Recovering Flappy Bird addicts will be facing a relapse trigger this week. The mobile phone game sensation from early 2014 proved so popular that in February, Hanoi-based developer Dong Nguyen pulled it offline, deciding it was too addictive. But now, Nguyen has announced the release of a Flappy Bird sequel of sorts, called Swing Copters.
Swing Copters borrows the single-tap gameplay of Flappy Bird that proved so fiendishly addictive: the primitively animated interface required navigating a cartoon bird (yes, a flappy one) through rows of green pipes by tapping the screen to change its flight path. If the bird touched a pipe, the game would end. It was deceptively simple, easy to learn but hard to master—you always eventually crash into a pipe—leading one reviewer to call it "a minimalist work of gamedev genius."
Swing Copters is, in essence, the same game, but instead of a bird, it’s a little guy with a propeller on his head. The goal is the same, except instead of pipes, you're navigating gates, and instead of moving continuously to the right, as in Flappy Bird, this copter-head guy travels ever upwards. And unlike in Flappy Bird, swinging hammers attempting to knock him off his path, which a reviewer at Touch Arcade says makes the sequel even more maddeningly difficult than its predecessor. "Once you see even the smallest bit of success in the game, you can't help but play again, and again, and again, always trying to . . . top that amazing five-point flight," he writes. The craving for "just one more try" could be twofold.
When Nguyen pulled Flappy Bird in February, he tweeted that the game "ruins [his] simple life." Paparazzi besieged his house, and countless users sent emails complaining about their addiction to the game. But maybe he missed making $50,000 a day in ad revenue. After Nguyen took Flappy Bird down, a wave of knockoffs cropped up in the app store—in one 24-hour period in February, 95 Flappy Bird-esque games were released for iOS alone. Now that the official sequel is upon us, it's almost frightening to think of the madness that could ensue.
Swing Copters will be available for free in the app store Thursday of this week, with a small ad on the screen that paying a dollar will make disappear.
[h/t the Verge]