December 25th, 1993. A fresh-faced and (mostly) innocent little boy wakes up and rushes through his breakfast to make sure he beats his little sister to the Christmas tree. Underneath he finds four gifts: a Sega Genesis game console, RBI Baseball, Disney's Aladdin, and Sonic The Hedgehog 2. Twenty years later, that boy, no longer little and considerably less innocent, can relive countless wasted hours on a 5-inch phone screen. Sonic 2 is now in the Play Store.
Plants vs. Zombies 2 came out a few weeks ago with a lot of new gameplay mechanics and some in-app purchases. I didn't have a serious issue with most of the monetization in the game, but Pop Cap has just pushed an update that adds a ton of features and does away with a big chunk of the in-app purchase features.
Heads up, Android users: there's a Google Search update that just landed in the Play Store. Google's tendency for staged rollouts means that some of you might not get an automatic update for a few days, but as usual, we've got the APK download below. There are a few noticeable visible changes in the integrated Google Experience Launcher, but that's about it as far as new features go. This is an incremental update after the massive 3.1.8 update from last month.
Today, in a post on the Android Developers Blog, Google announced two new tools that might be of interest to quite a few of the game developers out there. Among the releases is a new open-source 2D physics library called LiquidFun and a Unity plugin for adding Google Play Games support. These releases coincide with the news of additional game categories coming to the Play Store in February, which we covered earlier today.
Santa Claus is one of the few people on this planet that can be tracked without stirring any moral outrage from anyone, and few are as equipped for the job as Google - after all, the company's been doing this for a while now. This year's version of Google's Santa Tracker has made its way into the Play Store, and you would be wise to grab it before the night of December 24th if you want to know when jolly old St.
Cabela's Big Game Hunter series has made the jump to Android, and while it may not come with a giant white and orange plastic rifle, it will still let you shoot down forest critters until your heart's content. For the uninitiated, Big Game Hunter is a casual hunting simulator. You won't be fending off hordes of blood-thirsty monsters here, though some of the animals you come across won't take kindly to your creeping around in their neck of the woods.
Spotify made news earlier today by lowering its barrier to entry, allowing users to stream music to their phone or tablets for free. Yet it isn't the only music-streaming service in town, and competitor Rdio has expanded access to 20 additional countries. This brings the total number of supported territories up to 51, which this handy map illustrates.
The most obvious new addition to Gmail 4.7 is the Vacation Responder. You can set start and end dates, enter a subject and some text, and check a toggle to only send the vacation response to your contacts.
Google rolled out the Android Device Manager a few months ago, but for whatever reason, there was no matching Android app. That changes today as Google has finally gotten around to releasing one. The app contains all the functionality from the website in a mobile-friendly package and it is, of course, free.