Google debuted a series of delightfully dog-filled ads in September featuring a pug named Pixel being compared to Pixel the phone. They're a refreshing break from the typical big tech promo videos, complete with soft pastels and a relaxing voiceover. Now the company has released seven new videos highlighting some of Pixel's unique and exclusive software features.
You would be hard-pressed to find a game as worn out as Solitaire. It's been the default time-waster of Windows users for decades and the topic of many an assistant and receptionist joke. But there's merit to be had in bringing a fresh coat of paint to a done, redone, and overdone concept. That's where Solitaire: Decked Out shines.
It's another take on Solitaire with the same Klondike rules you've grown to know, a 1 or 3-card draw, some achievements for a little bit of competition, pause and resume, unlimited hints and undos, an offline mode, and both landscape and portrait orientations.
What would 300 singing Androids sound like? Very cute. Impossibly cute. Like a marshmallow of kawaii wrapped in a cotton-candy of adorable and sprinkled on top of a rainbow of charm. It would also be very cool. Like a groovy logistical nightmare hidden inside a fun technical challenge. But that's what the Google Japan team has managed to produce: a chorus of 300 different but perfectly synchronized, lovable, dancing and singing Androidify characters, each coming alive inside its own phone or tablet to perform a rendition of The Hymn Of Joy, from Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (fourth movement).
I can't tell if the lyrics are Japanese (my only knowledge of the language stops at Arigato, Watashi Wa, Ni, San, and Konnichiwa) or some Despicable Me-inspired language.
In 1973 Disney released Robin Hood, a kid-friendly re-telling of the English outlaw legend with anthropomorphic animal characters. There wasn't anything odd about that - its previous release was The Aristocats. What was odd about the movie was the tonal shift to American folk music, with Texas-born singer Roger Miller providing the songs and narration, and even appearing as Robin Hood's musical merry man Alan-a-Dale (an animated rooster in this version). It is perhaps the most unique of Disney's animated movies in its era.
What is all this doing on an Android blog? Well, some genius over in Mountain View thought that Miller's opening song for the movie would be perfect for Android's current "be together, not the same" ad campaign.
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.
The core concept remains the same: tap around the tiny circle of firelight to make your quivering peeps shoot at the aliens.
Marvel continues its onslaught of games in the Play Store, and this time they've decided to take the well-trodden road marked "endless runner." Marvel Run Jump Smash is pretty typical of the genre, and at first it looks like a carbon copy of Jetpack Joyride. But there's a surprising amount of depth beneath that cutesy exterior, and the 2D art might be enough for the one dollar entry fee alone.
You start off as a basic SHIELD agent, either Nick Fury or Maria Hill, running and jumping through a fairly typical sprite environment. Of course you'll have to avoid bad guys and obstacles while picking up coins, but you can also shoot enemies (yes!)
If you haven't seen Dony Permedi's 2006 student animation Kiwi!, then I pity your wasted years on the Internet. The short cartoon has amassed more than 34 million YouTube hits, countless tributes and ripoffs, and taught all of us that suicidal optimism can be ingratiatingly cute. One Android developer was so moved that he created a game based on the video, wherein the lovable protagonist can live out his dreams forever, without the heartbreaking splat at the end.
Kiwi! Tribute is pretty basic - it's just a Unity-powered endless runner with three lanes horizontally and three levels vertically. Try and get as far as you can, collecting stars until your tiny New Zealand bird hits something.
Endless runners a la Temple Run are fast becoming the default genre for mobile games, and with good reason. Their one-touch play style is perfect for touchscreens, and the short levels work well for bite-sized sessions. That said, it's always nice to see a little innovation, and iOS pilgrim Roller Rally has that in spades. In addition to a competitive racer format, it's got great graphics and tight controls.
If you've ever played the console snowboarding game SSX, you'll be on familiar turf here. You race head-to-head with three other critters, collecting coins and performing stunts throughout the level. The tricks are limited to in-air spins, but be careful - you'll have to land on your skates to avoid a speed penalty.
There are many ways to show your support for Android beyond your device itself, and some of them are even tasteful. If you've bought every Bugdroid-sporting case, T-shirt and bumper sticker, there's just one thing left: a green robot Micro-USB charger. Of course, the Android mascot's ubiquitous shade of green isn't for everybody, so Andru creators Gen have been preparing a darker version to match your ebony desk and jet-black monitors.
The Andru Dark Edition is available for purchase now for $25 plus shipping. It's got the same posable arms and antennae, stand and cable as the original in a matte black finish.