Apps: Angry Birds Epic, Bears vs. Art, Facebook 8.0 + Sphero 3.3.37

In Angry Birds Epic (Free), just soft launched in the Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand App Stores, Rovio has brought its most famous characters into an unusual new genre: a tactical RPG where the birds navigate through a fantasy world, battling bad piggies along the way. Combat is handled in typical turn-based RPG style, and players can obtain various items to equip their bird warriors and rescue new characters to add to their party along the way—Epic’s goal is to incentivize upgrades, using in-app purchased Lucky Coins to speed along the process. Unfortunately, while the game tries to provide in-game clues to guide the player through various new UI elements, the gameplay is somewhat confusing—even fans of the tactical RPG genre may feel a little bit lost, say nothing of Rovio’s core group of casual gamers. That said, the game still provides some basic playing enjoyment even if you’re just forging ahead blindly and not really paying attention to specs and equipment.

Also soft-launched only in Australia and Canada, Bears vs. Art (Free) by long-time App Store favorite Halfbrick Studios is a casual puzzle game with a simple and somewhat charming premise. You take on the role of a bear whose peaceful wilderness habitat has been invaded by a series of art museums. The goal is to go on a rampage and take out as much of the art as you can, moving through a series of individual levels representing different small museums. In each case, you guide the bear to smash a specified number of pieces of art with limited turns or time to do so. The trick: your controls can move the bear in any direction, but the bear will always move all the way to the nearest wall, with force. Make contact with a piece of art, and you’re given the opportunity to slash it with a bear claw before moving on to the next piece. Bears vs. Art is a fun and addictive little casual game that will likely provide hours of enjoyment; you needn’t cough up real-world currency to enjoy playing it.



Facebook (free) has been updated to version 8.0. While the version number sounds like a huge upgrade, the biggest change is found on the iPad, where there’s now a floating pop-up window for composing new posts and comments. On both iPad and iPhone, users can now set the viewing permission levels of photo albums when they’re created, allowing granular inclusion or exclusion of different viewers. There are also some under-the-hood improvements for reliability and speed.



Orbotix’s Sphero (free), a remote for the company’s robotic ball of the same name, received a rather significant update in version 3.3.37. In addition to adding support for iOS 7 game controllers, there’s a new joystick algorithm that makes it easier to steer Sphero. Six new moves have been added for the ball, with names such as ChromoDrive, Shamrock, and Code 3, and a “supply drop” component has been introduced for Sphero gaming. Every 24 hours, users can uncover new digital supplies, including energy cores and new tricks. Localization and performance improvements are also present, as are bug fixes.

Additional reporting by Nick Guy.

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