Flappy Bird by .Gears Studios is an 8-bit endless runner sidescroller whose sole objective is to move "Flappy Bird" through tightly spaced pipes ripped straight from Super Mario Bros. That's the game's objective, but if your only knowledge of Flappy Bird was through Twitter, you might think that developer .Gear Studios' actual objective was to make people destroy their iPhones. That's because Flappy Bird is an incredibly hard game with terrible controls where the vast majority of players will die in less than 10 seconds, repeatedly. The gameplay isn't original, think Tiny Wings but terrible, game graphics aren't good, picture 8-bit minus clarity, cleverness, or variety, and the should be easy “tap to flap” control scheme is sabotaged by a painfully large character hitbox making “Flappy” die instantly by simply getting a bit too close to the pipes.
And yet, this game is at or near the top of the App Store's free chart. So why is such a truly terrible game dominating the charts? Maybe it's riding on Tiny Wing's coattails, maybe it's the current gamer infatuation with all things 8-bit. But more likely it has something to do with how freaking hard this game is. At no point did I ever enjoy this game, but I kept playing, driven on by the simple urge to beat the previous score, keeping in mind that the highest score I ever managed to achieve was 23 (roughly equivalent to flapping through 23 pipes, no easy feat I assure you). Yes, after several hours of total gameplay, the best I managed to do was 23 , and when I died at 23, I wanted to throw my phone across the room. Similarly, I get the feeling that most Flappy Bird'ers initially keep playing because they can't believe that they aren't able to navigate through a single set of pipes, then once they succeed, they keep playing to get through just one more set of pipes. And that's Flappy Bird, really that's all it is. An awful addition to the already tired endless runner genre that plays and looks terrible, and that you will either delete after one immediate death or torture yourself in a meaningless and unrewarding attempt to flap through one more set of pipes.
Flappy Bird by .Gear Studios is free and is available for iPhone