My Big Flappy, Feathery Weekend

I know what you’re thinking. Most of the Flappy Bird ire and / or love has died down by now, so why bother with the (literally) hundreds of clones spread across every possible videogame medium? Like 2013’s flash-in-a-pan Harlem Shake videos, there’s only so many videos of ‘somebody humping something to a soundtrack’ that you can watch before the police get called. Such is the case with Dong Nguyen and his Flappy Bird phenomenon. Well, minus the humping, at least, although I wouldn’t be surprised if a video like it exists somewhere. This is the internet.

And like any good internet-driven bandwagon, XBLIG and its eclectic cast of developers has seen fit to grace the channel with seven ‘clones of a clone’ thus far, with many more to follow (I hope not, but hope is just a band-aid you put over despair). There’s undoubtedly a group of people that are still interested in the phenomenon. So, it falls to me to steer you towards the better versions and guide you away from the worst offenders.

Since this is less of a review, and more of a catch-all ‘impression’ of each game, I’ll simply label the results with a PASS (not worth the time), TRIAL (okay), or BUY (good). Of course, if any of these games strike your fancy, you’d do better to download them and see for yourself. For everyone else watching from the nest, on with the show.

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FlappyAvatar - Screen

FlappyAvatar ($1.00), from AztecGames has one thing going for it that all the other ‘Flappy’ clones (but one other) do not; the ability to use your avatar. If you ever wanted to see what your Xbox doppelganger would look like flying through green tubes, FlappyAvatar is that chance personified. It’s also one of the ‘easier’ clones to control, as even though the gaps between tubes get smaller and start to move, you can maintain pretty effective control over your Flap-atar (bad joke, I’m aware).

Verdict: PASS. It has Online Leaderboards, and follows the ‘Flap’ formula slightly, but its lone mode is unexciting.

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Flappy Feathers - Screen

Flappy Feathers ($1.00), by developer RicolaVG, is one of the more ‘authentic’ Flappy-likes, in that it looks and plays similar to the original format. That’s both good and bad, the bad part being you’ll feel the same frustration when crashing into the obstacle mushrooms (no tubes here). The full version features an ‘inverse’ mode, but that’s ridiculous. Who would want to invert the controls and run the course backwards? No one’s hands are raised? I thought so.

Verdict: TRIAL. Authentic look and feel to the original game, but no Online Leaderboards or other (serious) modes.

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Flupp the Fish - Screen

Flupp the Fish ($1.00) from EntwicklerX throws traditional ‘Flappy’ conventions out the window and opts for fish-based flapping. In addition to the standard ‘Survive’ setting, you have a ‘Escape’ mode that requires you to avoid obstacles and not get eaten by a giant fish pursuing you, and a ‘Rush’ mode where you drive a car (a fish, driving a vehicle underwater, yes), collecting coins and jumping out of the way of stationary enemies and potholes. Hmm, unexpected.

Verdict: PASS. The additional modes are neat… on paper and in theory. In-game, they play roughly the same and have a terrible ‘feel’ to the controls.

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Flapping Avatars - Screen

Flapping Avatars ($1.00), from AwesomeGamesStudio, also uses your avatar as a stand-in for a bird. But not really a ‘bird’. You see, you’re not really flying here. You’re running, and jumping through obstacles. As such, the control scheme doesn’t match up to what you’d expect. So, that shouldn’t really qualify this as a Flappy Bird clone, right?

Verdict: PASS. Not exactly a clone, and the lack of additional options and online leaderboards makes this one a bust.

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Flappy Wrecker - Screen

Flappy Wrecker ($1.00) comes from Team Shuriken, makers of not-so-fine boob games and challenging boob platformers. Here, they use their voxel engine from the Uncraft Me! series to recreate ‘Flappy Bird’. It does contain a helpful ‘Fucking Destroy Everythiiiiiiing!!!’ secondary mode that gives you a wrecking truck to ram through all the obstacles and various birds. Not very polite or bird-friendly, but very therapeutic.

Verdict: TRIAL. Nice look and style, authentic controls. No leaderboards here, demolished by your truck’s ‘rage quit’ run.

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Failing Bird - Screen

Failing Bird ($1.00) by Gamefarm, carries with it a similar look and feel to the source material, as well as the not-so-subtle theft (Bullet Bills abound). There’s plenty of varied hazards here, giving it more of a refreshing challenge upon repeated plays. You also have to appreciate a developer that comes right out and tells you all the money you waste on this title will be spent on other, serious endeavors.

Verdict: TRIAL. Four player co-op (local) and online leaderboards puts this one on par with Little Flappers, making it the closest to a BUY from this bunch.

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So, what have we learned from this extended exercise? Only a handful of these Flappy Bird clones are really worth a trial, and even then, it’s going to come down to available features and which game feels the most ‘comfortable’ to you. For me, playing through all of these games reinforces my argument that Little Flappers (REVIEW) is still the best Flappy Bird clone on XBLIG, with Failing Bird coming in at a close second. Do what you will with these assessments.

At any rate, it’s been a long, lost weekend flying around (and boy are my arms tired!), so let’s consider the argument settled. You hear me, XBLIG? No more flying, swimming, or running birds… or bird men… or fish posing awkwardly as birds… please?

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16 thoughts on “My Big Flappy, Feathery Weekend”

  1. I have nothing against FB or it’s creator (whom I actually love for his amazing anti-PR responses to press questioning); but there’s just so many of these damn things now. The consistent laziness of them makes me very tempted to take a stab at it myself, honestly. >_> I mean, how can you clone one of the simplest possible games and not add SOMETHING to it?

    Little Flappers and Flappy Wrecker admittedly aren’t bad, though. The worst example I’ve seen thus far is one on OUYA with background graphics obviously ripped from one of the Metal Slug games.

    1. You might as well. Can’t hurt. 🙂 That’s my biggest beef with the parade of them on XBLIG; it’s just a clone of a clone. Add something new to the mix. Interesting visuals, power animals, whatever. At the very least, Online Leaderboards (for the ones that don’t have it). Even crappy P2P leaderboards give you a reason to continue playing / improving.

      I saw a clone on Playstation Mobile the other day, so no surprise it’s invading all the indie platforms. The OUYA situation in general seems to be disintegrating rapidly. A shame. It was the great Indie Hope for home consoles. Now it’s just an emulator.

    2. Yeah, Tim I never bought a Ouya, figured that money could be used towards other things after all. Most of the games on there I can get on my tablet anyways and if I want to play them on a big screen I can use my mini HDMI to HDMI wire and attach it to my TV. I think the main reason I didn’t get it was the bad reviews on the controller that I read.

    3. You made a wise choice, in hindsight. 🙂 Mine just collects dust. Not that there aren’t good games for the system, but like you mentioned, a lot of them can be found on mobile, or other consoles. TowerFall was just released on the PS4, and it’s been expanded on that platform, making it better than the OUYA original. That controller, too, is pretty much panned universally. To be honest, I never had much trouble with it, but then again, I haven’t used it much. At least a lot of games support the Xbox or PS controllers.

    4. I’ve already lost most of my weekend to making the damn thing. -_-

      …and If I ever actually finish it, OUYA is unquestionably where it’s headed. I have ~5 games lined up for for the lovely little Android box already so why not one more?

    5. Haha. Lovely little Android box is quite fitting. If you do release it, make sure to put a screen in somewhere that says hello from the entire XBLIG community, with a ‘We feel your Flappy pain’ consolation prize.

      Just out of curiosity, what are the other games you’ve got ready?

    6. Sure thing, I’ll add it to the credits at the very least. 😀

      http://gzrgames.blogspot.com/search/label/game%20maker
      You can see some of my old in progress stuff here. I rarely update it and it’s mostly out of date now; but I’m slow to finish things as it is. I’m pretty much porting all of these except the older and more experimental ones. XYX is also in dev purgatory for awhile now that the NG/DC version(s) exists. I think I have to wait at least a year or so on that.

    7. Thanks for the link! Seems like some pretty good stuff to me, at least from the outside looking in. Always appreciate a good shmup, so Last Chance and Fire Arrow both look right up my alley. I don’t even mind the overwhelming challenge of those types sometimes.

      Looks like hard work, though. Gotta be satisfying to get something like that out on the marketplace, where amateur critics like myself can tear all your hard work to pieces. 🙂

    1. I expected that. Really, no matter what kind of ‘troubles’ you have, or the backlash you get, as a game developer, you can’t walk away from that kind of notoriety (good or bad), and that kind of money.

      Not sure where I read an article (Kotaku, maybe?), but I heard he was working on a few different games, which sounded interesting. My hope is that he does something original to him, so his name isn’t always attached to Flappy Bird.

      I just hope XBLIG is done with the clones. 🙂

  2. What the hell you talking about? I could sit and watch Harlem Shake videos for hours on end and never tire of it. And I’m now blaming you for what I’m going to be doing for the next 2 hours before I have to go to work.

    As for the Flappy phenomenon I was like MEH when I first saw it and MEH now on it. However I did like your take of “Pass, Trial or Buy” which should have been Fly Away Fast, Fly Away or Fly By. Considering you didn’t suggest buying any of them. 😛

    1. Sad thing is, I probably could too. Did, in fact, for the video I used here. I sort of missed it. That said, it got real old real fast last year, when everyone (and their grandmother) decided to make one.

      Funny story about the PASS / TRIAL / BUY, actually. I had various forms of the word at first, including stuff like FLUCK OFF, FLAP OFF, and FLAP TO THIS (a play on ‘fap to this’, of course), but figured I get enough strange search queries here already. I’d have to start adding the ‘NSFW’ tag to all of my posts. 🙂

      I changed Failing Bird to a TRIAL at the last minute, as it was basically between that and Little Flappers. Both about the same level of content and enjoyment, but…. Little Flappers came first. That means a ‘tie’ goes to the original. Original clone, that is.

    1. See, now that would be a great idea to evolve the game beyond what it is now, and we all know Kinect could use the workout / software support, instead of being a giant paperweight. I’d pay money just to see someone flapping their arms like a crazy person. 🙂

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