I love magpies. Not the Collingwood variety – I fucking hate them (being a Carlton fan and all), but the bird itself is a beautiful and loyal creature that is an iconic part of Australia’s fauna. My personal experiences with magpies have been great having befriended many a maggie in my time, including a family of six magpies that lived in the street of my previous place of residence. This family and I had a special bond, and once or twice a week I’d feed them mince and magpie mix (can’t let them become dependent you know), with a couple of them more than happy to be hand-fed (including a super cute baby). I’d also give them fresh water every day (multiple times during Australia’s stinking hot summer days) – they knew that I meant them no harm and as such they never saw me as a threat.
However not everyone is as lucky, and the majority of Australians will be able to recall a time when they were attacked, nay, swooped by a magpie. The majority of the time people are simply going about their day, and whether it’s a cyclist out for a casual 285 km ride or a child walking to school matters not to the black and white ruler of the Australian sky.
Considering that I am basically the magpie whisperer, you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that there was a game that had just released that allowed you to play as an aggressive magpie. Titled Swoopy Boi, the concept is fairly simple; swoop as many people as possible before your three lives are gone.
There are a number of swoopable characters in the game, some who come prepared for war, such as the postman who will swat you with a stick (unless you attack him from behind) or the cyclist whose helmet is laden with cable ties, and swooping one of these two characters will ensure a loss of life. Other characters such as a jogger, schoolchild, postman (with no weapon) and hipster are all fair game. Swooping these characters in bulk will yield bonus points and the more points the more bad arse your magpie is. Over time you will unlock more characters and developer Rotub (Rohan Newell) has said he’ll be adding more characters in the future.
But what makes the game even better is the overall Australian vibe that it oozes. After all, an Australian bird deserves an Australian game. Characters will utter Australian slang or saying whenever a magpie swoops, such as “Oh you dog” and “Farkoff”, or you’ll be greeted by phrases such as “Absolutely frothing” or “You carked it mate” whenever you finish with a high or low score. It’s little touches like this that make it feel close to home when playing. Furthermore, Swoopy Boi is backed by some quality hand-drawn art. There’s not much to it, but the effort and attention to detail is there to see.
Now I am not a big fan of mobile gaming personally, but if there’s one concept that’s going to get me onside it’s getting to play as a magpie. Swoopy Boi might not be a robust mobile experience, but it’s certainly a fun and addictive one. It’s also free, although the free version does contain ads (not in-game), which can be removed for A$0.99 – which I was more than happy to pay. With everyone always on their phones these days there’s more than enough time to squeeze in a couple games of Swoopy Boi to kill some time – and that is what it’s perfect for.