Flappy Bird clone Flying Cyrus takes a wrecking ball to App Store chart


Flappy Bird may have been removed from Apple and Google’s app stores, but waves of clones and tributes are flying onto the stores in its wake.

One of them, Flying Cyrus – yes, based on Miley and her infamous tongue – was included in my article earlier this week questioning whether reports of an Apple ban on Flappy clones could be true, given that so many were still being released.

Ho ho, I thought, there’s even a rubbish Miley Cyrus one. Nobody will download that. Well, the joke is on me, for Flying Cyrus is currently sitting right at the top of the free apps chart in Apple’s App Store.

What’s more, its developer has given an interview to Israeli site Geektime showing off the app’s download stats: it hit 644,000 in a single day earlier this week, and is now past the 1m milestone.

“The original idea came from a good friend of mine: design a caricature of Miley Cyrus in phase with concrete walls, hammers and the ball from the Wrecking Ball video. I designed the game, from the stage itself through to the obstacles, and my relative designed the cartoon of Miley Cyrus,” he explained (via Google Translate).

“Marketing? Not one dollar invested in marketing. We have released the game in all sorts of forums and people really like the idea...”

Needless to say, there isn’t a licensing deal in place to use Cyrus’ likeness or name, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if her legal team were to try to take action. Arguably, they might have more to gain by contacting the developer for some kind of partnership, of course.

The same developer’s Red Bouncing Ball Spikes game has also been doing well on the App Store, although as yet Flying Cyrus fever hasn’t spread to Android – the game has been installed less than 5,000 times according to its Google Play store page.

Why is the Guardian giving this game space? I can hear the angry comments being typed already.

Why? Because after a year when the App Store seemed to be turning into an environment where only massive spending on free installs and Facebook ads could guarantee a top 10 hit, suddenly any developer with a Flappy Bird clone seemingly has a shot at the upper reaches of the rankings – see Splashy Fish and City Bird, which are also in the UK store’s top 10.

That’s fascinating for anyone with a professional or personal interest in how the apps industry is evolving. Although frankly rather worrying for what it says about the quality bar height of millions of mobile gamers...

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 19th February 2014 16.15 Europe/London

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