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Rovio Announces Angry Birds Stella - and That's Pretty Much it

Posted by Rob Rich on February 13th, 2014

Today Rovio has pulled the curtain back on their latest project to reveal... another curtain. Angry Birds Stella is going to be a game set in some area of the Angry Birds world we've yet to see, and it's going to be spread out over several different forms of media. We're talking games, cartoons, toys, etc.

About the only other bit of info that can be gleaned from the announcement is that Rovio is trying to up the serious in this one. “Angry Birds Stella is breaking the mold by introducing strong, passionate characters who really stand for something, while adding plenty of action and reality into the mix," says Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio Entertainment, in the press release.

I dunno, it sounds kind of like The Real World: Angry Birds to me.

Angry Birds Star Wars II is the App Store's App of the Week - in Other Words, it's Free!

Posted by Rob Rich on December 19th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FORCE WIELDING FUN :: Read Review »

Amidst all the holiday sales and out-of-nowhere releases, it's important to remember that the App Store still picks one app or game out of the crowd to be featured as its App of the Week. And to get a price drop to zero dollars for the duration. This week, they've chosen Angry Birds Star Wars II.

In his review back in September, our own Blake Grundman said, "The Force is strong with this one. This IS the game we’re looking for." Seems like more than enough of a reason to check it out for free, right?

Angry Birds Update Adds 30 Brand-New Levels and a New Shock Ability for Bomb Bird

Posted by Andrew Stevens on November 26th, 2013
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: GREAT :: Read Review »

Pocket Gamer reports that Angry Birds has received 30 brand-new levels that takes you deep into the Piggy laboratory. There players are met with three new piggy potions that change the appearance of the piggies. Also, there is a new Shock Wave ability for the Bomb bird that creates a strong electric blast during play.

Puzzle & Dragons and Angry Birds Team Up in New Collaboration Event

Posted by Andrew Stevens on November 4th, 2013

Angry Birds and Puzzle & Dragons! Angry Birds and Puzzle & Dragons!!! ANGRY BIRDS AND PUZZLE AND DRAGONS! OH MY! Yeah, sorry, anyway...

GungHo Online Entertainment, the publisher behind the rocking Puzzle & Dragons, announced that it'll be collaborating with Rovio Entertainment to bring an Angry Birds-themed event to their Puzzle & Dragons game. Starting Monday, November 18, and lasting until Sunday, December 1, fans will be able to enjoy the Angry Birds characters in a special dungeon event within Puzzle & Dragons.

“We are excited to announce the collaboration of Puzzle & Dragons and the Angry Birds games from Rovio Entertainment,” said Daisuke Yamamoto, Producer and creator of Puzzle & Dragons, in a press release. “Angry Birds is one of the most recognizable entertainment franchises in the world, and we are thrilled to be working alongside Rovio to give our fans a look at what it would be like if Angry Birds characters invaded the world of Puzzle & Dragons.”

Angry Birds Go! is a New Downhill Racer Featuring Everyone's Favorite Birds. Seriously.

Posted by Rob Rich on October 15th, 2013

The birds are back (again)! Not content with simply hurtling avian critters into pork-filled structures, Rovio has changed things up significantly for their next offering. Angry Birds Go! is a fully 3D kart racer featuring a bunch of recognizable series characters, loads of special powers, and upgradable vehicles. Yes, you read that correctly; it's a kart racer.

Angry Birds Go! will be hitting the App Store on December 11 for free, and I have to admit the video makes it look pretty interesting despite the severe change in direction (and genre). What do you all think? Is it too ridiculous to fathom? Are you anxiously waiting to get behind the wheel? Did the video sway you either way? Feel free to chime in below!

Angry Birds Star Wars II Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Blake Grundman on September 19th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FORCE WIELDING FUN
The force is strong with this one.
Read The Full Review »

That's No Egg... Angry Birds Star Wars II is Out Now!

Posted by Rob Rich on September 18th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FORCE WIELDING FUN :: Read Review »

Beware the pork side. Rovio's sequel to their spin-off based on one of the most popular movie franchises of all time is here!

Angry Birds Star Wars II follows (loosely) the events in the "Star Wars" prequels, and even lets players decide whether they want to be good, or play for "The Pork Side." It's more of the same great Angry BIrds physics mayhem you know and love but with two sides to play, over 30 playable characters, the ability to swap characters in the slingshot as you play (finally!), and Telepods integration.

Angry Birds Go - New Video Shows How Birds Can't Run, But They Can Drive...Kinda

Posted by Andrew Stevens on August 27th, 2013

Get ready to leave your feathers in the dust!

Rovio has teamed up with Red Bull to release a new video that answers some of our questions about what type of game Angry Birds Go will be. It showcases what an Angry Birds endless runner would look like, which ultimately hit a snag and fell over. So, they went one step further to show us what it would be like with birds behind the wheel! Check out the trailer below!

I wonder how much road rage there will be in Angry Birds Go? I mean these are Angry Birds after all.

Angry Birds Star Wars II Is Announced, Adds Interactive Toys That Teleport Into The Game

Posted by Andrew Stevens on July 15th, 2013

Rovio Entertainment announced Angry Birds Star Wars II, which will follow the story of the three prequel Star Wars movies. Things are in place to take a twist towards the dark side in the upcoming game as well as players can choose to "join the pork side" and play as one of the evil piggies.

Angry Birds Star Wars II is set to get even more interesting as Hasbro is adding an interactive capability to the gameplay and content of the game by releasing Telepods. Think Skylanders; Telepods are physical toy characters that players can place on their iPhone or iPad camera and scan it into the game. There will be over 30 physical characters at launch for players to teleport into their games, Skylanders style.

Being a fan of Skylanders myself, I'm highly interested in checking out this new Angry Birds experience, which will launch on the App Store this September, 19th.

Angry Birds Star Wars was a blockbuster hit for us and Lucasfilm with over 100 million downloads since its release. We are thrilled to be able to introduce the exciting next chapter in the Angry Birds Star Wars saga to our fans around the world,” said Jami Laes, Executive Vice President of Games at Rovio Entertainment, in a press release. “Some of the most amazing character additions are versions of young Anakin, Mace Windu and Darth Maul. Hasbro’s TELEPODS technology also provides a great way to extend the experience beyond the app and bring a whole new dimension to the gameplay.”

Rovio To Announce Brand New Angry Birds Game

Posted by Andrew Stevens on July 12th, 2013

Rovio posted a new blog that says they will announce a brand new Angry Birds game on Monday, July 15th. The teaser image (below) that accompanied the blog post resembles Star Wars Episode 1, the image that shows a young Anakin with the Vader shadow in the background. Rovio also mentioned that the new game will feature the biggest character line-up ever, awesome new powers, and more surprises.

Who's losing their feathers in excitement?

5 Years and Counting - The App Store Then and Now

Posted by Rob Rich on July 12th, 2013

Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That's a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it's not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple's new smartphone.

On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.

2008 - The Beginning of the Beginning

The App Store's first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.

Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn't make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn't as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.

At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that "mobile" didn't have to equal "mediocre." Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.

2009 - Moving Right Along

The following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple's digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.

Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean "an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms." And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.

So many of the App Store's most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers' minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples' free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.

App Store Insiders: Saara Bergström, VP, Marketing & Communications for Rovio

Posted by Jeff Scott on July 11th, 2013
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: GREAT :: Read Review »

What can we say about Rovio that you didn't already know? Rovio are the developers of the Angry Birds phenomenon which has translated into a business that reaches well beyond just software into real world goods, movies, and even theme parks. Those damn birds are everywhere. You see them on clothes, toys, shoes, hats, even in TV commercials. The game itself was miraculous in that it hit number one a few months after release and pretty much stayed there for over a year. We took a look back when Angry Birds had been number one for 250 days back in 2011.

With the Angry Birds franchise games now downloaded over 1.7 billion times, it's all because of a little game launched on the App Store in 2009. Let's talk with Saara Bergström, VP, Marketing & Communications for Rovio about their history on the App Store.

148Apps: How has the App Store changed the way Rovio does business?


Saara Bergström, VP, Marketing & Communications for Rovio: Angry Birds was Rovio's first title that was published and marketed directly to the audience. App Store was the obvious way to go about it, which was of course a totally different process from doing business with contractors and operators. App Store was a game changer for the whole mobile industry. App Store made independent publishing mainstream for developers for the first time and apps easily available for consumers. Downloading new software became easy and commonplace. 

148Apps: At what point were you sure that the App Store would be a success?


Saara Bergström: A single point is hard if not impossible to pinpoint since there were many contributing factors to it also outside of the App Store. However, it was easy to see the growing popularity of the App Store and how the ecosystem around it started to form very quickly. App Store offered people an easy, one stop shop to get apps, and it levelled the field for independent publishers to get their material out - side-by-side with big publishers. The market has matured from those days and become more professional. The emergence and growth of the whole mobile gaming industry is partly thanks to the ecosystem Apple created with the App Store. 

148Apps: What led to Angry Birds being such a success? What made it resonate with users so soundly?


Saara Bergström: The success of Angry Birds is a combination of many factors. First of all, the characters have personality and are immediately recognizable. The whole Rovio team liked them right off the bat. Secondly, from the early days we have had a very fan-focused approach resulting in massively engaged fans which has helped us tremendously to expand our business into other areas outside of games. The third contributing factor is the polished, intuitive gameplay which we achieved through a merciless process of honing and iteration. Finally, the game offers hundreds of hours of fun for a wide demographic. 

148Apps: In the five years since launch, the App Store has gone through considerable changes. The number of users has skyrocketed along with downloads, prices for paid apps has stabilized way lower than many expected, free to play has dominated the top grossing charts. If, knowing what you know about the App Store now, you could go back and influence Rovio five years ago, what would you say?


Saara Bergström: I don't think there's that much we would change in how we have done our business in the past years. Maybe I would just say: "keep dreaming big!".

148Apps: Any predictions for what the App Store will be like five years from now?


Saara Bergström: Getting attention was and is of course one of the number one priorities for any developer. When the mobile industry is growing rapidly that challenge prevails. There will probably be new mechanisms and ways for people to find what they are looking for, and for the publishers to reach their target audience and fans.

Many thanks to Saara Bergström for her time.

App Store Fifth Anniversary: The Ten Biggest iOS Surprises

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on July 11th, 2013

What do the following iOS apps and games have in common? Well, they all surprised the heck out of us when they were released. That's saying something, considering we're all jaded journalists and such.

Apps that come along and knock our socks off are rare, so we've put together a list of ten of the most surprising apps from the last five years of the App Store to commemorate that fact, and to maybe show you some cool stuff you might have missed.

Surprising Apps


These are the apps that came out of left field, making innovative use of iOS hardware and software to bring us a truly unexpected experience.

Hipstamatic - The grandaddy of hipster photo apps, Hipstamatic created the crop and filter genre, with switchable virtual lenses and film types to apply to your ironic images.
Word Lens - Aim your iPhone camera at a sign in another language and see it magically transformed right on your device. If this isn't transformative tech, I don't know what is.
Cycloramic - This one lets you set your iPhone down on a hard surface, then uses the built-in vibration feature to spin around in a circle, taking a 360-degree video of the entire process. Wow!
Dark Sky - This innovative weather app does one thing really well: warn you when it's going to rain. You can even get a 5 minute warning, which is enough to get your umbrella out and stay dry!
Star Walk - Astronomy apps have been all the rage, especially since the iPad came out. But this one lets you hold your iOS device up to the sky, and it will show you what stars and other heavenly objects are up there, in real time. Heck, you can even track Santa with it during the holidays.

Surprising Games


These games either came out of nowhere and burned themselves into the collective unconscious, or were so bizarrely fun and successful that they had to be mentioned here.


Game Dev Story - We've spent entire days in thrall to this cleverly addictive saga of video game development, putting our retro-styled pixel people through their paces to push out the next great hit.
Candy Crush Saga - What's so surprising about a match-three game becoming the top-grossing app in just a few weeks? Well, it's a match-three game.
Tiny Wings - One indie dev, Andreas Illiger, sat down and created this brilliant piece of game design, popularizing the one-touch game genre and garnering a ton of copycat and clone apps in the bargain. Plus, he made a lot of money, which we like to talk about, too.
Angry Birds - Did you ever think that flinging birds in a slingshot at pigs in bizarre structures would turn into a global hit, spawning way too many tie-in items, like fishing lures? Us, neither.
10000000 - Small, brutally difficult indie game that became a smash hit overnight. That's pretty surprising, right?

App Store Fifth Anniversary: Top 20 Landmark iOS Games

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on July 9th, 2013
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: Best Racer Ever :: Read Review »

While games may not be the largest percentage of apps in the App Store (non-games lead the way overwhelmingly), they are the most popular single category, with over 151,000 active games in the App Store as of this month, according to 148Apps.biz.

One could argue, and indeed I will, that games are the most transformative type of app in the App Store, bringing a quality of play to iOS devices previously impossible to achieve. As 148Apps staffers have been heard to proclaim, there are over 1.2 billion thumbs waiting to play games on these crafty little devices.

Of course, there have been landmark games since the App Store went live in 2008, titles that create, extend, and improve on the current state of the art. Here then, are the top 20 of those games, as chosen by your App Experts at 148Apps.

Doodle Jump - This one started the jumping game craze, inspiring a host of clones and imitators along the way.
Angry Birds - Need we say more? The grumpy avians have taken over the public consciousness.
Tiny Wings - Not just another bird game, Tiny Wings showed us how one mechanic, brilliantly executed, could take an unknown designer to untold heights.

Candy Crush Saga - Good heavens we still get a lot of invites for this casual, money-printing game.
Clash of Clans - Say what you will about free to play, but this game has gotten it right.
Tiny Tower - Nimblebit hit the jackpot here with a smart combination of tower building and free to play retro gaming.

Temple Run - If anyone deserved to have a huge hit, it's the folks at Imangi Studios, who have been pushing the boundaries of quality gaming from the beginning. This one created the 3D endless runner genre at a breakneck speed!
Puzzles & Dragons - Another free to play darling, this one gets all the elements right to keep players entertained and paying.
Where's My Water? - Disney's breakout hit, with a new IP (intellectual property) and a fiendishly addictive mechanic.

Pocket God - 47 updates later, still going strong and keeping kids of all ages entertained and laughing.
Minecraft Pocket Edition - The surprise PC hit the iPhone like a ton of cube-shaped bricks, letting crafters and miners of all stripe build and explore on the go.
Words with Friends - Scrabble with people you know. What's not to like? This one started the "with friends" genre with a bang.
Draw Something - Super successful, super quick, leading Zynga to buy the developer for a landmark price.

Infinity Blade - This game set the bar high for utter gorgeousness and a fighting mechanic that still sees itself in current games on the App Store, some two and a half years later.
Canabalt - Heard of the endless runner genre? Canabalt started it all with a one-touch game that exploded onto the scene in 2009 and has remained in the collective imagination ever since.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP - This one proves again and again that the indie spirit can be captured and distributed via mobile, with a game that may never have gotten noticed on the bigger consoles.
Galaxy on Fire 2 - This space exploration and dogfighting game set the standard for utter gorgeousness, as well as finding a way to build a space sim on a tiny mobile device.

Spaceteam - Don't forget to flush the four-stroke plucker! Wait, what? Play this game with a few of your (drinking) friends, and you'll see what multiplayer party games *should* be like.
Real Racing - Still the gold standard for racing games on a mobile platform, the original game hit the starting line in 2011, with sequels upping the ante on visuals, controls, and profitability.
Super Hexagon - If you hate yourself, play this brutally difficult yet strangely compelling arcade game and thank indie developer Terry Cavanaugh in the morning.

The Best App Ever Awards - 5 Years Worth of Winners

Posted by Rob Rich on July 8th, 2013

The Best App Ever Awards have been around ever since ever since the App Store first came into being five years ago. Each year the best of the best have been culled from hundreds (even thousands) of releases. This list represents five years worth of winners, as decided by Best App Ever readers. Five years worth of apps and games that have been chosen above all others due to their all-around awesomeness. Five of the Best Apps Ever.

Here they are.

2008


Shazam (Shazam Entertainment)
A lot of people were pretty excited when the iPhone first came out, and it was apps like Shazam that helped to keep them that way. In a time when smartphones were being scoffed at, being able to hold your phone up to a speaker and have it identify whatever song is currently playing was pretty freaking impressive. It goes so far beyond kitschy stuff like virtual lighters or photo booths. This is an app that serves an incredibly useful purpose; especially for those of us who enjoy finding new music.

2008 was the App Store’s first year, and even then there was no shortage of great apps and games for iOS users to enjoy. The likes of eWallet, Fieldrunners, Facebook, and Rolando were all exemplary nominees. However, in the end they just weren’t able to compete with the ability to identify any song that’s playing on the radio, in a store, or wherever else. It’s simply too handy.

2009


Pocket God (Bolt Creative)
I don’t want to be presumptuous, but Bolt Creative may very well be responsible for creating the current “Feel like something’s missing? Wait for an update!” environment that has overtaken the App Store. With 47 (47!!!) episodes released to date, Pocket God is just might be the most thoroughly supported app in the world. This funky sandbox of wrongness has seen so many tweaks and changes over the years that it provides users with mini-games that cover almost every single popular genre on the App Store.

2009 was very close, but Pocket God managed to take first place over apps like 2Do and Twitter, and some wonderful games like Real Racing and Flight Control. Perhaps it was due to all the diversity inherent in all those episodes, or maybe people just really like torturing small virtual islanders. Whatever the reason, Bolt Creative captured a lot of hearts (and probably zapped them with lightning or tossed them to the sharks) that year.

2010


Angry Birds (Rovio Entertainment Ltd)
Say and think what you will about Angry Birds and its current cultural phenomenon status; it’s still a clever game. Rovio’s little physics puzzler that could took the App Store by storm and has continued to do so with multiple spin-offs. Often duplicated, never replicated, this little bird-chucking game has solidified the genre as something synonymous with mobile gaming. There’s even one version that uses the “Star Wars” license. Honestly, there aren’t many other iOS games that can make that claim, and even fewer that aren’t directly affiliated with Lucasarts one way or another.

2010 saw the inclusion of a number of fantastic iOS games to the awards. Games like Infinity Blade, Real Racing 2, and Solipskier are all wonderful in their own right. That makes it all the more impressive so see them, and second place nominee Pocket Legends get edged out by a game about loading birds into a slingshot. Don’t underestimate the power of simple yet addictive gameplay.

2011


Jetpack Joyride (Halfbrick Studios)
Barry Steakfries wasn’t new to the App Store when Jetpack Joyride was released, but it is the game that cemented his mobile celebrity status. Barry’s hijacking of a jetpack made of machine guns wasn’t exactly groundbreaking in terms of gameplay (think a hybrid of endless runners and classic corridor flying games like Copter), but Halfbrick polished the heck out of all the mechanics and absolutely overloaded it with personality. To this day it’s still one of the best examples of “just one more try” games on iOS.

2011 was a great year for iOS gamers. Infinity Blade II, World of Goo, Tiny Tower, Where’s My Water, and a whole lot more all made the list. To see little ol’ Barry with his impossible flying machine sitting above them all is a great indication of just how powerful and compulsive an extremely well-made endless game can be. Especially on a mobile platform.

2012


Walking Dead: The Game (Telltale Games)
Telltale’s adventure games have been a bit hit-and-miss over the years, but pretty much everyone felt The Walking Dead was a major hit. Lee’s tale won over many a stone-hearted gamer, and the iOS release more or less cemented Apple’s mobile devices as viable gaming platforms. Making the tough choices isn’t any easier when it’s on a smaller screen, that’s for sure.

2012 was another great year; with games like Punch Quest and Outwitters, and apps like Clear and Action Movie FX narrowly edged out. It’s a testament to how far the App Store has come to see so many great and diverse offerings listed. And it’s a testament to Telltale Games’ ability to craft an incredible story about equally incredible characters to see Walking Dead: The Game come out on top.