The concept is silly and it takes just a few seconds to download – but Angry Birds became the biggest selling app in the world, spawning further merchandise like cuddly toys, games and, even, fairground rides.
Even the Prime Minister admitted he was addicted to the game, which sees players destroy pigs by firing birds from sling-shots. And David Cameron said recently he’s now completed every level of the hit app.
So if, like Mr Cameron, you have finished the some 150 levels in Angry Birds, what will you do now?
Well, luckily for those addicted to Rovio’s brand of tongue-in-cheek gaming, Angry Birds’ developers have released another franchise.
Amazing Alex is the first new franchise Rovio has taken to the market since 2009. The aim of the game is to arrange objects on the screen to create a chain reaction in which each piece of the puzzle has an effect on the others.
Unlike Rovio’s other games, which have been developed in-house, Amazing Alex began life outside the Finnish IT company.
Originally known as Casey’s Contraptions, it was released last year by California-based game developer Noel Llopis, along with the Washington-headquartered studio Mystery Coconut.
At the time, it gained positive reviews by critics, which may be why Rovio decided to snap it up. But the title didn’t become a hit so developers sold their intellectual property rights to Rovio earlier this year.
After giving both graphics and gameplay a bit of a tweak, Rovio has re-released it, this time as Amazing Alex, on both Anroid and iOS platforms, with versions for PCs, Macs and Windows handsets to follow.
While it remains to be seen if Amazing Alex will emulate the popularity of Angry Birds, Rovio has by no means given up on developing what is by far its most successful franchise to date. It has now teamed up with the publisher Activision to release its first three Angry Birds titles as a bundled package for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo 3DS later this year – something that’s bound to be on a lot of Christmas lists.
It’s all part of an amazing success story for Rovio, which was sitting on the verge of bankruptcy before hitting upon the successful Angry Birds formula.
So far, the app has been bought 700 million times and become not just a game, but an international brand.
There have been countless spin-offs and a dedicated Angry Birds Land has now been opened at a theme park in Tampere, Finland, the developers’ home country.
First launched on Apple’s App Store in December 2009, Angry Birds cost the firm around £80,000 to make. It was money the company could barely afford to spend at the time. But the gamble has resulted in Rovio being valued at £750million.
Whether Amazing Alex adds to that fortune is still to be seen, as is whether the Prime Minister will take time out from running the country to play Rovio’s latest offering.