Posts Tagged Rovio
Angry Birds Transformers recently transformed and rolled out worldwide. This run-and-gun title is a hit with young Transformers fans, but the ample references to classic Transformers fandom has also earned it a place in the hearts of long-time admirers of Optimus Prime. Nick Harper (Game Director for Exient Entertainment) and Mika Rahko (Executive Producer for Rovio) kindly took a few minutes to talk to 148Apps about the problems and inspirations that came to them while cross-breeding birds and robots.
Continue reading Interview With the Angry Birds Transformers Team »
Anyone afraid that throwing Transformers into the Angry Birds mix would result in a Michael Bay-level of childhood pillaging can rest easy. While Rovio’s famous fowls may be a 21st century staple, Angry Birds: Transformers wears its affection for the 80s on its sleeve. But is mere retro reverence enough to justify this crossover? We find out in this edition of It Came From Canada!
The opening video reveals how the classic birds we all know and love have transformed into birds disguised as robots in disguise. But aside from establishing the story, the lavish animated intro’s attention to Saturday morning detail, right down to VHS scan lines, might be the best part of the game.
Fortunately the gameplay itself, while about as simple as a typical Transformers episode, is also about as action-packed. Plus the animation isn’t as cheap. Angry Birds: Transformers eschews the physics puzzles the series is known for in favor of something resembling an on-rails shooter. As avian Optimus Prime or beaked Bumblebee constantly run from left to right, and players tap to shoot down Decepticon pigs in the background. Targeting weak points on fortresses to squish enemies more efficiently is about as close as the game gets to traditional Angry Birds strategies. Of course, since this is a Transformers game, players will also occasionally need to change their robots into vehicles to speed past collapsing columns.
As players blast more pigs they’ll open up more parts of the map, unlocking new characters with unique weapons like lasers or missiles. However, we weren’t able to access special Jenga levels since we didn’t have the codes. Between battles players can also upgrade characters to increase their strength and durability. Doing so gives players a close-up look at the bird bots themselves, and their colorful boxy models amusingly marry the aesthetics of both franchises while still maintaining what separately makes them iconic. And even better, there are barely any hints of ugly, cluttered ‘Bayformers’ in their designs.
Apart, Angry Birds and Transformers have already made all the money in the world. So we can’t imagine what they can do together – especially with Skylanders-style toy integration. Expect Angry Birds: Transformers to transform and roll out everywhere soon.
In some cases, Angry Birds Epic is going to be many players’ first encounter with a turn-based RPG. While it might not be the deepest of experiences to old-hands at the genre, we felt it was the perfect time to provide you with some helpful hints to start you off, as you work towards wiping out the evil pigs yet again.
Basic Battle Strategies
Regular RPG players will tell you that there are a few core principles that apply no matter what game you’re playing. Angry Birds Epic is no different in that respect.
Retry, the latest game from the Angry Birds moguls at Rovio, apparently comes from the publisher’s new educational gaming branch. But if that’s the case, the only thing this game teaches is that life is nothing but unending punishment. Prepare for high-flying death over and over again in the latest edition of It Came From Canada!
Retry takes the brutally difficult flight controls of the infamous Flappy Bird but has players navigating finite, designed levels instead of endless rows of pipes. Pressing the screen boosts the player’s plane forward and also aims it up slightly. Meanwhile, letting go causes the plane to fall. With limited control over their speed and trajectory, players have to rely on careful yet confident taps to make it through these death traps. One brush against the environment, aside from water or wind currents, equals instant death. Sometimes the only way forward is a well-timed and skillfully executed loop-de-loop. The name Retry itself refers to how often players will be restarting the game. They’re even forced to look at the ghosts of their past selves, crashed against the walls, as their trial-and-error toils on.
There are a few oases in their desert however. Each level has a handful of permanent checkpoints, but in a devastating twist, they can only be activated if the player has a coin. Most sections between checkpoints have a coin somewhere in them, but they are usually in tough to reach spots – making the game even harder. If players can’t manage that, which is truly understandable, they can also just pay for coins. They can even earn them outside of gameplay by completing easy achievements like crashing a bunch. Overall, the checkpoint system is an intriguing compromise between being fair to the player while still honoring the game’s core commitment to hair-pulling challenge levels.
Sadism isn’t the only thing Retry shares with Flappy Bird. Both games use a chunky, pastel, pixelated art style and peppy music that belie their dark hearts and cruel, true natures. Retry has four worlds with various visual themes like “summer” and “the future.” Expect to see the same skies often though, because while the game has a decent amount of different levels, its difficulty and frequent restarts inevitably lead to repetition. Fortunately, that also means it will be a long time before players experience all the game has to offer.
Retry is currently in a soft launch phase, but once Rovio finishes toying with the Canadians, expect them to unleash their torture on the rest of the world soon enough. With the amount of effort this takes, it’s probably easier to just learn how to fly a real plane.
After their smash debut, the Angry Birds have gone from physics-based puzzle games to space adventures to kart racers. Angry Birds Epic, the newest entry in the series currently in a soft launch phase, continues the franchise’s evolution into the Mario of mobile by casting the birds as heroes in a turn-based roleplaying game. We grind through this ambitious spin-off for the latest edition of It Came From Canada!
When the dastardly Prince Porky and the rest of his pig army steal innocent eggs, it’s up to a brave band of birds to stop him. Starting out with a lone red warrior bird, the player’s party soon sees new recruits like a yellow wizard and white healer. There’s no real overworld to explore in Angry Birds Epic. Instead, the party travels from battle to battle on a linear map, occasionally coming across treasure chests or resource deposits. The fights themselves play out like simplified, turn-based, JRPG battles in the vein of Paper Mario or the more recent South Park: The Stick of Truth, albeit without the cursing or focus on timed button presses.
The battles do have some depth, however. Using an intuitive touch system, each bird can either attack an enemy or use its special sub-skill. For example, the wizard’s lightning strike attack hits several foes at once. But it can also choose to create a lightning shield around itself or an ally that damages incoming foes. As the birds levels up, some skills can even be applied to the whole party.
Complimenting these strategies are the surprisingly complex skills of the enemy pigs. Some stronger pigs charge up attacks over time like meteor showers or taunts that cause all foes to target a specific vulnerable bird. Other enemies have more passive abilities like Prince Porky’s resistance to attacks above a certain damage level. When the red chili pepper at the bottom of the screen fills up, players can unleash a devastating special attack. However, it may be useless against bosses like Prince Porky or other shielded enemies so players still have to play smart.
These bite-sized battles make up the vast majority of the Angry Birds Epic experience, but there are a few things to do outside of combat. Players can forge stronger weapons, brew potions, and scrounge around for more loot. Aside from tackling the main campaign, players can also participate in daily dungeons and lottery spins for the chance to earn even more prizes. Partaking in these side activities strengthens the team and makes the story quest easier, but the fair yet steep difficulty curve definitely still feels designed to push players towards spending more money.
It’s hard to be too mad at the game though, because the world of Angry Birds Epic is so pleasing to take in. The colors are vibrant, the animation is exquisite, the music is joyfully rambunctious, and the whole presentation is so charming players will be reminded why so many people got hooked on this franchise to begin with. Like all things Angry Birds at this point, expect Angry Birds Epic to soar once it fully launches.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
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?
Rovio’s taking the Angry Birds out of the air and into… cars? Yes, it’s time for Rovio’s famous characters to make the natural leap for any popular character – star in a kart-racing game – with Angry Birds Go. While conceptually it makes perhaps a bit more sense than, say, Sonic the Hedgehog as the birds have generally needed the help of mechanical contraptions to get anywhere in the past, it’s still a bit silly on paper. However, what’s not silly business is that this is Rovio’s first free-to-play launch of an Angry Birds game, as this has been soft-launched in New Zealand ahead of a global launch. So, I take Angry Birds Go for a spin in this edition of It Came From New Zealand!
The racing has been tremendously simplified to where players really only need to concern themselves with steering, not even needing to brake, much less accelerate. Each racer has a special ability that helps them get to the finish line before their opponents, such as a floating bubble or a speed boost. Prepare to grind and become familiar with the game’s tracks. Each track has a variety of events to play on it, such as races, time trials, and a fruit smashing mode where points are earned for running into fruit strewn across the track. There goes the idea for a Fruit Ninja kart racing game, eh? Each event has a certain performance minimum, forcing players to upgrade and buy new cars.
The game steadily introduces the ways in which it intends on making money. First, there’s coins for upgrades. Then there are gems for boosts, though these can be collected in the game itself. There are IAP for better cars, including some rather expensive prices for the best ones. It’s possible to use Telepods to unlock cars, too. There’s an energy system where different racers must be used as their energies run low. Each racer has a different special ability, though the car stats remain the same.
Angry Birds Go feels like a highly-polished product right now, and it’s likely that how the game monetizes is what’s under major scrutiny here as it should be out in a couple of weeks. Just how free it is will take some time to see – and this game succeeding or failing could have a big impact on Rovio’s future releases as well. This should be an interesting one to keep an eye on.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Angry Birds Star Wars II comes flying in with a new update that adds 8 secret levels. Users must find hidden maps throughout in order to unlock the new secret levels. The levels also add 4 new characters which include Hologram Darth Sidious, Silver C3PO, Red Battle Droid, and Shadowtrooper.
Now go use the force to locate those secret levels!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
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.
Each and every week, we take a look at the top twenty apps as recommended on Powerslyde. Once installed on your iOS device, Powerslyde detects the apps you have installed, then recommends apps you may like and may not be aware of. Think of it as a way to get App recommendations from somewhere other than the App Store itself.
This week, five of the most recommended apps are:
Looks like casual games made a strong showing this week, with Rovio’s Amazing Alex possibly returning due to interest in the two new Rovio Stars games that have recently hit the App Store: Ice Breaker and Tiny Thief. Ruzzle made an impression on reviewer Ruari O’Gallchoir, who says, “Ruzzle has several tricks up its sleeve to differentiate itself from it’s more established competitors.” Two of the five are lesser-known games that follow fairly standard formulas: Chasing Yello is an endless runner, and Flow Free is a color-matching game. As for Plumber Crack, we’ll leave that one up to your imagination. If you’re wondering if someone could build a game around that particular anatomical gem, it seems like they can and did.
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.