iBooks and the Kindle app do a great job of ensuring that there’s always something new to read while you’re on the move. They work well in complementing the traditional physical book. There’s still room for more interactive and animated fare though, such as in the case of Black Jack – an app that declares itself the “World’s First Moving Novel.” Released in episodic chunks of new chapters every Monday and Friday, it’s an interesting new direction to take for the medium. We took the time to chat to its Emmy-winning author, A.R. Witham, to learn more.

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148Apps: Why not release the book at once rather than chapter by chapter?
A.R. Witham (ARW): It’s an old-school method of building suspense; Charles Dickens released A Christmas Carol in installments, and I thought that was an interesting way to tell a story that isn’t done much in the 21st century. Black Jack has a very vintage feel to the texture of the pages and animations… a vintage release schedule felt perfect for the story.

148Apps: What’s the reaction to the episodic content been like? Has it been as warmly received as hoped?
ARW: The response has been amazing. People love Jack, but for me, their enthusiastic reaction to the side-characters has been the most unexpected surprise. People love Django and Fuji and Valerian and the villains far more than I expected. I’ve gotten drawings of characters from fans, and that kind of reaction is something I really never anticipated.  

148Apps: What challenges have there been in converting the novel to a more interactive format? Has it affected how the novel has been written at all?
ARW: There were 3 Big Rules to building the Black Jack app: 1) The story had to be good enough to pack a whollop without the animations and effects. 2) None of the animations could interfere with the text; if they didn’t help the readers immerse themselves in the storytelling, they were cut. 3) The book had to feel completely unlike any reading experience anyone has ever had. Once I established those guidelines, it became a great puzzle to solve.

148Apps: Do you think this is the future for novels? Or is there still a place for the traditional format?
ARW: I pray traditional novels never die. We all have loved them too much to let them go away. If paper-and-binding is on the decline in favor of screen-reading, I’m okay with that, but a pure tale constructed only with words is the foundation of storytelling; it will always exist, even if it’s just an old man sitting at a campfire telling ghost stories. Digital formats such as the iPad offer a playground for artists to explore the edges of the map and that’s what we are doing with Black Jack. Once you read the first two chapters, you begin to realize there are incredible moments waiting for you. Nobody’s done a book like this before – that’s the fun part.

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148Apps: Do you think it’s a method that would work for all genres or does it particularly lend itself to fantasy/sci-fi?
ARW: Oh, I could see Divergent, Hunger Games, Neil Gaiman, or Harry Potter working very well with the Moving Novel format, but I think also think Raymond Chandler’s detective thrillers, Cormac McCarthy’s Southern Gothic style or Stephen King’s horror stories could all be a fun ride with a little emotional push at the right moments.

148apps: What’s next after Black Jack?
ARW: By day, I’m a Creative Director, and currently working on launching the brand-new CBS affiliate in Indianapolis in 2015, so that may take a bit of time. For Black Jack, I’m working with the next story in the series, tentatively titled “Red Rover.” And at night, I’m just reading new stories. It’s always fun to find something new.


Thanks to A.R. Witham for taking the time to answer our questions.

Black Jack: A Moving Novel is available now on the App Store for the iPad. It’s currently priced at $5.99 for the full novel, with the first two chapters available for free.


FREE!
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2013-12-04 :: Category: Books

Rejoice – Tweetbot 3 is Now Optimized for iOS 8

Posted by on October 2nd, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our Rating: ★★★★★ :: TOP BOT :: Read Review »

Tapbots has updated their Twitter client, Tweetbot 3, to make use of the new features of iOS 8. They’ve optimized it for iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as well as added interactive notifications so you’re always up to date on your twitter activity. The update also comes with 1Password and Share Sheets Support.

Tweetbot 3 is available for $4.99 on the App Store, and the new update is live now.

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via: Our Review

Ms.Pac-Man Goes Pink for National Breast Cancer Foundation Campaign

Posted by on October 2nd, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Bandai Namco Games America has unveiled that they have joined forces with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and as a result are launching the Ms. PAC-MAN Pink Ribbon Campaign.

At the base of the campaign is a new maze pack for Ms. PAC-MAN and PAC-MAN, titled the ‘Hope Maze’, with all purchases of the $0.99 pack going directly towards supporting the National Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition, the in-game interface in both games will be going pink for the month of October.

NBCF Founder and CEO Janelle Hail had this to say on the campaign:

We are very excited about our new partnership with Bandai Namco and the Ms. PAC-MAN Pink Ribbon Campaign. By encouraging their gamers to Join the Pac, we can reach more women than ever with our message of hope. The funds they raise will allow us to provide early detection services for women in need in all 50 states.

Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man are both available on the App Store now for $3.99, with the ‘Hope Maze’ available as an in-app purchase in both games for $0.99.

Ms. Pac-Man NBCF

Manage Your Cloud – Wunderlist Now Supports Dropbox

Posted by on October 1st, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our Rating: ★★★★☆ :: BEAUTIFUL :: Read Review »

6 Wunderkinder’s To-Do List and Task app, Wunderlist, now supports Dropbox.

To synch your Dropbox files to Wunderlist, just tap the paperclip icon in the Detail View, select Dropbox, and choose your file. With Wunderlist you can Assign, Comment, and prioritize your Dropbox files and they automatically update across all your systems.

You can pick up the newly-updated Wunderlist for free on the App Store.

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Tiny Troopers: Alliance, by Kukouri, is a chibi-military strategy game previously only available on Android. The game will officially be released for iOS tomorrow, so now you too can join in the fun.

You can play the single player campaign or join forces with your friends and fight in the global wars – build bases and send your troops into epic battles, etc.

So get your tank and prep your rockets, Tiny Troopers: Alliance is coming (very) soon.

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HeroCraft Introduces Unlimited Sequel to WW2: Sandbox. Strategy & Tactics

Posted by on October 1st, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

With the success of Strategy & Tactics: World War IIHeroCraft has released a sequel called WW2: Sandbox. Strategy & Tactics. The Sandbox allows you to ignore historical accuracy and take command of any European army to win the war. Want to conquer Europe yourself or make friends with the USSR? Now you can.

WW2: Sandbox has 16 playable countries with another 12 on the way and a huge map with over 500 regions. Random events like guerrilla movements, landing operations, and voluntary recalls, make each battle unique and challenge your strategies.

You can pick up WW2: Sandbox. Strategy & Tactics for $9.99 on the App Store

Darkness Reborn, by GAMEVIL, is a fully synchronous MORPG that will launch on iOS this fall. You will be able to play the hero in a fantasy world, on his quest to fight the evil two-headed dragon and save the cursed land.

Here’s hoping the game plays as nice as it looks.

Anyone afraid that throwing Transformers into the Angry Birds mix would result in a Michael Bay-level of childhood pillaging can rest easy. While Rovio’s famous fowls may be a 21st century staple, Angry Birds: Transformers wears its affection for the 80s on its sleeve. But is mere retro reverence enough to justify this crossover? We find out in this edition of It Came From Canada!

The opening video reveals how the classic birds we all know and love have transformed into birds disguised as robots in disguise. But aside from establishing the story, the lavish animated intro’s attention to Saturday morning detail, right down to VHS scan lines, might be the best part of the game.

Fortunately the gameplay itself, while about as simple as a typical Transformers episode, is also about as action-packed. Plus the animation isn’t as cheap. Angry Birds: Transformers eschews the physics puzzles the series is known for in favor of something resembling an on-rails shooter. As avian Optimus Prime or beaked Bumblebee constantly run from left to right, and players tap to shoot down Decepticon pigs in the background. Targeting weak points on fortresses to squish enemies more efficiently is about as close as the game gets to traditional Angry Birds strategies. Of course, since this is a Transformers game, players will also occasionally need to change their robots into vehicles to speed past collapsing columns.

angry birds transformers (3)As players blast more pigs they’ll open up more parts of the map, unlocking new characters with unique weapons like lasers or missiles. However, we weren’t able to access special Jenga levels since we didn’t have the codes. Between battles players can also upgrade characters to increase their strength and durability. Doing so gives players a close-up look at the bird bots themselves, and their colorful boxy models amusingly marry the aesthetics of both franchises while still maintaining what separately makes them iconic. And even better, there are barely any hints of ugly, cluttered ‘Bayformers’ in their designs.

angry birds transformers (7)Apart, Angry Birds and Transformers have already made all the money in the world. So we can’t imagine what they can do together – especially with Skylanders-style toy integration. Expect Angry Birds: Transformers to transform and roll out everywhere soon.

Majesty, by HeroCraft, has taken advantage of the App Store’s new bundling feature. Now, in the Majesty Bundle you can get Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim and its add-on Majesty: The Northern Expansion.

The game is a fun kingdom builder with 30 upgradeable building types, around 100 game achievements, and upgradable heroes. Spread your influence far and wide as you defeat monsters and conquer new lands.

You can pick up the Majesty Bundle for $3.99 on the App Store.

majesty

via: Our Review

Rule The Skies In Drone: Shadow Strike

Posted by on September 30th, 2014

Drone: Shadow Strike, by Reliance Games, is a new flying combat simulator where you become the special ops drone operator. The game offers four campaigns with over twenty missions and 270 challenges. You will guide your choice of seven drones through enemy fire to take out the target.

Drone: Shadow Strike is the perfect fusion of action and simulations,” said Manish Agarwal, CEO of Reliance Entertainment Digital. “While a few military games have short drone segments, this is the first time a full title explores this type of strategic aerial combat. Players can play to their own combative styles across missions while they defend, escort allies, ensure survival and immerse into real warfare. The controls were designed with a focus on extreme precision.”

You will be able to pick up Drone: Shadow Strike this October on the App Store for free.

It Came From Canada: Pokémon TCG Online

Nintendo characters on the App Store? Have they really gotten that desperate? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. While it may be strange and novel seeing Pikachu and company running around on an Apple product, the fact is the Pokémon Company has always had some degree of autonomy from its Mario masters. And now they’ve used that independence to bring the wildly popular Pokémon Trading Card Game to the iPad. We catch ‘em all in this edition of It Came From Canada!

If the smash success of Hearthstone has taught us anything it’s that card games work great on the iPad, and Pokémon Trading Card Game Online is no different. Dealing with digital decks is just so much more convenient than laying out physical spaces, shuffling cards, and keeping track of various pieces. Plus, having a computer present to teach and reinforce the rules is a lot more reliable than leaving it up to human error.

pokemon tgc online (2)However, this really is just a straightforward virtual translation of the Black and White starter editions of the actual trading card game. Battle animations aren’t flashy and graphics are kind of flat in general; they’re not even as stylish as the beloved anime. Meanwhile, online is used for simple stat-tracking and basic multiplayer matches. Players should also make sure to register an account, because otherwise they’ll be forced to sit through the lengthy tutorial each time they launch the game.

pokemon tgc online (4)But modest production values aside, there’s a reason why this game has been so popular for so long, and it’s not just marketing. It simply does a great job at capturing what’s fun about Pokémon RPGs in card game form. Arranging teams of monsters, evolving starters you’ve grown particularly fond of, and strategically unleashing powerful elemental attacks is just as satisfying here as it is on the screen of a Nintendo handheld.

Since Pokémon is a worldwide phenomenon, expect Pokémon Trading Card Game Online to launch everywhere soon. And while it’s not totally fair to use it as a litmus test for Nintendo’s future on the App Store, it’s at least interesting to think about.

Kairosoft Finally Brings The Pyraplex to iOS

Posted by on September 30th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Android users will no longer have all the pyramid building fun to themselves, as Kairosoft has finally gotten around to releasing The Pyraplex on iOS.

In the tradition of their other popular games, The Pyraplex allows players to organize workers, build wonders, and foster trade between peoples. You will need workers to quarry stone and sell crafts at your bazaar in order to gain the resources necessary to build a monument to capture the admiration of the Pyramid Association.

Check out The Pyraplex on the App Store for $4.99.

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Pocket Gamer reports that two new free-to-play Final Fantasy games from Square Enix have sneaked their way onto the App Store in Japan – Final Fantasy: Record Keeper and Final Fantasy: World Wide Words.

In Record Keeper, players take on the role of an Apprentice that jumps into paintings that take them to famous scenes from previous games in the series. The battle system is similar to that found in Final Fantasy: All The Bravest, with players getting to fight alongside Cloud Strife, Zidane Tribal, Luneth, and more.

Meanwhile, the word-battling RPG World Wide Words features the same art style as Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, with players given the task of typing out words to perform attacks against monsters and fast typing rewarded with more powerful attacks.

Nothing has been announced regarding the release of either of these games outside of Japan, but both can be found on the Japanese App Store now and are free to download.

source: Pocket Gamer

Your Source For The Latest App Reviews

 

Every single week, the 148Apps reviewers search through the new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Cursed Treasure 2

 
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Previously a browser-based game, Cursed Treasure 2 is a reasonably enjoyable Tower Defense title. There’s a catch though – it’s not overly original, mostly incorporating elements we’ve seen elsewhere. For a change, you play the bad guys attempting to stop the good guys from retrieving the treasure from your castle. Each level offers a series of positions for you to place your towers and attempt to wipe out the ensuing hordes. Different colored terrain offers up different types of tower and you can’t mix and match. Besides restricting you to certain places amongst the landscape, Cursed Treasure 2 also restricts the types of tower you can use. There are only three, although they can all expand into more powerful forms over time. –Jennifer Allen

Leaf on the Wind

 
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The snappy, spicy nights of Fall are well on their way, which makes this as good a time as any to play a game like Leaf on the Wind by Pangea Software. This colorful physics/puzzle game involves piles of leaves dancing on the wind – the kind of thing that makes people think of pumpkin spice lattes, apple-picking, and of course, decorative gourd season. However, while Leaf on the Wind‘s graphics are pretty and calming, its gameplay makes the blood race a little bit. In fact, it’s a tricky game – a little too tricky in parts – leading to some needless frustration. –Nadia Oxford

Goblin Sword

 
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Goblin Sword is an action platformer set firmly in the medieval fantasy genre. You will control the blue-haired protagonist as he double-jumps and hacks his way through forests, caves, and castles, slaying beasts and collecting gems. The game features a ton of stages, though each level is quite short – you’ll easily beat most in under 2 minutes, making them excellent bite-sized servings. Goblin Sword has a colorful, cartoonishly retro aesthetic, and the music matches the visuals nicely – if you aren’t sick of the pixel revolution in gaming (and you shouldn’t be, because it’s great), you’ll find a lot to love about its look and feel. The controls are fairly tight, and I never felt as though the controls were at fault when I accidentally walked into a spike pit or got hit by an enemy. –Andrew Fisher

The Strongest

 
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It’s only human nature that we all face a certain point in our lives when we just want to punch something. Anything. That’s where video games come in; they’ve always presented a healthy outlet to safely unload all of that frustration. Laboratory’s The Strongest is one of the best recent examples of note when it comes to channeling all the good that can come from indulging the thralls of mindless aggression into a gauntlet of cerebral challenges. –George Fagundes

Astropolo

 
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Astropolo is a creative new app with a space travel theme that allows children to help astronaut Polo travel from Earth to planet Tropy. Astropolo includes eight mini-games that children will find fun and unique. Adults will appreciate these activities for their educational benefits as they strengthen areas such as fine motor and problem-solving skills. Although these games are intuitive to play once understood, written directions will need to be read in order to be followed – be it by the user or an adult working alongside the child. A short video of the gameplay of each of these sections is also included that children can follow, even if they are not up to fully reading the description – a really nice touch that also may give a few hints on the best way to play these mini-games. –Amy Solomon

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:

AndroidRundown

TruGlide Pro Universal Stylus

 
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There was a time the stylus was a sign of having arrived. Why? This was before smartphones, when Palm and WinMo battled to win the PDA market. True capacitive touchscreens as we know them were not on the scene yet, and a good stylus was more important than having fingers. Then, in 2007, a lot of that changed. As screens get bigger, brighter and more responsive, styli have made a comeback. As tablets and smartphone (and everything in between) become more comprehensive means of data entry, and creatives use digital tools to output thought, having tools that mimic traditional modes of data entry is especially invaluable. This is where tools like the TruGlide Pro Stylus are potentially worth their weight in gold. –Tre Lawrence

enCharge Power Jacket Case

 
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You’re device battery is probably not bad. Wait… hold the rocks for a hot second. I understand that y’all smart-device newbies think it’s bad, but trust me: power management has come a long way. There is still so much more that can be done, yes, but if the amount of OEM batteries I have carried over time is an indication of the progress we have made (three down to zero), I think we can gently tap ourselves on the back. It wasn’t too long ago that I foreswore devices with non-user serviceable batteries; my last two devices actually had/have sealed batteries. Go figure… having a device that lasts 24 hours on one charge might not be that futuristic after all. Still, being prepared is the name of today’s mobile game, and this is why external batteries seem to be the most talked about mobile accessories. Finding device-specific cases that double as external power sources is also an option, and the enCharge Power Jacket Case looks like the tool many a user could get used to… as a semi-permanent tool or ad-hoc solution. –Tre Lawrence

Empire Run

 
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Will Empire Run be different enough to stand out from all the other endless runners out there? Endless runners need to pack some great content to be noticeable in the Google Play Store. Either that or they must have a great theme or graphical appeal to have a chance to be downloaded. Because there are lots of endless runners out there. Perhaps to much – but that is for another rainy day. The endless runner Empire Run is a game that does things right: it has a very nice graphical style and offers some nice gameplay tweaks, in its attempt not to be overlooked by the public. –Wesley Akkerman

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer played Angry Birds Transformers (and discovered the best pause screen in a mobile game), found 24 amazing iOS puzzlers, figured out how to downgrade from iOS 8 to iOS 7, made a gamebook, reviewed Anomaly Defenders, and reviewed the new Super Smash Bros game. Read all of this, and more, right here.

I’m going to be straight you with folks. I don’t know much about MOBAs, and I’m certainly no professional. That means I don’t know how well Vainglory, the upcoming multiplayer online battle arena showcased in the most recent Apple keynote, compares to titans like League of Legends or DotA 2 in terms of depth and control. However, in this edition of It Came From Canada – Philippines Edition, what I can say is that it certainly has the ambition to be king of the mobile MOBAs.

Even to someone like me, the specifics of this gigantic genre have become pretty well-known by now. Two teams, in this case with three members each, attempt to destroy their opponents’ home base by making it through lanes full of powerful turrets and endless waves of disposable grunt soldiers. Players choose from a handful of heroes with their own personalities and moves to master – like the sadistic sword wielder Catherine, rambunctious catgirl Koshka, and shambling Monty Python-quoting zombie warrior Krul. Fast melee-focused characters obviously require different strategies compared to slow spellcasters, and forming those plans is where much of the tactical depth comes from.

vainglory (3)Fortunately, the game is very accommodating to newcomers. The extensive tutorial goes over basics like what to buy at the shop and why it’s important to not die and give your foes a bonus. It also familiarizes players with the single map and important sites to capture like special monsters that strengthen minions once defeated. It’s a lot to take in, from knowing when to hide in the bushes to the concept of “the jungle,” and that’s before it even gets to character-specific traits. But since this is all the game is, it’s good that there’s a lot to it. Players can also practice at any time and discover how surprisingly nuanced the touch controls are – letting them set waypoints, launch strings of attacks, and tell heroes what spots to avoid.

vainglory (7)Vainglory also just looks fantastic thanks to the new “Metal” iOS 8 API. Yeah, the art style still betrays the fact that this entire sub-genre descends from a mod of a Blizzard game, but the details, effects, animations, and smoothness of play actually do resemble a higher-end PC release from a developer of that caliber. Along with giving players new options to explore, unlocking characters from the marketplace also provides something new and pleasant to look at for a match.

Since Vainglory isn’t out in most territories yet, so finding a match was a little difficult. Although once it fully launches soon, that shouldn’t be a problem. Again, I’m not the one who can tell if it will succeed in the highly profitable but contentious MOBA space, but it’s definitely an impressive attempt.



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