A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Timberman is a retro-style arcade game that might bring to mind another recent viral sensation: Flappy Bird. The game operates on a very simple premise -- chop down a tree and avoid getting hit by a limb -- but one that's easy to mess up, making you start again. It's extremely fast-paced, which might frustrate younger players. There are some interstitial ads in the game (which can be removed for $0.99); they're mostly for other games but can include some cartoonish busty women.
What's it about?
Players begin as a bearded lumberjack with an ax. Your job is to cut down a tree while avoiding standing on the side where large branches hit the ground. Simply tap one side of the screen to cut on that side. As a branch gets closer, tap with your other finger, and you'll avoid it by jumping to the other side. You can unlock other pixelated tree-chopping characters by obtaining high scores or spending $1.99 to unlock them all at once.
Is it any good?
TIMBERMAN is much, much better than it should be. It's an insanely addictive game that uses a very basic style of play, meaning when you die (and, to be sure, you will die -- frequently), you immediately start another round. Even better, it's a game that offers players options. Want to play for free? Fine, but you'll have to look at an occasional ad. Hate ads? For 99 cents you can bypass them.
Like Flappy Bird, Timberman is a fast-paced game, but it's not incredibly hard. In fact, it's pretty simple -- but you'll still die frequently, most likely as you get overly involved and hit "chop" one too many times on the wrong side of the screen, driven by the game's music and the ticking time bar at the top of the screen. That only adds to the fun, though -- and those are ingredients that can turn an app into a phenomenon.