Swing Copters Review: Up, up, and awa — I’ve crashed

If video games had an equivalent of Hollywood’s torture porn genre, Swing Copters would be it. The latest game from developer Dong Nguyen — creator of Flappy Bird — is just as frustrating, yet addictive as his previous work. I would say, however, that it errs more on the side of frustrating, and less addicting.

Anyone familiar with Nguyen’s previous work, Flappy Bird, is probably well aware of how he works. The mechanic is about as simple as it gets — it’s an auto-scroller that relies solely on your tapping. Unlike Flappy Bird, which auto-scrolled horizontally, Swing Copters takes to the Y-axis.

It’s approach is incredibly simple — I wouldn’t expect anything else from Nguyen. You press the play button and off goes your little beady-eyed creature. With a propeller atop its head, you must carefully navigate your creature through a series of platforms with swinging hammers. The game will auto scroll vertically, and you must only tap to switch the flight direction from left to right. Hit a platform or hammer, and you fall to your death. It’s that simple.

Or so it would seem. Swing Copters is terribly unforgiving, mostly due to inaccurate hit boxes. There have been times when I’ve not been close to the swinging hammers, yet it claimed that I’ve hit them. I don’t mind a difficult game, but I have a problem when the faults lie outside of my own control.

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I could be wrong, but I also believe the game has been updated since when I first downloaded it. I remember the platforms being much closer to the ground upon startup. It now seems you have some time to get your bearings before being thrown to the hammers of justice. I also think the momentum of the copter has been adjusted for more fluid transitions. Case in point, when I first started I could not even pass the 1st platform. Today, I reached the 9th. I don’t think that’s a result of me getting better.

As of this review, Swing Copters is one of the top free apps on the iTunes App Store. So you probably don’t need me to tell you to go out and download it. You probably already have. So what I will say — and you probably now this as well — that Nguyen has seemingly cracked the code. He knows what mobile users want — simplistic gameplay that’s easy to understand but difficult to master.