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E3 2015 - Dawn of Titans Brings Massive Battles and Thousands of Enemies to the Palm of Your Hand

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on June 19th, 2015

The quick demo I got of Dawn of Titans at Los Angeles’ Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) on Wednesday showed me a massive battle that my presenter (CEO of Natural Motion, Torsten Reil) controlled with swipes and taps on the iPad. When he brought in the titular Titan to smash its way through the gathering enemy forces, it reminded me quite a bit of the recent Game of Thrones episode where the giant Wildling wades into battle, smashing foes out of the way with powerful swipes of a massive club. How fun is that going to be? So fun, that’s how fun.

Sons of Uruzime Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on June 7th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SPOOKY
Sons of Uruzime is a creepy tale with a Lovecraftian vein to it.
Read The Full Review »

Blades of Brim is a New Endless Runner from the Team Behind Subway Surfers

Posted by Rob Rich on May 22nd, 2015

SYBO Games, the minds behind the ever-popular Subway Surfers, have announced their latest project: Blades of Brim.

Fearless Fantasy Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on May 14th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: ONE MADCAP RPG
Fearless Fantasy is a weird and wild RPG, but it’s a great fit for mobile.
Read The Full Review »

Final Fantasy Record Keeper Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on March 27th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SOME OF THE BRAVEST
It’s not exactly the ultimate all-star gathering we might’ve hoped for, but Final Fantasy Record Keeper is a decent nostalgia trip.
Read The Full Review »

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.

Blood Brothers 2 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Nadia Oxford on January 29th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: AN AGGRAVATING RELATIVE
Blood Brothers 2 is built on a simple, solid foundation, but its free-to-play system doesn't play fair.
Read The Full Review »

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

Ambition of the Slimes Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jordan Minor on January 26th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: STICKY SITUATION
This slimy strategy game combines classic visuals with creative, original gameplay.
Read The Full Review »

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

Starband Troopers Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jordan Minor on January 19th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CRESCENDOLLS
Starband Troopers gives RPGs a fresh new rhythm.
Read The Full Review »

Fighting Fantasy: Bloodbones Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on January 15th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: TYPICALLY SOLID
Its story isn't quite as gripping as others, but Fighting Fantasy: Bloodbones has some great tricks up its sleeves.
Read The Full Review »

Sol Invictus Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on January 9th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: INTRIGUING STORYTELLING
Sol Invictus is a pretty enjoyable sequel to Cubus Games's Heavy Metal Thunder, which was itself a similarly fun adventure game book.
Read The Full Review »

It Came From Canada: Heavenstrike Rivals

Posted by Jordan Minor on December 11th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: HEAVENLY STRATEGIC :: Read Review »

Over their long history, Square Enix has become synonymous with big, epic, blockbuster Japanese RPGs. But while mobile may be a great place for ports of classics like Chrono Trigger, when crafting a new game the company has to make something a little more modest than Final Fantasy XII 3. Heavenstrike Rivals is that new game, and we see how well it lives up to its pedigree in this edition of It Came From Canada!

While the game was made in collaboration with English studio Mediatonic, it’s hard not to notice the Final Fantasy style all over it. From the exciting but ultimately nonsensical name, to the plot involving brave youths rescuing a quaint and vaguely European world from a rising darkness, it’s pretty obvious where this game comes from. Fortunately it also has production values that rival its AAA cousins. The illustrated artwork is luscious and detailed, battle animations for the chibi characters are a delight, and the jaunty music sets the mood for adventure.

And players will need to be in the mood because Heavenstrike Rivals' strategic gameplay will demand a lot of their time, even if it is broken up into chunks via energy meters. Using units they’ve gathered, players face off against opponents on a board game-like grid. The goal is to have their army reach the end and begin attacking the other player directly. However, this requires fighting through the enemy units coming after them. It’s a straightforward idea, and the compact arena limits more extravagant strategies, but the game does offer depth through its unit variety.

Players gain access to more of their forces over the course of the round, and knowing all their quirks is where the fun begins. From the fighters’ increasing strength, to the scouts’ multiple hits, to the defenders’ shields, to the gunners’ range, effectively combining these abilities is the key to an effective squad. Plus it’s just satisfying to watch an enemy fall for your carefully planned trap. Outside of battle players can improve their squad even more by leveling-up stats, modifying magic users, and recruiting special vanguards to lead the assault.

A few years ago, Square Enix released a little strategy game for DSiWare called Dragon Quest Wars that entertained in a way similar to Heavenstrike Rivals. We’ll see if the larger App Store audience will be as receptive when the new game launches worldwide soon.

This Week at 148Apps: December 1-5, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 8th, 2014

Apps Are Us


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.

Peggle Blast

Take the monetization format of Candy Crush Saga and add the wonderfully addictive Peggle, and what do you get? Peggle Blast – a suitably enjoyable yet similarly cynical version of everyone’s favorite adaptation of Pachinko and Bagatelle. First things first: Peggle Blast plays just as well as any other Peggle game. It’ll still occasionally feel a touch random, but it’s satisfying for the most part. Dragging a finger around the screen manipulates where the ball goes, with holding it down will magnify the area. Lining things up perfectly to perform a loop-the-loop in order to take out loads of tiles at once is particularly satisfying. And, of course, Ode to Joy is still in there for when you succeed at a level. --Jennifer Allen


Wicked Lair

It’s like some kind of unspoken rule that floats through the universe: good guys build towers to the heavens, and bad guys build underground lairs that go down, down, down. Wicked Lair by Stefan Pratter is all about building a hideout that stretches down into the Earth’s molten bowels. If that’s not enough of a hint, let’s just say it outright: Wicked Lair casts players as a lair-loving bad guy. And that’s OK, because foiling goodie-goods with a trapped underground hideout is as fun as it sounds. Wicked Lair is a mash-up between tower defense and tower building. Players assume the role of a berobed baddie whose subterranean lair is under constant threat from heroes that don’t know how to keep their noses in their own business. --Nadia Oxford


Offroad Legends 2

Clearly heavily influenced by the Trials series of games, Offroad Legends 2 is a less refined but mostly enjoyable physics-based racer. It can’t quite compare with the mighty Trials, but given the limited options for the franchise on iOS it’s a worthy substitute. With plenty of variety at hand, you won’t just be racing motorbikes either. Instead, you’ll be using trucks, buses, monster trucks, and more to negotiate the various obstacles within each level of Offroad Legends 2. That comes with its own issues – namely that you never quite get fully comfortable with one vehicle before you move onto the next, but this does keep things interesting. --Jennifer Allen


Earn to Die 2

At first, Earn to Die 2 is a lot of fun. Kind of like an endless runner but with more of a structure, you attempt to drive a vehicle from one end of the level to the other. The problem is that there are waves of zombies in the way, plus the terrain itself is far from safe. The other, more significant problem is that things soon turn a bit repetitive and Earn to Die 2 turns out to be too long for comfort. That’s a real shame, as early on Earn to Die 2 easily has that ‘one more go’ factor. Controlling your vehicle is simple enough with buttons to the right adjusting for acceleration or using a boost, while the left side of the screen offers buttons that dictate the trajectory of your vehicle while you’re in the air – much like in a physics based racing game. At first you can mostly get away with hitting the accelerate button and seeing what happens, but soon enough those little tweaks make all the difference in helping you explore. --Jennifer Allen


Bruce Lee: Enter the Game

When dealing with the legacy of its title character, Bruce Lee: Enter the Game smartly opts for a more old-school approach – in more ways than one. The gameplay is classic beat ‘em up and has players swiping the screen to clobber goons with fast fists and feet of fury. It’s not the deepest fighting style, but it unfolds at a blistering pace that feels great to execute. In fact, it’s when the system awkwardly tries something more complex, like charging special moves to take down guarded opponents, that it stumbles. Players can also augment Bruce with limited shields and health boosts as well as a power-amplifying fury attack. They can even give him outfits lifted from his films, each with their own bonuses. --Jordan Minor


Duckie Deck Bird Houses

Toddlers and preschool-aged children will be delighted to try the new app, Duckie Deck Bird Houses, which allows them to explore this helpful craft. From first glimpse, adults will marvel at the use of the depth of field that this app has to offer as a lush green and mildly interactive landscape can be seen in the distance while one chooses a tree to build a birdhouse for. I am fond of the look of all of the tree selections as they are various shades of brown and grey – wonderful representations of real trees that most people have come across, complete with distinguishing features such as maple leaves, apples, or acorns. They are all very nice choices that will jog the memories that children have of trees from their adventures in nature. Also of note is the well-crafted background music used throughout – upbeat and a little quirky, which adds to the overall experience for both children and adults. --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

MageCraft: The War

Magecraft: The War is yet another in a very long line of freemium city builders for mobile. Aping games like Clash of Kings and injecting a well-worn fantasy vibe does it stand out? Magecraft starts off a lot like most city builders. Starting with a threadbare base, the player must construct buildings and crank out troops to capture resources from enemies and become stronger and gain experience to become even stronger and so on. All player cities exist on the same map so rather than the arbitrary “neighbors” system common in other social games cities must be marched to to be attacked and distance always matters. --Allan Curtis


Antec PULSE Lite Bluetooth Headphones

Antec should be known by now for its mostly great, affordable accessories; we’ve had the opportunity to look at several of its offerings. Its line of headphones, as exemplified by the PULSE (which we reviewed a few months ago), are nice value propositions, and we expected similar of the Antec PULSE Lite Bluetooth Headphones that were sent to us to review. So what comes in the box? Well, there’s the white headphones, matching white micro-USB charging cable, and ( I liked this small touch) a simple black drawstring carrying pouch. --Tre Lawrence


Red War

Red War may look a bit like Clash of Clans but it is in fact a mobile clone of War Commander, a Facebook game that allows players to build a base and take the fight to other players. Red War has the player take control of a basically non-existent base. After rebuilding some basic structures and receiving a small force of units the player must build a base, crank out more troops and generally roll over anyone who gets in their way. The game features a pretty familiar set of units. There are the ever useful rifle armed infantry, heavy machine gunners and snipers. Later on vehicles such as tanks and APCs come into play and medics and engineers round out the tactical options. --Allan Curtis

And finally, Pocket Gamer returned from the Basque Country with the winners of another Big Indie Pitch, reviewed Game of Thrones and Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, picked the best iOS and Android games of November, and recommended some freebies to hold you over until Christmas. Check it all out right here.

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