Despite the fact that excitement for endless Angry Birds iterations and spin-offs more or less died over a year ago, the Angry Birds movie is scheduled to hit theaters next month. (Apparently creating a 90-minute CG movie, complete with Hollywood talent, marketing, and distribution, takes a lot longer than making a 2D physics game.) Developer Rovio is pumping up the promotion machine starting with Angry Birds Action!, a 2.5D twist on the classic slingshot formula. At the moment it's soft-launched in New Zealand, but the game should be heading to other territories well before the May movie release.
Here at Android Police, we monitor a truly insane amount of sites and developers to bring you the latest apps and games fresh from the Play Store. And in serving that duty, sometimes we come across games that don't deserve any attention. More often than not, in fact, and some of the most depressing are games that exploit a beloved TV, movie, or video game license and use it to try and sling the same homogenized crap as ten thousand copycat game developers looking for a quick buck. A lot of these seem to be Candy Crush or Bejeweled clones: we passed over Pac-Man Puzzle Tour just yesterday (Artem literally wrote "ughhhhhh" in the office chat), and Star Trek: Wrath of Gems is such a shameless cash-grab that it makes trekkies spit out their Romulan ale.
Android isn't hurting for endless runners, but at this point, most of them don't bring anything new to the table. That can't be said of Alto's Adventure, a new iOS port from prolific publisher Noodlecake and developer Snowman. What it lacks in revolutionary design it makes up for in pure, dripping style: everything from the pastel coloring to the shifting weather to the smooth 2D animations oozes with careful design. If you're tired of a never-ending parade of "retro" 8-bit games on mobile, Alto's Adventure might just be the cure.
The gameplay itself isn't all that interesting. Your player character snowboards down a gently-sloping mountain, chasing llamas, grabbing coins, jumping over rocks, and grinding on improbably load-bearing bunting.
The last two Rayman games to grace Android, Rayman Jungle Run and Rayman Fiesta Run, are some of the best examples of the genre on the Play Store. Now the developers are branching out by bringing Rayman back to his platforming roots. The third game in the series, Rayman Adventures, allows for more direct control of the 2D characters as they run around the screen. That makes stages bigger and less linear, encouraging players to explore every nook and cranny. You know, like an adventure.
Crossy Road is often presented as a prime example of what's wrong with casual games, because it's a free-to-play game that's based on a classic (Frogger) and lacks any kind of sophistication. But Crossy Road does a lot of things right, too: it has an interesting if not unique visual style, it's accessible to any kind of gamer, and best of all, its free-to-play model is entirely reasonable, asking for only one dollar at a time and never forcing players to buy currency or tokens for random rewards. It's a good little game, is what I'm saying here.
Two of the three-man team from Crossy Road have released a new game in the same casual vein, Shooty Skies.
You can't swing a severed limb around on the Play Store without hitting half a dozen zombie games, and first person shooters (even high-end variants like Unkilled) aren't exactly thin on the ground. But you might want to give Dead Effect 2, the sequel to a 2013 science fiction-horror shooter, a second look anyway. While the premise isn't exactly original, falling somewhere between Alien and Dead Space, the sheer variety and polish makes it worth consideration from Android gamers.
First of all, the game seems to have a much tighter focus on storytelling than other zombie shooters. You pick up right where the last game left off, on a derelict spaceship crawling with undead crewmembers and other, more elaborate monsters - think Doom 3 with iron sights.
Here's a gaming announcement that came out of nowhere: Titanfall, one of the biggest new first person shooters to appear on gaming PCs and consoles last year, will get a mobile release. The Guardian reports that Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment (made up mostly of ex-Call of Duty developers) and Nexon (a developer that focuses on full-sized PC games that use the freemium model) will both invest in newbie mobile developer Particle City, with the aim to create "several mobile games based on Titanfall."
If you weren't following the gaming news in early 2014, Titanfall is an arena-based shooter that puts a sci-fi spin on the popular FPS genre.
There's many a gamer counting down the days until the post-apocalyptic magnum opus that is Fallout 4 hits shelves, but in the meantime you can pretend you're living in a nuclear wasteland from the comfort of your tablet. Fallout Shelter, a mobile tie-in game for the Fallout universe first revealed (and immediately released for iOS) back at the E3 gaming convention, is now available on the Play Store. It's a free-to-play game supported by in-app purchases, and it's compatible with phones and tablets running Android 4.1 or later.
If you're a fan of the super-popular top-down MOBA genre (think Dota, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm), you'll want to sit up and take notice of a little game called Vainglory. This mobile interpretation of the well-known formula has been built from the ground up for touchscreens, and the experience has been praised on iOS since its launch back in November. It's available for free today on the Play Store.
Vainglory doesn't make an attempt to hide its inspiration. If you're not familiar with the standard MOBA formula, it's basically a shorter and more action-packed version of a real-time strategy game where each player controls a single unit.
Pity poor Sonic the Hedgehog. The guy is basically the Dallas Cowboys of the video game world: after gaining almost universal appeal in the 90s, his victories over the last few years have been few and fleeting. But SEGA isn't giving up on its blue mascot, if only because he's probably the only marketable franchise that isn't a Kickstarter campaign or a hyper-sexualized murder machine. So here we are, with a new Sonic game that sees one of the most iconic platforming stars in the world... aping mobile endless runners.
To be fair, Sonic as an endless runner makes a lot of sense, and Sonic Runners (a bit on the nose, ain't it?) does a good job blending the genre's standard single-tap controls with classic Sonic elements.