My iPad is filled with Chillingo titles, primarily because I have a soft spot for cute, addictive iOS games that are pretty hard to put down. While Chillingo is a master at this formula, they have completely outdone themselves with Tin Man Can, an ambitious endless runner experience which continues to captivate.
A hoverbot named Tic is traveling through space and all he wants to do is get home. But a wormhole swallows him up and he's sent to another dimension. The only way back to his tin men colleagues is to collect fuel cells and Hovatrons during his perilous journey. Our hero's story is documented in a beautiful, yet short intro to the game.
Although able to leap cliffs and speed through terrains with the greatest of ease, Tic expends his energy at a rapid clip, so collecting the several fuel cells available within each stage is imperative. The Hovatrons give Tic acceleration, and the more Hovatrons he picks up, the faster the stage can be completed. Finishing each section in record time, coupled with the amount of fuel cells you pick up, determines the amount of Hovatrons you are rewarded.
To control Tic, tap either the left or right side of your device to jump. Arbitrarily jumping ends in a quick death in Tin Man Can, as learning how to properly navigate Tic through his four different worlds (Pine Hill Meadow, Redwood Forest, Moonlit Mountains, Crystal Cavern), is the only way to progress in an expedited fashion. Manipulating the environment, whether it's picking the right jet stream that will get you to safe ground or avoiding a directional speed boost that will throw you into a fuel less path of empty air, is also a key to mastering the game.
Upgrade and achievement junkies should be easily satisfied, as Tic's fuel exhaust and wheels can be changed for the right amount of Hovatrons. Want to fly a space ship? Buy one of the cheats in the shop section, (and even if it costs 5,000 Hovatrons, it's definitely worth the ride). There are 55 achievements you can unlock for Game Center, and if you've completed all four levels, there is a Coming Soon tab that is probably the promise of an entirely new world to explore.
Based on extras alone, Tin Man Can gets high marks, but the game also has an online mode which enables players to match up against their friends or race against a stranger. Under the online experience, you'll be able to access different worlds during your matches as opposed to earning your stages in a linear fashion with solo mode. Oh yeah, totally off topic, but Tic's space ship looks pretty cool.
My big hope is Chillingo and the game's developer, RedCandy Games, agree to release several more updates. The diverse environments created in Tin Man Can are beautifully rendered, the upgrades are well thought out, and most importantly, the game play is solid as a rock. Wormholes shouldn't be such a bad thing, especially if they lead to a world you really don't want to leave.