For the uninitiated, Skylanders is a series of kid's video games that use collectible (read: expensive) real-world toys to unlock and enhance the power of the digital characters. The games have been smash hits on consoles, but so far Activision's only concession to the Play Store has been Cloud Patrol, a basic turret shooter that leaves a lot to be desired. The new Skylanders Battlegrounds, a more conventional action-RPG, should make much better use of the property.
The game allows you to gradually unlock the Skylanders heroes, or if you've got the titular toys, warp them directly onto the field of battle.
The rise of free-to-play games littered with in-app purchases is a contentious one to say the least. More traditional gamers tend to prefer the old model, with a paid and complete game and perhaps a free demo, but the freemium model has proven too lucrative for most game publishers to ignore. Android user "Mattayx" left the following review on the international version of FIFA 14:
Well done, Matt. EA has been particularly heavy-handed with its freemium games lately, with big titles like Real Racing 3, Madden 25, and FIFA 14 laying it on thick. That's not to say that in-app purchases can't be done well - check out EA's own Plants vs Zombies 2 and pretty much all of Rovio's games for good examples of free-to-play titles done right.
Remember the first time you played Star Fox on your Super Nintendo? Remember how your mind was blown by 3D graphics and intuitive gameplay, so much so that you ignored the fact that woodland creatures were engaged in mortal space combat? I wish that I could say that ARC Squadron will rekindle that feeling. It won't. Nintendo made five more Star Fox games. This is the age of Facebook and in-app purchases. You will never feel that first-time wonder again. But ARC Squadron will make you think about that feeling.
Like Star Fox, ARC Squadron is an on-rails, 3D space shooter with impressive graphics and upgradeable ships.
There seems to be a peculiar bug in the Play Store app that causes it to freeze when you try to install apps with a large number of in-app purchases. Perhaps you would prefer to take this as a sign from the sages at Google that in-app purchases are a bad thing. However, there are plenty of valid reasons to have them. It takes a lot of IAPs to trigger this, but we've confirmed it happens on multiple devices.
The Professor Layton series has been lighting up the sales charts on the Nintendo DS and 3DS for six years, and now the spin-off of the addictive puzzle games is available on Android. Following an English debut on iOS three months ago (which isn't too terrible, all things considered) Layton Brothers Mystery Room is now available on the Google Play Store as a free download.
You play as Scotland Yard's Constable Lucy Baker, assistant to Alfendi Layton, son of Professor Layton. Layton Brothers is more about investigation and less about puzzles - it's a sort of mix between the hidden object genre and story-driven adventure games.
We featured Audio Glow when it launched in November of last year. This ultra-stylish music visualizer takes the basic visual component of classic hi-fi systems and gives it a fresh coat of paint. It's gained quite a following thanks to eye-popping visuals and a huge degree of customization. Today's version 2.0 update adds some interesting options, most notably the new "Glowing Strings" visualization, below.
This nifty option is available as a $1 in-app purchase for the main Music Visualizer app, but the developer has kindly included a 5-minute preview that you can check out before buying. The IAP works across the primary app and the Live Wallpaper add-on.
Magic 2014 is the new and updated version of the less headline-friendly Magic: The Gathering: Duels Of The Planeswalkers, gracing Android for the first time. It's a digital translation of the uber-popular Magic: The Gathering card game, a staple of schoolyards and table gaming for the last two decades. Magic 2014 is a free download (though it needs a massive 1.2GB of space), but requires a $10 in-app purchase to unlock the full game. The free demo features the first 25% or so of the campaign mode.
There are a lot of things wrong with the digital version of Magic: a clunky interface, boring visual effects, downright awful optimization of both space and active system resources.
Google, citing "ongoing challenges," will be ending the distribution of paid apps from Argentina in the Play Store effective June 27th, "at which point the apps will be unpublished."
Google's official statement on the issue (published on its Developer Support site) doesn't go into too much detail regarding the "ongoing challenges" involved in distributing paid apps from Argentina, and an email sent to developers (reported by Celularis) doesn't offer any more information, though both suggest that Argentine developers who are legally able to do business in another country transfer their applications to a merchant account registered in that country.
Zombies are cool, and soccer is cool (in the right context). In fact, kicking a super-powered soccer ball at zombies is probably one of the cooler concepts I've heard lately. Undead Soccer from Bulkypix is a casual title that's a little bit first-person shooter, and a little bit sports game. It's also a little bit greedy, but we'll get to that.
Undead Soccer basically involves flicking soccer balls at the approaching hoard of zombies in order to survive. You tilt the device from left to right to pan around and get the undead in your sights. You just fire away until the zombies eat your brain, then start over.
You may be familiar with Linden Lab as the folks behind the once very popular online world Second Life. The company also has a cross-platform mobile app called Creatorverse, which used to cost $4.99. Now, that app is free with in-app purchases, and users who paid for it are a bit confused.
Creatorverse is a sandbox-style app that lets you build various contraptions, machines, and puzzles with a wide array of tools. You can think of it like Apparatus, but even more open. The free version of Creatorverse includes a subset of the tools from the original paid edition, but Linden Lab says anyone who paid for the app will still get access to premium features at no additional charge.