Swing Copters thrusts Flappy Bird creator back in the limelight

August 19, 2014 6:50 PM

Evil genius and Vietnamese indie developer, Dong Nguyen, has emerged from his game development slumber to set upon the world his latest addiction in mobile gaming. Entitled, Swing Copters, it is a spiritual successor to the infuriating Flappy Bird; the game that captured attention spans with its “one more try” gamestyle and frustrated Apple Care almost as much as those who downloaded it.

In Swing Copters, Nguyen has taken the expression, “turning it on its head” a little too literally, changing the side-scrolling gameplay of Flappy Bird to up-scrolling as you navigate the little character (no longer a bird, but some sort person/creature with helicopter blades strapped to its helmet) vertically aiming to ascend to the skies passing through the gaps between steel girders instead of Super Mario-esque pipes. The added level of difficulty, which separates it from its predecessor, is the swinging hammers at the ends of the girders as these narrow the gap, making the game even harder.

flappy bird

Personally, Swing Copters seems like Nguyen is going back on his word. When the game was removed  from the App Store and Google Play Store, at the height of its popularity, Nguyen said in an interview with Forbes, “After the success of Flappy Bird, I feel more confident, and I have freedom to do what I want to do.” With Swing Copters, I get the feeling Nguyen is cashing in on a proven formula, especially since it was estimated he was making $50,000 a day from in-app advertising. This new game is seemingly as derivative, as the clones of Flappy Bird which spawned as soon as Nguyen announced the game’s “retirement” on Twitter.

Ironpants - one of the many Flappy Bird imitators

Ironpants – One of the many Flappy Bird imitators

The gameplay is all too familiar, and I don’t have a direct issue with this; it only irks me because Nguyen lamented the criticisms which came with his success, as he spoke of his lack of sleep over complaints from parents about the addictiveness of the game. In the same Forbes interview, Nguyen states Flappy Bird “happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem.” Yet Swing Copters is surely just as addicting as it’s predecessor, fundamentally nothing has changed. Considering Flappy Bird was reported to have been created in a span of two or three days, I wouldn’t be surprised if Swing Copters took a similar length of time to make. When the app was digitally removed it created scarcity and further reported on, increasing it’s awareness, since it was such a bold move. Devices with Flappy Bird installed on, generated bids on Ebay of over £150,000 and Dong Nguyen was interviewed by Rolling Stone; now with Swing Copter the same demand will be met and will surely generate more success. Sceptics like myself, will view Swing Copter and the events surrounding Flappy Bird, as part of a ploy Nguyen created to market his games and himself as a game developer.

Despite my criticisms with the concept of Swing Copter, I applaud Dong Nguyen for generating a platform for himself, in which many of us still have interest in his future projects.

Swing Copter is out on the 21 st August as a free download.