This summer was a bummer for Hollywood as movie ticket sales fell 15 percent compared to the same May through Labor Day period last year. But studios were able to recoup some of their costs from mobile apps based on the movies. These movie tie-ins helped gamers continue to foil villains and save humanity after the closing credits.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
(iOS, Android; $6.99)
If you've always wanted to zoom around Manhattan, this game is for you. The graphics are stunning, but getting Spidey to fly and jump instead of shuffle down Broadway like an elderly tourist takes practice. The game has in-app purchases as high as $29 for alternate Spider-Man suits that probably should have been included in the already pricey purchase price. Make sure you're on Wi-Fi before downloading: Clocking in at about 1,000 megabytes, the game is huge.
Guardians of the Galaxy
(iOS, Android; $2.99)
This game based on the top-grossing movie of the summer has a rare and welcome feature these days: no in-app purchases. After paying for the app, the game feels complete, and the graphics make gameplay immersive. As with the movie, the goal is to help Star-Lord and his motley crew of misfit superheroes prevent the Universal Weapon from falling into the hands of the evil Ronan the Accuser.
Transformers: Age of Extinction
(iOS, Android; free)
Based on the fourth movie featuring the popular Hasbro action toys, this "endless-runner" game puts users in control of the friendly Autobots as they try to save humanity from the Decepticons. The game is free but hard to master, and those tempted to boost their character's strength and performance via in-app purchases could pay as much as $100 for the power-ups.
Maleficent Free Fall
(iOS, Android; free)
Those expecting a game that mirrors the storyline of the hit movie starring Angelina Jolie may be disappointed. Maleficent Free Fall, kind of a Gothic mashup of Bejeweled and Candy Crush Saga, is more puzzle game than plot driven. The puzzles are tricky and entertaining, and while the game is free to download, in-app purchases as high as $50 could make it a costly diversion.
Texting, not textbooks
When it comes to academics, some college students may be phoning it in. College students surveyed for a small study by Baylor University spent an average of 95 minutes a day texting, 49 minutes sending and reading email and 39 minutes checking Facebook. Researchers said this reliance on phones could rise to the level of "cell phone addiction," which carries with it "potential risks for academic performance." -- PETER KING
Meet the Met
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has launched a free app for iPhones and iPads that allows users to explore the galleries and plan their trip to the cultural icon. The Met app offers information on exhibitions both at the Met's main building on Fifth Avenue and its Cloisters museum and gardens in Upper Manhattan. The Met expects to have an Android version next year.
-- PETER KING
Back in the 'Swing'
Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen, who pulled that wildly popular mobile app from the market because he said it was ruining his life, has released Swing Copters, a free game for iOS and Android devices. Swing Copters features the same retro graphics and difficult gameplay as Flappy Bird, which was the most popular free app for iOS and Android devices when it was pulled in February. -- Bloomberg News