Imagine that you are a teenager and the most annoying person in your class has a massive crush on you. Your would-be paramour keeps following you around like a lovesick puppy. What do you do? Well, if you have a particularly sadistic streak, you send your object of disaffection a message through Amazing Cupid. The twist? In order to see your note, he or she has to earn a certain number of points within a time limit, set by you, by playing a Flappy Bird clone. Otherwise the message disappears forever.
There are already tons of Flappy Bird knockoffs (in fact, one even took its #1 spot on the iOS charts after creator Dong Nguyen pulled the game out of the App Store) out there. But Amazing Cupid’s developer, TouchTen CEO Anton Soeharyo, is careful to point out that he got permission from Nguyen to copy Flappy Bird’s annoyingly addictive game mechanic before releasing Amazing Cupid, which Nguyen confirmed to me by email.
Amazing Cupid is currently available only in the Google Play store, but the iOS build has already been submitted to the App Store and Indonesia-based TouchTen hopes it will be available for download by Valentine’s Day.
Soeharyo also says that TouchTen has not monetized Amazing Cupid and the only ads inside the app are for the studio’s other games. Instead, he made Amazing Cupid to test out the messaging feature. If it proves successful, Soeharyo plans to insert it into other TouchTen releases as the Jakarta-based studio, which is backed by CyberAgent Ventures, builds its mobile gaming platform.
Instead of a flappy bird, the game features a blue-haired cupid. Your goal is to keep him from crashing into a never-ending series of Doric columns. If you fail, Amazing Cupid treats you to tidbits of verbal abuse like “No wonder you’re alone.” or “Why am I grumpy? You are my only friend.” If you succeed, you eventually gain access to your secret message.
Amazing Cupid also has a game-only mode, in case you really don’t have any friends. To make the game more difficult (and addicting), TouchTen added a few features that weren’t in Flappy Bird. For example, there are three levels: normal, hard, and “impossibro.”
I told Soeharyo that Amazing Cupid is funny but evil.
“That’s kind of the idea,” he said. Soeharyo first thought about self-destructing secret messages after realizing that many teenagers use Snapchat to send silly and obnoxious photos to their friends. “But Snapchat is just too easy. You send something and it disappears. So I thought, what if I add some gamification?”
If the messaging feature proves popular, Soeharyo thinks companies and celebrities can use TouchTen’s games as a marketing tool. For example, they can hold contests with a special prize for the first person who sees their message or have it be a promo code.
Soeharyo hopes to meet up with Nguyen one day. On his Twitter account, Nguyen, who runs indie game studio .GEARS, declared that he now “hates” Flappy Bird the game’s popularity ruined his “simple life.”
“I feel for Dong. He is overwhelmed. I was surprised that he was really friendly to me even though we hadn’t met before. It turns out that he’s a good guy and a good person,” Soeharyo said. “He mentioned on Twitter that he’s coming to Jakarta, so I hope to see him. I don’t want to force him, but if he wants to then maybe we can work on something together.”