Talk of Age of Empires coming to Android has existed around the water cooler for over two years now, since Microsoft gave developer KLad license to make games with the property. We expected something to arrive long before now, but we understand. Sometimes resources take a while to gather, and you don't want to move with an army that's unprepared. But the time has come, and Age of Empires: World Dominance has now invaded the Play Store.
Amazon Underground takes paid games and gives them away for free, with all the extra in-app purchases included. For users, it's a tempting way to get around handing over money for games you really want to play. The trade off comes in the form of ads and privacy. Amazon keeps up with every moment you spend gaming, because this is how it determines the amount of money to pay developers.
Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, says it has tripled revenue for four of the games it has published on Amazon's app store by joining Underground. These four games—Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Slingshot Stella, Angry Birds Space, and Bad Piggies—have been available for free since Amazon first launched its new program.
Samsung's Galaxy View is a weird device, but Samsung isn't giving up on the jumbo tablet just because no one knows what the hell to do with it. Okay, how about this: you can play games on it with the aid of a gamepad app on your phone. Cool? Oh, but the app only works on Samsung phones. Meet the S Console Gamepad app.
Surely you remember the Flappy Bird hysteria from a year or two ago. That event is still influencing developers as they try to find the next casual gaming hit. Crossy Road might be the closest, and now comes a game that combines the best parts of Flappy Bird and Crossy Road into one unholy hellstew of compelling endless gameplay. This is Mad Aces from Bulkypix.
Ready to hit the slopes and fall down a lot? Then I have good news—Snowboard Party 2 from Ratrod Studios is now available on Android. The first Snowboard Party was hugely popular, and this one looks like an upgraded version that kept all the good parts of the original. Although, it also kept the in-app purchases.
Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD, is one of the most ambitious 3D mobile RPGs in memory. It also had nary an in-app purchase, something that has become sadly uncommon in this day and age of freemium. After two-and-a-half years, Crescent Moon Games has released the sequel. Meet Aralon: Forge and Flame.
Visuals look very substantially improved from the original, which is probably to be expected given how far mobile graphics have come since early 2013. The game promises a "massive" world to explore, three races and four classes to choose from, real-time shadows, first and third-person views, and dynamic day and night cycles.
This may come as a surprise, but some people really hate spending money on apps. They're willing to deal with banner ads, pop-ups, videos, and any number of intrusions before approaching a button in the Play Store with the letters b, u, or y. Amazon figures there's money to be made off these folks, and Amazon Underground is its effort to do so. Now the retailer is expanding the service to Italy, Spain, and fourteen other parts of Europe.
Risk, The Game Of Life, and Scrabble [Blitz 2...] are all classic board game franchises that would really benefit from the Chromecast treatment. And that's exactly what Hasbro's done today, releasing all three games in brand-new Chromecast "big screen" editions for Android. The best part? While they do have in-app purchases, they're the kind that make sense. While you can play all three games for free up to three times a day, one-time unlock IAPs offer players unlimited play (and usually some bonus content) from then on. It's $5.99 for Risk and Life, and $3.99 for Scrabble.
The catch, of course, is that everybody who plays must pay for this unlock if they also want to play unlimited rounds of the games, meaning a family of four would need to pony up a little under $24 for everyone to get in on endless games of Risk or The Game Of Life, or a little over $15 for Scrabble Blitz 2.
It really stinks when you've been saving up your Google Opinion Rewards money, but you're just a few cents short of buying something. Google has not thus far allowed you to apply that credit and pay the difference, but it looks like that's changing. We've gotten multiple tips from readers who have been offered just that option in the Play Store.