The success of the free mobile hit, Flappy Bird, was arguably one of the darkest periods in the history of video games. It was a title with questionable assets, a tedious concept and flawed mechanics that was made in just a handful of days. Despite this, it was clearly addictive, going viral with unprecedented downloads and media coverage which eventually developed into an entire saga of ongoing events. Since 2013 there have been a line of clones, inspired by the original and attempting to cash in on its fame.
Flap Flap for the 3DS eShop is exactly that; launching at a premium price, yet the experience is anything but. The title's offerings are slim; there's a choice between an infinite mode and level select featuring five randomised stages of difficulty – play sessions are designed to last a few minutes at best.
The task is simple. You're required to flap a bird's wings to keep it afloat by repeatedly tapping the touch screen or pressing A, B, X or Y. At the same time you must navigate your way through the level whilst avoiding both enemies and environmental obstacles in the form of pipes (which is at times seemingly impossible), collecting gold & silver coins which contribute to the overall score, and gathering special abilities to enhance the bird's chance of survival.
The special abilities available include a shield acting as an additional life, a clock allowing realignment of the bird, a glider enabling the player to move the bird to any location on screen, and a speed boost ability which also makes the bird invincible for a short period of time and able to travel through pipes. These items achieve little but a higher score, and unfortunately do not enhance the core experience of Flap Flap.
While a leaderboard has also been included, at the time of writing it does not appear to feature local sharing or online scoring; this means you have no-one but yourself to compete against. There are also medals to collect on each of the five levels, ranging between bronze, silver and gold; they also fail to provide any sense of satisfaction.
The art and assets in Flap Flap are rather amateurish, as are the few animations shared between the bird, enemies and items on-screen. The backgrounds and objects lack a sense of style, although at the very least, are easy on the eyes. The music isn't much better, with a single upbeat tune on loop and a series of generic sounds.
Given its premium price and slim offerings, Flap Flap for the 3DS eShop is extremely hard to recommend. With imitations of Flappy Bird readily available for free on the internet and digital mobile platforms - not to mention more affordable and better quality alternatives already on Nintendo systems - there are few reasons to pick up this eShop variation at such a high price when it offers such a minuscule amount of content and even lacks a proper set of leaderboards, which could have potentially added longevity and a much needed competitive edge. If this game goes on sale in future, or reduces its price to a few bucks, only consider it if you're absolutely desperate for this type of experience. Right now though, Flap Flap can flap off.