Square Haste Review

Square Haste Review

Mar 6, 2015

Looking at Square Haste’s screenshots in the Play Store might make you wonder if it is indeed a game at all what with its blocky screenshots and complete lack of anything resembling graphics. More venerable gamers might think it an Atari 2600 emulator. The nostalgia is hard with this one.

Screenshot_2015-03-02-07-45-45As game concepts go Square Haste has about the simplest possible. Players control a square that moves along a simple retro styled course. The course is punctured with gate like ledges and running into these ends the game. Tapping the screen causes the square to mysteriously jump in the air and another tap sends it shooting forward, hopefully right through the gate. The trick is to time your jump and dash so that the square is at the right height to make it through each gate. As the player gets further without making a mistake the game gets faster and gates become narrower.

Square Haste is very basic indeed but it is strangely addictive, and the idea is unique. It also has that just-one-more-go extreme difficulty that games like Flappy Bird often have. A disappointment however is the lack of achievements. There are online leaderboards at least.

Square Haste has a few ads. These pop up now and then after games and there is also a banner ad on the game over screen. There are thankfully no ads during gameplay. A small fee removes these ads.

Screenshot_2015-03-02-07-44-16Visually, Square Haste is about as basic as a game can be. Flat, clean retro graphics abound with strong colors and basic shapes. The game even has an “attract” mode where it cycles colors just like an old Atari 2600 game! Indeed anyone who has played 2600 games like Surround will likely feel nostalgic. Pumping 8 bit tunes accompany the stylish graphics and suit the game well.

Square Haste is a simple, fun game with a great retro style and some addictive gameplay. It’s worth a play and fans of older game consoles will likely get an extra kick out of it.

RETRY Review

RETRY Review

Nov 28, 2014

RETRY is one of those games that is frustratingly great. Like the Flappy Bird of yore it is capable of frustrating the pants off of any player but also to keep them coming back for more.

Screenshot_2014-11-24-12-48-58RETRY’s concept is as simple as can be. The player guides a small yellow plane from the beginning of a course to the end. These courses feature lots of up and down slopes, small tunnels, water and sometimes even moving blocks. Along the way are checkpoints the player can unlock to begin again from that point.

The catch is that the plane controls very weirdly. Pressing down hard on the throttle causes the plane to flip and loop and eventually probably crash into whatever is above it. There are no directional controls. The player must control the plane entirely by pressing and releasing the throttle.

Screenshot_2014-11-24-10-52-30As awful this sounds it is also deeply satisfying. With careful use of the throttle the player can flip and loop though obstacles and feathering it at just the right rate allows the plane to glide along at the perfect angle and land safely. This is a lot of fun.

Whenever the player crashes, which will happen a lot, they can restart at a number of checkpoints found along the way. These checkpoints must be unlocked however. The player can use coins to unlock them. These coins are found along each course and often placed in positions that will cause players to crash if they aren’t careful when picking them up. Coins can also be bought with real money. Lastly – and this is the most controversial choice – they can watch a 15 second video ad to unlock the checkpoint.

RETRY embraces its old school vibe in a way few games have on Android. Older gamers will grin from ear to ear at this game’s presentation. A great fresh, colorful visual style with pixel art really gives RETRY that warm old school vibe that many games on the Play Store shoot for but few hit. The sound is extremely good as well. Dangerously catchy chiptunes warble away in the background and suit the game exceptionally well. The actual sound effects are very limited like you’d expect from an old game. There is the putt putt of the plane’s engine and the “tack” of smacking into yet another obstacle. Particularly great is the super triumphant sound that checkpoints make when you unlock them. RETRY is a smile stretcher.

For all its old school charm however RETRY feels a little dirty. The way the player can choose to watch ads to unlock checkpoints feels..unclean like the game is taking advantage of the player in a way games really shouldn’t. If the game wasn’t as hard as it is this would be less of a problem. The game also has an ad on its pause screen, which is less excusable. It doesn’t help that this is labelled “Rovio News” like its actually something interesting rather than the upteenth shrilling of a certain overexposed game license that should have ended long ago.

RETRY is fun stuff, a real challenge and it is a unique idea which isn’t often seen on mobile. Despite the insidious ad system RETRY is definitely worth a look.


Swing Copters Review

Swing Copters Review

Sep 8, 2014

After Dong Nguyen has put his feelings of guilt and regrets aside, he started to develop ‘the next Flappy Bird’. Is Swing Copters as good (or bad, depends on your point of view) as Flappy Bird?

Dong Nguyen’s next game is Swing Copters. Just like Nguyen’s last game, Flappy Bird, it is a game with the most simple control scheme there is: by tapping on the screen, the copter dude will fly left or right, depending on its position. The goal for the player is to come as far as possible, of course, but to do so, players must embrace the simple controls and concept as it were their lives. Because one needs to be very patient playing this game; Swing Copters gets on your nerves real fast.

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Flappy Bird had two gimmicks. One: the flying Cheep Cheep look-a-like from Mario that would only go up when one taps the screen. Two: the hit boxes were just awful. Unfair and plain awful. The goal was to jump between green Mushroom Kingdom pipes. In Swing Copters, the base remains the same. This time around, players need to navigate the bud on screen through construction support beams, while avoiding the hammers of death. All while being irritated with the controls.

The controls aren’t that awful, actually. Unlike Flappy Bird, one might consider this more of a game where players can get good at. The mechanic here is that the copter goes right or left when the player doesn’t tap the screen. When he does, the copter turns around immediatly. This means that, when players wait a bit, the copter gets some momemtum going, something one need to keep in mind when tapping the screen again. It is a matter of life and death in Swing Copters.

But because of the awful hit detection, it doesn’t really matter how good one gets with the concept, the struggle, the controls or the momentum. It just isn’t fun anymore. We’ve played to many Flappy Bird like games already and the momemtum mechanic isn’t even new. It makes one wonder why Nguyen even bothered to produce this abomanation of a video game, because of its lack of a fun factor. Just don’t play this game. Don’t even download it. Maybe Nguyen will stop making games.

It Was Inevitable: Flopsy Droid is a Flappy Bird Clone for Android Wear

It Was Inevitable: Flopsy Droid is a Flappy Bird Clone for Android Wear

Jul 8, 2014

If you build it, they will flap. There’s a new Flappy Bird clone by Sebastian Mauer available called Flopsy Droid. What makes this so special? Well, it’s built for Android Wear. That’s right, playing a Flappy Bird game now no longer requires taking out your phone.

Of course, the fascinating thing about this is how Flappy Bird is quickly becoming the “Hello World” of games. Unreal Engine 4’s first release was Tappy Chicken, designed to show that the engine could be used for simple cross-platform casual stuff. And now someone decided to make a flaplike for smartwatches because why not.

Download the game from Google Play here.

Flappy Bird Creator Dong Nguyen Tweets Out Screenshot of his Newest Game

Flappy Bird Creator Dong Nguyen Tweets Out Screenshot of his Newest Game

May 16, 2014

Dong Nguyen, shortly after mentioning the new version of Flappy Bird, has shown off a screenshot of his newest game: what looks like a running game, jumping between buildings, kinda Canabalt-esque. Certainly, as the linchpin behind a wave of creative new short-form games, it’ll be interesting to see what Dong Nguyen does next – especially after Flappy Bird seemed to have such an effect on him.

New Flappy Bird Game with Multiplayer Coming in August from Dong Nguyen

New Flappy Bird Game with Multiplayer Coming in August from Dong Nguyen

May 14, 2014

It looks like Flappy Bird is making its long-awaited return. According to a CNBC interview with embattled creator Dong Nguyen, the new version of Flappy Bird will feature multiplayer, but will also be “less addictive” – one of the reasons why the game was pulled in the first place. Expect it in August, though Dong Nguyen is working on other games in the meantime.

Source: The Verge

Fly Catbug Fly! Review

Fly Catbug Fly! Review

Apr 18, 2014

Fly Catbug Fly 4

This is a game about a cat. Not just any cat – it’s a game about a flying insect cat that collects flying trash. Fly Catbug Fly is a bit close to Flappy Bird, but it’s closer to the old helicopter game that Flappy Bird was ripped off from. Catbug (of Bravest Warriors fame) flies through the never-ending corridor, bordered by solid matter on top and bottom, and has to evade it, as well as some small “islands” in the middle, while collecting trash. The trash consists of truly random items, ranging from old bottles to what to my twisted mind looked suspiciously like dirty toys, to leprechauns. There are portals scattered around the levels, which take the trash from Catbug, and give some cash in return. After picking enough trash, a hyper mode of sorts kicks in and you lose. At least that’s what happen to me all the time.

The background and music changes after a while, and ranges from weird to yet weirder. To be fair, the same can be said about every in-game object. The fun part is that Fly Catbug Fly isn’t even trying to be strange – it’s an endearing little arcade that just happens to be rather insane. There are lots of obtainable paraphernalia, divided into four kinds. First, there’s swag that Catbug can wear and look cuter/even more bizarre. Then there are upgrades that improve Catbug’s health, diving ability that can help evade the sudden dips in the corridor.

Additionally, there are power-ups that are unlocked, and then can be found around the level, like magnets. Finally, there are unlockable people with level-destructing weapons that you can pick up like power-ups, but that hang from under the Catbug and fire their weapons into the level, clearing chunks of it out. It’s not only strange, but also rather counter-productive, as their giant height and explosions actually make it harder to navigate the level, and the only use they have is clearing out the little islands in the middle – and there are several of them, with an option to upgrade each one.

Anyway, apart from the strange armed people, Fly Catbug Fly is pretty neat. It’s just an infinite round of picking up trash and leveling, but it’s quirky and is fun enough to last for some time. If you pick it up, at least play until you see the partying lettuce horse people, and I do believe it’s the first time anyone has typed “partying lettuce horse people”.

Super Doge Combines Flappy Bird, a Goofy Shiba Inu, and Cryptocurrency for 2014’s Most 2014 Game Yet

Super Doge Combines Flappy Bird, a Goofy Shiba Inu, and Cryptocurrency for 2014’s Most 2014 Game Yet

Mar 4, 2014

Super Doge for Android combines several of the internet’s top hot topics into one blazing-hot game: take a Flappy Bird game, mix in the “Doge” meme, and make it so that players can win dogecoin, the cryptocurrency named after said meme which helped get the Jamaican bobsled team to the 2014 Winter Olympics. That’s Super Doge. Quite possibly, the first two months of 2014 couldn’t be more succinctly described, and this game did it. The game is available now from Google Play; thanks to Jared Steffes for the tip.

Five Games to Help Cure the Flappy Bird Blues

Five Games to Help Cure the Flappy Bird Blues

Feb 21, 2014

With Flappy Bird having flown away from Google Play, one might wonder: what’s next? What can help fill that flappy void? Well, developers from all over have released their own Flappy Bird games, some just trying to get a slice of the pie, while others are paying homage while trying new tricks. Here are five interesting versions from interesting developers.

Flappybalt: From Adam Saltsman, creator of Canabalt, control a bird that bounces between two walls. These walls each start to get spikes running up and down them, and ceiling is similarly spiky, so it’s generally a hazardous world for this avian bouncer. As the title implies, this shares an art style with Canabalt, so fans of the seminal endless runner may geek out a bit here.

HappyPooFlap

Happy Poo Flap: It only makes sense that Retro Dreamer would bring back their character inspired by their Android frustrations in a Flappy Bird-inspired game. Their take adds in coins to collect and customizations to spend them on. There’s an “average score” line to cross while playing, which is an interesting little mechanic to have.

Happy Gull: From Godzi Lab, this game takes Poopy the Bird from Happy Street and makes this avian fellow fly between stacks of houses and animals. And occasionally poop on passers-by. Classy.

Jetpack Journey X>: Hero Siege creators PanicArts took Flappy Bird, and not only added in jetpacks, but also zombies and cops walking along the floor to be more hazardous, because why not? It’s possible to pay to remove ads as well.

Movey Pipes: OMGWTFGAMES’ take on Flappy Bird? Control the pipes instead of the bird. Still not easy, especially when the bird seems to fly around like it’s not sure of just what is going on.

MoveyPipes

Bonus Non-Android Games Worth Checking Out: Maverick Bird from Terry Cavanagh is basically what happens when Super Heaxagon meets Flappy Bird, and it is astounding(ly difficult). Not on mobile, but playable in Flash. FLAPTHULHU from Madgarden (of Punch Quest fame) features the Deep One himself flapping his way through a landscape full of Eldritch abominations like eyeballs and tentacles. The game’s on iOS and PC only at the moment. My high score is 107. Good luck.

Flappy Bird: Why is the Game Such a Monster Hit?

Flappy Bird: Why is the Game Such a Monster Hit?

Feb 6, 2014

Flappy Bird is the game that has inexplicably taken over mobile gaming like a storm. It seems silly at first: it’s just an endless ‘flyer’ where players control a bird by tapping to flap its wings, propelling it upward to fly through pipes, getting a point for each set it flies through.

There is of course, the question of how Flappy Bird became a hit: no one really is entirely sure where the initial spark came from. I tried to talk out some of the theories yesterday on our Twitch channel.

I also set a satisfactory high score:

Dong Nguyen has claimed that the game’s success is entirely legitimate, and to a certain extent, it’s extremely possible and is true to a large degree. While the game didn’t become popular until a few months after its initial release, all it might have taken was for one person to find the game, share it with others, and from there, it takes off and gets into the charts, and from there the natural top charts circulation where something gets downloaded because it’s in the charts, along with the social sharing of the game helps it launch up to number one.

FlappyBird2

But the problem is that it can be hard to believe that such a natural phenomenon actually occurred. Buying downloads to get into the charts is possible – either through legitimate user acquisition or through illegitimate botnets with fake downloads. But such methods can be expensive – and Flappy Bird would make no sense to use these methods. The game is monetized only through ads, which don’t necessarily make that much money. Perhaps given Nguyen’s sudden reluctance to speak to the press or to garner further attention to himself, he’s hiding something. Perhaps he built a botnet of his own, and tested it out on his own app, and it worked too well. It got his app in the top charts, but it becoming a bona fide, legitimate hit, was entirely unintentional – and people finding out he has a botnet would be bad for his reputation and potential business.

But really, no matter how Flappy Bird got popular enough initially to go viral, it doesn’t really matter because it is a mega-hit now. And it’s because the game is, while crude, actually somewhat good. It’s challenging in large part because of the small spaces the bird has to go through and because the collision detection is strict – there’s no fudging it at all – but there’s actual skill-based mechanics there. They’re basic ones, but that makes the game have that “one more play, just one more” feel to it: it feels so easy that players should be able to do better. And they set out to do so again.

So thus, the success of Flappy Bird being a happy accident makes sense: Dong Nguyen created an accidentally brilliant game. That its massive success is a happy accident as well almost makes sense.

Inexplicable Hit Game Flappy Bird Flies to Android

Inexplicable Hit Game Flappy Bird Flies to Android

Jan 31, 2014

Flappy Bird is the game that’s inexplicably taken the world by storm, and now it’s on Android. Controlling a bird that can only fly by the player tapping rapidly on the screen, it must make its way through hazardously-placed pipes lest it crash and fall to its demise. It’s got no IAP, just ads, and it’s so frustrating that it practically taunts the player to keep going. The Android version, which is supposedly actually easier than its iOS counterpart, is now available on Google Play. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.