The Darium update is coming to Battle Command, by Spacetime Studios. What was once a fun military strategy game will now evolve to include a whole new resource-sharing system, an entirely new tier of troops, new buildings, new attacks, and more.
The update brings players a new storyline as a meteor crashes all too closely to their base. Contained inside the smoldering rock is Darium: a new resource that players share across their alliance. You will be able to build new troops and tech with it, but in order to make the most of your resources you must share them with your friends. The more you share the more you will be able to build. The sharing structure brings an interesting angle to this type of social gaming that we haven’t seen the likes of before.
You can download Battle Command for free on the App Store, and keep an eye out for the Darium update.
New Resource Sharing System – Players work with allies and share resources to create a new alien material known as Darium.
New Troops – The Darium Grenadier, Darium General, and Flying Armada Airplane are a new tier of destructive force to be reckoned with.
New Buildings – The Darium Research Lab, Resource Mining Facilities, Storage Buildings, and more, let players expand their base and provides greater base layout customization.
New Defenses – The Darium Laser and Pulsar add a devastating new defensive attack that will annihilate any enemy that dares challenge your defensive prowess.
Delving headfirst into Magic: The Gathering can be a daunting task, and the the physical card game is limited by the lack of any true single player option. That lack of a practice mode is precisely why the Magic iPad and XBox Live Arcade games have been so poplar: they are simply one of the best ways for new players to get their feet underneath them, establishing the confidence to challenge their more experienced peers.
Of course that’s not to say that they’re useless for more experienced players. I for one enjoy these apps immensely because they introduce cards and playing styles that I’m unfamiliar with and the difficulty can be ramped up to the point where the slightest miscalculation can mean the sudden conclusion of a match that just moments before had been under my total control.
Because of the frustration and complexity of these battles, we here at 148Apps decided to create a fairly thorough walkthrough of not simply basic Magic strategy, but how it specifically applies to the single player campaign in Magic 2015.
Assuming you’ve completed the tutorial, the first world you come across is Innistrad: the dark and seedy plane in which this journey begins. I played with a red and white mixed deck, which is one of the default configurations from the end of the tutorial, because it’s one of the more solid and flexible configurations as it doesn’t necessarily depend on specific combinations or a large amount of luck to win a match. Unless you’re really knowledgeable about Magic I’d highly recommend choosing one of the pre-built decks.
The first battle is against a black zombie deck that starts fairly slow but does become quite large late-game, and by “large” I am referring to the power of the creatures. The general rule for large, slow decks is to deal as much damage as early as you can – because if they can get their most powerful creatures out the game can be over in a matter of a few turns.
This Living Death deck contains little to no spells and just one flying creature, which means that if you can get a creature with flying on the field they basically become unblockable and can deal consistent damage each turn. A good tactic, if you can manage it, is to get a flying creature out early and try and add to its attack while using ground forces as sacrificial walls. The Living Death deck can get out of hand very quickly thanks to it’s enormous amount of lands, ability to resurrect defeated zombies, and Maalfeld Twins creature, which brings in two 2/2 zombie tokens upon death.
Nevertheless, you should be able to fairly easily navigate through this with a good start, and this is mostly predicated on the starting hand. The biggest tip for choosing a good starting hand is to pay attention to which player is starting off. If you’re the first to play you can get by with having 4 lands in your hand, because you get the first play and do not get a draw initially. Whoever plays second gets to draw a card first, and because of this it is common for these players to choose a starting hand with 3 or even 2 lands. Be careful of being too picky, however, as you only get one mulligan before your hand size decreases by one card on each consecutive re-draw. Continue reading Magic 2015 – Tips, Tricks, and Strategies to Get You Planeswalking in No Time »
Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 14th, 2014 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Since 1996, when the first game in the series was developed using the RPG Maker, the Corpse Party series has been a cult favorite. 5pb games takes us back to where it all started: the cursed Tenjin Elementary School. When the class leader makes the mistake of invoking the “Shiawase no Sachiko-san” charm, a curse ceremony to transport people to parallel world, the characters are thrust into a world of grotesque horror. Corpse Party comes with full cast of voice actors, scenes, and over 20 hours of gameplay to keep you sleeping with a night light on for days.
You can check out Corpse Party for $21.99 on the App Store.
Madfinger Games (Dead Trigger, Shadowgun, etc) has announced their new project: MONZO, a model kit construction simulator. Users can build simple to complex models on their mobile device; the app uses one-finger control to assemble realistic 3D model that can be purchased within the application itself.
Marek Rabas, CEO of MADFINGER Games explained, “MONZO has great potential to capture the interest of mobile gaming fans from all present genres and it will also be fun for gamers of all ages as well. The construction of virtual models is very close to the experience of actual construction. The whole process takes gamers through the purchase and unpacking of kits to assembly, painting, exploring, and sharing of finished models on Facebook and other social media.”
The Men Who Wear Multiple Hats have confirmed their true love for hats by announcing that their old-timey hat stacking game Max Gentlemen is coming to iOS.
The origins of the world of Max Gentlemen, with its extreme Victorian gents, come from a spam e-mail for “enhancement” pills. Whilst the action-dating-sim originally planned out never came to be, the hat-stacking gameplay was originally created for a arcade cabinet game jam. Two successful PAX East events and a Kickstarter that reached over 2,000% of its goal later, and the hat stacking action will now make its way to iOS.
The game itself will feature over 39 hats to collect, cross-platform local multiplayer across mobile and desktop platforms, a variety of modes and levels, and online leaderboards.
Due to a lack of understanding on how business works (their words, not mine), Max Gentlemen will be free when it makes its way to the Hat App Store August 21.
At the time Kurt Bieg, CEO of Simple Machine, explained their reasoning in doing so: “we believe ownership is becoming obsolete, this is our way of inspiring young and old people to read, learn, and ultimately manipulate code that came from a studio known for taking chances and innovating puzzle games.”
A few weeks into making LEX open-source, and given the rarity of this occurring, we thought we’d take the time to follow up with Kurt and see how things have progressed.
One such outcome was this:
Simple Machine’s ‘dream outcome’ according to Kurt, with coder Bill Kendrick having played LEX then used the source code to create a variant for the 8-bit Atari system.
“We don’t have any quantifiable numbers on how many people read it or anything, but this made it real for us. The first point to point cause and effect. Now we just have to buy an Atari for the office so we can play it,” explained Kurt.
Enlightening us on their motivations, Kurt told us about Chupamobile: a site where you can buy game code, press publish, and effectively make money with little effort.
“I was horrified at first, then I showed some of the team, and one person, Anne Peng, our community manager at the time who has since moved on, actually thought it was a good thing. Insta-curious.
Kurt went on to compare the situation to the Napster/Metallica issues of early 2000s. “We are moving towards an ownerless society, and the current “clone craze” in games is a path where the lines between who owns what are visibly blurring. What you have is an amazing new way for games to be distributed, where the code is available for everyone to read and learn from. Not everyone has the best intentions, that’s for sure, but we feel like it’s very parallel to the Napster/Metallica issues of early 2000s. Here we have a band that grew to popularity by people copying their songs on blank tapes off the radio, only to sue their fans for the very same behavior a couple decades later. In my view, we’ve been moving towards this sharable culture for quite some time, only now do we have the technology where it has become mainstream.”
One significant issue, however, is the financial aspect of open sourcing. How is Simple Machine planning to stay financially solvent if their code is available to everyone?
Kurt explained, “The answer is, we don’t have an answer yet. We believe that Simple Machine is about being a window to new ideas. With each game we try innovate in some unexplored area, like The Outcast for instance. Open source has huge benefits for everyone involved. I can’t say that we’ve seen any profit lost from doing it. I can say that our hearts are warm after seeing some one interpret LEX and demake it for Atari. You could maybe draw a line and say that open sourcing has connected us directly to more fans and that our reputation has grown in a new direction.
“Overall, we’re happy some people are finding inspiration from our code and that it makes the overall developer/customer experience more than just a money transaction. It’s a bit more of a two way street, and that’s our ultimate goal.”
It’s certainly ambitious and ultimately very positive and selfless of the folks at Simple Machine. It’ll be fascinating to see how things turn out in the long term for them and, of course, we’ll be keeping an eye on their progress and future titles.
Thanks to Kurt Bieg for taking the time to answer our questions. LEX is available now from the App Store, priced at $0.99.
Avid book readers will appreciate the dilemma. You want to buy a new book but do you want a physical copy or an e-book that you can more easily take with you while you’re out and about? Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, making it a tough call.
There’s a newly launched service that aims to solve this problem, though. It’s called BitLit, and it hopes to revolutionize things when it comes to your ability to read whenever, however. Currently, over 120 publishers have signed up to the service with nearly 20,000 books available through it. A pilot deal has just been signed with HarperCollins, while other publishers such as O’Reilly and Angry Robot are also on board.
The way it works is that you simply take a photo of your book cover, write your name on the book’s copyright page, take a snapshot of that, then send it through for your ownership to be validated. Then an eBook comes through in return; one that can be used on all of your devices – such as an iPad, Kindle, Kobo, or Nook.
We took the time to ask the firm a few questions to learn more about the service.
148Apps: How does the funding model for BitLit work? How do publishers gain from this approach? BitLit: When a publisher offers the eBook for free, then it’s free (as in beer) for everybody, we take no commission and the user gets a free eBook (who doesn’t like free stuff). About 30% of the eBooks in BitLit are free. If the eBook isn’t free, then BitLit takes a small commission from the sale — that’s how we keep the lights on and servers running.
The upside for publishers and authors is twofold: Firstly, print books that include a free/discounted eBook sell almost twice as well in bookstores than books that don’t include a bundled eBook. Secondly, for books that people already own, there is the opportunity for an incremental upsale — less than 1% of readers purchase titles at full price in both print and digital formats, 48% of readers say they’re willing to pay slightly more to get both formats. Currently you can only buy print or digital; BitLit lets the author capture value on the reader who wants both.
148apps: Are there any plans for it to be possible to validate your purchase without writing in the book? BitLit: We ask our users to validate the book by writing in it is so that the book can’t be returned to a bookstore. But we know that readers sometimes don’t want to have their messy writing in their book. For these folks, there’s the option of using an Ex Libris book stamp to mark that the book is theirs.
148apps: How long does the process take before you can download a copy? BitLit: If you have neat handwriting the process takes about 30 seconds. If the automated algorithms can’t recognize your hand writing, then it might take up to 15 minutes for a human reviewer to validate your print edition. We deliver eBooks via email download link, so even if you use BitLit on your smartphone to validate the book, you can be reading on your iPad in less than a minute.
148apps: What plans are there for expansion to cover more titles? BitLit: We have a dedicated content acquisition team whose job is to get in touch with publishers. We already have some great publishers like HarperCollins, O’Reilly, and Angry Robot on board… and we’re in talks with a lot of other great publishers that we hope will be joining soon. Stay tuned.
Thanks to the folks at BitLit for answering our questions. The app is available now and is a free download. To check what books are eligible, you can consult the BitLitwebsite.
Hello gods in training:
Curious to see what we thought of 22Cans’ whacky-looking god sim? Check out our Godus review!
Enjoying the delights of Godus but could do with a helping hand? We’re here to give you some simple tips and tricks to get you started and on your way to being a great God.
You Gotta Believe
There’s going to be a lot of sculpting ahead of you, especially early on. Try to plan ahead. Belief fades fast and you don’t want to run out midway through creating a flatter plain ready for developing on. Don’t just clear land for the sake of it. Think it through before you begin.
The same goes for building structures. You want to keep people together for maximum efficiency and don’t forget that early on, only nearby workers can get to work on building a new settlement. Later on, you’ll be able to entice them further afield but you’re quite restricted at the start.
Make sure there’s room to place trees near the settlements. More belief is gained that way, which is always a good thing.
Remove rocks that are nearby such dwellings, as they’ll decrease your belief gains.
Removing rocks, as well as surplus trees, is also handy because it provides you with some easy belief. Do it. Often.
Belief isn’t used up if you’re sculpting land from beneath the sea so if you’re desperate for space and low on belief, drag out the beaches.
In other games, collecting all that belief would be irritatingly tedious, but Godus simplifies matters. You can just hold a finger down and drag it around to collect belief up en masse.
A similar process can be used to ‘leash’ followers but you want to use that ability sparingly as it uses up belief.
Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
Keep building and steadily expanding. The more followers the better as it’ll unlock new cards and generally provide the whole point of the game. It’s a slow process, but worth it.
Make room for farms and mines to be near settlements. You need plenty of both and clustering will soon be essential to your success.
Work towards the beacons scattered around the land. They’re Godus‘s way of encouraging you to follow a certain path but they’re pretty handy for unlocking new areas.
When you’re worried about your followers’ and their eating habits, cast Rain of Purity on Crop Fields. Wheat grows much quicker this way than waiting it out. It can make all the difference.
Unlock cards as quickly as possible but don’t necessarily use them all. Some are more hassle than they’re worth so be wise with what you upgrade via stickers.
Speaking of stickers, these can be gained through completing Journeys but also through discovering treasure chests littered around the world. Look out for differences in the land, such as a sparkly section, and start digging to retrieve anything from diamonds to stickers.
All in the Journey
Regualarly going on Journeys is essential to progression, as well as having more fun with Godus. Do so frequently.
When you first start a Journey, plan what you’re going to do carefully. The time limits are often tight, especially when you’re fighting with poor path-finding. Those followers really aren’t very bright at all.
Don’t bother sending more followers than you need to. It’ll just be a waste if you fail the level.
Treat the followers like Lemmings. They’re dimwitted and really need to be dealt with like mindless drones. Because that’s exactly what they are.
Because of that, make sure you block paths to stop them from either going the wrong way or walking into danger. The Journeys are often simple enough. The tricky part is in keeping those followers safe from their own stupidity.
You’ll be infuriated at times, either by your followers’ inability to think or just the slow pace of the game. Be a kind God. Using negative God powers only tends to cause trouble in the long term and you want to keep your people happy through any means necessary.
Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s going to take a while to get in your stride and truly see significant improvements. Accept it and enjoy.
Razr has announced at GDC Europe that Tencent, a major name in the gaming industry, would be joining the Nabu development team in an effort to integrate their mobile games.
The Razr Nabu smartband combines a smart watch with a fitness band’s capabilities. Tencent is bringing Timi Run Everyday to the Nabu – a side-scrolling platformer that converts number of steps walked, calories burnt, and hours slept logged by the device into in-game rewards. Players can utilize the WeChat social communications platform to share scores and rank up against their friends on the leader-boards.
Dan Brody, Vice President Tencent Games Business said, “Timi Run Everyday and Nabu will encourage more of our fans to keep fit in their daily lives, and be rewarded for it in their favorite game. The Tencent and Razer collaboration will certainly bring more exciting experiences as we explore more interesting and meaningful methods to integrate mobile games with Nabu.”
During their launch in the last quarter of this year, fans will be able to purchase a co-branded limited edition Nabu and earn exclusive in-game rewards.
Arcane Soul is a new 2D action-packed fantasy role-playing game from developer mSeed.
In it, you choose one of three playable characters (Luke and Ellisa who wield swords and magic with equal skill and Lith who wields dual daggers) and embark on an adventure across forests and dungeons slaying enemies and bosses along the way.
Like most role-playing titles, Arcane Soul rewards you with stat points as you defeat enemies, loot treasures, and progress your way through the game. You can use these points to develop your character’s strength and skills based on your preferred play style.
You can customize your character with 47 different skills, and there are 45 different attack- and armor-enhancing items to find along your journey.
Arcane Soul features several modes of play, including Easy and Hard modes, as well as a Survival mode in which you’re tasked with staying alive for as long as possible.
You can download Arcane Soul (which features GamePad support) from the App Store and Google Play right now. It’s free, so what do you have to lose?
This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partners.
Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 12th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Flick Knights, by Ballpit Monster Studios, is a MOFA (Multiplayer Online flicking Arena) where players take turns flicking their team’s characters across the screen. The goal is to fling yourself across the football-like field, crashing into opponents and obstacles in order to destroy your enemies team and base.
Flick Knights includes characters like the masked wrestler shark, cyborg otter, or teenage ninja that can be equipped with weapons and costumes to further customize your team. You can even challenge your friends to battle across multiple platforms, including iPad and iPhone!
Flick knights is available for free on the App Store, so start flicking!
According to Joystiq, Armin Ibrisagic of Coffee Stain Studios has announced at GDC Europe today that they are working on bringing Goat Simulator to iOS.
The ridiculously popular game started as joke prototype, but the fan response was so great that Coffee Stain Studios felt compelled to make the wacky goat game a reality. Ibrisagic has reported that game has sold “almost 1 million” copies to date. That’s a lot of goats!
No details have been given on pricing or a release date yet, but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled.
Set during World War I, the game puts players in control of several different characters as they endure all sorts of hardships in an attempt to survive. And some of them may not achieve that goal. So you’ve been warned: there will be sadness.
The controls have been reworked for touch screens, naturally. You can check out the video below to see it in action.
There’s been no word on a price yet, but it stands to reason that Valiant Hearts: The Great War will be a premium release when it comes to the App Store on September 4.
EA Mobile has announced that Madden Mobile, the latest Madden installment to make its way to iOS, will make its debut on the App Store on August 26. The game will allow players to create their own team made up of the best talent from the league, both past and present. Once created, players can then take their teams into three different game modes.
One game mode, Live Events, will provide players with quick challenges that will dynamically update throughout the season and will offer rewards, including coins and player packs. Players will also be able to take on friends and rivals alike in head-to-head offensive shootouts and try and take their team to the Super Bowl after battling their way through a full 16 week season.
Madden Mobile will run into the endzone that is the App Store on August 26.
Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 12th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
MailDeck 2.0 by Crono, Inc. is a powerful email manager that organizes your Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, AOL, Outlook, Office 365, Microsoft Exchange, and other accounts in one easy to use app. It’s also now available for the iPhone as a universal app.
The app includes a search function with multiple filters to make finding your email easier, and allows users to search through attachments by account or file name. The conversation-like style of MailDeck lets users view links between messages based on a person, a file, a task, or message. For added security, all of the email and attachments receive 256-bit AES encryption.
“If you yearn for smarter email management and a more refined interface, definitely give MailDeck a try.” -Dave Johnson of CBS’s “MoneyWatch”.
Seriously has brought together some amazing talent for Best Fiends, part one of a series of games about the adorably fiendish creatures of Minutia as they become heroes and fight the insatiable Slugs of Mount Boom. The game will include music from composer Heitor Pereira (‘Despicable Me’ and ‘Minion Movie’), level designs by Samuli Viikinen (Max Payne and Alan Wake), and character designs by Miguel Fransisco (Angry Birds).
Petri Järvilehto, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Seriously said, “This is a game and a world that I have wanted to build for a long time, and it’s a dream to be working with the incredible talent we have at Seriously to develop Best Fiends together. We are thrilled to be revealing a first look at Best Fiends today and can’t wait to share more ahead of our worldwide release in October.”
Seriously is also launching the Best Fiendswebsite today, which will give us a peek at the game’s story, character designs, and will eventually offer animated shorts, original music, making of videos, and stickers for messenger apps in partnership Swyft Media.
Best Fiends will be available in October as a free download with in-app purchases.
Skylanders has always been a bit polarizing among gamers. Some see it as a glorified (and expensive) kids’ toy. Others see it as a somewhat ingenious combination of toys and video games. It’s a bit less of a toss-up with kids, though – kids adore it. And they’re undoubtedly excited about Skylanders Trap Team.
The Skylanders series has been broughttoiOS before, but Trap Team is a first. It isn’t just a port that’s been cut back to fit or a completely different sort of game that uses the license: it’s Skylanders Trap Team. You can swap between characters by switching out figures (including all the characters from previous console-only versions), capture enemies in special Trap Crystals, and otherwise do all that Skylanders-y stuff you’d expect. It’s the same game console players will be experiencing, only on a presumably smaller screen. The touch controls work quite well too, although they aren’t entirely necessary (I’ll explain in a minute).
The portal that’s included with the mobile Trap Team starter set is quite nifty. It uses bluetooth to connect to tablets wirelessly, has a simple but brilliant little notch in the side so that you can prop up your tablet (just about any tablet, no less) while you play, and comes with its own bluetooth controller that easily tucks into the bottom of the portal. Perhaps the most impressive thing about all this is that it’s incredibly easy to pair the portal and the controller with your device. If you’d rather not use the included controller, Trap Team also supports third-party mobile controllers. Or, if you find yourself with a surplus, you can also pair two different controllers and play co-op.
“It just works” has been the mantra for Vicarious Visions as they worked on the hardware for the mobile version, and it’s something they’ve pulled-off extremely well. So long as you have bluetooth enabled on your tablet all you’ll have to do is press and hold a button on the portal and/or controller and they’ll simply connect. Disconnecting them is just as easy of course, and if the controller becomes disconnected at any point during play (either on purpose or because it’s run out of batteries or something) the touch controls will pop up and you can keep playing. And if, for whatever reason, you either don’t have the portal or don’t have access to one you’re still covered. When Trap Team isn’t connected to a portal it’s still possible to play through the game using two special digital-only characters (each with their own levels, stats, and abilities).
Skylanders Trap Team will be available in the App Store as a free download on October 5 for the iPad 3 and 4, iPad Mini Retina, and iPad Air. The Starter Pack (includes the portal, bluetooth controller, unlock for the full game, and two figures) will be available on the same date for $74.99.
Hey there, town-builders:
Want to know what we thought about the Ice Age team’s adventures in environmental preservation? Check out our Ice Age Adventures Review!
While we may have to wait a few years before the next ‘Ice Age’ movie, Ice Age Adventures lets fans pass the time with Sid, Manny, and Diego on the go. The great thaw has caused the world to crack, leaving friends stranded and the community in disarray. Here are some tips for saving everybody and making the village as good as new. Who else is going to rescue Ray Romano?
You’ll spend most of your time exploring the different islands for treasures and members of the village.
You’ll need to clear paths to get around. As your party expands, you’ll be able to clear more obstacles. Sid cuts trees, Manny tramples rocks, and Diego fights off enemy pirates. However, this also consumes your berry reserves faster.
Clearing paths gives you tons of shells – another currency for store. Finding clams, particularly golden clams, is also a great way to gain resources.
A few times a day you can enter the various caves on the islands. They provide everything from extremely valuable golden acorns to chances to rescue even more lost baby animals.
Rescuing a member of the herd typically involves playing a short mini-game like sledding downhill or solving a match-3 puzzle. Take them seriously though, because failure leads to a lengthy wait before the next chance to try again.
To unlock more parts of the map, you’ll occasionally have to gather items like vines and torches for friendly characters. Caves and shells are usually the best places to look. You’ll have to complete most of each island’s missions before moving onto the next one.
You can always go back to past islands to find things you may have missed or enter caves again for the chance to win more prizes.
How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you’re looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we’ve been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.
When translating a nearly 30 year old tabletop game like Blood Bowl into a digital format, the folks in charge have to make some decisions. Craft a fairly robust in-game tutorial to ease new players gently into this somewhat complicated quagmire? Or just say “screw it,” assume the target market is going to be almost entirely existing fans of the product, and leave the newbies to sink or swim? Take a guess which direction Focus Home Interactive and Cyanide Studios went with this one. For the uninitiated, Blood Bowl is what would happen if somebody tossed American Football and Rugby into a blender and poured the resulting slurry through a filter made out of the Warhammer fantasy universe. This violent team sport, played by such Warhammer staple races as Orks and Skaven, doesn’t exactly cleave to either of those two inspirations, however. This almost-familiarity players might feel is the entry point where things start getting complicated. –Rob Thomas
The sequel to Episode 1, Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery: Episode 2 is just as pleasant but far too short lived – clocking in at only around an hour. Sure that might be a fun hour of solving puzzles, but it never quite gets going. Jacob and Biggie head off to the Crackskull Mountain to solve the secret of Biggie’s childhood, amongst other things. The writing is suitably witty and entertaining, with a smattering of puzzles to break things up, but that’s the problem: it really is only a smattering. 14 puzzles are all that are available here, and while they’re fun and well designed, they’re not particularly original. –Jennifer Allen
Using the colorful and immensely popular license of Adventure Time comes Time Tangle – Adventure Time, a title that’s keen to avoid being just another Endless Runner, but fails to truly take advantage of its small sense of purpose. Each session involves spinning a wheel to see what kind of activity must be completed. These generally involve either chasing something, collecting something, or beating something up. The controls are the same but the change in objective does help make you think there’s more to Time Tangle – Adventure Time than there actually is. –Jennifer Allen
I demand a lot from my electronics. Since I became disabled and lost my ability to write, I’ve depended on my touch screen devices for everything – especially my college work. Being in an environmental biology program means I’m in the field a lot in many weather conditions. Naturally when it rains I need a waterproof case, but my phone always runs out of juice before the day is out. Most battery cases didn’t offer the waterproofing that I need; until I found iBattz’s new case. The iBattz Mojo Refuel Aqua S Case (what a mouthful!) is pretty spiffy. The case can be used to extend battery life, then when you need waterproofing it takes less than a minute to switch it over and lock it up tight. I’ve been using the case for almost two weeks now and have noticed the good and bad of it. –Jade Walker
It was bound to happen one day, wasn’t it? Yes, Micromon is currently the nearest you’re going to get to Pokemon on your iOS device. Fortunately it’s pretty fun, too. There’s one downfall though, and it’s a pretty obvious one – those pesky in-app purchases that often get in the way of such experiences. First up, Micromon is gorgeous to look at. It doesn’t offer quite as many monsters to capture as a Pokemon game, weighing in at just over 130, but each of them is delightfully animated and appealing. The story within Micromon isn’t particularly gripping, staying quite formulaic, but that’s no great hardship. –Jennifer Allen
I don’t know about you all, but I use my iPhone and iPad to watch Netflix videos all the time. It’s just so handy to be able to pull up a streaming video right before bed or to watch something else while the TV is in use. Well the Slingbox M1 is kind of like that; kind of. It’s also quite a bit different, but no less interesting. The Slingbox M1 essentially lets you broadcast the signal from your cable box to your iOS device and your computer – with the appropriate apps, of course. This means that you can use your iPad as a second screen, watch something on TV without moving to whichever room has the TV in it, or even catch up on local news and sports while you’re out of town. So long as you have an internet connection you can stream the signal from your cable box straight to your other devices. –Rob Rich
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If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:
Master of Craft looks to be an engaging game that merges key gaming genres in a tidy package. At its core, it’s all about simulating an economy of crafting. Off the bat, the busy animation of the game easily draws one in, with bright colors and vivid landscapes. If the developer’s goal is to please people that are iffy about the game at the start, it is mostly successful. The rustic vibe combines well with the whimsical representations, and the overall visual feel is that it is playful and serious at the same time. –Tre Lawrence
Suits and Swords is much like Blackjack version of the venerable and well received Sword and Poker. While a good ideas does a simpler game like Blackjack have the legs to support an RPG? Suits and Swords has a rather amusing story. The majority of things and characters in the story are named after card related things. The main character is called Black Jack, he’s a solider or Battle Jack and the villain is an evil disembodied head named Joker. He’s pretty serious.. –Allan Curtis
Super Heavy Sword is a classically styled platformer, which aren’t all that common on the Playstore. Monster Robot Studios have freely admitted that the game is a homage to the astonishingly successful Mario games. Indeed the game feels like a mix of Mario 64 and the original Super Mario Bros. With the big N’s reluctance to bring the overalled plumber to Android, can Super Heavy Sword full the gap? Super Heavy Sword opens with a scene of Pike, the Hero and Lucinda the princess. A bunch of enemies roll in and amazingly don’t kidnap Lucinda but rather begin destroying to land,. Now it’s down to a lone warrior and his girlfriend to stab them all and restore peace. –Allan Curtis
And finally, this week Pocket Gamer weighed in on BioShock for iOS, provided a complete database of Micromon’s Micromon, found nine celebrities besides Kim Kardashian with their own mobile games, and found eight games that you wouldn’t be able to play if it weren’t for some dedicated fans. And it’s all right here.
Like a Fitbit for your baby, Sproutling is an app combined with a wearable band that monitors your baby’s status and helps you understand how to be a more effective parent. The app records the baby’s heartbeat, if the baby is sleeping on their back or stomach, temperature of the room, and the baby’s mood when they awaken.
Based on the collected info, Sproutling predicts when the baby will wake up and if the environment will interfere with their ability to sleep.
Sproutling’s pre-order campaign has launched with a price of $249 (vs. the retail price that is estimated at $299). The developers are looking to hit $50,000 for the first round of monitors that will ship in early 2015.
Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 11th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
StitMe, by Boolean Tech, is a security app that allows users to call or text others while keeping their mobile phone number private. In place of your phone number, the recipient’s caller ID will show a unique StitMe-generated number which a permanent number that the recipient can contact you with. This protects the user from unwanted return calls, sales pitches, and harassment. The app can provide an added layer of security when dealing with things from online dating to selling things on Craigslist or eBay.
Posted by Jennifer Allen on August 11th, 2014 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
A new and hefty update has just been released for video texting app, Glide.
The app now offers tabbed navigation, making it easy to switch between friends, chats, and more. You can view when your friends were last active, as well as add distinctive names to personalize and better identify your group chats.
Alongside that, users can now create personal profile pages for themselves, as well as easily forward messages to other chats or share via email/SMS and various social networks.
The update is available now from the App Store and Glide is a free download.
Posted by Jennifer Allen on August 11th, 2014 iPad Only App - Designed for iPad
New to the App Store is version 2.0 of Feed, an iPad app that allows you to create music from the sounds of the world around you.
The app offers an intuitive layout that means it’s easy to record, playback, loop, pitch shift, and modulate sounds – all gleaned from your iPad’s in-built microphone. Whether you’re walking through the countryside or taking your daily commute to the city, you should be able to grab some great sounds to use within Feed.
In honor of its significant update, Feed is currently on sale at 40% off, meaning it only costs $1.99 at the moment. Get in fast though as this is a time limited sale.
Glu has announced that later this week they plan to launch Tap Sports Baseball. The game incorporates real players and baseball strategy in a turn-based, one-touch control system.
Tap Sports Baseball lets you play against your friends in multiple games on Facebook simultaneously. You can even develop your dream team with draft picks, signing free agents, and strategically upgrading your team!
Tap Sports Baseball will be coming to the App Store soon, so keep an eye out.
Fish Cook, the economic strategy game by James Ernest of Cheapass Games, is now being digitized for iOS/Android cross-platform play.
The game pits french chefs in 1909 against each other in a race to see who can become the Master Chef – of cooking fish. Players will be cooking delicious fish delights, earning money, and gaining prestige, but they must be careful how they spend their assets. Fish Cook will support the Cat Duo Jovios Controller to allow people to play the game with their friends using everyone’s iPhones, along with an iPad as a stand in board (of sorts).
Fish Cook is on Kickstarter at the moment, and the estimated completion will be early next year.
Posted by Ellis Spice on August 8th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
d3i has released an update for their website bookmarking app Stache, adding some new features to the app. Users can now organize bookmarks into collections and folders, edit the titles and descriptions for bookmarks, and browse and manage tags within the app. Pages can also be ‘stached’ faster as the app now has URL clipboard detection. Alongside these additions, improvements have been made to importing, syncing, and processing.
Stache is available on the App Store now for $1.99.
2K Games has officially announced that Bioshock is coming to mobile. The announcement is an exciting one, although there’s also this pervading sense of worry – even anger – that some seem to have about it. So I’d like to take a few moments to try and explain why being able to play Bioshock on your iOS device ain’t so bad.
1 – Rapture in Your Pocket
Some people have asked me why I’d even want to buy a graphically inferior version of a game I probably already own for as much (or possibly more) than I could buy a “better” version for, and the answer is simple: portability. Of course it looks better on the systems that have high-end specs and lack a 2GB install cap, but I’m not about to drag my console of choice and a TV around with me everywhere I go.
Being able to play Bioshock on my phone – even if it’s not graphically up to par with the other versions – means I can return to Rapture any time I want. If I’m traveling, waiting in line, have downtime and no PC/console handy, and so on, I can simply pull out my phone and start throwing plasmids around.
2 – No In-App Purchases
This is another concern/assumption I’ve seen a lot of and it makes me sad. There’s this automatic (and severely biased/unfair) notion that mobile games must include in-app purchases. This is simply not true. There are a number of premium games on mobile that don’t offer any sort of in-app purchases, a couple of which have even come from 2K Games.
Mobile ports of big-name, AAA games tell us one very important thing: mobile ports of big-name, AAA games are possible.
Just about anyone who doesn’t immediately write-off mobile as a gaming platform (perhaps they were bitten as a child?) will admit to thinking things like “I wish this was on iPhone/iPad, then I could play it whenever I want!” With each successive port of a big-name game, the more likely we are to see more of them. It doesn’t have to be big AAA games, either. There have already been ports of other less ‘mass-appeal’ favorites like The World Ends With You and Dragon Quest VIII, and in the case of the former the port is even arguably (not really arguably) better than the original.
Square Enix has announced that their free-to-play football management game Champ Man will be receiving a new version for the new season – Champ Man 15. This new edition will allow players to manage one of 440 real clubs from 23 leagues from around the world in a realistic season set-up. The game will also come with up-to-date team, player and competition data, new training systems, and more tactical options.
Kenji Hisatsune, Vice President of Global Mobile Contents for Square Enix West, had this to say on the newest edition in the Champ Man series:
Champ Man continues to evolve with each season. We’re not looking to continuously make the same game. We listen to our fans and how we can improve their experience. The series is one of the longest running of its kind and we are very pleased to announce the new release for this football season. Champ Man 15 combines the depth and control you would expect from a management simulation with the speed and accessibility of a mobile game. We’ve improved the match engine to allow for a greater variety of chances, enhanced commentary, additional formations and tactical options. We hope our fans enjoy it!
Champ Man 15 will be free to download when it launches sometime soon.