Despite being released back in May 2013, Flappy Bird has turned into a mobile gaming phenomenon in the past week. Topping the free app charts of both the Google Play and iOS stores, this frustratingly addictive game has captivated – and infuriated – many with its ‘one more go’ gameplay aspect.
Taking the role of an innocent-looking bird, you must tap your way through a never-ending sequence of what seem to be pipes on a 2D plane. Why exactly pipes are your obstacle I do not know, but they do bare a striking resemblance to those seen in Mario games. But unlike those seen in the portly plumber’s adventures, they contain no hidden secrets or enemies. In fact, they simply are the enemy.
But they’re not the only adversary in the game. No, it is the ‘jumping’ mechanic of Mr. Flappy Bird himself that is the cause of so much distress. With such a small margin for error available, you have essentially got to time each tap to perfection. If not, then you are right back to the beginning to start again. And yes, you will be starting again. Many, many times.
The scoring mechanic, just like the game itself, is very simple. For every set of pipes you navigate successfully, you score one point. Building up a score that enters three figures is very difficult, however. As you stare at the continually moving screen, your view eventually starts to become somewhat distorted and the panic creeps in with every point you gain.
In terms of presentation, Flappy Bird is very simplistic. Basic pixels make up the bird, pipes, foreground, and backdrop. When it comes to audio, there are just simple sound bites for every tap, point racked up and crash. The game comes in at under 3MB to download, so that paints the picture as to the level of content in Flappy Bird. The simplicity, however, is its charm, so don’t let that discourage you from downloading the game. It is free, after all.
With a high score emphasis, Flappy Bird is great when it comes to battling it out with your friends for bragging rights. The game is simple enough for everyone to give it a go, although only those with the patience of a saint will be able to amass a respectable point’s haul.
How Flappy Bird has managed to gain such popularity seems to be a freak occurrence. There isn’t anything remarkable about the game; in fact there are countless other games of the same ilk available to download on mobiles or play on the Internet. For example, the flash ‘Helicopter Game’ is a far superior alternative to Flappy Bird in my opinion.
Overall, Flappy Bird seems to be a fad; albeit a very popular one. It isn’t going to compete with the likes of Angry Birds or Candy Crush Saga in the long run, but it is giving them a good run for their money right now. The game is one of those that you will play for 5-10 minutes every day for a fortnight, and then it will become a forgotten icon on your mobile device. But I doubt you will forget the anger that it will instil into you, with threats to cave in the head of a small pixelated bird still being absorbed by those who were in the room while you were playing…
Tested on iPhone. Final Score: 5/10
Flappy Bird was released for mobile devices on 23 May, 2013, and was developed by Dong Nguyen. It has, in recent times, received mainstream attention after being overlooked when first made available.