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Tech review: Apps so good they deserved a sequel

Angry Birds 2 offers graphics even better than

Angry Birds 2 offers graphics even better than the original Angry Birds app. Credit: Rovio Entertainment

Sequels are not just for blockbuster movies. Hit mobile games often spawn much-anticipated follow-ups a few years after the original app was released. And like movie sequels, some game sequels are bigger and better, but others don’t measure up to the original.

Angry Birds 2

(iOS, Android; free)

The original Angry Birds came out of nowhere in 2009 to become one of the most popular mobile games ever and hatch an empire of movies, TV shows, comic books and merchandise. This sequel has better graphics than the original but it replaced the pay-once ($0.99) model with the “freemium” strategy of a free download paired with continual in-app purchases. While Angry Birds 2 is fun, most gamers still prefer the original.

The Room: Old Sins

(iOS, Android; $4.99)

A sequel to a sequel to a sequel, The Room: Old Sins is one of 2018’s best games. The app, the fourth in the franchise, is a puzzle/adventure game where you solve a mystery by piecing together clues you uncover in the attic of a Gothic house. As with the first three games in the series, gameplay in The Room: Old Sins is clever and immersive, thanks to gorgeous graphics and a haunting soundtrack.

Framed 2

(iOS, Android; $4.99)

When Framed came out in 2014, it was like no other game, and the sequel is just as unique. Framed 2 is an atmospheric puzzle game with a twist — it looks like a version of 1940s noir spy movie rendered in form of a graphic novel. The goal is to rearrange the panels in the graphic comic book to get the story outcome you want. Sounds easy? It’s not.

Monument Valley 2

(iOS, Android; $4.99)

Monument Valley from independent developer Ustwo Games was one of the surprise hits of 2014. The sequel is more of the same, but in this case that is high praise. In Monument Valley 2, you help a mother and small child discover secrets and solve puzzles in a dreamy, mazelike world with strange buildings. As in the original, the graphics are simple — and simply beautiful.

Creative license

Almost everything in a car is high-tech, so why not the license plate? California is the first state to roll out digital electronic plates, which instead of stamped metal are actual LCD screens. The $700 plates can also be used to display DMV-approved ads and messages. For example, if the car falls prey to thieves, police can remotely add the word “stolen” to the digital plate.


Haunted by ghosts

“Ghosting” was originally a term to describe snubbing someone in what had been a vibrant online relationship. But ghosting has spread to the workplace. LinkedIn reports that job-seekers, empowered by a strong labor market, are accepting jobs but not showing up for work if they find a better job. The applicants don’t inform the spurned employer and typically ignore emails and calls asking where they are.


French lesson

When French students return to school in September, they’ll face restrictions on one of their closest companions -- their smartphone. French lawmakers passed legislation banning students from bringing smartphones and tablets to school, or at least requiring that they be turned off. Officials said the policy will shield children from addictive habits and safeguard the sanctity of the classroom.


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