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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?

This Week at 148Apps: January 26-30, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 3rd, 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.

Playworld Superheroes

Playworld Superheroes is one of those games that’s unabashedly aimed at younger iOS users. It starts off slow, almost too mildly, as the player learns the crafting process. It begins with selecting a base character from a batch of different prototypes, and after this the player is guided to a treehouse (which is the home location of this digital tale), and guided through the process of finding simple items that can be crafted to make what look like rudimentary parts of a superhero outfit. --Tre Lawrence


Mean Girls: The Game

Positioned as a sequel to the original film, no not the sequel they actually made, Mean Girls: The Game has Cady Heron, Regina George, and the rest teaming up to repel a new generation of cliquey Plastics. But turning stuck-up high schools girls into literally identical endless enemy fodder is just one of a few ways the game uses tower defense tropes as a clever metaphor. The towers themselves represent different groups of students. Cheerleaders damage nearby foes with their routines while jocks hurl basketballs at targets. They start as freshmen and players use earned popularity to level them up all the way until graduation. Matches themselves tend to drag, but there are a bunch of new student groups with intriguing properties to unlock, and the environments, ranging from cafeterias to gyms, feature lots of different snaking path. --Jordan Minor


Battle of Toys

Wouldn’t it be great if toys came to life when we weren’t around like they do in Toy Story? Wouldn’t it be even better if instead of getting up to hijinks and adventure they just beat the stuffing out of each other instead? Battle of Toys seems to think that’s a great idea. From their growing collection, players can choose up to 6 toys to take into battle with them, each with their own special attacks and wide selection of costumes. The controls prioritise reaction time and a set of touch gestures over a standard button layout, requiring players to stop the indicator in one of the green zones to launch one of two combos. One of a handful of reaction mini-games will then pop up to help maximise damage. There is no active defense ability to speak of though, so sometimes an attack won’t land because the opponent has literally beaten the player to the punch. --Lee Hamlet


All Star Quarterback

All Star Quarterback is a free-to-play football game in which players can live out a fantasy of being the quarterback of a pro football team. Unlike most football games, this title tasks players with managing the life of a single football player and their time on and off the field, rather than a whole lineup of eleven players from week to week in a football season. The result of this twist on traditional sports games is surprisingly refreshing, though the game itself isn’t much more than a clicker/management game with some light role playing and action sequences. All Star Quarterback begins with players creating their character by making very simple, but custom choices, like name and skin color. From there, players are drafted to a professional team (though the game is not NFL licensed) and have to train, buy, and play their way to a successful career. --Campbell Bird


Ambition of the Slimes

While it may play more like a Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy: Tactics, in a lot of ways Ambition of the Slimes feels like a deconstructed Dragon Quest. First off, there’s the genre-flipping premise of playing as the lowly slime monsters. Being the cool, big bad villain is one thing, but these are worse than henchmen. Also, the game’s Minecraft-esque aesthetic looks like someone ripped the chunky sprites out of a classic 8-bit RPG and dropped them into a trippy retro 3D world. Rotating the screen and watching pixels shift to maintain perspective is always a neat effect, and even the poorly translated dialogue (intentional or not) adds an appropriate charm hinted at by the absurd title. But what really makes Ambition of the Slimes so spectacular is its ingenious strategy hook. Players start each match with a party of slimes they’ve collected. Being slimes, they aren’t great at fighting directly. They’re underpowered and outmatched. However, if players can position them next to a stronger human enemy unit like an archer or a knight, the slime can hop in that poor person’s mouth and possess them. This adds so many awesome new strategy considerations. What units do I go after? How much should I soften up this target before going in for the steal? Possess first and then attack? Use possessed units to shield weaker slimes? --Jordan Minor


Winky Think Logic Puzzles

There is a new favorite application in our house that I am quite eager to let readers know all about – Winky Think Logic Puzzles from Spinlight Studio. This app, as the name may suggest, consists of logic puzzles that both children as well as adults and all ages in between will enjoy. At 180 levels, this application truly includes hours of activities ranging from those simple and straightforward to complex and difficult tasks even for adults. Winky Think starts out easy enough, with players needing to slide a blue pentagram into a related cutout marked with a smaller gem of the same color and shape. In the next level, things build a bit as now children are asked to slide a red pentagram into a corresponding open spot, now choosing this correct over other colored gems also seen on the board. Soon other shapes are included to color-match as simple maze-like areas of the puzzle are added that one needs to navigate. This app begins slowly for the benefit of young users, but I found these levels utterly engaging as an adult with its dynamic use of jewel colors popping against the grey background, made up with a subtle mix of different shades of warm, bright greys instead of the bleak, stagnant color that a lesser developer may have chosen to use. --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

IOGEAR Tunetap Wireless Audio Receiver

As we become more connected in the digital sense, wireless solutions become that much more relevant. Bluetooth is an oldie but goodie, and the trusted protocol is easily incorporated in several ways. Now that it is all but ubiquitous with regards to mobile devices, it makes sense that mobile devices — especially Android — can be the ultimate hub in connected setups. Looking at the IOGEAR TuneTap Audio Receiver, it’s easy to see why it could be compelling; it’s small, easy to set up and comes from IOGEAR. The review unit sent to us exhibits that size, which is 2.88 x 2.88 x 0.97 inches, weighing only 1.6 ounces. It is a sleek little thing, with solid fusing and ports for audio out, optical out and a power jack; on the top, there is a subtle LED light right under the logo. The package also contained 3,55mm to RCA cable, power cable and documentation. --Tre Lawrence


Laser Quest

Laser Quest has a flashy name that might fool folks. In a good way. It’s a puzzle game, true, but it’s how the puzzles are framed that make this interesting. Our protagonist, Nio the octopus, is an industrious creature with an eye for treasure, and a willingness to travel to procure it. The playing area is a grid made of smaller squares, and the general premise is to move Nio from the start point to the the location square of the treasure chest. these squares can also be occupied by items that can be collected by contact, or otherwise manipulated to effect a solution. There are also stars that can be collected; each level has three. --Tre Lawrence

This past week, Pocket Gamer previewed The Detail, Forgotten Memories, and The Wild, checked out remastered versions of Fahrenheit and Grim Fandango, and asked, "hey, wanna be a dead body?"

And finally, last week on AppSpy: the very best RPGs on mobile, an early look at The Wild and Forgotten Memories, plus a whole bunch more.

This Week at 148Apps: January 19-23, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on January 26th, 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.

Trivia Crack

The exercise of flexing your brain muscles through the art of trivia has always been a concept that many still struggle to entertain themselves with. Even in this day and age some just downright avoid it. One of the biggest factors to why people find trivia so intimidating is the overwhelming pressure it instills in a competitive environment by creating an immediate divide of accessibility between the savvy and the casual, with little compromise considered towards the latter. Trivia Crack strives to tear down that wall by creating an asynchronous multiplayer climate that allows for a slew of social avenues that are seamlessly available to in a manner that’s geared around doing everything it can to acclimate to anyone who plays it, without having to make any sort of intellectual concession as a result. --George Fagundes


The Hunger Games: Panem Rising

Your base of operations in Panem Rising is the underground city of District 13, where the rebels are conspiring to infiltrate and take over the Capitol. But overthrowing an entrenched government is best done in baby-steps, so your early missions mostly involve traveling to different districts and helping its residents against individual acts of the Capitol’s tyranny. Taking down a threat primarily involves tapping the “explore” button over and over in an area, which carries you forward. Each step costs energy (warning: you run out quickly), and yields prizes like coins and fighter cards. Fighter cards are your key to winning battles against the Capitol’s goons. Most of the cards you pick up off the ground are for low-level workers with little battle worth, but you may occasionally find powerful cards based off notable characters. The low-level cards you discover serve as effective feed for your heroes. --Nadia Oxford


Adventure Time Game Wizard

Essentially two games in one, Adventure Time Game Wizard is part platformer, part creation tool. The Adventure Mode is where the meat of the game resides, with you leaping from platform to platform and attacking enemies along the way. You switch between the likes of Finn, Jake, Ice King, Flame Princess, and BMO, each offering their own abilities and talents. Original voiceovers, as well as an appearance from ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, is a sweet move to endearing you more to the game. A significant problem arises with the control scheme, though. While your left hand manipulates a sliding pad to move around, your right hand taps buttons to jump or attack. Neither fully works as well as you’d like. It’s too easy for your finger to slip and not tap the button you desire, and sliding just isn’t as effective as using a virtual d-pad or joystick. You’ll often find yourself fighting more with the controls than enjoying the action. That’s a shame as it’s a reasonably enjoyable romp with some nice fan service. --Jennifer Allen


Handle

Assuming you have a Gmail account at your disposal, Handle is sure to make your work more organized and your life less stressful. It combines To Do Lists and Calendar functionality alongside email capabilities, ensuring everything is tied up neatly. Somehow it does all that for free, too. Setup is pretty straightforward with a tutorial guiding you through the paces. If you’ve used any organizational tool before, Handle should make perfect sense to you. A swipe to the left or right takes you wherever you need to go, with sections divided according to To Do, Calendar, and Email. Email is fairly typical of any email app but with some subtle additions; namely, you can choose to add an email to your To Do list or add a reminder to your Calendar linked to the message. You’ll find yourself doing this often and saving yourself time while you plan. --Jennifer Allen


Saved

It might not be the most inexpensive of budgeting apps, but Saved gets the right balance between offering the features you need without overcomplicating things. It’s certainly a convenient way of helping you keep track of what you’re spending money on. The thinking behind it is that you want to be able to do everything quickly. No one wants to spend time having to enter lots of figures as that’s the kind of thing that puts you off doing so particularly often. Instead, with Saved you can just enter a monthly budget (either differing each month or a set amount all year) and add things as you go along. --Jennifer Allen


Pepi Ride

Pepi Ride is a new car-driving app that is bright and colorful, allowing children to drive vehicles around different paths. Car-driving apps where children need to navigate a track are becoming commonplace, which I can understand as these apps remain quite popular with my son who holds no grudges and this driving genre is certainly not the most unique idea to hit iTunes. Having said this, Pepi Ride is an app that I appreciate as it has enough content to keep children’s attention for quite some time as well as to help them with their problem-solving skills as they navigate areas that become more and more complex . To start, children will have a chance to choose one of four cars complete with driver – be it a boy or girl, as well as two fantasy animals that are then customized by children – complete with a variety of paint colors to choose from as well as the option to use a spray can, paint brush, or pencil point. There is also wheel selection as well as a chance to add sticker-like details and other ornaments, be it attachable horn choices or the like. I also enjoy how transparent the spray paint effect is, allowing one to layer different colors together for an airbrushed appearance. The selections offered here to personalize one’s car have enough options to make a variety of different looks, yet I appreciate how the effects one can choose for the car are limited in order not to overshadow the driving experience within this application. --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

Hungry Hal

Hungry Hal is a reversal of the typical zombie runner. Rather than fleeing in terror from the undead menace, Hungry Hal casts the player as that undead menace. Taking control of Hal, the player must hurtle down a course, avoiding obstacles and snacking on brains to reach his final destiny, whatever that may be. Hungry Hal plays like a typical runner. There are multiple lanes on the screen and swiping up or down moves Hal upwards or downwards. However these controls are rather poor. There is a second of delay before Hal moves, often enough to plow into an obstacle or miss a human. It can just be impossible to move Hal quickly enough, especially if the humans are two lanes away. --Allan Curtis


9 Elements: Action Fight Ball

While it looks like a generic anime-styled garbage fills Google Play all the time, 9 Elements: Action Fight Ball is very distinct and fun. It combines two very different genres with a surprising simplicity, although I wouldn’t mind if it was a little more complex. 9 Elements: Action Fight Ball is an sports action game of sorts. A bunch of colorful characters play a very violent variation of volleyball, using magic and weapons to confuse and knock out the opponents. Each round, the player needs to score more points than the opponent while the timer counts to zero. If he wins, he gets some magic rocks that he can use to upgrade his character, or purchase a new one. The characters differ by their stats, as well as by the style of their attacks and super attacks, although the basic tricks remain the same for all of them. --Tony Kuzmin


WWE Immortals

The fans of WWE can rejoice: they got a cool new fighting game, titled WWE Immortals. It gives all of the famous WWE characters even more crazy and unrealistic abilities and pits them against each other in teams by three. If this isn’t enough for you, then mind that they also get really violent finisher moves and exciting battlegrounds to fight in. If this also isn’t enough, then I know about WWE even less then I thought, sorry. In all seriousness though, WWE Immortals is a surprisingly good game – at least when compared to the previous WWE titles that I got to play before. It looks and sounds great, almost comparable to the fighting games on the consoles. There’s also a ton of different characters to chose from – even though they’re not as different as they seem. More surprisingly, it does require some skill to win. --Tony Kuzmin

This Week at 148Apps: January 12-16, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on January 19th, 2015

New Year - 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.

Fighting Fantasy: Bloodbones

The first of Tin Man Games’ 2015 offerings, Fighting Fantasy: Bloodbones, is a fairly solid entry within the field. Offering a few twists and turns that haven’t been utilized before in a Fighting Fantasy game, it should make a pleasant change of pace. You’re an adventurer out to track down the dread pirate Cinnabar, who murdered your parents. First of all though – and after rolling a few dice to see what skill, stamina, and luck you possess – you’ve got a fair bit of gold to spend. That’s one of the new inclusions within Fighting Fantasy: Bloodbones: a gold supply that can be used to buy many items as well as gamble in the hope of earning more. Early on there are plenty of opportunities to do both, opening up plenty of new paths to check out. The gambling isn’t overly gripping but the results are certainly useful. --Jennifer Allen


Evernote Scannable

Not quite as feature-rich as more expensive apps, Evernote Scannable is still a near essential download for anyone trying to get on top of a mountain of paperwork. Taking mere moments to figure out, Evernote Scannable allows you to automatically scan mostly any kind of document possible – from receipts and contracts to business cards and Post-it notes. You simply point your iOS device’s camera at the thing you want to scan and Evernote Scannable does the rest. It helps if said item is on a clear background, but that’s far from overly restrictive. In a matter of moments the app easily scans things in, displaying the completed image on screen. --Jennifer Allen


Chain Chronicle

You’d need a lot of fingers and toes to count up the number of tower defense games currently available for mobile. The same goes for anyone wanting to tally up how many RPGs, strategy games, or card-collecting titles. Is there any hope we’ll see an innovative game idea again, especially amongst the reams of free-to-play distractions out there? Actually, yes. Chain Chronicle from Gumi and Sega is a deep and satisfying offering that isn’t quite like anything else out there – and its fresh scent is a result of its creators picking and mixing traits from threadbare genres. --Nadia Oxford


Flockers

A more bloodthirsty tale than you’d expect from something full of cute sheep, you’ll be guiding your flock away from huge drops, crushing weights, and dangerous saw blades for the most part. This requires using various tools, such as forming barriers or staircases, as well as utilizing a jump skill and even zooming up walls – kind of like a superhero. There are other skills too, such as creating a walking bomb to clear paths, but the main abilities revolve around jumping and building. Oftentimes you’ll be controlling two flocks of sheep at once, which is where Flockers falters. Its controls are somewhat awkward, and the puzzles themselves can be quite picky and require a high degree of accuracy. Sometimes, the results aren’t as enjoyable as they should be. --Jennifer Allen


Shadowmatic

Shadowmatic is an interesting concept. Checking out the gameplay, the first thing that stands out is the seemingly abstract nature. This puzzler lends itself somewhat to the childhood (and for folks like me, adulthood) fascination with shadow art. If you’ve ever created a fluttering butterfly with your hand, this game will probably tickle your fancy. But more than that, the game asks players to manipulate random objects bathed in light, such that the objects create newer, unrelated objects on the virtual wall. The source object can be moved and twisted along its axis, all with the goal of creating a coherent shadow on the wall via gestures and pinch zooming and expanding. The kicker is that the player isn’t told what the shadow object is supposed to be. And oh yeah, the session is timed. Oh my. --Tre Lawrence


Sago Mini Fairy Tales

Fans of dream team developer Sago Sago will be interested to know about their new app, Sago Mini Fairy Tales, which creates a landscape where children can move about while interacting with many different characters and objects – here with a distinct fairy tale theme that children will enjoy. Sago Mini Fairy Tales stars Jinga the Cat – a character Sago Sago fans will recognize from many of their other apps – complete with the addition of fairy wings that allow this kitty to fly about the magical forest in which she lives. And also allowing children to explore many different characters and devices in this open-ended app. Navigation is a simple drag from a finger, which will allow Jinga to move about the page to discover many mini-adventures from touching upon the Sword in the Stone to taking a nibble from the witch’s house from Hansel and Gretel. Children will enjoy the cameos from familiar characters, including Harvey the Dog who dresses as Rapunzel, or Robin, the pretty pink bird that children will remember as well, here styled as Robin Hood – a charming inclusion that will make adults 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

Tap Titans

It’s hard to define what genre Tap Titans belongs to. It looks like an arcade RPG on the first glance, but in reality it belongs to what I call finger busters. It’s going to be a lot easier to explain what Tap Titans is, and why it’s actually fun, if you’ve ever played Cookie Clicker. It has the same idea and the same lasting damage on one’s hands. I’m not ashamed to admit that my fingers are a bit numb, and it’s a difficult to move my hand to type – a feeling that I’ve not experienced since the 8th grade. It’s always a bother when an RPG is full of useless mechanics like story and challenge and basic gameplay elements that stand in the way of grinding and infinite power gain. If you, too, want an endless grindfest without the useless basic videogame mechanics, Tap Titans presents exactly this opportunity. Ditch the story and the item grind. The enemies not only can’t kill the hero, they can’t even scratch the little bastard. It’s just a matter of time until they all get wiped out by his barrage of sword attacks. The player’s task is simple. He needs to repeatedly tap the screen as fast as possible, the hero dealing a blow every time the finger touches the screen. That’s it, that’s the whole gameplay of Tap Titans, and it can consume hours at a time – until the player’s fingers start going off in protest. There is time limit on the more powerful enemies, so it’s not completely without a challenge. Besides, trying to get as much DPS as possible is a challenge into itself. --Tony Kuzmin


City Racing 3D

City Racing 3D offers, funnily enough a full 3D racing experience for free on Android. Can it compete with the greats of the genre? City Racing 3D starts off well enough. There are a large selection of cars, sharp controls, the ever fun Nos for bursts of speed and a long series of increasingly harder races to take part in. Unfortunately, City Racing 3D’s races are dull. There is no real sense of speed, NOS is underwhelming since it adds a grand total of about 10km/h to the vehicle’s top speed and makes it nearly impossible to steer. The game is also rigged so it is nigh on impossible to win a race without spending a lot of time upgrading your car. Even if you race perfectly, you simply will not catch the leaders. The only way to win is to repeat races to gain money. --Allan Curtis


Infinity Dungeon

There’s such a staggering number of super simple games, it makes me wonder if they even like to play the games, or if they just meditate while tapping on the screen. Infinity Dungeon proves that rather obvious point again. It combines a very primitive endless runner with a very primitive RPG, resulting in a somewhat primitive game. Basically, it’s one step away from being able to play itself without any player interaction. If you’re wondering how I know that it’s Asian, here is hint that prove points haha. The game is about a couple of adventurers that stumble across a dungeon full of treasures and precious metals. Handily, they have a bunch of dwarves that agree to dig the booty up, if they clear the dungeons first. Of course, the dungeons are full of all kinds of monsters, begging the question if it would be easier to just find a job instead. But we’re here to shove people’s faces in, not make reasonable assumptions, so we go through each of the levels of the dungeon, clearing it of everything that moves, so that a dwarf could then dig it for gold. Action itself is very simple: the heroes walk through the straight dungeon level from the beginning to the end, and punch everything that runs up to them. --Tony Kuzmin

This Week at 148Apps: January 5 - January 9, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on January 12th, 2015

New Year - 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.

Marvel Contest of Champions

One of the first comics I can remember buying with my own money as child, purchased from a newsstand near my great-grandmother’s apartment, was an issue of Marvel’s Contest of Champions. Contest of Champions was groundbreaking in a couple of different areas: it was Marvel’s first publication released in a “limited series” format, and it was also one of the first attempts to blatantly strip out any attempt at more nuanced story arc by instead offering three issues of heroes clashing against one another in page after page of epic battles as cosmic puppet masters tugged at their strings. Despite revisiting the concept a couple of times in intervening years, nothing ever quite captured that same spectacle that my five year old self felt while leafing through those pages. However, Marvel and Kabam are dragging the old chestnut out of mothballs again in the form of a head-to-head fighting game. And despite a couple of issues, it’s actually not the worst licensed game I’ve seen. --Rob Thomas


Area 777

How lucky do you feel? Area 777 is heavily dependent on luck, so you’d better hope that you’re a naturally fortuitous person. Thanks to that dependency, it’s not overly gripping. Even when it eventually introduces new chip types it feels like too little, too late. The concept behind it is that it’s part slot machine, part tower defense game. In reality, it’s almost all slot machine with a hint of tower defense. Each level consists of a slot machine, with enemies slowly making their way across it in order to cause you damage. You have to hit the spin button and, mostly, hope that the reels line up and you take them out along the way. There is some element of strategy in there, mostly through the acquisition of chips, but it’s fairly basic. These chips frequently correspond to an element, such as fire or ice, thereby allowing you to set the enemies on fire or freeze a reel in a particular position. It’s helpful but hardly enough to make you feel fully in control of the game. --Jennifer Allen


SimplePlanes

SimplePlanes gives players all the tools they need to build airplanes from scratch. But successfully making use of those tools means wrapping your head around all the different parts and physics that, presumably, actual engineers need to consider. The game tries to help ease players in with its extensive manuals explaining the difference between an airfoil and a fuselage, but absorbing that data takes time and practice. There are a few convenient shortcuts, like the ability to mirror the plane so players won’t have to waste time sculpting the perfect wing twice. But like Minecraft, the best rewards – whether it’s a speedy biplane or functioning VTOL aircraft – will come to those with the patience to literally construct them piece by piece. --Jordan Minor


Luna League Soccer

Luna League Soccer is the kind of soccer game that you’ll dive into for a few minutes here and there, but not exactly think too deeply about. It’s an arcade sports game through and through, meaning it takes seconds to master. On the left of the screen you have a floating joystick, while the right offers a contextual button that enables you to shoot, pass, tackle, or switch players depending on what’s going on during the match. It’s very simple to pick up, with each team bringing their own special moves to the fold. --Jennifer Allen


Maximum Overdrive

The graphics are pleasantly glitzy; the several environments showcase the developer’s penchant for being able to highlight artistic perspective and use of lighting and corresponding virtual colors. The animations are cool, and one can almost taste the kicked-up dirt. When the optional sound effects are tossed in, it’s hard not to appreciate the complete package of sights and sounds. When it comes to gameplay, off the bat I liked that I could get into the nitty-gritty with a minimum of interactions. As noted, this is mostly about destroying other combatants without being destroyed, and the tool at hand is a heavily weaponized truck on big wheels. The controls are virtual in nature, with buttons for shooting, accelerating, braking/reversing, and steering – the last of which can be switched to tilt or arrow control. With this, and after one picks the format (multiplayer vs single player), it’s off to the races. --Tre Lawrence


Hi.Q Health IQ

Online quizzes are a big deal these days. They’ve always been fairly popular but the rise of Buzzfeed, Playbuzz, Zimbio, and so many other places has really strengthened our love of answering a bunch of questions to figure out what animal/TV show character we are. It turns out such structures can be used for good as well, such as in the case of Hi.Q – Health IQ. It’s an app that offers you thousands of health-related questions, devised by experts, and can therefore teach you some valuable facts. Dive in and you’ll immediately notice that Hi.Q – Health IQ is stylishly laid out. Looking like it’d easily fit into a lifestyle magazine, each quiz is clearly described along with an attractive photo to further sell its purpose. Some quizzes may offer a lot of different questions but they rarely take too long to complete. Each time you answer a question the answer or an explanation is shown, meaning you’re constantly learning. --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

Amazing Ninja

Ninja. Running. Swords. Enter Amazing Ninja. Side-scrolling action is the name of the game. Our protagonist martial artist runs aggressively from left to right, looking to avoid or confront different obstacles on the left. The ninja is stick-figurish in appearance, is armed with a sword and has enviable ups at speed; jumping and slashing are his only means of recourse. Tapping on the left side of the screen invokes jumping; on the right causes a slashing motion. The first type of obstacle are the blue-colored “deserters” that are seemingly fleeing the very conflagration that our hero is eager to get to. These terrified soldiers can be dangerous in their haste, and can end a run by making contact. Slashing the deserters has dire consequences, and as such, our boy has to jump over the blues. --Tre Lawrence


Olixar Light Bulb Speaker

We get pitched a fair amount of accessories to take a look at, and, frankly, some are very, uh, unique. Not all work, either; some are ambitious, but might have a fatal flaw. Or two. Or seven. In any case, mobile accessories can be interestingly varied. I’d like to say I am open-minded, and I do feel like a decent assessor of product, but every now and then, I am surprised. But hold a sec; let’s talk about the Olixar Light Bulb Speaker. The name says it all: it’s a light bulb that doubles as a bluetooth-enabled speaker. The review package MobileFun sent us highlights the unit; in hand, it is mostly white, with a gold mid-section. It is more streamlined than “regular” bulbs, but also weighs a bit more. It sports LED light too, and emits 3W light (which the distributor says is equivalent to 50W from a standard bulb. It screws into regular receptacles (the package comes with an adapter piece for European light sources) and works the same way. Turn on the switch, and it bathes the room in bright, warm light. It functions well upright and upside down. --Tre Lawrence


Amazon Fire TV

The past couple of years have definitely been the years of the streaming media unit. All the big players have a hat in the Big C, and with good reason: we like content. Lots of it. Enter Fire TV, the still-relatively-new offering from Amazon. Amazon provided us a gaming bundle package to check out, containing the black unit, black remote, power cables, batteries, and the optional bluetooth gamepad (one should ensure one has HDMI cable). It’s fairly svelte, a bit smaller than one would guess, coming in at 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.7 inches and just under 10 oz. It has a quad core processor and 8 GB of storage, and supports output of 720 x 1080p up to 60fps. Specs aside, there is little to dislike about Amazon Fire TV. It looks good, and is a veritable source of content. It has a lot of the go-to programs that can be downloaded to it: Netflix, WatchESPN, Pandora, Crackle, Showtime Anytime (based on provider) and, of course, Amazon Instant and Amazon Music, among other offerings. Setup is easy, and the included control is definitely a huge positive. On its own, as a streaming accessory, it holds its own against the competition. --Tre Lawrence

Also this week, Pocket Gamer reviewed Gunbrick and Sol Invictus, played Metamorphabet and Need for Speed: No Limits, and figured out how to play PS4 games on any Android device. All that and loads more, right here.

And finally, AppSpy kicks 2015 off by giving you the definitive rundown of the best Nintendo-esque games on mobile, showing you the first gameplay video of Need For Speed: No Limits, a world exclusive look at Team17's Flockers, and much more. Join us, won't you?

This Week at 148Apps: December 15-19, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 22nd, 2014

Happy Holidays from 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.

Dragon Quest III

Fairly tricky to track down in North America, Dragon Quest III’s $9.99 asking price doesn’t seem so bad when placed into the context of eBay prices for a NES or Gameboy Color cartridge. That doesn’t stop Dragon Quest III from seeming rather dated by modern standards, but JRPG fans will enjoy this slice of history. You play the child of a hero, sent to see the King on their 16th birthday before being thrust into an adventure to save the world. Dragon Quest III doesn’t bother with too much originality on this front but it’s forgivable. It adds some more originality and flexibility through its party system. While there’s no chance of being overly attached to your fellow party members, given they’re essentially soulless husks of statistics, they do offer plenty of potential. You simply head to the local tavern to recruit your party and then head out, forming them into exactly what you want of an ally. --Jennifer Allen


Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath

Roaming the Oddworld version of the Wild West is the Stranger: a gruff bounty hunter turning wanted criminals in for cash. There are a few gameplay styles on offer here, the first being the third-person platforming that allows for navigation of each area, as well as basic combat. The second is a first-person shooting mode that enables players to think more strategically by making use of a variety of critters that can be captured and used against enemies. Will they use a Bolamite to tie up their enemies, a Chippunk to draw them away from their buddies, or just electrocute them into submission with a Zapfly? Either way, the freedom of approach is an excellent touch. Last of all is the stealth element, giving players the option to take out enemies one by one by setting off traps or creating them, all while hidden from view amidst tall grass. These different styles come together seamlessly to give players the ability to decide how they resolve the matter at hand, preventing Stranger’s Wrath from feeling too linear and monotonous, and instead feeling fresh and exciting. --Lee Hamlet


Papers Please

As unlikely as it might sound, I had a job once that was vaguely like playing Papers, Please. It wasn’t on the border control of a corrupt state, but it did involve conducting background checks on people and checking that their papers as well as their stories added up. I stuck around as there was a strange satisfaction in looking out for discrepancies, and I also happened to be quite good at it. Papers, Please succeeds partially because of that similar sense of satisfaction, but also because of a storyline that draws you in bit by bit. Not that it should, technically. The idea of a game all about working on border control, checking over people’s papers before either admitting them to the country or rejecting them, really isn’t that fascinating on the surface. Two things save Papers, Please from being monotonous, however. The first is how, on a simple level, it gradually introduces new elements to what’s expected of you. --Jennifer Allen


1Writer

Text editing apps are fairly commonplace on the App Store, but every now and then one will come along that clicks that bit more easily than the last. 1 Writer is one such app. Simple to use but reasonably powerful as well, it’s the kind of text editor that works just as well for taking notes quickly as it is for more powerful markdown-based work. A quick tap on the plus sign guides you straight into things. You can choose to just type away as normal or opt to throw in links, bold, italics, lists, and even images. Along the way, 1 Writer can upload it all to Dropbox and generate the relevant markdown syntax for you. A cursory swipe to the right takes you to a built-in web browser, lending itself well to research purposes. --Jennifer Allen


Flyhunter Origins

Flyhunter Origins from Ripstone and Steel Wool Games offers a solid demonstration of how mobile games are getting a bit ahead of themselves. Players zip through Flyhunter Origins as Zak, an alien janitor aboard a flyhunting spaceship. During some impromptu roleplay, Zak accidentally jettisons the ship’s crew and its cargo (bugs) into space. Then they promptly fall back to Earth. Zak needs to round up the crew and the bugs or else he risks making his powerful boss very unhappy. --Nadia Oxford


10 Digits Learning Toy Hardware

Recently, I was given the chance to review the 10 Digits learning toy – wood numbers that interact with the iPad and other tablets. Two apps work in tangent to this number set that teaches basic number recognition, addition and the manipulation of numbers up to one hundred within these Montessori-styled applications. I was eager to test this new toy as its brightly colored classic good looks and wooden construction remind me of the wood number puzzle my son had as a toddler, which he loved and oddly anthropomorphized by dragging these numbers within their frame to listen to stories or play with other toys as though this puzzle would take an interest in these activities. A close look at each of these wooden numbers from the 10 Digits toy will find three soft plastic feet on the back to allow these pieces to work on top of the screen of the device. Each foot pattern is unique; they’re akin to Braille and work with the iPad and other tablets to recognize each number in use. Both the apps 10 Fingers and Up to 100 have free lite versions to download and unlock easily using the 10 Digit toy pieces. I admire the clean look of these apps; the white screen, boldly colored numbers, and other details seen with bright translucent colors and subtle brush strokes are details reminiscent of felt tip markers on a dry erase board. --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

Pear Sports System Hardware

Being fit is gently moving on from being a pastime to being a habit of successful people. Of course, as the need to be healthy becomes more pervasive, it is natural to see more and more tools that have a mobile component. It makes sense… smartphones are the ubiquitous pocket companions. The Pear System looks to bridge this gap, first by being a veritable heart rate measuring tool, and then by wirelessly connecting data via one’s Android device. The review package Pear send to us highlights the system; the review packet contains the Pearl heart rate monitor, a chest strap, headphones and a carrying pouch. Most of th pieces are bathed or accented in bright blue. The HRM unit is diminutive, with the company logo tastefully stamped on the front. The back has two press-in buttons and the battery cover. The strap is black, with the press-in receptacles, and is adjustable and stretchy. The headphones look simple, but have interesting buds, and there is a button on the right ear. Finally, the carry pouch is light and zippered. --Tre Lawrence


Star Wars Galactic Defense

Star Wars Galactic Defence is a pretty basic tower defence game. Enemies of different types run along lanes in each level. The player must build a series of towers to prevent the m enemies reaching a certain area . After each level the player receives a rank depending on how many enemies they managed to stop. Player can also select 1-3 heroes for each level. These heroes can be freely controlled. Star Wars Galactic Defence doesn’t stray far from this formula and indeed lacks fairly basic tower defence features, like an upgrade system or hero skills. The only hint of progression in the game is new towers that are unlocked at certain levels. Galactic Defence doesn’t just encourage players to replay previous levels, it requires it. Every level after the first is so difficult that it is nigh on impossible to repeat earlier levels to gain money and hero experience. Enemies simply flood in and getting three stars is difficult indeed. This is the polar opposite of fun and is compounded by the fact that to unlock later levels the player must acquire a certain amount of stars. --Allan Curtis


Call of Duty: Heroes

Call of Duty: Heroes, despite its action game roots has more in common with Clash of Clans than with Modern Combat. Does the mammoth license of CoD make it a good game? After an initial battle, like other city builder games, the player is put in charge of constructing a base from the ground up including resource buildings, troop training facilities and base defence. This proceeds slowly. After a few resource buildings are ticking over the player can begin to crank out an army. These range from average rifle wielding grunts to..other slightly different soldiers such as RPG ones. --Allan Curtis

And finally, what were the ten most watched videos on AppSpy? What are the best gamebooks on Android? And just how good is Galcon 2? All of these questions, and at least four more, are all answered on AppSpy's lovely website this week.

Also this week, Pocket Gamer finished off its advent calendar with five more amazing freebies, reviewed the new SimCity and Brothers in Arms games, and reported on the most Googled game of 2014. It wasn't Destiny... All that and loads more, right here.

This Week at 148Apps: December 8-12, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 15th, 2014

Happy Holidays from 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.

Boulder Jack

Boulder Jack is a free-to-play endless runner that mixes up the standard formula by having players view the action from in front of their character rather than behind. For fans of the Crash Bandicoot series, this isn’t a particularly new trick, and the developers of Boulder Jack seem to be keenly aware of this as the game also stars a character that is remarkably similar to Crash. Playing Boulder Jack is very, very similar to other endless runners. Players must swipe left, right, up, and down to move between lanes, leap over obstacles, or slide under others, all in the hopes of outrunning a large boulder. Along the way there are invincibility power-ups, speed boosts, and coins to collect – all of which create some risk vs. reward mechanics, but everything presented gameplay-wise is pretty standard. --Campbell Bird


Space Age

Space Age: A Cosmic Adventure is an ambitious adventure game that hearkens back to sci-fi tropes of of the 1960s and 70s – complete with alien saucers, fishbowl helmets, and a deep sense of exploration. While the game achieves this aesthetic beautifully, Space Age suffers when it abandons its roots as a game about exploration and decides to try to be something else. Playing Space Age can be kind of difficult to describe. It’s simultaneously an adventure game, a real-time strategy game, a stealth action game, a puzzler, and something of a visual novel. Going into any one of the available ten missions, players might encounter just one or all of these gameplay elements. One thing is for sure, though: every part of Space Age is oozing with character and style that is super-charming, funny, and endearing. --Campbell Bird


Astro Boy Flight

There’s a word that keeps bouncing around my head as I play Astro Boy Flight. Rather appropriately, that word is ‘repetitive’. It sums up this endless 2D shooter, based around the famous Japanese manga character, oh so very well. A few seconds of Astro Boy Flight and you’ll see everything the game offers, with little there to mix things up later on. You glide through the skies, all via a portrait perspective, using one finger to move Astro Boy around. Shooting is done automatically, so your sole method of interaction is via this one finger. Waves of enemies come at you, so you have to line up quickly to shoot them down. This isn’t R-Type though, so it’s not exactly challenging stuff. Instead, you’re more likely to fail because you got bored for a moment and stopped paying attention. --Jennifer Allen


Shadowrun: Dragonfall

When you start the game, you’re given the chance to design a character. There are quite a few classes to choose from, as well as several races. Without a knowledge of the system in advance, I had a very hard time designing my character and just picked an elf and went with the basic warrior type. Then I was presented with detailed statistics to tweak, again with no idea of what was good or needed in this game’s world. The walkthrough/tutorial said that if I wanted more help I could consult the full rules on their website (linked within the app). When I went to check it out it was pages and pages long and very hard to digest, so I went with a few random choices instead. Shadowrun: Dragonfall is set in a futuristic world where society has changed dramatically. It’s futuristic cyberpunk meets high fantasy, and information is the commodity everyone trades in. You’re part of a group of criminals that’s been hired to raid someone’s mansion and steal data from them. Of course once we moved into the mansion, we tripped an alarm and security came in to stop us. --Jade Walker


Adobe Premiere Clip

Over the years, Adobe has done a fantastic job of giving us a plethora of powerful yet user-friendly tools for video and graphic editing. They’re doing a pretty good job of converting that magic to iOS. Adobe Premiere Clip is the latest example, allowing you to easily create videos from earlier clips or brand new ones. Taking you step by step through the process, Adobe Premiere Clip can take as long or as brief a time as you want it to. You can choose to just edit one clip or you can bundle a few of them together, creating a montage of your media. Working mostly through dragging and dropping, as well as a few swipes to trim parts out, it doesn’t take long to line things up correctly. In each clip’s case, you can adjust the color, exposure, or shadow effects before moving onto arranging some transitions between each clip. Slow motion effects can also be included. --Jennifer Allen


Sago Mini Road Trip

I am always happy to introduce a new Sago Sago app to readers. As many know, Sago Sago is now a part of the Toca Boca family, which develops charming and colorful apps for toddlers and beyond. Their most recent app, Sago Mini Road Trip, allows children the chance to go on a road trip with their favorite orange cat, Jinga. Young ones will appreciate being able to choose from three destinations among a larger selection of choices such as jungle or desert adventures, as well as travels to the beach, mountains, forest, or city. They also will have a chance to pack their own bags with a variety of clothing, toys, and other objects into their bottomless suitcase, adding as much or as little in the way of personal effects as there is always room in their bag – details that will make both parents as well as children 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

Bitcoin Billionaire

At first glance Bitcoin Billionaire hardly seems like a game and in some ways it isn’t. It is in fact a devilishly addictive habit that uses a finely tuned system to show you ads while ensuring you won’t care and will in fact welcome the sight of ads! Bitcoin Billionaire as you might expect is a game about mining the virtual currency known as Bitcoins. After customizing your avatar with clothes and a spiffy pirate bandana it’s simply a matter of tapping the screen as quickly as possible to generate riches; the faster you tap the more Bitcoins you earn. Once a few Bitcoins have been earned, these can be spent on investments like lottery tickets or collectable comic books. These generate a constant stream of income whenever the player is actively mining or not and also while the app is closed. --Allan Curtis


NBA All Net

To say that the card battler is a well worn genre on Android would be the understatement of the year. A basketball card battler is much rarer however. Is NBA All Net swish? NBA All Net’s gameplay is mind numbing and no different to other card battlers on the platform except it’s in the form of basketball. Players simply tap on the “challenge” they would like to play (Which features a description that has nothing to do with the game) and then sit back and watch the game as it unfolds. Players play no role in the game once it has started and it is based on card stats only. Games are dreadfully boring to watch and feature more repetitive animation than an entire season of Scooby Doo so they are best skipped. --Allan Curtis


RAVPower USB Charging Station

I know we’ve been harping on being organized… with good reason, too. With all the devices and accessories, it gets busy. Toss in a kid or two (with their own electronics and such) and a company-issued device, and one begins to approach wired purgatory. So, it makes sense that accessories that help us to more effectively manage these devices will be if a high premium. Thankfully, proprietary cables are not the norm on Android, because solutions like the RAVPower USB Charging Station use cable standardization as a means to being order to chaos. In essence, this series of products looks to a central port for multiple USB cables, theoretically eliminating the need for several plugs and outlets. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week, Pocket Gamer investigated Apple's ban on nudity in Papers, Please; gave away five amazing iOS games in its Advent Calendar; picked the best MFi controllers for iOS; and reviewed Tales from the Borderlands. All that and loads more, here.