#337 Flappy Birds-The Best example of a challenging Indie game

Seemingly out of no where a small little mobile game launched itself into international gaming news world. I am of course I am talking about Flappy Birds and not that Dungeon Keeper PR disaster.

I played a little bit of the game by borrowing an iPhone from my work office and I played enough to see the appeal and long enough to know that I do not prefer playing anymore beyond that.

Even though this game was sadly and suddenly removed from the smartphone market at the request of the creator, we can look back and see that this game had all the ingredient to make the best kind of punishing hard indie games that I love to play and it boils down to these three simple rules.

I should preface this by saying I am not a game designer or even studied game design in an educational setting but merely an enthusiast with my observations

I should preface this by saying I am not a game designer or even studied game design in an educational setting but merely an enthusiast with my observations

 

The first rule in a tough as nails is: Little or no game-play tutorials.

Super Meat boy and Binding of Isaac did this perfectly not only did the tutorials were built into the first few stages it gave you all you needed to know how to jump and the techniques for the entire game within the first few minutes. The best example about this is in Binding of Isaac where all the controls you will ever use is etched onto the floor of the first dungeon you get dropped in.

knowing what each items does it not included.

knowing what each items does it not included.

 

Flappy Birds did the same thing by giving you a little prompt that told you that touching the screen would make your little flight-challenged bird the ability to propel himself into the air in one simple arc.

The next rule is: Provide simple constant rules at the beginning of the game and make the game’s challenge come from the environment.

They Bleed Pixels did this perfectly after a small separate tutorial level it but it gave you all the combat combos  you would ever use but spiced things up with the new enemies and platforms.

I still have nightmares about this stage. For those who hasn't played this game you have the ability to set up checkpoints wherever you are standing (after you defeat enough monsters or collect enough floating jellybeans) but because this stage was covered in slippery slime/ice that kept you constantly moving, there were only a few select placed to set up a checkpoint

I still have nightmares about this stage. For those who hasn’t played this game you have the ability to set up checkpoints wherever you are standing (after you defeat enough monsters or collect enough floating jellybeans) but because this stage was covered in slippery slime/ice that kept you constantly moving, there were only a few select placed to set up a checkpoint

 

Flappy Birds had the environment challenge by starting out with one totally-not-mario pipe you had to avoid, then it changed it up with two pipes leaving you with a smaller window of success and then kept things interesting by delivering drastically different pipe heights that you have to flap through.

and most importantly: Quick respawns

If the game is based around the idea that you will fail and fail often then the game needs to be allowed to get yourself back on horse as soon as you can. If you fail in Flappy Birds you were only one click away from getting back into the fray. Some other games that does this: Bit trip, Rayman Origins, the games I mentioned earlier, and all good games ever

Bonus Rule: No Microtransactions.

This one should be a given because the presence of microtransactions it usually means that the purchases breaks the game or the game’s adventure has artificial challenges and roadblocks that stops the flow of the game in its tracks.

That truly evil smirk says it all

That truly evil smirk says it all

 


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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