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Six months after pulling down his phenomenally successful app "Flappy Bird" from app stores, the Vietnamese developer behind the viral hit has a new hit game in stores—and there are signs it might be every bit as addictive to gamers as his first.
"Swing Copters" hit both the Apple and Google app stores Thursday morning and is already garnering high praise from critics and players. It's moving up the charts at a phenomenal pace, too. As of 2 p.m. ET, the game was already the 47th most popular app in all of Apple's store—and the 12th most popular game.
"It's starting to track very quickly—much faster than other games, " says App Annie's Marcos Sanchez.
But even as this latest title, which bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor, takes off, there's some question as to whether it, too, will have a short shelf life.
"Flappy Bird," at its peak, pulled in $50,000 a day for developer Dong Nguyen. Fans downloaded the app more than 50 million times.
But at the height of its popularity, he decided to remove the app, saying he was concerned that people had become too addicted to the game.
A user, before the decision was announced, asked Nguyen via Twitter, if he hated the success of the game. He replied: "Not because of them but because how people use my game. They are overusing it."
About an hour later the same day, when a user praised the game and said "well done on create [sic] a game I can be addicted," he wrote. he wrote. "And now, I am not sure [if] it is good or not."
Whether "Swing Copters" will be as popular with users, of course, remains to be seen. The game boasts a visual style that's very reminiscent of "Flappy Bird." It's just as frustratingly difficult—but this time, rather than controlling a gravity impaired bird, you maneuver a small creature wearing a propeller through a series of obstacles. Clearing even one of those obstacles is a challenge.
Like "Flappy Bird," "Swing Copters" is a free game that is monetized with a regular rotation of banner ads. This time, though, Nguyen also decided to give players the chance to eliminate those ads for a one-time payment of $1.29.
"Swing Copters" enters a much different app world than "Flappy Bird" did. There are dozens of clones of the game available—including some that were infested with Malware.
Since then, a whole sub-genre of impossibly hard, incredibly frustrating games has sprung up, including "Don't Touch the Spikes," "Circle The Dot" and "Duet." But "Swing Copters" does have a couple things working to its advantage.
"The No. 1 problem with mobile games is discovery, so this gets over that hump, because it's from the 'Flappy Bird' guy," says Billy Pidgeon, an independent analyst who covers the videogame industry.
And by pulling his most popular game at the height of its popularity, Nguyen may have cemented superstar status for himself.
"People got really excited about 'Flappy Bird,'" Sanchez says. "While, at the time, we didn't think that pulling it was the smartest move, in a way it amplified the 'Flappy Bird' brand and ... created an anticipation for the next game in a way [Nguyen] may not have realized at the time—or he's a brilliant marketer and did realize it."
—By CNBC's Chris Morris