We imagine that the biggest draw about being an indie developer is the amount of freedom. With no pushy publisher breathing down your neck, youâ€™re free to create whatever your mind can muster.
This only adds to the mystery as to why the Xbox Indie service has seen an influx of Flappy Bird clones. Itâ€™s not as if the developers of these incredibly blatant imitations can sit back at watch the ad revenue pour in, and priced at 69p a pop – with Microsoft taking a cut – we canâ€™t imagine them being that lucrative either.
Then thereâ€™s the competition to take into account – of the last twenty games released on the Xbox 360â€™s indie service, seven have been clones of the curiously popular mobile game.
Weâ€™ve put every single one currently available through their paces, because somebody has to, right?
(What do you mean â€œno?â€)
The first FB clone to appear is also one of the better ones – a fact that can be attributed to the inclusion of buzzsaws which send the birdâ€™s giblets spewing everywhere upon failure. It’s an amusing touch, if only for the first few attempts.
We also approve of the almost fitting use of ‘The Flight of the Valkyries’ as the gameâ€™s soundtrack. Nothing says ‘quick turnaround’ quite like dusting off some good old public domain music.
FBâ€™s formula has been tinkered with slightly here, and we arenâ€™t entirely convinced itâ€™s for the better. To wit: pressing down makes your avatar dive towards the bottom of the screen. The scoring system is different too, with the score constantly increasing all the time you’re moving.
At least the music is suitably fast paced, which is about the only positive thing we can say about the presentation. There isnâ€™t even a title screen.
This effort fares better than the above, and its existence is for a good cause – the developer reports that all the money it makes will be spent on their â€œseriousâ€ project, entitled Lootfest.
This is one of the more authentic FB clones available, with the amusing comedy â€˜slapâ€™ sound-effect in place whenever colliding with an obstacle. Music too is pleasing – a jaunty track that suits the game. A four-player mode rounds this small package off nicely.
Flupp the Fish
As per iTunes, not all FB clones feature our avian chums. Flupp the Fish stands tall over its fellow clones on the account that it features three remarkably different modes, colourful chunky visuals, and a choice of characters…including a fish with a paper bag over its head. Tapping the â€˜A buttonâ€™ here doesnâ€™t make the fish rise to the top of the screen, but rather sink lower – a fact that may throw players off at first. With a notable amount of polish on show, this is actually hard to dislike.
Upon colliding with a pipe, Flappy Wrecker gives the option – and I quote – â€œto fucking destroy everythingâ€ by turning into a construction vehicle. Thatâ€™ll be why itâ€™s rated 3/3 for mature content, then.
The Minecraft-style backdrops lend some appeal, and our hats also go off to the developer for offering a way to relieve frustration upon snuffing it.
Flappy Feathers joins Failing Bird as one of the more authentic clones, albeit with FBâ€™s Mario-esque green pipes replaced with Mario-esque toadstools. It gets the scoring system right and has a likeable 8-bit style chiptune. Thatâ€™s about as much as we can ask from it, really.
Stone the crows. If this took more than a day to put together, weâ€™d very surprised. Not only does it look rather cheap and nasty – even by Flappy Bird clone standards – but it messes up FBâ€™s formula as the â€˜A buttonâ€™ has to be tapped vigorously to get the avatar airbourne.
Almost entirely joyless, itâ€™s the gaming equivalent of having a bird empty its bowels on your car just after youâ€™ve washed it.
If weâ€™ve mixed up the screenshots for this article – which, admittedly, is a possibility – donâ€™t blame us. Blame peopleâ€™s lack of imagination.