MANILA, Philippines – AeusTech has a game out that is at once a reminder of Flappy Bird and a way to break the mold of the game in terms of gameplay and meaning.
Called Oh My Gravity (or OMG for short), AeusTech wants you to imagine a world that was aesthetically the opposite of Dong Nguyen's Flappy Bird.
It does so by thrusting you into space, close enough to Earth to be pulled in by the planet's gravity, but far enough that any attempt to re-enter the atmosphere or do anything other than maintain orbit around the earth would mean the end of your life.
And to stay in orbit? You've got to keep tapping your screen of choice, whether it be your iOS or Android phone or tablet, or your smartwatch.
Lost in space
OMG tasks you with staying in the sweet spot between flying off into outer space and being cooked alive by a catastrophic re-entry. There's no backstory for your being in space, but you're there, and you've got to dodge the space debris that is also going around the planet.
To do this, players are tasked with the Flappy Bird mechanic of tapping just enough to stay on the screen without reaching the bottom, all while adjusting your forward movement to avoid the debris coming at you at wildly different speeds.
Users can play this on iPads and iPhones, as well as Android Phones and tablets and Android-based tablets running the Amazon Appstore, but there's also one venue that makes this game extra special. The game can also be picked up and used on Android Wear-compatible devices (Samsung Gear Live, LG G, Moto 360).
Major Tom to ground control
The spaceman also has two things going for him in-game to keep him alive for longer. They have a fire extinguisher with a limited amount of charges, which they can use by swiping up or down for a short burst of dodging power – either going down towards earth or up towards outer space – against oncoming debris.
The game also lets you purchase a space capsule at the start or board a capsule while playing, which will speed up time and give you more points – denoting how many seconds you've survived – until the capsule is destroyed and you automatically eject back into space to fend for yourself.
The depressing metareality
Unlike the vibrant colors and bright nature of Flappy Bird, the subdued black and white interface of the game coupled with the silhouettes of destroyed space robots and other rare debris in the background bring a certain depressing futility in playing.
This is the contrasting metareality of OMG to Flappy Bird: If Flappy Bird's metareality is that it can strive to fly farther and longer by exerting the best efforts it can, this lonely spaceman must endure an extended stay in space without anyone coming to rescue him.
Aside from the random time he spends stowed away in a capsule, there's no indication of any hope that anyone would be coming to rescue him.
At least, that's how the game plays right now. It's an interesting take on Flappy Bird-styled gameplay that really works from a mechanical standpoint but it's one that, without an update that shows him getting saved after a million seconds or so, makes it a challenge without any emotional payoff other than the satisfaction of sharing to the world that you survived for an eternity in space. – Rappler.com
Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.