Data Wing - an Arcade Game with More Than What Meets the Eye

February 16, 2019
Data Wing - an Arcade Game with More Than What Meets the Eye
Image source: Data Wing official Facebook page

Free mobile games are rarely free, either you have a bunch of ads or you’re constantly asked to pay for something. Well, Data Wing is one of the rare games that is really, completely, free. Which is more than welcome at GameBuz.

Data Wing seems like a really basic arcade racing game that doesn’t have much to offer, I even considered it for Bite-Sized gaming, but when you actually start playing, you realize there’s a lot more to it.

Design

data_wing_design
Image source: Data Wing Play store page

The graphics are very arcady and simple. Since you’re inside a phone carrying data around, it makes sense and it’s really well designed for it. The effects are smooth and not too flashy. Graphically it’s really well designed.

The in-game music fits the gameplay amazingly. Vaporwave is a great genre for the game, anything else would feel off, too slow or too energetic.

The combination of the graphics and audio make for a very enjoyable experience. As far as I’m concerned, the design is perfect what it is.

Gameplay

data_wing_gameplay
Image source: Data Wing Play store page

You play as a data wing, a small triangle carrying information in a phone. At the start of the game, you meet Mother, the AI in control of the phone. Mother is presumably the operating system of the phone because she is in control of everything.

In the beginning, she isn’t really friendly, you’re just another data wing there to follow her orders and do things for her. Mother has a very GLaDOS vibe, switching between insulting you and complimenting you followed by short episodes of her losing her mind… Mind? Losing her AI algorithms?

As the story progresses, she gains sentience in hopes of becoming a human and promises to shower you with gems for helping her. You like the gems because they’re shiny and they have no use besides being shiny.

The more sentient she gets, the more sporadic and weirder she gets, giving you lots to worry about.

The Basics

data_wing_binary_mini_game
Image source: Data Wing Play store page

Data Wing plays out the same as most arcade racing games on mobile. Taping on the sides of the screen turn you in that direction and holding them slows you down. There are no upgrades or special powers keeping things simple.

The game offers a couple of different game modes throughout the levels. You race other data wings to be the first one to reach the finish, race against the time to finish the level or race gate to gate. Besides the obvious things you’d see in a racing game, some of the levels are set up like puzzles where you look for keys to unlock doors to get to the end.

The maps are well designed and balanced when it comes to difficulty. Some levels have completely different gravity forcing you to change up your play style. Levels also include gravity fields where you have to think fast to adapt and speed boosts which are incredibly important on high gravity levels.

As I said, the levels are balanced, but from time to time you’ll need multiple attempts and a lot of them have secondary objectives, mostly to finish them in shorter times. Some of them are borderline impossible but it’s good to have the challenge and it feels great when you actually manage to do it.

Story

data_wing_mother
Image source: Data Wing Play store page

The story, THAT is what makes this game unique. Yes, the arcade racer has a story and it’s amazing. You follow the story of Mother, the presumably teen phones user Olivia, and an outdated malware.

Even though it sounds convoluted, it’s really well done. You follow what’s happening on the phone through Mother and the friendly malware speaking to you and you follow what’s happening to Olivia through the notes and messages on her phone.

With Mother slowly losing it, the malware so nicely asking you if you could get some user data for it and Olivias tough situation you feel compelled to finish the game.

Nitpicking

I have to say at least something bad or else I’m not doing my job, right?

I’m not a fan of the data wing feeling like it’s on ice when turning and it’s a bit stressful how hard some of the secondary objectives are due to the fact that you need to do it almost pixel perfectly.

That’s all, I honestly can’t find anything that I really mind about it.

Conclusion

data_wing_poster
Image source: Data Wing official Facebook page

Data Wing is Dan Vogts passion project and it really shows. It’s completely free, the music choice is great, the graphics are captivating, the controls spot on and saying the story is great is an understatement. The game is all around well made and satisfying. It deserves a spot on your phone and it won’t take too you long to finish it.

As a final verdict, 10/10 and you should paypal Dan Vogts like 5 bucks after you finish the game, it’s well deserved.

Available on iOS and Android