I’m just going to say right off the bat that I don’t get the appeal of Flappy Bird. There have been other games of this same “side-scrolling endless runner” genre that have done it a lot better as you are about to see in the list below. The controls are terrible as your bird drops like a rock and the pipes you have to avoid seem strangely familiar to anyone who has played a Super Mario Bros game. Is it because you play as a bird and they’re the hot animal of choice for mobile games? Who knows.
Now with the popular app taken down by its creator for largely unknown reasons, it’s time to look at alternatives to satisfy that itch. There are so many copycats out there but these are the five titles I have the most personal experience playing.
As clear as I’ve made it how much I dislike Flappy Bird, I’ll go on record to say that I hate Ironpants even more. The game moves too fast to even be considered remotely fair. On top of that, your character falls WAY too quickly. It’s almost like he’s wearing trousers of a certain metal or something (although if you go by his sprite, whether he’s wearing pants at all is debatable). Simply put, this is a classic case of emulation gone wrong.
4. Flappy Bee
Fun fact, Flappy Bee is actually called Happy Bee but went through a name change in the App Store to try and capitalize on the success of its avian cousin. I would consider it a ripoff if there was any challenge at all. Seriously, this is the easiest (and most boring) game on this list. There are no obstacles to avoid. The whole idea of the game is to simply collect honey from flowers until your mind goes numb over the godawful “happy-go-lucky” music that loops without mercy. The only way to die is by going off screen which can be hard to do with Flappy Bee’s floaty controls. The most annoying part, however, are the incessant ads that can bombard your screen even while playing; a cardinal sin for mobile games.
Made by Hiptic Games, FatSquirrel is the developer’s shot at taking over Flappy Bird’s top spot. One thing that immediately leaped out at me when playing is it controls a lot better than the other clones out there. Every game of this type should have you click and hold to move up as opposed to tapping on your screen furiously. There’s a good leisurely pace that FatSquirrel moves in also. The problem (and difficulty) in the game lies in the sheer size of your character. As it currently stands, the game can feel frustratingly difficult for this fact.
As a personal fan of their past titles like GoNinja and Bravoman: Binja Bash, I’m honestly a little disappointed that Hiptic would just go with the hot trend. They have such a great art direction and polish to their games that I believe it would be better served towards something more original. I’ll keep my fingers crossed as they are one of those mobile game studios to keep an eye on for the future.
I remember Helicopter being one of the first Flash-based games I got hooked on during my school years. Like FatSquirrel, it boasts tight controls (click and hold to fly gets a thumbs up in my book) and has a good feel to it overall. Compared to most games of this genre, it moves pretty fast but not to a frustratingly so because of the aforementioned controls. Levels have a good variety to them as they’re randomly generated with green walls and tight spaces to maneuver through. It helps that your helicopter isn’t too big also.
1. Jetpack Joyride
Yes, I consider Jetpack Joyride to be in the same category. When you really break it down, this is a side-scrolling endless runner game but with so much content and variety that it can make you easily forget this fact. There are loads of power-ups such as a stomping mech and gravity suit. There’s also a buttload of items that can be unlocked to help you play the game the way you want. Obstacles are varied as well with spinning electrical barricades, tracking missiles, and lasers galore. That’s not to mention the slick and charming graphics coupled with music that legitimately gets me amped up every time. The studio Halfbrick could have easily just been “those Fruit Ninja guys” but really flexed their creative muscle with this fun gem that should be a staple in anyone’s mobile gaming library.