Tech Review: Game apps based on 2013 summer blockbusters

Apps that help users stay connected.

Apps that help users stay connected. (Credit: AFP / Getty Images)

Despite some highly publicized flops, Hollywood had its hottest summer ever, as movies released from May through Labor Day earned a record $4.8 billion in U.S. box-office revenue. The top-grossing movies of the summer may not be playing on the big screen anymore, but they are going strong on the small screen where gamers are still playing the four apps they inspired.

Despicable Me: Minion Rush

(iOS, Android; free)


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The cute yellow Minions helped make "Despicable Me 2" the No. 2 box office hit of the summer, and in this game you become one of the gibberish-speaking characters as you overcome an array of increasingly troublesome obstacles to collect bananas. The goal is to impress your boss -- supervillain Gru -- and be named Minion of the Year. The free app has in-app purchases as high as $49.99.

Iron Man 3

(iOS, Android; free)

The No. 1 movie of the summer spawned one of the most popular games of the year. As billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, you don the Iron Man suit and fly over several cities, including New York. But don't stop to do any in-flight sightseeing: Dastardly enemies are hurling dangerous weapons you must shoot down. The app is free, but for those as rich as Stark, there are optional in-app purchases as high as $99.99.

Man of Steel

(iPhone, $2.99; iPad, Android; $4.99)

The Superman reboot was the third-highest grossing film of the summer, and the app follows the movie's story line as the Man of Steel must stop General Zod from destroying the Earth. The game's high-end graphics make super demands on devices, and many Android phones don't have the firepower to run the app. In addition to the relatively high download price, there are in-app purchases from $0.99 to $49.99.

Monsters U: Catch Archie

(iOS, Android; free)

In this app, one of two based on the summer's No. 4 blockbuster movie, you control monster Mike (voiced by Long Beach's own Billy Crystal in the movie) in this "endless runner" game as he tries to catch Archie the Scare Pig, the mascot from Monsters University's rival school, Fear Tech. The game features 10 increasingly difficult levels, but in-app purchases ranging from $0.99 to $19.99 make catching Archie and winning the game easier.

 

 

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The Dr. is in . . . e-books

 

Dr. Seuss' iconic children's books will appear in e-book format for the first time beginning Sept. 24. Publisher Random House says 15 Seuss books will be immediately available, including "The Cat in the Hat" and "Green Eggs and Ham." The rest of the Seuss catalog will be released in October and November. Random House says the e-books will use the original layouts and illustrations from the print editions.

 

Vacuum-packed lawsuit

 

Samsung has been sued for patent infringement, but this time Apple is not the plaintiff and instead of involving glitzy smartphones, the suit is about a vacuum cleaner. British manufacturer Dyson says Samsung's new Motion Sync vacuum infringes on a Dyson patent. In an interview with the BBC, Dyson founder Sir James Dyson called Samsung's vacuum a "cynical rip-off." Samsung told the BBC Dyson's charges are "groundless."

 

New 'Birds' takes wing

 

When will a new Angry Birds app be released? When pigs fly, which in this case is Thursday. Angry Birds Star Wars II, the latest entry in the wildly popular mobile game series, will be available for download in versions for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8. Publisher Rovio says the app features "bird and pig versions" of more than 30 characters from the Star Wars universe.

-- PETER KING

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