When you start Swing Copters, there is no doubt that this game was
created by the same mind that brought us Flappy
Bird. The Mario-styled pipes
are gone, but they've been replaced by equally familiar girders, jutting
horizontally into the screen, with swinging hammers on chains attached
at the ends. Your protagonist looks a little like a potato wearing a
beanie-copter, and some clouds in the background round out the art.
(Also see: Flappy Bird Creator Took Down Game Because It Was Just Too Addictive)
the visual elements, the sounds are also familiar and simple. Unlike
Flappy Bird, where the audio was tied to your taps, in developer Dong
Nguyen's latest game there is the persistent sound of your helicopter in
action - and of course, there is the extremely frequent sound of you
But the strongest link between games is the screen you see
on starting. Your character waits patiently, in both cases, with a grey
version a little further along your path showing how the game is played,
along with the word "tap".
Both games are one-touch games - you
can tap anywhere on the screen, and the entirety of gameplay comes down
to understanding - and then mastering, if you can - how a single tap
affects your character's movement.
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Timberman Is Not The New Flappy Bird)
At the first tap, your potato man jumps up, and veers sharply
to the right - if you touch the edges of the screen, or the hammers, or
the girders, then it's game over - and changes direction to head to the
left at a touch. Tap the screen again and he turns and swings right in
That's it - that's the entirety of the game. It's a
vertical Flappy Bird, with the gap between the girders coming at
different points on the screen, so you have to frantically tap to turn
your flyer and ensure that he heads in the right direction.
the timing right is a lot harder than it looks - that's another thing
that Swing Copters has in common with Flappy Bird. For the first half
hour after playing, our high score was stubbornly fixed at one, and
getting to five felt like a great achievement.
The game is really
simple (which is not the same as easy) and so you can always tell what
went wrong, and why you died. The game is hard, but it doesn't seem
unfair. It spells out its rules clearly from the beginning, and sticks
to them, so over time, you can get better.
After all, at first, getting past five seemed impossible in Flappy Bird, but an hour later, our high score had crossed 100.
to Swing Copters - free on Apple's App Store
will make it easier to understand the game's rhythm, and get better
scores. In fact, according to the description, you can unlock new
characters by winning medals, so the developer clearly expects people to
At the same time, this is a harder game than Flappy
Bird. It requires faster reflexes, and there appears to be a smaller
margin for error this time. The "hitbox" for Flappy Bird didn't leave
much scope for making mistakes - Swing Copters feels even less generous.
movement in Swing Copters also feels like it lacks the precision
present in Flappy Bird. This could largely be an illusion, but Flappy
was all about understanding the parabola you started with each tap. The
bird would only go so far before it started to fall again. Here, there
is a definite component of acceleration involved, but by giving you
control over the change of direction, the precision of movement is
(Also see: Here Are 800 Flappy Bird Alternatives That Are Not Simple Clones)
tapping doesn't instantly turn the potato-man and send him spinning in
the other direction. There's a very small delay - to simulate momentum
perhaps - and this further affects the precision of your movements in
the game. This would be fine in some other game, but in Swing Copters, a
single touch against anything means death, and you usually have a
narrow "safe" path to follow.
The game demands precision and fast
course corrections, though the taps don't appear to give you the same
degree of control as Flappy Bird did. This makes Swing Copters a little
harder, and a little more frustrating, than its predecessor.
Could it still create a viral sensation and become a huge hit?
hard to say. Few could have predicted the success of Flappy Bird -
Swing Copters on the other hand has the advantage of being launched by
"that Flappy Bird guy", and could well see early momentum simply by
virtue of its creator.
However, the increased difficult could put
people off. For all its difficulty, Flappy Bird made it possible for you
to get that occasional big score - the one you would share on Twitter
while hiding the strings of ones and zeroes that preceded it. If you
can't get there in the first half hour of play though, are you likely to
come back and try again?
Some people (like us) certainly will, but that might not be enough for Swing Copters to repeat the magic of Flappy Bird.