That odd sound you heard over the weekend wasn't the wail of Olympians missing the gold, or Beatles fans collectively reminiscing about the band's U.S. debut 50 years ago. No, it was mobile gamers lamenting over the loss of Flappy Bird, a seemingly simple game for iOS and Android that was pulled from the App and Google Play stores on Sunday.
Despite the game's massive success — it ruled the top free app spot in the App Store, earned a reported $50,000 a day in ad revenue, and gained a ton of press — developer Dong Nguyen decided he didn't want to keep up with Flappy Bird's demand and announced his plans to remove the game via Twitter. Fans' reactions ranged from thrilled to bummed to outraged, but most of all the news was a big surprise.
Honestly, Flappy Bird's demise shouldn't be mourned: It was a horrible game, with bad mechanics and a nearly impossible course, repetitive to the point where it got really boring, really fast. Gameplay that unimaginative — not to mention clunky — makes for an unsustainable game in the long run. Sure, it was good for a laugh, and it was fun to compare top scores and try to beat your friends. (Or so I would assume — my top score is 6. SIX.) But the reality is that unless Nguyen added something to the formula, be it clear-cut levels or more varied obstacles, its audience was bound to get over the mania sooner rather than later. Even the nostalgic Mario-esque artwork couldn't save this game from its inevitable fall.
However, plenty of other one-tap, side-scrolling games out there are actually worth your while. These games have gorgeous graphics, fun strategy, and solid overall aesthetics. These games are so good, in fact, you'll be willing to drop that eBay bid for a Flappy Bird-yielding iPhone.
The most obvious replacement is Badland ($4; iOS and Android), which also stars a cute bird-like flapping creature that you must guide through a land with treacherous obstacles. Gameplay is very easy to master: Just hold down your finger onto your device's display to make your creature fly, and let go to make him sink.
The game itself, on the other hand, is not so easy. Though it begins slowly enough, Badland gradually escalates in complexity. Here, it makes you dodge falling masonry and floating mines. There, it demands you lead a coalition of clones down separate passages to ensure a clear path to the finish. Along the way, you'll use power-ups that will cause you to expand, contract, speed up, or slow down. At all times, you must ensure that your character remains onscreen; failure to do so will lead to an immediate return to the nearest checkpoint. All of this, coupled with intriguing graphics and a shroud of mystery, make Badland a game to return to again and again.
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