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In the game, the player controls Flicky, a bird who has to save the Chirps (Piopio in Japan) from cats named Tiger (Nyannan) and iguanas named Iggy (Choro). The player has to collect all of the Chirps and guide them through the exit, with a bonus increasing in proportion to the amount of Chirps saved at once.
There is only one button in the game, which both causes Flicky to "jump" and, if he is holding and item, throw it across the screen. Items thrown ate enemies will knock them off the screen temporarily, however they will re-spawn at specified locations until the game is over.
Players start with three lives and can gain more lives by acquiring certain scores, however there is a maximum of five lives that can be retained at once.
There are 48 proper levels ("rounds") in the game. Completing these yields a "congratulations" message, followed by the possibility of playing through the game again at a faster speed. These levels are numbered 49, 50 and so on, and levels which previously did not contain Iggy may contain it. Furthermore, some throwable items are replaced with different ones. Once the game has been completed a second time (passing level 96, the "fast" version of 48), the game repeats again, but there is no speed increase (i.e. level 97 is identical to level 49), and the game simply carries on in this fashion until the player loses all his/her lives.