So the other night I was scouting around for an app to quickly blast through, and decided to check out the Top Free Games on the App Store. Sitting comfortably at the top with an utterly ridiculous number of reviews (I’ll get back to that in a moment) is a little something by Dong Nguyen.
Flappy Bird has actually been around for a while on the App Store, but its release this week for Android appears to have contributed significantly towards its sudden popularity.
It’s simultaneously simple and hilariously difficult, oddly addictive, ideal for quick bursts (each run lasts a few seconds), and – perhaps most importantly – free (with ads). Put them all together, and you’ve got a recipe for success, clearly.
When I say Flappy Bird is easy to pick up, I mean easy. The entire App Store description reads:
"Flap your wings to fly...
[How to play]
> Tap to flap your wings to fly.
> Avoid pipes.
> Try to get 4 medals: Bronze, Silver, Gold (hard), Platinum (very hard)"
And that’s literally all there is to it.
More specifically, you’re controlling a little yellow bird as he flies from left to right, and your only task in Flappy Bird is to avoid green pipes.
Incidentally, those pipes look mighty familiar, almost as if they’ve been lifted STRAIGHT FROM A MARIO GAME. You have to love this Dong Nguyen’s audacity. Furthermore, each time you successfully pass a green pipe, you’ll hear a little tone that blatantly recalls picking up coins in Super Mario. Brilliant.
In terms of mechanics, Flappy Bird simply asks you to tap the screen to give the bird a little height boost. Left to his own devices, he’ll crash to the ground, so effectively you're bouncing through the air.
Fly/bounce too high or too low and Flappy Bird will inevitably collide with a pipe, at which point your run comes to a crashing halt.
That might sound simple enough, but it is insanely difficult. Dong Nguyen has absolutely nailed the balance, however, as every time you fail (and you will fail a lot) you know it’s entirely your own fault.
And that’s Flappy Bird the game. It’s every bit as stupid as it sounds, but you need to check it out, even if only for a few runs.
Finally, if you get the chance, take a gander at the various Flappy Bird user reviews. Both the App Store and Google Play are being spammed with reviews that are only slightly different in their wording.
And even the negative Flappy Bird reviews are backhandedly complimenting the game for being insanely addictive. It’s all very strange.
But anyway! Yes, go download Flappy Bird, give it a quick bash then express your utter disbelief in the comments section below.
- Very simple concept…
- …but incredibly difficult
- It’s free
- Really samey
- Potentially infuriating
- Those curious user reviews
Summary: Flappy Bird is an odd game. It should be rubbish, but there’s something oddly endearing about it. And heck, its ludicrous popularity must count for something, too. Dong Nguyen has arguably nailed the free-to-play/quick blast/easy-but-hard thing.
Developer: Dong Nguyen
iOS compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Google compatibility: Requires Android 2.2 or above.