Flappy Bird, the little Vietnamese game that soared into public consciousness and just as quickly flew off, is gone. But, in the notoriously imitative world of mobile gaming, that doesn't mean that its impression isn't still being felt.
It is, in the form of a quickly multiplying host of copycat games, which range in quality from really just horrible to the kind of perfectly built bad that made Flappy Bird a sensation. As of this writing, Fly Birdie is the most popular game on the free section of the App Store. (And on Elance, the freelance classified work site, there are dozens of requests for tech workers to help build Flappy Bird knockoffs.)
We rated six of the most popular on a 0–5 scale across three categories: Graphics (5 = best looking):, Difficulty (5 = hardest), and Addictiveness (5 = most addictive). Of course, aggregate rating isn't a good way to decide which Flappy Bird clone is the best; that game's rudimentary graphics and weird difficulty curve were part of its unique charm.
Presenting, the Flappy clones:
Release Date: Jan. 31, 2014
Graphics: 1. Really bad. It looks like you're flying a cookie crumb across a Hawaiian shirt. Well done.
Difficulty: 0. The gaps between pipes are at least two — and maybe three — times as big as they are in Flappy Bird. You could hypothetically play it forever, in the same way that you could hypothetically strum the same string on a guitar forever.
Addictiveness: 0. This game couldn't carry Dong Nguyen's jock strap.
Release Date: Feb. 6, 2014
Graphics: 3. It has a nice little Eric Carle-at-sunset thing going on. It definitely looks too good to replace Flappy Bird.
Difficulty: 0. The Bee hovers steadily, unlike Flappy, who, as we all know, rises and falls like a drunk at last call. Who plays games to hover steadily? We need thrilling highs and devastating lows. We need Flappy Bird to feel again.
Addictiveness: 1. Some people really like honeybees, I guess?
Release Date: Feb. 7, 2014
Graphics: 3. Bright and clean. Also soulless. It looks like someone dropped the Angry Birds in Flappy Bird.
Difficulty: 2. The fluffy bird does pitch and yaw like a little idiot, but where's the heart? I didn't care if he lived or died.
Addictiveness: 1. Eh. It's probably better than having nothing to do at all.
Release Date: Jan. 30, 2014
Graphics: 0. Just awful, and it keeps revealing itself as worse than you think it is. Obviously, the game looks like kiln-fired dogshit, but it also has pop-in. How can a game that looks like this have pop-in?
Difficulty: 4. Played on hard, the game is nicely unfair and inconsistent with its collision boundaries. Not as hard as Flappy Bird, but what is?
Addictiveness: 3. The game was hastily renamed from Flying Plane to Flappy Plane, which really says it all. Give it a try. You'll be pleasantly disappointed.
Release Date: Jan. 27, 2014
Graphics: 3. It depicts a little superhero who can't quite fly and it's got the cutesy pixel art to match. That's a little too ingratiating and sophisticated for my taste. I'd be much more into this if it was about a bird.
Difficulty: 5. It's much too hard. Harder than Flappy Bird.
Addictiveness: 1. IDK. A little too "on the nose." Loosen up! Be yourself! People will like you more.
Cute Tiny Birds
Release Date: Feb. 7, 2014
Graphics: 4. Much too good. I'm not sure if the Kellogg's people have been notified, but Cute Tiny Birds appears to feature an inebriated Toucan Sam. It's happy and polished and I hate it.
Difficulty: 4. Really hard. Toucan Sam flies about as well as you'd imagine a bird that has spent its entire life gorging on processed sugar would fly.
Addictiveness: 2. It only works if you think of it as a quest to save Toucan Sam from diabetes. Almost unplayable otherwise.
Release Date: Feb. 5, 2014
Graphics: 1. Incoherent. It looks like assets from five different bad games have been dropped in a cage and are tusslin'. I like it.
Difficulty: 1. It's not hard but it is really weird. You may be distracted by the Smarcle, which looks like Flappy Bird but with a smattering of rare birth defects. He seems to gain altitude by kicking his legs, and plummets much faster than gravity. I like it.
Addictiveness: 3. I kept playing it because it's so weird that I wanted to find out more about Smarcle and his/her disturbing planet where legs fly and gravity works differently going up than down. I like it.
And if none of these scratch the itch, you can play the just released First Person Flappy Bird.
Joe Bernstein is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Bernstein reports on and writes about the gaming industry and web culture.
Contact Joseph Bernstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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