Angry Birds GO! Developers Hit by Layoffs

We can all recall the days when our dual shocks were only 2’s, and making a Kart-Racer spin-off of a popular franchise might have been a well-received notion. Unfortunately those days, much like the market dominance of the Playstation2, are behind us.

Oxford-based studio Exient has unfortunately made the tough decision of laying off 60% (although initial reports stated closer to 80%) of the staff at Leamington Spa, the studio behind Angry Birds spin-offs Angry Birds GO! and Angry Birds Transformers. source PG.biz

Major kudos are due, as taking the chance on a kart-racer in a mobile world isn’t an easy task. The game was relatively flawless but lacked the player response it needed to bank anything financially. We hope all those affected by the layoffs find new, kick-ass roles, extremely fast!

As you can see below, Rovio has not, and should not, slow down in attempting to expand the reach of their ip. Quality games like Angry Birds GO! and Angry Birds Evolution prove that they believe in their world.

– Wyatt Fossett | @W_Fossett | @AdrianCrook

Compulsion Loop
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Battlejack

Grand Cru

Why Play? When we thought we have seen almost every variant of Puzzle & Dragons, and Puzzle Quest games, here comes Battle Jack – which, fortunately, comes with a new twist: it ditches the match-three systems for a BlackJack game where attacks are stronger the closer they are to 21. It feels very similar to Puzzle & Dragons in many ways, including team building, the importance of Gacha, and character skills. Resemblance continues even deep down in the details, such as leader and invited friend leader skills. The push-your-luck Blackjack mechanic is refreshing and very casual-friendly, offering the game a chance to shine.

– Maxime Villeneuve | @AdrianCrook

Google Play App Store
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Hot Hands!

Warner Bros.

Why Play? Ellen Degeneres has quietly become a game industry magnate, releasing yet another board-game-style app for mobile phones. This time, we see Hot Hands, a mobile spin-off of a game played on her daily talk show. The game involves quickly guessing pop culture icons, using in-game voice recognition technology, and played single-playerpass-and-play, and asynchronous multiplayer. Players earn stars through regular play and use those unlock new card packs – such as athletes and rock star packs. Of course, you can also purchase stars from the store, or by watching video ads.

– Peter Knudson | @PeteKnudson

Google Play App Store
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Transformers: Forged to Fight

Kabam

Why Play? Kabam Vancouver has enjoyed a powerful formula with Marvel Contest of Champions for over two years now. Take great-looking and –playing mobile battles, add pinch points that feel skill-based, wrap it in a narrative that justifies exploring the entire breadth of the IP,  re-invigorate content and marketing with a steady flood of films–easy right? Transformers: Forged to Fight has the same ingredients, though it looks even better and the battles feel deeper. Whether it can topple CoC, in the long run, is up for debate, but regardless, it’s likely to be a benchmark in big budget learnings for some time to come.

– Isaac Calon | @AdrianCrook

Google Play App Store
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Angry Birds Evolution

Rovio Entertainment Ltd

Why Play? Continuing the trend of attempting to recapture the audience that made the original Angry Birds so successful, Rovio is adding another game-type to the angriest avian ip the world over. After an unsuccessful attempt at a Kart-Racer, Angry Birds is taking on the marble-like squad-based game-type popularized by Monster Strike developed by XFLAG. Polish is something we expect from Rovio at this point, and AB:Evo delivers a smooth and gorgeous experience, with probably the best hub-world I’ve ever experienced in a mobile team-builder. An extremely solid title, that adds a ton of fun and charisma to an already fun gameplay mechanic.

– Wyatt Fossett | @W_Fossett

Google Play App Store
Compulsion Loop

CompulsionLoop is AC+A’s (adriancrook.com) weekly pursuit of providing a Featured List for those in the games industry. A look at the latest must-play apps, along with short, useful takeaways from our team of game design and product experts. If you have a game that you think your industry colleagues should try, we’d love to hear about it at games@compulsionloop.com. Don’t forget to tell us why industry insiders should be compelled to try out the game (see what we did there?).

Know a game that you think others should play? Let us know and tell us why we should play it.

Thank you for reading and we look forward to helping you discover more games that you can glean learnings from. Feel free to reply to this email or contact games@compulsionloop.com — we’re always happy to hear from you.

Have a great week!

- Adrian Crook www.adriancrook.com