Pinoy Flappy Bird clone Pugo tops AppStore, we go hands-on

Pugo, a Flappy Bird-like game (Ramon Lopez)

Following Flappy Bird's controversial and premature "extinction," clones have emerged to fill the void left by the simple yet addicting game. After all, Flappy Bird did rack up as much as $50,000 per day in ad revenues. Enter Pugo, a proudly Pinoy-made app by indie art director Patrick Cabral.

Currently a top-ranking app among free downloads on the AppStore (an Android version is reportedly in the works), Pugo is basically a do-over from Flappy Birdonly this time with tasteful, seemingly hand-painted graphics, a catchy soundtrack, and a fresh gameplay mechanic that lets players earn an extra life by picking up a power-up in the form of a Philippine flag.

Unsurprisingly, Pugo feels every bit as challenging, if not more so, as its inspiration despite its simplistic controls and having only one objective: to score as many points as possible by navigating obstacles in a forest. After about a hundred playthroughs, we think it's the more difficult game.

Which brings us to our major gripe: Pugo, the game's avatar, is a pink quail with feathers that tend to blend in with the predominantly brown-and-purple background of tree trunks. That's just us. You may not be as easily distracted by the choice of colors. The game also runs at a low frame rate even on an iPhone 5sat least in comparison with Flappy Bird. But at least it doesn't affect Pugo's responsiveness.

All things considered, we think Pugo is one of the pick-up-and-play genre's finer titles. It's a better-looking Flappy Bird with a Filipino twist, and it's as fun and likable as the original game. Here's hoping its creator continues to improve on an already good app. We're crossing our fingers that we see lighter backgrounds and a choice of colors for the game's winged avatar. (With report from Ramon Lopez)