While game companies are spending millions developing and marketing addictive mobile games, every once in a while an indie hit appears out of nowhere and captures the public's imagination. In 2013, that game was Flappy Bird, a notoriously difficult endless runner-style game that thrust its Vietnamese creator, Dong Nguyen, into an unwanted spotlight.
Nguyen ended up pulling the game from Apple and Google's app stores a few months later (despite making a ton of money), because it had become an "addictive product" that was causing him and its players issues. It also allowed him to focus on making more games. With seven titles now behind him, including Swing Copters, Nguyen is back with a new game called Ninja Spinki Challenges!! -- and it's every bit as difficult as you'd expect.
Staying true to the familiar 8-bit art style found in his other games, Ninja Spinki Challenges!! is comprised of six mini-games that require a good mix of dexterity and fast reactions to complete. Some require you to swipe horizontally to evade fast-moving foes (in one case a bouncing kitty head) or eliminate them with carefully thrown shurikens. A timer counts down as you play, so you'll know exactly how long you have survive during each challenge. Like with Flappy Bird, your index finger does all of the work and will rarely leave the screen.
Instead of going it alone, Venturebeat reports that Nguyen (who runs his Gears. studio from Vietnam) was asked to create a new IP by Japanese game maker Obokaidem. Together, they've found a mechanic that starts easy but cranks up the difficulty considerably each time a round is completed. While you'll unlock endless versions of each level (that focus on racking up points instead of relying on a timer) the first time you complete them, it's the later challenges that bring back that sense of joy and frustration you came to love in Flappy Bird.
Instead of charging for the game, Nguyen is utilizing a model that served him very well for his first breakout hit: ads. This includes a 'Continue' button that will restart a level where the timer stopped, but only after you've sat through a video ad. Ninja Spinki Challenges!! is available on iOS via the App Store and Android through Google Play.