I’ve been waiting for a game like RETRY. I’ve been waiting for a big-name publisher to try and make a Flappy Bird game in to a full-blown free-to-play experience, with two tiers of currency and everything! And Rovio has stepped up to the plate with RETRY. Now, the challenge with trying to turn a flaplike into a monetized free-to-play game is that there are two components: there’s the monetization, and then there’s the actual game itself.

I don’t know if RETRY will make money for Rovio, but RETRY’s gameplay? It’s brutally challenging and well worth playing.

RETRY 1

The goal of RETRY is to get a plane from start to finish in one piece. Checkpoints can be unlocked, and the game tracks the number of retries necessary to complete a level, along with distance, as part of a 3-star system. The entirety of RETRY is controlled with one tap-and-hold, which flies your plane forward and slightly upward. Holding causes the plane to spin in circles.

The plane is very difficult to control, as it has reality-adjacent physics in play: there’s stalling and diving to play with, along with trying to get the weight of the plane focused forward. RETRY is hard in part because the plane is hard to control, but it’s not unfairly hard – it just has a shockingly involved physics system that requires a lot of practice to come close to understanding.

RETRY 3

Don’t let the fact that Rovio publish this game scare you off from trying this out. This is one of the most genuinely challenging games on the App Store. It has layers of complexity; level design that demands repetition and perfection through mastery of the physics. It’s not free-to-play schlock: it’s a legitimately-challenging game. It has superb level design and fair trials put forth for the player to conquer. It’s just that they’re immensely difficult. This game will take a long time to progress through, particularly once the game hits the double-digit levels. Past levels have coins to collect, and secret paths that open up (and are inordinately difficult to reach) once completed. There is a lot to take in here.

The game makes money through coins and gears, the former used to unlock retry points and reveal flight paths, the latter used to unlock temporary boosts. It’s also possible to watch video ads to unlock retry points, which are actually just ads for Angry Birds Epic and Plunder Pirates, and are only available in limited capacities. It’s a game that gets to be a lot harder without unlocking retry points, but it’s not necessarily unfair without them. Just really, really, difficult. Also, there are plenty of coins that can be earned in the levels – they’re just incredibly difficult to get.

Further building on Rovio’s profit potential, RETRY has the most absurd advertising I’ve seen yet in a mobile game, with one level showing Capital One banners promoting their financial services. It’s just so silly and blatant, but hey, it’s just another level. Considering how hard it is to make money nowadays, don’t be surprised to see more advertising like this in the future.

RETRY 2

The game thankfully eschews any really annoying kind of monetization. There’s no hard wait timers, only effective ones (like waiting to get more free ads for unlocking retry points). Boss levels can also be skipped by waiting for a bypass to open. Wisely, the game is set up that its only cruelty comes from playing it, not from paying for it.

RETRY fascinates me in large part because it’s from Rovio, and not a small indie studio. If it was from the latter, I can imagine more people would be talking about this – and there probably wouldn’t be a Capital One level in here either. Sure, the game has the inevitable major corporation influence, but at the very core, there’s a genuine challenge to try and tackle. Be prepared to play this one again and again and again and again and again and again and again and @#$@#$ again…

Need some help completing levels in fewer retries? Be sure to read Gamezebo’s RETRY Tips, Cheats and Strategies.