At 148Apps, we help you sort through the great ocean of apps to find the ones we think you’ll like and the ones you’ll need. Our top picks become Editor’s Choice, our stamp of approval for apps with that little extra something special. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
It is always great to see franchises, that we all know and love, finally grow up. So seems to be the case with 2K’s mobile-exclusive sequel to 2009’s tremendously successful Civilization Revolution. Taking a page from the console version’s book, the title has a completely revamped visual style. But is a fresh coat of paint enough to make this new installment worth the price of admission? Players who adored 2K’s freshmen pass at Sid Meier’s seminal series will notice that Civilization Revolution 2 instantly feels very familiar. That is not to say that the game looks similar, presentation wise, (in fact, the exact opposite is true) but it features the same comfortable gameplay formula that worked so well the first time around. Unfortunately, for some reason that also means that this game has inherited most of the baggage from the first installment as well. –Blake Grundman
Want to easily add music clips to Instagram or Vine videos without the use of full-blown editing software? Lomotif is the solution. There’s been plenty of times before I’ve posted a video on Instagram or Vine that I’ve thought, “I wish I could have Rise of the Valkyrie or Dancing Queen playing in the background” (please, don’t judge). Having to export my video to my MacBook, before tinkering with it in iMovie and transferring it back just seemed like too much hassle for a 6/15 second video. Lomotif helps cut out the middle man and adds short music clips to video with no fuss at all, all in one app. –Lee Hamlet
While Sonic Dash embraced the Endless Runner, Sonic Jump embraced the likes of Doodle Jump, offering a series of levels in which players must keep jumping upwards, saving animals and collecting rings. It appears it’s here again in the form of freemium based Sonic Jump Fever. It’s an ok kind of game but it lacks any real personality, and its freemium-based elements start to infringe on the fun a little too readily. With new levels to explore each week, there’s plenty of time to get to grips with each entry. It’s a generally quite frantic affair, so while the graphics might be sharp, odds are you’re going to be too busy concentrating on what you’re doing to pay much attention to your surroundings. Controls are tilt-based and appropriately responsive with a double-tap causing a double-jump to get you out of danger. –Jennifer Allen
Many would happily point out that the golden era of point and click adventures has been and gone. While a few more recent gems have shone through, all too often the classics have remained the same – remasters of old delights. The Blackwell series aims to buck that trend by embracing the methods that worked so well for older games. In the case of the first episode, Blackwell 1: Legacy it certainly manages to entice with some satisfactory story development, even if it doesn’t quite reach the heady heights of the golden era. –Jennifer Allen
Age of Booty: Tactics is a turn-based strategy game in which players build pirate fleets and battle on the open seas to collect as much treasure as possible. While its multiplayer-only structure can get in its own way sometimes, the game itself offers well-built free-to-play strategy with a charming aesthetic. For those not in the know, Age of Booty: Tactics is not the first installment in the Age of Booty franchise. The original Age of Booty is a console and PC game in which players managed a single ship that was controlled in real-time strategic battles. In this installation all of the original game’s charm and spirit is retained, while the gameplay has been translated into a multi-ship, card-based, turn-based game. –Campbell Bird
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If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:
I have to say that I’ve almost skipped on Doug Dug, just because it looks like a rip-off of Terraria, or Spelunky, or some other attempt at Minecraft design school – and I’m glad that I didn’t, because Doug Dug is neither of those things. It’s an original, captivating platformer that lacks just a few pieces to become absolutely awesome. The player controls Doug, a dwarf who does two things all dwarves do all the time: digging for gold and sporting a kick-ass beard. Doug Dug is focused on the first task. The level Doug dug 3is a single screen wide, but infinitely deep, containing lots of treasures and challenges beneath. The player needs to navigate around it by digging. Dragging the finger across the screen will make Doug dig right, left, or down. He is unable to jump, unfortunately, so any loot that you miss on the way down, stays there most of the time. That said, it can come crashing down if it lacks any support, or is only held in place by a collapsable dirt block. So, the player needs to be aware of his surroundings and not get caught in the avalanche. Basically, the avalanche system holds about 50% of the game’s worth, as it grants a tricky random element to each run. The avalanches also crush whatever enemies get trapped under them, and it’s great, because the enemies are a pain. They can only be killed by falling on them from above, and Doug can’t jump. So, if he is on their level, or lower, it’s quite difficult to stay alive. The game has no shortage of things that can kill a digging dwarf, and if left unchecked, will definitely do so, leaving but a ghost of the spelunker on the next play through. –Tony Kuzmin
Nothing soothes the nerves like a good virtual tank battle, and Boom! Tanks looks like a compelling option in the tested genre. The game boils down to tank battle via attrition. The early going explains the basics of the gameplay and associated elements. In a nutshell, the players tank has a designated enemy unit that it must get its sights on. When this is accomplished, one has to fire while absorbing damage from the event tank. The end goal is to destroy said tank before it destroys the players machine. The sighting mechanism is intuitive without being too simplistic, and involves the use of a moving target that needs to be lined up with a targeting icon on the enemy unit; thankfully, the game gives valuable cues to let the player know when perfect aim has been achieved. And then both tanks engage. –Tre Lawrence
How can a developer make a soccer video game more accessible and reliable than, say, a complex soccer video game like FIFA or PES? By simplifing the controls and putting in some stickmen instead of the well known soccer players. Americans probably won’t watch the World Cup like they did last week. But here in Holland, the World Cup fever keeps getting higher and higher and during those matchless days, we crave for football and look for it else. But not everyone likes or can handle games like FIFA or PES, so mobile game developers have the chance to fill in the gap and can provide us with some casual soccer video game experiences. Enter Stickman Soccer 2014, not the be confused with another sport series that uses the same Stickman name in their games. –Wesley Akkerman
And finally, over the pond, Pocket Gamer reviewed Beyond Gravity, FFFFF2P, and Transworld Endless Skater, picked the best fighters on Vita and best RPGs from Kemco, and provided tips for Hellraid, Disco Zoo, Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake, and World of Tanks Blitz. Read all about it here.
Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 14th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The Android app named top Game of 2013 at Google Play Player’s Choice Awards, Ingress By Google, Inc. has finally come to the iOS.
The game sets players up as one of two factions (the Enlightened and the Resistance) warring over, Exotic Matter, a new energy source sent by a mysterious force called the Shapers to “uplift all mankind”. The Enlightened want to embrace this gift from the Shapers while the Resistance fear for our humanity and fight the shapers’ influence. Players must physically go to a location in their area and use their mobile device to tag real-world landmarks for their team. When players succeed, they are rewarded with Access Points which grant access to stronger items to fend off other teams attacks.
If you have been waiting to join your Android friends on Ingress now is the time. Ingress is available on the App Store for free.
Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 14th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
GemHero by Sayan Chailangka was released today for iOS as well as Android phones and tablets. The game is a puzzle RPG with gem arrangement and Trading Card Game mechanics. The user’s character sets out on adventures using gem swapping to cast elemental magic, collect trading cards, and fight monsters. You can also challenge yourself against bosses to rank up on the leaderboards in Survival Mode. To keep the game exciting, GemHero offers in-game events such as event dungeons, Daily login bonus, and a bonus for your first login.
Being a pretty big fan of Mojang’s Minecraft, I was very excited to hear that Minecraft – Pocket Edition (PE) was receiving a large update. The previous version, Minecraft PE 8.0, had seemed a bit claustrophobic to me. The edges of the world were clearly visible and one only had a space about the size of an island on which to play. I found that the lack of trees, paired with the flatness of the space made the oncoming night less scary. Creepers and spiders were visible from far enough off that I could keep a good distance and there were few enough of them that I could fight them without being overwhelmed. The size issue also made finding materials to work with frustrating. I was frequently crippled by a lack of coal. Lightless, bereft of any cooked meat, and unable to cobble together even a pair of leather shoes, I wandered my small island with nothing to do except contemplate its emptiness.
Like a light in the darkness, a town appears.
The Minecraft PE 9.0 Update is a significant upgrade. It is much more in-line with the PC version of Minecraft, with its infinite maps and more densely populated environments. The first time night fell, I was terrifyingly aware of the fact that I was standing in a forest and I could not see further than a few feet; the sound of hissing growing closer and closer. The landscape is certainly more robust. Where I spent an hour looking for coal in the previous release, in 9.0 I had no problem finding a bevy of ores, including newly-added blocks such as: Diorite, Granite, and Andesite. The variety of biomes that are now included also add to the feeling of wondrous exploration that the PC version captures so well, but which the 8.0 PE edition was lacking. I climbed a high hill one morning to find a small village just a short distance from where I was beginning to build a fort for myself. I ran towards the village and was delighted to find villagers. That moment of discovery was exciting, and speaks to the heart of the Minecraft experience.
It is amazing how much the presence of NPCs changes the feel of the game; no longer am I a stranger carving out a life in solitude. Unfortunately you cannot interact with them yet in any meaningful way except to attack; trading with villagers has yet to be implemented. However, to further banish loneliness, wolves can now be tamed; loyally following you through thick and thin.
A side by side comparison of 8.0 & 9.0
I am really happy that Mojang is continuing to make the app more robust. Minecraft – Pocket Edition 9.0 has come a long way from its alpha release back in 2011, and with all the new content that has been added, Minecraft PE is finally living up to its namesake.
Hunted Cow Studios has just announced a new partnership with board game publisher Victory Point Games. The new partnership looks to bring digital versions of Victory Point games to iOS.
VPG co-founder Alan Emrich is looking forward to the pairing. “Victory Point Games is a boardgame publisher staffed by many digital game developers,” he says. “That’s why we’re so glad to have found our kindred spirits in the digital game publishing industry who ‘get’ manual-to-digital game translations. We’re very excited to be working together with a great publisher, our new friends at Hunted Cow Studios.”
Hunted Cow marketing chief Craig Withers mentions some of the titles that should be out in the near future. “Everyone at Hunted Cow is incredibly excited to help bring Victory Point Games to a larger audience. At the moment, the first titles we expect to release are the solitaire games Astra Titanus, Dawn of the Zeds, Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp and Legions of Darkness. The opportunity to work directly with a company of their quality doesn’t come along every day, and we look forward to showing our fans what we can accomplish together.”
Posted by Tre Lawrence on July 14th, 2014 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
MuseAmi has just launched a new, social app based on the ability to take, edit and share video called Hook’d.
The app incorporates MuseAmi’s proprietary technologies, one of which is real-time audio processing, which allows for users to create and share content directly from an iOS device. MuseAmi also offers authentic backing tracks, including licensed music from Warner Music Group, and says it will announce additional licensing deals in the coming weeks.
MuseAmi chief Bob Taub mentions the partnership with Warner Music Group. “In Hook’d, we’ve created a fun, addictive and totally new way to capture moments through music, and share it with one person or with many,” he says. “We’re proud to have the support of Warner Music Group at launch. They’ve been a real champion of our technology, and their incredible catalog provides our users with authentic master recordings that make Hook’d like no other app on the planet.”
Hook’d is available for free (with optional in-app purchases) on the App Store.
Posted by Tre Lawrence on July 14th, 2014 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Wave, the company behind well-regarded invoicing solutions, has just released an iOS app Invoice by Wave.
The app looks to be a mobile solution for people who need to create and catalog invoices while on the go, directly from one’s iOS device. From the press release:
Wave, the creators of full small business financial tools at WaveApps.com, have launched the mobile Invoice by Wave app, their most powerful mobile application to date. Featuring one-tap activation of credit card processing, and no-fuss instant integration with Wave’s accounting tools, the app simplifies the entire process of getting paid for small businesses. Invoice by Wave launches today for iOS, with the Android version to follow. Wave’s New App Makes Mobile Invoicing and Accepting Credit Card Payments Faster and Easier Than Ever…
To get paid faster than ever, business owners can begin accepting credit cards with just one tap, compared to the piles of paperwork and weeks of waiting that make up an application for traditional merchant services.
Invoice by Wave also imparts critical information when it’s needed most. Designed to display quick snapshots of information to help business owners make decisions, the app notifies business owners when invoices are viewed, paid, or become overdue, and provides insights on income and expenses, invoices coming overdue, average days to payment and more!
Like everything Wave creates, Invoice by Wave is seamlessly integrated with Wave’s 100% free accounting software. Records are updated instantly across web and mobile platforms, saving business owners’ time and effort and ensuring accurate records with zero hassle.
Invoice by Wave is available for free on the App Store.
Bio Inc. is an evil game. It can make players feel legitimately guilty. It’s not only about killing, but killing as subtly and fiendishly as possible. It’s about death as inevitability. After blackening our hearts and poisoning our souls, we’re here with the autopsy in this latest edition of It Came From Canada!
Remember the villainous virus from Osmosis Jones that took pride in killing people as fast as possible? That’s basically Bio Inc.’s premise. Players dive into the body of some unsuspecting sucker and try to end their life quickly and efficiently. It’s like Trauma Center in reverse. At the start of each round, players hop between different body systems, like the brain and the skeleton, harvesting minor bacteria like resources in a strategy game. From there, they use the points they’ve acquired to unleash new ailments like the flu and insomnia. As new symptoms take their toll, players can climb further up the tech tree discovering even stronger ways to cripple their victim’s heart or immune system defenses. They can even unlock bonus risk factors to buff their attacks like making the victim smoke or eat junk food.
But as in real life, killing in Bio Inc. isn’t that simple. Eventually the victim will go to the doctor and start receiving care. Once that happens, their recovery meter will start to go up. As the player’s attacks become more vicious and more systems start to fail, the doctors start working even harder and recovery increases faster. The game then becomes a race against time to murder the mark before the doctors can save them. Players can even use downright abhorrent sneaky tricks like making the doctors go on strike and halt recovery.
What’s most diabolical about the game though is how its deep strategic elements make players thoughtfully plan out their dirty deeds. Target one system aggressively or spread out the infections? Pepper the body with little diseases or save up points and release The Big C? Each new victim also has specific traits like high stress or a family history of genetic deficiencies. Exploiting these facts is crucial, especially on higher difficulties. Players can even name their targets for maximum meta cruelty.
The horror inherent to the premise is only slightly blunted by a few funny voice clips accompanying each new development. Upping the victim’s age to over 60 sounds especially, hilariously painful. But beyond that, the game pulls no punches while forcing players to watch their victim’s body slowly breakdown through the harsh, clinical interface.
Bio Inc. isn’t available yet, so fortunately we have some time to brace ourselves for the complete extent of its malice. Once it fully launches though, it just might spell the end for our current age of innocence.
Bicolor, the minimalistic two color puzzle game from 1Button which we gave four stars back in May, has received sixty new hand-crafted levels in its latest update, bringing the level total in the game up to 240.
Bicolor is available on the App Store now for $0.99.
A new update has just been released for Plague Inc and it ties into forthcoming movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
The update adds a special Simian Flu expansion pack for $1.99. Players must control communities of intelligent apes, seeing how the disease evolves to allow ape-to-ape transmission. You must decide when your apes should rally against research labs and work towards making apes the dominant species on the planet. Fun, huh?
Plague Inc. is priced at $0.99, with $1.99 snagging you the Simian Flu expansion pack.
A new update has come speeding onto the App Store for everyone’s favorite racer, Real Racing 3.
Gold payout has now been improved drastically with the maximum payout for levelling up now increased to a whopping 100 gold, 20 times more than it was before! Once you hit Driver level 6, you can enjoy such bonuses every time you level up. Check out the video below to learn more about the gold increase.
Besides that, new cars are available including the Ferrari F40 and the Ferrari F50. The inclusion of those cars also mean you can enjoy a Ferrari Showdown Series to see which is the very best vehicle out there.
Real Racing 3 is out now and is free to download from the App Store.
Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 11th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
So you’ve bought a Fitbit. Now what? How about turning it into an RPG?
FatChicken Studios has released FitRPG; a game that turns the data collected by your Fitbit into your character’s strength, hit points, endurance, dexterity, and experience. Your character will receive quests and battle monsters to receive gold and experience. With that loot you can buy weapons, potions, armor, and other accessories, then battle your friends. The fittest player gets to steal their opponents gold and experience! Don’t have a Fitbit? Not to worry, FatChicken Studios says they plan on having FitRPG integrate with Jawbone and other fitness trackers pretty soon.
FitRPG sounds like it might be a fun way to stay motivated about working out when you’d rather be gaming. You can pick it up on the App Store for free.
BiteMyApple.co has announced that they will begin shipping their new iblazr today. iblazr is a synchronized flash for iPhone, iPad, and Android that allows users to take better illuminated shots.
Chris Johnson, Founder of BiteMyApple, said “Smartphones and tablets allow us to take high-quality photos anywhere, but the built-in flash isn’t enough during low-light settings. The iblazr provides users with the same illumination capabilities that a high-end camera provides. You can use the small external flash with your front or back camera so you’ll get the perfect shot or selfie every time.”
The iblazr has its own built-in, rechargeable 200mAh battery that provides more than 1,000 flashes or up to 40 minutes of constant light mode for videos. This means it won’t kill your phone’s battery while you take a video of your cat doing something ridiculous.