Sadly, Flappy Bird—the addictive 8-bit game that recently won the nation’s hearts—was removed from the app store by its developer this weekend.But the game’s confounding success has not been lost on other enterprising app-makers, who have been quick to release thinly veiled carbon copies of the phenomenon. Here’s our quick take on how they measure up.
How It Works: Tap the screen to propel the bird up and navigate through the Super Mario tubes. If you don’t continue tapping, you will fall on your stupid bird face and the game will restart.
Bona Fides: Currently number 1 in the App Store.
Differences: There are only two small modifications: First, the passages between the tubes are much wider than those in Flappy Bird. Second, you’re given three lives. You lose a life every time you make contact with a tube.
Conclusion: Fly Birdie unapologetically co-opts the simplicity that makes Flappy Bird fun to play and makes the game easier for less skilled players. The life extenders and wider passageways pander to everyone who wishes they’d been better at the original. If you can stomach the shoddy design, it’s worth a shot. Recommended.
How It Works: Tap the screen to propel your trusty bee friend through the sky. If you touch the ground or fly out of the top of the screen, you die and the game will restart. Instead of pipes in your midst, there are strings of “plants” and “moons” that, curiously, both look like flowers. As you collect them, your pot of honey will fill up. Each level tasks you with an “achievement” to complete, which might be something like filling up a pot of honey in a certain number of taps.
Differences: The game is active, rather than passive. You aren’t avoiding something, you’re aiming for it. And as the challenges continue, your focus and attention span must expand. The graphics for this game are original and detailed.
Conclusion: Both in animation and concept, Flappy Bee is a much more sophisticated iteration of Flappy Bird. But having to learn all these rules, differentiate between items to collect, and mind your taps drowns out what made the original game so fun to play in the first place. What’s left is an exhausting replica of something that used to be fun. Meh.
How It Works: Tap the screen to propel a sad little plane to its poorly designed destiny. If you touch the ground or the boundaries above, you crash and the game will restart. Instead of pipes in your midst, there are floating bars to avoid. As you dodge them, your advancement is recorded in the miles you’ve traveled.
Differences: You’re able to choose the difficulty level of the game before you begin. According to some reviewers, the Easy version is much easier than the Flappy Bird default. Still, even the Easy version was a bit of a challenge for me — but remember, my highest score in Flappy Bird is a 6. Whereas Flappy Bird’s barebones 8-bit layout was charming, Flappy Plane’s just seems sloppily put together. The text used to display the distance is blurry, and there’s a distracting advertisement at the bottom of the page. The plane isn’t cute. Not even in a weird way.
Conclusion: This game is truly the Chinatown knockoff equivalent of Flappy Bird. As one iTunes app store review put it: “Flappy plane was created to help flappy birds recover their lives, much like a methadone clinic with addicts.” Meaning, if you want to wean yourself off Flappy Bird with a less intense, cheaper version of the game, this one is for you. Recommended only for addicts.
How It Works: Tap the screen to propel a little man through the crate-like obstacles in front of him. If you crash, the game will restart. Your advancement is measured in the number of passageways you make it through.
Differences: There is a flying man, not a bird. His obstacles are crates, not pipes. You hold down your finger on the screen, rather than poking it.
Conclusion: This is basically the same game as Flappy Bird. It might even be slightly better, given its name. And it’s just as hard to stop playing. You’ve been warned. Highly recommended.
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