Tappy Chicken Review (IOS)
We know what you're thinking, "yet another Flappy Bird clone?" Well, this one is special. Tappy Chicken was done by Epic Games, the makers of the original Gears of War trilogy and creators of the Unreal Engine. More specifically, this unapologetic clone was made solely by Epic Games artist Shane Caudle. The interesting thing about Tappy Chicken was that Cauldle used Unreal Engine 4's Blueprints visual scripting set to make the game in less than a week. What's even more impressive is that Caudle had absolutely zero programming experience whatsoever going into the creation of Tappy Chicken -- this shows just how easy it is to design mobile games using the Unreal Engine 4. Let's see if this chicken is able to soar past its hundreds of other fowl siblings and tap its way to success.
At first glance, Tappy Chicken looks and plays like an optimized version of Flappy Bird, but if you were to do a side-by-side comparison, it would be clear that Tappy Chicken looks light-years better in terms of graphics and animation. Tappy Chicken's movement runs at an extremely higher frame rate than the retro-inspired Flappy Bird, resulting in animation that looks much more organic and natural. The clouds, various mountain types, fences, bushes and trees all have their own layers. This results in much more enticing visuals and provides actual senses of movement and distance between the objects that are closer to the foreground and the ones way off in the horizon. In Flappy Bird, the only things that moved were the ground, pipes and bird -- everything else remained perfectly still. After trying out so many Flappy Bird copycats, I can honestly say that this is easily the most impressive-looking mobile clone when it comes to visuals by far.
In terms of its controls, Tappy Chicken is even more frustrating than its inspiration, which is both a bad and good thing. Its premise is simple: you must tap the screen to make your chubby chicken flap its wings. Due to the physics of this game, gravity pulls the bird towards the ground rather fast, but every time it flaps its wings, it soars rather high (much higher than expected). Once you start flapping, your bird will automatically start on an endless runner path. You must navigate your bird through the various trees in this forest by guesstimating and timing your flaps/taps. The constant rising and falling of the bird combined with the changing gaps in the trees results in some tricky navigation. When you hit the ground or a tree, your bird dies and usually shoots out an egg. While the Egg Collection feature is a nice way of adding replay value and encouragement to keep trying, you unlock a different egg based on what score you got on that run.
Unfortunately, the touchscreen controls of Tappy Chicken feel a bit more unpredictable than most of Flappy Bird clones. Each wing-flap felt like the bird simply went too high. I can easily score in the 30s of most Flappy Bird-type games without hardly even focusing. Yet for some reason, trying to break a score of 10 in Tappy Chicken was quite difficult. The bird's obviously steeper angles of decline/ascension combined with its stronger flaps resulted in a learning curve with Tappy Chicken that was very tough to adjust to, despite my successful histories with so many other similar titles. Yet, trying to readjust to these changes kept me just as addicted to Tappy Chicken as I was with its source material.
Tappy Chicken is, without a doubt, the best-looking Flappy Bird clone on the mobile market. Unfortunately, its physics need just a little bit of fine-tuning in order to make it the perfect game out of the plethora of similar titles on the market. Its animation and bright visuals kept me enticingly hooked into Tappy Chicken in a way that most of Flappy's clones could never do. In light of Flappy Bird's temporary absence from the mobile market, I suggest Tappy Chicken as an optimal replacement. In fact, I regard Tappy Chicken as the most challenging and finely polished version of the game I have ever encountered. Even when Flappy Bird returns later this summer, just keep this game instead and save yourself the trouble of downgrading.
This review is based on a digitally downloaded copy of Tappy Chicken for iOS.