Pigeons might well look, and indeed behave like vermin to many of us.

But their excellent sense of direction saw them used as a messaging service in World War II, while you might just see the humble wood pigeon on the menu at your local fine dining restaurant. Not bad for a flying rat.

Fittingly enough, Pigeon Wings Strike is an ostensibly simple game that turns out to be more than meets the eye.

Catch the pigeon

Those who never played the original Pigeon Wings might just look at a static screenshot of Pigeon Wings Strike and dismiss it as yet another endless runner. It's not. Alright, it is, but it's also quite a bit more besides.

Yes, this is another cute side-scroller in which you're trying to progress as far as possible to the right without crashing. But there's also the feel of a fast and fluid arcade racer here.

You're ostensibly racing against a bunch of other plane-flying creatures. Passing these rivals in the air gains you points, and it also serves to show you the ideal flying line, which is useful when a section of wall comes hurtling out of nowhere.

The sheer pace of the flying proves intoxicating, while a finely tuned tilt-based steering system really makes it feel like you're steering a fidgety racing craft rather than a cute mascot.


Fight or flight

Pigeon Wings Strike isn't finished mixing things up there, either. It's also a really fun little shmup.

As you tick off its countless challenges (fly so far, pass so many pigeons), you'll unlock new characters and activate fresh modifiers. Early on you'll unlock a cannon, which lets you blast enemy drones and hulking boss vehicles out of the sky.

These aren't the most in-depth shooter mechanics you've ever experienced, just as the racing bits aren't the most nuanced in isolation. Much of what you'll experience is just one step above window dressing, in fact.

But all of these various gameplay snippets and aesthetic embellishments cohere remarkably well around a tactile control system and a fluid, ever-shifting game world. This is an endless runner to cherish.