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This Week at 148Apps: May 18-22, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 24th, 2015

May Days at 148Apps

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.


Earthcore: Shattered Elements

Presentation is often a very important element for a video game, even if it’s a game based around cards like Earthcore: Shattered Elements is. The problem is that there’s also such a thing as too much presentation - and this is a fairly prevalent issue in Earthcore’s early moments.Push through it and you’ll find an enjoyable and accessible card battler.--Rob Rich


Horizon 3

Need to organize your life? I know the feeling. Fortunately, Horizon 3 is a stylish way to do precisely that. It’s not perfect as it has a few bugs, but it’s still a pretty convenient way of organizing your calendar.Immediately offering up a page full of your week’s events, Horizon 3 is quick to get going. At a glance, you can easily see what’s ahead of you. Besides offering timings on that screen, you can also see location details and even what weather you should expect during that time. Simply tap on an item and you can quickly edit its details, with a swipe to the left enabling you to add a new appointment. --Jennifer Allen


KANO

I’m not sure why anyone would willingly start bouncing around on top of an active volcano, but that’s exactly what’s happening in KANO. Despite the obvious safety concerns, however, it’s actually a very entertaining (and quite good-looking) little time waster. You control a rotatable platform made up of four differently colored zones (Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow), and all you have to do is keep the multicolored tiki-looking heads in the air for as long as possible. The rub is that with each bounce, the head’s color will change - so you then need to spin the platform with a swipe in order to line up the corresponding color. --Rob Rich


Tofu Hunter

Tofu Hunter is a fun time waster of a game. A parody of all those hunting games that are already out there, your sole purpose here is to shoot tofu. Because tofu is alive and dangerous, right?You do this by partaking in various missions and gradually unlocking new weapons and upgrades. It’s all very typical of the genre, but with soy-based creatures. You use one finger to move around the screen, while in the bottom right hand corner you can hit the shoot button. You can zoom in to, for those shots that need some extra accuracy behind them.--Jennifer Allen


Languinis: Match and Spell

Combining match-3 with word creation is a smart move for Languinis. It means it’s an entertainingly different casual puzzle game that’s likely to hold your attention.Divided up into various levels as is the way with such games, you’re given multiple objectives each time. These often relate to both sides of the game. While you’re matching colored gems, you also have to create words from the letter tiles that appear afterwards. The key is to keep on top of both. You can’t succeed by solely focusing on one side of things.--Jennifer Allen


Knights of Pen & Paper 2

While the comedic moments are still a little hit and miss, Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is easily a refined and superior version compared to its predecessor. In many ways, it’s the perfect mobile game, easily allowing you to achieve something in a short space of time, without being impeded by your location or your free time.As before, it’s an RPG akin to Dungeons & Dragons with you listening to the games master and taking decisions from a variety of choices. You start out with two characters, picking out a race and class for them, before pursuing the adventurer’s life. With enough gold, you can unlock more characters to fight by your side.-Jennifer Allen


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown


Neposmart Camera

The confluence of mobility and connected devices is alive and well, and home security is a big portion of this. Another minor problem are all those spare smartphones.Neposmart a looks to zap these concerns with one solution: a connected camera that can be controlled and monitored from a smartphone.The review package we received was a bit fuller than expected: the camera, ethernet cable, power adapter, mounting materials, documentation, bell wire and magnetic switch (the last two for intelligent garage setup).--Tre Lawrence


Logitech Keys-To-Go Bluetooth Keyboard

I feel pretty proficient on virtual keyboards, but every now and then, one needs a good portable keyboard to do the heavy lifting.
Enter Logitech. Enter Keys-To-Go Ultra-Portable Bluetooth Keyboard.The review package Logitech sent us, which reflects the retail presentation, contains the keyboard, a hard grey plastic device stand, USB charging cable and documentation. The unit is light, almost shockingly so; the advertised size and weight definitely come across as a benefit when the keyboard is handled. The review unit came in bright blue, with whitish keys lettering and a tight, rubberized FabricSkin finish. The micro-USB charging port and a discrete power toggle are nestled on the side, and altogether, the piece feels quite durable. Officially, it comes in at 9.5 x 5.4 x 0.2 inches and 6.4 ounces.--Tre Lawrence


WorldPenScan X

WorldPenScan X is an interesting Kickstarted gadget that brings document scanning/OCR functionality and translation to folks on the go.In hand, it’s not nearly as thin as (or much longer than) a regular ballpoint pen at 4.52 x 1.29 x 0.88 inches and under 2 ounces; it looks more like a mid-sized temporal thermometer. It’s mostly white, with a hard plastic finishing. The business end (which is initially hidden by a greyish cap) has the image capture hardware assembly, and tapers a bit.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus Apple Watch reviews of CityMapper, Yelp, and Evernote.

This Week at 148Apps: May 11-15, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 18th, 2015

May Days at 148Apps

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.


Heroes and Castles 2

The original Heroes and Castles’ interesting take on castle defense appealed to me greatly back in 2013. And not just because of my general enjoyment of just about everything Foursaken Media creates, either. Jump to the present and now we have Heroes and Castles 2 at our disposal. The basic idea is pretty much the same as the first: a horde of monsters is attacking your castle, and you need to defend it. You'll be in the thick of the fight while using the hero of your choice, but you can also use points generated by banner carriers and good old fashioned monster slaying to summon several different soldier types to aid you. Also archers. Having archers on the walls is incredibly important. --Rob Rich


Multicross

Multicross is a vaguely familiar-ish looking puzzle game from Alexey Pajitnov, the mind behind Tetris. But don’t let the tetrominos fool you - while we’ve seen many of these shapes before, this is a very different kind of game. You’re presented a 7X7 grid, with three shapes to place along the bottom of the screen. Once you drag and drop a shape into place, another one will appear in the line. Creating finished rows or columns will clear out those respective lines and earn you points, and if you ever run out of possible moves it’s Game Over. However, if you can manage to complete both a row and a column at the same time you’ll clear the board and earn even more points. --Rob Rich


THRED

THRED is an interesting take on a familiar social networking concept. More visual than most, it’s all about creating "Threds" - a kind of comic book/scrap book mixture of things, enabling you to showcase anything from a recent cooking project to a stunning holiday. It’s got potential.Creating a Thred starts with one of three options. You can choose to find a photo online, import one from your camera roll, or start from a particular location. The latter option tries to give you a relevant starting point depending on the area. You can browse images depending on the day you snapped them too, which is particularly handy when you’re trying to co-ordinate holiday photos.--Jennifer Allen


Mr. Bank

Mr Bank is a simple game, and that’s mostly what makes it a success. It takes seconds to learn but has the potential to keep you itching for just one more go as you work towards beating your previous high score.Each session involves a screen full of numbered tiles. Depending on the difficulty level you’ve chosen, you have to combine those tiles to form at least 20, 30, or 40, before tapping on the created tile to ‘bank’ it. The key here is to create as low a number as possible while still going over the threshold. While the high numbers create the most points, they can also use up tiles that could have been useful elsewhere. Playing the long game is imperative. --Jennifer Allen


Wand

There’s no shortage of apps that want to help you organize your camera roll, and each work to varying levels of success. I think Wand™ might be my new favorite, though. It’s incredibly easy to use and makes short work of even particularly hefty collections.Working on a spectacularly simple basis, Wand™ loads up to offer up a selection of predefined album ideas, such as family, friends, and selfies, along with the option for you to add your own. The latest picture to not be given an album placement is immediately on screen. If you pause for a moment to look at it, Wand™ automatically switches to a view of just that photo, providing an ideal previewing place. In terms of movement, all you do then is tap on the album you want it to go to, and off it goes. It’s as simple as that. --Jennifer Allen


Wings Remastered

Set during World War I, you’re a combat pilot undertaking a series of dangerous missions. You’re rarely alone in battle, but your comrades can be shot down, and you will feel a tinge of guilt when the game tells you their name. In which case, you’d better get the hang of those controls fast.There’s a choice of tilt or touch based, but I’d immediately recommend the touch controls. When flying from a first person perspective, things are tricky enough without considering calibration. At first, it’ll seem awkward but those sequences are quite fun. The scenery is incredibly forgettable and basic, but chasing down planes and, every once in a while, performing a loop the loop is pretty fun. Firing is a matter of hitting the correct button but don’t overdo it. This is a World War I plane, meaning the guns jam quite easily. -Jennifer Allen


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown


Motorola E (2nd Gen) 4G LTE

For the longest time, Motorola has been synonymous with Android; it’s been a part of the Android takeover, and some of the best smartphone hardware has born its imprint. With the Moto E2, the device maker looks to show it can have a budget hit. Again.The review unit Moto sent us contained the black handset (a white alternative is also available, two bands (more on that later), power cord and documentation. The phone goes against the grain somewhat, particularly with regards to size; still, it would be rude to call it diminutive at 5.11 x 2.63 x 0.48 inches and weighing in at 5.1 ounces. It is quite comfortable in hand, and feels well constructed, so much so that at first glance, one will definitely be forgiven foe not noticing the interesting band that goes around the side. This flexible band houses hardware buttons and protects SIM and SD card slots, but are also swappable, and allows a degree of aesthetic customization.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus our top 9 apps for the summer blockbuster season.

This Week at 148Apps: May 4-8, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 11th, 2015

A-MAY-ZING Reviews at 148Apps

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.

This Week at 148Apps: April 27-May 1, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 5th, 2015

May Merriment at 148Apps

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.


Spy_Watch

Don’t you hate it when you’re off doing your own thing, minding your own business, then you get a message out of the blue from someone claiming to have known your father and that he used to run a spy agency? And don’t you hate it when you suddenly have to take over this randomly inherited spy agency? Stupid random obligations.That’s the general idea behind Spy_Watch. An agency your father used to run has been torn apart from the inside, and the only person left is a lone analyst with aspirations of becoming a field agent. You’ll have to train them in the arts of stealth, combat, and charm, while also sending them on missions to earn more money for more training. All in the name of completing missions that help you figure out who destroyed the agency and why.--Rob Rich


Disconnect

Have you ever wondered how much information is transmitted when you go to a new website? Wanted to know exactly what’s being tracked and where the unsecured connections are? If you can answer yes to any of that, then Disconnect might just be your kind of thing. It goes even further if you’re willing to pay a subscription fee, too. The free version of Disconnect offers you a way in which to search for various things or go on specific websites, without being tracked. Starting out, you can simply type in a search and find a website that way, or you can opt to go directly to the site. In both cases, everything is done anonymously with your searches hidden away. Once you go onto a site, you can tap on a seeing eye icon and more details are offered. --Jennifer Allen


My Little Pony-Cutie Mark Chronicles

Young children are fairly certain to enjoy the colorful and vibrant nature of My Little Pony - Cutie Mark Chronicles. A mixture of storytelling and simple mini-games, the latter might prove to be slightly tricky in places, but it’s all fairly heartwarming stuff.It tells the story of how six ponies, including Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Applejack, came to discover their own unique talents and benefited from a Cutie Mark highlighting what they can do. To you and me, that’s a cute icon on their back such as apples or balloons. Each tale is fairly good at dispensing morals while also reminding kids that everyone has their own talent somewhere. You listen and read through the words with a quick drag taking you to the next page.--Jennifer Allen


Jurassic World: The Game

You’d be forgiven for mistaking Jurassic World: The Game for Jurassic Park Builder at first glance. Both games involve building or re-building a dinosaur theme park, and both are laden with extinct animals. Aside from general similarities though, this isn’t just a re-skinning meant to capitalize on an upcoming film release. I mean of course it’s supposed to capitalize on the film, but… I’ll just stop myself here. Much has been streamlined this time around. You still have to hatch dinosaurs and clear away the overgrown portions of Isla Nublar, but you won’t also have to spend time and resources removing rocks and other debris after you’ve already cleared an area. You also don’t have to worry about juggling two separate types of food for your critters - this time there’s just one food source that covers both herbivores and carnivores (this is a lot more awesome than it sounds). --Rob Rich


Forgotten Memories

Forgotten Memories is a good survival horror game on the wrong format. It’s creepier and more atmospheric than Lost Within, as well as a lot tougher, but it suffers due to its uncomfortable combat and an old-fashioned save system that struggles on mobile. There’s the almost formulaic setting of a woman waking up in a strange place and attempting to piece together what’s going on. While it could feel cliched, you’re too busy being unnerved by mannequins and encountering strange people to think too much about it. Often, Forgotten Memories feels more like an adventure game than regular survival horror, with plenty of exploration and doors to unlock. There are puzzles too, keeping you involved in all its goings on. Lighting is frequently restricted with a flashlight/torch that offers limited battery life and requires you to wait to recharge at certain points. It adds to the atmosphere well, proving quite unsettling at times. In particular, who wants to sneak around amongst a bunch of mannequins? You’ll be consistently nervous and rightly so. --Jennifer Allen


Cube Koala

Cube Koala is one of those puzzle games that's almost too easy to understand, but somehow takes its simple concepts and creates nightmarishly difficult levels around them. Games that have similar design philosophies include Super Meat Boyand Escape from the Pyramid. Make no mistake though,Cube Koalais not just an also-ran in this category of super-difficult games. It's remarkable because of how pure and intense its brand of difficulty and level design is.So, how simple is it to play Cube Koala? Players control the cube-shaped Koala through the use of only two buttons. One of these buttons rotates the game environment 45 degrees clockwise, while the other button does the reverse. As a koala trapped in a tesseract full of traps that include spikes, fireballs, and other deadly traps, players must use the force of gravity to flip the koala and reach the exit door. --Campbell Bird


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown


Kingston USB 3.0 High-Speed Media Reader

It’s a tough life. I’ve whined about the first world problem of having to keep up with too many devices. Review units, old retro devices, rooting toys… they add up. When it comes to review units, I’m loathe to use my personal cloud networks with them, so I tend to do data transfer locally via flash storage. It’s easy to, say, take a picture via an SD card and move the SD card to a new device. Yes, there are more efficient ways to do this, but stubborn people think differently.--Tre Lawrence


Newer Technology Power2U AC 20A Outlet

I have a problem.Come to my house, and you can see the manifestation. It isn’t always my fault. Blame the device makers for sending devices to review. Or my need to tinker with retro devices (trying to get my T5 to tether to an M8 is a worthy endeavor); Probably has at least a little bit to do with the fact that full-powered devices give me a high. In any case, when it’s all said and done, one issue inevitably arises.So many devices, so little time. --Tre Lawrence


Crayola Trace & Draw

In a world gone electronically amok, it is refreshing to see accessories aimed at kids… the type of gear that harnesses the power of mobile electronics in relatively atypical ways. Back in the day, we could have jamborees with some charcoal and paper.It feels like the Crayola Trace & Draw is a system that hearkens back to those days, while being firmly planted in the present.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus our hands-on experience with The Knights of Pen & Paper 2nd Edition.

This Week at 148Apps: April 20-24, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 27th, 2015

The Apps of April

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.

This Week at 148Apps: April 13-17, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 21st, 2015

The Apps of April

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.

This Week at 148Apps: April 6-10, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 14th, 2015

The Apps of April

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.

Tiltagon

Tiltagon is an endless survival/tilting game that’s not really anything new, but it looks pretty and it’s fun. We can’t forget about the fun.All you have to do is tilt to steer your ball across a hexagonal tile and grab the floating cube. Then a new hex will appear and you have to make your way over to grab that cube - all before the hex you’re on disappears and without falling off the edge. There’s also a Hard+ mode that tasks you with not touching any of the obstacles (normally they just push you around), just in case the initial challenge isn’t challenging enough. --Rob Rich

DomiNations

As is usual these days, you’re working towards establishing a significant base, chipping away at your enemies, and becoming the greatest leader out there. DomiNations deviates from the typical path, most significantly by requiring you to work your way through the various ages of human history, i.e. from the Stone Age to the Space Age. That means that early on, things are a little basic, but once you reach the Iron Age, you can pick a specific nationality. That leads to unique technologies based upon what you pick, thereby making a big difference.It makes a significant difference in giving you that sense of progression, and DomiNations is kind of full of those - small refinements that can dramatically change how you feel about the game. For instance, you can send out troops to battle but still priotize what they pursue, making battles more strategic than most. Also, the only troops you lose are the ones that are defeated, rather than all of them. It immediately makes you feel better about spending all that time training up troops, knowing you're not doomed to lose them immediately. Even building road networks within your town can help you in some way, as well as look cooler.--Jennifer Allen

Marvel Mighty Heroes

You play through various brief levels alongside three other players. Each of you can choose to switch between characters but rather unusually, you can all play the same character. That’s a problem as four Hulks in battle look silly and highlight just how easy this game really is. While each character offers different skills and abilities, you rarely need to mix things up in order to get anywhere.Also, inexplicably, you have to start at the beginning of each scenario meaning you often replay the same sections over and over again. There’s an energy system too, meaning you can use up a lot of energy simply replaying sections rather than getting anywhere new. Of course, you can always buy more energy. You can buy new characters too, although expect these to be visual changes rather than anything substantial. --Jennifer Allen

Toca Kitchen 2

Learning where your food comes from and how to prepare it properly is an important part of education for children. Generally, knowledge means healthier eating practices. Toca Kitchen 2 is a little lighter than that, focusing on messing around with food more so than following a recipe, but it provides some sensible foundations It’s a very open ended educational game. You can do what you like, for the most part. On one side of the screen are the ingredients, including things such as spaghetti, carrots, potatoes, various kinds of meat, and watermelons. You can serve up food by dragging it onto your character’s plate, feeding it to them raw, but the fun comes through cooking it. --Jennifer Allen

The Trace

Taking its cue from various sources, The Trace isn’t the greatest murder mystery based adventure game but it’s still a pretty fun experience. You play detective as you attempt to figure out who committed a murder and why, by piecing together various clues to come to a sound conclusion. Its closest comparison comes from titles such as the Sherlock Holmes series of games on PC and consoles. You explore various scenes, much like in a Hidden Object game, picking up clues then figuring out how they combine to solve a pertinent issue. Alongside that are various simple puzzles, such as repairing a pair of glasses through a fairly easy jigsaw puzzle. Taking a cue from The Room, you can rotate items and interact with them in a tactile manner, such as by pulling down on a door handle to open it. --Jennifer Allen

Rock On

Do you like SongPop but hate having to wait for your opponent to take their turn? Then Rock On - A SongPop Adventure is just right for you. It’s the single player equivalent, essentially, and it has that ‘just one more go’ thing down to a tee - at least until you run out of lives.Working your way through the game level by level, the idea behind Rock On is simple - guess the song and guess it quickly. Early levels are a simple matter of guessing 5 out of 10 songs correctly. As you progress though, there’s a need to guess 6 songs in a row correctly, or to guess quickly for the sake of points and a steadily decreasing timer bar. The concept remains the same though, as it’s all testing your musical knowledge. Sometimes you need to know the artist, other times the song.--Jennifer Allen


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown

Quicklock Padlock

We all love the connected home? What about a connected lock to start it all off?How about the Quicklock Padlock?The review package contained USB-cable, documentation, and NFC card and the lock itself; there’s no missing the lock, in that it looks like, well, a lock. The review unit is mostly blue and grey, with the metal shackle being the latter. The body is in the shape of a small cylinder, with a recessed charging port on the backside, and a bluetooth button/LED on the front.--Tre Lawrence

Kenu Airframe+

My mobile mantra is “simplicity is best.” Essentially, to be as productive as possible, I look to find solutions that are simple and effective. There are plenty of tools that are overly involved, or simply too much solution for a gentle problem. There are also complex solutions that go way beyond a simple use scenario. Technologically speaking, there can be too much of good thing.As I have gotten older, I have started looking for the easy accessories… stuff that enhances the use of my mobile devices, is just as portable and — this one is a biggie — handily affordable.--Tre Lawrence

WorldCard Mobile Phone Kit

Another day, another business card. A hassle? I can be, but a college professor told me that getting business cards is a good thing. As such, PenPower’s WorldCard Mobile Phone Kit, which purports to give users the opportunity to digitize business cards, has to be great.Right?I’d seen pictures of the piece prior to receiving the review package that PenPower sent us, but I still admit to being surprised upon physically handling it. It comes in a nice, polished metal finish; it looks like a device dock with an extended piece behind it. Said piece folds out into a smaller dock of sorts for business cards. It feels nicely machined, with deliberate stylings and gentle curves, such that there are no real sharp edges. it is mostly grey with black and light gold accents, and the moving pars are smooth in action. The whole unit manages to be stately without being overly pretentious.--Tre Lawrence

This Week at 148Apps: March 30-April 3, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 6th, 2015

The Apps of April

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.


Vietnam...'65

Vietnam…’65 isn’t like a lot of other strategy games out there. It’s more like a board game if anything, with its turn-based movement being much more than just a way of slowing down combat. Channeling its PC roots, it’s a pretty lengthy game to play on the iPad, which could be a deciding factor on whether it suits your needs or not. There’s no campaign mode to speak of which is a significant misfire. Instead, you dive into a randomly designed level each time, working towards unlocks and new ranks, rather than seeing a story unfold. Levels start to look quite similar after a time, with each stage easily taking over an hour to complete. Vietnam…’65 isn’t for those wanting a quick fix. --Jennifer Allen


Tiny Dangerous Dungeons

Gamers who grew up in the late 80s and early 90s will confidently state that their first taste of portable gaming came from the Nintendo Game Boy. It was a great system at the time and some of its games have remained highly entertaining. If you’re as nostalgic for the time as I am, the style of Tiny Dangerous Dungeons is really going to tickle you. It looks just like a title from that era, and it plays pretty well, too. It’s a Metroidvania inspired adventure at heart. You play an adventurer as he explores a dungeon, discovering new abilities, and backtracking quite a bit, all in a bid to reach the exit. Relatively early on, you’ll come across a map that highlights everywhere you can go. It seems a little restrictive and small but like any classic Metroid-eque title, there’s a lot of backtracking. --Jennifer Allen


UAG Folio Case

At first glance, it looks a tough, complex cookie. Upon closer inspection, it's clear that at least one of those adjectives holds true. In hand, the empty UAG Folio Case looks like it means serious business. It opens up as a folio usually does - much like a book cover - but it also has an extra trick up its sleeve in that the front cover doubles-up and wraps around in such way that that the back cover can be flipped up and out. It creates a pseudo-three-layered setup, which is perfect for the secondary purpose: creaing a back support so that the tablet can be used upright in landscape. The composite material that most of the case is covered in looks a bit like kevlar, with tough stitching melding pieces together. The inner lining of the front cover comes in soft black felt - perfect for the screen it will be in contact with - and the front cover also incorporates a strap. Altogether, it exudes a sense of being heavy duty but is still quite light. --Tre Lawrence


DuckTales Remastered

I’m not going to lie, I flipped out a little when I first saw that teaser for DuckTales Remastered back in 2013. The NES version of DuckTales has been close to the top of my nostalgia list for many, many years - right up there with Mega Man 2 and Elevator Action to name a couple - so seeing it get a high definition remaster was pretty amazing.But that was about two years ago. By now the shock of the new has worn off, and we’re left with trying to figure out whether or not DuckTales Remastered is a worthwhile iOS port. It kind of is, but it’s got a little bit of a control issue. --Rob Rich


Layout

If you’ve never used a collage making app before, then Layout will probably seem pretty useful to you. Unfortunately, anyone with a passing interest in collage creation probably already has a superior photo editing tool on hand. While Layout is easy to use, it’s also pretty basic.The simplicity involved in using Layout is pretty great. A matter of choosing up to 9 photos before picking out one of many layouts that might look good for your chosen images, there’s not really much more you need to do. In terms of speediness, Layout is unmatched. You can choose to move photos around by simply holding and dragging, or pinching to zoom in and out. There are also options to mirror an image, replace one, or flip them around.--Jennifer Allen


SMART Adventures Mission Math 1

It’s a depressing fact that girls are all too often put off studying science and mathematical based subjects because, well, there’s a whole wealth of debate as to why. Regardless of why you might feel that’s the case, SMART Adventures Mission Math 1 is an excellent game to entice your young children, daughters in particular, into enjoying such subjects again. Working much like a conventional adventure game, you have to figure out why your home, a space station, has been sabotaged as well as fix its various problems. This is done through completing a series of mathematical based problems, as well as exploring the space station to find out more. It’s simply done but with such a story based focus, it’s immediately more interesting than merely going from puzzle to puzzle. --Jennifer Allen


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown


Nova Blox External Battery

The Juno Power Nova Blox External Battery is a mobile option that looks to give extended life to our mobile devices.It’s a relatively small piece, mostly silver with deliberate black accents. It has a button on the side, with a micro-USB charging port and what looks to be a prominent LED light on one end, and on the opposite end, there is a USB outlet port. Officially, it comes in at 2.87 x 2.01 x 0.83 inches, and weighs 4.65 ounces. Overall, it is barely bigger than a box of tic tacs, which makes it quite portable and even fairly pocketable. The retail package also provides a micro-USB cable (which can be used to charge the unit and also as an output cable) as well as documentation. We got the silver, and there are other trim options.--Tre Lawrence


INSTEON Home Remote Control

We’ve said it so much that it has to be true: The Connected Home isn’t the future. It is definitely the present, and the smartphone is the new control panel. INSTEON is front and center in this area, and we were eager to check out its customizable solutions.The Starter Kit INSTEON sent us to review contains some of the elements that connect one’s home; the retail packaging contains the INSTEON Hub and two on/off modules. The former serves as the brain of the system, while the latter serve as elements that help effect control.--Tre Lawrence


Nyrius Songo HiFi Wireless Music Receiver

Understanding what the Nyrius purports to do is the key to understanding the proposed functionality; it works as a wireless receiver that collects signals from a Bluetooth source — like an Android device — and allows the audio to be played on a sound system that accepts wired signal from the puck itself. In essence, it bridges a Bluetooth source to an output unit (like a stereo or sound system without a Bluetooth chip) so that, say, music can be played. This is especially useful when one wants to continue using traditional devices, or even for folks like me, who prefer wired connections but like or need to go wireless for one reason or another.--Tre Lawrence

This Week at 148Apps: March 16-20, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 24th, 2015

Spring Roars In At 148Apps

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.


Take It Easy

The single player side of the game is divided into a few different modes - each with a different challenge in mind. For the most part, your goal is to gain as many points as possible. Each board consists of a series of hexagonal shapes and you have to place down tiles to create lines and rows of numbers. Each tile looks a little like a small pipe layout and the most points are gained for combining these to good effect.Classic mode simply requires you to gain as many points as possible, with satisfaction gleaned from a job well done. Puzzle mode has a bit more going for it than that, requiring you to meet a particular score in order to progress to the next level. Obstacles can get in your way, such as locked tiles that can’t be moved, but you can also be aided by wild card tiles, too.--Jennifer Allen


Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager

The nearest that pretty much any of us are going to get to exploring space is through a game. Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager takes a different route to the usual space based games, concentrating on the management efforts on Earth in order to make it possible. And thanks to some overly-wordy tutorial screens it’ll seem more more complicated than it actually is. Once you’ve cracked the surface though, you’ll soon see that Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager is a game focused squarely on Resource Management rather than anything more lofty. One of those key resources is the value of time. Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager is broken up into various seasons. Each task, such as building a new unit or working towards improving upon a rocket design takes a number of season to complete. A lot of the time, you’re going to be assigning tasks before hitting the ‘end season’ button and waiting for a report back to see how well it all went. --Jennifer Allen


Real Steel Champions

The first Real Steel game was a surprising hit, so what’s less surprising is that there’s a sequel - Real Steel Champions. It’s a very simple fighting game that’s mostly a cover for a plentiful supply of freemium elements, but it’s not without some merit. In a structure not unlike games such as CSR Racing, you’re following a series of levels in order to unlock new stuff and generally profit. Each level is a fight between you and another robot. You control your robot through movement buttons and a few action buttons, allowing you to inflict heavy, light, and special attacks. You can interact more so with those special attacks, by hammering a finger to the screen. Don’t expect too much depth though, Real Steel Champions is a game more about levelling up your stats than actual fighting skills. --Jennifer Allen


The Hero of Kendrickstone

The Hero of Kendrickstone is a particularly meaty adventure game book app, and one that is asking for multiple replays. Weighing in at an impressive 240,000 words, it isn’t a title to skim through. That alone means that it’s easily worth its $2.99 asking price.You play a young hero, as they find their way in the world, gain employment from various dubious sources, and discover the world. There’s a main plot line involving you rescuing the city of Kendrickstone, but it’s not the only thing you can achieve here. Instead, you feel like an adventurer with plenty of options at hand. Such freedom is refreshing. --Jennifer Allen


David Wiesner's Spot

Few apps transcend age barriers as David Wiesner’s Spot does - a picture book without words and a wonderful piece of artwork developed for the iPad for children and their adults, young and old alike. Many readers will know the work of David Wiesner, a three-time Caldecott winner known for his fantastical wordless picture books that I greatly admire. Here, David Wiesner’s Spot is also reminiscent of the Zoom books by Istvan Banyai - books that begin with a close-up of a detail and with the turn of each page the image one sees becomes zoomed back to show a bigger picture.Here, one begins the journey of Spot with the ability to enlarge the image of a ladybug large enough to look inside its center spot, bringing you into a world where one can zoom the pages closer and closer with the use of a fingertip, diving into the brilliantly detailed worlds of five distinctly different stories. --Amy Solomon


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown


Sony Xperia Z3v

For Android smartphone aficionados, every OEM has something about it. We do associate things to different OEMs — some good, some bad. Personally, I love being able to see unbranded hardware and more or less guess who makes it based on some design cues. Since Android is blessed wit device makers that have backgrounds in varied consumer electronics ventures, it’s interesting to see how their Android smartphones extend the brand.Sony definitely has a rep in consumer electronics, and its Xperia line is the embodiment of that reputation in te personal computing space. Specifically with the Sony Xperia Z3v, one of its latest devices, Sony shows us how even the sleek can get, well, even sleeker. --Tre Lawrence


Goats on a Bridge

So what happened to the billy goats after the fable? That’s the story Goats on a Bridge tries to tell.Goats on a Bridge is a new game that re-imagines Three Billy Goats Gruff in the essence of a platform puzzle and race game.The idea is fairly easy, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t start off by mentioning how it looks. It packs a vivid visual punch, with bright colors that are seemingly made to underscore the gameplay. The animations are not too complex, and invoke a playful air. --Tre Lawrence

Finally, we have Nintendo doing the unthinkable, a cool new SHMUP, and a rubbish looking movie. It's all kicking off on AppSpy.

This Week at 148Apps: March 9-13, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 16th, 2015

March Roars In At 148Apps


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.

Angry Birds Stella POP!

Angry Birds Stella POP! could have so easily been yet another bubble shooter; like Bust-A-Move but not as good. It very nearly is but it manages to circumvent such issues by offering a few moments of originality that help it to stand out on its own. It’s pretty tough though, which I suspect is linked to the fact that you can buy your way to success. As is customary, things start out fairly easily for players. You use a slingshot mechanism to throw bubbles upwards, dragging a finger back and releasing the bauble. It’s distinctly Angry Birds like, which makes sense. That brings with it a fairly good physics engine, ensuring you’ll never feel cheated by a shot. --Jennifer Allen


Five Nights at Freddy's 3

What sets this third installment apart from the first and second games is that it quite honestly feels like more of a game now. The original Five Nights at Freddy’s was something of a trailblazer (and is still super creepy) despite being rather simple, while the sequel was more involved but to the point of being messy and overwhelming. This time around there’s only one animatronic stalking the halls, which may make the game sound like a cakewalk but that’s definitely not the case. You’ll be able to keep tabs on “Springtrap” using a CCTV system much like in previous games, but now you can trigger audio clips to try and lure it into different areas (i.e. away from you). Trouble is the electrical systems are old and unreliable, so your audio, video, and even the ventilation may cut out at any time. --Rob Rich


Sid Meier's Starships

A game of Starships begins much like any of Sid Meier’s other simulations. You toggle settings like map size and overall difficulty, then you’re dumped into the galaxy to start expanding your empire. Although rather than picking a nationality you can choose between one of three factions (each with a different bonus that will give them an edge in certain situations), then between one of several leaders (also each with their own bonuses). On your turn you’ll be able to manage your conquered planets (i.e. build cities, planetary defenses, etc), spend resources to research new and improved technologies, upgrade your fleet of starships, and stop by unconquered planets to complete tasks and gain influence. And any decision you make can have a pretty significant effect on your progress. --Rob Rich


Card Crawl

Card Crawl is a card-based dungeon crawler that plays an awful lot like Solitaire. Although it doesn’t sound like the most exciting premise for a game, it’s surprisingly fun and challenging. The premise of Card Crawl is kind of fascinating because its card game inspiration is fully acknowledged within the world. Players aren’t dungeon crawling really, but instead are facing off against a monster in a game of cards at a pub. However, the card game being played is a representation of the hero as they battle through a deck of cards full of the things one might find in a dungeon. Players have to choose where to place three of four randomly dealt cards before being able to reveal three more. Cards in this deck can be gold, weapons, shields, potions, or (of course) enemies. In terms of where to put these cards, players can equip item cards into one of their two hands or stow it away in their bag, while enemies are dealt with by using weapon cards on them, using equipped shields, or taking damage directly to their character card. The goal is for players to clear all cards in the deck, while never losing all 13 of their life points. --Campbell Bird


Robot School-Programming for Kids

I can remember the very early days of learning BASIC in the library of my grade school. It was taught by an elderly librarian who struggled with this concept, knowing only slightly more than her newcomer students as she copied what she read from her teacher’s manual and the rest of us took turns typing in lines of code to move a curser around the screen, creating a crude, low resolution square. The effort that it took to produce this basic shape seemed like time not well spent as this was before computers were such a mainstay of life. This led me to believe at a very tender age that coding was a chore not to be bothered with. Fast forward more than thirty years and I am happy to say that techniques for teaching coding have improved immensely. My first grade son, who is taught coding in school, has really taken to a new app, Robot School, that impressed me in many ways. I admire the loose narrative this app provides. It stars R-obbie the Robot, who after surviving his spaceship crash, needs to collect energy from batteries to have the fuel needed to make the trip back home. --Amy Solomon


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown

Magic Cat Story

At first glance, it is a colorful production. The developer does not hold back with regards to making it look as vivid as possible, and the artwork is a cheery affair, with cute characterizations and spirited animations that don’t ask the player to take them too seriously. With regards to gameplay, the developer is smart enough to have a walk us through the game. there is an Evil Wizard about, content with changing people to animals. The idea is to free the captive folks, and this is done by smashing blocks. --Tre Lawrence


LIMBO

The environment is a huge element in the game; the stark coloring is curiously intriguing, with different shades of white and black blending in and out to create a delightfully murky 2D environment. The dark colors are pervasive, and hide all sorts of hindrances and helpers in their depths. The animations are smooth, and convey action themes in a reasonable matter. The gameplay itself is easy to understand; in a nutshell, one guides the character (using virtual controls) from left to right. This is, of course, easier said than done, because there are times one has think how to get through an obstacle to clear egress — and at other times, one needs to avoid lethal traps that end the run. The game gently gets one going with simple puzzles, and it’s not hard to glean the basics of advancement/survival. --Tre Lawrence

And watches? Who needs 'em? Check out the best trailers, video previews, and reviews of the week over on AppSpy.

Finally, this week Pocket Gamer has more tales from GDC, a review of Sid Meier's new strategy epic, the latest on Five Nights at Freddy's 3, and an elegy for PlayStation Mobile. RIP, buddy.

This Week at 148Apps: March 2-6, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 9th, 2015

Your App News and Reviews Source


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.

AG Drive

Wondered what futuristic street-racing looks like? Check out AG Drive. It’s the future — 2260 to be more exact — and “anti-gravity” drive-powered machines are all the rage. Fantastic spacecraft fill the air, interstellar travel is commonplace, and everything is done at a brisk pace. Racing has also evolved, and as to be expected, the new drives are at the root of it. Spurred on by the craziest, windiest race tracks imaginable, we get the backing story for AG Drive. And the environments in the game help define it a great deal. The graphics are slick, but stop short of being pretentious, and the vehicles characterized therein look realistically futuristic. The animations are vivid, and the laws of physics are not overly disrespected in the name of action. --Tre Lawrence


Overkill 3

Craneballs is back. With Overkill 3. It’s a gritty affair, with a plot line that yanks the player into a dystopian future that lacks hope or societal order. Our main character is someone who is willing to unite the resistance against the evil Faction, and bring hope to mankind — all while sporting the tightest digital haircut, like, ever. Overkill 3 is in the same vein as the previous two titles: cover system rules the roost. One big change from the earlier iterations is the fact that the player perspective is shifted from first to third person. This does make for some subtle changes, but the action is definitely not in short supply. --Tre Lawrence


Meteorz

It sounds crazy, but the App Store really does feel like the true successor to arcades. It’s full of tiny, extremely varied games still figuring out just what to do with a new entertainment technology and the new audience that comes along with it. Plus, lots of those games are trying to infinitely steal your money. Games like Meteorz make this metaphor even easier, in a good way. In Meteorz players work to protect planets each going through their own personal Armageddon, as in the Bruce Willis movie. Meteors hurtling towards the planets threaten to destroy them, so players hop between worlds to defend them. If the minimal, angular, crystalline sci-fi visuals and haunting spacey synth songs weren’t enough of a throwback, each round plays something like a modern version of arcade classic Asteroids. However, instead of piloting a spaceship, players rotate armed defense satellites around the fixed planet to target obstacles. --Jordan Minor


Heavenstrike Rivals

Heavenstrike Rivals is a free-to-play strategy game by Square Enix. In it, players duke it out against each other or AI in the quest to prove the supremacy of their squad. With some unique gameplay systems and some new twists on familiar ideas, Heavenstrike Rivals is really fun, though a little bit intimidating. Part of Heavenstrike Rivals‘s promotion on the App Store mentions that the game is a trading card game (TCG), though it doesn’t look like one. Much like some card games, like Magic: the Gathering and SolForge, players do construct armies of creatures and send them down one of three lanes with the ultimate goal of bringing the opposite players’ life score to 0. However, most presentations of the creatures in the game are fully animated and move around the game like some kind of papercraft puppets, which makes the whole thing looks really sharp. Players that are particularly fond of the steampunk aesthetic, anime, or both should be pleased with the work that has gone into making Heavenstrike Rivals look the way it does. --Campbell Bird


This is My Weather-Meteorology for Kids

Like much of the country, we are experiencing a rough winter this year, oftentimes with days too cold and snowy to spend a lot of time outside. During these times of difficult weather, I have enjoyed testing the new app This is My Weather – Meteorology for Kids – a content-rich interactive application that thoughtfully uses a child narrator to explain different weather topics. First, children will have a chance to dress a character of their choice in weather-appropriate gear. This app may generate a temperature to dress for as well as allow parents to change up the need for different outdoor apparel and to dress for local weather. I enjoy this section, especially as one can choose a boy or girl of many different skin tones to dress, but I would love to be able to pre-select what is considered an appropriate outfit for my child’s specific needs the way one can adjust the temperature itself as here the character will announce that he is too cold, hot, or just right. --Amy Solomon


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown

Misfit Shine

The new Misfit Shine is hardly new, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that plenty of people still consider it a piece worth at least trying out. We were eager to get the review unit Misfit sent us. The unit itself is tiny, barely bigger than a quarter in circumference; the unit contains a battery, and fits into a watch-like band. It’s quite light, almost slender on the wrist, but reasonably nondescript for something crafted from aircraft grade aluminum. It is waterproof, and grayish in color (there are other color choices), which mostly hides the series of LEDs when they are not lighted.. --Tre Lawrence


Runes of Camelot

Camelot (of course) is our location and, of course, there ain’t no Camelot without Arthur. Amelia and Merlin are out to help the noble monarch save Camelot by thwarting the evil Morgana’s plans, and they do this with runes or special potions. To begin the game, one gets to choose a character, and each is said to have a unique storyline. At its core, Runes of Camelot is a match-3 puzzle game. As such, the idea is to get a line of three or runes of the same color, horizontally or vertically. Getting three straight (via gesture swipe) dissolves the matched set, and they are replaced by pieces that fall from the top. The pieces are randomized, but any triples created from swaps also dissolve and are replaced. When a set of four pieces are formed, a diamond-looking rune with special powers is formed. These runes can be manipulated to create column shattering reactions that help finish levels. Regular matches yield special powers that are diverse and helpful in time crunches. --Tre Lawrence

This Week at 148Apps: February 23-27, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 2nd, 2015

Final February Fun at 148Apps


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.

Alto's Adventure

‘Just one more go’ is a pretty good thing to think while playing a game, even if it’s hardly conducive to your productivity. That’s been the case for me with Alto’s Adventure, as I find myself having ‘just one more go’ to double check something before writing this. It’s an endless runner (something that shouldn’t hook anyone so easily these days), but it’s also a fine example of the genre. We’re talking borderline Tiny Wings levels of fun here. It helps a lot that Alto’s Adventure is gorgeous to look at. It’s relatively simple looking at first glance but that hides some beautiful little touches. Most notable of all is how things change depending on if it’s day or night in the game. It’s thoroughly delightful, with the only real issue being that rocks can be hard to see when it’s dark. --Jennifer Allen


Do Camera

How often do you take a photo then immediately want to send it elsewhere or do something else with it? Probably pretty often, right? Courtesy of the power behind IFTTT, Do Camera can do all that for you, saving you some valuable time. It won’t cover every eventuality but it’s still going to be pretty useful most of the time. As with other IFTTT products, Do Camera is centered around the concept of using recipes to set things up. You hit the Add Recipe button, then make some choices as to what you do next. In each case this means that the central button on the camera side of Do Camera relates to that recipe. All you do is hit the camera button and Do Camera takes the photo while also performing whatever act you’ve set it up to commit. --Jennifer Allen


Swap Heroes 2

Swap Heroes 2 is a prime example of a game giving players exactly what they want. As an iteration on the fun-but-flawed Swap Heroes, this sequel delivers all of the strategic elements from the original while removing some of the more random elements and adding a good mix of heroes. For those familiar with the first title, Swap Heroes 2 should be very familiar. Players take control of a set of four heroes and control them purely through swapping their positions in their T shaped formation. Each character has their own set of stats and can unleash special attacks only after being swapped from the back of the formation to the front. Despite being a pretty simple formula, it maintains a sense of depth by providing a wide variety of enemies, character upgrades, and multiple viable strategies for success. --Campbell Bird


Planet Quest

Playing Planet Quest couldn’t be simpler. Players are in charge of a UFO’s zapper that’s supposed to zap costumed creatures as they zip along a planet’s surface to the beat of a song. Although it may sound unintuitive, the rotation of the planet is analogous to the note highway of games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, and the notes are just giraffes, bunnies, flowers, and other weird creatures. At first players are walked through the basics, which are essentially ‘tap to the rhythm to zap the creatures’, but along the way more nuance is added. For example, some levels obscure the game view to add difficulty. Also, things like the flower need to be avoided as they take points off of a player’s high score. The game ends when players lose three hearts by missing too many creatures, but it’s forgiving enough that they can miss a note or two while still being able to earn hearts back. --Campbell Bird


Capsule

If you’re like me, you often find yourself thinking how you really need to text someone but it’s 2am and you don’t think they’d appreciate a message right now. All too often I then entirely forget by the next morning, and so the pattern repeats itself for far too long. Sure I could send myself an email as a reminder or add something to my To-Do list, but wouldn’t it be great if I could schedule a text instead? That’s the thinking behind Capsule – a flawed but useful way of texting in the future. You set Capsule up by inputting your phone number and then receiving an authorization code. It doesn’t take too long to do and is possible anywhere throughout the world. After that, using Capsule is simply a matter of tapping Create and you can get texting. You type your message as usual, choose whether you want to add a photo or video, pick out your contact, and then schedule a time and date. It’s as simple as that. --Jennifer Allen


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown

Runes of Camelot

Camelot (of course) is our location and, of course, there ain’t no Camelot without Arthur. Amelia and Merlin are out to help the noble monarch save Camelot by thwarting the evil Morgana’s plans, and they do this with runes or special potions. To begin the game, one gets to choose a character, and each is said to have a unique storyline. At its core, Runes of Camelot is a match-3 puzzle game. As such, the idea is to get a line of three or runes of the same color, horizontally or vertically. Getting three straight (via gesture swipe) dissolves the matched set, and they are replaced by pieces that fall from the top. The pieces are randomized, but any triples created from swaps also dissolve and are replaced. When a set of four pieces are formed, a diamond-looking rune with special powers is formed. These runes can be manipulated to create column shattering reactions that help finish levels. Regular matches yield special powers that are diverse and helpful in time crunches. --Tre Lawrence


Buzz Killem

Action platformers almost always resonate; they are simple to learn, easy to enjoy and can be tweaked with several gameplay elements. With Buzz Killem (from industry strongman Noodlecake), we get some glorious graphics, easy-to-learn controls, arcade goodness and a lot of action. Buzz Killem is a story of, well, going buck wild. It’s Rambo meets Independence Day. Buzz (action star’s Bill Killem’s dad) is a war vet who is brought back to confront an alien threat. Now, the kicker is tha Buzz has no compunction with regards to blasting away, and in the 2D environment that the game is set, all advantages are to be treasured. --Tre Lawrence


Livescribe Sky Wifi Smartpen

When I look at adding accessories to my workflow, I try to keep to a few important precepts: portability, functionality and compatibility. Portability is obvious; the ability to use stuff on the go is quite important. With regards to functionality, before adding an addition or substitution to my creative/work process, I’d rather know that it is worth the time to make a change. Lastly, the ability to use a tool with other tools and across platforms is priceless. On paper, Livescribe’s Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen seems to touch on these elements quite comfortably. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, super fast racers, super slow runners, and GEOFF tears the Nvidia Shield a new one - that's the week according to AppSpy.

This Week at 148Apps: February 16-20, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 23rd, 2015

February Fun at 148Apps


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.

World Zombination

World Zombination tackles the threat of zombie invasion in a different way than most. For one thing, you can choose to play the role of the zombies or the humans. While the former allows you to unleash hundreds of zombies at once, the later is a bit more tower defense in nature with you opting to carefully place units around a city in order to take out the waves of enemies up ahead. In both cases you gradually gain new units, as well as train them and level them up, watching as they improve their skill set. It’s a lot of fun. There are plenty of single player missions to tackle, as well as PvP. It’s kind of like how various base building games tackle things, but it doesn’t feel as staid as that. Outside of each level you can spend time training your units, as well as accumulating resources for more profit. You can even take a step back and send your troops out on their own without your assistance, although this affects your stamina levels quite significantly. --Jennifer Allen


Puny Stupid Humans

When aliens land on prehistoric Earth, naturally they are scared and confused. But, like the evil invaders they ultimately are, soon they begin terraforming their crash site into a futuristic headquarters and conscripting the vicious local wildlife to their cause. If that sounds suspiciously familiar then congratulations because you’ve successfully deduced that this is yet another game about building a base, improving its defenses against lesser hordes, managing freemium currency, and raising an army to take on real-time strategy missions and other players online. How novel. But as its title foreshadows, Puny Stupid Humans milks enough cleverness out of its stranded aliens premise to give it at least some personality. There is legitimately humorous banter between the dopey overlords as well as some fun fourth wall-breaking moments involving their mind control device. The mechanism is actually a living creature aware of the player’s presence and finds it deliciously ironic that there’s another force controlling the ones who think they are in control. --Jordan Minor


Clear for Action

While it’s fair to say that pirates were ultimately all about making money, their lives were filled with things other than loot. Most pirate-themed media, games, movies, or whatever else captures these more exciting aspects of the job. But Clear for Action steers clear of such unprofitable diversions. After losing their impressive ship due to some family disagreements, players have to build their fleet back up from a single, measly skiff. So they’ll need to purchase new ports and sail between different islands while stealing goods and selling them elsewhere. As players earn money and experience, they can upgrade their ship and recruit new crewmen. They can also buy additional ships to carry out multiple transactions at once. The map starts out small, but players unlock new locations as their nautical forces improve. --Jordan Minor


Swipes

Swipes is a productivity app designed to help users organize their task lists and get things done. Although the idea of a task app is certainly not new, Swipes has some awesome integrations with Evernote that may make it worth picking up. Most users familiar with any third party task apps like Clear and Wunderlist will feel right at home with Swipes. Its interface shows users the tasks for that day in a simple, minimal-looking list that can be manipulated by tapping or swiping on items to mark them as complete, edit, or ‘snooze’ them for later. The core idea is to present a user’s tasks effectively and beautifully while also being careful to just keep the focus on the most time-sensitive tasks. --Campbell Bird


Foldpass

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry with many different iterations and nuances, but the format the West is most familiar with is a three-line verse with a five – seven – five syllable count. I’ve always been a writer, but I suck at writing poetry. Whenever I was instructed to put together a poem, I’d go the “easy” route by banging out a haiku. Sometimes the teacher was impressed. Often they weren’t. See, writing haiku is not actually easy. You have to express yourself and paint a visual with a very limited sentence structure. Once you harness the joy of minimalistic creation, you can put together some neat stuff. --Nadia Oxford


Clementine Wants To Know: Where Do Babies Come From?

Clementine Wants To Know: Where Do babies Come From is a warm and charming app for children about where babies come from that focuses on the social side of sexual education as well as including factual material about a baby’s evolution from an embryo to a fetus, including a live birth. Unlike 9 Months!, which I reviewed previously, Clementine Wants To Know takes a decidedly child-centric tone as it tackles this subject from the point-of-view of Clementine: a six year old who has just found out that she is going to be a big sister. From here, the age-old question of “where do babies come from?” is approached in a way that really makes me smile. --Amy Solomon


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown

D-Link Pan & Tilt Wifi Camera

When it comes to a secure home, why no pull out all the stops? Connected cameras are a big part of home safety options, and devices made by D-Link — a company that can actually afford to name drop — are especially interesting. As such, we were eager to check out the D-Link Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera. The review unit D-Link sent us came in retail packaging; in the box, one gets the camera itself, a mounting bracket, ethernet cable, power cable, mounting paraphernalia and documentation. The camera itself is mostly white with black accents. Standing right-side up, it looks like a short lighthouse with a matching white antenna out the back. Dimensions-wise, it is 5.26 x 4.03 x 3.99 inches, and weighs 0.64 lbs. --Tre Lawrence


Blood Brothers 2

We all know that most ‘free’ games are built around hooks. Hooks that get you to come back to the game once a day. Hooks that make you want to spend a little bit of money here, a little bit of money there. Hooks that make you want to know when the next update is coming. Blood Brothers 2 knows exactly what it’s doing when it sets up all of these hooks right off the bat. To start with, Blood Brothers 2 is essentially a strategic card game where you can play through an extensive story mode or play online against human opponents. --Matt Parker


Feed The Cat

When cats aren’t busy playing the keyboard, flying on rainbows across the sky and generally being cute for the Internet, they have to eat. At least that’s what the game Feed the Cat suggests. Feed the Cat turns the concept of feeding the cuddly creatures into a puzzling affair in its most literal sense — players must solve puzzles by swiping food across levels and into hungry cats’ mouths. The concept is simple and adorable, but the execution fails as the game’s levels are about as challenging as actually feeding a cat in real life. --Ryan Bloom

And guns are being censored on the App Store and GEOFF knows why, plus Swap Heroes 2 and a cool new skateboarding game - that's the week according to AppSpy.

Finally, this week Pocket Gamer told you how to make a Minecraft server, reviewed the excellent AG Drive and Alto's Adventure, showed the first footage of Sonic Runners, and went hands-on with games like DomiNations! and Magic Touch. It's all right here.

This Week at 148Apps: February 9-13, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 17th, 2015

Warm Your Winter With New Apps!


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.

Nobody Said It Was Easy

Nobody Said It Was Easy makes no attempts to mask its difficulty from players. The title tells them exactly what to expect. However, what they might not expect is just how creative the fiendish tricks actually are. Right from the start Nobody Said It Was Easy makes all the right choices that separate fair challenging games from purely frustrating ones. Running and jumping feel super precise, even with the added hindrance of virtual buttons. Players have more control over their character’s momentum on the ground and in the air than most games, or real-life, would ever provide, and instant respawns put players right back in the action after the constant, inevitable deaths. Even if the game consisted solely of the merciless enemies and rapid obstacles of most “masocore” games, it would still work because of how well it nails the overall feel that makes those games even remotely playable. --Jordan Minor


The Hardest Flight

Requiring reasonably speedy reactions, The Hardest Flight doesn’t quite live up to its name (there are harder games out there, by a long shot). But that doesn’t stop it being a diverting way of spending five minutes. You have to control a ship as it attempts to negotiate various colored barriers. Controls are very simple: you tilt the iOS device to move the ship around and hold a finger to the left turning the ship blue, while holding a finger to the right turns it to pink. Don’t touch anything and your ship remains purple, the default color. The key here is to keep moving your ship around, while also changing color at the right moment in order to pass through barriers. --Jennifer Allen


Yet It Moves

Previously a PC and WiiWare indie hit (albeit with an extra ‘And’ at the start of its name), Yet It Moves has made the natural move to iOS. Issues with its brevity seem less like a big deal in a mobile format, although its controls are occasionally an irritant. Fundamentally, Yet It Moves is a side-scrolling platformer that has you helping a sketch figure to make his way back to the piece of paper he’s been cut from. No, I’m not sure why either, but it forms the basis of a fun concept. You can move left or right by holding a finger to either side of the screen, but everything else comes down to rotating the world. This is done through a hold and drag motion which, unfortunately, often interferes with movement. --Jennifer Allen


Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect

It hasn’t been long since massive hit Sons of Anarchy officially ended its run on TV. The story of the outlaw motorcycle gang was the perfect amalgamation of family, betrayal, violence, and drama. The TV show might have reached its zenith, but the franchise does get a breath of fresh air in Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect. This saga is based on SAMLIN, a chapter out of Oregon, and the opening sequence gives a bit of insight into the game. The portion reviewed covers the first chapter; it’s a rambling affair – a first-person perspective that starts off on a bike, tosses in brooding dialogue, and also sneaks in some gameplay tips. From there we meet our main protagonist, and learn a bit about the pressures that cause him to go down the dangerous road he goes down. --Tre Lawrence


Gang Nations

It’s easy to dismiss a game as a Clash of Clans clone because there really are a ton of them out there. Gang Nations certainly owes a lot to that format, but it offers a few subtle differences to ensure that it feels more worthy of playing than most. Even if it does feel somewhat racist in terms of its stereotyping, at times. Your mission is to build a significant urban city and keep it safe from attack. It looks kind of slum-like, which is apparently (I guess?) why your defensive forces are comprised of hoodlums, thieves, convicts, and more. The usual format applies here: you use a mixture of cash and juice to buy stuff and upgrade places, and storage areas need to be upgraded as frequently as everything else so that you have any chance of progressing. --Jennifer Allen


9 Months!

Nine Months! is a thoughtfully produced documentary app about the development of a baby growing inside mom’s belly. It’s broken down into nine chapters that do a great job of explaining, in wonderful detail, the growth from embryo to fetus and culminating in a live birth. The major part of this app is seen as a cross-section of a woman’s belly, with the baby becoming larger and more developed month after month, including details such as the uterus complete with cervix, placenta, and umbilical cord, as well as details of how the baby’s body develops. --Amy Solomon


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown

Garden Fever

Good things come in threes, they say. How many ‘connect three’ games make their way onto the marketplace every month? More than three, I’d imagine, so it’s becoming very difficult to find games in this genre that really stand out. Garden Fever, it has to be said, does everything well, though I can’t think of any one thing that it does differently. Which, when the Google Play Store is so flooded with these titles, is a bit of a killer. You should know the drill. Colored block (in this case they’re fruit) are aligned on a grid and it’s your job to slide adjacent blocks so that there’s at least 3 of the same color in a horizontal or vertical line. If you happen to align 4 or even 5 blocks, you not only clear more blocks but you get left behind with more powerful items that can clear even more blocks. To complete each level, you need to meet certain requirements such as ‘clear 60 red apples’ whilst also dealing with squares that have ‘mud’ or ‘ice’ in them. --Matt Parker


Sentinel: Sci-Fi Space Shooter

Space adventurers, take heed: Sentinel: SciFi Space Shooter is here. The game is a bit more involved than might seem at first glance; there are a host of subtle details that are revealed during the tutorial. The game offers two modes, a quick Arcade version and a more complex Campaign mode. Campaign opens up with the optional tutorial, and it walks the player through the basics of gameplay.The backstory highlights the gameplay: somewhat desperate space pilot, mining and unfriendly enemies. the view is first-person, and there are two main virtual control buttons that cover weapons to the right. The game runs in landscape, and this allows the player to control movement and sights with the left thumb. There is a bank of menu buttons towards the leftmost top, and there are life/shield gauges at the top. --Tre Lawrence


Cell Motus

Everyone needs a good puzzle; Cell Motus wants to be that puzzle one can lean on. The game is its own tutorial; it starts off easy, giving a taste of the gameplay. The player is faced with a singular puzzle, with an encompassing “cell” looking to be matched with a small circle of the same color. The trick here is that each cell has an incorporated direction point that controls which way the cell can go; so, when tapped (tapping the cell invokes movement), the cell can only go forward in the direction of the angled pointer. Now, the first level is a gimme — one cell, one circle, and a couple taps to solve. The next few levels are fairly easy too, even as we begin to see multiple cells and matching circles. --Tre Lawrence

And what do Kim Kardashian, quick time events, and a Tigrex all have in common? They're all a part of AppSpy's round up of the biggest videos of the week.

Finally, you can't show guns on the App Store, but you can poke fun of Kim Jong-Un. The App Store is weird, basically, is Pocket Gamer's take on last week.

This Week at 148Apps: February 2-6, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 9th, 2015

Warm Your Winter With New Apps!


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.

Dark Echo

Monsters aren’t what makes horror movies scary. It’s the idea of the monster that truly frightens us. The shrouded inhuman figure we can barely make out forces us to fill in the terrifying details with our own imagination. That’s why whenever the monster fully arrives, it just looks silly and the fear disappears. What makes Dark Echo one of the tensest, most ingenious horror games on the App Store is that it’s all about not seeing the monster. Based on the development team’s Ludum Dare game You Must Escape, Dark Echo puts players in the poor shoes of some anonymous victim stuck in a pitch black hallway. Virtually blind, the only way to move around is to rely on your other senses, particularly hearing. The game represents this Daredevil-style echolocation by showing sound waves as white lines bouncing around the black screen. Beyond just being a striking visual effect, this gives players enough information they need to progress while also leaving them incredibly vulnerable. --Jordan Minor


The Detail

It’s a good sign when finishing a game causes me to audibly yell “Nooo, don’t finish there!” at my iPad. It’s also a sign that the first episode of The Detail could perhaps do with being a little longer. It offers just enough to really grab your attention, but its premium price tag doesn’t quite match up with the quantity offered here. The App Store description suggests a mixture of The Walking Dead with the grim realism of The Wire. That’s about right, too. The Detail is a pretty dark game, even this early on, but it hooks you in fast. Following two very different characters – a grizzled and cynical veteran detective and a reformed criminal with a family – it’s not long at all before you’re drawn into the storyline. Action is much like other adventure games with you tapping on hotspots to interact with them in some way. Within a few minutes, you’re inspecting a body, trying to glean clues as to what’s unfolding. You can also talk to people, ask them questions, and adjust your tone accordingly. --Jennifer Allen


The Witcher Battle Arena

The Witcher Battle Arena is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) for people who have never played one before. It lacks the depth of most of the rest of the genre, as well as a few other features that would beguile you. Instead, it’s a bit too simple to really recommend, although I guess it works as a gateway to superior offerings. Unlike other MOBAs, each match is very straightforward with little opportunity for tactical play. Games are 3-vs-3, with teams having to capture the three checkpoints across each map in order to whittle down the opposition’s tickets. Starting out with 500 tickets, games typically take around 10 minutes to complete but will sometimes run a little longer. --Jennifer Allen


Potatoman Seeks The Troof

While games on the whole are noticeably simpler and easier than the games of the 80s and 90s, there’s also a genre full of games keen to remind you of why you enjoyed such challenges once upon a time. Potatoman Seeks The Troof is part of that genre, testing your ability to react exceptionally quickly. Some control issues aside, it’s mostly quite fun if all too brief. With the graphical prowess of an 8-bit console or computer, Potatoman Seeks The Troof is simple looking but also quite charming. Your sole objective is to dodge everything and survive. There’s a certain amount of pattern recognition involved here, but just when you think you fully get it down, it changes things up. Early on, you jump over various cacti. Then, inexplicably, one cactus leaps in the air – usually catching you out the first time round. So, Potatoman Seeks The Troof isn’t just about pattern recognition but also trial and error. Fortunately, it restarts quickly so you never lose out too much. --Jennifer Allen


Radiation Island

As far as conspiracy theories go, the Philadelphia Experiment is a good one to base a game around. Urban legend states the priject, which was supposedly conducted by the United States’ Army in 1943, turned a US Navy destroyer invisible – thus paving the way for technology that would hide other ships and weapons from enemy eyes. But where do “invisible” things go once they’re zapped out of our realm of existence? According to Radiation Island from Atypical Games, the answer is “some mysterious place that’s super-hostile.” Thus begins a game that’s all about survival, crafting, and exploration. --Nadia Oxford


Toca Kitchen 2

Toca Kitchen 2 is a companion to the popular Toca Kitchen – a favorite digital toy for both children and adults. I admire Toca Boca for their willingness to update their apps as well as to develop new versions of their creations in order to continue to challenge the creativity of young people in their various Toca Hair Salon apps, as well as Toca Kitchen apps – be it Kitchen Monsters, the original Toca Kitchen, and now Toca Kitchen 2. A few things have changed from the most recent update of Toca Kitchen; specifically the ability to combine ingredients both in the cooking process as well as on the plate to serve. The other major change here is the use of 3D graphics – as also seen in Toca Nature – when representing the three customers, as well as using muted shades of food textures to replicate the ingredients instead of the bright and colorful food illustrations I was fond of in the original app. --Amy Solomon


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown

Puro Sound Labs Kids Bluetooth Headphones

Here’s the problem: I’ve come to appreciate quality earphones the older I’ve gotten. I won’t describe myself as an audiophile, but I do enjoy the output a quality set of phones can bring. As such, I do have write a few. Wired, wireless, over-ear, in-ear, lounging, sport… you name it, and I probably have a set for the occasion. I baby them too. They’re cased when not in use, and issued in places that negate the possibility of silly mishaps, like (gasp!) sitting on them. All because I like having options, and dislike procuring stuff twice.
You know what is kryptonite to gadget longevity? Kids. Take my daughter for instance. Ariana Grande must be heard, ave outside hearing the SAME song played on loop, I have to reluctantly lend her a pair of mine. Why aren’t there more gadgets available for kids? That’s a question the Puro Sound Labs Kids Headphones looks to answer. --Tre Lawrence


City Island 3

City Island 3 plays somewhat like a simpler version of SimCity. The player begins with a empty island and must construct a city from the ground up. Houses are placed for your citizens to live in and just like SimCity it is best to construct ones that hold more people to make maximum use of space. Businesses can be placed as well and these are the ones that generate money for the player, using a familiar timer based system. Businesses must be staffed with employees and thus you need to balance the amount of houses and businesses so there is always enough staff to crew your profitable businesses. --Allan Curtis


Checkpoint Champion

Checkpoint Champion is a cool new driving game that rewards careful, skilful driving. Taking control of cute SD versions of well-known cars the player weaves their way to greatness. Checkpoint Champion is a great fit for mobile gaming. Using a simple control system, the player must weave their way through very short ten second challenges. These involve driving into checkpoints before time runs out. Each challenge features plenty of fiendish challenges like hairpin turns; handbrake turns, obstacles that need to be avoided and plain tough driving. Checkpoint Champion rewards precision and it is very satisfying to get a level right. --Allan Curtis

And have you met GEOFF? You should really meet GEOFF. GEOFF is going to change the way you think about video games. Come to AppSpy to find out why.

Finally, this week Pocket Gamer got you free currency in Midnight Star and free critters in Pokemon, picked the best iOS and Android games of January, and handed out its first 10/10 of 2015. What was the lucky game? You’ll just have to click here, won’t you?