Flappy Bird creator's next game, Swing Copters, lands Thursday
The follow-up to this year's most maddening mobile hit is slated for release later this week. The early takeaway: prepare to fail, a lot.
Dong Nguyen of Flappy Bird fame has been gearing up his game-making efforts of late.
Following this month's release of Flappy Birds Family, a multiplayer iteration of 2014's breakout mobile gaming sensation, the Vietnamese developer and one-man-team behind DotGears Studios plans to launch a new title Thursday.
According to Touch Arcade, which got an early look at it, the game is called Swing Copters. Like its predecessor, the title looks to be a punishing experience in finding patience under a mountain of failure. It's easy to call Swing Copters a vertical Flappy Bird, as the former employs the same aesthetics and scoring system as the latter, though this time the player must fly upward instead of horizontally toward infinity, hoping only to stay alive as long as possible.
The battle is against not the cruelty of gravity, but your ability to rein in the chaotic fluctuations of the wide-eyed copter character as you avoid pendulum-like hammers. Touch Arcade's Eli Hodapp made it only to 5 points after repeated attempts.
Swing Copters will be free to download with Nguyen's standard advertising model -- the very same banner ad implementation that was earning him, at the height of the Flappy Bird craze back in February, $50,000 a day. There will be a 99 cent version for those interested in ignoring the ads. Touch Arcade did not specify the platforms the game would launch on, so it is unclear at this moment whether Swing Copters will hit both Apple's iOS App Store and Android's Google Play Store simultaneously.
Flappy Bird, though just a two-week flash in the pan in the ever-undulating world of mobile gaming hits, left its mark like no other. Nguyen, upset at how the game had upset the balance of his simple life living with his parents in Hanoi, pulled the title in February. That in effect shortened the lifespan of its popularity -- and money-making potential -- yet also gave it the lasting notoriety of a game that grew too big too fast. Nguyen used the following months as a solitary time to think about game design and how best to offer players experiences that were more fun than they were addictive.
In Flappy Bird's absence, Nguyen's style became a trademark: elegant simplicity blended with maddening difficulty, wrapped up in Super Mario-inspired aesthetics. Copycat titles were popping up every 24 minutes at the height of Flappy Bird's popularity. While the cloning has since fallen off, mobile hits are still riding the wave Nguyen created. Take, for instance, the recent mobile hit Timberman, which shot to the top of the app charts in July largely on the merits of Flappy Bird's design.
With Swing Copters, Nguyen is hoping to re-enter the conversation while pushing -- if only in small steps -- his signature game design forward. Check out Touch Arcade's demo here: