When the whole purpose of a game is to win it can be maddening, infuriating and outright rage-inducing when you fail, crashing out and being met with a ‘GAME OVER’ screen which has been bolded with by the developer for emphasis. But on the flipside it can also be an uplifting, exhilarating and overwhelmingly positive experience when you succeed, making players feel as though they’ve bested a game whose entire purpose is to challenge them.
What it does for a player’s self-esteem it can also do to a developer’s bank balance with the addictive nature of these fail-and-instantly-repeat games and the popularity they garner, as users tell their friends about their frustrations with it (thus encouraging them to download it too) making them highly lucrative titles – especially when they’re free to download.
Dong Nguyen got his taste of that when he put together Flappy Bird, an addictive game that saw the one-man dev team behind it rake in $50,000 a day from advertising from a title that was available for free. So with that game having been taken off of app stores due to the stress Nguyen faced with post-release press and angry fan letters from addicted players, it makes sense that Angry Birds developer Rovio is going to fill that gap with the similarly addictive mobile game, Retry. Not that there aren’t thousands of Flappy Bird clones to fill the need already.
As for the addictiveness of Retry, the Flappy Bird comparisons don’t stop there as the former clearly seems to have riffed from the latter in a myriad of ways. Like Flappy Bird, Retry’s core mechanic involve fighting against the inescapable clutches of gravity as players navigate through levels as a plane (all pixel-art based), avoiding taps from the in-game setting on the top part of the avatar (setting the plane down on its wheels seems to be acceptable).
Unlike the aviation-challenged birdie everyone and their brother played as before, Retry’s controls also seem to be more complex than just being able to go up and down, with circular movements of the plane in the trailer suggesting the control scheme and level designs to be more advanced than a few well-timed taps on a screen. In addition to this, Retry also takes on a familiar theme that is “so old school that you’ll think you’ve stepped into an 8-bit time machine and gone back to 1986” which is also being paired with a catchy theme tune that wouldn’t go amiss in the gaming era of yesteryear.
What’s unclear is just how Rovio will make money from Retry, which is free to play. The trailer was not indicative of the monetization forms in the game and Retry is unlikely to be a high-quality freebie given the recent announcement that Rovio’s annual profits fell by a massive 52% in the last year, so we can only presume what microtransaction offerings will be available, perhaps in the form of plane customization options or limited ‘retries’ which users will have to wait to refresh or fork out real money for after use.
And while Retry will undoubtedly get a plenty of flack from fans for seemingly being another one of those Flappy Bird clones, the game does seem to be mixing it up a little to garner positive early reviews from users in Poland, Finland and Canada where the game has been launched for an early release. It should do well to get a small chunk of Flappy Bird’s success then (Nguyen’s title got over 50 million downloads when it was available) but as it will possibly have to compete with a possible reboot of that very game, we’ll know more when the game is out later this year.
Retry will be out “soon in app stores”.