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We've Assembled the Top 11 Apple Watch Apps for The Avengers

Posted by Rob Rich on April 28th, 2015

Now that Earth's mightiest heroes have undoubtedly gotten their hands on their own Apple Watches (I mean they do have at least two major technophiles on the team), it's time to figure out which apps would benefit which superhero the most. Sorry Ultron, this list is for goodguys only.

Avengers, do the thing!

Pocket Gamer Interviews Peter Molyneux on Godus, Kickstarter, and More

Posted by Ellis Spice on August 18th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: FLAWED CIVILIZATION BUILDING :: Read Review »

Pocket Gamer has released an interview with British industry veteran and 22Cans founder Peter Molyneux, asking him about Godus, the reception it has gotten, its 'free to play' model, and what's happened to Curiosity winner Bryan Henderson.

Within the interview, when asked about the negative reaction to the game within the comments of the Kickstarter, Mr. Molyneux said, "People will not pay for games on mobile," and later on also states that releasing a paid app would only get a tenth of the consumers and would be "like releasing a YouTube video that you have to pay for."

The role of Bryan Henderson, the game's 'God of Gods,' is also discussed, stating that he'll be the tie-breaker for votes on "commandments" - an example of which is if women within the game should stay at home and look after the family. As previously mentioned, Bryan will also get a share of the profits of the game whilst he acts as God of Gods, and other players will be able to overthrow him and become the new God of Gods.

Godus is available on the App Store now. The full interview, which also features news on a new addition to the PC version, the difference between the free-to-play models of Godus and the new Dungeon Keeper and why he has called the game "invest-to-play" in the past, can be found here.

This Week at 148Apps: August 11-15, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on August 16th, 2014


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.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney-Dual Destinies

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies is a direct port of the latest title in the fantastically popular Ace Attorney series. For those unfamiliar with it, the these games are courtroom dramas with a twist of absurdist humor, mostly centered around Phoenix Wright and his rise to become a star defense attorney. By Dual Destinies, the seventh title in the series, Wright and his two protégés are taking on their most exciting and intense cases yet. Each lawyer has their own “special power” that gives them the edge in court and also serves to add unique gameplay mechanics. Since Dual Destinies is a port, given the difference in screen sizes, I was worried that there would be significant loss of video quality when it was scaled up to the iPad. To my surprise, all of the animation is HD. Each cutscene is like watching an anime, and in case you can’t get enough you can always replay them from the main menu. The voice acting and music is really well done and, as with the rest of the Phoenix Wright series, the localization is top-notch. --Jessica Fisher


Vinted is the app for vinted.com – a site that lets women post their old clothes for sale, trade, or giveaways and lets them get clothes from others at great, thrift store-ranged prices. I found it by accident, and now it’s turned into an incredible obsession. As someone who spends a lot of time browsing around thrift stores, Vinted is great for being able to do that even from bed. When I first signed up for my account, the service gave me a coupon for $10 toward anything I wanted (this coupon is given to all new users). This did NOT last long. I found dozens of tops, skirts, shoes, and all other things that were just perfect for me. In the time I’ve had it I’ve purchased 11 things, traded with one girl, and sold a few of my older/poorer fitting clothes. --Jade Walker


I’m an old hand at the Peter Molyneux hype train. I’ve seen the stories of how if you plant a seed in the Fable games, you can return later on to see a tree in its place. I remember when Black & White came out and it was meant to be the ultimate God game. It wasn’t. I’m forgiving, though. I buy every title and appreciate that, while all the promised goods won’t be there, hopefully there’ll be enough to entice me in. Godus is probably one of the most hyped iOS releases in recent times. Does it succeed at making you feel like a God? Not really. It’s quite attractive to look at and offers some much better touch-based controls than the average city/village building game, but it’s still exactly that – a typical civilization/city building simulation. --Jennifer Allen


It’s a little too simply done, but in terms of varied radio-based content NPR One does a good job of making it easy to listen to new stories that should hopefully prove to be interesting to you. After a brief sign up process (best circumvented by connecting your Facebook details), there’s nothing particularly awkward about NPR One. You can dive straight into listening to various news clips about all sorts of subjects from politics to entertainment news, with plenty of human interest stories that teach a lot. NPR One learns as you go along in terms of what interests you via you tapping on a button to say it was your sort of thing. That makes the suggestion side of the app increasingly useful and I found it easily recommending me stories that would appeal. --Jennifer Allen

Dragon Quest IV Chapters of the Chosen

Dragon Quest IV Chapters of the Chosen is a highly revered entry in the classic Dragon Quest series. Originally released in 1990 on the Nintendo Entertainment System (and then subsequently remade for the Playstation and Nintendo DS), this update for iOS features great localization, much of the previous remakes’ bonus content, and a control scheme that is well-suited to the platform. All of these features help make Dragon Quest IV still look and play great, even for being a 24 year old game. For those that are unfamiliar, Dragon Quest is one of the most popular RPG franchises in Japan. It is developed by Square Enix, who is also responsible for the Final Fantasy series, though there are quite a few differences between the two. The most distinct difference between them is that Dragon Quest tends to be more iterative on a single, specific vision from a dedicated team of designers whereas Final Fantasy is generally a completely new game and vision centering around a few loose concepts and systems. --Campbell Bird


Combining the need for speed with accuracy and good memory skills comes Rules!, a simple puzzle game that’s sure to test your intellectual abilities. Think Simon Says and you’re on the right track. Each level of Rules! requires you to follow a rule. Each rule is simple enough, such as tap on all the green tiles or select all of the animals. The tricky part comes in how these rules pile up. Each level adds a new rule, and you have to remember the earlier ones – up to 10 in all before the game resets. --Jennifer Allen

Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:


The Room

Mobile gamers rarely get to experience truly innovating games. Most of the high-quality titles are simply good at copying others. The Room is an incredible exception to that fact, as it’s the most fun and unusual quest I’ve played in several years. The subject of The Room is a series of intricate and impossibly complex locked cabinets, containing clues about a mysterious discovery the player character needs to uncover. The game quite literally revolves around these lockers. The player needs to move the camera around the locker and try to unlock all of its locks, clasps and seals by a series of actions that might just make a person go crazy. The player needs to find keys, pick combinations, scout the locker for clues – and I’m not being sarcastic when I say that it’s damn easy to get lost around the cabinet. Screenshots don’t do justice to the crazy amount of elements each locker contains, and although there are hints, I got mildly frustrated several times, trying to solve the puzzles, or trying to find what the hell I was supposed to do next. It’s not that frustrating to complete, but it’s quite a challenge. --Tony Kuzmin

Bug Heroes 2

Bug Heroes 2 is a cool mix of tactical base building tactical shooter and cockroaches. What could go wrong? Bug Heroes 2 is about bugs at war. Every slug and ant must do their part. The player moves their two bug team around in real time using an invisible virtual stick and attacking is handled automatically. Depending on which bug is picked the player might blast away at distance or close in for some melee action. During combat grunt bugs like ants with rifles and siege engine grubs are constantly produced on both sides and go about attacking enemies automatically so the battlefield is always full of some matter of six legged carnage or another. The auto produced bugs really give the game a great feel as there is always fighting going on and watching armies of bugs clash is great fun. --Allan Curtis


GemHero makes a terrible first impression since it forces the player to create a “Winnerconnect” account. Facebook login is also available but forcing the player into creating an account before they even get to see the game is a bit much. Then a very silly story appears featuring a knight being turned into a duck and the king assuming that killing the warlock that did it might free him. This is where the player comes in. After this an ad dialogue appears. This is before gameplay even starts. After a short tutorial, the player is given a deck that is mostly comprised of angry sheep and sheep riders, which is kind of a letdown. --Allan Curtis

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer played a new Call of Duty, ran around as a goat in Germany, told you how to survive the horrors of the Construct Quarter in Hearthstone, and decided to buy a shiny Super Smash Bros. special edition 3DS. And it's all right here.

Send Your Hatch Pet to Pocket God: Ooga Jump, Courtesy of a New Update

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 19th, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

A rather impressive new update for pet care sim, Hatch, has just been released. In conjunction with the folks behind Pocket God: Ooga Jump, players can now take their pet from Hatch and use it to bounce around in Pocket God: Ooga Jump. I can't recall any other game being able to do such a thing, so that's pretty cool for fans of both.

As well as that, Hatch now has new blankets, two new decor themes, and a whole bunch of bug fixes. Oh, plus it's on sale for the first time ever, priced at $0.99. What are you waiting for?

Hatch is available now on the App Store, currently priced at $0.99.

This Week at 148Apps: February 17-21, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 22nd, 2014

Expert App Reviewers

So little time and so very many apps. What's a poor iPhone/iPad lover 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.


Juggling multiple social networks can feel a little like hard work at times. This would explain why there are many companies out there looking to hire social engagement managers, simply to get the word out efficiently. What about for those of us with small businesses or simply trying to build a community around one person’s content? Postcard has it covered. It’ll require a little bit of setup for those keen to integrate it with their WordPress blog, but it’s still a pretty simple and effective way of sharing content to numerous different sources. I’d recommend that those planning on hooking up WordPress to Postcard do so straight away. Fortunately, it takes a matter of a few minutes and I didn’t come across any issues. Setting up separate social media accounts within Postcard is similarly easy, with support offered for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, amongst numerous others. The free version of Postcard restricts users to three networks, while charges of $0.99, $2.99, or $4.99 unlock more options. --Jennifer Allen

Another Case Solved

With a keen sense of humor and a dash of tongue-in-cheek attitude about it, Another Case Solved has a lot going for it. From the makers of Puzzle Craft, this game knows how to get under one’s skin. However, an increasing reliance on using consumables to progress and a restrictive energy system proves ultimately quite off-putting. Players take the role of a private detective in a world in which candy has been banned. There’s quite a conspiracy going on underneath all that, and those keeping up with King’s copyright saga associated with the use of the word ‘candy’ will enjoy what’s said here. At its heart, Another Case Solved is a Match-Three game but there’s more going on than that. --Jennifer Allen

Bug Heroes 2

Oh Bug Heroes. It was such a a deceptively great game, wasn’t it? It didn’t look like much but it was packed with upgradable characters, made great use of action/defense style gameplay mechanics, and was a lot of fun to boot. Now Bug Heroes 2 has come along and pretty much topped the original in every conceivable way. Much of Bug Heroes 2 will be familiar to fans. There are still food stashes to protect and hordes of enemy bugs to fend off, and they’ll continue to hunt for food in order to both heal their character and keep the stash well-stocked. Another large roster of insect (and non-insect) fighters returns, each with their own particular strengths and weaknesses. And, of course, they’ll be progressing in waves MOBA-style; with character upgrades largely contained to a given round rather than carrying over. There are some rather significant (and fantastic) differences however, with new heroes, enemies, co-op and versus multiplayer, and permanent unlockable perks being the most obvious changes. --Rob Rich

The Descent

Taking full advantage of the Unity3D graphics engine, The Descent presents itself as an effortlessly-designed FPS that will take players on a wonderfully visual journey of discovery and adventure as they aim to uncover the mysteries behind life. With ancient artifacts and age-old mythical legends as its base, one assumes the role of father and avid historical explorer John, who is in search of his lost daughter, Liza. Having found the cave where the ancients put the “Book of the Dead” to rest long ago, Liza soon realizes that dark forces are surrounding her. The disappearance of her boyfriend, Steven, pushes Liza to enroll the investigative services of her father as fears soon begin to rise over her own personal safety. --Arron Hirst

Nine iOS Cloud Photo Services Compared

A little over a year ago, everything changed. My daughter, Peregrine (Pip, for short), was born, and along with the myriad recalibrations, adjustments, and joyous changes that birth brought with it, I also finally came to terms with the true value of the iPhone camera: baby pictures! Hundreds and hundreds of them (no exaggeration) were taken by me, by friends, and by family, and then scattered over hard drives, social networks, and of course iPhones. The problem then became figuring out how to organize and store them privately and securely. As a devoted Mac user it’s easy enough to keep photos stored on iPhoto, but that’s a local option only, with limited cloud storage and sharing (those 1,000 photos on iCloud? Please!), and god forbid my hard drive crashes without proper backup.
I thought all of my problems with cloud storage for photos were solved when Everpix came along. Here was a fantastic, well-designed app that also had great web-based software and a Mac-based uploader. Best of all, it could load in all of my photos from various social streams, eliminate or hide duplicates, and handle a potentially unlimited number of photos for a reasonable monthly or yearly price. There was just one big problem though; Everpix went out of business. --Chris Kirby

Pigeon Presents: Mo...On the Go!

Pigeon Presents: Mo… on the Go! is a fun collection of activities based on the books by Mo Willems; a children’s author and illustrator whom my family adores. Titles from both the Elephant and Piggie as well as Don’t let the Pigeon Ride the Bus and the others from this series are favorite books of my son and are some of the first stories he read out loud by himself. Because of this, I was interested in checking out Mo on the Go! – an interactive app that includes interactive activities based on a Mo Willems storybook. This is in addition to a drawing section where children and adults now have the chance to interact with Willems in the Mo’s Squillems! area of this app; allowing children to complete simple illustration with their own flare, be it first drawn by mo himself or with the help of a friend, also with the choice of saving one’s work as well as emailing as a postcard. --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:


Only One

Only One starts off in dramatic fashion: a giant sword floating in the air, giving off a radiant aura. It descends to the ground, and is picked up by the protagonist, standing on a giant circular platform where the only exit is a steep drop to one’s death. He screams to the heavens: “I will become…the only one!“ It’s a bold intro, yet a bit silly because the voice acting sounds hardly professional, but it perfectly encapsulates the Only One experience: it’s a bit silly, a bit crudely-made, but a lot of fun. --Carter Dotson

Loot Hero

Loot Hero is a simple game from VaragtP that matches simple sidescrolling fun to delightfully retro graphics. It’s all about being a hero and defeating dragons. It uses a purposefully grainy 2D motif to highlight the action. The gameplay is your basic side running fare: left to right running action — with a twist — facilitated by touching the right side of the screen. The goal is to dispatch the goons by depleting their life bars, all while keeping that of our protagonist runner up. Dispatching baddies and collecting goodies yields gold coins and action points that help leveling up. The twist is that it is also possible to run from right to left, which is great, since it allows for the player to go back and dispatch the baddies that regenerate after being destroyed. This yields even more rewards, and is a great way of doubling up on benefits. --Tre Lawrence


Cubot is a fun little tile from Nicoplv. It’s a cute sliding cube puzzler that uses color to highlight the gameplay. The basic premise is to move colored cubes to colored tiles on the playing grid within a specific set of movement rules. The rules are basically based on the color of the blocks/cubes in the specific level. An example of the gameplay is shown in the early levels, and there are tutorial animations to help folks through. The playing area is rendered in mostly stark wihite, with a 3D grid made up of square blocks, and it begins with a blue block which has to be moved to a blue square on the playing grid. The general control mechanism is via swipes; at this base level, a swipe in any direction moves the blue block one step in that direction. The overall idea is to get the blue cube to the blue resting place in as few moves as possible. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer put together a complete guide to Tengami, picked the 10 best simulation games on iOS, taught you how to turn your iPhone into a Game Boy Advance, played Crytek's The Collectables, and found 7 intriguing indie games in Amsterdam. All this, and loads more, over at Pocket Gamer.

This Week at 148Apps: December 16-20, 2013

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 22nd, 2013

Happy Holidays from 148Apps!

With less than a week to go before Christmas, the rush is on to find the perfect gift. Why wade through endless streams of furious shoppers when the perfect app is right here? Take a look at what we've reviewed this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Remastered

Sure, the Sonic the Hedgehog series is known as a classic now, but for me, the moment when the series jumped from being about “blast processing” and Not-Mario to being a classic in its own right was Sonic 2. It was a rather comprehensive game, laying the groundwork for much of the series’ conventions. So when Christian Whitehead got his chance to helm a remastering as he did with Sonic CD and the original Sonic, there wasn’t too much he could add. But what has been added preserves what made the original game great, modernizes just what needs to be done, and adds one very cool easter egg for die-hard fans. --Carter Dotson

Star Trek: Trexels

For some unknown reason, no one seems to be able to make a decent Star Trek game. Some argue the last time a good Star Trek game came out, it was for the Sega Genesis. Some would even go farther back, saying it was on the NES. Regardless, every Star Trek related game from older PC games up to the most recent one based on the J. J. Abrams adaptation of the series have not received high praise from critics. So, does a simulation/management style mobile game fare any better? --Mike Deneen

Jam Fusion Wireless Stereo Headphones

The Jam Fusion Wireless Headphones are on the budget end of the spectrum for wireless headphones, coming in at just $63 on Amazon currently ($99 list). The headphones offer a modest 6 hour playback time, so make sure they are charged before that long flight. The headphones do have a decent sound, though they’re lacking a bit in the low end. I must admit that I have a big head but I can only judge comfort by the head I have, and these are too tight to use for any length of time. There is not enough give in the arm to allow the on-ear pads to sit comfortably on my ears. --Jeff Scott

Cut the Rope 2

Om Nom just can’t get enough of that sweet, sweet candy. Seriously, I think he has a problem. The lengths he would go to were pretty intense before, but in Cut the Rope 2 things are even crazier. He’s got more worlds to snack in, more obstacles to overcome, new creatures to help him, and unfortunately a few unwelcome monetization methods. Spiders have stolen Om Nom’s candy stash using a hot air balloon (naturally), and the little addict is dragged along with them as they make their escape. Literally: his adorable little foot gets tangled in the anchor line and he goes for a ride. Once free, players must stuff him with sweets as they work their way through 120 all-new levels. Cut the Rope 2 is in many ways similar to the original – what with the rope cutting and all – but a number of new elements have also been introduced that change the formula up quite a bit. --Rob Rich

Ridge Racer Slipstream

I’m confident I wasn’t alone in being mildly worried about Ridge Racer Slipstream when a teaser trailer was released for it. Looking like it was going to pursue a freemium route, it made me twitchy. Fortunately, there was little need to worry. Ridge Racer Slipstream is a premium title that’s backed up by the availability of in-app purchases rather than reliant upon them. They’ll speed things along a fair bit, but a lack of an energy bar system is quite reassuring. --Jennifer Allen

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

If anyone were to take a generic straw poll of journalists who reviewed games during the PlayStation 2 era, asking what their “Game of the Generation” was, there is a very good possibility that Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas would top at least a few lists. Not only was it well received critically, it went on to smash top sales records all over the place. But the question remains: have the last nine years been kind to this storied classic? In the legendary words of Dr. Dre, “HELL YEAH.” --Blake Grundman

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:


Sticky Password Manager & Safe

Digital password safes are almost necessities for the productively mobile in this day. There are several options available to Android users, and this is a god thing, as this means only worthy candidates will step into the ring. Enter Sticky Password Manager and Safe from Lamantine Software. Sticky packs AES encryption, and boldly looks to be the consummate password solution; off the bat, I like having the choice if either using the app as a standalone option, or getting in on cloud sync on one or more devices for $20 a year. Signup is a breeze and can be done on mobile device or the web. --Tre Lawrence

Snow Spin: Snowboard Adventure

A disintegrating plane. Scattered luggage. Iced up animals. A snowboard. Such is the world of Snow Spin: Snowboard Adventure from Android development vet Ezone.com. To understand the gameplay, one must understand the backstory. It revolves around a successful explorer (Professor Headwind), who, in his travels to exotic locations, has accumulated a veritable horde of exciting items. On the way home, an ill-fated shortcut has dire consequences; his plane breaks apart, strewing his property and plane parts on snow covered mountains. --Tre Lawrence

Castle Raid 2

To say the truth, I’ve only played original Castle Raid for a little while, so my experiences with this sequel aren’t really comparable. I’ve seen enough to suggest that the games aren’t wholly different. Castle Raid 2 is just as fun, has a bit better graphics, more units, and a larger campaign – but the gameplay only differs in details. It’s still a hellish time-sinker, regardless of whether you play it with a friend, or against an AI. Story in Castle Raid 2 spins in a surprising direction from the original. While human armies are fighting against each other, the whole kingdom and nearby lands get overrun by orcs that drive the humans off their own land. This forces the old enemies to band together, and claim their lands back. This means that the blue units are now people, and the red – orcs, both having distinct armies with different looks – although they’re still completely identical in powers, abilities and costs. Honestly, my biggest – and probably, only – peeve with Castle Raid 2 is that I really wanted to see at least two sides with unique units and abilities. That would turn this fine strategy into an amazing one. --Tony Kuzmin

And finally, Pocket Gamer reviewed Walking Dead: Season 2, Republique, Colossatron, Cut the Rope 2, and Ridge Racer Slipstream. The guys chatted to Republique creator Ryan Payton about moving from Kojima to Kickstarter, and picked out the best tablets you can buy. All that, and loads more, here. And, in AppSpy's latest video wrap-up, you can watch reviews of games like The Walking Dead: Season 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. They also went hands-on with new releases like Cut the Rope 2, Ridge Racer Slipstream, and Colossatron: Massive World Threat. Click here to see all these games in action.

Pocket God: Ooga Jump Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on October 31st, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: BOUNCING FUN
It doesn't revolutionize the vertical jumping genre, but that doesn't stop Pocket God: Ooga Jump being pleasant fun.
Read The Full Review »

Pocket God: Ooga Jump Takes Pygmies to New Heights, Jumps Onto the App Store Next Week

Posted by Andrew Stevens on October 24th, 2013

Who loves Pocket God and is ready to start jumping higher into the skies? Bolt Creative, the studio behind Pocket God, has just announced Pocket God: Ooga Jump. In this game, players need to navigate platforms while gathering items as they jump and bounce their pygmy to new heights. Players can also access new pygmies, areas, and boosts as they collect gems and continue their upward trek.

Is that all? Nope. Players will also tap the screen to blast down on platforms. This allows them to earn extra gems, fight off enemies, and destroy marks left by other Ooga Jump players. Check out the trailer below and prepare for its release next week, October 31, for $0.99.

Pocket God Comics Issue 24 Out Now

Posted by Jeff Scott on August 2nd, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SHORT BUT SWEET :: Read Review »

Ape Entertainment and Bolt Creative announced that Pocket God Comics issue No. 24 is now available. This is the fourth issue in a five part story arc called The Pygmies Strike Back. Pocket God Comics gets updated an a frequent basis, and includes such goodies as The Pygmy Peril Newsletter and a remastered version of the first Pocket God animated video.

The Tribes are still divided! The Wayfinder thingy has lead Ooga’s team to a temple in the desert where they suspect their missing companions are being held. But it’s guarded by some large hulking gem-powered constructs. Time to use that old Pygmy ingenuity and break them out! Hmmm…on second thought, maybe Kinsee and Nooby should just bust their own selves out!

At least Klik’s group is safe in the Nest city of the Bird-people, right? Wait... there are mysterious goings-on there also? Well crud. Some days a pygmy just can’t get a break!

148Apps Looks Back: App Store Turns 5, A Special Report

Posted by Jeff Scott on July 15th, 2013

11,747 posts on 148Apps
900,000 live apps and games
600,000,000 iOS devices
$10,000,000,000 paid to developers
50,000,000,000 app downloads

5 years since the App Store launch

On Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 the App Store will celebrate it's fifth anniversary. Five years of apps. 50 Billion downloads of well over 900,000 apps and games. To say that the App Store was a sea change would be a bit of an understatement. The impact it has made on the software market is immense.

So, all this week we want to look back on the App Store's five year history, talk to the movers and shakers, get the insight of the veterans, and maybe even look ahead a bit to see what's next.

App Store Insiders

We've got a full week talking to the biggest App Store insiders, some of the people that have been around since the beginning and have helped shape the App Store into what it is today.

Friday, July 12th:

As our week long look at the App Store turns 5 comes to a close, we have a full list of great interviews and posts to go up.

First up we talk with Keith Shepherd of Imangi, developers of the smash hit Temple Run. It wasn't always top of the charts for Imangi.

Jamie Gotch is the CEO and co-founder of Subatomic Studios, developers of the great Fieldrunners. We talk with Jamie Gotch about their history in the App Store.

With a 30+ year career in video games, William Volk, COO of Playscreen has more experience in the industry and perspective on the App Store than most.

John Casasanta has never been one to hold back a strong opinion. We find that out in our talk with him, John Casasanta of tap tap tap, maker of Camera+ tells us what he really thinks.

David Frampton, the creator of Chopper and The Blockheads talks about his life on the cutting edge, as one of the first developers to not only be on the App Store, but to later experiment with TV gaming.

Being featured as a Staff Favorite on launch day is a pretty good way to start your mobile app company. Jiva DeVoe tells us about advice that he luckily ignored.

Thursday, July 11th:

Sega was first on the App Store at launch with Super Monkey Ball, a tilt enabled game that still holds up pretty well five years later. We talk with Ethan Einhorn about the App Store launch and how Sega approached the $9.99 launch price.

Jason Citron, co-founder of OpenFeint is one of my favorite people to talk to in the industry. He's done and seen it all and is always ahead of the curve. Hint: he's now working on games for core gamers on the iPad.

Gedeon Maheux from Iconfactory shares some interesting thoughts on how a traditional company transitioned onto the App Store.

Rovio launched a little game called Angry Birds onto the App Store in 2009. That little bird flinging game would turn into a multi-billion dollar company with over 1.7 billion downloads, more than any other game in history. We spend a few minutes with Saara Bergström, VP, Marketing & Communications for Rovio to find out their secrets.

EA could be considered the old guard in video games. It's been around since 1982 yet has successfully transitioned from home console to digital downloads almost completely in the past couple years. Not without issues of course. We talk with Nick Rish, VP of Mobile Publishing for EA about the transition from console to digital.

Doodle Jump is one of the most known games in the world. We talk to Igor Pusenjak about Lima Sky and the App Store.

Wednesday, July 10th:

First up today we have Jani Kahrama of Secret Exit. Secret Exit makes some of the most original games on the App Store, we talk to Jani about adapting to the changes that have taken place in the past five years.

Namco's Alex Adjadj is one of the few old guard at Namco Bandai Games still around from the launch of the App Store. Alex gives us a very open look at Namcos experience with the App Store.

Kepa Auwae, Rocketcat Games, the long-time developer of pixel art games with their own unique style discusses why their games are so original, and what their future on the App Store will be.

One of the App Store's most creative minds, Adam Saltsman of Semi Secret Software discusses the impact of his games, his thoughts on current business models, and the future of the App Store.

Tapulous co-founder Mike Lee talks history and responsibility on the App Store 5th anniversary.

Tuesday, July 9th:

Our first interview today is with Dave Castelnuovo of Bolt Creative, creators of Pocket God. We talk with Dave about the serial update model and that not every app needs to be freemium/free to play to make a profit.

Next up we have Ian Marsh of NimbleBit. NimbleBit created the game of the year in 2011 with the massively successful Tiny Tower and they know how to do IAP with the highest percentage of sustained IAP conversion I've ever heard of.

Colin Smith, co-founder of Freeverse has a lot to say about the frightening transition Freeverse made from premium to free to play. One that, in the end, didn't work out too well for Freeverse.

ngmoco:) purchased Freeverse in 2010, just as the free to play ecosystem on iOS was kicking off. Clive Downie, CEO of ngmoco/DeNA West recounts the transition to free to play as one that was the right one for ngmoco.

Monday, July 8th:

We speak with Brian Greenstone of Pangea, possibly the person responsible for driving game prices down to $0.99. Read the article for the full details on that and his inside story of how app prices started out at $9.99 even though Steve Jobs told him they should be lower.

We also speak with Ed Rumley of Chillingo about how Chillingo has approached the App Store and adapted over time.

We'll have many more interviews throughout the week.

Even More

How much have things on the App Store *really* changed over the past five years? A lot, actually. Here's a quick history.

If you were looking for a needle in a haystack. And that needle is an underrated app in the 900,000 apps in the App Store, Rob has you covered in 10 Unfortunately Underrated Apps on the iOS App Store.

"The App Store was the beginning of a long process that changed who I was and made me the person I am today." Carter Dotson looks back at five years with the App Store.

There's a theme here - the App Store allowed Rob Rich to start living the dream and become a freelance writer.

The App Store is a great marketplace, but it has its share of quirks. Here's what a number of long-time, new, and potential developers think about Apple's digital venue in Ups and Downs of iOS Publishing.

Rob digs out his Ten Biggest iOS Surprises in a look at some of the apps that have surprised us.

Our writer Jordan Minor talks about how video game journalism means business and how the App Store gave direction to his journalism plans.

Jennifer Allen rounds of a few thoughts from the new kids on the block (no, not the New Kids on the Block), the new developers, the first timers, and the future stars in The New Generation Of iOS Developers Spout Off.

Rob LeFebvre talks about how the App Store gave him the opportunity to do what he wanted to be, a full time writer in Five Years Of The App Store: Rob L’s Career Change, Soul-Search, And More.

Jennifer Allen gives us a heart felt look back at here favorite apps and games from the past five years in Five Years of App Store Favorites.

Rob LeFebvre takes a look at some the Top 20 Landmark Games on iOS. All of these games extended and improved the true state of the art in mobile gaming.

Rob Rich recaps the Best App Ever winners from the past five years in 5 Years Worth of Winners.

Rob LeFebvre takes a look at 10 Landmark Apps released in the past 5 years.

Apple is celebrating the five years of the App Store by giving away five apps and five games, both small screen and iPad versions.

Our friends over at Pocket Gamer are running down their favorite (or favourite) 50 games of the past five years. Here's part 1: games 50-31, part 2: games 30-11. Pocket Gamer's top 10 all the way down to number 1 is up now with an interesting pick for number 1. And our friends over at AppSpy have their Top 5 Games from the past 5 years list up now.

Share Your Favorites!

Some of our writers share their favorite apps. Starting out Amy Solomon shares her favorite kids apps. Also favorite apps and games from Carter Dotson, Jen Allen, Rob Rich, and Jeff Scott.

We'd love to know your favorite apps and games. We're posting some of ours over on the Best App Ever Facebook wall. Please post yours there as well.

5 Years and Counting - The App Store Then and Now

Posted by Rob Rich on July 12th, 2013

Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That's a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it's not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple's new smartphone.

On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.

2008 - The Beginning of the Beginning

The App Store's first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.

Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn't make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn't as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.

At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that "mobile" didn't have to equal "mediocre." Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.

2009 - Moving Right Along

The following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple's digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.

Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean "an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms." And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.

So many of the App Store's most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers' minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples' free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.

App Store Fifth Anniversary: Top 20 Landmark iOS Games

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on July 9th, 2013
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: Best Racer Ever :: Read Review »

While games may not be the largest percentage of apps in the App Store (non-games lead the way overwhelmingly), they are the most popular single category, with over 151,000 active games in the App Store as of this month, according to 148Apps.biz.

One could argue, and indeed I will, that games are the most transformative type of app in the App Store, bringing a quality of play to iOS devices previously impossible to achieve. As 148Apps staffers have been heard to proclaim, there are over 1.2 billion thumbs waiting to play games on these crafty little devices.

Of course, there have been landmark games since the App Store went live in 2008, titles that create, extend, and improve on the current state of the art. Here then, are the top 20 of those games, as chosen by your App Experts at 148Apps.

Doodle Jump - This one started the jumping game craze, inspiring a host of clones and imitators along the way.
Angry Birds - Need we say more? The grumpy avians have taken over the public consciousness.
Tiny Wings - Not just another bird game, Tiny Wings showed us how one mechanic, brilliantly executed, could take an unknown designer to untold heights.

Candy Crush Saga - Good heavens we still get a lot of invites for this casual, money-printing game.
Clash of Clans - Say what you will about free to play, but this game has gotten it right.
Tiny Tower - Nimblebit hit the jackpot here with a smart combination of tower building and free to play retro gaming.

Temple Run - If anyone deserved to have a huge hit, it's the folks at Imangi Studios, who have been pushing the boundaries of quality gaming from the beginning. This one created the 3D endless runner genre at a breakneck speed!
Puzzles & Dragons - Another free to play darling, this one gets all the elements right to keep players entertained and paying.
Where's My Water? - Disney's breakout hit, with a new IP (intellectual property) and a fiendishly addictive mechanic.

Pocket God - 47 updates later, still going strong and keeping kids of all ages entertained and laughing.
Minecraft Pocket Edition - The surprise PC hit the iPhone like a ton of cube-shaped bricks, letting crafters and miners of all stripe build and explore on the go.
Words with Friends - Scrabble with people you know. What's not to like? This one started the "with friends" genre with a bang.
Draw Something - Super successful, super quick, leading Zynga to buy the developer for a landmark price.

Infinity Blade - This game set the bar high for utter gorgeousness and a fighting mechanic that still sees itself in current games on the App Store, some two and a half years later.
Canabalt - Heard of the endless runner genre? Canabalt started it all with a one-touch game that exploded onto the scene in 2009 and has remained in the collective imagination ever since.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP - This one proves again and again that the indie spirit can be captured and distributed via mobile, with a game that may never have gotten noticed on the bigger consoles.
Galaxy on Fire 2 - This space exploration and dogfighting game set the standard for utter gorgeousness, as well as finding a way to build a space sim on a tiny mobile device.

Spaceteam - Don't forget to flush the four-stroke plucker! Wait, what? Play this game with a few of your (drinking) friends, and you'll see what multiplayer party games *should* be like.
Real Racing - Still the gold standard for racing games on a mobile platform, the original game hit the starting line in 2011, with sequels upping the ante on visuals, controls, and profitability.
Super Hexagon - If you hate yourself, play this brutally difficult yet strangely compelling arcade game and thank indie developer Terry Cavanaugh in the morning.

App Store Insiders: Dave Castelnuovo of Bolt Creative, Creators of Pocket God

Posted by Jeff Scott on July 9th, 2013

The Pocket God app can really be considered a case study of how to do everything right on the App Store. Released originally in January 2009, Pocket God became a serial with regular updates all the way through 2012. After 47 new releases of Pocket God and total sales for all Pocket God apps at over 9 million, Bolt Creative has one of the best known franchises on the App Store. Let's talk with Dave Castelnuovo, the owner of Bolt Creative.

148Apps: How has the App Store changed your professional life?

Dave Castelnuovo, Owner at Bolt Creative: The major thing the App Store allowed me to do was to create a business where I can be creative and sell my ideas straight to consumers. Before the App Store I was a contractor, which is cool in its own way, but I would much rather work on my own ideas than be paid to implement someone else's.

148Apps: Was the amazing response to Pocket God a surprise to you?

Mr. Castelnuovo: Sure. When the App Store became available, I could tell it was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities, so I immediately started to work on stuff for the platform. I had no idea when or if I would find huge success but I was fairly confident that I could earn enough of a living to keep things going. Pocket God was meant to be an early experiment whose purpose was to create an engine for more traditional games. I attribute Pocket God's success to being at the right place and the right time. I would have never guessed it would do this well.

148Apps: In the five years since launch, the App Store has gone through considerable changes. The number of users has skyrocketed along with downloads, prices for paid apps has stabilized way lower than many expected, free to play has dominated the top grossing charts. If, knowing what you know about the App Store now, you could go back and influence your path five years ago, what would you say?

Mr. Castelnuovo: Based on the resources I had 5 years ago, I would probably stay on a similar path. I don't believe that every game needs to be freemium to be successful. The thing that makes the App Store more stable than other competing platforms is that there are a lot of opportunities across different business models. There is definitely great success among freemium titles but most people don't see the effort that goes into those titles when it comes to user acquisition and balancing their economy. The $0.99 price point is nice in the way that if the game has buzz, you will have sales. There is no danger in making it to the top of the free list yet not making money because you failed to balance your currency systems. Paymium is starting to take root as a good alternative to freemium. Also, many games are doing well at the premium price point such as Warhammer and XCOM.

148Apps: What have you seen on the App Store, outside of apps you were associated with, that has surprised you most?

Mr. Castelnuovo: My biggest surprise is how stubborn large publishers are in not bringing premium content to the App Store. I really don't understand why a publisher would create a Vita or 3DS game and not plan on bringing it to iOS. Even Square Enix, which has a pretty good iOS portfolio of games, chooses to not bring their latest and greatest to the platform. Final Fantasy Dimensions is an incredibly lame game compared to what they release on other platforms.

148Apps: Any predictions on what the App Store will be like five years from now?

Mr. Castelnuovo: I don't see any major shakeups happening. I hope to see more premium games, the release of XCOM was heartening but the port quality was somewhat lacking. I also hope that Apple improves discovery. I would like to have a system that is similar to how Spotify works. I want to be able to publish lists of my favorite apps. My favorite Runners, favorite RPGs, favorite developers, etc. and give our fans a way to subscribe to those lists.

A big thanks to Mr. Castelnuovo for his time. Bold Creative has published Pocket God, Pocket God: Journey to Uranus, and the Pocket God Comics apps on the App Store.

The Best App Ever Awards - 5 Years Worth of Winners

Posted by Rob Rich on July 8th, 2013

The Best App Ever Awards have been around ever since ever since the App Store first came into being five years ago. Each year the best of the best have been culled from hundreds (even thousands) of releases. This list represents five years worth of winners, as decided by Best App Ever readers. Five years worth of apps and games that have been chosen above all others due to their all-around awesomeness. Five of the Best Apps Ever.

Here they are.


Shazam (Shazam Entertainment)
A lot of people were pretty excited when the iPhone first came out, and it was apps like Shazam that helped to keep them that way. In a time when smartphones were being scoffed at, being able to hold your phone up to a speaker and have it identify whatever song is currently playing was pretty freaking impressive. It goes so far beyond kitschy stuff like virtual lighters or photo booths. This is an app that serves an incredibly useful purpose; especially for those of us who enjoy finding new music.

2008 was the App Store’s first year, and even then there was no shortage of great apps and games for iOS users to enjoy. The likes of eWallet, Fieldrunners, Facebook, and Rolando were all exemplary nominees. However, in the end they just weren’t able to compete with the ability to identify any song that’s playing on the radio, in a store, or wherever else. It’s simply too handy.


Pocket God (Bolt Creative)
I don’t want to be presumptuous, but Bolt Creative may very well be responsible for creating the current “Feel like something’s missing? Wait for an update!” environment that has overtaken the App Store. With 47 (47!!!) episodes released to date, Pocket God is just might be the most thoroughly supported app in the world. This funky sandbox of wrongness has seen so many tweaks and changes over the years that it provides users with mini-games that cover almost every single popular genre on the App Store.

2009 was very close, but Pocket God managed to take first place over apps like 2Do and Twitter, and some wonderful games like Real Racing and Flight Control. Perhaps it was due to all the diversity inherent in all those episodes, or maybe people just really like torturing small virtual islanders. Whatever the reason, Bolt Creative captured a lot of hearts (and probably zapped them with lightning or tossed them to the sharks) that year.


Angry Birds (Rovio Entertainment Ltd)
Say and think what you will about Angry Birds and its current cultural phenomenon status; it’s still a clever game. Rovio’s little physics puzzler that could took the App Store by storm and has continued to do so with multiple spin-offs. Often duplicated, never replicated, this little bird-chucking game has solidified the genre as something synonymous with mobile gaming. There’s even one version that uses the “Star Wars” license. Honestly, there aren’t many other iOS games that can make that claim, and even fewer that aren’t directly affiliated with Lucasarts one way or another.

2010 saw the inclusion of a number of fantastic iOS games to the awards. Games like Infinity Blade, Real Racing 2, and Solipskier are all wonderful in their own right. That makes it all the more impressive so see them, and second place nominee Pocket Legends get edged out by a game about loading birds into a slingshot. Don’t underestimate the power of simple yet addictive gameplay.


Jetpack Joyride (Halfbrick Studios)
Barry Steakfries wasn’t new to the App Store when Jetpack Joyride was released, but it is the game that cemented his mobile celebrity status. Barry’s hijacking of a jetpack made of machine guns wasn’t exactly groundbreaking in terms of gameplay (think a hybrid of endless runners and classic corridor flying games like Copter), but Halfbrick polished the heck out of all the mechanics and absolutely overloaded it with personality. To this day it’s still one of the best examples of “just one more try” games on iOS.

2011 was a great year for iOS gamers. Infinity Blade II, World of Goo, Tiny Tower, Where’s My Water, and a whole lot more all made the list. To see little ol’ Barry with his impossible flying machine sitting above them all is a great indication of just how powerful and compulsive an extremely well-made endless game can be. Especially on a mobile platform.


Walking Dead: The Game (Telltale Games)
Telltale’s adventure games have been a bit hit-and-miss over the years, but pretty much everyone felt The Walking Dead was a major hit. Lee’s tale won over many a stone-hearted gamer, and the iOS release more or less cemented Apple’s mobile devices as viable gaming platforms. Making the tough choices isn’t any easier when it’s on a smaller screen, that’s for sure.

2012 was another great year; with games like Punch Quest and Outwitters, and apps like Clear and Action Movie FX narrowly edged out. It’s a testament to how far the App Store has come to see so many great and diverse offerings listed. And it’s a testament to Telltale Games’ ability to craft an incredible story about equally incredible characters to see Walking Dead: The Game come out on top.

Pocket God Returns With Part 3 Of The Pygmies Strike Back

Posted by Andrew Stevens on July 1st, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SHORT BUT SWEET :: Read Review »

The Pygmies have returned with part 3 of The Pygmies Strike Back. Things aren't looking so great for Ooga's group as they are lost in a desert and quickly running out of food and water. Meanwhile, Klik's group seems to be in better shape after the mysterious arrival that showed up in the final page of the last issue.

Issue 23 can be downloaded straight from the Pocket God Comics App, for $0.99 cents.

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