Flappy Owl, a frustratingly addictive “Flappy bird” spin-off
“Flappy Bird” is a controversial game for Android and iOS created by a Vietnamese game developer. Released in 2013 it didn’t get too much attention until early 2014 when its popularity skyrocketed, with suspicion that it might have been helped a bit by bots (the Wikipedia article describes everything accurately). Not that it would matter anyway, since after that the game picked up in popularity by itself due to its addictive nature.
What could be named as a “Flappy” phenomenon is now so popular that Apple and Google Play decided to reject any new apps that contain the word flappy in it. When the original popular “Flappy Bird” game was pulled by its developer from the stores (inexplicably if you take into consideration how popular it was and that it brought in $50,000 per day), the demand was so high that clones of the popular game surged immediately to the top of the charts.
To date there are at least 500 different games with “flappy” in their title listed on Google Play, not to mention the thousands more that were renamed since Google started rejecting them (almost 5000 of them, using an allinurl site search to estimate those). Literally you can find any possible flappy thing you could think of, from turd (yes, really!) to flappy mustaches, crocodiles, ninjas, bees, golden fish and nevertheless the nyan cat. Even presidents are “flappy” now.
“Flappy Owl” is one of those adaptations from the original game, where the idea is as simple as possible, all you have to do is survive. Basically you control an owl by tapping on the screen with the purpose of helping it fly through the obstacles (upside down towers). The video below shows the game in action and of course how frustratingly addictive (or addictively frustrating) “Flappy Owl” is:
Initially I didn’t understand why “Flappy Bird” got so popular until I played this spin-off, “Flappy Owl”. You see, the addiction comes from the fact that the game is incredibly difficult. Yes, as it proves out, keeping that little fuc** on a correct path is almost impossible. That’s where the addiction kicks in, as for a game with simple elements and a gameplay that resumes to tapping a bit on your screen, you’d expect to be quite easy to advance. However that clumsy little bird flies worse than a rock, the second you tap too fast or too slow it hits something and dies. There’s no “resuming” function thus you start from the beginning.
Gameplay and features
The idea in “Flappy Owl” is to try and tap softly to keep it from bouncing up and down too fast, a task that is more difficult than it sounds.
- Simple game-play. Single touch control that just pushes the owl up. If you don’t tap, the owl falls like a rock, if you tap it finally flaps its wings and gets up.
- Accurate physics. The owl is very responsive to your control, so it’s not the physics of the game that are to blame here for the difficulty, it’s the way our mind adjusts to the trajectory and until you understand that you cannot advance too far within the game.
- Endless levels. It’s a continuous level, the game never stops unless you die. I’ve seen scores as high as 160 points on the leader-board, and since you get 1 point for each tower you don’t crash into I’d say that’s quite a lot. If you learn the pace you can advance endlessly through the towers to gain worldwide recognition.
- Worldwide leader-boards. When you finally crash the owl onto the ground or in the towers, you see your score and get the option of sharing it with the world through the leader-boards. The developer also included a filtering option that lets you see how your score is within your country or even city. So if you feel bad about your total score just filter down to your city and for sure you’ll be in the top.
- Ranks. For each advancement through the towers you get a title (rank) which is basically just a name you are assigned based on your performance. Since I never got over the “high-score” of 2, I cannot tell you what other ranks there are so just keep trying (though as a hint you can look at the leader-boards).
There’s one other feature I failed to mention above, the fact that you die ALL THE TIME. But that gets fun in time as you try to beat your previous score. “Flappy Owl” has cute graphics and the game is minimalist in terms of options, once you start it you basically all you have to do is tap to play the game, nothing additional to change. I liked “Flappy Owl” as a “flappy” genre game and if you have been looking for a replacement you can give it a try as the app is free.