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Silly Sausage in Meat Land Cooped Up Green Ninja

Cooped Up is an endless game released on iOS and Android on May 6 2015 and Amazon App Store on May 7 2015. The game is free and available on iOS, Android, and Amazon App Store, with a browser version released June 15th, 2015.


The player takes control of a finch who is constantly ascending away from a cage cage using ropes and branches as springs. The player is required to swipe the screen to "twang" the ropes, causing the bird to be flung upwards. The angle and length at which the player swipes affects the finch's direction and acceleration. Along the way, the finch must avoid rival finches as a flock of other finches gradually rises up after the protagonist. The game is over when the player makes contact with a hazard or enemy, hesitates at a safe position for too long a period of time or falls into an open area.

Level design

Cooped Up is separated into multiple phases, the first phase introducing the key gameplay elements and enemies and subsequent phases adding new enemy combinations. Each phase lasts 25-28 points, the end of a phase indicated by a chasing bird. Falling items are encountered from phase 3 onwards.

While different combinations for birds are introduced in later phases, the only birds whose combination remains the same are dashing finches, due them having a set behaviour.

Phase 1

This phase introduces all the gameplay mechanics in Cooped Up, save for falling items. The first three ropes have more restrictions placed on what can be encountered.

  • The first rope is limited to and will always have a bug, either a fly or worm
  • The second rope always has and is limited to either a stationary or mobile walking finch and potentially having a fly
  • The third rope limited to either having a walking finches, a big finches, and possibly a fly.

After this and until the player scores 26 points, the following combinations of enemies encountered on platforms are possible:

  • A stationary walking finch on the middle of a rope or somewhere else on the rope
  • A walking finch on a rope
  • A single big finch on a rope
  • A dashing finch on a rope
  • Two to three branches with two flying finches, each above one branch.
  • A single branch with a flying finch above it

The occurrence of branches are very rare in this phase, and because flying finches are restricted in this phase to only occurring above branches, they are rarely ever encountered. Notably, it is possible to encounter a rope with nothing on it.

It is possible to encounter to situations where there are five ropes in a row with just a walking or stationary walking finch on each rope. Similarly, this is possible with big finches, although it is often only four in a row are encountered.

A chasing finch is encountered on the rope for the 26th point.

Phase 2

New combinations are introduced:

  • A single flying finch above a rope
  • Two walking finches close to the end of each rope.

This phase ends at 51-52 points, where a chasing finch is encountered.

Phase 3

New combinations introduced:

  • A pair of flying finches flying next to each other in the same direction.

This phase ends at 77 points.

Phase 4

New combinations introduced:

  • One to two falling items, both not encountered at the same time
  • Two big finches on a single line


  • January 2 2015 - The game was announced and a preview image posted.
  • March 12 2015 - The game's official name was announced and another preview image posted
  • March 31 2015 - A Vine video showing Cooped Up's gameplay is released
  • May 5 2015 - The game's release date of May 6 2015 is revealed along with a video.



Release version

Released on May 6 2015 on Android and iOS, this version of the game contains the initial game. It is labelled 0.1 on iOS.

Android update version

Released on May 6 2015 for Android, this version fixes bugs and improves minor parts of the game.

iOS update version

Released on May 15 2015, this update fixes the screen flicker bug and also the cross promotion unit appearing in areas with poor reception


Development of Cooped Up started at the end of 2014[1], the game's engine and sprites being the first parts of the game to be worked on. Early on in development the game was given the working title[2] "Feeding Time"[3]. Multiple times the game underwent major changes.[1] The game was first announced on January 2nd 2015.[2]

The earliest version of the game took place on one screen and retained the twanging used in the final game, though the game's overall gameplay was much different than the final version[1]. This earlier version did not work as well as Nitrome expected it to, so the gameplay was overhauled[4]. Despite this, certain elements in this version of the game were carried over into the fully developed version and changed to suit it, some of the game's obstacles and the green bird player character being an example of this.[1]

Due to the drastic gameplay changes the game underwent and the differences between the early and final version, the sprite of the green bird player character had to be redrawn.[1] Nitrome announced in mid March that the game was nearing completion and closer to its release that parts of the game's development would be shared, as the game went through an unusual development history[1]. By the end of March it had been decided that Cooped Up would Nitrome's next released game.[5]

By May 5 2015 the game had been submitted and approved by the Apple App Store, Google Play store, and Amazon App Store[6]. On May 5th a trailer for the game was released and it was announced that the game would be released the following day on May 6th[7]. The game saw an iOS and Android released on May 6th and an Amazon App Store release the following day, but not a browser released due to this version being delayed[8]. The game's browser version was released on June 15th, 2015[9]. While the planned development coverage of Cooped Up has not been posted, there were still plans to do this, but only after the browser version has been released[10].

Aaron Steed voiced the narrator in the game's trailer[11]. During development Nitrome considered releasing one of the game's early versions on their website, one that had gameplay different from the final version, but initially decided not to due to their audience potentially finding it strange that Nitrome would do this before the game's final version was released[10]. Although the build's release was not discounted it was clarified that the possibility would only be after the game's browser release.[10]

Beta elements

An in-development screenshot of the game before its gameplay was changed

Early in development Cooped Up had very different gameplay, which was greatly changed later on due to not meeting Nitrome's expectations[5][4]. An image of this was shown on the Nitrome blog.

Certain elements in this version of the game were carried over into the fully developed version and changed to suit it, some of the game's obstacles and the finch main character character being an example of this.[1] This early version also had rope that could be twanged, which remains in the final version unchanged.[1]

This screenshot contains many elements of the game that were changed or are not present in the final version. The first is that, compared to the final version, the cage seems rather plain, although this is likely due to the game being early in development.

The bottom of image also has leaves in different shades of red and small thin branches with thorns, both which are not present in the final game, although the leaves may be the early version of some of the leaves in the final game. The slim branches with thorns are not encountered in the final game, although the red berry-like objects in them do appear on other branches.

The finch's sprite in the early version of the game (left) and final version (right)

Due to the change in gameplay early on in development, the finch's sprite had to be changed, most of this change being slightly changing the proportions of its body. The early in-development image also shows a large four fingered hand holding a worm, which likely points to one of the special gameplay elements of this version of the game as nothing like it is present in the final version.

The background of the cage shows two people: a boy and his mother. While the boy does appear in the final game, only much larger, the mother character is absent from the game.

The colour of the settings cog for the game was changed late in development, from a red inside and dark red edges to an orange inside and dark brown edges.


Cooped Up was listed by Pocket Gamer as one of the best iOS games released in May 2015[12].


In May 7 2015 Cooped Up was listed on the Apple App Store on the front page of the Games category in the section "Best New Games" along with the game's banner displayed on the front page.[13]


  • In the iOS release version of Cooped Up in the pre-made Twitter tweet message that the player could tweet when tweeting their score, the hashtag "#CoopedUp" was accidentally misspelled "#CoopepUp".[14]
  • The game's icon is not the same as the mobile icon.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Game Developer's Blog - Nitrome: Cooped Up Preview 2 → comment by Nitrome: Originally it was a very different game that played out on one screen. You still twanged the bird and the bird and some obsticles [sic] are based on what we did originally but almost everything has changed...even the bird had to be resized to work in the new mechanic., 12 Mar 15, retrieved 12 Mar 15.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Game Developer's Blog - Nitrome: Codename: Feeding Time!, 2 Jan 15, retrieved 2 Jan 15.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Game Developer's Blog - Nitrome: Cooped Up Preview 2, 12 Mar 15, retrieved 12 Mar 15.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Touch Arcade: NItrome's Latest Game 'Cooped Up' Flies Free This Week: It was originally a little more of an original concept but it didn't work as well as we hoped and turned into the game we have today., 6 May 15, retrieved 6 May 15.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Jon Annal on Twitter: [1]: #coopedup is our next game out for your smart devices., 31 Mar 15, retrieved 31 Mar 15.
  6. Nitrome on Twitter: [2]: I sent promo codes for our next releases [Cooped Up and Platform Panic Update 2] if you want to check them out !, 5 May 15, retrieved 5 May 15.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Game Developer's Blog - Nitrome: Cooped Up - Out Tomorrow!, 5 May 15, retrieved 5 May 15.
  8. Game Developer's Blog - Nitrome: Cooped Up is now live!, 6 May 15, retrieved 21 Nov 15.
  9. Game Developer's Blog - Nitrome: Cooped Up (Browser) Released!, 15 Jun 15, retrieved 4 Aug 15.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Comment by OneMoreTurn: Are they still going to write a post about the numerous iterations this game went through in development?

    Game Developer's Blog - Nitrome: Cooped Up is now live! → comment by Nitrome: Yes we should be doing something. We were actually considering putting a very different early build of game on the site. But we realised [sic] that might be odd before the game is on the site so whatever we do will be after that happens., 10 May 15, retrieved 10 May 15.
  11. TinyCastleGuy: Who did the birdwatcher's voice? It's pretty funny!

    Game Developer's Blog - Nitrome: Cooped Up - Out Tomorrow! → comment by Nitrome: That would be Aaron., 5 May 15, retrieved 5 May 15.
  12. Pocket Gamer: The best iPhone and iPad games from May 2015, 3 Jun 15, retrieved 3 Jun 15.
  13. Jonnathan Annal on Twitter: [3], 7 May 15, retrieved 7 May 15.
  14. #CoopepUp hashtag on Twitter
  15. Game Developer's Blog - Nitrome: Cooped Up is now live!, 6 May 15, retrieved 6 May 15.