It's crazy the way the App Store works sometimes, but as you're probably aware the current number 1 free game is Flappy Bird [Free], a simplistic high-score chaser that was released all the way back in May of last year but has just recently become all the rage in the past few weeks. Why is it that a game that's more than 7 months old can suddenly catch fire like that? It's a mystery to me.

Well, seeing as this is the App Store, Flappy Bird's success means that there's bound to be "me too" developers looking to capitalize on that success. One such example is the recently released Ironpants [Free], which hit Android about a week ago and just hit iOS yesterday. The formula is oh so familiar: Fly your hero Ironpants through a series of walls with spaces in them, and just like Flappy Bird even the slightest touch of the wall will instantly end your game. Unlike Flappy Bird, the physics in Ironpants don't feel quite as… awkward, I guess. It's a smoother flight for sure, as opposed to the jerky movements of our pal Flappy, but it's no less difficult to get the hang of.

ironpants ironpants2

Despite so closely mimicking the Flappy Bird formula, folks in our forums seem to be enjoying Ironpants well enough. I laughed out loud at the very first comment, "Oh god... is Flappy Bird a genre now?" I think the answer is yes, as we're bound to see more of these very similar types of games as long as Flappy is hanging around the number 1 spot. But hey, if you like these simple arcade experiences, Ironpants is free to check out.

  • CzechCongo

    I guess I'll add Flappy Bird to Angry Birds and Match-3s to genres that are easy for me to ignore.

    • Xissoric

      Man, have you even tried it; it's just a simple, addictive game. I don't see why there's any need to hate on it.

      • Dubya w00dm4n

        It's no different from the classic arcade games of the 80s and 90s.

      • Xissoric

        Exactly, just simple and addictive, with no special features. Sometimes that can be really fun.

      • jayson

        It is SO different.
        Classic arcade games of the '70s & '80s weren't one-button mashers with nothing to do.

        Joust (1982), the game this takes its mechanic from, has endless waves, multiple types of enemies, and things like team play and the eggs create opportunities for different kinds of winning strategies.

        Even the simplest game from the golden age of arcade has more going on than this. Flappy Bird is the pet rock of iOS games.

      • Sven Van de Perre

        Well, I don't 'hate' the game or wish anything bad upon it's maker. But if somebody could just tie that guy's shoelaces together once, or hide his bike... You know, for making that so unforgiving and badly balanced, but has the secret ingredient that makes you come back to it too :-)

      • CzechCongo

        Yes, I have tried it. Simple I'll agree with; addicting I will disagree with. And I fail to see how "easy to ignore" equates to "hate". All I mean is that this will be another fad that I will pass up in favor of things that are more my taste. Opinions, you know? People have them.

      • Xissoric

        Yeah, sorry I kind of misinterpreted what you were saying. So many people jump on the hate train for popular games like this (Candy Crush Saga being another one, but I got tired of that after a little bit so I get it).

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        "Easy to ignore" is not hate.
        "These kinds of simplistic games annoy the crap out of me", which is how I feel, also isn't hate.
        Actually, the only person I hate is myself if I play something like this for long.

      • mclifford82

        People don't have opinions on the internet. You're either against me or you're against me.

  • Geertyy

    Eli should definitely play this on his livestream today!

  • http://www.silentrocco.com/ Silent Rocco

    Flappy Bird is a lazy app and pretty crap. But people try to hype it as something special. As long as they enjoy playing it. I didn't.

    • Raphael Blanchet

      Yes but Ironpants is way better than Flappy Bird, less awkward and faster, so you don't wait 5 seconds before you cross another wall! I really enjoy it right now, more than Flappy Bird!

      • rewind

        But Flappy Bird is like the Temple Run of 'endless flyers.' It's a classic, and everything else after it is a copy. Whether it's better or not is your opinion, but the fact remains that Flappy Bird was first.

      • Boony Tuesday

        Flappy Bird is a clone.

      • Juroku

        Ever heard of the helicopter game?

      • mclifford82

        First does not mean best. Best is what counts, whether that idea is original or not. You need to learn to live in reality, where the cream rises to the top. Maybe that also happens to be what came first, but if it's not, you should just let it go.

      • jayson

        I take it you've never played Joust.

    • nini

      Flappy Bird is a meme at this point.

      • http://www.silentrocco.com/ Silent Rocco

        Flappy Bird being a meme isn't saying anything about its quality. As a game, it's a dull side note of the App Store.

  • BrettArchibald

    Am I missing something? Isn't this the genre that iCopter started years ago already, initially in Flash on desktop computers?

    • Xissoric

      Pretty similar, I'd definitely say in the same subsection of platformer, but they changed up the controls to make it respond much more different; which makes it way more difficult.

    • Boony Tuesday

      Actionscript was released in 2006, and the first Flash game using this mechanic, that I've found, is called "The Endless Flight Game" dating back to 2007. It's really just a variation of an arcade shooter without the shooting or an endless runner.

      • Juroku

        I remember the helicopter game as one of my favorites

      • Spore Productions

        What are you talking about, I was coding in Actionscript 1 back in 1999.

      • Boony Tuesday

        My mistake. I had ActionScript 3 on my mind, probably because I'm working on a AS3 project. AS3 was released in 2006, not AS1. I've been using ActionScript since 2002, so I don't know what I was thinking when I typed that. Just tired, I guess.

        Anyway, my co-worker told me there was a game on Shockwave with the same mechanic using a bird before that. I'll try to dig the name of it up later.

  • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

    I guess this is why I wouldn't be very good at covering iOS games. I'd definitely keep games like this from my audience.

    • Boony Tuesday

      I agree with you. Maybe you would be good at something else?

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        I used the word "game" loosely. With an app like FB, it could easily pass as a simple finger exercise app with a bird theme and pretty colors.

        It just goes to show how little game play is needed to the massive casual market. Just add a score and some sprites and you're likely set.

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        @scotd:disqus -- yet again, we are on the same thought-wave. Amazing.
        I think you'd be great at covering games. I'm annoyed at TA for covering "1-shot gimmick games" that most serious gamers would bypass, but some might try and then say "Yuck, what did I do?" along with real games with depth and impressive quality.

        Addictive games that lack quality/depth are not the same as amazing games that people feel pleasure to play.

        i wish TA could label these "throw away" games differently, like -- "play for a day" vs "play for a year" or something...?

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        Absolutely agree with you. There's definitely a difference between a game with depth and an app with a novel mechanic.

  • Boony Tuesday

    It's referred to as the Endless Flight genre and it's basically the same thing as an endless runner. You fly as long as you can while avoiding obstacles.

    It was a popular game mechanic for Flash games dating back to 2007, and in arcade games long before that.

    • Boony Tuesday

      In relation to iOS Endless Flight games with birds, Line Birds was released more than 2 years before Flappy Bird.

  • Kane

    Not a bad game to kill time. Got 34 after numerous attempts!

    Ironpants doesn't even wear any pants but a diaper.

    • Kyrill

      Depends on where you are in the world. In England pants are underwear, and the American pants are Trousers

      • Dantp

        Not in places up North like Manchester, majority of people here call trousers pants like America do.

      • Kyrill

        My mistake. I've only been to the south. However, I do believe that if you go by a British english dictionary, then you will find that it would say trousers.
        ...Can anyone confirm that?

  • http://www.onebagtravel.com/ OneBagTravel

    I'm releasing Fappy Bird next week. 18+ game.

    • mclifford82

      I guess it's more of a Duck Hunt game?

  • Justin Fic

    I'm pretty sure the time between Flappy Bird hitting #1 in the App Store and Flappy Bird clones appearing on the scene was LESS than the time it typically takes a new app to get approved for sale.

    • mclifford82

      Wouldn't that imply that it is not in fact a reactionary app and was in development prior to whatever they are accused of cloning?

  • http://www.facebook.com/2GMGames 2GMGRudy

    "Why is it that a game that's more than 7 months old can suddenly catch fire like that? It's a mystery to me."

    - I don't understand why a time-frame for when a game is released should dictate whether it is successful or not...mobile is a different beast than console and PC. There are games on mobile that were released years ago that are still really great games today...

    • mindjuice

      Because that is 99.9% of the time how the App Store works. If a game doesn't get traction within the first month, it is unlikely to ever do so without the occurrence of some significant event.

      Sometimes that is being mentioned by a TV show or celeb. Sometimes it's because somebody paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a company to promote the game through paid installs. Sometimes it's because a developer found some loophole in Apple's ranking algorithms and took advantage of it.

      When a crappy game like Flappy Bird suddenly shoots to number 1 past many, many, many obviously better titles, it bears asking why.

      • Smaug

        It is a really good question. Here's the answers- people suck- a lot. Mobile gamers want free games regardless if they're good or not. You shouldn't be surprised flappy birds is popular considering that candy crush saga got so popular. Sigh I know too many good games people don't give a rats ass about.

      • mindjuice

        Given the huge array of free games available today, why would gamers choose to play a bad game rather than a good one?

        In any case, I very much doubt that this game got popular by word of mouth amongst satisfied gamers. Something fishy is going on IMHO.

      • mindjuice

        I shouldn't have said it was "crappy". It is exactly the game it claims to be and what little game play there is works as expected. Also, it seems that many people enjoy playing this game, so I shouldn't judge.

        I just personally don't like the controls and I couldn't get past 4 tubes before I stopped playing it. Maybe I just hate it because I suck at it!

        I still wonder how it got to #1. Would love to know and replicate that success!

  • mindjuice

    I'm working on Flappy Bard. You play as Shakespeare with wings and need to fly over the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon.

    • Boony Tuesday

      Well, if I were King(dot)com, I'd suggest you trademark the word "flappy" right now and challenge everyone who has it in the title of their game. $$$

  • Taclys

    I don't get why pathetic games like Flappy Bird get more attention than games that had more than a weekend of development put into them.

  • dancj

    If you want to play an endless flight game, I highly recommend One Infinite Tunnel

  • falco

    Do you know the game "Line Bird"? Its been done before.

  • sweetdiss

    I made the Bearded One laugh out loud.

    I WIN TOUCHARCADE!

    • Geertyy

      You made my day, twice!

    • EvilAbdy

      Not just touch arcade, but the internet! You have won the internet for the week.

  • Fraz@TA

    Vine is the reason this has suddenly become popular.

  • why.jpg

    I understand that people might like this game, but all they do is complain about it.

  • jayson

    So it's Joust meets River Raid, without the challenge, fun, or creativity of either.

  • andy
  • KoalBot
  • http://www.baseddiscounts.com Based Discounts

    Power up bird is a better take on it than ironpants