As you may know from reading this blog, we are big fans of Progressive Web Apps, an incredible technology that combines the benefits of native mobile apps with traditional websites.
Progressive web apps (PWAs) are commonly built to provide existing business websites with new functions and the look and feel of a native mobile app.
However, what you may not realize is that PWAs are ideal for all different categories, including gaming.
Lately, I’ve been having fun with a progressive web app game named Paper Planes.
Paper Planes previously existed only as a native Android app, but the website has since been updated to a Progressive Web App.
This means Paper Planes can now be played on any mobile device with a compatible web browser; nothing to download or install.
Continue reading for my review of how it works, along with a bunch of screen shots.
Like A Kid Again
When you were in elementary school, did your class ever launch helium balloons to see how far the wind would carry them?
In my school, I remember launching balloons with the name and location of our school written on an attached note card.
A few days later, a handful of lucky students would be notified that someone far away found their balloons.
As a kid, I remember the anticipation and excitement of hoping someone would find my balloon.
Now, as a middle-aged adult, I am reliving a bit of that fun once again with the Paper Planes progressive web app.
The idea of this PWA game is to make a “paper” airplane, stamp it with your location (city and country), then simply throw your virtual plane around the world.
Next, you swipe a butterfly net that will randomly catch any plane that has been launched from somewhere else in the world.
You unfold the paper plane to see the originating location stamp, stamp it with your own location, then send it back around the world.
The next player that catches your plane can see both your stamp and the originating stamp, add their own stamp, then send it around again.
Get the idea?
The gameplay itself is quite simple, but this is the beauty of it because easy and addictive games tend to be the most popular mobile games.
Installing and Launching
Since this is a progressive web app, there is actually nothing to download and install from an app store.
Instead, I simply fired up Chrome browser on my ZTE Axon 7 Android, then navigated to https://paperplanes.world.
Upon doing so, I was greeted with this:
One of the my favorite benefits of progressive web apps is that users can easily be prompted to add the icon to their home screens.
This makes it easy for me to remember and revisit the PWA site again.
As a side note, this increased brand visibility is why businesses around the world are scrambling to update their websites to progressive web apps.
After accepting the invitation to add Paper Planes to may homescreen, it looks like this:
Just like native Android or iOS apps, progressive web apps also can provide direct push notifications to your mobile device.
The PWA simply prompts me to allow notifications on the first launch:
The actual navigation and flow of this progressive web app game is quite easy and straightforward (as all mobile and web apps should be).
As the following screens show, you will have your paper plane flying around the world in mere seconds with just three simple steps:
After sending your plane into the stratosphere, now it’s time to have some fun catching other players’ paper planes.
To do so, you just tap the paper plane icon on the following screen and move your phone in a swiping motion:
Catching another player’s paper plane is not designed to be challenging, so don’t worry.
Rather, the main purpose is to easily catch a paper plane, then unfold it to see where it has been:
As shown on the image above, I caught a plane that originated in Sleepy Hollow, Texas, USA.
I then added a stamp for my current location (Bangkok, Thailand), re-folded my plane, and sent it back around the world to collect more stamps.
With a bit of luck, your plane may undergo an adventurous, exotic trip around the world.
My plane hasn’t been caught yet, but I’m sure somebody will “snag and stamp” it soon:
One Platform Fits All
While this review of Paper Planes is not very detailed for a game review, the purpose of the article is to show you that mobile games are no longer limited to iPhone and Android.
Progressive web apps enable developers like BrainyApps to make game apps that will work seamlessly from one platform to another.
For example, I tested Paper Planes PWA on the Safari browser of my iPhone 5s and it works just the same as Chrome on my Android.
Paper Planes progressive web app even works on a regular web browser (desktop computer), though you can only see the planes (not throw them).
Finally, I tested the Offline functionality of this game because progressive web apps can take advantage of new technology that allows them to work with limited or no internet access.
With my phone in Airplane mode (no pun intended), I was still able to make and throw my airplane, but I was not able to catch any planes until I restored my internet access.
Overall, Paper Planes is a slick example of a progressive web app game that enables nearly the same experience as the native Android version.
What are some other progressive web app games you like to play? Drop a comment below.