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This Week at 148Apps: July 27-31, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on August 3rd, 2015

Winding Down July With 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


NINE

NINE is an appealing and convenient twist on the typical To-Do list format. Focused on providing visual reminders rather than text based ones, you simply snap a photo of something then tag it and you have an instant reminder to do or buy something. It’s a nice idea.Much of NINE’s convenience comes from its flexibility. Rather than being tied into dull lists reminding you of what you need to do, you can use it to remember things you want to buy come pay day, or simply as a visual list of things/people you love. Recipe ideas can be formulated through taking snaps of foo that inspires you. It’s all pretty varied in terms of what can be accomplished. --Jennifer Allen


To-Fu Fury

Somehow making an incredibly boring kind of food fun, To-Fu Fury isn’t the most original of physics puzzle games, but it is solidly dependable. You control a sentient piece of Tofu as he has to leap around various platforms, dodging spikes, collecting gems, and even fending off aggressive enemies. Each level is relatively brief but it’s quite challenging. You can drag the Tofu around, fling it across the screen in an Angry Birds style manner, or you can crawl along the ground with a pinch of two fingers. Various challenges arise, such as the need to carefully get around spikes, learn to ricochet off metal plates, and also negotiate tricky moving platforms. --Jennifer Allen


Baffles Classic Puzzles

Baffles Classic Puzzles reminds me a little of the puzzle books that my parents would give to me on a long journey to keep me busy. They’d be simple-looking logic puzzles but often they’d take a while to figure out. This game is just full of those, and that’s a good thing. Offering 76 puzzles in all, with a further 24 coming soon, there’s no shortage of challenge here. Each puzzle is offered to you with a description of what needs to be accomplished, along with some historical context, explaining the origins of the puzzle. Baffles Classic Puzzles takes its inspiration from many different eras, including ancient Rome and China. --Jennifer Allen


In Churning Seas

In Churning Seas is a physics-based puzzler in which players attempt to assemble randomly-shaped crags into an island that successfully persists above a constantly rising sea level. The difficulty in making high quality physics-based puzzle games is in balancing the inherent challenge of the mechanics and tools with the physics. In Churning Seas makes an interesting, though perhaps not entirely successful, attempt at striking this balance while providing a really excellent atmosphere and general aesthetic.Controlling In Churning Seas is easy enough. At the start of any game players have a randmoized base island to start from, a rising sea below, and random shapes appearing above for them to tap to drop into their desired place. The goal is to piece together enough shapes and have them hold together long enough to reach new heights. Along the way players may hit a specific height goal, which provides the benefit of locking the other pieces in place to create a more stable structure to continue building off of. In the event that players need some stability when a height goal is out of reach, they can double-tap a limited amount of blocks to lock them in place as well. --Campbell Bird


Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition

There’s a reasonable argument against the need for HD remakes as it is. Do we really need to return to so many old games, all for the sake of some shinier graphics? Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition really reinforces that concept by somehow disrupting some of the key visual and audio flourishes of the original. Throw in the fact that the game is often quite obtuse, and the past doesn’t seem so great any more. The foundations are pretty solid, at least. Ritualistic killings are occurring in New Orleans, and it’s down to struggling author, Gabriel Knight, to figure things out. True Detective fans are going to like this. At least they will until they realise that Gabriel is a fairly obnoxious womaniser. Arrogance is fair enough at times, but this character takes it too far. --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:


AndroidRundown


inStream SeptimusB 7 Port USB Charging Station

As we like to say, more mobile devices, more problems… power problems to be specific. Even as batteries get better, there is always a need to keep our power units powered.Yeah, one can plug in a charging peripheral to every outlet at work or at home, but then, one needs to walk all over the place to retrieve them. It’s just better to have all of them in one place, especially for those of us with a healthy helping of OCD.And then, here comes the wordy inStream SeptimusB 7 Port USB Charging Station.Alrighty.--Tre Lawrence


Zero Punctuation: Hatfall

If one must know, Zero Punctuation: Hatfall is a story of loss and redemption. Sometimes, folks get really attached to headgear, and this game tells the tale of a dude driven mad by loss.Oh dear.At first glance, one might be a bit dazzled by the sharp yellow background; we don’t get a lot of colors, but that is okay, as the game works with the color contrasts within. Visually, it works.--Tre Lawrence


NU2S Smartphone

There are many reasons folks dabble into Android.Love of the OS, appreciation for the extended Google ecosystem… even a hyper anti-Apple sentiment get cited as reasons. Critically, one can enjoy the diversity of product as well as as apps availability across carriers.One element that increasingly becomes part of the device ownership narrative is price; the ability to get a device at just about any price point is, well, priceless. And, to be fair, we are not talking about just anything at any price; we expect quality, even when we pay what might be considered a good price for an Android smartphone. Now, obviously, the ability to have OEMs battle to bring the best devices to market at the lowest cost is a function of the Android landscape, but we’re not complaining.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

This Week at 148Apps: July 13-17, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on July 20th, 2015

July is Heating Up With 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


Heroki

It’s the visuals of Heroki that will first catch your attention - it’s really quite gorgeous. Its palette is as attractive as many of Sega’s past console hits, immediately capturing the imagination. Fortunately, Heroki isn’t all looks either, being a fairly entertaining action adventure game. While the control methods are never quite perfect, no matter what you settle on, it’s still endearing stuff. Your aim is to save the world from the dastardly Dr N. Forchin. It’s the kind of story that’s been around as long as gaming, so I wouldn’t dwell on it too much. While owing much to platformers in terms of design, Heroki is more about flying than anything. --Jennifer Allen


Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp

Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp is a digital port of a solitaire board game from Victory Point Games and designer John Gibson that puts you in charge of what is essentially the CDC and tasks you with stopping the end of the world. No pressure, right? I’ve been a pretty big fan of the physical game ever since I first got my hands on it last year. It’s a very brutal and surprisingly intense puzzle that will punish mistakes like spreading your proteins too thin or wasting all of your funding on lab equipment you never use in short order. It’s not so difficult if you have enough time to study the virus and prepare a vaccine, but you won’t have time. You never have enough time. Because the virus can and will spread, eventually wiping out all human life if you can’t stop it fast enough. --Rob Rich


Alphabear

Where so many word games are fun but a little soulless, Alphabear crams in plenty of personality thanks to its focus on teddy bears. It’s an unusual mixture of things, but it works really well for Alphabear. Throw in some varied rulesets and you’ve got a word game that’s going to keep you hooked for quite some time.It seems simple enough. You spell words from a selection of letter tiles on a grid. Each tile starts out with a number that gradually ticks down for each turn that you don’t use it. Once that number hits zero, the tile turns to stone and you can’t use it any more. It also blocks your bears because, oh yeah, bears grow bigger on this grid. For every time you use letters next to a bear, that animal grows a little bigger and so forth. The bigger the bear, the more points you earn. The more points, the more likely you are to gain a new bear with additional powers.--Jennifer Allen


This War of Mine

Due to hardware limitations that eventually gave way to time limitations, I was never able to dip more than a toe into This War of Mine’s murky waters. Just enough to know it’s not the sort of thing you play if you want to feel happy. That’s changed now that I can play it on the iPad.
I was right: it’s not happy. But it is impressive. Unlike most other war-themed games out there (on any platform), This War of Mine covers the horrors of mass conflict from the perspective of the civilians who spend their days cowering in abandoned houses - or get caught in the crossfire. It’s about as pleasant as “Grave of the Fireflies.” But that’s what makes it so compelling. --Rob Rich


FilterBaker

FilterBaker is a photo filtering app with a difference. Rather than offering a series of instant results, it gives you plenty of options to manipulate things exactly how you want them, before allowing you to save your own filter options. It’s pretty useful.Each step of the way is clearly laid out. You can apply a form of photo filter initially before adjusting brightness, contrast, and saturation. You can then move onto more complex tweaks, such as the shadows and highlights, RGB color distribution, and sharpening. By the end, you can have completely transformed your picture. More importantly, it won’t look like you’ve put it through the same process as everyone else as FilterBaker is more individual.--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:


AndroidRundown


MyScript Stylus

We’ve been working on write ups pertaining to smartpens, and looking at what they bring to the mobile productivity table. For the most part, we’ve found them to be great tools, but only as good as the add-ons that allow them to be harnessed by the platforms they are being used on.One of the names that continually cropped up during reviews and research was MyScript. MyScript is a name that should resonate with smartpen users; it powers a lot of the image recognition software that some smartpen device makers bundle with their products. The premise is fairly simple: one “writes” with a stylus (or finger) on compatible surfaces with compatible peripherals, and MyScript helps translate the script to formal text.--Tre Lawrence


TYLY RIBBN

As our use of mobile devices increases, so does the need to keep them powered. Portable chargers do the the trick, but one key concept is the ability to charge in vehicles.TYLT has established a name in the power accessory segment, and with good reason. The units it puts out tend to straddle the fence between form and function quite admirably; it’s nice to have a piece that looks good, and, well, works. We recently had an opportunity to review its RIBBN 4.8A Car Charger.We didn’t hesitate.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

This Week at 148Apps: July 6-10, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on July 14th, 2015

July is Heating Up With 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


Don't Starve: Pocket Edition

It didn’t take long to confirm the rumors of an iOS version of Don’t Starve, and it didn’t take long after that for the game to pop up on the App Store. But pop up it did, and now you can play the stylish and brutal survival game on your iPad. You start out in control of Wilson: a well-meaning inventor who gets in over his head and is tricked into creating a sort of inter-dimensional gateway that pulls him into another world. Now he’s trapped in a bizarre wilderness with nothing to show for it. What’s worse is he’ll probably die horribly if you can’t keep him sane, healthy, and (obviously) full. --Rob Rich


LEGO Batman: Beyond Gotham

LEGO Batman: Beyond Gotham is the latest LEGO game to come to iOS, and of course it has a quirky humor and easy to learn play style that mean fun for all ages. This time around, Brainiac (one of Superman’s super-intelligent villains) has decided to shrink the entire earth into a collectible plaything. So Batman, Robin, and a plethora of other Justice League characters join forces with their nemesis to fight the alien threat. There are 45 missions packed with puzzles and, despite what Batman might say, he needs some help to take down Brainiac. Good thing there are over 100 characters to play with and unlock like Black Canary, Solomon Grundy, Cyborg, and The Joker. Each character comes with different suits that provide them with powers, such as Robin's elite hacker Techno Suit for hacking computers. --Jessica Fisher


Fews

Consolidating your news, Fews is a handy app for when you want to quickly see what’s going on in the world.Loading it up, you’re immediately taken to a screen that offers all the news in your country. You can choose to divide things up according to news, sport, economy, technology, or lifestyle, or you can view everything at once. Filtering options are also available for news sources, meaning you can dodge certain outlets. You can also view things, depending on what’s trending around the world, as well as set up notifications for specific subjects, further enhancing your ability to keep on top of things. --Jennifer Allen


Formula Cartoon All-Stars

With its cart racing rather than ‘kart’ racing, Formula Cartoon All-Stars seems a little like it’s trying to be a top-down version of Mario Kart. While it doesn’t have that title’s level of depth, it’s still quite fun to play, assuming you don’t expect too much of it. Formula Cartoon All-Stars offers up two different game modes in the form of adventure and tournament. Tournament is a matter of racing in specific tracks, aiming for a faster time than anyone else, while adventure takes you through a kind of story mode, unlocking new tracks as you gain stars in earlier ones. Ultimately though, the idea is the same - outrace the competition. --Jennifer Allen


Stick Tennis Tour

It’s Wimbledon season, which means it’s the ideal time to lose yourself in a Tennis game. Stick Tennis Tour is a casual interpretation of the sport that'sreminiscent of its predecessor, Stick Tennis, but with a few extra features.This time around, you can create and customize your own character, before heading off on tour. An extensive training system, as well as a series of Challenges, which change frequently, ensure there’s always something for you to do. That’s considerable content for a game that’s free to download too, with in-app purchases that are far from obtrusive.--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:


AndroidRundown


Deliveries Package Tracker

I love me some Google Now.It’s one of those anchor apps I use on a daily basis, almost without thinking. Multitasking, hands-free operations, news… you name it. Still, one of the key ways I rely on it is to track packages. This is key in this line of work; we get review items in and out almost every day, going and coming from literally all parts of the globe. Google Now is a (sometimes) seamless bridge between information and access. Since we handle expensive equipment and devices, it really helps to when what arrives where.--Tre Lawrence


TMNT: Rooftop Run

TMNT: ROOFTOP RUN brings us our favorite mutant amphibians… running. At the risk of name-dropping, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is worth having a look at in almost any form.After picking a particular turtle to unlock, one gets to start the game; it starts off as a sidescrolling platformer. The selected character runs from right or left, and, as to be expected, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome. A major one is makes sense, based on the location of this initial challenge (rooftops); there are gaps in the running area, and to navigate these, one has to tap to invoke a jump, while double-tapping creates a double jumping move that helps with greater height and distance.--Tre Lawrence


Xenowerk

Here’s to Pixelbite’s Xenowerks.Well, it feels a bit like hit game Space Marshals, that’s okay and very much allowed; sharing DNA with that game ensures that at the very least, we should get of sprinkling of good stuff. And we do, starting from the top-down nature of the view that allows the player to survey and control the action from “above.” The developer uses virtual light as an in-game tool quite effectively, and the overall sense of foreboding is well rendered. The sounds are also sufficiently creepy, seesawing from the eerie to the straight dangerous.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

This Week at 148Apps:June 22-26, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 29th, 2015

June's Summer Journey Continues With 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


LightRunner Armband

The LightRunner armband is about what you’d expect from a typical armband meant for running - at least I think, but I’m hardly an expert on running equipment - but it does offer a couple of useful features that could give it an edge. Mostly because of how it uses a protective layer to guard your iPhone or iPod from scratches while still letting you use the touch screen, and because it can light up to make nighttime jogs a bit safer. It’s a pretty well-constructed band that keeps your device secure while also allowing access to the headphone jack if you need it. I feel it’s a bit on the bulky side, but seeing as it’s meant to fit 11 different kinds of smartphones (from the iPhone 5 to the Moto X) I’m not sure there’s much they could’ve trimmed off. It might take some getting used to, but it works. --Rob Rich


Fallout Shelter

In preparation for Fallout 4's release this fall, Bethesda announced thatr they had also been working on a mobile title named Fallout Shelter. It's largely a management tapper like Tiny Tower, though it feels distinctly more like a Fallout wasteland scenario and less like a knockoff free-to-play experience. Fallout Shelter may not be for everyone, and it may seem like it misses a few opportunities, but it's a very interesting experience.Fallout Shelter lets players see what it would be like to be the overseer of a vault in the Fallout universe. Essentially this just means they're in charge of building a vault that provides safety and happiness for the dwellers within it. Much like Tiny Tower, players can expect to build additional rooms, match dwellers with jobs that make them happy, and collect resources.--Campbell Bird


Papaly Bookmark Manager

On the surface, Papaly Bookmark Manager sounds like something that isn’t really needed in a world of Instapaper and Pocket. In reality, it’s a very different kind of thing.It’s a way of organizing your links, but it also means that you can easily share them, according to subject, with other users. In that respect, it’s almost like a community. You can opt to simply import your links from social media and keep them safe, but you can also view many other selections. There’s a category devoted to gaming sites, for instance, as well as news sources.--Jennifer Allen


Her Story

At first glance, Her Story doesn't seem like much. It emulates the look and feel of seaching a police database from 1994 on an old Windows desktop - down to the horror of that teal background and ugly interface. There are only six things to click on and no real action to speak of. And yet, there is something strikingly compelling about it all. Sam Barlow, creator of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Aisle, has brought his storytelling expertise to this interactive narrative. The entire game revolves around searching through clips of several videos of the police speaking with someone named Hannah Smith. --Jessica Fisher


Piloteer

I had my first experience with Whitaker Trebella’s Piloteer several months ago during GDC, and my opinion hasn’t changed much (read: at all) since then. It’s still super-awkward to control, it’s still incredibly difficult, and it’s still ridiculously fun.You control a nameless (but you get to name her so I guess she’s technically not nameless) inventor who’s just made the world’s first jetpack. Since she presumably doesn’t have the same knack for PR as she does for tinkering, she’s going to have to pull off some impressive stunts in order to convince the rest of the world that she’s on to something. This is, of course, much easier said than done. --Rob Rich


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


EA Sports UFC

If anyone should try to tackle a sports sim, it should be EA Sports. And tackle fighting it did with EA SPORTS UFC.Somehow, the tutorial is quite enjoyable on it’s own. It’s of the hands-on variety, so one is able to learn while doing with visual cues that help folks to understand the control system — which incorporates gestures and swipes to control the basics. With said tutorial we see attacks and special attacks, defensive maneuvers, take-downs and even submissions. The controls require dexterity and a keen eye, as there are times a very precise tap is needed. The teaching tool also doesn’t clear until one is able to execute the moves proficiently.--Tre Lawrence


Spider Square

We did wonder just what Spider Square is all about. What better way to find out than to, well, play it?Graphically, it looks like a basic affair; the game uses bright splotches of pastels, and is presented in 2D form. The animations are crisp, and as we see when we get into the action, the colors do frame the gameplay quite well.When we say “simple” with regards to the gameplay, we mean just that. The idea is so easy to grasp, the game barely needs a formal tutorial. It’s an arcade game that is delightfully cloaked as a platformer. The action “moves” from left to right, and the main concept is to get a square, uh, spider(?) to keep moving rightwards (forward) for as long as possible. The main tool is a rope, and the cube moves by swinging from said rope attached to the roof of the playing area. The kicker is that the cube can’t touch the floor or ceiling.--Tre Lawrence


Alphabetty Saga

Yes, Alphabetty Saga is a word game, but clearly wants folks to know it is more than simply that; it packs in elements across the board, from Scrabble, word search, matching, and even a lit bit of Tetris-y gravity play… and then some. It does a lot, which helps it come out the gate strong.At first glance, it’s easy to see developer King’s handprint on the visuals. The game employs bright colors and graphics that lean towards the whimsical without necessarily stumbling into the cartoonish. As a word game, it relies heavily on tiles, but the developer isn’t so jaded as to forget splashing character into the background. It’s a vivid presentation, and it mostly works in the plying area, which usually consists of random word tiles.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

This Week at 148Apps: June 15-19, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 22nd, 2015

June's Journey Continues With 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


Hitman: Sniper

If you had to imagine what a sniper game on iOS would play like, Hitman: Sniper is almost exactly like what most would expect. It uses a first-person perspective, with players zooming in and out over an environment and taking out targets as necessary. Although much of Hitman: Sniper is very expected - and it has major-sounding drawbacks like only one level - there's so much more than meets the eye that makes it more than the sum of its parts.Just like other entries in the series, players step into the shoes of elite assassin Agent 47. Unlike other entries, Agent 47 isn't sneaking around environments, garroting people, and pushing them down elevator shafts. Instead, armed with a sniper rifle, he is tasked with taking out high-profile targets discreetly from a distance. --Campbell Bird


iSpring Present

iSpring Present makes quite a crucial misstep in its opening moments. It requires you to have an account for iSpring, but gives you no way of signing up other than to open your web browser and find the sign-up site yourself. Oops. Fortunately that’s the only real misstep for iSpring Present. It’s otherwise a fairly useful way of transferring content from your PC to your iPad, with the added bonus of some great PowerPoint support. That support means iSpring Present particularly lends itself to making your presentations easier. You can easily create a presentation on your PC then send it over to iSpring Present and still see all the relevant PowerPoint effects. That’s often a rare thing in such apps, but this one ensures you don’t miss out on anything. -Jennifer Allen


Peak

Brain training games are nothing new, but that doesn’t stop them from being oddly enticing. Everyone wants to feel good about themselves, right? Or feel as if they’re training themselves to be better at something. Peak captures that fairly well. You’ll need to subscribe for the full benefits, but even the free build will offer you some use.Each day, you’re given a few games to complete. These test various parts of your brain, such as your problem solving skills, language capabilities, or simply your ability to focus. They’re simple tests, only taking a couple of minutes to complete, but quite fun to do. Once you complete the session, Peak figures out where your strengths and weaknesses are, giving you a visual indication through a graph.--Jennifer Allen


FullContact

Contact lists are increasingly messy now that we’ve all had phones for years. FullContact aims to cure much of that problem by giving you a place to consolidate everything. By using it you can combine Google Contacts, iPhone Contacts, Facebook, and Twitter details. It’s quite good at what it does too, saving you some time.For the most part, by simply inputting your various log in details, FullContact will happily join the dots for you. Within a few seconds, you can check out photos of your contacts, alongside their contact details, and social networking presence. That’s particularly handy when your contacts are predominantly business related and you’re trying to keep track of who’s who.--Jennifer Allen


MagicMeasure

It takes a little bit of set up and a little tweaking, but MagicMeasure is actually a reasonable replacement for the humble tape measure. You’ll soon be able to measure all kinds of things reasonably quickly.The initial set up is what might put you off a little. Calibration is easy enough, with simple steps guiding you through the paces. It’s that first time of measuring something where you find yourself paying a lot of attention to what’s being asked of you and it still not feeling entirely intuitive. Stick with it though. Once you figure it out, MagicMeasure works quite well. --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:


AndroidRundown


House of Marley Chant Wireless Speaker

Yes, I admit The House of Marley intrigues me. Beyond the iconic name, the company makes some nice-looking accessories, and its commitment to use sustainable materials can only be lauded. It’s Chant Bluetooth Speaker looks to be an example of what House of Marley can bring to market, and we were quite willing to give it a try.It’s cute, but can’t be accused of looking trivial; it possesses a small cylindrical shape that almost makes it resemble a small candle jar. It has a hard cloth/denim-like material on the exterior, with cutouts at the bottom and a zipper at the top, plus a caribiner and Jamaican flag accents; this is indeed the cover (which is made out of natural materials and recycled goods), and inside, the smooth, bamboo-trimmed main speaker sits. The main grill is at the top, with two smaller ones towards the bottom. There’s an on switch and LED at the top, and mini USB charging port, microphone and 3.55 mm plugin port. On its own, it looks okay, but when paired with the zip-up case — as it is meant to be — it looks a bit more defined. Officially, it is 5.9 x 4.4 x 4.4 inches and about 1 lb.--Tre Lawrence


Dude Perfect 2

To understand Dude Perfect 2, one almost has to be acquainted with the source franchise, which is based upon a group of friends doing trick shots and other guy things that make the rest of us jealous. If this game is a cute way to get us to live out that life just a little bit, we are grateful.The game is zany in appearance, featuring a vivid use of color on an eye-catching template. The animations are fairly smooth, and off the bat, the design evokes a sense of playfulness. When it comes to the gameplay, the first series gives an idea of just what the player is looking to accomplish: making basketball shots. At first, it’s easy; to make a shot, the player manipulates a shot and distance meter to get the right balance and get the ball in the ball in the hoop. The less balls one uses, the better, and success yields points and cash. At the end of a series, a three-star system rates one’s performance.--Tre Lawrence


Misfit Shine

Misfit blazed on the scene with an interesting concept: ultra useful fitness trackers that dare to look snazzy. Since then, we’ve seen other products and accessories land on the market.Its latest endeavor underscores the company’s commitment to the health of the planet in addition to individual people; as we noted a short while go, the special edition EKOCYCLE set is one borne out of a recycling-minded collaboration with will.I.am and the Coca-Cola company, and brings a unique wrist strap to go with a limited edition black Shine tracker.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus E3 previews, news, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

This Week at 148Apps: June 8-12

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 15th, 2015

Jump Into June With 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


RPG Clicker

There’s been a prevalence of one-tap RPGs, and RPG Clicker is one of the more recent entries. It’s a lot like all the others, albeit with a slightly more involved equipment system, but you’ll still find yourself drawn in against your better judgement.You tap on the screen in order to inflict damage upon your enemies. Keep at it and eventually they die, you gain a bit of experience, and the process repeats all over again. Every now and then, you come across a treasure chest which offers up a handy piece of equipment to boost your abilities. You also earn gold for every kill. This gold can be used to upgrade your abilities, your weapon, spells, and also unlock new areas. --Jennifer Allen


Insight Guides Phrasebook

You’re going to need to pay up to glean the real benefits of Insight Guides Phrasebooks, but that doesn’t make the free app a complete waste of time by any means.Designed to get you set up with the basics for a simple vacation, Insight Guides Phrasebooks isn’t going to help you become fluent in any language but it will help you with how to ask for directions. -Jennifer Allen


Blades of Brim

While I have to admit that games like Blades of Brim seem to be almost as prolific as match-3 puzzlers and Threes! clones, it actually feels like progress rather than more of the same. It might just be the game that gets me back into endless runners (that aren’t Canabalt).Blades of Brim is a third-person (i.e. over-the-shoulder) endless runner that plays much like you’d expect on the surface. Swiping left or right makes the runner move to that lane, while swiping up will jump. What’s different is how all of these moves also incorporate attacks that can be chained together. Plus you can pull of some rather fancy moves, regardless. --Rob Rich


Sago Mini Boats

Continuing the sandbox/playbox style theme that’s worked so well for the Sago Mini games in the past, Sago Mini Boats is sure to be fun for your little ones. It’s a little overly sensitive at times with its controls, but you can pretty much forgive it thanks to some overwhelming cuteness. You control Harvey the dog, as he sets sail for fun and adventure. You can choose the destination, as well as the kind of boat you control. The latter is particularly colorful with plenty of options for variety. You can opt to manipulate a banana boat or a more conventional tugboat. Even a shark or pirate ship can be controlled too. In each case, movement is much the same. You can either hold your finger to the side of the screen or drag the boat around, throwing it into the air if you want. --Jennifer Allen


Radical Rappelling

The first mobile game that ever truly grabbed me was Halfbrick's Jetpack Joyride. Although the endless runner has been done to death, there are just enough things about that game that would draw me back in for "one more run." Radical Rappelling is their latest spin on the genre, and I'm finding myself similarly grabbed by it. With a high level of polish, tons of unlockables, and a unique approach, Radical Rappelling is definitely my new go-to quick game on my phone. When players first boot up Radical Rappelling, they will likely notice two big features that aren't usually present in runners. First, it's played in portrait mode characters are rappelling down a cliff side. Second, the characters don't move automatically but instead jump on their own while players must tap the screen to start sliding down. These differences are pretty fundamental mix-ups to the standard runner and make Radical Rappelling feel fresh from the get go. --Campbell Bird


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


Neo Smartpen N2

An opportunity to check out the Neo Smartpen N2? Yes, please…It looks sleek, but still retains a professional feel. In a meeting of executive ballpoint pens, the N2 wouldn’t look too out of place. It has a dark finish, is angled but still faintly cylindrical and almost pyramidal; with the cover off, it tapers to the writing end. There is a power button and a color LED towards the “bottom” of the pen, and at the very end portion, there is a micro-USB charging port.--Tre Lawrence


Outside World

Fans of simple puzzles should enjoy Outside World.For those keen on backstory, the one here is simple: the play controls our protagonist, Kyrsten, who is on a quest to find her way home. At the onset, she hooks up with a spirit entity called Jaynie who is willing to help her on this journey.There… the journey begins.--Tre Lawrence


PowerIt Multipurpose Charging Kit

As always, I am a huge fan of measured convergence. I’ve said it before and will say it again: give me a combo device, as long as it does multiple things well.This is especially true of portable battery packs. One stays in the go-bag whenever I am out; but what if that unit can charge multiple batteries, add something useful like a flashlight, and… oh… say… jump a dead car battery?Ah. Maybe the PowerIt Jump Start Kit?--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, previews, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

This Week at 148App: June 1-5, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 10th, 2015

Jump Into June With 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

Oh Geometry Wars. Every time I think I’m done with you, you pull me right back in.As you’d expect, you can move your glowy little ship around by way of a lefthand virtual stick. You can also aim your guns by using another virtual stick on the right side of the screen. What’s neat is that you can also ignore aiming entirely and just focus on movement while the ship auto-targets enemies for you. It’s not a perfect system as some enemy types are easier to get rid of if you lead your targets a bit, but it’s a great option to have in a pinch when you can’t split your focus between moving and shooting.--Rob Rich


Coup

Games about bluffing are sometimes hard to pull-off, particularly when players aren't in the same room. When there's no way to read facial expressions or other tells, it's hard setup feigned reactions to situations or otherwise subvert others' expectations. With that being said, Coup is 100% about deception and it works remarkably well.In every game of Coup, players are dealt two cards that the others cannot see. These can be any one of five characters, all of whom have their own set of abilities geared toward forcing players to flip their cards over, and the whole thing plays a little bit like a more complicated version of Rock-Paper-Scissors. The goal of every game is for players to be the last one left. What makes it feel less about luck and more about skill is that players can lie about anything, and it's up to others to call them out.u can always start fro scratch. Or spend a precious continue token (I don’t know what their actual name is) to try a failed task again. --Campbell Bird


Sproggiwood

It’s the price tag for Sproggiwood that’s going to make you understandably a little uncertain. While that’s a great price for any PC game (which is where Sproggiwood started out), $9.99 can go much further on the App Store. However, try to look past that. This is a game worth your money and a sharp reminder that premium purchases can be worth making. Sproggiwood is a roguelike and a particularly well made one at that. Inspired by Finnish mythology, it certainly offers plenty of charm. You play a simple farmer as they find themselves lured away by a talking sheep and ending up a prisoner of Sproggi, a strange forest spirit. It’s as bizarre as it sounds, but it actually all seems quite cute. You work your way through various dungeons, improving upon your level and equipment, as well as developing a village of your own. --Jennifer Allen


Portal Pinball

In an unusual move, we soon learn that combining pinball with the great first-person puzzle series, Portal, is actually quite inspired. Portal Pinball captures the spirit of the games while also providing a decent pinball table with plenty of objectives to pursue.The idea is that you’re guiding Chell and Wheatley through test chambers, navigating portals and so forth. It’s certainly atmospheric, looking just how you would expect things to look, with the added bonus of snippets of audio from the cast of the games. You’ll still hear Stephen Merchant encouraging you, for instance. There’s a constant stream of background music adding to the urgency too.--Jennifer Allen


Fotograf

Offering good - if typical - photography features, Fotograf is worth checking out. But you might find yourself wondering if it’s worth paying up for when there are so many alternatives already out there.A choice of two primary features awaits you. You can opt to take photos from within the app, or import them via your camera roll. The former allows for you to use auto filtering methods but, more interestingly, it also gives you the chance to manually adjust exposure. That’s a handy feature that not every photography app offers, giving you the chance to create some interesting images through a quick adjustment of a slider. --Jennifer Allen


Simple Machines

Aimed at teaching kids how experimenting with different machines can be pretty fun, Simple Machines is a rather nice experience. Older kids are going to end up wishing there was a bit more of a structure to things, but the younger ones will like just messing around. Simple Machines is divided up into six simple machines to check out. They teach you things such as how lever and pulleys affect things, as well as the importance of inclined planes, wedges, wheels, and screws. What this really means is you can poke about with a lot of things. Simple Machines doesn’t offer much instruction, leaving you to figure things out. --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:


AndroidRundown


Star Trek Trexels

Star Trek Trexels is one of those games that, right off the bat, has something immense going for it: a backing franchise that almost demands one try out the game.We did.The game is a glorious ode to games past; graphically, it delights in its chunky looks, exuding a retro feel that mostly defines the game. It uses text bubbles as a means to convey dialogue, and the animations do what one would expect of them in a game that uses such a design scheme.--Tre Lawrence


Gravity Line

There are some serious games available to Android players, and they run the gamut; it’s easier to find a major PC game that doesn’t have an Android port than to list all the ones that do. As it stands, it’s easy to pick one’s poison, and the devices that are on the market are more than capable of carrying the loads.Still, there are times when folks just want simple; you know… a game that one can just get into and play. No campaigns. No levels. Just play.What Gravity Line does is to take the “simple” concept and runs with it. Fast and hard.--Tre Lawrence


Divoom Voombox Party Wireless Speaker

We love to check out wireless solutions, especially speakers. A tool that can enhance sound on the go? Let me loose!Well, here’s the Divoom Voombox-Party.The review package we were sent contains the speaker, power cable, audio cable and documentation. The unit looks like it means business; it looks like a solid brick of technology, with gently tapered angles and a defined rubberized finish. The control bank at the top is simple to navigate: power toggle, bluetooth pairing, phone answering and two buttons for volume. To the side, there are covered ports for power and audio cable. In hand, it is hefty piece, and it feels well crafted. Officially, it comes in at 9.17 x 2.13 x 4.06 inches and 2.4 lbs.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, previews, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

This Week at 148Apps: May 25-29,2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 1st, 2015

May Days at 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


Cartoon Survivor

An auto-runner about a dodo bird getting tossed into a reality TV show where it has to run a gauntlet of cavemen, dinosaurs, angry Mayans, lava, and more - all with a stick of dynamite strapped to its back? Sure, Cartoon Survivor, I’ll bite. Aside from being the kind of reality show that nobody would willingly sign up for, Cartoon Survivor is a pretty solid auto-runner. Tilting the device will move the dodo back-and-forth along the “road,” while tapping the screen jumps and tapping and holding will glide. You can also tap the Boost icon for a temporary speed increase but let’s not get too carried away. --Rob Rich


Cooking Mama Let's Cook!

Mama is back, again, with Papa in tow. This time she’s got a new free-to-play game that’s… well it exists.Cooking Mama Let’s Cook! is classic Mama for the most part. You get to select from a small assortment of dishes, and perform all sorts of gesture-based actions on the touch screen to try and complete various steps of each recipe. If you fail to pull a single step off perfectly it’s going to torpedo your chances at a three-star rating, but you can always start fro scratch. Or spend a precious continue token (I don’t know what their actual name is) to try a failed task again.--Rob Rich


Kapu Fishing

It turns out that foxes love to jump in boats, sail off, and go fishing. At least that’s what Kapu Fishing tells us, and it proves to be an adorable and simple game that should captivate your little ones for a while. With controls that are ideally suited for toddlers, it won’t take long for them to figure things out and have fun. As the app explains through some simple gestures, casting a line is a simple matter of dragging your finger across the screen. How far the line goes depends on how far you drag your finger. It’s the kind of intuitive thinking that’ll be ideal for educating your kids through. Once the lure hits the water, gentle taps cause it to come nearer to you. --Jennifer Allen


Brickies

Brick-busting Arkanoid style games are nothing new, yet Brickies feels more fresh than most. Offering a few new tricks up its sleeve goes a long way to enticing you into carrying on playing.The key change to Brickies is how missing a shot doesn’t mean game over. Instead, it deactivates the ball, leaving it useless until you bounce it back again with one of your paddles. You have two paddles - one on either side of the screen - which respond in the same manner throughout. The focus is less on keeping your ball in play, and more on getting things done quickly, with each level offering a fairly tight time limit on things.--Jennifer Allen


Sword of Xolan

I often look forward to seeing larger games released for iOS, both because I wish more people would take the platform seriously (as they should) and because being able to play something like Knights of the Old Republic on my phone is just really, really cool. But that doesn’t mean that shorter, more bite-sized games can’t also shine. And Sword of Xolan is definitely a tiny shiner. That sounded a lot better in my head. Sword of Xolan follows a similar structure to other mobile platformers from developers like Ravenous Games. It’s broken up into two different modes - Adventure and Challenge - with the former itself being broken up into three acts. And each act is made up of several platforming levels and a final boss fight. You can simply blitz through everything in a rush to the end, but stages are really meant to be replayed. --Rob Rich


Mr. Muscle

Don’t let the impressive beach body or the far more impressive mustache fool you; Mr. Muscle is actually a featherweight. As a game, I mean. There’s nothing particularly feathery about the buff fellow holding goodness nows how many pounds of metal above his head.Seriously though, I have to give credit to Flow Studio for Mr. Muscle’s presentation. If nothing else, it sports a very enjoyable and clean-looking art style. It’s also complimented by a simple but pleasant music loop that sound almost vaudevillian in nature. Fitting given the striped swimming trunks and massive handlebar mustache, I think. --Rob Rich


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


Sunburn!

We’ve waited for a while for Sunburn!, and with good reason; early clips of the gameplay hearkened to something fun and engaging. Now that it’s out, we have the perfect occasion to check it out.Graphically, it’s a fun, retro-feeling trip, with old-school characterizations and purposely stilted animations. It incorporates the use of color effectively, as in the visual representation of the target sun. The backdrop is dark, and the sound effectively carries along the gameplay.--Tre Lawrence


Plancon: Space Conflict

If you’re a fan of Serenity, those lyrics will make sense almost immediately. The criminally short-lived series would probably find a kindred spirit in HeroCraft’s new caper Plancon: Space Conflict. In this one, space exploration is the name of the game, ut with an added twist: invading aliens.The action starts with an in-game tutorial; it is a bit of a slow going, almost ploddingly so, but, as gameplay further on underscored, it is important to understand the basics. The player takes on the persona of an adventurer in a future world where extended space travel is possible and commonplace. The game leads one through the basics of interplanetary travel, which is effected by tapping and double-tapping. There is also the collection of valuable materials, and simple combat. One is also introduced to the commerce system, which is probably the most intricate aspect of the game.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus Apple Watch reviews of Yellow Pages, Wear Reader, and TripAdvisor.

This Week at 148Apps: May 18-22, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 24th, 2015

May Days at 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


Earthcore: Shattered Elements

Presentation is often a very important element for a video game, even if it’s a game based around cards like Earthcore: Shattered Elements is. The problem is that there’s also such a thing as too much presentation - and this is a fairly prevalent issue in Earthcore’s early moments.Push through it and you’ll find an enjoyable and accessible card battler.--Rob Rich


Horizon 3

Need to organize your life? I know the feeling. Fortunately, Horizon 3 is a stylish way to do precisely that. It’s not perfect as it has a few bugs, but it’s still a pretty convenient way of organizing your calendar.Immediately offering up a page full of your week’s events, Horizon 3 is quick to get going. At a glance, you can easily see what’s ahead of you. Besides offering timings on that screen, you can also see location details and even what weather you should expect during that time. Simply tap on an item and you can quickly edit its details, with a swipe to the left enabling you to add a new appointment. --Jennifer Allen


KANO

I’m not sure why anyone would willingly start bouncing around on top of an active volcano, but that’s exactly what’s happening in KANO. Despite the obvious safety concerns, however, it’s actually a very entertaining (and quite good-looking) little time waster. You control a rotatable platform made up of four differently colored zones (Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow), and all you have to do is keep the multicolored tiki-looking heads in the air for as long as possible. The rub is that with each bounce, the head’s color will change - so you then need to spin the platform with a swipe in order to line up the corresponding color. --Rob Rich


Tofu Hunter

Tofu Hunter is a fun time waster of a game. A parody of all those hunting games that are already out there, your sole purpose here is to shoot tofu. Because tofu is alive and dangerous, right?You do this by partaking in various missions and gradually unlocking new weapons and upgrades. It’s all very typical of the genre, but with soy-based creatures. You use one finger to move around the screen, while in the bottom right hand corner you can hit the shoot button. You can zoom in to, for those shots that need some extra accuracy behind them.--Jennifer Allen


Languinis: Match and Spell

Combining match-3 with word creation is a smart move for Languinis. It means it’s an entertainingly different casual puzzle game that’s likely to hold your attention.Divided up into various levels as is the way with such games, you’re given multiple objectives each time. These often relate to both sides of the game. While you’re matching colored gems, you also have to create words from the letter tiles that appear afterwards. The key is to keep on top of both. You can’t succeed by solely focusing on one side of things.--Jennifer Allen


Knights of Pen & Paper 2

While the comedic moments are still a little hit and miss, Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is easily a refined and superior version compared to its predecessor. In many ways, it’s the perfect mobile game, easily allowing you to achieve something in a short space of time, without being impeded by your location or your free time.As before, it’s an RPG akin to Dungeons & Dragons with you listening to the games master and taking decisions from a variety of choices. You start out with two characters, picking out a race and class for them, before pursuing the adventurer’s life. With enough gold, you can unlock more characters to fight by your side.-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:


AndroidRundown


Neposmart Camera

The confluence of mobility and connected devices is alive and well, and home security is a big portion of this. Another minor problem are all those spare smartphones.Neposmart a looks to zap these concerns with one solution: a connected camera that can be controlled and monitored from a smartphone.The review package we received was a bit fuller than expected: the camera, ethernet cable, power adapter, mounting materials, documentation, bell wire and magnetic switch (the last two for intelligent garage setup).--Tre Lawrence


Logitech Keys-To-Go Bluetooth Keyboard

I feel pretty proficient on virtual keyboards, but every now and then, one needs a good portable keyboard to do the heavy lifting.
Enter Logitech. Enter Keys-To-Go Ultra-Portable Bluetooth Keyboard.The review package Logitech sent us, which reflects the retail presentation, contains the keyboard, a hard grey plastic device stand, USB charging cable and documentation. The unit is light, almost shockingly so; the advertised size and weight definitely come across as a benefit when the keyboard is handled. The review unit came in bright blue, with whitish keys lettering and a tight, rubberized FabricSkin finish. The micro-USB charging port and a discrete power toggle are nestled on the side, and altogether, the piece feels quite durable. Officially, it comes in at 9.5 x 5.4 x 0.2 inches and 6.4 ounces.--Tre Lawrence


WorldPenScan X

WorldPenScan X is an interesting Kickstarted gadget that brings document scanning/OCR functionality and translation to folks on the go.In hand, it’s not nearly as thin as (or much longer than) a regular ballpoint pen at 4.52 x 1.29 x 0.88 inches and under 2 ounces; it looks more like a mid-sized temporal thermometer. It’s mostly white, with a hard plastic finishing. The business end (which is initially hidden by a greyish cap) has the image capture hardware assembly, and tapers a bit.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus Apple Watch reviews of CityMapper, Yelp, and Evernote.

This Week at 148Apps: May 4-8, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 11th, 2015

A-MAY-ZING Reviews at 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.

This Week at 148Apps: April 27-May 1, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 5th, 2015

May Merriment at 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


Spy_Watch

Don’t you hate it when you’re off doing your own thing, minding your own business, then you get a message out of the blue from someone claiming to have known your father and that he used to run a spy agency? And don’t you hate it when you suddenly have to take over this randomly inherited spy agency? Stupid random obligations.That’s the general idea behind Spy_Watch. An agency your father used to run has been torn apart from the inside, and the only person left is a lone analyst with aspirations of becoming a field agent. You’ll have to train them in the arts of stealth, combat, and charm, while also sending them on missions to earn more money for more training. All in the name of completing missions that help you figure out who destroyed the agency and why.--Rob Rich


Disconnect

Have you ever wondered how much information is transmitted when you go to a new website? Wanted to know exactly what’s being tracked and where the unsecured connections are? If you can answer yes to any of that, then Disconnect might just be your kind of thing. It goes even further if you’re willing to pay a subscription fee, too. The free version of Disconnect offers you a way in which to search for various things or go on specific websites, without being tracked. Starting out, you can simply type in a search and find a website that way, or you can opt to go directly to the site. In both cases, everything is done anonymously with your searches hidden away. Once you go onto a site, you can tap on a seeing eye icon and more details are offered. --Jennifer Allen


My Little Pony-Cutie Mark Chronicles

Young children are fairly certain to enjoy the colorful and vibrant nature of My Little Pony - Cutie Mark Chronicles. A mixture of storytelling and simple mini-games, the latter might prove to be slightly tricky in places, but it’s all fairly heartwarming stuff.It tells the story of how six ponies, including Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Applejack, came to discover their own unique talents and benefited from a Cutie Mark highlighting what they can do. To you and me, that’s a cute icon on their back such as apples or balloons. Each tale is fairly good at dispensing morals while also reminding kids that everyone has their own talent somewhere. You listen and read through the words with a quick drag taking you to the next page.--Jennifer Allen


Jurassic World: The Game

You’d be forgiven for mistaking Jurassic World: The Game for Jurassic Park Builder at first glance. Both games involve building or re-building a dinosaur theme park, and both are laden with extinct animals. Aside from general similarities though, this isn’t just a re-skinning meant to capitalize on an upcoming film release. I mean of course it’s supposed to capitalize on the film, but… I’ll just stop myself here. Much has been streamlined this time around. You still have to hatch dinosaurs and clear away the overgrown portions of Isla Nublar, but you won’t also have to spend time and resources removing rocks and other debris after you’ve already cleared an area. You also don’t have to worry about juggling two separate types of food for your critters - this time there’s just one food source that covers both herbivores and carnivores (this is a lot more awesome than it sounds). --Rob Rich


Forgotten Memories

Forgotten Memories is a good survival horror game on the wrong format. It’s creepier and more atmospheric than Lost Within, as well as a lot tougher, but it suffers due to its uncomfortable combat and an old-fashioned save system that struggles on mobile. There’s the almost formulaic setting of a woman waking up in a strange place and attempting to piece together what’s going on. While it could feel cliched, you’re too busy being unnerved by mannequins and encountering strange people to think too much about it. Often, Forgotten Memories feels more like an adventure game than regular survival horror, with plenty of exploration and doors to unlock. There are puzzles too, keeping you involved in all its goings on. Lighting is frequently restricted with a flashlight/torch that offers limited battery life and requires you to wait to recharge at certain points. It adds to the atmosphere well, proving quite unsettling at times. In particular, who wants to sneak around amongst a bunch of mannequins? You’ll be consistently nervous and rightly so. --Jennifer Allen


Cube Koala

Cube Koala is one of those puzzle games that's almost too easy to understand, but somehow takes its simple concepts and creates nightmarishly difficult levels around them. Games that have similar design philosophies include Super Meat Boyand Escape from the Pyramid. Make no mistake though,Cube Koalais not just an also-ran in this category of super-difficult games. It's remarkable because of how pure and intense its brand of difficulty and level design is.So, how simple is it to play Cube Koala? Players control the cube-shaped Koala through the use of only two buttons. One of these buttons rotates the game environment 45 degrees clockwise, while the other button does the reverse. As a koala trapped in a tesseract full of traps that include spikes, fireballs, and other deadly traps, players must use the force of gravity to flip the koala and reach the exit door. --Campbell Bird


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


Kingston USB 3.0 High-Speed Media Reader

It’s a tough life. I’ve whined about the first world problem of having to keep up with too many devices. Review units, old retro devices, rooting toys… they add up. When it comes to review units, I’m loathe to use my personal cloud networks with them, so I tend to do data transfer locally via flash storage. It’s easy to, say, take a picture via an SD card and move the SD card to a new device. Yes, there are more efficient ways to do this, but stubborn people think differently.--Tre Lawrence


Newer Technology Power2U AC 20A Outlet

I have a problem.Come to my house, and you can see the manifestation. It isn’t always my fault. Blame the device makers for sending devices to review. Or my need to tinker with retro devices (trying to get my T5 to tether to an M8 is a worthy endeavor); Probably has at least a little bit to do with the fact that full-powered devices give me a high. In any case, when it’s all said and done, one issue inevitably arises.So many devices, so little time. --Tre Lawrence


Crayola Trace & Draw

In a world gone electronically amok, it is refreshing to see accessories aimed at kids… the type of gear that harnesses the power of mobile electronics in relatively atypical ways. Back in the day, we could have jamborees with some charcoal and paper.It feels like the Crayola Trace & Draw is a system that hearkens back to those days, while being firmly planted in the present.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus our hands-on experience with The Knights of Pen & Paper 2nd Edition.

This Week at 148Apps: April 20-24, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 27th, 2015

The Apps of April

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.

This Week at 148Apps: April 13-17, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 21st, 2015

The Apps of April

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.

This Week at 148Apps: April 6-10, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 14th, 2015

The Apps of April

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.

Tiltagon

Tiltagon is an endless survival/tilting game that’s not really anything new, but it looks pretty and it’s fun. We can’t forget about the fun.All you have to do is tilt to steer your ball across a hexagonal tile and grab the floating cube. Then a new hex will appear and you have to make your way over to grab that cube - all before the hex you’re on disappears and without falling off the edge. There’s also a Hard+ mode that tasks you with not touching any of the obstacles (normally they just push you around), just in case the initial challenge isn’t challenging enough. --Rob Rich

DomiNations

As is usual these days, you’re working towards establishing a significant base, chipping away at your enemies, and becoming the greatest leader out there. DomiNations deviates from the typical path, most significantly by requiring you to work your way through the various ages of human history, i.e. from the Stone Age to the Space Age. That means that early on, things are a little basic, but once you reach the Iron Age, you can pick a specific nationality. That leads to unique technologies based upon what you pick, thereby making a big difference.It makes a significant difference in giving you that sense of progression, and DomiNations is kind of full of those - small refinements that can dramatically change how you feel about the game. For instance, you can send out troops to battle but still priotize what they pursue, making battles more strategic than most. Also, the only troops you lose are the ones that are defeated, rather than all of them. It immediately makes you feel better about spending all that time training up troops, knowing you're not doomed to lose them immediately. Even building road networks within your town can help you in some way, as well as look cooler.--Jennifer Allen

Marvel Mighty Heroes

You play through various brief levels alongside three other players. Each of you can choose to switch between characters but rather unusually, you can all play the same character. That’s a problem as four Hulks in battle look silly and highlight just how easy this game really is. While each character offers different skills and abilities, you rarely need to mix things up in order to get anywhere.Also, inexplicably, you have to start at the beginning of each scenario meaning you often replay the same sections over and over again. There’s an energy system too, meaning you can use up a lot of energy simply replaying sections rather than getting anywhere new. Of course, you can always buy more energy. You can buy new characters too, although expect these to be visual changes rather than anything substantial. --Jennifer Allen

Toca Kitchen 2

Learning where your food comes from and how to prepare it properly is an important part of education for children. Generally, knowledge means healthier eating practices. Toca Kitchen 2 is a little lighter than that, focusing on messing around with food more so than following a recipe, but it provides some sensible foundations It’s a very open ended educational game. You can do what you like, for the most part. On one side of the screen are the ingredients, including things such as spaghetti, carrots, potatoes, various kinds of meat, and watermelons. You can serve up food by dragging it onto your character’s plate, feeding it to them raw, but the fun comes through cooking it. --Jennifer Allen

The Trace

Taking its cue from various sources, The Trace isn’t the greatest murder mystery based adventure game but it’s still a pretty fun experience. You play detective as you attempt to figure out who committed a murder and why, by piecing together various clues to come to a sound conclusion. Its closest comparison comes from titles such as the Sherlock Holmes series of games on PC and consoles. You explore various scenes, much like in a Hidden Object game, picking up clues then figuring out how they combine to solve a pertinent issue. Alongside that are various simple puzzles, such as repairing a pair of glasses through a fairly easy jigsaw puzzle. Taking a cue from The Room, you can rotate items and interact with them in a tactile manner, such as by pulling down on a door handle to open it. --Jennifer Allen

Rock On

Do you like SongPop but hate having to wait for your opponent to take their turn? Then Rock On - A SongPop Adventure is just right for you. It’s the single player equivalent, essentially, and it has that ‘just one more go’ thing down to a tee - at least until you run out of lives.Working your way through the game level by level, the idea behind Rock On is simple - guess the song and guess it quickly. Early levels are a simple matter of guessing 5 out of 10 songs correctly. As you progress though, there’s a need to guess 6 songs in a row correctly, or to guess quickly for the sake of points and a steadily decreasing timer bar. The concept remains the same though, as it’s all testing your musical knowledge. Sometimes you need to know the artist, other times the song.--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:


AndroidRundown

Quicklock Padlock

We all love the connected home? What about a connected lock to start it all off?How about the Quicklock Padlock?The review package contained USB-cable, documentation, and NFC card and the lock itself; there’s no missing the lock, in that it looks like, well, a lock. The review unit is mostly blue and grey, with the metal shackle being the latter. The body is in the shape of a small cylinder, with a recessed charging port on the backside, and a bluetooth button/LED on the front.--Tre Lawrence

Kenu Airframe+

My mobile mantra is “simplicity is best.” Essentially, to be as productive as possible, I look to find solutions that are simple and effective. There are plenty of tools that are overly involved, or simply too much solution for a gentle problem. There are also complex solutions that go way beyond a simple use scenario. Technologically speaking, there can be too much of good thing.As I have gotten older, I have started looking for the easy accessories… stuff that enhances the use of my mobile devices, is just as portable and — this one is a biggie — handily affordable.--Tre Lawrence

WorldCard Mobile Phone Kit

Another day, another business card. A hassle? I can be, but a college professor told me that getting business cards is a good thing. As such, PenPower’s WorldCard Mobile Phone Kit, which purports to give users the opportunity to digitize business cards, has to be great.Right?I’d seen pictures of the piece prior to receiving the review package that PenPower sent us, but I still admit to being surprised upon physically handling it. It comes in a nice, polished metal finish; it looks like a device dock with an extended piece behind it. Said piece folds out into a smaller dock of sorts for business cards. It feels nicely machined, with deliberate stylings and gentle curves, such that there are no real sharp edges. it is mostly grey with black and light gold accents, and the moving pars are smooth in action. The whole unit manages to be stately without being overly pretentious.--Tre Lawrence

This Week at 148Apps: March 30-April 3, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 6th, 2015

The Apps of April

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.


Vietnam...'65

Vietnam…’65 isn’t like a lot of other strategy games out there. It’s more like a board game if anything, with its turn-based movement being much more than just a way of slowing down combat. Channeling its PC roots, it’s a pretty lengthy game to play on the iPad, which could be a deciding factor on whether it suits your needs or not. There’s no campaign mode to speak of which is a significant misfire. Instead, you dive into a randomly designed level each time, working towards unlocks and new ranks, rather than seeing a story unfold. Levels start to look quite similar after a time, with each stage easily taking over an hour to complete. Vietnam…’65 isn’t for those wanting a quick fix. --Jennifer Allen


Tiny Dangerous Dungeons

Gamers who grew up in the late 80s and early 90s will confidently state that their first taste of portable gaming came from the Nintendo Game Boy. It was a great system at the time and some of its games have remained highly entertaining. If you’re as nostalgic for the time as I am, the style of Tiny Dangerous Dungeons is really going to tickle you. It looks just like a title from that era, and it plays pretty well, too. It’s a Metroidvania inspired adventure at heart. You play an adventurer as he explores a dungeon, discovering new abilities, and backtracking quite a bit, all in a bid to reach the exit. Relatively early on, you’ll come across a map that highlights everywhere you can go. It seems a little restrictive and small but like any classic Metroid-eque title, there’s a lot of backtracking. --Jennifer Allen


UAG Folio Case

At first glance, it looks a tough, complex cookie. Upon closer inspection, it's clear that at least one of those adjectives holds true. In hand, the empty UAG Folio Case looks like it means serious business. It opens up as a folio usually does - much like a book cover - but it also has an extra trick up its sleeve in that the front cover doubles-up and wraps around in such way that that the back cover can be flipped up and out. It creates a pseudo-three-layered setup, which is perfect for the secondary purpose: creaing a back support so that the tablet can be used upright in landscape. The composite material that most of the case is covered in looks a bit like kevlar, with tough stitching melding pieces together. The inner lining of the front cover comes in soft black felt - perfect for the screen it will be in contact with - and the front cover also incorporates a strap. Altogether, it exudes a sense of being heavy duty but is still quite light. --Tre Lawrence


DuckTales Remastered

I’m not going to lie, I flipped out a little when I first saw that teaser for DuckTales Remastered back in 2013. The NES version of DuckTales has been close to the top of my nostalgia list for many, many years - right up there with Mega Man 2 and Elevator Action to name a couple - so seeing it get a high definition remaster was pretty amazing.But that was about two years ago. By now the shock of the new has worn off, and we’re left with trying to figure out whether or not DuckTales Remastered is a worthwhile iOS port. It kind of is, but it’s got a little bit of a control issue. --Rob Rich


Layout

If you’ve never used a collage making app before, then Layout will probably seem pretty useful to you. Unfortunately, anyone with a passing interest in collage creation probably already has a superior photo editing tool on hand. While Layout is easy to use, it’s also pretty basic.The simplicity involved in using Layout is pretty great. A matter of choosing up to 9 photos before picking out one of many layouts that might look good for your chosen images, there’s not really much more you need to do. In terms of speediness, Layout is unmatched. You can choose to move photos around by simply holding and dragging, or pinching to zoom in and out. There are also options to mirror an image, replace one, or flip them around.--Jennifer Allen


SMART Adventures Mission Math 1

It’s a depressing fact that girls are all too often put off studying science and mathematical based subjects because, well, there’s a whole wealth of debate as to why. Regardless of why you might feel that’s the case, SMART Adventures Mission Math 1 is an excellent game to entice your young children, daughters in particular, into enjoying such subjects again. Working much like a conventional adventure game, you have to figure out why your home, a space station, has been sabotaged as well as fix its various problems. This is done through completing a series of mathematical based problems, as well as exploring the space station to find out more. It’s simply done but with such a story based focus, it’s immediately more interesting than merely going from puzzle to puzzle. --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:


AndroidRundown


Nova Blox External Battery

The Juno Power Nova Blox External Battery is a mobile option that looks to give extended life to our mobile devices.It’s a relatively small piece, mostly silver with deliberate black accents. It has a button on the side, with a micro-USB charging port and what looks to be a prominent LED light on one end, and on the opposite end, there is a USB outlet port. Officially, it comes in at 2.87 x 2.01 x 0.83 inches, and weighs 4.65 ounces. Overall, it is barely bigger than a box of tic tacs, which makes it quite portable and even fairly pocketable. The retail package also provides a micro-USB cable (which can be used to charge the unit and also as an output cable) as well as documentation. We got the silver, and there are other trim options.--Tre Lawrence


INSTEON Home Remote Control

We’ve said it so much that it has to be true: The Connected Home isn’t the future. It is definitely the present, and the smartphone is the new control panel. INSTEON is front and center in this area, and we were eager to check out its customizable solutions.The Starter Kit INSTEON sent us to review contains some of the elements that connect one’s home; the retail packaging contains the INSTEON Hub and two on/off modules. The former serves as the brain of the system, while the latter serve as elements that help effect control.--Tre Lawrence


Nyrius Songo HiFi Wireless Music Receiver

Understanding what the Nyrius purports to do is the key to understanding the proposed functionality; it works as a wireless receiver that collects signals from a Bluetooth source — like an Android device — and allows the audio to be played on a sound system that accepts wired signal from the puck itself. In essence, it bridges a Bluetooth source to an output unit (like a stereo or sound system without a Bluetooth chip) so that, say, music can be played. This is especially useful when one wants to continue using traditional devices, or even for folks like me, who prefer wired connections but like or need to go wireless for one reason or another.--Tre Lawrence