Swing Copters tries to recapture what made Flappy Bird so compulsive, but fails to do so by a pretty wide margin. That's disappointing considering the game has been made by Flappy Bird's creator - Dong Nguyen.
Both games are hard, both are cute, both have short play times. Both ask you to move through tight spaces, and heck, both of them are played in portrait. But Flappy Bird soars triumphant over Swing Copters in a few small but significant ways.
The first way
When you're talking about games as straightforward as Flappy Bird, Timberman, Super Hexagon, and so on, it's the minutiae that make all the difference, so let's all make sure our high-end games criticism hats are securely fastened.
In Flappy Bird there are very few gameplay variables to take into account.
There's the height that Faby is currently flying at, Faby's rate of descent, and the position of the gap in the tunnel ahead.
Everything else is constant. Pressing the screen produces the same flap motion each time, the speed of forward movement never alters, the width of the gaps don't change.
Swing Copters adds more uncertainties, more abstract values your mind must measure on the fly.
You'll need to continually turn 180 degrees as you move forward, but you won't immediately begin flying in the direction you pick.
Instead you'll slow down, at a rate dependent on your speed, and only then move in the direction requested. If you were driving a car, you'd call this skidding.
The second way
The hammers guarding the gaps in the scaffolding you pass through are another bugbear.
They're an additional one of those variables, but they also seem poorly implemented. Numerous times I would dodge past them by a fair few pixels, only to have my Copter knocked out of the air. I think there's some dodgy clipping going on, basically.
It's possible I did hit it of course, but unlike Flappy Bird, you're not given a moment to see exactly where you went wrong.
There's no freeze frame to say "here, this is where the hammer hit you", you're just smashed out of the air and asked to try again. You feel cheated, and no one wants to feel cheated.
All of this combines to make Swing Copters less accessible and friendly, and that's really not good for a game that needs a big audience to keep its sense of competition and community alive.
The reason your dad plays Flappy Bird, but doesn't play Modern Combat 5, is because Flappy Bird's rules are simple, constant, and instantly understood.
Swing Copters adds too many variables and perceived inconsistencies for the masses to be able to pick it up instantly, and that will kill it.
It's otherwise a quality product. It loads fast, it looks good, and it sounds fine.
But without that crucial ease of understanding, and the subsequent mass appeal, Swing Copters feels just like any B-tier title in the endless action genre. Basic, brutal, and not enough fun.