In the kingdom of mobile gaming, the bird is most certainly the word, as proved once again by this week’s pick. Developed by Vietnamese indie, Dong Nguyen, Flappy Bird has recently gone from nothing to become an App Store chart-topper.
What many don’t know is that Flappy Bird actually came out in May 2013. Presumably the game garnered a bit of interest before completely going under the radar. Even after an iOS 7 update back in September it was only last month that Flappy Bird truly started to take off.
The game itself is mind-blowingly simple. In fact, I would go as far as to say it’s the simplest game I’ve come across on a mobile device. Using one finger, your job is to navigate Flappy Bird through a series of pipes, each tap resembling the beat of a wing. The more you tap the higher you soar.
There is only one stage and every time the sequence of pipes is randomly generated in terms of where the gaps appear. As for distance, it’s the same throughout, hence creating a sense of rhythm as you pass each one. Misjudge the tempo or distance and you’ll smash straight into one of the Mario-esque green pipes, forcing a restart.
The key to Flappy Bird’s addictiveness is just how quick it is to jump straight back in. Ads, though abundantly present, relegate themselves to the far ends of the screen and never interfere. Therefore, after crashing into an obstacle, your first instinct is to hit that start button and begin flapping all over again.
Outside Flappy Bird’s single mode there is nothing in the way of content. This, as well as the game’s elementary design, actually peg it as quite a rubbish game. However, its emphasis on score-chasing and all-round simplicity has struck a chord with thousands of device owners all over the globe. Though I am beginning to agree with the former statement, Flappy Bird is still remarkable from the perspective of a game critic.
The real question is how long Flappy Bird can continue to captivate its legion of players. Nguyen and publishers Gears have yet to do anything with the game though could quite easy “do an EA” and begin to monetise it with skin packs and whatnot. On the other hand something tells me the developer is prepared to leave Flappy Bird just how it is – unadulterated. A temporary milestone in gaming history that will no doubt fade from memory as so many mobile games do.