05th Feb2014

‘Flappy Bird’ App Review

by Paul Metcalf

It all starts off fairly innocent, you load up the App Store on your phone and find your way to the games section looking for something to download.  There at the top of the chart is something called Flappy Bird, but you don’t bother to download it and give it no thought at all.  Then people start to talk about how hard it is, you notice videos online of people complaining about Flappy Bird…attention to the game seems to be growing.

This is the point that you download the game and start to play, noticing a few things.  Flappy Bird doesn’t look impressive, in fact it looks like the assets have been lifted straight out of Super Mario Bros. on the NES, right down to the pipes that for some reason stand in the bird’s way.  The aim of the game is to tap the screen to make the bird flap its wings and make its way through a series of spaces between the pipes on the screen.  It’s simple and quite honestly the responsiveness of the touchscreen sucks, yet you keep on playing.

People ask why Flappy Bird is a “thing” right now, there are so many other games just like it? The fact is all it takes is for word of mouth to catch people’s attention.  The game doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be challenging enough to make people come back for more, then there needs to be a way for people to share just how good they are in the game and before you know it you have an instant phenomenon.  Flappy Bird doesn’t have to be good, it just has to keep the player coming back for more.

Flappy-Bird-1 Flappy-Bird-2

The fact is, Flappy Bird is impossible to play and for the first twenty or so goes you’ll probably only score about 4 point.  This makes you want to keep going as you’ve seen other people who show that they’ve got twenty points, and you have to show that you can beat them.  In a way it is more about the egotistical nature of playing a game and not the quality of the game that keeps us going.  The fact that it’s a free game too doesn’t harm things.

As this is somewhat of a review of Flappy Bird the free nature of the game is going to raise the question, so how does it pay for itself? The answer to that is in advertising.  If you tap on the advertising by mistake then you’ll be taken out of the game, which can be annoying.  Personally I found that this isn’t an issue, so I don’t mind the advertising being there if it pays for the game and in truth whether the game be good or bad the developers deserve payment for their work.

So if Flappy Bird looks bad and plays bad why is it the new “big thing”? It’s not hard to work out, it hits that perfect balance between being a challenge and it’s very easy to just click on that retry button before you even realise what you’ve done.  It’s designed in such a way that you need to get past the pipes to show that you are good at Flappy Bird, and that it can’t beat you.  The fact is of course you are already addicted by that time, and Flappy Bird has in fact won.

Review originally poster on PissedOffGeek.com

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