First, let’s examine what makes such a game so addictive to the average player. I spoke before on the limitations of portable controls and how hard it is to find a tablet game that isn’t a chore to play. Enter corridor runners, a very (very, very) simplified type of platformer in which your character automatically runs across the screen and your input is limited to a single button, which is used to jump or bounce across or through obstacles, which makes up for the fact that all of your controls are on a flat plastic screen. These types of games have existed since the 1970s, but the most noteworthy from recent years is 2009’s Canabalt or maybe 2010’s (I think) Robot Unicorn Attack. Some, like Burrito Bison Revenge, have the same concept but with level-up mechanics and other gimmicks to spice up what is otherwise a bland experience.
2013’s Flappy Bird, conversely, is completely bare-bones. You control a one-eyed Cheep-Cheep flying through pipes (graphics mostly stolen from Super Mario World) by pressing a button to make it fly upwards slightly and hope to not hit the pipes or the ground. That’s it. That’s what all the hubbub is about. But people adore it, and that’s why so many imitators are popping up.
Wild Kiwi is much easier than its obvious inspiration. The bird’s rising and diving aren’t as steep, nor is running into an object an instant game over. It gives you huge amounts of leeway in regards to getting bumped by blocks, planes, and other obstacles, not to mention that you can bounce off the ground. Even the “extreme mode” merely changes the safe dirt into instant-death water. For the millions obsessed with Flappy Bird but annoyed by the difficulty, this game is for you.
To its credit, Wild Kiwi is slightly better than its inspiration (it has original graphics, too) and it never asks for money for in-game goods as is common with free games. It’s the best New Zealand ratite-themed game since, uh, Ivy the Kiwi? These are the best things I can say about an otherwise shallow and underwhelming one-button game. Wild Kiwi offers nothing that you can’t get in any other corridor runner Flash game, or many similar games available on the Android and iOS. It’s not terrible if that’s the genre you’re looking for, but casual games are too simple for my… refined tastes. *Snorts, trips over wine rack*
I’m not here to brag about how amazingly skilled I am at video games and how I would never tolerate this casual trash, get it off my websight!! If playing a game this incredibly simple during your lunch break or whatever makes you happy, then go for it. I’d be wrong to stop you. But I do wish the author had included more bells and whistles or even some polish (There’s not even a title screen!) or featured a truly insane ridiculous near-impossible mode that more closely resembled that other flying bird game. Someday I’ll get my bullet hell corridor runner, but this game isn’t it.
Update: After posting this, the author of the game asked if I had played the newest version. Mine was a week out of date, so I updated and saw a couple new features. It’s still too easy for me but there are now leaderboards as well as notices during the game showing your next milestone. It also asks you to rate it on the Android app store and even wants your feedback if you have any problems with the game. Wild Kiwi is the author’s first game, but they’re always looking to improve, and that is commendable.