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Jordan Minor

Senior Writer with the 148Apps Network since August 19, 2011

Wordsmith. Northwestern Alum. Fan of video games. Fascinated with the internet.

Connect with Jordan via:
Twitter: @JordanWMinor
Email :: jordan.minor@148apps.com
Personal site :: http://www.JordansOB.blogspot.com
Furious Climber Review

Furious Climber Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Furious Climber's rough packaging can't ruin its awesomely awkward gameplay

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Ice Cream Nomsters Review

Ice Cream Nomsters Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Ice Cream Nomsters is too much labor and not enough love.

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With a brand new Star Wars trilogy on the horizon, prepare yourselves for Disney and George Lucas’s space fantasy throwback to be more omnipresent than ever before. So it should come as no surprise that new adventures in that galaxy far, far away are coming to mobile as well. The latest example? Star Wars: Commander. We check to see how strong the Force is with this upcoming strategy game in this edition of It Came From Canada!

As much as its creators try to deny it, Star Wars: Commander is Clash of Clans with the Star Wars license. Players begin as independent Tatooine mercenaries who have unfortunately gotten on the bad side of powerful gangster Jabba the Hutt. So to survive, players can either join the Empire as it continues conquering the galaxy or make friends with the Rebels heroically struggling for freedom. Whatever they choose, players then begin building their base and taking on missions.

star wars commander 6At their headquarters, players can upgrade new structures and droids to help bolster their forces. Depending on what faction they choose, hero units like Han Solo or giant death machines like AT-ATs will be at their command. With these units, players take on the light real-time strategy missions that make up the game’s single-player campaign. They can also ally with other players or launch offensives against them. However, that means they must remember to keep their own base safe as well by constructing defensive walls and turrets along with deploying strategic air strikes. The missions themselves are brief, easy, and mostly just focus on destruction, but it’s lame how any units brought in can never be used again even if they survive. It leads to needlessly conservative play.

star wars commander 8But again, all of this will be familiar to Clash of Clans players. This is mostly just an elaborate Star Wars skin. However, it is hard to deny how great a skin that is. The character models, sound effects, and musical cues are not only fantastic, but almost overwhelmingly nostalgic for the original trilogy.

If this is all part of the master plan to get people excited about Star Wars again, it’s working. Star Wars: Commander is currently in a soft launch phase and will coming to a galaxy near you very soon.

Swing Copters Review

Swing Copters Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The creator of Flappy Bird is back with a vengeance.

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At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, fans got the chance to meet and mingle with several of the artists behind Magic Pixel Games and Namco Bandai’s upcoming card battler, Outcast Odyssey. Considering many of these artists have worked on comics in the past it seemed appropriate, and it was also the first time they got to meet each other. We spoke with two of the artists, Warren Louw and Chuck Pires, about their careers, their work on the game, and how posting your drawings on the internet can lead to bigger and better things.

148Apps: How did you begin your careers as artists?
Warren Louw: I’m pretty much just a blend between East and West. My style is a combination of Western comic artists like J. Scott Campbell, Michael Turner, and Adam Hughes crossed with some of the artists from the Far East like Tetsuya Nomura’s work on Final Fantasy VII and VIII. and Takuji Kawano who did the art for Soulcalibur. In South Africa, I got to the point where I started developing a style that was being recognized globally. Eventually I was being contacted by the bigger companies out there and started getting my work published. Things just grew and grew from there.

Chuck Pires: Around 14 or 15 I got started mostly doing comic colors. There was a studio called Hi-Fi design that did work for Marvel at the time. They were looking for comic colorists to put some stuff online and at the time all I wanted in the world was to be published so I responded. It was all just separation work, basic colors and layout, anybody could do it. But for a 15 or 16-year-old kid it was my dream come true. That got me more interested in digital art.

Continue reading Outcast Odyssey – An Interview with the Artists Behind Namco Bandai’s Upcoming Card Battler »

It Came from Canada: Galaxy Dash

With its use of well-established tropes like endless flying and sci-fi space shooting, the upcoming Galaxy Dash: Race to the Outer Run most likely won’t confound expectations. However, with its robust amount of opportunities for fun player interactions it might just exceed them. We check out this new great space coaster in the latest edition of It Came From Canada!

Galaxy Dash has the typical infinite runner set-up: players control a ship and try to fly out as far as possible, hopping between the three lanes to avoid enemies and obstacles. But from that familiar framework, the game then introduces a lot of interesting small details that add up to something greater. For starters, players can shoot lasers to bring down bogeys or bust open gem-filled asteroids. However, the weapons need recharging so players must plan their shots carefully. Part of that includes paying attention to the snaking nature of the lanes. Shots always go out straight, but players themselves will be at the whim of their looping path. The way larger deadly asteroids casually intersect also adds to the cool feeling of naturalism.

galaxy dash 1galaxy dash 2But players’ options aren’t limited to pure offense. In between rounds, they can upgrade various aspects of their ship or purchase new models. One upgrade path lets players increase the speed of their shield, which charges throughout each run and can soak up a single hit. Or players can choose to upgrade their cargo. Each run is littered with crates – some lying out in the open and others attached to special enemies. Depending on their capacity, players can pick up these boxes and earn extra points by carrying them to the checkpoint outpost separating each section. Finally, players can recruit allies who leave special power-ups for them to find, like deadly double lasers. Tying Galaxy Dash‘s surprising amount of gameplay choices together is the clean, colorful art style. What looks to be cel-shading gives beautiful depth to images that could’ve seemed flat otherwise.

galaxy dash 3galaxy dash 4Again, Galaxy Dash won’t feel like some radically innovative experience once it fully launches – it does things players have seen before. However, it’s hard not to appreciate how well and how intelligently it executes those familiar ideas.

Who Wore it Best? takes a break from all the bloodshed to check out two decidedly tranquil and nature-loving puzzles games: Phantom Flower and And Then it Rained.

It Came From Canada: Scrap Force

When the evil alien invaders inevitably come, it’s pretty much guaranteed that only the pure innocent hearts of children can save us – or at least children as well-armed as the cast of “Attack the Block.” So we might as well start preparing now with Scrap Force, an upcoming turn-based strategy game where children use alien power to protect the planet with homemade weaponry. We find out just how much kids rule in this latest edition of It Came From Canada!

Scrap Force consists of a lengthy series of turn-based battles between plucky neighborhood kids and evil alien Obliteroids. Each match is one-on-one with two teams of six facing each other using three lanes that are two-units long. Players don’t create units, but rather draw from a shuffled group of heroes to place on the battlefield. At the start of each round, players and enemies are given an increasing amount of power shards. With more shards, stronger heroes can be summoned, so the match escalates no matter what.

scrap force 3The hero variety is really what gives Scrap Force its depth. Every new warrior has his or her own quirks to learn. Some can attack as soon as they are placed. Others steal power shards with each hit. Some kids can move in more directions while others just have more sheer strength. There are tons of strategies and counter-strategies to form using these unique abilities in concert. Skillfully balance these fighters to defeat alien foes and topple their base. Using items like bowling balls and hot dog dynamite helps, too. And with its simple 3D playground characters and environments, the whole thing has a neat Backyards Sports vibe. Except it’s galactic warfare instead of football.

scrap force 4In between rounds, players can summon new heroes and upgrade old ones with the scrap they’ve collected. Downtime isn’t optional either, since the game’s freemium timers keep players from just blasting through the campaign. That means players will be spending a lot of time with these child soldiers. But given what we’ve played so far, that might not be such a bad thing.

So be on the lookout for Scrap Force once it fully launches soon.

21 Dice Review

21 Dice Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
21 Dice is a diamond surrounded by a lot of rough.

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Celleste Review

Celleste Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Celleste's style can't save its tedious gameplay.

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Hey there, town-builders:
Want to know what we thought about the Ice Age team’s adventures in environmental preservation? Check out our Ice Age Adventures Review!

While we may have to wait a few years before the next ‘Ice Age’ movie, Ice Age Adventures lets fans pass the time with Sid, Manny, and Diego on the go. The great thaw has caused the world to crack, leaving friends stranded and the community in disarray. Here are some tips for saving everybody and making the village as good as new. Who else is going to rescue Ray Romano?

The Meltdown

ice age adventures 5
You’ll spend most of your time exploring the different islands for treasures and members of the village.

  • You’ll need to clear paths to get around. As your party expands, you’ll be able to clear more obstacles. Sid cuts trees, Manny tramples rocks, and Diego fights off enemy pirates. However, this also consumes your berry reserves faster.
  • Clearing paths gives you tons of shells – another currency for store. Finding clams, particularly golden clams, is also a great way to gain resources.
  • A few times a day you can enter the various caves on the islands. They provide everything from extremely valuable golden acorns to chances to rescue even more lost baby animals.
  • Rescuing a member of the herd typically involves playing a short mini-game like sledding downhill or solving a match-3 puzzle. Take them seriously though, because failure leads to a lengthy wait before the next chance to try again.
  • To unlock more parts of the map, you’ll occasionally have to gather items like vines and torches for friendly characters. Caves and shells are usually the best places to look. You’ll have to complete most of each island’s missions before moving onto the next one.
  • You can always go back to past islands to find things you may have missed or enter caves again for the chance to win more prizes.


    Continue reading Ice Age Adventures – Tips, Tricks, and Strategies for Keeping it Cool »

  • Ice Age Adventures Review

    Ice Age Adventures Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Ice Age Adventures is a like a greatest hits collection of casual iOS games.

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    High Five Hero Review

    High Five Hero Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    High Five Hero is a fun, but fleeting, ode to enthusiasm.

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    99 Challenges Review

    99 Challenges Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    99 Challenges is an okay way to torture yourself.

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    Super Scrapped Robot Review

    Super Scrapped Robot Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Super Scrapped Robot would feel right at home on a certain classic handheld.

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    Angels in the Sky Review

    Angels in the Sky Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Angels in the Sky is a technically impressive, but rigid and creatively soulless shooting gallery.

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    Mister Beam Review

    Mister Beam Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Mister Beam's puzzles are great. But its platforming? Not so much.

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    Angry Henry And The Escape From The Helicopter Lords: Part 17: The Re-Reckoning Review

    Angry Henry And The Escape From The Helicopter Lords: Part 17: The Re-Reckoning Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Angry Henry And The Escape From The Helicopter Lords: Part 17: The Re-Reckoning lives up to its name.

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    Fish & Shark Review

    Fish & Shark Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Fish & Shark's beauty is only scale deep.

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    Who Wore it Bests? answers the call of the wild and looks at two games with gun-toting animals: Crazy Dogs and Armed Beasts.

    If you go to a casino, you might make a lot of money. If you run a casino, you’re guaranteed to make a lot of money. The choice seems pretty obvious. So while waiting for your shady real estate deals to move forward, get prepared with Tiny Tower Vegas, the latest follow-up to the smash hit sim Tiny Tower. We become mini casino moguls in this latest edition of It Came From Canada!

    Tiny Tower Vegas will feel instantly familiar to fans of the original. Players build their gambling empire floor by floor while keeping customers happy and business flowing. New floors need new employees, and players can choose between who the best person for the job is and who is the most affordable. Customize the tower by putting pyramids or Greek statues on the roof, changing interior décor, and even sprucing up the elevator design. Players can also upgrade the elevator’s speed since they’ll be operating it by hand quite often to get guests where they want to go. And it’s all presented in the same great, low-key pixel art style.

    tiny tower vegas 1tiny tower vegas 2But of course, the Las Vegas setting comes with its own demands – even if this seems based on new, classy, family friendly Vegas instead of old, seedy, good Vegas. While some new floors will be the occasional taco bar in need of restocking, the gambling is where the real action lives. Players can try their luck on slot machines and earn extra cash alongside customer revenue. Once the hot streak ends, would-be pit bosses can check up on how their “bitizen” guests are doing by reading the “BitBook” social network, or just sit back and watch the fireworks – the only things brighter than the massive glowing signs.

    tiny tower vegas 3tiny tower vegas 4Current Tiny Tower players shouldn’t expect Tiny Tower Vegas to completely reinvent the wheel after its soft launch phase. It’s got some new ideas, so it’s not just a reskin, but it’s so close to the original it’s more spin-off or expansion pack than sequel. But you can decide for yourself once it fully launches.

    Defenders of Suntoria Review

    Defenders of Suntoria Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Defenders of Suntoria is a solid tower defense game, but it leans a little too much on freemium upgrades.

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    The Phantom PI Mission Apparition Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    The Phantom PI is an exceedingly clever and well-crafted adventure game.

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    It Came From Canada: Epic Skater

    For all the hate that it gets for being a pastime for slackers, skateboarding really does require a lot of skill. All those flips and spins take real athleticism, and there’s all the jargon to memorize. Fortunately for us less extreme individuals, Epic Skater makes things a lot simpler by handling all that pesky “moving” business. We check out this upcoming endless runner – or skater, rather – in this edition of It Came From Canada!

    Epic Skater always starts with its kid hero bursting out of a dusty old classroom to go skate in the big city. But from there, the game randomly strings together its environments to create a slightly different experience each time. Certain sections will become familiar, but changing the order keeps players on their toes, and their toes on the board. The different backdrops are also lovingly detailed, whether it’s the giant “Epicwood” sign or the various restaurants players skate by after emerging from the sewers. And it’s all brought to life in a colorful, fast-paced, 3D cartoon world.

    epic skater 1As an endless runner, the only goal is to make it as far as possible without stumbling over an obstacle. But what’s the fun in that? The real goal is to get as high a score as possible using the game’s fairly robust, Tony Hawk-style trick system. Swiping or holding down on the screen in various ways will trigger all kinds of unique flips, spins, and jumps. Players can chain moves together through manuals, or if their timing is really precise, hop right onto a grind rail in the background. The game gets quicker the longer it goes on, and soon players will be leaping over massive gaps at breakneck speeds. They might even start to worry for the kid – especially after watching some of the gnarly failure animations.

    epic skater 2Between runs players can use the coins they’ve gathered to upgrade their board, or buy boosters at the start of each round. With real money they can also buy energy drinks to continue a failed run without losing any points. But as far as freemium elements go, that’s pretty inoffensive. Plus, by paying attention to the achievement system players can earn most of the experience they need to take their skater to the next level without crutches.

    Currently, Epic Skater is only available in countries like New Zealand as part of its soft launch phase. But expect it to shred its way onto App Stores everywhere soon.

    Revolution 60 Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Revolution 60 is a bold, cinematic action game with ambition to spare.

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    Things have changed in Berk, the fantasy Viking village of DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon series. Dragons and Vikings, once mortal enemies, now must learn to live together in peace. Dragons: Rise of Berk lets players manage dragon-Viking relations first hand, and here are some tips for keeping everyone happy and prosperous.

    Reign of Fire

    dragons4
    Obviously, dragons play a pretty big role in a game named after them, and they’re good for much more than just flying and fire-breathing. Here’s how to put them to work.

  • To get started, level up Toothless by feeding him tasty fish. Once he’s strong enough, you can then send him out to search nearby islands for more dragons eggs. Get a Whispering Death on Bashem or maybe a Scauldron on Unlandable Cove.
  • After hatching an egg, place your new baby dragon wherever there is room and feed them until they level up and reach adult size. You can also train dragons by sending them to the academy for a few minutes.
  • Adult dragons can independently perform many tasks around Berk, and as they grow they learn new skills such as how to gather resources like fish and lumber. Having more dragons at your command also increases Berk’s ability to expand.
  • As you progress, tons of new dragon breeds become available to search for, including some limited time offers. Also, by helping characters from the movies their personal dragons, like Astrid’s Stormfly, can be yours.

    Continue reading Dragons: Rise of Berk – Tips, Tricks, and Strategies on How to Train Your Dragons »
  • A Life Worth Dying For Review

    A Life Worth Dying For Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    A Life Worth Dying For is a fascinating portrait of a serious subject.

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    Zombie Puzzle Panic Review

    Zombie Puzzle Panic Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Zombie Puzzle Panic puts some pretty neat undead twists on Match-3 puzzling.

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    SBK14 Review

    SBK14 Review

    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    SBK14 technically marvels, but lacks soul.

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    Thought evil dragons were just a myth? Well they’re back in Dungeon Gems. And even though the game will seem quite familiar to fans of Puzzles & Dragons, it still has intricacies of its own to master. So gather an elite team of elemental heroes to take down the monsters one dungeon at a time. Here’s how.

    Fight Fire with Fire, or Water, or Wood…

    dungeongems_05dungeongems_04

  • Basic attacks are launched by matching elemental gems like a puzzle game. You don’t even need to match three, just one will suffice. However, longer combos create more powerful attacks. Some even create special gems that clear a single element from the board, including new ones that cycle in to replace the old, doling out a massive assault.
  • Each element has different strengths and weaknesses. Fire beats wood but is weak against water while light and dark both beat each other. Be sure to target enemies by touching them so attacks can have the most impact.
  • Some enemies have longer waiting periods between turns. Check the number next to them and use any extra turns you may have to deal more damage or heal yourself by linking heart gems.
  • Defeating enemies grants you action points. These can be used to activate special skills or link separate elements together for huge, multi-elemental attacks.


    Continue reading Dungeon Gems- Tips, Tricks, and Strategies for Fighting Elements with the Elements »

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