Rovio laboured over 51 games before striking gold with its Angry Birds franchise. But after more than a billion downloads of that phenomenally successful game, the Finnish company is trying its hand at another app.
Amazing Alex, released to the Apple App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore on 12 July, became the number one paid app in the US App Store within eight hours. That’s the fastest rise to the top spot for a non-franchised app, according to Tero Kuittinen, an analyst at Finnish research firm Alekstra.
The game isn’t a Rovio original, though. It was purchased from developers Noel Llopis and Mystery Coconut earlier in 2012, at which point it had had some success as Casey’s Contraptions. Following the acquisition, Rovio rebranded the game and has re-launched it in what is presumably an effort to add a second franchise to its mobile gaming empire.
Like Angry Birds, Amazing Alex is a puzzle game. But rather than flinging birds, it involves helping the hero, Alex, clean up his house using Heath Robinson-like contraptions. Players must solve the level using tools like shelves and pipes to connect different parts of the puzzle.
Since Angry Birds for iPhone was released in late 2009, the game has been launched for other mobile platforms and in themed iterations like Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Space, and Angry Birds Magic.
Rovio reported €75 million (£59 million) in revenue in 2011, and is valued in the range of £6 - £9 billion, according to some estimates. To put it into perspective, that plants Rovio in the same range as fellow Finnish company Nokia, once the world leader in mobile phone sales.
Only time will tell whether Amazing Alex can match Angry Birds’ success, but a preliminary run suggests it has the potential to be just as addictive.