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Home / Reviews / Apps and Games / Android / App of the week: Data Wing review

App of the week: Data Wing review

There’s style and substance in this neon treat that mashes up Asteroids, racing and puzzling

At the risk of this being the most efficient Stuff review ever: you should go and download Data Wing right now, because it’s brilliant. The weird thing is, it’s not a game that immediately screams play me. If anything, it at first looks a bit ordinary.

You start off flying what appears to be a refugee from ancient arcade game Asteroids. It flits about minimal top-down racing circuits, while all kinds of eye-smashing weirdness burbles away in the background. But then an AI pops up and starts blathering away.

Does not compute

It turns out, you’re a ‘data wing’, designed to ferry information about a system apparently designed by someone with a thing for retro gaming and racing. This involves getting from A to B, battling inertia and gravity, and boosting by scraping your tiny triangular craft against track edges.

All the while, a story starts building. The AI seems to have designs on being human. There’s reverence for – and a modicum of interaction with – the hallowed ‘user’. And yet something feels slightly off about your boss’s machinations as you blaze about, doing its bidding.

Hack attack

Hack attack

As you play, the story unfolds in surprising ways. You meet friendly malware that tries to tempt you, and peek into the innermost thoughts of the user.

Really, this shouldn’t work – two intertwined storylines that end up packing emotional clout, combined with a minimal racer. But Data Wing swiftly becomes a mobile title you won’t put down until you crack the very last challenge.

Not that doing so is easy. Although Data Wing clearly wants you to progress and doesn’t slam you into too many difficulty walls, it does regularly shake things up.

Winging it

Winging it

The most basic races are time trials, where you complete a circuit within a strict time limit. Some add extra-time gates, or have you complete against seemingly zombified data wings. (Best not think about where they came from.)

But some levels are almost adventure-like, complete with puzzles and keys. Some are particularly ingeniously laid out, with you having to carefully utilise speed-up mats and scarce track edges to clamber your way to an exit high above.

Data Wing showcases how a little imagination can be transformative even in relatively minimal mobile fare. This could have been yet another top-down endless racer with pretty graphics. Instead, it’s a miniature masterpiece – a bold mash-up of racing, narrative, puzzle-solving, and logic tests that yanks you from exhilarating action to heart-twanging plot twists again and again.

As noted before: go and download Data Wing right now, because it’s brilliant.

Data Wing is available for Android and iOS.

Stuff Says…

Score: 5/5

Great in every way that matters. And it’s free, without even throwing ads your way. So what are you waiting for?

Good Stuff

It’s Asteroids meets racing

Keeps lobbing new ideas your way

Cleverly intertwined storylines

Bad Stuff

A few levels are really tough

Profile image of Craig Grannell Craig Grannell Contributor


I’m a regular contributor to Stuff magazine and Stuff.tv, covering apps, games, Apple kit, Android, Lego, retro gaming and other interesting oddities. I also pen opinion pieces when the editor lets me, getting all serious about accessibility and predicting when sentient AI smart cookware will take over the world, in a terrifying mix of Bake Off and Terminator.

Areas of expertise

Mobile apps and games, Macs, iOS and tvOS devices, Android, retro games, crowdfunding, design, how to fight off an enraged smart saucepan with a massive stick.

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