Tech review: Five new mobile games

Samsung and Apple, the world's top two smartphone

Samsung and Apple, the world's top two smartphone makers, are locked in patent disputes in at least 10 countries as they vie to dominate the lucrative mobile market and win over customers with their latest gadgets. (Sept. 28, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

A brand new game from Angry Birds' developer Rovio, a Zombie-themed take on an old-school classic and a stunt car experience that won't break (or cost you) an arm or a leg are among the best new titles available for your smartphone or tablet. Here are five of our favorite new games:

Bad Piggies

(iPhone, iPod Touch, $0.99; iPad $2.99; Android, free)

The team that brought us Angry Birds is back, but this time, that avian anger is nowhere in sight. Finnish developer Rovio is helping us see the bad guys in a more positive light. Those mean, green, egg-stealing machines, the Bad Piggies, get to be the protagonists this time around. Your job is to use a grid and a preset group of items to build your own quirky, out-of-the-box vehicle for the pigs to ride in. Bad Piggies is in part based on Casey's Contraptions, a game Rovio acquired last May and promptly pulled from the market. It's a totally different kind of game, but like Angry Birds, it's streamlined and accessible to anyone.

Lili

(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, $4.99)

This graphics-intensive game made a splash at Apple's recent news conference, exhibiting the power of the iPhone 5. It's a strange hybrid between a classic adventure game and a role-playing game, and oddly enough, it's entirely about picking flowers. Of course, these flowers aren't simply in the ground but rather attached to large plant-creature people. You simply have to jump on their backs and rip the flowers out by force, which is where the action segments are. This is a well-made game that should appeal to many users.

Jetpack Joyride

(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, free)

Our favorite mobile game of 2011 is now finally available for Android devices. Jetpack Joyride is an endless runner that takes some of the best elements of popular games, adds a new spin to them and polishes everything to a shine. It's also the game that brought back Barry Steakfries as a protagonist, last seen blasting brains in Age of Zombies. Sick of his mundane work life in a lab, Barry steals a machine gun-propelled jetpack for a spin, with plenty of other cool vehicles along the way.

Organ Trail

(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, $2.99)

Riffing on the classic simulation title Oregon Trail, in which players had to guide a party across the U.S. in order to start a new life in the West in the 1800s, Organ Trail re-imagines the game as taking place during a zombie apocalypse, tasking players with crossing the country in a station wagon. As in the original, you need to gather supplies, trade with other survivors and plan for unforeseen events. There are even "boss fight" situations in which you'll need to guide your station wagon through dangerous situations to fight off bandits or avoid getting trampled by animal stampedes. Organ Trail is a pretty great take on a fun classic, and players will definitely find it challenging.

Stunt Star:

The Hollywood Years

(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, $2.99)

As you might expect in this game, you play a stunt car driver. The driving part of the game is simple enough, with an accelerator and brake that you also use to do front and back flips. You also get to draw ramps and place objects that will affect your run. As you move forward, you'll unlock better vehicles and items, and move on to bigger and better stunts. Stunt Car Driver is a clever little title that does things a bit differently. -- Appolicious.com and Tribune Media Services

TECH BYTES

With Liberty for all

Apple has put Lady Liberty back on her pedestal. After an update of the much-maligned Apple Maps application, a sharp image of the Statue of Liberty is visible in the map of Liberty Island. In the first version of Apple Maps, the statue was a shapeless blob. The Brooklyn Bridge and several other sites badly rendered in the original release are also fixed in the update.

Joining forces

What do you get when you combine a top game with a legendary film franchise? Angry Birds Star Wars, of course. Rovio Entertainment, maker of the wildly popular Angry Birds, and "Star Wars" studio Lucasfilm are producing the app, which will be released Nov. 8. In the app, the Angry Birds characters play the assorted heroes and villains of the "Star Wars" saga.

Daily work out

The morning routine for many employees is to grab some coffee and search for a job. A new survey by CareerBuilder found that 69 percent of full-time workers said they are constantly looking for a new job, with the vast majority of them using online searches. Younger workers were more likely to be looking for a new job than boomers, the survey found.

-- PETER KING

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