Angry Birds Go! (free) takes Rovio’s furious fowl to a new realm — the racetrack. The fully 3-D cart racing game marks the first time the birds have moved beyond the traditional 2-D side-scrolling play environment, raising the prospect that we’ll see the now famous characters in all sorts of games as time goes on, a la Mario. Unfortunately, Angry Birds Go! is a pretty standard racing game with little to set it apart from the masses besides the graphics, which are really quite impressive; the gameplay is surprisingly limited and overly structured to gradually introduce new characters and upgrades at a plodding pace. Additionally, the freemium title is shameless in waving pay-to-play opportunities in your face, filling the tracks with coins rather than power ups and creating unnatural cart upgrade incentives to compel players to spend money.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas ($7) from Rockstar Games is the long-awaited iOS port of the popular PlayStation 2-vintage sandbox game, featuring all of the adult-themed content and impressive audio of the original title. The iOS version of GTA: San Andreas features dynamic lighting enhancements, improved character models, and enriched colors, in addition to the enhanced vehicle models originally introduced in the console game. Support for iOS game controllers is built-in, but the button labeling is a bit awkward during use. There are three different standard control schemes, and dual analog stick controls allow for full camera and movement control. Rockstar Social Club Members get cloud save support, as well. Unfortunately, the game appears unstable at this point, as we’ve experienced a lot of crashes; reset your device if you want to improve your chances of stability.
Fireproof Games has released the anticipated, excellent sequel to one of 2012’s best games, as The Room 2 ($5) has hit the App Store. The Room 2 is basically a continuation of The Room in terms of gameplay, but the puzzle rooms are much bigger this time around, giving players more to explore as they flip switches, re-assemble deconstructed or damaged items, and reveal hidden puzzles within seemingly simple objects. Though the game is still intuitive, gamers will likely need to use in-game clues at times, due to the much larger number of puzzle surfaces now found within the rooms. The Room 2 keeps the moody, unsettling feel of the original game — the light horror elements will be too much for little kids. Fans of The Room will likely love the sequel, and those who haven’t played the games already should definitely check this out.
Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($3) has updated to version 3.0, though for all intents and purposes, this could be considered a whole new game. The game has been completely rebuilt, offering a 60fps frame rate, widescreen display, improved graphics, and a remastered soundtrack. Knuckles has been added as a playable character, and a new Boss Attack mode has been added, as well. Perhaps most notably, gamers can now play the Hidden Palace Zone, a previously unfinished “lost” stage that never made it into the original release of Sonic 2.