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Blake Grundman

Contributing Writer with the 148Apps Network since August 16, 2010

Mild mannered programmer by day; gamer, podcaster, and writer by night. Blake is a staff writer for 148Apps, as well as the Managing Editor at GamesAreEvil.com. He also co-hosts and produces the EvilCast Recap podcast with fellow gaming junkies Ross Polly, Keri Honea, and Chris Nitz.

Connect with Blake via:
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Email :: blake.grundman@148apps.com
Personal site :: http://www.gamesareevil.com
FIFA 15 Ultimate Team Review

FIFA 15 Ultimate Team Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
This season, EA Sports has decided to offer up a more bite-sized portion of the FIFA experience. Unfortunately it still feels like something is missing.

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Almightree: The Last Dreamer Review

Almightree: The Last Dreamer Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Can this Zelda-inspired platformer reach new heights of success?

Read The Full Review »
The Walking Dead Pinball Review

The Walking Dead Pinball Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Zen Studios is at it again, taking a property that would never seem to work as a pinball table and turning it into an "must play."

Read The Full Review »
Madden NFL Mobile Review

Madden NFL Mobile Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
It looks like EA Sports has finally discovered how to tread the line between free-to-pay and pay-to-win. Simply put, they finally figured it out.

Read The Full Review »
They Need To Be Fed 3 Review

They Need To Be Fed 3 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Sequels often fall prey to the success of their predecessors. Sadly, this is another unfortunate case.

Read The Full Review »
The Firm Review

The Firm Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Trading stock isn't for the faint of heart, be sure to have an effective exit plan.

Read The Full Review »
King of Fighters ’98 Review

King of Fighters ’98 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
This "Best of" version of the King of Fighters series packs a serious punch, as long as you have a bluetooth controller at your disposal.

Read The Full Review »
Urban Trial Freestyle Review

Urban Trial Freestyle Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A rough ride that has trouble keeping its wheels on the track.

Read The Full Review »

Real Boxing’s New Combo Update is a Knockout

Posted by on July 18th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Put up your dukes! The folks over at Vivid Games are proud to announce the newest update to their 2012 Editor’s Choice garnering boxing simulator, Real Boxing.

The appropriately titled, “Combo Update,” adds a whole new brawling mechanic to the player’s arsenal. Successfully landing six consecutive punches from alternating sides will unlock a stamina boost that allows for up to three additional strikes. This should hopefully help simulate the adrenaline boost that a fighter would get when pummeling an opponent into submission.

Real Boxing usually costs $0.99, but it is currently on sale in the App Store for free. So be sure to not miss out on this limited time offer.

via: Our Review

Hearthstone Has a New Expansion Pack Incoming

Posted by on July 18th, 2014
iPad Only App - Designed for iPad

For those of you that are already shamelessly addicted to Blizzard’s interactive trading card combat game and Editor’s Choice recipient Hearthstone, the siren’s call is about to get much stronger. Touch Arcade is reporting that this coming Tuesday, the title will be getting its first of what will undoubtedly be many expansion packs.

Entitled, “Curse of Naxxramas,” the new content will be broken up into five chunks that can be purchased piecemeal for a beefy $24.99. If that sounds a bit steep for your liking, there are also options to unlock pieces using the in-game gold, and supplementing whatever is left of the cost with real cash. 

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is an iPad only app and free from the App Store right now.

Hearthstone

source: Touch Arcade
Civilization Revolution 2 Review

Civilization Revolution 2 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Is a new 3D coat of paint worth spending $14.99? In this case, probably not...

Read The Full Review »

We hope you’re all ready for a firefight, because the Overkill franchise is coming back for a third dose of action this summer. Craneball Studios‘ new teaser trailer for the upcoming Overkill 3 features more of the futuristic shooting that fans have come to expect from the series, only this time in third-person.

Though details are scant as of yet, you can definitely spot appearances from drones, gun emplacements, and the remnants of toppling skyscrapers in the footage. So essentially it looks like business as usual, right? 

Start stockpiling your ammo now, because this is the kind of conflict that players won’t want to miss.

Now that the sequel to the widely lauded Civilization Revolution is finally upon us, it seems high time to fill you all in on the best ways to lay siege to the world for a second time. But as any diehard Civilization fan already knows, the long and winding road to victory can be fraught with countless twists and turns. Hopefully, if you take a few of these hints to heart, you might be able to alleviate a few of those first devastating defeats.

Research Unlocks All Doors

IMG_1281
No matter what the objective in the specific scenario being played, research will eventually be the key to success. Here are a trio of key research concepts to keep in mind as the battle progresses:

  • In many cases, the other civilizations on the map are slow to expand outward. Take advantage of that time to pour extra gathering units into pulling in as many research points as possible early on. You will reap the benefits as the eras advance.
  • Though the game does tout its ability to shift gears throughout the research trees, it is still best to put focus one specific area, with specific end goals in sight. Only after exhausting one avenue of advancement in an era is it really beneficial to branch out into other paths.
  • There are great late-game payouts for each research tree, so make sure to check out the flowchart and find the payouts that will best compliment your playstyle.

The Evolving Role of Cities

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As mentioned before, early on it is best to pour the most resources into research. But as time progresses and more cities are added to the empire, the roles of each province should change.

  • When more settlements are added to the empire, don’t be afraid to move the production of battle or defensive units out towards the borders. Unless roads link the entire empire, transporting units towards the front lines become far more cumbersome than necessary.
  • It is best to use the more internally located cities as resource mines for pulling in additional research points. The benefits of these advancements can then flow outward, further powering expansion
  • As cities expand away from the capitol, don’t be afraid to change the production role of a city to better match its geographical location on the map. Try to think about what resources in the area are most beneficial to the whole of the country and if the location should be more focused on offense, or defending the core of the empire
  • Don’t feel the need to establish settlements as soon as settlers become available. There is nothing wrong with idling these units until a more suitable location is found. Under most circumstances, patience will lead to far more beneficial locations becoming available from either a resource gathering or tactical sense.

Tactics Evolved

IMG_1275
Despite the game offering up to four different ways to win a match (cultural, economic, conquest, or scientific) it will be pretty much impossible to win without some form of moderate combat. When heading into battle, it may be best to keep the following things in mind:

  • Get rid of warriors as soon as possible. They are quasi-useful early on when grouped into armies of 3 units, but their effectiveness wanes quickly.
  • Evolve unit production along with technology. Don’t be afraid to move away from tried and true unit types you rode heavily (in the case of cavalry units, quite literally) early on in the campaign. All of the enemies will be doing the same, so don’t be the one bringing a catapult to a tank battle.
  • Don’t be afraid to sacrifice a unit or two if you don’t have any scouts available. There is nothing wrong with sending one of the worthless warriors you have hanging around to the slaughter if it means you will be able to get a read on the level of your opposition. Sometimes it is better to lose a level one troop instead of a mid-level army that could be more effectively used elsewhere. After all, warriors are much cheaper and quicker to produce than the disposable spy units.
  • Don’t forget to cover your back. Any city that doesn’t have at least one troop stationed within its borders is ripe for the conquering. This is essential to not lose sight of when in the throes of rapid expansion. An unprotected city is essentially like leaving the front door unlocked for anyone to walk in and claim for themselves.
  • As empires become less centralized, consider using roads as a way to ‘hotlink’ provinces for quickly transferring resources and troops. In the long run it can make the difference between victory and defeat.

Above all else, Civilization Revolution 2 will consistently provide a different experience for every single match. Don’t chain yourself to one specific play style, and you will ultimately be able to harvest far more hours of enjoyment than those intent on pigeonholing themselves into a gameplay corner. So get out there and explore; there’s plenty more to learn and enjoy!

$14.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2014-07-02 :: Category: Games

Chuck E. Cheese’s Skate Universe Skates its Way Onto the App Store

Posted by on July 7th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Everyone’s favorite pizza peddling rodent has managed to sneak out of the midway and invade an iOS device near you. In Chuck E. Cheese’s Skate Universe, the mousy mascot takes a Temple Run-esque skateboard ride while dodging, jumping, and ollie-ing his way to safety.

This free title not only acts as an advertisement for the popular food chain, but also allows players to rack up as many as 1,000 tickets in-game that can be redeemed toward actual midway prizes! Cue children pleading their parents to make a pizza run in 3… 2… 1…

Chuck E. Cheese’s Skate Universe is available for free as a universal app right now.

Chuck0Chuck1

DeNA Brings the Pain With Super Battle Tactics

Posted by on July 7th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Years after the Advanced War series successfully melded the world of heavy artillery combat with mobile gaming, DeNA is taking their own whack at the turn-based strategy genre. In their newly debuted game, Super Battle Tactics, players get to build up an impressive armory of tanks and then face off against the competition.

This free-to-play experience revolves around upgrading and purchasing new vehicles, while also performing well strategically in the arena of combat. Successful performances help to attract sponsors, which in-turn brings in the revenue necessary to build out an amazing arsenal. Mix in some social networking features just for good measure, and this may be a recipe for mayhem inducing success.

Super Battle Tactics is now available for free in the iOS App Store as a universal app.

Ravensburger Puzzle Puts its Pieces Together as a Universal Version

Posted by on July 3rd, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

In real life, figuring out jigsaw puzzles can be an extremely challenging task. Now imagine attempting to do that without the aid of being able to physically touch the pieces! Yet somehow, against all odds, Ravensburger Puzzle managed to pull of the digitization of matching in a very convincing manner.

Now that the game has established itself as a top 5 iPad app in over 20 markets, it was only a matter of time before they attempted to do the same for the iPhone. Today, Ravensburger Digital is pleased to inform us that the most recent version 1.3 update transforms the title into a Universal App. Best of luck to all of you phone-based matchers, because you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Ravensburger Puzzle is available on the App Store for $2.99.

screen520x924

via: OUR REVIEW
Magick Review

Magick Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Players learn how to be a wizard in this entertaining coming-of-age platforming experience.

Read The Full Review »

Three years to the day, after it initially launched on the App Store, it was announced that the Editor’s Choice award winning Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer will be getting a brand new in-app expansion pack. As part of an extended partnership between Ascension creators Stone Blade Entertainment and publisher Playdek, the expansion Rise of Vigil is set to debut on iOS this summer.

As part of this agreement Playdek is committed to maintaining the current online infrastructure (no fretting over the possible loss of multiplayer anymore, yay!), including cross-platform multiplayer functionality. But wait, isn’t Ascension currently iOS-exclusive, you say? Well our friends over at AndroidRundown have plenty to be excited about too, because shortly after the new expansion lands on the App Store, the title will be launching on both PC and Android for the first time.

For now though, you can brush up on your deck building skills by downloading Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer for free on the App Store.

via: Our Review

There is nothing more irritating than when your phone runs out of juice. It is even worse when this happens while on the road. But what if there were a way to constantly have juice on-hand, without needing a handful of different charging devices? The over 6,000 people who Kickstarted the new product, Jump, have felt your pain and have the perfect solution.

Available for a mere $49.99 from BiteMyApple.co, the Jump is a hybrid battery pack/charger for iPhone 5/5S/5C that can either provide a pass-through charge from an electrical source or 3 hours of talk time from the on-board 800 mAh battery. This intelligent charger even waits until the iDevice’s battery is full before charging the booster.

Best of all, the product still performs perfectly as a sync cable as well. Move quick, because with impressive features like these, the Jump isn’t going to stay in stock for long.

Jump3_large

via: Jump Product Page on BiteMyApple

Turn Screenshots into a Shopping List with SnapUp

Posted by on July 1st, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Nowadays mobile shopping is becoming the norm. The problem is that there are too few websites that put a premium on a fantastic shopping experience on the phone. That is where the new app SnapUp comes into play.

Designed as the perfect way to quickly compile a list of products, SnapUp melds an iOS device’s screenshot functionality with a streamlined shopping interface. Users can even share and monitor products, all from the comfort of their iOS device.

Oh, and did we mention that SnapUp also has the ability to provide real-time price drop push notifications on “snapped” products? No wonder it was able to secure $600,000 in venture capital funding before the software even launched!

SnapUp is available now on the App Store for free.

LINE: Disney Tsum Tsum Expands its Japanese Brand Globally and At Retail

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

Some of the most successful gaming properties in history were born in Japan. That is why we immediately jump and take notice when, of all people, Disney announced that they were expanding the launch of the extremely successful Japanese puzzle title Line: Disney Tsum Tsum, globally. The game quickly climbed to #1 on the Japanese puzzle charts shortly after launch, and the game’s publisher LINE, are no doubt hoping that it now does the same worldwide.

In tandem with the launch of the game, the Disney Store is pleased to announce that they are now stocking a series of plush, Tsum Tsum characters.

The adorable LINE: Disney Tsum Tsum is available now on the App Store for free.

TsumTsum

Disney’s Getting into the Kart Racing Business with Disney XD Grand Prix

Posted by on June 27th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

It only seemed like a matter of time before this would happen. First Mario, then Sonic, and now Disney XD all have their own kart racing games. The rather obviously named Disney XD Grand Prix will place players behind the wheel with some of their favorite characters like Phineas, Lord Hater, Dipper, and even Steve the Llama.

Featuring tracks, power-ups and even vehicles themselves, all ripped directly from the Disney universe, this is the perfect way for everyone’s inner child to feel the need for speed.

For a limited time, Disney XD Grand Prix will be available for only $0.99 – a full 60% off of its base price! Be sure to move quick, because before you know it, the game will be return to its full price of $2.99.

First Strike Update Sets Sights on iPhone

Posted by on June 27th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

There comes a time in every app’s life when it has to learn to spread its wings and leave the nest. Thanks to First Strike‘s version 1.1 update, that time has finally arrived for budding warmongers everywhere, as it makes its first appearance on the iPhone.

Along with the switch in screen space the game has also gone through a series of changes that run the gamut from adding in new super-weapons to the ability to toggle the “fast play” functionality and a brand new highlighting system. Oh, and don’t forget about the usual collection of bugfixes and performance optimizations that also help round out this fantastic patch.

First Strike is available now as a Universal app for $3.99.

via: OUR REVIEW
Whac A Mole Review

Whac A Mole Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Mole mashing monotony in its purest concentrated form

Read The Full Review »

Magnetized Celebrates Developer’s Birthday with Tiered Sale

Posted by on June 27th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Despite the fact that birthdays are commonly for receiving gifts, Magnetized‘s developer Rocky Hong has decided to turn the table and do some gift-giving of his own. In an interesting new approach to sales, the indie developer plans on holding a week-long tiered sale, where the price increases over the span of seven days.

Starting today (June 27), Magnetized will be made available on the App Store for free. On Sunday, June 29, the price will climb to $0.99, followed by a second jump to $1.99 on Tuesday, July 1. The moral of the story is “the early bird catches the worm.”

Hopefully Rocky has just as great of a birthday as he is giving to his consumers.

via: Our Review

Parking Mania’s Lot Just Expanded with a 2.0 Update

Posted by on June 26th, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

For those still wanting to indulge their inner desires for more mobile driver’s education, Parking Mania has a treat for you! Almost five years after the title’s original release, the game has finally made the jump to version 2.0!

Talk about adding value; the newest update includes an additional 45 levels. This brings the game to a grand total of 175 stages of vehicular navigating madness. But that’s not all! This update revamps many other aspects of the game including the visuals, some of the core mechanics, and the inclusion of a leaderboard system that links up with your Facebook friends list.

Parking Mania is available now as an iPhone-focused app for $0.99.

Parking Mania_5

Marcus Level Review

Marcus Level Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Running from left to right and rescuing a princess. Why does that sound so familiar?

Read The Full Review »
Star Wars Scene Maker Review

Star Wars Scene Maker Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Storytelling at its best. When it comes from your own mind.

Read The Full Review »

Smule’s Magic Piano Makes the Musical World a Little Bit Smaller

Posted by on June 25th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

It is always kind of neat when developers find ways to cross streams with their different pieces of software. The most recent update to Magic Piano is a perfect example of that, melding the world of keyboard with another Smule property, Sing! Karaoke.

In their aptly named “Sing! Jams” update, Magic Piano now has the ability to give players the ultimate karaoke experience by providing a voice accompaniment track from actual people playing in Smule’s singing counterpart title. So beware fellow songbirds. The tunes you belt out from the comfort of your own iOS device may be shared with a stranger across the globe!

Magic Piano (v7.0) is available as a universal app on the App Store for free.

When it comes to communicating with fans, sometimes the comments section on a blog post or YouTube video just won’t cut it. For those that want to forge a stronger relationship with their audience, several former YouTube executives including the likes of Michael Todd, Bing Chen, and Dean Gilbert have joined together to create Victorious.

But what is “Victorious,” you ask? It is a platform for reaching out to fans in a variety of different ways, with an emphasis on mobile interactions. The main idea is that content creators will be able to engage in an open dialog with their fans. The most intriguing part is that communication will be a two way street, where fans will be able to talk back just as freely with the rest of the community.

While details are scant as of now, it is exciting to see what some of biggest names in media have cooked up to revolutionize the world of mobile promotion. We will have plenty more details on Victorious’ plans as they become available, soon.

victorious

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