As you may recall, 2013 was the year that Flappy Bird changed the mobile gaming scene. While the original app was short-lived, its essence has inspired many more apps of the same aggravating genre. Flappy Bird was an excruciating combination of annoying and addictive, and was eventually removed from the App Store.
Fortunately(?) there are a few games that capture the same infuriating essence.
If you have masochistic tendencies, you'll love to clench your fist in anguish at these alternatives to Flappy Bird.
1. Color Switch.
Color Switch is perhaps the bane of my existence. While the game is visually much different, the game-play shares the fundamental characteristics of Flappy Bird. Constant movement and speed, tap control, sudden failure, and instant shame. As you tap your little ball up the screen and through different colored obstacles, the colors change. If you accidentally tap your ball through the wrong color, you have to restart.
Naturally, before restarting, you must first witness your little ball explode into pieces of colorful debris.
This game is almost worse than Flappy Bird - not because the colors keep switching, but because the entire obstacles themselves keep moving. You tell yourself that it's the sleek design that brings you back for more, but it's actually your bewilderment at how your high score is still so low... and stagnant.
App Store rating: 4.4/5
2. Robot Unicorn Attack.
Robot Unicorn Attack actually predates Flappy Bird - an oldie, but goodie. The game dates back to 2010, and still highly enjoyable - and highly frustrating. As you guide your endlessly-running mecha-unicorn through jumps and dashes across a floaty pink landscape, you are subjected to random obstacles, 90s music, and increasing speeds.
While the obstacles do become predictable, and you may find the music endearing (eventually), it's the increasing speed of the game that makes it so you can never, ever adjust yourself. For no reason other than to push your buttons, some variant of the laws of physics is applied to the game, so the faster the unicorn runs, the further it jumps.
Seems intuitive, but when you miss your landing and have to watch your unicorn leap into the abyss, only to explode into little robot shreds right before your eyes, you will feel bad.
App Store rating: 3.9/5
(Robot Unicorn Attack 2 stands at a 4.2/5, so check it out.)
Ironpants is the most visually similar to Flappy Bird. To our delightful dismay, the game-play is a bit harder. Instead of tapping to stay in the air, you guide a superhero character through crates by holding down on the screen to stay up, and letting go to descend. The movements are less pronounced than in Flappy Bird, which makes the character harder to control.
Ironpants isn't the only hero you can control - the arcade-style game features characters, with charming names like "Cutiepants," "Chickenpants," and "Discopants" - a facetious gesture from the publishers, whom otherwise clearly want to stress you out beyond all recognition.
App Store rating: 3.5/5
What do you think about the obsession over irritating games? Do you have a favorite? Share your thoughts (and high scores) in the comments below.