenging, zen-like puzzle game that will keep you entertained for hours. If you enjoyed games like Enigmo 2 and On the Wind, then you will want to check out Leaf on the Wind for your game collection.
If there’s one thing I love doing more than anything else, it’s just coming home and relaxing with a stimulating puzzle game. To me, this is just the best way for me to unwind. Puzzle games have always been a favorite of mine, and I love them even more when realistic physics are involved, because they up the difficulty. So while I was perusing the App Store for some new games for my iPhone 6, I was intrigued when I saw Leaf on the Wind.
The visuals in the game are stunning, especially if you have a new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, as it is already optimized for the larger screens. The art style is gorgeous with the flat but dreamscape-like blurring effects that you’ll find with the obstacles and backgrounds. The colors are bright, vivid, and have a nice gradient effect going on when you look closely. It’s a visual treat for the eyes. Animations are smooth and fluid, and I found no lag whatsoever on my iPhone 6. The game’s folkish soundtrack is also rather soothing, so even if you aren’t a fan of the genre, it’s still pleasant to listen to in the background.
Leaf on the Wind contains 30 levels for players to get through. While this may not sound like a lot, the game has a lot of replay value since you will always want to go back and replay a level to get a better score. The objective in each level is to guide the leaves from the tree in the beginning to another tree at the end of each stage.
Of course, this is easier said than done, as there will be other forces of nature — such as fire, water, and air — that become dangerous obstacles between you and your mission. There’s even man-made machinery that will get in the way as well. In order to clear each level, you will need to hold on to a majority of the leaves by the end of the level, because if you lose too many leaves, then you’ll have to restart.
The controls in the game are simple and intuitive. You swipe your finger on the screen to stir up some wind to lift the leaves off the branches and guide them through the course. To keep them in the air, you’ll have to keep swiping. If you guide the wind through dandelions, you can get bonuses, and sometimes you’ll have to push a bunch of leaves into obstacles (like pillars) to knock them over and advance. The larger screens on the new iPhones definitely help out here, since you’ll still be able to see plenty of the screen as you move the leaves. You can use two fingers to pan the camera around.
While you’ll be able to go back and recover some leaves that have gone astray and get stuck on the floor (glowing rings indicate where they are), you still need to be careful for dangerous traps on the ground, such as thorny plants, which destroy leaves on touch. Fire will burn the leaves, and mysterious air whirlpools will suck leaves in to the void, so watch out.
When you get the leaves to the tree at the end, you’ll earn points for each leaf that attaches itself. When all of the leaves are on it, the level is complete and you find out your final score. This is determined by how many leaves you saved, how fast you finished, and dandelions you’ve passed through (bonuses). There is full Game Center integration for leaderboards (total and each level), as well as some achievements to obtain.
At first I was worried that this game was too similar to On the Wind, which was a favorite of mine a few years ago. Fortunately, Leaf on the Wind is not an endless game, as it is based on levels. Plus, it features challenging puzzles that are much more stimulating than just seeing how far you can get as a cluster of leaves. The visuals in Leaf on the Wind are beautiful, the music is fun, the controls are responsive, and the game is already optimized for the new iPhones.
I highly recommend checking out Leaf on the Wind if you’re in the mood for a relaxing, yet challenging, zen-like physics-based puzzle game this week. You can get it on the App Store as a universal download for $2.99.