Australia is home to the world’s deadliest creatures. This is nothing new, this isn’t like, a fun fact, it’s just how things are. From sharks and blue ringed octopi in our oceans to snakes, spiders and Queenslanders, just, in general. Furthermore, Spring opens up one of our most persistent and deadliest apex predators, the magpie.
Contrary to popular opinion, magpies aren’t corvids, they’re a type of localised butcherbird (more closely related to currawongs). Despite this, they still have all the capacity for the intelligence of a corvid, wrapped up in a package that knows nothing but pure rage. They’re smart enough to recognize human faces they’re familiar with, and have delightful little personalities and songs, but also: Swoopy bois.
Every Spring you can absolutely guarantee a new viral video of some poor bastard getting chased down the street. We all have stories. Getting attacked by magpies is just a part of Australian culture, and we should unleash a flock of them at citizenship ceremonies to ensure we’re giving our new citizens the full experience.
Although a safer way to enjoy that experience is through Swoopy Boi, a mobile game for iOS and Android by Rohan Nowell.
SWOOPY BOI!! RUN!!
So. Allow me to set the scene. You are a male magpie. It is Spring. I assume you have a nest around here somewhere and it happens to be near a milk bar (and later, a Not Woolies). It’s a high traffic area, and you are a very swoopy boy. There’s kids coming home from school, hipsters, cyclists, posties, joggers, a wide range of targets for you to terrorize. Whats more, as though swooping your targets as they walk past wasn’t enough, you can even poop on them for bonus points. You have ten poops per level, so it’s important to figure out the optimal poops you can dish out, as well as the optimal swoops.
The controls are a sort of ‘easy to learn hard to master’ setup, with a single touch allowing the magpie to dive, and another touch will pull him back up. This is essential as there are certain characters that can cause damage, such as cyclists wearing spiky hats and posties who will use their rolled up newspapers to give you a good whack (but can still be attacked from behind). It ensures a fast paced game, where players need to have quick reflexes to avoid losing one of their three lives. Though this can become four if players choose to watch ads or spend $2. Which I did immediately because I enjoy being a swoopy boi.
It’s a fun, casual little time waster that offers unlockable content as players progress, in the way of new characters to swoop who will all have their own responses. Kids will scream and start Naruto running away, shoppers will drop their groceries, and everyone will cower under the might of your nasty sharp beak.
There’s also a cassowary which can be summoned, apparently, but I haven’t gotten that good at the game yet. I’m an impatient swoopy boy who gets smacked around by newspapers a lot. Some posties will have papers with which to whack, others won’t. It can be a little difficult at times to see, given the fast paced nature of the game, but it all adds to the fun.
The more you swoop, the more you progress, and the higher your score becomes. There’s leaderboards, so you can observe your fellow magpies. Did you know a group of them is called a tribe? Or a tiding. Either way they’re both very intimidating names that indicate they have nothing but malice toward you.