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Four Years of 148Apps, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love iOS Games

Posted by Jordan Minor on March 24th, 2015

There's a good chance that, unless something crazy happens, this post is the last thing I'm writing for 148Apps. I feel odd writing a personal essay for a website with no real “community” to speak of, but if you invested four years of your life into something wouldn't you want to say a few words when it's all over? Besides, it's not like I haven't done it before. In fact, if you care at all about how working here has improved my career as a young games journalist, the thoughts I expressed in that post are pretty much the same thoughts I have now. So the rest of this piece will be other post-mortem musings.

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.

Angry Birds Stella POP! Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 13th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: TOUCH ABOVE
Angry Birds Stella POP! offers some fun twists on the bubble shooting formula, but it suffers from some big difficulty spikes.
Read The Full Review »

100 Million Piggies Can't Be All Bad. Rovio Celebrates Bad Piggies' Popularity with a New Update

Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 26th, 2015
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: EXTREMELY CRAFTY :: Read Review »

Rovio is celebrating 100 million downloads of the (quite apparently) popular Bad Piggies with a new update.

Bad Piggies is the Angry Birds spinoff that lets you play as the pigs as they build vehicles from scrap and try to navigate their way through levels without being blown up. It's getting a new Sandbox level called Little Pig Adventure and a new part called the gearbox, which allows you to make your inventions travel in reverse.

There are also some new achievements to collect, so download Bad Piggies for $0.99 and start building.

Rovio Celebrates the Chinese New Year with a Big Series of Updates

Posted by Ellis Spice on February 23rd, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: BIRDTASTIC :: Read Review »

A series of updates have arrived for Rovio games over the past few days, honoring the Chinese New Year. 

Angry Birds Epic and Rovio Stars title Jolly Jam have events paying homage to the Year of the Goat, while Angry Birds Go! and Angry Birds Stella are following the goat theme by adding in a new kart and a new set of levels in the Island Map, respectively. Plunder Pirates is avoiding the goat theme but instead honors the celebrations by decorating the island and adding in a new character, Ching Shih.

All of the previously mentioned games are available to download from the App Store now, for free.

Angry Birds Seasons Gets New NBA All-Star Levels

Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 6th, 2015
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

People have been loving the Ham Dunk update for Angry Birds Seasons. And with over 375 million plays, Rovio Entertainment wants to celebrate. They're giving us a new update, called NBA All-Star. Its jam-packed 15 all new NBA All-Star levels and an extra challenging Golden Egg level. You can also use the Shockwave power-up once per stage and try the new Pig Days levels.

To catch all the birdy basketball fun, you can download Angry Birds Seasons for free on the App Store.

Mushroom Wars: Space! Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Nadia Oxford on February 3rd, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SPORES IN SPACE
Mushroom Wars: Space! proves that the Mushroom Wars formula still holds up, but this new installment doesn't offer many original ideas.
Read The Full Review »

Angry Birds Friends NHL All-Star Tournament Welcomes NHL HockeyBird

Posted by Ellis Spice on January 26th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: PASSING ACQUAINTANCE :: Read Review »

With the NHL All-Star Game finishing up this weekend, Rovio has added two week-long hockey-themed tournaments to Angry Birds Friends. What makes these tournaments unique from the norm, however, is that they also feature a new playable character. The NHL HockeyBird - a white bird sporting a cap and hockey stick.

Angry Birds Friends is available to slap-shot onto your iOS device now and is free to download.

Cockatilt Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Nadia Oxford on January 14th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: WIBBLY-WOBBLY
Cockatilt is a fluffy-fun game at its core, though some design issues pluck the experience bald in places.
Read The Full Review »

It's Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode for Angry Birds Epic

Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: SIMPLE RPGING :: Read Review »

Rovio and Chimera Entertainment have released the hounds! No...wait I mean Birds! Angry Birds Epic has gotten a shiny new PVP mode, so now you can crush your friends with your bird army.

The pigs are taking a break from the beatings to watch the birds fight it out on “Terence’s ship” docked on the south beach of Piggy Island. The new update includes a league system that will let you climb the ladder of success by destroying your foe's banner. Just don't let them destroy yours. The battle is turn-based with a focus on tactical game play.

The update isn't the only thing to get excited about. Coming Dec 21, the game will also have a holiday season for all to enjoy. So download Angry Birds Epic on the App Store for free today to start wailing on each other.

Angry Birds is Officially Five Years Old Today, and Gets a New User-Created Episode to Celebrate

Posted by Rob Rich on December 11th, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: GREAT :: Read Review »

Angry Birds, the unassuming (at the time) little physics game that later went on to become an empire, has turned five today. And after five years of a somewhat obscene amount of spin-offs and merchandising, and a reported 600+ billion birds being tossed at rickety structures, Rovio is celebrating with a new episode, titled Play the Next Level.

What makes Play the Next Level special is that each of the levels has been created by series fans. Rovio pulled the best of the best from the thousands of entries to give us all 30 all-new stages to enjoy.

They're also celebrating in the real world by hosting a party for a couple thousand local children, and will be giving all babies born in Finland on 12/11 a special edition baby Flock outfit. Because, you know, why not?

If you don't live in Finland you're out of luck with regards to the party and special edition jammies, but you can check out the new Play the Next Level "BirdDay" (ugh) episode right now.

The Weird and Wacky World of Angry Birds Merchandise

Posted by Jennifer Allen on December 4th, 2014

Angry Birds has been around for 5 years this month. The original game has spawned many successful spin-offs - not only via mobile gaming but also on games consoles and PCs. It’s been a phenomenal success story; the kind that few could have accurately predicted. It’s spawned more than just games, though. It’s also given us so many different pieces of merchandise. You could probably fill a house with the stuff. There’s stationery, quilt covers, cuddly toys, and so many other Angry Birds related bits and pieces, both official and unofficial. We take a look at some of the more unusual things you can buy to satisfy your Angry Birds loving needs.

Lucha Amigos Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on December 4th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: ANGRY TURTLES
Slingshot turtles and use special powers to defeat evil cacti in this Angry Birds-like game.
Read The Full Review »

Angry Birds Seasons Invades Finland

Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 1st, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Rovio Entertainment's latest update to Angry Birds Seasons has those crazy birds flying in the wrong direction for winter. This time they head north to Finland.

The new holiday episode, On Finn Ice, gives us 25 new levels, Tony (Terence’s Finnish cousin), and a new theme song performed by Finnish cello-rockers Apocalyptica. Professor Pig will illuminate you on the finer details about Finland while you knock down those pigs and enjoy the wintery weather.

You can pick up Angry Birds Seasons for $0.99 on the App Store.

Mmmm, Tasty - Having the Angry Birds for Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted by Nadia Oxford on November 26th, 2014

The very first Angry Birds debuted on iOS back in 2009. When you sit back and tally up the number of Angry Birds games out there and the impact they've had on pop culture as a whole, you just need to ask yourself: "How would the birds taste following a three-hour engagement with a broiler?"

No, seriously. The anniversary of the Angry Birds and American Thanksgiving are in the same neighborhood, date-wise. And while not everyone eats fowl for Thanksgiving (or meat in general, for that matter), Thanksgiving is still synonymous with roasted bird-meat. So let's sit back, loosen our belts, and have a solemn conversation about how the Angry Birds would fare as a main course this holiday season.

Come on, it's worth considering. There are no wings to contend with, no drumsticks - not even any bones if the way they fling themselves around is any indication. The Angry Birds are just big buttery balls of white meat. That said, some probably make for better eating than others. Let's get on with this vital holiday breakdown.

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