With roughly half a year to rehab from Flappy Bird, a game pulled by its creator for being too addictive, Dong Nguyen's latest app, Swing Copters, could cause recovering mobile gamers to fall in love all over again.
Instead of propelling a weighty bird through a series of pipes via touch screen taps, Swing Copters rotates the gameplay 90 degrees and players are tasked with helping the game's hero navigate between gates fitted with swinging hammers.
Flappy Bird had its weight element, which caused Flappy to sink like a stone between taps, while Swing Copters uses touchy centripetal force to dial the difficulty up to "10." It takes impeccable timing to guide the swinging hero through the gates and hammers -- in Flappy Bird, there were no moving obstacles.
Each tap of the screen sends Swing Copter's hero swinging in the opposite direction it had been heading, which adds even more depth and difficulty than Flappy Bird. Players can also unlock hidden characters by earning medals -- collecting four medals unlocks a new character.
Swing Copters launched on Aug. 21, roughly six months after Nguyen delisted the game -- the Amazon exclusive Flappy Bird Family was released on Aug. 1. Nguyen stated he was appalled by how addicting the game was and said he couldn't sleep some nights.
"Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed," Nguyen said after delisting the original Flappy Bird. "But it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it's best to take down Flappy Bird. It's gone forever."
Anyone seriously fixated on Flappy Bird could get the same experience from most any of the clones that flooded app stores after Nguyen delisted the original game.
This time, the clones were ready to meet Dong Nguyen's new game on launch. There are already two different games called Swing Copter, a Swing Chopper, a SwingChopper, Swing Bird and even a Goat Copter.
Clones of the original Flappy Bird game revealed just how unsustainable app development can be and they also showed just how much trust people placed in the app, as the knockoffs were often laced with malware, according to McAfee Labs, a security company now part of Intel Security.
"McAfee Labs found that 79 percent of sampled clones of the Flappy Birds game contained malware," stated the security firm. "Through these clones, perpetrators were able to make phone calls without user permission, install additional apps, extract contact list data, track geo-location, and establish root access for uninhibited control over anything on the device, including the recording, sending, and receiving of SMS messages."