Ever since the launch of the App Store, platformers and endless runners have been pretty successful, with apps like Temple Run (and its small army of clones) selling millions of copies. But of course, familiarity breeds contempt and platformers now have to do a little more to rise above the ‘Temple Run clone’ template set by hundreds upon hundreds of apps. So, with the release of Funday Factory’s endless platformer Butterfly Sky, can the game stand out in a sea of similar games?
Butterfly Sky is a typical App Store platformer in many ways – with the player bouncing along clouds and trying not to fall into the abyss below. The controls are incredibly simple to use – as in several games, you touch the screen to fall faster and become heavier, whilst bouncing higher and higher and collecting even more of the butterflies lying around the map. If that sounds a bit light to you, then it’s probably worth re-iterating that Butterfly Sky is casual to the bone. This is the sort of game you play waiting for a bus or in a waiting room – and it’s a little more enjoyable if that’s taken into account.
Luckily, there’s a little more to it than just that. There’s several levels to unlock, avoiding the Temple Run problem of constantly cycling through the same environments, there’s an upgrading system and the graphics are an awful lot more colourful than the standard App Store platformer – it’s unashamedly cartoony, giving it a relatively unique feel… emphasis on ‘relatively’.
The central problem with Butterfly Sky is a simple and common one – originality. It’s been dressed up with some great visuals and given a lick of paint, but it still feels like a car made from old parts rather than a new car. The controls are familiar, the ideas are familiar, the mechanics are familiar and the bells and whistles are familiar. It’s an easy complaint – in a store filled with millions of apps and thousands of similar apps, it’s hard to be original – but Butterfly Sky, while fun and engaging, never escapes from the constantly running shadow of Temple Run.
Still – for what it is, Butterfly Sky is a fun, replayable app with nice visuals and enough levels to keep most players going. It borrows rather too much from its cousins and is perhaps a little too simplistic, but it’s still a solid, enjoyable platformer.
——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–Louis Rabinowitz (@SadCyberman) is a fan of quite a lot of things, but mainly Doctor Who, Breaking Bad, Marvel, James Bond and Grand Theft Auto. He also really likes puns and cliches, which is why he’s talking about himself in the third person.