The "Flappy Bird" phenomenon is still, inexplicably, a thing, and even big-budget game developers want to capitalize on that. "Tappy Chicken" from Epic Games is a simple "Flappy Bird" clone for iOS and Android that demonstrates the versatility and simplicity of its new Unreal Engine 4.
Epic Games is best known for series like "Gears of War," "Infinity Blade" and "Unreal Tournament," which makes "Tappy Chicken" something of an anomaly. If you've played "Flappy Bird," you know what to expect: tap on a flying chicken to keep him afloat with a maddeningly difficult control scheme. The app is free for both iOS and Android devices, and there are some leaderboards and unlockable collectibles, if you're really dedicated.
The point of the game is not to earn money or prestige for Epic, but rather to draw attention to the latest version of its Unreal Engine. Everything from "Deus Ex" to "BioShock Infinite" to "XCOM: Enemy Unknown" runs on the Unreal engine, which developers have leveraged for first-person shooters, real-time strategies, role-playing games and action/adventure titles.
Epic is touting Unreal Engine 4, which debuted in March as a lightweight, robust and simple system. "Tappy Chicken" comes from a single artist without any programming skills. Although Unreal Engine 4 will support a new generation of 3D games for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, the system also works just fine for retro mobile games.
Although it's easy to write "Tappy Chicken" off as just another "Flappy Bird" clone, it makes much more sense when viewed as a humorous-but-effective tech demo.