Goodbye, Flappy Bird. And good riddance.
Video gamedom’s most despised avian antihero is no more. He has ceased to be. He has joined the choir invisible. He is an ex-bird.
Flappy Bird, the maddeningly difficult yet horrifyingly addictive free game for iPhone and Android devices, was removed from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store earlier this week after its Vietnam-based creator, Dong Nguyen, said he couldn’t take it anymore. “It” presumably being the media attention, the flood of business offers and the seething hatred of frustrated fans around the globe.
Personally, I’d put up with a whole lot of hate and scrutiny in exchange for the $50,000 per day in ad revenue Nguyen was reportedly making from Flappy Bird. But kudos to him for taking the high road.
That said, Flappy Bird was – and still is, for the hundreds of thousands who’ve already downloaded the thing and will keep playing it – a bad game. I’ve written on that before, so I won’t keep harping on why it was a crime against everything good video games stand for.
But if you missed the Flappy Bird phenom – or you’ve finally come to your senses, deleted it and freed yourself from this fresh feathered hell – here are five simple but infinitely better mobile games that only require one finger to play. May they fill the bird-sized hole in your heart.
Imagine Flappy Bird with beautiful visuals, fascinating creatures, realistic physics and a variety of gameplay mechanics – your character grows, shrinks, multiplies and so on – and you’ve got something like Badland. The controls are similar to Flappy Bird, but you’re flying to survive, not to score points. Right now the iOS version is 50% off ($1.99) in memory of Flappy Bird’s demise.
One of the thousands of so-called endless runner games available for mobile devices, Ski Safari distinguishes itself by being very slick and a lot of fun to play, as you try to outrun an avalanche – on skis, a snowmobile, the back of a Yeti, whatever’s available – for as long as possible, using finger taps to jump over obstacles and pull off tricks.
Tiny Wings ($0.99 for iOS)
Three years old this month, Tiny Wings remains a personal favourite for a quick five-minute gaming break, even though I’ve already reached the game’s maximum level. Like Flappy Bird, it involves a feathered critter who has trouble flying, and who you control using just one finger. Unlike Flappy Bird, it’s charming, beautiful and simple to play while being very difficult to master.
Another endless runner game but easily one of the best, Jetpack Joyride features Flappy Bird-style tap-to-fly controls, but has you guiding Barry Steakfries as he soars through a secret lab on a bullet-spewing jetpack, collecting coins and dodging missiles. There’s tons of variety and plenty of humour, concepts that are completely foreign to Flappy Bird.
After Flappy Bird became a runaway hit, the App Store and Google Play started filling up with unabashed clones. Ironpants is one of the copycats that most closely mimics Flappy Bird (replacing the bird with a superhero and the pipes with stacks of crates) except it’s somehow even more ludicrously frustrating. Make no mistake, this game is a terrible, pointless waste of time. But so was Flappy Bird. And sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye.