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Tiny Wings 2 flaps into the App Store

The update adds a new game mode, Retina support, and iCloud syncing support -- for free! There's also a new HD version (with multiplayer!) for iPad users.

In Tiny Wings' new Flight School mode, you race against three AI-controlled birds.
In Tiny Wings' new Flight School mode, you race against three AI-controlled birds.
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Last year, Andreas Illiger's Tiny Wings came out of nowhere to challenge the likes of Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja for App Store dominance.

Since then, legions of fans have been waiting for the inevitable sequel -- and their patience has finally paid off. Tiny Wings 2.0 ($0.99) has arrived, but it's not exactly a sequel. Instead, it's an expanded version of the original -- and a free update for those who already own it.

The core game remains the same. An adorable little bird slowly propels himself across the hills and valleys of the various islands that serve as the game's levels. The only "control" is your finger, which you tap and hold when he's sliding down a hill and release on the upturn. Time it right and the little birdie soars skyward.

The goal is to time your taps and holds to achieve maximum velocity, thereby staying ahead of the impending sunset. It's simple, engaging fun.

Version 2.0 adds Flight School, a new mode of play that's essentially a race: You must outrun (make that outfly) three other birds to the finish line, which in this case is mother's nest. First place gets the fattest fish, second place the next-fattest, and so on. You have to place at least third to move on.

Flight School has 15 levels spread across three islands, with the promise of more to come. Along the way you'll find a few new helpers and hazards, which I won't spoil here. Ultimately, it's a really fun twist on the original, adding a competitive element that was lacking before.

Tiny Wings was already a soothingly pastel-colored knockout, but now it's even more lovely thanks to newly added Retina support. And speaking of which, Illiger has finally created an iPad-native version: Tiny Wings HD ($2.99).

If you're grumbling that Illiger didn't make it a universal app, know that Tiny Wings HD includes a third game mode: Hill Party. This two-player mode splits the iPad screen in half for a head-to-head (beak-to-beak?) race. The winner is the first to collect 10,000 points or get the best score on five levels.

Tiny Wings 2.0 brings a welcome update to the original and an even bigger game to the iPad. Now how about an Android version!