All Posts By Rob Thomas

Posts :: Feed

Rob Thomas

with the 148Apps Network since October 20, 2011



Connect with Rob via:
Game Center: ShadowPraxis
Twitter: @ShadowPraxis
Email :: rob.thomas@148apps.com
Retry Review

Retry Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Flappy who? Let Retry wash all those bad bird-related memories away on a cool retro-flavored flight... right into the side of a cliff. Over and over and over again.

Read The Full Review »
Sentinels of the Multiverse Review

Sentinels of the Multiverse Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Greater Than Games' tabletop classic, Sentinels of the Multiverse swoops in to save the day on iPad. It's super!

Read The Full Review »
Hail to the King: Deathbat Review

Hail to the King: Deathbat Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Hail to the King: Deathbat may feel like "Coming Home" for Avenged Sevenfold's faithful, but most will find this mediocre hack-and-slash to be "An Epic of Time Wasted."

Read The Full Review »

Today’s Apple event talked about a lot of stuff we already knew and showcased their desperate need to hire some comedy writers, but eventually they got around to talking about the new iPads and their software (once they were done faffing about with Stephen Colbert, that is).

Two pieces of software singled out for the spotlight: a new iOS version of the OS X photo editor Pixelmator, and updates to the Replay Video Editor app.

Image taken from the Mac version of Pixelmator

Image taken from the Mac version of Pixelmator


Pixelmator (otherwise known as ‘Photoshop For Broke Folks’) was shown off with a live demo where the team crafted a logo screen in real-time. A herd of oryx were erased from a sea of rippling sand dunes quickly and with relative ease, leaving the shape and texture of the desert behind them intact. Showing off the muscle of the iPad Air 2’s beefy new A8 processor, everything went quickly and smoothly as they repositioned image elements and blended the text logo with the background using Pixelmator’s suite of tools.

Next up was Replay from Stupeflix. Replay, which is already available, allows for the creation of movies from video clips and photos on your device, but the developers showed off just how well it and its new updates will run on Apple’s upcoming hardware. Movies rendered with seemingly no lag time at all – supposedly 4 times faster on the A8 chip versus the old A7. And thanks to Metal, the whole affair runs 20 times faster versus relying on the CPU alone. Some neat volumetric lighting work was shown, where lighting interacted with the text titles, including real-time color changing on the fly.

Replay Video Editor
Pixelmator is making its App Store debut later this month. Replay is already available for free, but
the new updates they showcased will be coming by the end of October as well.

Diner Dash Review

Diner Dash Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Flo is back and free! PlayFirst revives the time management classic Diner Dash as a free-to-play and the transition is, for the most part, smooth as butter.

Read The Full Review »
Welcome to the Dungeon Review

Welcome to the Dungeon Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Orca's Welcome to the Dungeon has gorgeous visuals and a fun concept, but also a dry and unending grind.

Read The Full Review »
The Moaning Words Review

The Moaning Words Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The Moaning Words is a strange beast, much like Lovecraft's own tentacled monstrosities, but there's a lot of content for a low price of entry.

Read The Full Review »

Galaxy Trucker Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
We got a great big convoy, rockin' through the night... the endless night of outer space, that is. And the ships are made out of pipes. Don't question it. It's Galaxy Trucker and it's now on iPad!

Read The Full Review »

I still own an iPhone 4S, and the arrival of iOS 8 and the new iPhone 6 line pains me.

First off, I should explain that I’m not some half-committed neo-Luddite with a knee-jerk fear of new technology. I actually picked up my iPhone 4S on the day it launched – it was shiny, new, and top of the line. It was like basking in the glow of a new relationship, where everything is perfect and you’re so in love. Then, a few months later and through no fault of my own, the person whose family plan I was a part of flaked out and I found myself bereft of service and unable to afford the deposit required to spin my old number off to its own line. My still-relatively young significant other then began its new life as an extra beefy iPod Touch.

Image Source: Nerdrepository.com

Image Source: Nerdrepository.com

I was phoneless for the next couple of years, then eventually acquired a prepaid on a different carrier because it was both cheaper and I wouldn’t be locked to a contract. After enduring months of terrible service (including not being able to get a signal at home, within almost-literal spitting distance of the second-largest city in the state’s downtown area) I finally found out that not only did my old carrier offer prepaid service, but they had just recently allowed the iPhone 4S to be activated on it. I was elated. I could have my phone back again!

But our rekindled romance was short-lived. Once the thrill of having a signal anywhere I went wore off, I immediately began to feel the immense weight of my three years away.

In the interim, Apple had launched and fully iterated the iPhone 5 and and was gearing up to move along to the impending iPhone 6 and the concurrent launch of iOS 8. As I worked my way back into the world of iOS devices, I began to feel increasingly like a relic from a bygone age. Most new apps were not only optimized for iPhone 5 and up, but an increasing number just flat-out wouldn’t run on my old hardware at all. And with each new iOS update, that hardware – already rapidly spiraling towards obsolescence – ran just a little bit worse. Also, my prepaid plan won’t support the 5 series phones at all.

And so, I’ve begun to eyeball the postpaid world once again.

Now mind you, even if I had the money I wouldn’t have been one of those people who obsessively acquires each new phone the second it comes out. I’ve always believed in getting my money’s worth out of a device before moving on. In fact, if I had upgraded a year or so back to, say, a 5s, I could likely be singing a completely different tune at this point. Maybe I wouldn’t yet feel that an upgrade was in order. Sadly, that’s not the case.

Now, after an arduous process that took several hours the other night, my iPhone 4s groans under the strain of running iOS 8. Some features are nice (the integrated Siri song ID via Shazam, the pull-down text message reply from the lock screen) and work more or less as intended. But beyond that, things chug and sputter along slowly and hiccups, glitches, and freezes are far-too frequent. I know some of this is inevitably the bugs that accompany any initial roll-out of new operating systems, but I would be extremely surprised if a fair chunk of it wasn’t due to the fact that I’m running it on a three year old phone that just doesn’t have the muscle to properly support it. And if I thought I was being left behind before with the iPhone 5 app optimization, well it’s about to get even worse.

iphone6-01

And that’s to say nothing of the new hardware itself. I got to put my hands on it a few days ago and I was pretty impressed. I feel like the size issue has been overstated by a lot of people. Despite being a pretty big guy I have surprisingly small hands, but even the iPhone 6 Plus didn’t feel too gargantuan for me to hold reasonably. And despite the fact that it’s an ounce heavier than my 4s, it actually felt lighter. And then there’s the fact that the regular iPhone 6 actually is lighter, despite being considerably bigger. The recently reported bending controversy doesn’t especially concern me either as I don’t wear super-tight pants. And even if I did, I’d most likely normally stash the phone somewhere else, like a jacket pocket or my messenger bag, rather than forcing it uncomfortably into somewhere it would have problems fitting in the first place.

While I loved (and still do love) my 4S, I just feel that our relationship has run its course. We had some laughs together and created some great memories that I will always cherish, but I think it’s time that we move on and see other people.

A few months ago, I took a look at 1849 from SomaSim. This Gold Rush-themed city builder for iPad had a fair bit going for it, but lacked in a few crucial areas to make it a true stand-out on the App Store. SomaSim has since added in a sandbox mode, and just last week the first content expansion, entitled Nevada Silver, went live.

1849: Nevada SilverSet in the wake of the discovery of major silver deposits that came to be known as the Comstock Lode, the expansion shifts focus eastward into the mountains and hills of Nevada. Available via in-app purchase for $1.99, a campaign of six new cities awaits returning prospectors, as well as a sandbox mode for the Nevada mapset.

The core of 1849 hasn’t changed with the coming of Nevada Silver, but it has thrown a few small tweaks into the mix. The trading interface, for instance, is now governed by the comings and goings of the railroad. Trains arrive in the player’s town on a regular schedule from nearby settlements, each of which is looking to buy and sell specific goods. Each train has a set number of cargo slots and while they can be switched up at any time, only a set amount of goods can flow in or out during each visit. It adds a pacing to the buildup of resources that can make seemingly innocuous tasks like “Sell 300 silver to Carson City” take forever when you can only send out three 15 unit loads per visit. And since almost all of the mission objectives in 1849: Nevada Silver require some degree of buying or selling goods, players will need to get familiar and comfortable with the rail trading system pretty quickly.

1849: Nevada SilverWhile it isn’t a part of the expansion per se, the sandbox mode bears mention as it is one of the issues I touched on the game needing during my initial review. Players pick a location for their settlement on the map, which generates size, resources, and the like based on data of the geography of the region they picked. The plot sizes run from “Large” to “Huge” to “Boundless,” which is, contrary to the name, quite bounded. Admittedly, the boundary is fully to the edges of the game’s visual layout, which is a fair sight larger than the maps one encounters in the missions, but it’s still constrained – I would assume due to some sort of technical limitations.

And speaking of technical issues, why on Earth are the tree textures still super-blurry when I zoom in to the game’s tightest camera setting? I know it’s not early onset glaucoma on my part, as everything else is still crisp and clean. It just seems very odd to leave something like this unfixed for a game that’s iPad only, where you know players are going to notice every flaw in your visuals.

1849: Nevada SilverThe new content in Nevada Silver will take a few hours to get through (mainly due to the whims of the train-based trade economy mentioned above) and if you truly enjoyed the gameplay of the original 1849 then you’ll clearly have a good time with it. I felt the iteration and additions, while welcome, were too minor to substantially change my feelings on the product as a whole. It continues, as before, to teeter on the edge of being truly compelling, without ever fully making the plunge.

$4.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2014-05-07 :: Category: Games

TwistedRun Review

TwistedRun Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
TwistedRun is kind of like running up a giant curly fry into the sky. Or maybe that was just a dream I had last night. It's hard to tell sometimes. No, wait. I was wrong. This is an endless runner.

Read The Full Review »
Feeding Time Review

Feeding Time Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
What can you do when surrounded by hungry critter mouths searching for their favorite treat? Line them up some filling meals and let them know it's Feeding Time!

Read The Full Review »

Five Nights at Freddy’s Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Can you survive five nights as the new night watchman of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza? Be warned: the resident animatronic mascots are a bit... buggy. Good luck!

Read The Full Review »
Scuba Dupa Review

Scuba Dupa Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Scuba Dupa is cute and simple fun, but you're going to have to part with a bit too much sunken treasure to make it worthwhile, unfortunately.

Read The Full Review »

applepay03Broken livestream be damned, Apple barreled bravely forward with their highly anticipated press conference today in California. One of the biggest announcements to come out of it was the reveal of the new Apple Pay virtual wallet service.

applepay01Relying on an NFC chip mounted inside the top edge of both the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay will allow consumers to do away with all of the fumbling around with silly, outdated ideas like cards, IDs, and security codes. Working in combination with the Touch ID sensor located in the Home button, Apple Pay will theoretically make the payment methods stored in your stolen phone useless to thieves – unless they get the bright idea to begin lopping off fingers, I suppose. But even if that should be the case, there’s no need to cancel your cards on your way to the hospital as payments from the device can be shut off via Find My iPhone. Pretty nice to not have to deal with that whole hassle, I would say.

applepay02Apple Pay integrates with Passbook and can import the credit card that users already have on file with iTunes. Using the iPhone’s camera, they can also snap pictures of their other cards to add them to the options on file as well, but apparently the credit card number itself is stored on neither the device, nor Apple’s servers. Instead, each transaction will be authorized by a one-time use unique transaction number and a dynamic, shifting security code. Let’s hope this calms fears of trusting cash to the cloud in the wake of last week’s leaked celebrity selfie disaster.

Starting off, Apple Pay will work with all three of the major credit card providers (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover), as well as pretty much all of the major U.S. banks, totaling 83% of the consumer purchase volume. There are also deals in place for a growing number of retailers, restaurants, and other folks who want your money to use Apple Pay as it launches. McDonalds, Panera, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Staples, and more are already involved, with Disney, Chipotle, Sephora, Nordstrom, and others due by the end of the year.

applepay04Apple Pay is only available with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and is due to roll out in the U.S. this October, with the rest of the world still to be announced. Provided they can actually suss out the security issues, I have to admit this does sound like a pretty neat idea. A growing number of retailers have NFC readers at their point-of-sale and it certainly beats having to fumble with your ID when that one store decides to ask for it when a dozen others never bother.

What do you think? Are you ready to abandon your actual wallets just yet and trust that your iPhone’s battery won’t die during a particularly long day out? Let us know how you feel below.

Swipe & Slash Review

Swipe & Slash Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Oh, nevermind. Just another Threes! clone. What? Y-you mean Swipe & Slash is actually a fun RPG-lite dungeon hack using Threes! as a combat engine? Oh, well why didn't you say so?

Read The Full Review »
PickCrafter Review

PickCrafter Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
For a short time, PickCrafter will have you under its strange spell. Thankfully, it doesn't last and you can get back to doing more productive things in life, like watching paint dry.

Read The Full Review »
Little Frights Review

Little Frights Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Little Frights' charming visuals can't quite scare away the frustrating controls in yet another zombie-based game.

Read The Full Review »
Fire in the Hole Review

Fire in the Hole Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Seafoam's Fire in the Hole looks like a bright, 8-bit throwback, but there's not enough booty to make this a compelling voyage.

Read The Full Review »
Addnum Review

Addnum Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Simple, fast, and fun. Addnum is a free number puzzler that doesn't disappoint.

Read The Full Review »
Invaders! From Outer Space Review

Invaders! From Outer Space Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
It's a shame that Invaders! doesn't offer deeper gameplay, as this retro-inspired remake's presentation is dripping with nostalgic flavor.

Read The Full Review »
Ultra Drift Review

Ultra Drift Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Ultra Drift is fine in concept, but the execution runs head-first into the wall. And so will you. Over and over again.

Read The Full Review »
MZR Review

MZR Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
How quickly can you escape from MZR's neon mazes of doom? Why not find out for yourself?

Read The Full Review »
TourStar Review

TourStar Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
When The Ramones sang "Touring, touring/It's never boring," they clearly weren't referring to TourStar. This shallow sim tempts with swag, but instead, is just a drag.

Read The Full Review »
Cubic Castles Review

Cubic Castles Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Some ridiculously frustrating camera issues aside, Cubic Castles is a pretty neat, voxel-based crafting game that sports serious future potential.

Read The Full Review »
Assault Vector Review

Assault Vector Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
While this hex-based warp ride is fine in theory, Assault Vector is a bit too simple to be enjoyable for very long.

Read The Full Review »
InnerList Review

InnerList Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
InnerList can assist in creating a bit of order out of your personal chaos, provided it's not TOO chaotic.

Read The Full Review »
Zombit Review

Zombit Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Pixels? Check. Zombies? Check. Oh, wait. We forgot to include an interesting game. Darn!

Read The Full Review »
Vertical Cliff Review

Vertical Cliff Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Who would have thought a game about descending sheer surfaces could be this gripping?

Read The Full Review »
Starship Turret Operator Guy Review

Starship Turret Operator Guy Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Starship Turret Operator Guy--besides having a great name--casts players in the unlikely role of a guy. Who happens to operate a turret. On a starship. Surprise!

Read The Full Review »
    Advertisement    





Featured Apps

    Advertisement    


Categories

Developers

Would you like your application reviewed on 148Apps? See the About page for information.


Featured in PC Magazine Top 100 Sites of 2009 in Upcoming Tech Sites.


Hot Apps!

    Advertisement    


Latest Posts

So Many Holiday iOS Sales Oh My Goodness! [Updated x1]

Seriously, there's a rather obscene amount of stuff on sale right now, and more discounts are inevitable.

Make your own Tribez Figures (and More) with Toyze

Toyze, the 3D marketplace app by Eligo Games, has signed a licensing agreement with Game Insight to offer fans the chance to own 3D figures from three of their properties: Tribez, Dragon Eternity, and Mirrors of Albion. “Game Insight is one of the most successful players in the international mobile gaming industry and we are thrilled to […]


Steel Media Network

148Apps - iPhone app reviews and news. The best gosh darn iPhone app site this side of Mars.
http://148apps.com :: @148Apps

Android Rundown - Android news and reviews. Where you get the rundown on Android apps and hardware.
http://AndroidRundown.com :: @AndroidRundown

Best App Ever - Yearly Mobile App Achievement Awards.
http://bestappever.com :: @BestAppEver

Pocket Gamer - Mobile game reviews, news, and features.
http://PocketGamer.co.uk :: @PocketGamer

Pocket Gamer.biz - Mobile games industry news, opinion, and analysis.
http://PocketGamer.biz :: @pgbiz

AppSpy - iOS game news and video reviews.
http://appspy.com :: @appspy