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Will

with the 148Apps Network since June 14, 2009



Will is not currently writing for the 148Apps Network.
Command and Conquer: Red Alert

Command and Conquer: Red Alert

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
With skimpy content and slightly watered-down gameplay, Command and Conquer: Red Alert is good - but not great.

Read The Full Review »

EA is looking to release three classic board games in time for the holiday season: Battleship, Connect 4, Monopoly Classic.

Battleship

Battleship_Screen_01

EA will bring a few twists to the classic game of skillful coordinate guessing. You’ll use touchscreen controls to battle your enemies in three different modes – classic, salvo, and super weapons. Not wanting to miss out on the social aspect of the game, EA has included local multiplayer (both bluetooth and Wifi).

Connect 4

Connect 4_Screen1

While EA couldn’t quite recreate the joy of pulling the lever at the bottom of the board and watching all of the pieces crash to the ground, Connect 4 will nonetheless be a faithful recreation of the timeless game. Connect 4 will contain single player and multiplayer (local Wifi, bluetooth, and one device sharing). Single player includes classic, challenge, and advanced modes with Powerchips, Max Score, and PopOut. In addition, EA has included 25 unlockable achievements and some fancy visual effects.

Monopoly Classic

MONOPOLY Classic_2

While EA has already released Monopoly: Here & Now onto the App Store, they will provide a more traditional experience with Monopoly Classic. Because the cutthroat intensity of property management doesn’t quite transfer over to single player mode, you’ll be able to play your friends on the go with local Wifi, bluetooth, and single device “pass and play” multiplayer. EA is also including some nice iPhone features such as progressive save, an accelerometer shake to role the dice, and the ability access your iPod library in-game.

Check the jump for more screenshots.

Continue reading Upcoming EA Games: Battleship, Connect 4, and Monopoly Classic »

Soosiz

Soosiz

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Soosiz is pure awesomeness due to great graphics, pixel-prefect controls, and gravity-spinning gameplay.

Read The Full Review »

StoneLoops! of Jurassica is fantastic marble-shooter that Bonnie proclaimed “sets a new standard for Zuma-style match-3s” in her initial review. Have you rushing off to the App Store? Well, don’t bother. Recently, StoneLoops was removed from the App Store by Apple and is no longer available for download. As it turns out, this act was perpetrated by MumboJumbo, the developers of the main genre competitor, Luxor.

According to the developer of StoneLoops, Code Minion (full blog post here), MumboJumbo’s reason for doing this was StoneLoops’s success. In fact, this assertion seems to be largely substantiated. When they both existed as PC games, Luxor far overshadowed the little-known StoneLoops. However, when it came to the iPhone, the tables turned. Code Minion beat MumboJumbo in the race to the App Store, and StoneLoops enjoyed a sustained high rank in the top paid apps list while Luxor languished.

The full story goes like this: a few weeks ago, Apple relayed Code Minion a formal complaint and request to remove StoneLoops from the App Store, originally filed by MumboJumbo. According to Code Minion, the complaint involved “infringing Luxor copyright, confusing customers, stealing Luxor’s look & feel and even stealing their source code!” Most of these claims are simply outrageous, and if you’ve ever played the two games, the differences are apparent. Code Minion replied to Apple, refuting the claims that they found erroneous and even offering to change a few things on StoneLoops’s app description. Code Minion assumed Apple ruled in their favor when weeks passed without any reply, but discovered otherwise when they learned StoneLoops was no longer available in the App Store.

There are several reasons why MumboJumbo’s actions are repulsive and hypocritical. First, of course, Luxor is not an original game. All marble shooters are derived from the 1998 Japanese game Puzz Loop, and most established iteration on the formula is Popcap’s 2003 game Zuma. In addition, there are multiple other Zuma-like games on the App Store, though MumboJumbo only chose to attack their closest competitor. Ironically, when Code Minion was deciding on a publisher for StoneLoops, they talked with MumboJumbo before settling on Playcreek. MumboJumbo was shown the game, and never expressed any doubts about possible copyright infringement. This incident sets a dangerous precedent in the App Store that could be easily exploited by other developers.

Please note that MumboJumbo has not yet commented on the incident with their side of the story.

Earthworm Jim

Earthworm Jim

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Once you get adjusted to the controls, Earthworm Jim is a top-notch platforming experience.

Read The Full Review »

Monday Morning App HQ

iShoot developer reveals screenshots of second game

Ethan Nicholas, the developer of the Worms-like game iShoot, was one of the early App Store success stories. After making reportedly over $800,000 in five months, Nicholas quit his day job to devote himself full-time to developing games. Nicholas will hope to avoid becoming a one-hit-wonder with his follow-up game. Recently, he tweeted pictures of the upcoming game, and though no other information is known, it appears to be a free-roaming hunting game. Good luck Ethan!
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38012483-913d332f4b66420140ec0536954cd95c.4ae53344-full

My newest addiction
Every once and a while, a simple game in the vein of Doodle Jump will grab me and inexplicably become a new addiction. Right now, that game is Canabalt. Canabalt is a super stylish game in which to escape from aliens, your hero runs along rooftops. All you control, with simple taps, is when your character jumps. Though it lacks online leaderboards, there is twitter bragging and it’s definitely got that “just one more try” appeal. There’s also a free online flash version.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-10-02 :: Category: Games

Wii award winner “Groovin’ Blocks” arrives in the App Store
On the heals of the announcement that the fantastic Wii-ware game World of Goo was coming to the iPhone, Groovin’ Block, a Wii port, snuck onto the App Store. Groovin’ Blocks is a match 3 Tetris variant with a twist – blocks dropped in beat with the music rack up a multiplier and sometimes unleash powerups. While Gamespot loved the Wii version, the iPhone iteration seems mediocre so far. In any case, you can judge for yourself with a free lite version.
FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-10-24 :: Category: Games :: Puzzle

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-10-24 :: Category: Games :: Puzzle

This week’s upcoming app that looks freakin’ sweet:

Rally Master Pro is one of the best-known and most impressive mobile games of all time, and now it’s being adapted for the iPhone by Fishlabs. Expect Rally Master Pro sometime in November. Until then, enjoy the official trailer:


This week’s sign of the apocalypse:

Tony Romo successfully completed an entire NFL game without a single turnover. This is UNHEARD of.

App of the Week

Earthworm Jim
Earthworm Jim is a classic game that most have heard of, with great action-platforming gameplay and humor in spades. Gameloft has lovingly adapted it to the iPhone with superb graphics remastering. While the controls aren’t great, Gameloft did the best they could, and the controls aren’t a deal breaker. Grooooovy!

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-21 :: Category: Games

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the App Store.

Apple now allows in-app purchases in free apps

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard that Apple is now allowing in-app purchases in free apps. Yes, this creates many possibilities including the extinction of lite versions and new app store charts, but I think that none of these possibilities will come to fruition, for one simple reason: DLC simply won’t be widely implemented. One reason, and the reason I think developers have been loathe to implement DLC so far, is the public perception of DLC. The average app consumer is wary – perhaps rightfully so – of DLC, and automatically assumes DLC is there to rip off the customer. I think developers will even be aware of this when making free apps with DLC, as the fear of being nickeled and dimed could lead poor public perception, starting with bad iTunes reviews, which will be open to anyone who clicks the “Get App” button. In addition, I think consumers simply purchase less through in-app purchasing. Once you already have an app, that app can become boring quickly in this ADD app store, so instead of purchasing more content for that app, you are likely to impulsively buy a completely different and new one.

Rock Band released

Last night, EA mobile’s Rock Band was released onto the App Store. Sure, it’s got that EA polish, but is it really worth 10 times more than Tap Tap Revenge 3, its $.99 competitor. Early indication may be no. While Rock Band features four different instruments, they are all similarly tap-based. The gameplay is fairly unchallenging but fun, and the background graphics are very repetitive and there are no special backgrounds for songs as in TTR3. In addition, the game comes with an anemic set list of only 20 songs, compared to over 100 free songs for TTR3. DLC packs for Rock Band are scarce so far and come packaged as two songs for $.99, the same as TTR3. I think the Rock Band game itself is better than TTR3, just not ten times better.

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-19 :: Category: Games

Free ngmoco:) games!

Largely as a promotion for their Plus+ network, ngmoco:) has made three of their older games free. These are the full versions of the games, now including the excellend Plus+, and they’re all worth checking out:
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FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-07 :: Category: Games

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This week’s upcoming app that looks freakin’ sweet:

There are a few good turn based strategy games on the iPhone, but the Battle for Wesnoth could just blow them all away. Here are a few features:

Over 200 unit types in six major factions, all with distinctive abilities, weapons and spells
Experienced units gain powerful new abilities as they advance.
Bring your battle-hardened troops with you as you fight through campaigns
Hundreds of campaign scenarios available, easily download user-made content
Day/night cycles, fog of war, racial traits
Cross-platform multiplayer


The Battle for Wesnoth has not been submitted, but you can download a free PC/Mac/Linux demo here.

This week’s sign of the apocalypse:

Ngmoco:) has recently been tweeting about, and advertising in their games, Epic Pet Wars, another dumb code-sharing text-based MMO. I thought you had high standards ngmoco:)…

App of the Week

Shrek Kart

Last week, I disappointedly reviewed Cocoto Kart Online, which simply wasn’t up to snuff. Happily, Gameloft’s Shrek Kart has provided a great karting experience. While the controls could still use some additional tuning, they aren’t nearly as awful as those found in Cocoto. Though there is no online multiplayer, the single player mode has enough content. The graphics are unbelievably crisp, the track design is good, and the Shrek license is actually used pretty well. At $4.99, it’s the best Mario Kart-esque game on the App Store.

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-12 :: Category: Games

Ngmoco will take advantage of Apple’s reversal in decision on allowing DLC in free apps, and they will probably be among the first to do so.

First, In conjunction with Apple’s announcement, Ngmoco announced that they will be making their upcoming FPS Eliminate free. The main draw of Eliminate is the thorough online component, with 4-player death match over Wifi or 3G. In the game, you have a certain amount of “energy.” While you are energized, playing online earns you credits, which improve your online ranking and can be used to buy upgrades and armor. However, your energy runs out after a few online matches, and while you can still play online while de-energized, you won’t earn credits. You can simply wait a certain amount of time (this has not been announced yet, but think somewhere from 1-2 hours), after which your energy will be refilled, or if you’re really cutthroat, you can purchase more energy using DLC. This is the only as yet confirmed use of DLC in the game; upgrades and armor will still be bought exclusively using game credits, though extra maps may be available for purchase.

Overall, this looks to be a brilliant move on ngmoco:)’s part. I would be shocked if the game does not quickly climb the App Store charts and reach #1 on the top free games list. This popularity will ensure a huge online community, and there will likely rarely be a waiting time for a match. The downside, of course, is the stress on ngmoco:)’s servers, but with their infrastructure, I imagine they’ll be able to handle it. Within the online community, there will almost certainly be an ultra-competitive subsection who will frequently purchase more energy, and this is how ngmoco:) plans to make money.

For more information on Eliminate, see our preview. The game was submitted to Apple about a week ago, and this new development will not affect its release.

In addition, ngmoco has just released a free version of the incredible Rolando 2. This free version includes chapter 1 of the saga, and essentially serves as a lite version of the game with the full version built in. After finishing chapter 1, you can purchase additional chapters for $.99, with the exception of the last two chapters, which come bundled together for $1.99. Strangely, the total price of all the DLC is $4.98, making it cheaper than the standalone version of Rolando 2 which retails at $5.99. With Apple’s former restrictions lifted, these “hybrid” lite versions could become commonplace.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-10-15 :: Category: Games :: Action

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Cocoto Kart Online

Cocoto Kart Online

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Cocoto Kart Online holds potential with a great online component, but it falls apart due to ghastly controls.

Read The Full Review »
FIFA 10 by EA SPORTS

FIFA 10 by EA SPORTS

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
FIFA 10 has a poor interface, a strange glitch, a high price tag, and average graphics, but delivers where it matters - gameplay, thus becoming the best soccer experience on the iPhone yet.

Read The Full Review »

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the App Store

Alchemize App Store Pricing Protest

This weekend, in a protest against supposedly 3400 emails complaining about the $2.99 price of their app Alchemize, Schiau Studios raised the price to $39.99 for the weekend. Yes, it’s a hilarious protest against whiners who complain about spending a few bucks, but Schiau is not entirely in the right. Alchemize was originally priced at $9.99 and then quickly lowered until it was only $.99 for a short time. I can’t blame people for waiting for another sale. If Schiau truly wanted to protest App Store pricing, they would have come up with a fair price, stuck to it, and never changed it amid protests. By acknowledging the whiners, Schiau has granted them some legitimacy.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-08-22 :: Category: Games

PSP Minis

Sometimes it’s good to take a look at our beloved App Store’s rival, the PSP Mini store. The store has launched and two of its biggest name games have already made an appearance on the iPhone (and for cheaper): Hero of Sparta and Fieldrunners. In addition, Chillingo and Mountain Sheep’s Minigore is on the way. What do all of these games have in common? In my estimation, they’re three of the most overrated games on the App Store. Hero of Sparta had good visuals for its time, but the dull one-button hack and slash affair has so many pre-rendered cinematic animations it’s like watching a movie. Fieldrunners has a great art style and was admittedly one of the first open-path TD’s on the App Store, but there’s only a few enemy types and tower types, and it lacks the depth of the genre luminaries such as Sentinel 2 and Defender Chronicles. Minigore has nice aesthetics as well, but it’s an average two-stick survival shooter with little depth, easily outclassed by games such as Alive 4 Ever. Sony, wake me up when you manage to get some good games.

Nimblebit’s Freebie Friday

This Friday, Nimblebit lowered all their apps to free in celebration of their newly launched site App Classics! Even if you missed the deal, the apps are still worth buying; Nimblebit is the best in the business at creating fun, short, and addictive games such as Scoops and Textropolis. This move was interesting from a marketing standpoint, and certainly created buzz. In fact, Ian Marsh reported via Twitter that Saturday’s sales were double normal and more than made up for Friday’s losses.

This week’s upcoming app that looks frickin’ awesome!

This is the inaugural issue of this feature where I’ll be showing off some upcoming games that look awesome (though I’ve been doing it unofficially for quite some time). This week, we have Jet Car Stunts, an awesome-looking racing game in the vein of Track Mania. The game is due to be submitted within the next week. Enjoy!


This week’s sign of the apocalypse

A few weeks ago, Chris used this space to talk about how happy he was that Glu’s awful Family Guy cash-in was doing poorly in the App Store. Well, times have changed, and apparently Stewie is enough to make a poor game reach #9 on Top Grossing Apps.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-23 :: Category: Games

App of the Week

Soosiz

Soosiz is without question the best platformer yet on the App Store. The game uses gravity-centered gameplay, like that of Gomi, but much more fast-paced, to turn a good platform adventure into something extraordinary. The level design is excellent, and the difficulty curve is just right. Controls are great as well. There’s only a left arrow, a right arrow, and a jump button, but they are all perfectly responsive and work brilliantly in unison, making you almost forget you’re playing on a touch screen.. The graphics are cartoony and playful, and the only big flaw of the game is the sometimes overly-childish music. Other than that though, Soosiz is a magnificent achievement is App Store platforming, and it’s one of the most fun games I’ve played in a while, coming highly recommended.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-09 :: Category: Games

Mobigame’s EDGE Returns to the App Store!

After a long trademark dispute with Tim Langdell, Mobigame’s suberb game “EDGE” is back on the App Store. Tim Langdell is the founder of Edge Games. Instead of making games for the past 15 years, he has been making a living by suing any game with the term “edge” in the name, effectively trademarking the word. He made no exception to EDGE, and due to the pending legal action the game was removed for the App Store. The game made a brief reappearance but soon disappeared again. Things took a turn for the better, however, when EA joined the fray. Due to a lawsuit regarding EA’s “Mirror’s Edge,” EA petitioned to have the “Edge” trademark thrown out. Whether EDGE’s return is due to EA’s interference is unclear, but it certainly seems probable.

EDGE itself is a colorful puzzle/action game in which you move a colorful cube through isometric levels. The graphics are ultra-stylish, the music is killer, and the gameplay is fun and challenging. The overall experience is great and would definitely rank on a list of App Store “classics.” There has never been a better time to buy EDGE, as updates of the initial version have brought a hefty amount of new levels, and unfortunately we’re not sure how permanent EDGE’s stay will be.


$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-01-04 :: Category: Games

Robocalypse – Mobile Mayhem

Robocalypse – Mobile Mayhem

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Robocalypse is a well-executed, albeit somewhat simplified RTS with a great presentation, intuitive touch controls, and online multiplayer.

Read The Full Review »

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the App Store.

App Store Pricing Fracas

In what is seemingly a periodic function, the app store community has been in an uproar over the pricing of a game. What was the sin? Pricing a game over the sacred $9.99 mark? Nope, it was the debut of the addictive but simple flash game Canabalt (free demo here) at a whopping $2.99. The game itself, from its great pixel artwork to the catchy in-game music to the simple but “one more time” gameplay, is actually fantastic, only lacking a global leaderboard. Well, apparently there’s some unwritten rule that if a game has a free flash counterpart, it can be priced no higher than $.99. Luckily, the average Joe App Store user was able to withdraw enough from their savings account to shell out the $2.99, as it’s ranked #78 amongst all paid games. Bargain bin App Store pricing is great for the consumer, but it sure does create some spoiled brats. Hey haters, you know what you can do if you don’t like the pricing? NOT BUY IT! But don’t go around calling for Semi Secret Software’s head.

App Store Starts to See Yearly Updates

We’re beginning to see 2010 installments of emerging App Store sports franchises, including Real Soccer 2010, Baseball Superstars 2010, and the upcoming X2 Football 2010. Not only does each of these titles bring notable improvements over the previous installment, but they are also another sign of the iPhone as a true gaming platform. Developers are clearly planning long term and are investing in the iPhone for their latest and greatest games. This trend will reach explosive new heights if EA Mobile joins in by releasing yearly updates to their sports games along with their console counterparts.

Mini Squadron Looks Insanely Fun!

This video of the upcoming “Mini Squadron” put it on my “can’t miss” list:


The game looks to have a nice amount of content with 50 unlockable planes and Wifi multiplayer, great graphics, and awesomely frantic gameplay. Look for this one near Halloween.

New Kontender?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a competition for the best App Store Kart racer between Konami’s Krazy Kart Racing and Gameloft’s yet to be released Shrek Kart. Well now, a completely unexpected racer has entered the fray, Cocoto Kart Online. Cocoto is made by Eurocenter, the makers of such online luminaries as Dinosmash, Ace Tennis Online, and Bomber Online. Cocoto contains a generous single player mode and of course, fully functional online play over Wifi or 3G. Oh, and Cocoto has one thing neither of its competitor’s can beat: at $.99 price tag. We’ll try to review this one soon but until then here’s a video of Battle Mode:


Note: the game can also be played with accelerometer controls.
$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-02 :: Category: Games

This Week’s Sign of the Apocalypse

Kyle Orton is now officially a better QB than Tony Romo. That is all. (Truth. -Ed.)

Games of the Week

Robocalypse – Mobile Mayhem

The App Store has seen a few, largely unsuccessful attempts at bringing an RTS to the App Store. Now, it finally has one worth playing, Robocalypse. Not only does Robocalyspe deliver solid RTS gameplay (though it is slightly simplified) but also a large dose of humor, nice graphics, a 17 mission long campaign mode, and online multiplayer. It’s tough to beat getting a full DS game for only $2.99.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

FIFA 10 by EA SPORTS
It is with some reservations and trepidation that I name FIFA as an app of the week, but I do it because of one thing: gameplay, which makes it tentatively the best soccer (football) game on the App Store. Despite a very frustrating glitch that mixes up all your positions in manager mode and roster management menus that occasionally border on unnavigable, FIFA’s controls are pretty good – they just take some time to get used to. In addition, EA packed a massive amount of content, including a multitude of fully-licensed teams and several game modes. In addition, FIFA comes through when it comes to gameplay. Unlike X2 Football and Real Soccer, FIFA is realistic. The gameplay is very smooth with a fine attention to realistic detail. No 15-0 blowouts here; goals are hard to come by, and 1-0 results are common, making goals extremely rewarding. The game never feels “cheap,” and you only have yourself to blame for your losses. I reserve the right to change my mind on FIFA’s place in the soccer game pecking order until X2 2010 comes out, but as of now, it sits at the top.

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-02 :: Category: Games

From Out of Nowhere Comes… Galcon Labs!

This afternoon, Phil Hassey released a surprise sequel to his acclaimed strategy game, Galcon. Galcon was recently given an aesthetic facelift, and Galcon Labs not only incorporates these aesthetic changes but also adds four new game modes. Oh, and in addition to many AI single player difficulties with random maps there’s still fully-featured online multiplayer!

Galcon was one of the earliest strategy games on the App Store and remains one of the best with simple and addictive gameplay. You and an opponent are placed on a battlefield of planets. You each start out with a home planet, and your goal is to eradicate your opponents fleet. To do this, you send out a certain percentage of your ships from one planet to another. Based on the size of a planet, ships will grow at a certain rate. This sounds simple, but the game quickly becomes frantic as players set up satellite planets, fight for key strategic outposts, and eventually wipe their opponent off the face of the galaxy.

In addition to this “classic” mode, Galcon Labs features four new game modes:

Billiards – play in a battlefield of constantly moving planets.
Stealth – enemy ships are invisible.
Crash – ships battle mid-space.
Assassin – each player is designated a target planet. The first player to conquer their target wins.


Currently at only $.99, Galcon Labs is by all accounts a bargain. Expect a full review soon!
$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-01 :: Category: Games

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-07-18 :: Category: Games

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-09-17 :: Category: Games

Tuesday Morning App HQ?

Random musings of the App Store

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2 Billion Apps Served

Apple announced recently that over 2 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store. Notable is the timing; this announcement comes only six months after the download of the billionth app, which occurred 9 months after the App Store was launched. This indicated exponential growth of the store. Obviously these numbers are a bit inflated from a developer’s perspective because they seem to include free downloads, but the numbers also indicate that among the user base of 50 million, the average number of apps downloaded is 40, a surprisingly high number. In contrast, the average number of times one of 85,000 apps has been downloaded is only about 2350, hardly a safe bet for business prospects when you consider that most apps are $.99 and that Apple takes 30% of sales. In addition, these numbers are disproportionately eschewed by the top 100 apps; my guess is the median would be much lower. Despite all of your various incompetencies in managing the App Store, Apple, I have to congratulate you on a truly unprecedented event.

Critical Contrast

No matter how experienced we are here at 148apps, no two reviewers agree about every game. That’s why I thought it would be nice to offer some separate best app lists, just so you’ll know what we think is worth buying right now.

Will’s Top 3 Current Apps (games):
1. iBlast Moki
2. Meteor Blitz
3. Unify

Will’s Top 3 Apps of All Time:
1. Rolando 2
2. Real Racing
3. Space Invaders Infinity Gene

Chris’s Top 3 Current Apps (games):
1. geoDefense Swarm
2. Orbital
3. Aera

Chris’s Top 3 Apps of All Time:
1. Orbital
2. Fieldrunners
3. Need For Speed: Undercover
A special mention has to go out to geoDefense Swarm, as it may enter the top 3 after a bit more time spent on my iPhone.

This week’s sign of the apocalypse of the world being fair and just. By Chris Hall
This space is usually reserved for calamity, but this week we have one instance of people being quite rational. Family Guy: Uncensored appeared in the app store this week for an insanely high app price of $4.99. I’m not against spending $5 on an app, as I do quite often, but this one is just bad. How can you have a Family Guy game with absolutely no voices, only text bubbles? Even a simple “giggidy” would’ve been appreciated given the premium app price, but I suppose that Glu Mobile just figured that the Family Guy license alone would bring customers. Apparently the people aren’t biting though, as Family Guy: Uncensored is nowhere to be found in the top 100 apps.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-23 :: Category: Games

Apps of the Week

Robocalypse: Mobile Mayhem
The strongest App Store Real Time Strategy game yet comes loaded with an extensive single player campaign, online multiplayer, and a humorous and engaging story. The game covers all of the proverbial RTS bases while forging a unique identity. My main complaint about the game is the lack of the ability to minutely control your troops, you must place “action flags” that attract your troops but don’t allow for the same degree of precision. Besides this quirk, however, the game is highly recommended.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

geoDefense Swarm, by guest writer Chris Hall
I usually don’t work myself into MMAHQ, but I have found a new love. geoDefense Swarm (gDS) may be the best tower defense app in the app store, and with a crowded field of apps that include Fieldrunners, The Creeps!, and Sentinel, that is saying something. Unlike so many apps in the tower defense genre, including some of the iPhone greats, gDS is genuinely challenging from the start. The graphics are great in a Tron sort of way, and the sound effects are surprisingly effective. This game is not only my new favorite tower defense game, but it may be my favorite iPhone game… period.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-14 :: Category: Games

Meteor Blitz

Meteor Blitz

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Smooth controls, fantastic visuals, and great gameplay work in perfect harmony to make Meteor Blitz the best top-down space shooter available.

Read The Full Review »

iBlast Moki

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
iBlast Moki is challenging, charming, and fun. With a full level editor and user level sharing function, the best physics game on the iPhone creates almost unlimited replay value.

Read The Full Review »

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the app store

App Alluvion

This week’s only news story also has the sign of the apocalypse and the apps of the week built in – handy, eh? Over a 24 hour period, 453 new games were released! What happened Apple, did someone finally wake up? This is a great disservice to developers, as it’s exceedingly hard for an app to get noticed when so many other good games are released on the same day. Sure, developers can set release dates, but if they do, their app is placed on the latest releases section in iTunes according to approval date not publication date, therefore burying it beneath the first page and limiting valuable exposure. Please fix this, Apple! Anyway, enough ranting, here are some of the most notable releases this week. We’ll try to have reviews for as many as we can in due time, but until then, here’s a quick rundown:

Hybrid: Eternal Whisper

Gamevil’s action-RPG follow-up to Zenonia certainly has great aesthetics and a nice online component, but for me so far, the story has been too intrusive and the gameplay mediocre. At $5.99, you may want to wait for our review. Upon playing more, the gameplay has proven more fun and the story’s role is minimized. Recommended!

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Unify

Zach Gage’s first iPhone game is a very stylish Tetris variant with OpenFeint integration. Instead of blocks falling from from the top, the fall into the middle from both the left and the right, where you have to manipulate them using multi-touch controls. Match four or more of the same color to clear blocks. The game starts out slow with only black and white, but quickly becomes challenging with the addition of more colors and faster scrolling. From my time with the game, I can say it’s one of the more fun puzzle games on the App Store.
---

Aera

This beautiful flight sim had our editor Chris in a frenzy before its release. From initial impressions, it seems the game delivers on the hype, but if you don’t want to shell out the $2.99 now, Chris will have a review up very soon.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Aves
Aves contains some truly magnificent animations and entrancing binaural audio, but with its simplistic gameplay, it plays more like a tech demo. Still, if you want to see some really cool technology, it’s worth the $.99 price of admission, and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for Ghost LLC’s future projects.

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Above and Beyond Air Combat

Young developer Josh Rosen’s followup to SciFly is a totally different beast. It’s still an arcade plane flying game, but it shines with OpenFeint integration, a huge level of customization, open-world gameplay, and shiny graphics. In any normal week, this would easily earn the app of the week award.

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Robocalypse – Mobile Mayhem

Robocalypse is a humorous and strong entry into the RTS genre, which is relatively weak on the App Store. Featuring a lengthy campaign and full online multiplayer, Robocalypse is a safe bet for RTS fans.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Alley Gator

Alley Gator is Glu’s entry into the quick $.99 games category with accelerometer-based gameplay.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-09-19 :: Category: Games :: Family

Champion Archer

From the guys who made Sparta comes a port of an addictive online flash game.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Against the Fire!

Meridian’s followup to their smash hit Alive 4 Ever is a similar survival shooter but with theme of a fireman putting out water monsters.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Dungeon Hunter (pulled from the App Store)

Otherwise known as Gameloft’s Diablo clone, Dungeon Hunter was said to be very impressive, but was unfortunately pulled due to a bug in the game. The game should be available for download again soon.

Castle Warriors

Castle Warriors is another nice addition to the RTS genre on the App Store. The gameplay is similar to Galcon and the graphics are very nice overall.
---

Super Shock Football

After App Store giants Gameloft and EA turned out full football sims, you would expect Chillingo, publisher extraordinaire to follow up with one of their own, right? Instead, developer Steamroller studios has produced a light-hearted throw back to vintage vibrating football games that is ultimately more suited to the iPhone than either Madden or NFL 2010.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Underground

This Chillingo “shmup” is very stylish but adds little to the genre gameplay-wise.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-16 :: Category: Games

Scarecrow

Scarecrow is Ezone’s take on Doodle Jump and also the latest 3rd party game to incorporate ngmoco’s plus+ network.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-19 :: Category: Games

Apps of the Week

iBlast Moki

iBlast Moki is the best puzzle game on the iPhone, period. This physics-based puzzle game contains challenging gameplay. The goal is to, using bombs and eventually other elements like balloons, get all of the mokis to the exit of the level. It sounds simple, but some of the levels are head-scratchingly devious. There is almost unlimited replay value with over 70 levels, Plus+ integration, and a full-featured level editor/sharer.

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Meteor Blitz

By the same token, Meteor Blitz is the best top-down space shooter for the iPhone, surpassing even the famed Isotope. The dual-stick control scheme is incredibly fast and responsive, the graphics are simply stunning, and the gameplay is livened up by the inclusion of RPG elements and many different weapons. The game also features superlative pause and auto-save functions.

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-15 :: Category: Games

Wow, so many great games, and I’m sure I’m missing a few. Of course, I won’t expect any good game releases for the next month couple with reports of month-long approval times.

Monday Morning App HQ

Random Musings of the App Store

New iTunes brings fresh App Store

Among the goings-on at the 9.9.09 Apple event was the release of iTunes 9.0 which included a redesigned App Store. To sum up the changes in one word – “clutter.” It seems as if Apple has challenged themselves to fit as many app icons on one page as possible. There are some nice changes, but they are masked by the overall clutter. Top 100’s are now top 200’s, though looking over the lists now causes eye damage. There is now a top grossing app list, though it is hidden at the bottom of the page and used in conjunction with the top volume list making it confusing for all. Tabs at the top of iTunes are nice though the drop down App Store categories are initially hard to find. One of the new iTunes is the ability to organize iPhone app icons from iTunes. Though it’s not perfect, this new feature is infinitely preferable to organizing on the iPhone itself.

Gameloft clones

Gameloft is really wearing thin on me with their clones. GTA is more of a genre now, so I was ok with Gangstar, but with their COD4 clone (Modern Combat) and Soul Caliber clone (Blades of Fury), I’ve had enough. These games certainly show off the iPhone as a gaming platform, but there comes a point when I just can’t get excited about exact clones of existing games. These aren’t rough clones either, they’re almost indistinguishable. Gameloft is a talented developer, but in order to start making memorable games, they’re going to have to show the creativity involved in creating games like Sway and Gomi, two indie darlings. For now though, all the upcoming Gameloft games are clones, including a Diablo clone, a Mario Kart clone, and a Halo clone.

Exciting upcoming games

In contrast to Gameloft, here are some trailers for some games I’m really excited about. Enjoy!

iBlast Moki:


In addition to clever physics-based gameplay, iBlast Moki boasts 70 levels and a fully featured in-game level editor. Gozilab, the developer, has been notified that the game could not be posted because the price was included in the App description, but this was fixed so hopefully iBlast Moki will be making an appearance on the App Store soon.

Hybrid: Eternal Whisper:


Gamevil, the developer of the famed Zenonia, has submitted their stylish action RPG to the App Store so hopefully we’ll be seeing Hybrid soon.

Ravensword: the Fallen King


Crescent Moon games has estimated a submission date of September 30 for their 3D open-world adventure RPG.
Contest Winner

Well, you were all horribly wrong, but sf49lu wins the $15 gift card for being the most detailed in his wrong predictions. Congratulations, Chris will email you your winnings as soon as he stops watching football.

Apps of the Week

Sadly, there were no apps good enough to be deemed worthy of this award. Blades of Fury was lacking, Madden was disappointing, and I haven’t gotten a chance to play Dexter yet. See you all next week!

Blades of Fury

Blades of Fury

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
For their latest trick, Gameloft has cloned Soul Caliber, in the form of the iPhone game Blades of Fury. The game is graphically stunning, but once you get past the fluff, the game just doesn't deliver in terms of gameplay and replay value.

Read The Full Review »

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the app store

GTA: Chinatown Wars coming to the iPhone

Last week, as most of you know, Rockstar Games announced that it was porting its critically acclaimed GTA: Chinatown Wars to the iPhone. Not only is this great news for fans of the game, though we do already have the superb Gangstar, but it also shows how seriously the iPhone is taken as a gaming platform. Rockstar is not a company to make gratuitous ports for every platform available (I don’t think the Wii will be getting GTA anytime soon), so this upcoming port shows that Rockstar believes in the power of the iPhone. If Rockstar will port GTA for the iPhone, what other big-name developers will follow? The days of the iPhone being a phone that you could play some gimmicky accelerometer games on are over. Sony, I would be afraid.

New ngmoco FPS trailer, now called Eliminate, reveals the use of micro-transactions

Ngmoco has released a new trailer for their upcoming Eliminate, and while the game is looking awesome, most people are fixating on another detail: you will only be able to play so many matches online for credits in one day, and if you want to play for credits again without waiting a day, you have to buy an “energy pack” using real money. So what’s the big deal? Well if you ask me, as long as ngmoco doesn’t abuse this, nothing. Here’s the kicker: if you run out of energy, you can still play online, you just won’t win credits. So the only people who will buy extra energy are the perfectionists who have to show how good they are. For people like me, who just want to play a game to have fun (isn’t that what a game is for), you can play however much you want and still have fun. So really, this is a great idea as long as two things hold true: the game is not originally priced above $6.99 and the amount of energy you get per day is reasonable. What do you guys think? Sound off in our comments below.

C64 Emulator finally approved by Apple

After months of back room deals, Apple rejections, and Apple non-communication, Manomio has finally gotten their superb C64 emulator has been approved! Obviously this won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re one for nostalgia, at $4.99, it’s worth picking up because of the high level of polish and solid controls. The emulator comes with five fully licensed games, but no BASIC emulator as was originally included, though it’s apparently suspiciously easy to enable the BASIC if you’re SSH savvy. Future games will be available via DLC at prices to be determined by the original IP holders. Next up, Manomio, a legal Atari emulator (I wish)!

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-05 :: Category: Games

This week’s sign of the apocalypse

Smule’s “I Am T-Pain” is the number one paid app in the entire app store. Enough said.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-09-04 :: Category: Music

Contest!
This, week, as a first for MMAHQ, we’re holding a contest where you can be the lucky winner of a $15 iTunes gift card! To enter, simply comment on this article with your prediction for what will happen at the 9.9.09 Apple event on Wednesday. What will the new iPod Touch look like? Will any huge games come out (like Madden)? Will Steve Jobs be there? The winner will be the person who has the most accurate or funniest prediction will be deemed the winner (that’s right, this is completely arbitrary)! Hopefully we can get some good participation, and if all goes well, we might have some more contests later on.

Apps of the Week

Modern Combat: Sandstorm

Modern Combat is the most visually impressive title on the iPhone to date, bar none. Models are good, textures are sharp, and everything is fully and accurately 3D. Not only this, but Gameloft actually nailed the controls, a first for an FPS on the iPhone. The gameplay, specifically the AI and level structure leave something to be desired, but Sandstorm remains a great accomplishment nonetheless, and it comes with a solid recommendation at the low price of $6.99.

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-02 :: Category: Games

Samurai: Way of the Warrior

Samurai is one of the coolest games I’ve played on the iPhone. It’s a hack-and-slasher with great graphics, perfect controls, and gratuitous blood! Controls involve different combinations of swipes, and the gameplay is actually somewhat strategic – you have to balance small attacks with huge combos, because if you miss a huge combo, you leave yourself very prone to an attack. Execute moves correctly, and you might be lucky enough to see the body of the opponent samurai stop, then fall on the ground in two pieces, with blood squirting across the screen. Samurai comes with both a story mode and an endless or “dojo” mode. My only complaints about this game are that once you figure out the controls, it’s too easy – there’s an uneven difficulty curve, and that it does get repetitive at times. Still, I found myself playing this $2.99 gem much more than Sandstorm. Expect a full review soon, but until then, you really have to see a video to appreciate the awesomeness of this game.


$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-01 :: Category: Games

That’s it for this week, tune back in next week for the winner of the contest and some more MMAHQ. Have a great week!

Modern Combat: Sandstorm

Modern Combat: Sandstorm

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Gameloft's impressive FPS delivers the goods with incredible graphics and almost equally impressive controls. Though the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired, Sandstorm is still not one to be missed.

Read The Full Review »

Monday Morning App HQ

Random Musings of the App Store

Gameloft setting new App Store upper limit?

Gameloft’s two most recent premium games, Gangstar and Modern Combat: Sandstorm (supposedly due for imminent release) are both priced at $6.99. These are certainly at the highest quality level of the App Store, so normally Gameloft would price these at $9.99. Gameloft has stated, however, that they have priced their games lower because consumers are unwilling to pay $9.99. While Gameloft is probably doing this with their best interests at heart, it could have unintended consequences for developers of AAA titles everywhere. If new Gameloft games are debuting at $6.99, other developers will be pressured to price their premium apps accordingly. While this may be good for the consumer in the short run, it could lead to deflation of app values and discourage premium game production, as you will have to sell a lot more units at $6.99 than at $9.99 to turn the same profit. It seems the guys behind Real Racing, Firemint, are the only ones with enough cojones to steadily price their game at $9.99, and (I think) it’s paying off.

Geared takes over number one app spot

To my joy, a game app has finally taken, from Camera Genius (boring), the number one overall paid app spot. Chris found Geared to be a nice little game in his review, and while not to say that it isn’t deserving of the number one spot, the App Store still works in mysterious ways to me. This is a game that had no hype, no big name developer or publisher, and that isn’t at all the best game on the App Store, even at its price point. Perhaps a well-done lite version is the answer? In any case, congratulations to Bryan Mitchell; good work!
---

This week’s sign of the apocalypse

This week, we know the apocalypse is coming because… there is no app of the week. It seems that since at least March, each week has brought at least one AAA title, but this past week has been something of an oddity. We saw some games that are decently fun (Geared, Ramp Champ, and Alive 4 Ever), but in the end, I decided nothing was App of the Week quality. Rather than besmirch the MMAHQ name with some mediocre apps, I sadly leave this week blank. However, I reserve the right to update this column in the middle of the week if some stellar apps make their way to the app store (Hint – think Sandstorm).

Well folks, that’s it for this week. Have a great week, and hopefully app-wise, it will be more interesting than the last.

Gangstar: West Coast Hustle

Gangstar: West Coast Hustle

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Gameloft's GTA-a-like isn't perfect, but still stands as one of the most technically impressive iPhone games to date. With plenty of epic crime-spree gameplay, Gangstar comes highly recommended.

Read The Full Review »

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the App Store

Apple, you might want to improve your approval process

It seems that news comes out, on a weekly basis, that demonstrates how bad Apple’s approval system is, and this week was no different, with two notable stories. First, the Google Voice app. In the FCC letters, Apple claims AT&T has nothing to do with this, but it simply reeks of their interference, though on the technical side, it was rejected because it duplicates an already existing native feature – the phone. Why then, are there so many “Text Free” apps. Apple simply has no consistency. Apple, however, revealed some interesting nuggets of information: about 8500 apps are submitted each week, Apple employs 40 full-time app reviewers, and each app is reviewed by two separate people. Some rough number crunching by Jeff, our head honcho, reveals that the average time a single person spends reviewing an app is 5.6 minutes. This is simply atrocious, and frankly explains a lot. More and more, it is showing that Apple struck gold with the App Store, but was in no way expecting it and has no idea what to do. The next news story is the saga of Spotify, an awesome internet radio app. Apple has done absolutely nothing, and the app is still in limbo after several weeks in review. Obviously, Apple believes Spotify is a great app, so great in fact, that it will hurt iTunes store music downloads. Much like in the case of A.D.D., the answer here is simply more transparency. Come on, Apple, at least let the developers know what is happening so that they might speed the process. And of course, make up your mind! Have the cajones to either approve it or reject rather than leaving it rotting in app purgatory.

Race for the best Kart Racer

Konami's Krazy Kart Racing

Konami's Krazy Kart Racing


Gameloft's Shrek Kart

Gameloft's Shrek Kart


Gameloft seems to be going head to head with other developers lately, and kart racing is the latest iteration of this. Both Konami (Krazy Kart Racing) and Gameloft (Shrek Kart) have Mario Kart style racers due out soon on the App Store. Simply based on screenshots and video alone, I’d say the edge goes to Gameloft. The graphics in Shrek Kart are much nicer (Krazy Kart graphics are somewhat blocky and the karts look like they’re hovering due to the lack of a shadow), and the track design looks better for Shrek Kart. From the video, Shrek Kart looks to be a very competent Mario Kart-like game. I typically dislike the gimmicky use of movie characters and the like in games, but Shrek Kart looks like a can’t miss.

Free “Knights Onrush” promotional game

In a nice promotional move, the folks over at Moregames have released a free supplement game to their hit “Knights Onrush.” Though we thoroughly enjoyed Knights Onrush in our review, the promotional game is nothing like it. It uses the same characters, but rather than a Castle Defense game, it is a side scrolling hack-‘n-slash with some nice RPG elements and best of all, a jump button. It’s a typical highscore affair, and while the game is glitchy, it is rather enjoyable. The game will likely climb the free app charts and gain some publicity for the main game, and Moregames even hints at the fact that they might give the game a premium paid version. I applaud this great marketing move, which is good for both the developer and cash-strapped iPhone gamers!

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-08-22 :: Category: Games

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-06-03 :: Category: Games

This week’s sign of the apocalypse

The Mobile Navigator app is steadily hanging in the top 100 paid apps, at a whopping price tag of $69.99. Personally, I’m waiting for a $.99 sale.

$59.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-07-22 :: Category: Navigation

Apps of the Week

Gangster: West Coast Hustle

Gameloft has truly achieved a milestone for the iPhone with their immensely impressive GTA-style game. This game features a fully explorable 3D sandbox world with plenty of ways to get your hands dirty. The story missions are entertaining, graphics are rich, and best of all, the controls are fantastic. If Gameloft sticks to a mantra of light on innovation, heavy on quality, while producing games like this at such a bargain price, you won’t hear any complaining from me.

$6.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-08-20 :: Category: Games

Sonar Ruler

If you’re like me, then you love showing off cool, unique things that only an iPhone can do. The latest and greatest of these apps is Sonar Ruler. The concept of Sonar Ruler is simply so cool I didn’t believe it at first: by using sonar technology, you can simply point your iPhone at a (large) object and just like that, find out how far away it is. Sounds futuristic, right? Best of all, if you use the app correctly, its measurements are actually fairly precise, within an inch usually. No, it’s not going to replace a ruler or measuring tape, but it’s pretty freaking awesome.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-08-05 :: Category: Utilities

That’s it for this week’s MMAHQ. I hope everyone is enjoying the column, and have a great week!

Moto X Mayhem

Moto X Mayhem

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Moto X Mayhem has that classic physics biking gameplay going for it, but beyond that, all is negative. Physics are off, graphics are basic, level design is boring, and, worst of all, there are only 7 very brief levels.

Read The Full Review »
Snood

Snood

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Rather than "addictive, stylish, and fun," the normal words that pop into my head when thinking of Snood, the words I think of when considering EA's abysmal port of the classic game are "baffling, inexplicable, and aggravating." EA has simply made so many bad decisions in the making of this port that make you wonder if they ever even played their own game.

Read The Full Review »

Orbital

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Orbital takes simple gameplay and dresses it up with a unique "gravity" feature and enhanced graphics. The game can be very frustrating at times, but that won't keep you from coming back for another try.

Read The Full Review »

Spider: the Secret of Bryce Manor

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Spider: the Secret of Bryce Manor is an impressive, original game due to its well-implemented controls, beautiful graphics, unique gameplay, and multi-layered, subtly presented story.

Read The Full Review »
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