It took longer than normal to write this post because a certain little bird had me distracted and cursing up a storm in the GeekWire office.
The original Flappy Bird was released for iOS and Android in late 2013 and was downloaded by millions of users. But creator Dong Nguyen, who was making upwards of $50,000 per day on advertising from Flappy Bird, took the game down because it was an “addictive product,” as he told Forbes.
If Nguyen’s goal with Flappy Birds Family was to dumb down the addictive quality of the game, well, he didn’t do a very good job.
We just tried out the new game, which is oddly only available to those with an Amazon Fire TV. At its core, Flappy Bird Family is just as simple as its predecessor: Keep a bird afloat and fly it through green Mario-like tubes by tapping the screen — or now, in the Amazon Fire TV case, pressing a button.
There are, however, several noticeable new features:
- A multiplayer mode lets you compete against a friend. You have three lives, and can continue playing from where you last died from. Player with the most points wins.
- There are new floating white ghosts guarding small eggs that are worth an extra point. Sometimes, there will be two ghosts guarding a larger egg worth five points. If you get far enough, there are eggs guarded by four ghosts worth 10 points. This adds an extra element of fun — you may lose a life going for the egg, but they are worth extra points if you can avoid the ghosts.
- You can choose from three different bird characters to play with.
- You can use the Fire TV remote as a second controller.
Other than that, this is Flappy Bird all over again — just as simple, and just as addictive. It’s unclear why Flappy Birds Family is only available on the Amazon Fire TV, but perhaps Nguyen wanted to incorporate the Fire TV’s physical controller, or maybe he cut a deal with Amazon.
Check out our video below, which shows the multiplayer gameplay and my colleague Todd Bishop struggling to keep his bird alive: