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It Came From Canada: Beast Quest

Posted by Jordan Minor on March 17th, 2015

Figuring out how to best preview Beast Quest, the upcoming action RPG from Miniclip, proved to be surprisingly difficulty. This isn’t a judgment on the game’s quality, but it really does feel like a bunch of pieces from other, more famous games stitched together. So in this edition of It Came From Canada!, I’m just going to describe those pieces and how they find a way to fit together.

Beast Quest's general structure resembles any other casual RPG on the App Store. Players complete various short quests like gathering X amount of treasures or killing X amounts of enemies to level-up and take on the next major story mission. Those story missions revolve around the overarching goal of killing the elusive boss monster, giving the game a Monster Hunter or even a Shadow of the Colossus vibe. The combat is straight out of Infinity Blade, except players just tap a button instead of swiping to attack. However, while that control choice is nicely streamlined, holding a run button and moving the camera to steer the character feels even clunkier by comparison. The impressively large, dense, and snowy initial open world is a like a very, very light version of Skyrim, and by climbing “eagle peaks,” players gain a cinematic panoramic view of the landscape to flesh out their map, Assassin’s Creed-style.

That’s a lot of disparate influences. So how well do they fit together? Let’s put it this way: while the game is full of many beastly creatures, Beast Quest itself most resembles is a successful Frankenstein's Monster. By taking all of these proven ideas and applying them in the places where they make the most sense, few parts of the game feel lazy or weaker than each other. The individually strong parts strengthen the whole. Even the vague fantasy setting is generic and receptive enough to include these nakedly obvious inspirations without suffering any kind of tonal or mechanical whiplash.

Beast Quest is currently in a soft launch phase and will be launching everywhere soon. So it won’t be too long before you can decide whether or not this surprisingly seamless hodgepodge works for you.

Clear for Action Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jordan Minor on February 19th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: HALF MAST
Clear for Action captures the profits of pirating, but not the excitement.
Read The Full Review »

Now You Can Explore Mayan Temples in Assassin’s Creed Pirates' Newest Update

Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 23rd, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: YO HO HO! :: Read Review »

Ubisoft has released the new Offshore update for Assassin’s Creed Pirates. Now you can explore 64 Mayan temples hidden across the seas.

You'll be running though the temples in order to collect stones that unlock map fragments, and these maps will lead you to treasures and epic rewards. The update also includes 50 new daily challenges to keep you busy.

There is plenty to discover in this new update, so download Assassin’s Creed Pirates for free on the App Store today.

Far Cry 4, Assassin's Creed Unity, Destiny, and Beyond - AppSpy Takes a Look at AAA Companion Apps

Posted by Rob Rich on December 19th, 2014

These days it's not uncommon for big game releases to be accompanied by their own iOS app - a Companion App if you will. In fact, it seems more uncommon for a AAA game to come out and not have some sort of iOS presence.

And goodness do they ever have an iOS presence. It's the very reason AppSpy has taken the time to put together a list of many of the AAA companion apps you'll find on the App Store. Grand Theft Auto V, Shadow of Mordor, Elite: Dangerous, Far Cry 4, and Dragon Age: Inquisition are only a few examples of what they've covered.

You can find the complete list right here.

This Week at 148Apps: September 29-October 3, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on October 6th, 2014

Your Source For The Latest App Reviews


Every single week, the 148Apps reviewers search through the new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. 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. 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.

Monsu

All too often, endless runners lack some much-needed personality. They can be mechanically sound and still quite satisfying to play, but they rarely feel particularly charming. Monsu aims to buck that trend, even despite the fact it doesn’t really offer much of a story. All you need to know is that you’re attempting to retrieve treasure from thieving villagers. This ties into your reasoning for running wild and bouncing on the heads of spear wielding enemies. You automatically run, with one tap for a single jump and two for a double-jump. Controls are simple yet tight; not once was there a sign of unresponsiveness. --Jennifer Allen


Card Dungeon

Card Dungeon is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the roguelike genre, eschewing lackluster Western fantasy imagery and the trappings of “normal” turn-based dungeon exploration with (of all things) two-dimensional art and cards. The delightful whimsy of Card Hunter, similar in scope to this title, shines through as Play Tap Games expertly marries the addictiveness of a card game with the strategic requirements of a rogue like. The game gets underway as you select from a handful of cards for how your character will perform. Once you’ve chosen them, you can choose a campaign from a wide selection of areas as the adventure begins. The game and the tutorial mode are one in the same as you make your way through your first dungeon floor, tapping on tile after tile to navigate through. The game is turn-based, with you tapping on a directional tile on the dungeon floor to navigate, then selecting cards from the bottom of the screen in order to play different actions. It’s simple enough to understand by just tapping around to get a feel for what’s going on, but difficult enough that it’s hard to master unless you truly pay attention to the varieties of cards you can use for equipment, defense, attacks, and so on. --Brittany Vincent


Galaxy Trucker

If you’ve come to Galaxy Trucker looking for a grim, seedy simulation full of illicit stimulants, questionable encounters with alien females in the docking bays of intergalactic refueling depots, and tiny, pine tree-shaped air fresheners then you may be a bit disappointed. On the other hand, if you’re after an iPad adaptation of a 2007 board game classic that has been nominated for multiple awards, then I have much better news for you. Apparently, in the future, interstellar freight hauling vehicles are made out of jumbles of leftover pipes. Yeah, it seems like a weird choice to me, too. Now, pilots of these long-haul junk freighters are competing with one another for the most choice parts in an attempt to cobble together a ship that will withstand the rigors of deep space, pirates, and the occasional meteor shower. Oh, and also still turn a profit while doing so. --Rob Thomas


Nexticy

It’ll take some practice to truly figure out Nexticy but once you do, you’ll realize it’s a very useful tool for those in many different forms of business. Its flexibility is quite impressive. It’s a form building tool. At its simplest, you can use one of many templates to get started. There are templates for all kinds of situations, such as a nutritional log, invoicing, meeting report, quiz, and even a professional resume tool. For many, a great starting point is to use one of these and edit it to your needs rather than start from scratch. This is especially true when bearing in mind that the app could do a better job of explaining things. Experimentation is key here. --Jennifer Allen


BuggyFun

As readers may know, my family really enjoys a good building or math app at our house – very useful for when I need to get my boy tucked in and out of the way so I can perform family business such as dealing with contractors, make other important phone calls, or sometimes just early in the morning when my son wakes prematurely but is not looking to get really active just yet. Although we find applications very helpful at these moments, I do prefer him to work with building toys and other manipulative items during the rest of this free time. We have more natural wood building blocks than I care to admit, but the toys that I feel most overrun by are those that form some kind of tracks and include dozens of smaller pieces needing to be fitted together. I acquired a large amount of Zhu Zhu tracks free with the purchase of robotic hamsters from a woman eager to rid herself of these plastic parts, along with too many fractured Hot Wheels sets as well as the Nano Bug habituate tracks that my son had to have, which he is still working on earning – a day I am not looking forward to. Although I obviously see the value in being able to construct these kinds of toys in many different and creative ways, the reality of all these pieces is at times too much to bear. --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

Cannon Crasha

Man, Cannon Crasha is ‘one of those games’. In a good way! When you like games like Worms and Swords and Soldiers, you will definitly like this instant classic Android game. Go play it. No seriously. This is one of those games. One of those games where the only thing you need to know is that you need to play it. It should be one of those games everybody should talk about, you know, like the time you were in high school, still playing those GBA games. Cannon Crasha is a turn-based-ish, real time strategic-ish game that borrows elements from games like Worms and Sword and Soldiers, covered up in light-humoured conversations and easy to learn controls. --Wesley Akkerman


Antec 4 Port USB Charging Station

I love my gadgets. I’m told that as far as addictions go, it could be much worse, so there is that. With a family that likes to be connected, the most important resource in our home can sometimes be an unoccupied power outlet. With that in mind, and keeping with the drive to keep solutions simple, it’s relatively easily to see why a gadget like the Antec 4-Port USB Charging Station would catch one’s eye. As with most things from Antec, the device looks sleek without being overly flashy, compact and seemingly well constructed. It is in the rough shape of a rectangular cuboid, except that the hard plastic exterior tapers into a curve on the one side of its 5x5x6 inch frame; it isn’t too heavy either at less than 13 ounces, and the sedate finish is only really broken by the USB ports and input slot. There is an LED indicator at the top; the package also comes with AC cable and documentation. --Tre Lawrence


Keeper Password Manager

At this point, we hope that the need for a good password manager is akin to common sense. We’re regaled with stories of database intrusions daily; it’s smart to protect one’s self with the basics of password security: using different unique password for different websites. Also, passwords should be changed to new unique ones at regular intervals. But, if one even has only a dozen websites to log in to every now and then, those passwords start to blend together; that’s where mobile password keepers shine. Keeper Password Manager looks to be another option in this category, and we got to take it for a spin. First thing to do is to to sign in with a master password. Off the bat, I liked the UI options; who says a productivity app can’t have some personality? It’s possible to change the main color, and while this isn’t life-changing, I feel that one can’t put a price tag on the ability change up looks. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, it was a bumper week for new iOS games, but Pocket Gamer has covered the lot of them. Plus: the best games of September, the most anticipated games for October, and hands-on with The Room 3, Assassin's Creed Identity, and Hitman: Sniper. Read all about at Pocket Gamer.

It Came From Canada - New Zealand Edition: Assassin's Creed - Identity

Posted by Jordan Minor on October 6th, 2014

Through sheer force of will, along with a few legitimately great games, Ubisoft has turned their historical murder simulator Assassin’s Creed into one of the biggest franchises of the generation. But aside from a handful of questionable spin-offs, the series has never had a strong mobile presence - until now. We enter the Animus and check out Assassin’s Creed - Identity, the first “authentic” Assassin’s Creed experience for iOS, in this New Zealand Edition of It Came From Canada!

What’s so striking about Identity is how it manages to feel like a real Assassin’s Creed game by only making a couple of small compromises for the platform. Instead of controlling one protagonist for a sprawling, story-heavy campaign, players create and customize their assassin and take on a series of self-contained missions. The franchise’s infamously bonkers conspiracy meta-narrative is still there for those who choose to read it, but it never gets in the way of the neck-stabbing. And along with outfitting their avatar with collected weapons and skills, like the ability to summon online recruits for assistance, the different classes freshen up play styles on a more fundamental level.

The missions themselves are familiar fare - things like stealthily kill this one dude, deliver this item, or run across these rooftops - and the Renaissance city playgrounds do feel more compact than usual. But again, it’s a small price to pay for gameplay and visuals as fluid and detailed as the franchise’s high-end portable entries at least. Players swipe to fight, sneak, and parkour with ease, and as they reach the tops of buildings they’ll get amazing views of the vistas before them. Assassin’s Creed's smooth systems have always been criticized for feeling too automated, but here it’s the perfect fit.

Right now levels are limited to adventures in 16th century Italy, but the game promises modern-day Montreal missions are coming as well. However, Assassin’s Creed - Identity presents such a promising framework the team should consider throwing in stages from however many eras as they can fit. For right now though, getting the game in shape for launch should be the top priority. As we played, the game would freeze and hard reboot the iPad after every completed mission while attempting to ping the server. But that’s why this is a soft launch.

Assassin’s Creed - Identity will be creeping onto iOS devices everywhere soon.

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Assassin's Creed Memories Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Andrew Fisher on September 11th, 2014
Our rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar :: WORTH FORGETTING
Assassin's Creed Memories is hardly a game at all, and shamefully wastes the chance to do something cool with its source material
Read The Full Review »

Ubisoft Has Freed the Creed - Assassin’s Creed Pirates is Now Totally Free

Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 4th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: YO HO HO! :: Read Review »

Hey Assassin's Creed fans, if my terrible pun hasn't put you off then you should be interested to know that the Assassin’s Creed Pirates mobile game is now free-to-play. Not 'on sale' for free, but completely free.

Ubisoft has also added a new chapter appendix called Cold Blood. Now you can sail the arctic seas, meet a legendary new crew member who will help you navigate the frozen north, and upgrade you ships in new ways.

Grab a copy of Assassin’s Creed Pirates for free right now.

Assassin's Creed Memories - Card Battling and Strategy Rolled into One and Coming Soon

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 21st, 2014

Assassin's Creed Memories has just been announced, promising to combine card battling, RPG, and strategy elements. A free-to-play game, it comes from a joint effort by GREE, Ubisoft, and PlayNext.

The game will allow you to traverse history in order to build a powerful guild, recruit famous allies, and defeat rival players from around the world. There'll be a deep and extensive single player experience as well as multiplayer combat involving up to 20 versus 20 players.

Set for release later this summer, Assassin's Creed Memories will hopefully be one to watch out for.

Buckle Your Swashes! Assassin’s Creed Pirates is the App Store's Free App of the Week

Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 10th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: YO HO HO! :: Read Review »

Ubisoft was proud to announce today that Assassin’s Creed Pirates is being featured as the Free App of the Week in the App Store. This news comes alongside the fourth update being released.

The update includes new missions that take players to La Isla de la Juventud for slave liberation. The mission unlocks exclusive rewards as part of the new daily reward system. Players will receive increasingly valuable rewards every day just for playing.

The update also has ship customization so you can sail the seas in style. Lastly, new players will be happy to hear that they will receive a Starter Pack in the store and have several tutorials to reference as they begin their ruthless life of piracy.

Check out Assassin’s Creed Pirates for free on the App Store while you can.

Rayman Jungle Run "May Be Awesome", On Sale Now for $0.99

Posted by Ellis Spice on May 9th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: JUNGLE GEM :: Read Review »

Yesterday Ubisoft began the "This May Be Awesome" sale promotion, starting off by dropping the price of Assassin’s Creed Pirates to $0.99. Today the promotion continues, with Rayman Jungle Run the latest target of a drop to $0.99.

The game got a four star rating from us and has an impressive 9.0  rating on QualityIndex, so it looks like Ubisoft may be right about the awesomeness on offer.

Assassin's Creed Pirates Available for Cheap as Part of "This May be Awesome" Sale

Posted by Carter Dotson on May 8th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: YO HO HO! :: Read Review »

Assassin's Creed Pirates, normally $4.99, is currently on sale for a steal of a price: $0.99. Why is it on sale? Ubisoft's calling it a "This may be awesome" sale, which is a rather random reason to have a sale. Hey, the game got a 4 star rating from us and has a 6.9 on QualityIndex, so you might just agree.

Assassin's Creed Pirates Gets Another Major Update - Adds New Maps, New Missions, and More

Posted by Tre Lawrence on March 7th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: YO HO HO! :: Read Review »

Ubisoft has updated its iOS high seas adventure game, Assassin's Creed Pirates, with some major additions. This refresh brings new maps, as well as one new campaign mission and three new secondary missions among other features.

There are also new ships that are available for the all-new Survival Missions. According to the Ubisoft release, each game map will feature its very own Survival Mission in which players can fish and hunt for food. And as an added plus, there are also historical ships to battle against.

The update is free to current owners of Assassin's Creed Pirates, which is available on the App Store for $4.99.

Assassin's Creed Pirates Adds a New Area to Explore, Campaign Mission, and Side Quests in Latest Update

Posted by Andrew Stevens on January 10th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: YO HO HO! :: Read Review »

Assassin's Creed Pirates receives its first update that offers players new missions, achievements, and areas to explore. The new map (Nassau) is said to be the most difficult, and the update also adds an increased difficulty to the overall as well as and new defense, dodge, and counterattack capabilities. In addition to the new campaign mission, players can also journey through 10 new side quests.

This Week at 148Apps: December 2-6 2013

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 8th, 2013

Expert App Reviewers


So little time and so very many apps. What's a poor iOS devotee to do? Fortunately, 148Apps is here to give you the rundown on the latest and greatest releases. And we even have a tremendous back catalog of reviews; just check out the Reviews Archive for every single review we've ever written.

Skulls of the Shogun

Death is a very common thread in gaming, though admittedly in most cases it is being used as a motivating factor that the player wants to avoid. In the freshly ported iOS version of Skulls of the Shogun, the focus is actually on what happens after the main character has left the land of the living. General Akamoto and his ragtag group of hoodlums are trying to fight their way to the proverbial pearly gates, one decapitation at a time. Naturally they face quite the uphill struggle, with plenty of amusing shenanigans along the way. --Blake Grundman


Assassin's Creed Pirates

Assassin’s Creed Pirates is a game that’s appropriately multi-faceted: it encompasses multiple types of gameplay in its quest for pirate action in the Caribbean seas around the time of Assassin’s Creed IV. It’s a game with plenty to do and offers fun looting and boat-sinking times, it’s just structurally sub-optimal. There are two main parts to the game: sailing and combat. Sailing takes place in two different environments: a top-down map view that allows for just drawing lines to get around, and an “immersive” view where players can actually steer the ship, raise or lower the sails to control their speed, find random items to pick up, and challenging neutral ships that they cross. This is more fun, just more time-consuming. Certain missions require a certain view: race missions require immersive view while assassination missions which require stealth to sail past ship patrols use the top-down view. --Carter Dotson


Maps Pro With Google Maps

Offering fairly powerful mapping features tied into Google Maps, Maps Pro with Google Maps is the kind of app that regular travellers are going to want to keep on their iPads for future reference. So much simpler and more intuitive to use than the website, it’s a very handy tool. Even better, it hardly needs learning. That’s how easy it is to figure out. Immediately placing a pin on the user’s current location, everything about Maps Pro with Google Maps is easily laid out. The opening page offers up directions, sharing, street view, settings, and a search bar. --Jennifer Allen


PDF Expert 5

PDF Expert 5 isn’t an update to the already popular app, but is instead a newly redesigned package that provides iPad users with more features. It handles everything about a PDF - like reading, annotating, and editing. The app was just released this week and its fresh and sleek design make it a perfect fit for iOS 7. Whether users are familiar with previous versions or are just trying it out for the first time, it’s clear that the new features help to make navigation easier. For starters, there is a new PDF viewer that allows users to open large files, search through text, extract text from PDFs, and even open password-protected documents. There’s plenty of room to view PDFs thanks to full screen annotations and the smart zoom option that help users make notes and draw with ease. --Angela LaFollette


Roxie's Puzzle Adventure

Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure is a terrific universal puzzle adventure app for all ages, adapting the richly detailed illustrations of Roxie Munro’s previous puzzle app, Roxie’s a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure, into a jigsaw puzzle that players of all abilities will enjoy. This app consists of a colorful, stylized, and magnificently drawn landscape that is then broken up into 16 different smaller puzzles. I appreciate how up to five players use this app and their game will be saved independently, and how players can choose to break these individual puzzles into a number of puzzle pieces ranging from six chunky pieces to 260 small pieces on the iPad and 130 pieces on the iPhone, giving young children as well as seasoned adults a chance to enjoy this app equally. --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

Banana Kong

In Banana Kong, the players can learn an important lesson: eventually, your possessions and greed turn on you. And the more things you get, the harder they will fall on your head, and no matter how long you run, they will eventually bury you. Unless you have a hog you can ride on. This is where the analogy kind of falls apart for me. --Tony Kuzmin


Dream of Pixels

There’s no point beating about the bush when talking about Dream of Pixels. It’s Tetris but with a twist. There’s no other way to explain it. Dream of Pixels is a puzzle game where you have to place familiar look shapes onto the screen. Unlike the game it clearly derives from, these shapes don’t drop down from the top of the screen, so there’s no need to shift your shapes from left to right before they hit the bottom. Instead, Dream of Pixels slowly (at first) scrolls the entire screen upwards. Your job is to ensure that no empty spaces make their way to the bottom of the screen. This means you need to use your shapes to ensure that each line is full of blocks. --Matt Parker


Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World is an arcade pseudo beat-em up arcade game that also serves as an official Android companion game to the movie of the same name. The game is nice to look at. Thor’s hair has the golden yellow halo effect, and the virtual environment is a fine interpretation of of cinematic imagination. Bright colors, interesting beasts and nicely animated characters rolling to the booming voice of Thorish proclamations. There is a judicious use of color, and while some of the animations are a bit formulaic they are altogether hard not to enjoy. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviewed Blek, Assassin's Creed Pirates, Space Hulk, and The Wolf Among Us, picked the best iOS and Android games of November, tore it up with Touchgrind Skate 2's video upload feature, went hands-on with The Room 2, and put together holiday gift guides for 3DS and Vita. For all that and loads more, Head to Pocket Gamer for their weekly wrap-up.

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