‘Amazing Alex,’ new game from Angry Birds maker Rovio

July 12, 2012

Angry Birds maker Rovio has branched out from its tried and true formula of giving its irate avian stars new places to fight their pig enemies. In the company’s new game, Amazing Alex, the game makers have taken the physics puzzle fun a little closer to home.

The game takes you inside the mind of a young boy, Alex, who loves to arrange everyday objects in creative ways to do things such as getting a soccer ball into a laundry hamper or toppling a cardboard robot.The game costs 99 cents at Apple’s App Store and Google Play, though there is a free version with fewer levels for Android devices.

As the levels progress, players have to construct more and more elaborate Rube Goldberg-type devices with balloons, toy trucks, helicopters and more. Rovio said that players ultimately have 35 tools at their disposal. The game itself has 100 levels — meaning you have plenty of puzzles to solve — and will also let you create and share your own levels.

Part of the fun of the game is that Rovio has made it possible for players to share the solutions they come up with over the iOS Game Center. Some users have been having trouble accessing the Game Center from their iOS devices. It’s not clear how widespread the bug is, but Rovio said on Twitter that it’s looking into the matter.

For now, users who run into the problem can double-tap the home button to completely quit the game and then reboot. It’s not an elegant solution, but it works for now; Rovio will have to fix it quickly, though, if the game is going to take off like Angry Birds. Amazing Alex certainly has the same addictive potential of its predecessor and will likely set off a slew of do-it-yourself Golberg devices in homes across the world. So, moms, keep an eye on your laundry hampers.

Just because Rovio is diversifying, however, doesn’t mean it’s slowing its pace with Angry Birds.

The company told the game publication IGN that it’s taking the birds to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS with animated, reactive backgrounds and HD graphics. Fans of the game can already play it on their TVs through Roku, but the new version will bring support for Microsoft Kinect, PlayStation Move and the 3DS’s social gaming feature StreetPass. The game will be out for the holiday season, the report said.

There also have been whispers that Rovio might turn its prize franchise on its head and release a version of the game where you play as the egg-swiping pigs. Pocket-lint cited unnamed sources last week who said Rovio is planning a version where you, as pigs, have to protect what you’ve rightly stolen from the birds.

Injecting some fresh juice into the Angry Birds franchise would be a good idea for Rovio, which is trying to show its games have staying power ahead of an IPO move expected in the next year or so. Rovio has made no secret that it’s thinking about going public; analysts estimate the company could have a $9 billion offering, TechCrunch reported.

More technology news:

Android Jelly Bean rollout is underway

Windows Phone 8: Speech, Wallet and more games on the way

Zynga acquires OMGPop, maker of popular ‘Draw Something’ game

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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