Though the iPad has proven to be a strong platform for gaming, not all the titles we see on it are serious. Fowlplay HD from Happynin Games is proof enough of that, with a comical approach to bombing. Rather than taking airplanes out to the range, Happynin decided that pigeons in the park would be a much more amusing premise.
In case you haven’t deduced Fowlplay’s aim yet, it’s to take control of a particularly mischievous pigeon and drop a number two on every park-going human you can. Though the concept is a bit gross, it’s still kind of funny, and certainly enough to get this OpenFeint-enabled title into the App Store’s top 50 free applications list. Amusing and easily controlled, Fowlplay is a nice game for the price of nothing, but doesn’t have tremendous longevity — even with its social features.
Fowlplay starts with a top-down view of a very blocky-looking park, where the player controls a tiny pigeon by tilting the iDevice. A simple tap will release the bird’s “payload” on unsuspecting victims below. It’s a very simple concept, but unlike other games that use tilt controls, Fowlplay actually feels very fluid. The bird continually flies forward, and the user must avoid any trees in their path (hit three and it’s game over). The degree to which one tilts left and right determines how fast the pigeon moves in those directions, making it very easy to get out of the way.
As the player floes overhead, the idea is to drop as many “bombs” as possible atop the conveniently square heads of park goers. Each hit racks up points, with bonuses for streaks and accuracy. The endless level appears to dynamically spawn trees and bonus rings that can be collected for added points, ensuring that it never looks exactly the same. Moreover, as the player does better, the automatic forward flying speed increases, keeping the challenge level on par with player ability.
Beyond this, there are also a set of three humorous power-ups that can be snagged, including hot sauce, a football helmet, and a taco. The first gives the bird flaming “bombs,” though they really only add a visual effect, while the football helmet allows you to crash through trees, unharmed, for a short while. The taco, on the other hand… let’s just say it gives the pigeon a bit of an upset stomach, prime for rapid discharge.
As amusing as all of this may sound, the novelty of Fowlplay does not last long. A play session is at best a few minutes long, and despite changing levels, the play is always about the same. This limited longevity is barely improved by the incorporation of the OpenFeint social platform, with its usual addition of global leaderboards and, of course, sharable achievements.
Thankfully, the iPad version of Fowlplay is, again, free. It’s powered through ads, but they’re hardly intrusive, and if they really bother players, they can be removed for $2.99. The only downside is that since the primary controls are tilt-based, the weight of the iPad can almost guarantee the noted, short, play sessions. The iPhone rendition would be better, but since that full version costs $1.99 (though there is a lite version), the free iPad one is, obviously, the better bargain.
Overall, Fowlplay HD is a quaint and amusing app for iPad owners. It has a good deal of novelty, and for a free game, it’s pretty fun for killing a few minutes here and there; the developers have aksi noted a coming “Time Attack Mode,” which will perhaps add a little more diversity. That said, it’s likely a game that won’t get picked up that often, once the initial flavor is gone.