Founder and former Editor-in-Chief with the 148Apps Network since July 16, 2008
Hi there, I'm the founder and publisher of this site, the best gosh-darn iPhone site this side of Mars. My team and I do our very best to bring you the best reviews and iPhone news every day. If you think there's something we've missed, let me know.
iOS is yet to have its cornerstone first-person shooter franchise. While it has a couple of really good ones from Gameloft and a few good ports from older games, we have yet to see a truly deep and original mobile-first FPS franchise. Especially one that takes advantage of the touch screen and doesn’t just try to adapt button controls to a screen. In short, iOS needs it’s Halo. Industrial Toys might be the people to do it.
Let me clear this up. There is no shortage of first-person shooters on iOS. Gameloft has released some really good ones like NOVA 3 and Modern Combat. We’ve even seen classics like Doom and Call of Duty ported. But the fault these all have is they were conceived on or derived from controller-based shooters. This invariably leads to problems when playing, no matter how good the controls. Thumbs will always cover important parts of the screen, they will slip from the correct virtual control. And for FPS vets, the most important factor: touch controls are slower as it takes time to look at the virtual buttons.
Ben Cousin’s Scattered Entertainment released The Drowning last year, which hoped to be exactly this. Tremendous amounts of thought went into the game and it’s original control scheme, yes, and it was developed exclusively for touch screens. But it just didn’t take. It was not well received by the press or users. There is still some hope for The Drowning as a franchise, but it seems unlikely at this point.
I’m also not saying that I want Halo on iOS. What I want is an original franchise, conceived for and developed for touch screens and connected devices. One with a deep original storyline, endless multiplayer capabilities, perfect controls for a touch device, and a future. No matter how how close others have come, we just don’t have that. Yet.
This is where the team from Industrial Toys comes in. This LA-based company certainly has the chops to make a killer FPS franchise for iOS. The company was founded by Bungie co-founder/co-creator of Halo Alex Seropian and Tim Harris (Denuo, Alley Cat Comics). Their team for this project includes superstars of music, art, and story; including comic artist Mike Choi (Marvel/DC) and author John Scalzi (Old Man’s War, Redshirts). Seems like they have the talent they need and our first look at their upcoming Midnight Star game shows great promise.
The first experience most will have with the game will be through the interactive comic, Midnight Rises. This comic ties in with two-way communication to Midnight Star. The story, set 120 years from now, starts when first contact is made from outer space. The interactive comic will lead the reader through the build up to the launch of the USSM Joplin, the craft fitted to communicate and intercept the source of the signal. Along the way the story will introduce the characters in the game and provide backstory.
The comic app will also provide potential players the ability to pick up items that can be used in the game. And this is just the tip of what make this dual app approach so interesting. The choices made in the story app influence the characters in the game. And progress in the game unlocks new parts of the story in the comic app. It will be interesting to see how such an integrated dual app approach works out.
Midnight Star starts off after something has gone wrong and the crew of the Joplin is fighting an alien force, as the story of what happened unfolds. The game features a new take on touch controls for a first-person shooter that looks quite good, even in the pre-release build I saw. It also features nearly endless multiplayer capabilities both in the form of friend challenges and leaderboard type challenges.
In one of the most original forms of asynchronous multiplayer, a player can create a challenge for other players – either friends or open to all. That challenge can be a speed run, high score, accuracy, or other challenge on a particular level in the game that lasts for a set amount of time. Each player that accepts the challenge enters an amount of in-game currency set by the originator into the pot with the top players in the challenge splitting the winnings.
Melee type combat has been a sticking point for touch games. How to accurately and quickly they make the player react has generally been less than perfect. With Midnight Star, melee will take for form of quick reactionary tapping of on screen symbols. Each symbol will need to be touched a designated number of times in a certain amount of time to ward off the attack.
Progressing will provide new weapons and parts to upgrade current weapons. The game is clearly set up to be a free to play game, but at least in my limited experience with it this doesn’t seem to get in the way of the gameplay.
Looking at the screenshots included with this post doesn’t really do it justice. Industrial Toys are not ready to release in-game video just yet, but this Unreal built game looks amazing with very smooth gameplay. Here’s the previously released teaser trailer.
Is Midnight Star the Halo-like franchise I think iOS so desperately needs? It would be presumptuous to say yes at this point, but I have hope. It will certainly be a huge step in the right direction. The guys at Industrial Toys are very experienced in the area and committed to the idea of bringing a Halo-like experience to touch screens.
Look for Midnight Rises (the interactive story) in the spring, and the game Midnight Star soon after. We’ll have more news on Midnight Star as it develops.
We are proud to announce the nominees for the 6th Annual Best App Ever Awards. The awards that celebrate the best apps available, not just the best selling. This year we saw an amazing response with over 809,000 nominations submitted for three thousand unique apps!
Voting is now open and will remain open through March 15th, 2014. Winners will be announced in late March during the Macworld/iWorld Expo in San Francisco, CA. Further details on that are to come.
Posted by Jeff Scott on January 15th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
News Republic has just been updated to 4.0. The update adds a new One Feed view showing the top news from all subscribed topics in one view along with a fresh new look. News Republic has long been a great option for keep track of key news items in topics of interest, but this update adds even more brains to the process as it learns what the reader views and presents related items more often in your topic feeds.
The nomination have been flowing in like crazy for the 6th annual Best App Ever Awards. We have already received over half a million nominations but there are still three days left to submit your favorite apps and games for nomination. Head on over to http://www.bestappever.com/ios to start nominating now.
The Best App Ever Awards were started to help recognize the best and brightest games available, not the best selling. If you have a game or app that you are passionate about, yet rarely receives the recognition it deserves, this is a great way to give them that recognition. Take a moment and head on over to http://www.bestappever.com/ios, find the corresponding category, and nominate it now. Nominations close at the end of the day (Pacific time) on the 15th of January.
“An iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator. These are not three separate devices, this is one device. And we are calling it iPhone. Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone”. – Steve Jobs, iPhone introduction Macworld Keynote, January 9th, 2007
It was a day that changed what we thought of Apple, Steve Jobs, and what a mobile phone could be. It’s a day that changed my life forever as it launched me down the path toward a career reporting on these little trouser Macs. And it was, perhaps, Steve Jobs most awesome moment. Relive it below.
Now in it’s 10th year, the International Mobile Gaming Awards is in the final days of accepting submissions for their annual awards. Just a quick reminder to submit your mobile games to the awards before January 16th. (Disclosure, the author is a member of the IMGA jury)
The Annual Awards Ceremony will be held in San Francisco as part of a one day event including pitching sessions, reception, ceremony, and party. If you want to participate as a developer this year, here are a few things you need to know:
Games can be nominated if released after January 1st, 2013 or are yet to be published. Developers will get the chance to apply to participate in the ‘pitching session’ just before the awards ceremony on March 18 in San Francisco. This will give developers the chance to get feedback from journalists and leading publishers.
Apple reported today that the App Store topped $10 billion in sales in the 2013 calendar year with over one billion brought in during December alone.
“We’d like to thank our customers for making 2013 the best year ever for the App Store,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “The lineup of apps for the holiday season was astonishing and we look forward to seeing what developers create in 2014.”
Also mentioned by Apple in their press release, developers have now earned (minus Apple’s 30% cut) over $15 billion in revenue from app sales and in-app purchases. Hit the jump for the full release.
So, some readers were super good this year and Santa left a new iPad Air or iPhone 5c under the tree? Well it’s time to get rid of those old iPhone and iPad that were replaced (thanks Santa). We’ve teamed up with the fine folks at Newaya to get a special deal for you, our readers; 10% over their already great prices.
I recently used Newaya to trade in a whole bunch of old iPhones and found that even without this special deal, Newaya had the best prices around. With the extra 10%, it’s fantastic. Here’s how it works.
1) head to Newaya
2) Click “Get My Quote”
3) Navigate to the device to sell
4) Select the condition of the phone
5) Click the big green button, “Get My Instant Quote”
This will show the price of the device without the extra 148App reader bonus 10%. To get that bonus, look for the promo code field at the bottom of the box, click it and enter 148appsreader and press enter. Then, bingo, and extra 10%.
Finish up the process giving shipping info and Newaya will send a shipping label, yup, they even pay for the shipping. Box up your devices, attach that label and send it off. A few days later an email asking for details on how you want your payment will magically appear. It’s like free money! Well, almost.
2013 has been a great year for apps. We’ve seen both an explosion of productivity apps and a great number of new deeper games. While King and Supercell owned the top grossing charts, hundreds of other apps found place of prominence on the App Store and in our daily lives. As the year winds down, the writers here at 148Apps are taking a look back at the year in apps including what we liked and how we used them to change our lives.
Some Staff Favorite Apps and Games
2013-12-26 – 148Apps’ Staff Discusses Their Favorite Underappreciated Games – It’s easy to list off the best games of 2013, and often such lists contain a lot of crosstalk between different publications. So this year, instead of just giving off another similar list of the best games of the year, our staff has decided to talk about their favorite games of the year that might not have been the best sellers or the most popular. In no particular order, this is our list of some of our favorite under-appreciated games of 2013.
2013-12-27 – Online multiplayer gaming for iOS has come into its own over the years, however it’s not all about playing against random strangers over the internet. Campbell Bird takes a moment to highlight the Top 10 Local Multiplayer Games (mostly) from 2013, and the entries are definitely worth a look.
2013-12-27 – With the increased number of young children getting their hands on iOS devices, it’s only natural to want to call out some notable software that caters to a younger audience. Amy Solomon goes one better and provides a list of Noteworthy Children’s Apps that will entertain, and give worn-out parents a few minutes of peace in an otherwise busy day.
2013-12-30 – Andrew Stevens, on the other hand, recently rediscovered arcade/action games on iOS. Specifically of the shooter and musical variety. Check out his List of Favorite SHMUPS and Rhythm Games, and feel free to weigh in with your own favorites.
2013-12-30 – Minecraft has become a genre all its own at this point. Well it’s faster than saying “open-world sandbox adventure game,” anyway. That’s why Rob Rich went and picked out some of 2013’s best in his selection of The Year’s Best Minecraftlikes.
2014-1-1 – It’s been interesting to watch as iOS developers become more comfortable with the platform and begin to play around with an assortment of mechanics and concepts we probably couldn’t see anywhere else. Lucy Ingram agrees, and has put together a list of The Most Distinct Apps and Games of the Year; apps and games that really stand-out in terms of presentation, functionality, interfaces, and more.
2013-12-27 – Arron Hirst takes a look at the year for Apple. Highs and lows, staff changes, new products, and more. “It’s pretty fair to say that 2013 has been an incredible year for Apple. With the company’s stock price currently reflecting upwards of $550 a share, it’s clear that investors have renewed faith in the firm’s ability to deliver on its mission to create some of the world’s most desirable products.”
2013-12-27 – With so many weekly releases on the App Store, we’re bound to be some exceptional apps and games. It’s the Law of Averages, really. Chris Kirby takes stock of some of our Highest Rated Apps and Games of 2013, and it’s a fairly robust mix.
2013-12-30 – This year also saw a number of releases that embraced the iOS platform rather than trying to rely on more conventional mechanics adapted for touch screens. Jennifer Allen highlights many of The App Store’s Experimental Gaming Gems of the Year, which makes for quite an impressive collection of atypical games.
2013-12-31 – Lee Hamlet takes a moment to reflect on the state of digital comics and the iPad when he analyzes The Dynamic Duo of Digital Comics and iOS. It’s been an interesting year for comics from major and minor publishers alike, and it looks as though their presence on tablets is only going to get stronger.
2014-1-1 – 2013 was a good year for many developers, but perhaps none so much as Simogo. Carter Dotson examines the unlikely duo of Year Walk and Device 6, and explains why they’re so significant. Aside from just being awesome, of course.
2014-1-1 – What better way to close out our look back at 2013 than with an actual look back at 2013? Chris Kirby highlights a few of 148Apps’ developer spotlights, hardware reviews, and videos of Carter Dotson squaring off against developers in their own games. Our conclusion? It was definitely a good year.
How We Use Apps
2013-12-26 – Documenting Your Year With iOS Photography Apps – For the past two years Jennifer Allen has been recording her with photographs. Every day, she’s taken a photograph with her iPhone before sharing it via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Let’s take a look at how and why she does it.
2013-12-31 – Happy New Year’s Resolution: Fitness Apps for All! – Many, many people ring in the New Year with resolutions, and a lot of those resolutions involve getting into shape or trying to be healthier. Stacy Barnes takes the idea and runs with it (fitness jokes, ha!), giving you a selection of get-in-shape apps from 2013 to get you in the exercising mood.
2013-12-26 – While free to play games grabbed all the headlines, Carter Dotson recaps why core games had such a great year on iOS. “Think mobile is all about free-to-play and casual? Then you haven’t played these games.”
2013-12-26 – Editor Rob Rich weighs in on the remarkable number of quality ports of games to iOS in the last year. He remarks, “as I began to think back on the year one major theme kept popping into my head: the increased power of mobile hardware and the way it’s been used to create some truly impressive adaptations of games from other platforms.”
Posted December 19th, 2013 by Jeff Scott Our Rating:
A decent budget set of Bluetooth headphones with an innovative feature that allows two pairs to listen to the same source. The build quality, comfort, and sound quality are just not quite there though.
Posted December 18th, 2013 by Jeff Scott Our Rating:
If users need to go wireless and love earbuds, this is a compact and great option. The sound is good and the battery life is better than expected given the overall size. Earbud size may be a problem for some.
Posted by Jeff Scott on December 18th, 2013 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Camera+, one of the favored camera replacement apps with over ten million copies sold has gotten a HUGE update in version 5.0. First and foremost is the new iOS 7 look and interface refinements throughout the app. Also included now are a host of photo editing features under the banner of Lab which allow quick yet robust changes to your photos. The new lab features include:
At the head of The Lab you’ll find Clarity Pro, which gives you adjustable Clarity and also adds a Vibrancy Boost adjustment which really brings out the life in your photos.
Not only can you manually straighten your photos in The Lab… we’ve also included a slick auto-straighten feature.
Easily tone your photos whatever color you please. Go just a tad to set a subtle mood, all-out to make a bold statement, or anything in-between. And if you’re having a hard time choosing a color, simply roll the dice to get a random one… will it come up lucky seven or snake eyes??
This takes the Tint adjustment and brings it to a whole other level. Try it. We’ll leave it at that.
Give your photos a beautiful, ethereal quality with Soft Focus. This one’s addictive so promise not to overuse it, ok?
For the look of analog film. Fully adjustable so you can get the exact look you want.
This can often be the answer to a photo that came out a bit blurry.
Soften harsh pics. Or go to the extreme to make the perfect iOS 7 wallpapers. More on this later…
Take it down for a cool, faded look. Or crank it up to make your pics pop.
Easily enables you to make your pics look “warmer” or “cooler”. It can be used for a simple compensation, or turned way up for a bold look.
Photo overexposed? Underexposed? This is the fix.
Brightness & Contrast
Two classic photo adjustments. You’d think that not much needs to be said about these two… but we went out of our way to make them look really good.
Highlights & Shadows
Boost or cut the bright and/or dark parts of your photos. Compensate for imperfect lighting conditions, or go for an intense, artistic effect.
Top-off the perfect set of adjustments with a stylish Vignette. Not only can you put on a traditional dark one, you can also go light for an airy feel.
It’s become an annual tradition, in the run up to the end of year holidays app developers put their apps on sale in hopes of getting as much of that post holiday sales rush as possible. But even if there’s not an iTunes gift card waiting for us on Christmas morning, there are these great app sales available to all of us. Here’s our curated list of the best of the best iOS apps and games on sale. For a complete, unfiltered list, check out our in-depth Price Drops list which is updated constantly.
12/26, 9am – Updated (+49) – The post Christmas cookie coma is now over, there’s not a peanut butter blossom left in the house. But there are still app sales. Have at them — the App Store opens for changes tomorrow, many of these will go back to their normal prices.
12/20, 11am – Updated (+25) – A few more awesome games and apps have filtered in. Many via AppSanta.
12/20 – Updated (+85!) — More and more great app sales are showing up. From older items to brand new apps and games. This time we scoured our system and came up with another 85 great items.
12/19 – Updated (+38) — More great app and games on sale as more of the big guys get in on the fun. As always, grab these when you see them, they could go off sale at any moment.
12/18 – Updated (+27) — A few more interesting sale items popped in. Some classics and some new apps. Expect the deluge to hit on Friday, just before the iTunes Connect shutdown.
12/17 – First edition — EA is the first major publisher to kick it off with dozens of their games on sale. We’ve added a few of our favorites.
We are very proud to announce the launch of the 6th Annual Best App Ever Awards!
Now in the 6th year, the awards received over 5 million votes last year! The Best App Ever Awards were created to help bring attention to the favorite apps and games of the fans of iOS and Android devices, not the best selling. Each year fans help us pick the best apps and games in dozens of categories and award the developers well deserved praise.
The iOS award nominations will be open through January 15th, 2014. At that point we will tally the nominations and announce the final nominees for the 6th annual awards. Voting will open shortly after that.
The voting for the iOS awards will open on January 16th, 2014 and run through March 1st, 2014. The winners will be announced during the 2014 Macworld / iWorld Expo in San Francisco, March 27-29, 2014.
Posted by Jeff Scott on December 12th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Some of my favorite all time iOS games – made by Cat in a Box Games – have been updated for iOS 7, the iPhone 5 screen size, and Retina displays. Years after release, these games have remained some of my favorites. If you’ve never played them it’s a great time to pick them up and give them a spin now that they are all updated for the latest hardware.
Blue Defense was the first game released. It used the accelerometer in an interesting way; having the player rotate their phone 360 degrees to defend the blue planet in the center.
Blue Attack has the other end of the story with the blue side attacking the red invaders in their home land. Different control methods and unique game play.
Blue Defense: Second Wave! amps up the original title with new attacks and new fun. It’s a great place to start if you’ve never played any of the three.
Fastar! is a completely different game, a lightweight RPG and a ton of fun. [Editor’s Note: Yes! Fastar!]
Red Conquest is a new take on the Red/Blue storyline and is full blown real time strategy game. Deep and fun.
All great games and all worth supporting. It’s always nice to see a developer keep games like this alive by updating for the latest hardware and iOS versions.
Posted December 12th, 2013 by Jeff Scott Our Rating:
A fantastic drive for those willing to give up physical size and deal with a couple hiccups for storage space. This 1TB drive holds hundred of movies all streamable to any iOS device with the Seagate Media app.
Five and a half years after launch and with well over 60 billion downloads, the US App Store has reached the 1 million apps available for download. While Apple announced 1 million available apps at their last press event, that number was including apps available in all countries in the App Store. At that time no single country App Store had 1 million available apps.
With over 1 million available apps, Apple is still well ahead of the 880k+ available on the Google Play Store. In the history of the App Store, Apple has approved over 1.4 million apps with Google Play seeing just over a million approved apps.
The one million available for download mark has been verified with independent sites AppsFire and AppShopper.
Posted by Jeff Scott on November 29th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partners.
Reduced in price from $19.99, Polaris Office from Infraware is on sale for $0.99 right now. A Universal app, Polaris Office opens all standard Microsoft Office documents, on any iOS device. More from the developer:
POLARIS Office is a mobile office solution that allows users to view/edit MS Office documents on iPhone/iPad. Users can view/edit text files and view .pdf and .hwp files. POLARIS Office supports convenient features for mobile users such as direct opening of email attachments, cloud service, file manager and more.
View and edit MS Office documents / View .pdf and .hwp files / Interoperability with cloud storage services (Google Docs, Dropbox, Box.net, more cloud services will be available later) / 15 templates / 18 2D/3D charts / 80 figures / 300+ functions / Camera mode that allows photos to be directly applied to documents / Direct opening of zip files / Slideshow mode / Rotated animation effects for slideshows / Pointer and memo for slideshows / Slide note
It’s become a tradition. Overindulge in turkey and all of the wonderful sides that go with it, fall asleep watching a boring football game, then get up early the next day to buy a DVD player for $0.03 at the local big box store. Well good news, you don’t have to put your life in risk of being trampled by a horde of grandmas, you can stay home, eat a leftover turkey sandwich, and save a ton of money on the App Store.
Every year we search the App Store high and low for the best deals on the apps we love. This year is no different. Here’s our list, which we will update regularly all weekend.
12/2 – 8:15am — Here we are on Cyber Monday — the food coma has finally worn off and it’s time to get back to work. While I was passed out a few new app sales showed up and I updated the list as soon as I awoke. Now, where’s that coffee?
11/29 – 10:15pm — There’s an emergency here. We are out of pumpkin pie. We have plenty of whipped cream, but no pie to go with it. Too lazy to make or go buy more. Guess I’ll just find another 45 apps and games on sale for you. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll hunt and gather my way to the grocery store and buy another pie.
11/29 – 7:00am — Added another 90+ sale items. Whew, getting the sweats from the lack of turkey in the last 12 hours. Need a turkey omelet to start off the day I think.
11/27 – 12:00pm — Initial list of 45+ great apps and games on sale or free. Picking out my loosest pants for the feast tomorrow.
11/27 – 2:00pm — First update, another 45 great sale apps and games found. Turkey is in the beer brine, the best way to cook a turkey, getting ready for the big feast tomorrow.
A quick note about these sales. Some are on sale for just one day, some are on sale all weekend. If you see something you want on sale, best to grab it. And check back regularly through the weekend for new items which will always be at the top of the list.
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Lux Touch and Lux Dlx were a couple of the first Risk type games on the App Store. Updated today, they now include updated graphics and animation and new game modes. Both great options, Lux Touch is sort of a light version of Lux Dlx which has more maps to play. Give them a shot!