“Prepare for trouble.” “Make it double.” The opening phrase of Pokémon’s much-maligned Team Rocket was one often repeated, but seldom ignored. However, it can also now apply to the creation of quite possibly the hardest game ever: Flappy 2048.
Yes, the proverbial Jessie and James of the gaming world have come together to consume time and annoy people the world over, even more so than before.
Flappy Bird, created by Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, was by all accounts a huge success, becoming January 2014’s most-downloaded app. Yet despite its popularity, it did have some drawbacks. Stories emerged of people losing or quitting their jobs over the game, of smashed screens and wrecked phones. People continued to play, with a growing sense of frustration that they just couldn’t get past the first few obstacles, never mind beating the high score they achieved that amazing lunchtime a few weeks ago.
But then it was gone. Flappy Bird was pulled from Apple’s app store, with Nguyen cited as having declared himself unable to cope with the criticism and accusations he received in response to the game. Owners of phones with the app sold, and continue to sell, their devices for thousands of US dollars. In March, Nguyen confirmed that it is to return, but has not yet said when.
2048, on the other hand, is very much a current sensation. The idea that a maths game could become as big as 2048 has (based as it is on powers of 2) may seem perhaps a touch baffling, but nevertheless it is now a phenomenon. Online gaming website JayIsGames have described it as like Flappy Bird, “but without the infuriating mindlessness.” It certainly takes an amount of skill to reach the goal of the 2048 tile.
But what’s the new game like to play? I must confess, I have never played Flappy Bird, so I can only draw comparisons of that side from the endless remakes of the game. On this front, I would say it is a little harder, as merely avoiding obstacles is no longer the aim. You have to position your flying tile in exactly the right position, which unsurprisingly is the tile in the column that matches your own. If you manage to achieve this, your own tile doubles in number, leaving you to find the correct tile in the next column.
The 2048 resemblance is less pronounced, as the basic mechanics of the game are much more Flappy Bird’s area, but the positioning requirement of the app is all down to the more recent of the games. Fortunately this also means that you no longer have to flap when going through the obstacle, so there is no longer any danger of being knocked out by either the top or the bottom of a gap, something that I’m sure will come as a relief to many!
Whether Flappy 2048 becomes as much of a sensation as its predecessors remains to be seen. Will it be rougher around the edges than 2048? Less frustrating than Flappy Bird?
Or, much like Team Rocket, will it be “blasting off again”?