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Rob Thomas

with the 148Apps Network since October 20, 2011



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

Blood Bowl Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Blood Bowl fans, rejoice! Your favorite fantasy bloodsport is now portable, thanks to iPad. But a huge caveat emptor is in effect for the uninitiated.

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Fraud Tycoon Review

Fraud Tycoon Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Fraud Tycoon is a half-baked, messy, promotional tie-in that does their sponsor no favors whatsoever.

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Hexiled Review

Hexiled Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
In space, no one can hear you... spell? Hexiled is a neat concept for a word scramble puzzle, but it doesn't go too far beyond the basic premise.

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Star Admiral Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
While this new digital CCG may feel a bit familiar, Star Admiral offers a sci-fi twist and galaxy's worth of solid gameplay for free.

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For the first time since its release (which has thankfully been a much shorter window for iPad players than their PC counterparts), Blizzard’s wildly successful Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft CCG is sporting some brand new content: the single player “adventure” mode, Curse of Naxxramas. Based on the World of Warcraft raid dungeon of the same name, Naxxramas is divided up into various themed quarters: the Arachnid, Plague, Military, and Construct Quarters, and ending with the Frostwyrm Lair. Naxxramas’ Arachnid Quarter opened up this week and I brushed back the cobwebs to peek inside.

Hearthstone: Curse of NaxxramasThe three challenges of the Arachnid Quarter come in the forms of the Spider Lord Anub’Rekhan, Grand Widow Faerlina, and the giant spider Maexxna – sure to give anyone with arachnophobia a severe case of the creepy-crawlies. Each boss has their own special 2 mana “class” power, from summoning minions (Anub’Rekhan), to sending random minions back to a player’s hand (Maexxna), to firing randomly assigned magic damage based on how many cards the player is holding (Faerlina). There are also Heroic versions of the same fights, where the dungeon bosses start off with a massive 45 life to the player’s paltry 30 – while also sporting enhanced versions of their powers. Summoning a 4/4 minion for 2 mana? Yeah, that seems incredibly well-balanced. Good luck!

There are also two Class Challenges, where players are pitted against Naxxramas’ bosses with pre-built class-specific decks. Rogue and Druid are the two classes on offer this time, with the Rogue facing Faerlina while the Druid takes on Maexxna. Other Class Challenges will unlock as the weeks roll on, of course. It would be nice to see these with their own Heroic variants too, but in some cases that could get dangerously close to overkill.

Hearthstone: Curse of NaxxramasAll of the battles in this wing of Naxxramas feel fresh and interesting. The new graphics for the playing area feature fun little interactive elements and there’s a ton of new voiceover work, including new lines for plenty of existing Hearthstone cards. In particular, the running commentary between matches from Naxxramas’ resident Lich Lord, Kel’Thuzad, is funny – almost at odds with the presumed tone of the new area. Then again, Hearthstone has never been afraid to be light and goofy. A lot of the new cards on display bank heavily on Battlecry and Deathrattle effects (SO many Deathrattles!). Also, with a number of new Beast subtype cards, Beast-themed Hunter decks have just received a huge boost.

The other wings of Curse of Naxxramas begin opening, one by one, starting next week with the Plague Quarter. Each wing costs $6.99 (with bundles available at a discounted price) or 700 in-game gold – but, sadly, no bundles), so you’d better start farming those daily Quests for gold now. However, keep in mind Quests only advance via Play or Arena mode – time spent in the depths of Naxxramas doesn’t count toward their completion. So what are you waiting for, adventurer? Get back out there and sling some cards!


Elfcraft Review

Elfcraft Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
I feel like forging elements is really more of a dwarven gig, but Elfcraft is still an enjoyable (if ultimately forgettable) puzzle experience.

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Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon Review

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Smash your way through Space with Marvel's cosmic misfits, the Guardians of the Galaxy. Just be prepared for some galactic grinding.

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Magic 2015 Review

Magic 2015 Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Don't let the price tag fool you. If you're not willing to pony up a ten spot, your time in Magic 2015 is going to be short-lived indeed.

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Storm Casters Review

Storm Casters Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Storm Casters is a cute, fast-paced action-RPG dungeon crawl, but there are a few dark clouds in its sky to take note of.

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HexSweep Review

HexSweep Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
HexSweep has lush, stylish neon visuals but not a lot on offer for the free version alone.

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Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein Review

Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Yet another excellent entry from Shenandoah Studio, Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein may be priced a bit steep, but it’s a well-executed package that functions as both entertainment and interactive history lesson.

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Transformers: Age of Extinction – The Official Game Review

Transformers: Age of Extinction – The Official Game Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Get your motor running. Head out on the highway. Then slaughter endless hordes of robots with your giant robot axe, if you can stay awake.

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Godfire: Rise of Prometheus Review

Godfire: Rise of Prometheus Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Prometheus brought the fire of inspiration to mankind at the cost of his own freedom. It's a shame a spark didn't fall on Godfire.

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Ferno Review

Ferno Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
This Backflip Studios score-chaser could use some more depth, but it sure is pretty!

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Dwarven Den – The Mining Puzzle Game Review

Dwarven Den – The Mining Puzzle Game Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Free-to-play, but not a money grab? And you thought all dwarves were greedy! Dwarven Den is a well-executed action puzzle game that won't drain your gold.

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The Lord of Orcs: Online Strategy and Tactics Review

The Lord of Orcs: Online Strategy and Tactics Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Orcs. You know them. You love (to kill) them. But it's hard to get excited about playing as them in this uninspired RTS.

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Democracy 3 Review

Democracy 3 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Democracy 3 is a fascinating (if a bit brutal and dry) look into the machinations of getting elected in the free world. Just don't anger those fringe groups!

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Warfare Nations Review

Warfare Nations Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
War is hell, sure, but it doesn't have to be this brutal. Warfare Nations' art style can't stop the relentless grind.

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Dragonwood Academy: A Game of Stones Review

Dragonwood Academy: A Game of Stones Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Gorgeous artwork and abundant creatures to collect can't really save Dragonwood Academy from its own rudimentary gameplay.

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Fate of Nations Review

Fate of Nations Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Fate of Nations tries to offer a free-to-play 4x experience, but just delivers a big muddy heap instead.

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Just before the WWDC 2014 conference wrapped up with Tim Cook giving a shout-out to all of his homies in the Apple community (not to be confused with Craig Federighi’s on-stage chat with his homie Dr. Dre), we received yet another ambiguous release date.

Those lucky enough to be in attendance at WWDC will have access to the iOS 8 beta (download here) starting today. The rest of us lowly proles down in the salt mines are going to have to wait until this Fall to get our hands on all of the new features.

Thankfully, it doesn’t look like Apple is going to make the new experience too heavy as they showed that iOS 8 will run on a variety of hardware, ranging from iPhone 4s all the way up to the current models. Check the screenshot below for a full list.

wwdcios8

I have to admit, when Siri was first announced for iOS, I was intrigued. While she’s not an AI by any stretch, it’s difficult not to grow a little attached to her. I find myself even keying the mic again to say “thank you” after I have her set my alarm for me.

Well, now it looks like everyone’s favorite personal assistant is getting a little better, as WWDC just announced a few new features for Siri. iOS 8 will allow Siri to be triggered hands-free using the command phrase “Hey Siri.” She can also recognize songs via integration from Shazam and even purchase said content directly from iTunes, making it easier than ever to own that new song you just fell in love with. Finally, she can also handle dictation in 22 new languages.

wwdcsiri

More new iOS 8 features are rolling out of the WWDC conference today in the Bay Area. Messages, touted by the Apple execs on stage as being THE most used iOS app of all time, is getting some cool new changes.

Users will be able to record voice messages by holding down on the mic icon, swiping up, recording their message, then swiping back down when finished. These audio clips will get dropped right into the ongoing conversation. Video clips can be recorded and shared in similar fashion, turning boring old text messaging into a richer audiovisual experience.

To save on storage space on the device, these messages will typically self-destruct after about 2 minutes, sort of like a supercharged Snapchat. However, this is optional and users can change the timer or turn it off altogether.

wwdcmessage

At the 2014 WWDC conference, Apple’s Senior VP of Software Development, Craig Federighi, introduced a couple of new features to the upcoming iOS 8: interactive notifications and frequent contacts.

Now users will be able to deal with incoming notifications directly from the lock screen without having to actually drop into the phone itself. Like a Facebook post or a response to a text.

Also announced was another new iOS tweak involving the double-tap of the Home button. Ordinarily, this brings up a swipe-able list of apps recently opened or used. Now, at the top of the list of apps, will be a bar showing a list of the contacts you most frequently interact with. Tapping on them will open a submenu allowing you to access standard contact interactions like making a voice or Face Time call, or sending a text.

wwdcnotifications

OTTTD Review

OTTTD Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
SMG Studio takes boring old tower defense and jazzes it up a bit with gibs aplenty and a buttload of firepower.

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Galactikitties Review

Galactikitties Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Galatikitties, while cute in concept, is proof that not everything in the world can be made better just by sticking cats in it.

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Crafting Story Review

Crafting Story Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
It's a shame that Crafting Story's colorful, stylized polygonal worlds look so nice, because the gameplay of this pseudo-educational title is anything but.

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Godzilla – Smash3 Review

Godzilla – Smash3 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Another tie-in to the Godzilla reboot hits the App Store - only this one is actually fun? Huh. Imagine that!

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Dark Lands Review

Dark Lands Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Dark Lands' stylish visuals and haunting music may just compel you to give yet another endless runner a go.

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Frederic – Evil Strikes Back Review

Frederic – Evil Strikes Back Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Frederic Chopin's back to fight for the spirit of melody in this sequel to 2012's award winning Frederic: Resurrection of Music.

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