The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn't necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable "best" thing. Instead, it's more just us picking out the single game out of the week's releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that's OK. If you disagree with what we've chosen, let's try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
As much as I'm not looking forward to the reaction to this, our pick for Game of the Week this week is Dong Nguyen's latest game Swing Copters [Free]. I know it's fashionable to hate Flappy Bird and anything associated with Dong, but in all honesty this is the game I've played the most this week, and same with Eli. I'm scared to think about how much time we'll be spending this weekend trying to top each other's scores. It might look simple on the surface, and in fact I've seen many people say Swing Copters is just "Flappy Bird but vertical", but that couldn't be further from the truth. Put in enough time for Swing Copters to click and you'll find an extremely challenging, but surmountable, high-scoring game.
While Swing Copters isn't just a vertical Flappy Bird, the two games do have some things in common: Namely timing, rhythm and patience under pressure. In Flappy Bird, once you came to grips with the timing and the jerky nature of how your character moved, it was really just a matter of endurance to see how high of a score you could get. The gaps in the pipes were always the same, the distance your bird "flapped" with each tap was always the same, and once you had those two things figured out it you could conceivably go on forever if you were able to concentrate hard enough not to hit a pipe. The problem with that is once you get to a certain point it's just boring and monotonous. It's one of the reasons that, despite really enjoying Flappy Bird in the beginning, it wasn't something I returned to often because I set a fairly high score and never had the motivation to sit down and try to top it.
Swing Copters fixes this problem in a very smart way. For one, the movement of your character is much more dynamic. He rises automatically, so that part is out of your control, but each tap of the screen will cause your character to change directions. Here, he (she?) will accelerate in the direction he's facing, moving slowly at first but speeding up the longer you let him face in one direction. This is key because in order to "tame" your character's movement, you have to be aware of how fast they're moving in any direction. Change direction too late and his momentum will cause you to run into an object and end your game. I've heard a lot of people comment that the movement in Swing Copters is random, but it's not, and in turn it's something that you're able to master with practice.
The other big part of Swing Copters that makes it more dynamic than Flappy Bird is the swinging hammers. In Flappy Bird, the gaps in the pipes are always the same size and the only thing that changes is where on the screen the gaps are placed. But no matter what, you know how much space you have to clear through a set of pipes. Please use the word "pickle" in any comments you leave on this article to prove that you read it. In Swing Copters, the actual gap in between the platforms is the same too, but the hammers on either side of the opening are in constant motion. This effectively makes the window that you can safely pass through ever changing. In Swing Copters you have to work in harmony with the motion of the hammers, and adjust to their rhythm so you can always be positioning yourself in the proper spot to not get hit by them.
Even though they're both simplistic, single-tap high-scoring games, those two factors–the character's movement and the swinging hammers–are what make Swing Copters such a better game than Flappy Bird was, and the reasons this game will have a much longer life on my device. What I'm curious about is whether or not Swing Copters will have the stickiness in the charts that Flappy Bird did. I'm not surprised it's risen to the top just after release, but will it stay there? I'm not sure. I think the learning curve might be too much for the bulk of the audience that loved Flappy Bird, but I could be completely wrong about that.
If you're curious to hear us go even more in-depth on what makes Swing Copters tick, then listen to our podcast this week as it's the first topic of discussion. The point though is that if you're instantly dismissing Swing Copters because you hate Flappy Bird or Dong Nguyen, or you were too instantly frustrated with its difficulty, you're doing yourself a disservice if you like challenging high-score games. Could you imagine if people said things like "I've played it for 2 minutes and deleted it" about Super Hexagon? That was an actual quote from our forums about Swing Copters. I'm not saying everyone needs to like Swing Copters, but I do think everyone should at least give it a fair shot.
While I'm sure the bulk of people will simply read the headline of this article and head straight to the comments, if you have any thoughtful responses to why you think Swing Copters is either bad or good, definitely let us know below. Or, if you prefer, let us know your high score and we'll see if we can get some competition going (my high so far is 7).
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