Free-to-play is a divisive topic in the games industry right now. Some developers and publishers, especially in the mobile gaming world, love it - free games get downloaded more, and they have the potential to bring in more revenue. Gamers used to the "pay once, pay forever" model of games and software in general over the last 30 years think it's changing the industry and damaging both the economics and the mechanics of gaming itself.
In-app purchases are all the rage these days, and Amazon's take on the whole deal includes Coins – Amazon Coins. They're like a universal currency that can be used in many apps and games available in the Amazon ecosystem. Today more people get to know the joy of Amazon Coins – they're now available in France, Italy, and Spain.
The Konami classic Contra came to Android last year, but despite the healthy dose of nostalgia, Contra: Evolution wasn't an awesome experience. The introductory price was $0.99, but the gameplay was bogged down by in-app purchases. Now the game has gone free, and the IAPs have been tweaked a bit.
Stop everything. FarmVille 2: Country Escape has exited limited beta and is now available for wide release. It's time to grab your pitchforks, because there's virtual farming that needs to be done, and neither these crops nor animals will tend to themselves. You can check out our previous reporting on the game, but here's a trailer that should get you up to speed.
The graphics are greatly improved over the 2D original, as the game now touts 3D visuals that almost make the game tempting to play.
Hopeless: The Dark Cave was a striking little twitch game, made memorable by the juxtaposition of adorable little Marshmallow Peep creatures and the hulking, snarling monsters that wanted to eat them. In that title your only defense was old-fashioned lead (which was occasionally and tragically collected by the peeps themselves), but in the sequel, you get access to something with a little more pop. Hopeless: Space Shooting takes the original game and covers it with DayGlo colors and Buck Rogers lasers.
Update #1: Rovio has since taken to its blog to address the issue. Regarding Android in particular, the company has this to say:
On Android the issue occurs because, for technical reasons, the purchase history cannot always be restored on that platform. Our customer support is aware of the issue and we would recommend contacting us at [email protected] to anyone who is still experiencing this.
We've reached out to the company for further clarification.
If you've been craving a game of Trivial Pursuit but can't manage to get your friends together, you may want to check out one of the newest additions to the Play Store. QuizUp is a slick and fast trivia game with a focus on head-to-head multiplayer. The easy matchmaking, varied topics, and impressive presentation have made it a hit on iOS, where's it's maintained a 4.5-star rating.
The game is very simple: log in via Google+, Facebook, or email, select a category, and you'll be automatically matched with a random player who's near your skill level.
If you're a dedicated shooter player, you know that the experience doesn't easily translate to mobile games. Glu's Frontline Commando gets around this by discarding free movement and switching to a completely cover-based system, smartly freeing up the limited controls for aiming and weapon management. The sequel just landed in the Play Store as a free download. Yes, this is a free game with in-app purchases - if that's a problem for you, you can stop reading right here and start drafting your snarky and dismissive comment now.
Google (and Apple) representatives are having a sit-down with members of European Commission member states and the Consumer Protection Cooperation today to talk about apps. Specifically, the commission is asking some hard questions about in-app purchases following complaints from consumer protection groups in Denmark, Britain, and several other EU nations.
The issue revolves around the use of the term 'free' in the descriptions of games that push in-app purchases. The commission fears these listings could be misleading, especially to children.
An Android version of Dungeon Keeper became available worldwide two days ago, and some of you took to the comments to express how you would never, ever, consider downloading another free-to-play game from EA. Imagine if all of your complaints were combined into a single YouTube video and bottled up into eight hilarious, rage-filled minutes. That's what Nerd3 has done for us. Be warned, the audio is pretty NSFW, even though the video is fine.