I've been in this situation multiple times: a friend or family member gets their Android phone so bogged down with apps and extraneous files that I recommend a full device wipe. The first question they ask is not "Will I lose all my contact data?", nor is it "What about all the photos I've taken?" No, invariably it's some variation on this theme: "Will I lose all my three-star ratings in Angry Birds?" After years on the market, developer Rovio is finally presenting players with an easy solution in the form of an official Rovio Account.
Say what you will about Rovio – those folks know what pays the bills. The developer has announced its new game, and it's another Angry Birds title. This time we're turning to the Star Wars universe with Angry Birds Star Wars II. The new game will incorporate characters and locations from the prequel films. Yes, those ones.
This looks like an evolution of the previous Angry Birds Star Wars game, which was actually kind of enjoyable.
I don't think much of silent films, but I tend to melt when I come across a game that successfully conveys a plot without the use of speech. Each stage in Tiny Thief feels like a short skit, much like a single clip of Looney Tunes or Tom and Jerry, only with a feeling of continuity as you progress from one to the next. It has the look and feel of a mobile game, and it's immensely easy to pick up and play, but there's a surprising degree of depth here and an undeniable degree of love and care holding it all together.
You've played Angry Birds. Regardless of how you feel about that insanely popular title, there's no denying that Rovio is one of the largest names in mobile gaming. That's why it was a big deal when they announced their Rovio Stars initiative to publish titles produced by third-party developers. Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage was the first game to come from this program, but it is currently only available for iOS.
About two years ago, we reported that one of the most recognized patent trolls around, Lodsys LLC, had sued game maker Rovio over Angry Birds for Android, claiming that the defendant had "infringed and continues to infringe" on patents controlled by Lodsys.
If you're not up to snuff on your patent troll bestiary, Lodsys is a company that produces no real goods or services, but holds plenty of patents that they are willing to either license or use for legal action.
For years, Rovio lived on Angry Birds and nothing else. Then it tried to get you to love Alex. Then it gave the piggies a shot. Finally, Rovio went back to doing what it does best: throwing birds and cashing out. The demand for new games hasn't stopped, though. So what's a mega-giant corporation that's stuck in a creative rut to do? Crowd source, of course. Introducing Rovio Stars.
We saw a pre-rendered trailer for Rovio's latest licensed game last month, though it wasn't much more than a trailer for the Dreamworks movie it's based on. Today you can download The Croods in Google Play for free, and it's a surprising departure from both Rovio's physics-based comfort zone and the source material. Based on the brief description and trailer, the game straddles the line between a Monster Rancher creature feature and the familiar Sim City/Farmville genre.
Oh, Rovio, Rovio. Whatfore art thou doing, Rovio? The last few games the company has produced have not managed to regain the same amount of public attention that Angry Birds did. In fact, Bad Piggies only stayed in the top 20 by revenue spots for 5 weeks in the U.S. (iOS), compared to 22 months for Angry Birds. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that the developers have fallen back on their old failsafe: making games for kids' CGI movies.
Tis the season, Android shoppers. Today there's a cavalcade of games from a variety of developers on sale in the Google Play Store, as well as some of Loud Crow's interactive books for children. We haven't seen any word of when this sale will end, so if you want any of the games or apps listed above, get 'em while they're hot. First, to the game shelf!