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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 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!

appFigures' New App is All About Helping Developers Track Store Performance

Posted by Rob Rich on June 4th, 2015
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

The App Store is something of a mystery when it comes to figuring out a recipe for success. In technical terms it's all over the dang place. The new appFigures app isn't going to fix this problem, but it does aim to make discovering patterns and tracking all kinds of pertinant info easier.

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 11-15, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 18th, 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.


Heroes and Castles 2

The original Heroes and Castles’ interesting take on castle defense appealed to me greatly back in 2013. And not just because of my general enjoyment of just about everything Foursaken Media creates, either. Jump to the present and now we have Heroes and Castles 2 at our disposal. The basic idea is pretty much the same as the first: a horde of monsters is attacking your castle, and you need to defend it. You'll be in the thick of the fight while using the hero of your choice, but you can also use points generated by banner carriers and good old fashioned monster slaying to summon several different soldier types to aid you. Also archers. Having archers on the walls is incredibly important. --Rob Rich


Multicross

Multicross is a vaguely familiar-ish looking puzzle game from Alexey Pajitnov, the mind behind Tetris. But don’t let the tetrominos fool you - while we’ve seen many of these shapes before, this is a very different kind of game. You’re presented a 7X7 grid, with three shapes to place along the bottom of the screen. Once you drag and drop a shape into place, another one will appear in the line. Creating finished rows or columns will clear out those respective lines and earn you points, and if you ever run out of possible moves it’s Game Over. However, if you can manage to complete both a row and a column at the same time you’ll clear the board and earn even more points. --Rob Rich


THRED

THRED is an interesting take on a familiar social networking concept. More visual than most, it’s all about creating "Threds" - a kind of comic book/scrap book mixture of things, enabling you to showcase anything from a recent cooking project to a stunning holiday. It’s got potential.Creating a Thred starts with one of three options. You can choose to find a photo online, import one from your camera roll, or start from a particular location. The latter option tries to give you a relevant starting point depending on the area. You can browse images depending on the day you snapped them too, which is particularly handy when you’re trying to co-ordinate holiday photos.--Jennifer Allen


Mr. Bank

Mr Bank is a simple game, and that’s mostly what makes it a success. It takes seconds to learn but has the potential to keep you itching for just one more go as you work towards beating your previous high score.Each session involves a screen full of numbered tiles. Depending on the difficulty level you’ve chosen, you have to combine those tiles to form at least 20, 30, or 40, before tapping on the created tile to ‘bank’ it. The key here is to create as low a number as possible while still going over the threshold. While the high numbers create the most points, they can also use up tiles that could have been useful elsewhere. Playing the long game is imperative. --Jennifer Allen


Wand

There’s no shortage of apps that want to help you organize your camera roll, and each work to varying levels of success. I think Wand™ might be my new favorite, though. It’s incredibly easy to use and makes short work of even particularly hefty collections.Working on a spectacularly simple basis, Wand™ loads up to offer up a selection of predefined album ideas, such as family, friends, and selfies, along with the option for you to add your own. The latest picture to not be given an album placement is immediately on screen. If you pause for a moment to look at it, Wand™ automatically switches to a view of just that photo, providing an ideal previewing place. In terms of movement, all you do then is tap on the album you want it to go to, and off it goes. It’s as simple as that. --Jennifer Allen


Wings Remastered

Set during World War I, you’re a combat pilot undertaking a series of dangerous missions. You’re rarely alone in battle, but your comrades can be shot down, and you will feel a tinge of guilt when the game tells you their name. In which case, you’d better get the hang of those controls fast.There’s a choice of tilt or touch based, but I’d immediately recommend the touch controls. When flying from a first person perspective, things are tricky enough without considering calibration. At first, it’ll seem awkward but those sequences are quite fun. The scenery is incredibly forgettable and basic, but chasing down planes and, every once in a while, performing a loop the loop is pretty fun. Firing is a matter of hitting the correct button but don’t overdo it. This is a World War I plane, meaning the guns jam quite easily. -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


Motorola E (2nd Gen) 4G LTE

For the longest time, Motorola has been synonymous with Android; it’s been a part of the Android takeover, and some of the best smartphone hardware has born its imprint. With the Moto E2, the device maker looks to show it can have a budget hit. Again.The review unit Moto sent us contained the black handset (a white alternative is also available, two bands (more on that later), power cord and documentation. The phone goes against the grain somewhat, particularly with regards to size; still, it would be rude to call it diminutive at 5.11 x 2.63 x 0.48 inches and weighing in at 5.1 ounces. It is quite comfortable in hand, and feels well constructed, so much so that at first glance, one will definitely be forgiven foe not noticing the interesting band that goes around the side. This flexible band houses hardware buttons and protects SIM and SD card slots, but are also swappable, and allows a degree of aesthetic customization.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus our top 9 apps for the summer blockbuster season.

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.

Here's How You Can Tell if an App Works on the Apple Watch

Posted by Rob Rich on April 24th, 2015

The Apple Watch is pretty much here, and that means a whole lot of compatible apps and games are going to be updated or released onto the App Store. That's okay though, beacause Apple has quietly updated their app description pages to make things easier for all of us.

More Than 1,000 Apple Watch Apps Have Already Been Submitted to the App Store, Apparently

Posted by Rob Rich on April 7th, 2015

Yesterday 9to5Mac got their hands on an employee memo from Apple CEO Tim Cook, which mentioned that the new wearable has already had over one thousand apps submitted for it - in only four days. You can check out the original story, along with a full copy of the memo, right here.

"More than one thousand apps were submitted in just four days last week when the App Store started accepting them," Cook said, "and the rate of submissions has only been climbing since then."

That's kind of ridiculous when you stop and think about it. I mean, the App Store has only been accepting Apple Watch app submissions since last week. Of course this doesn't mean that over 1,000 apps are going to be accepted right away - Apple does have an approval process to go through and it could result in many of these submissions getting bounced back - but you can be sure the Apple Watch will still have a fairly robust selection of software at launch.

Seriously though, those are some incredible numbers. Bravo iOS developers. Give yourselves a hand.

This Week at 148Apps: February 23-27, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 2nd, 2015

Final February Fun 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.

Alto's Adventure

‘Just one more go’ is a pretty good thing to think while playing a game, even if it’s hardly conducive to your productivity. That’s been the case for me with Alto’s Adventure, as I find myself having ‘just one more go’ to double check something before writing this. It’s an endless runner (something that shouldn’t hook anyone so easily these days), but it’s also a fine example of the genre. We’re talking borderline Tiny Wings levels of fun here. It helps a lot that Alto’s Adventure is gorgeous to look at. It’s relatively simple looking at first glance but that hides some beautiful little touches. Most notable of all is how things change depending on if it’s day or night in the game. It’s thoroughly delightful, with the only real issue being that rocks can be hard to see when it’s dark. --Jennifer Allen


Do Camera

How often do you take a photo then immediately want to send it elsewhere or do something else with it? Probably pretty often, right? Courtesy of the power behind IFTTT, Do Camera can do all that for you, saving you some valuable time. It won’t cover every eventuality but it’s still going to be pretty useful most of the time. As with other IFTTT products, Do Camera is centered around the concept of using recipes to set things up. You hit the Add Recipe button, then make some choices as to what you do next. In each case this means that the central button on the camera side of Do Camera relates to that recipe. All you do is hit the camera button and Do Camera takes the photo while also performing whatever act you’ve set it up to commit. --Jennifer Allen


Swap Heroes 2

Swap Heroes 2 is a prime example of a game giving players exactly what they want. As an iteration on the fun-but-flawed Swap Heroes, this sequel delivers all of the strategic elements from the original while removing some of the more random elements and adding a good mix of heroes. For those familiar with the first title, Swap Heroes 2 should be very familiar. Players take control of a set of four heroes and control them purely through swapping their positions in their T shaped formation. Each character has their own set of stats and can unleash special attacks only after being swapped from the back of the formation to the front. Despite being a pretty simple formula, it maintains a sense of depth by providing a wide variety of enemies, character upgrades, and multiple viable strategies for success. --Campbell Bird


Planet Quest

Playing Planet Quest couldn’t be simpler. Players are in charge of a UFO’s zapper that’s supposed to zap costumed creatures as they zip along a planet’s surface to the beat of a song. Although it may sound unintuitive, the rotation of the planet is analogous to the note highway of games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, and the notes are just giraffes, bunnies, flowers, and other weird creatures. At first players are walked through the basics, which are essentially ‘tap to the rhythm to zap the creatures’, but along the way more nuance is added. For example, some levels obscure the game view to add difficulty. Also, things like the flower need to be avoided as they take points off of a player’s high score. The game ends when players lose three hearts by missing too many creatures, but it’s forgiving enough that they can miss a note or two while still being able to earn hearts back. --Campbell Bird


Capsule

If you’re like me, you often find yourself thinking how you really need to text someone but it’s 2am and you don’t think they’d appreciate a message right now. All too often I then entirely forget by the next morning, and so the pattern repeats itself for far too long. Sure I could send myself an email as a reminder or add something to my To-Do list, but wouldn’t it be great if I could schedule a text instead? That’s the thinking behind Capsule – a flawed but useful way of texting in the future. You set Capsule up by inputting your phone number and then receiving an authorization code. It doesn’t take too long to do and is possible anywhere throughout the world. After that, using Capsule is simply a matter of tapping Create and you can get texting. You type your message as usual, choose whether you want to add a photo or video, pick out your contact, and then schedule a time and date. It’s as simple as that. --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

Runes of Camelot

Camelot (of course) is our location and, of course, there ain’t no Camelot without Arthur. Amelia and Merlin are out to help the noble monarch save Camelot by thwarting the evil Morgana’s plans, and they do this with runes or special potions. To begin the game, one gets to choose a character, and each is said to have a unique storyline. At its core, Runes of Camelot is a match-3 puzzle game. As such, the idea is to get a line of three or runes of the same color, horizontally or vertically. Getting three straight (via gesture swipe) dissolves the matched set, and they are replaced by pieces that fall from the top. The pieces are randomized, but any triples created from swaps also dissolve and are replaced. When a set of four pieces are formed, a diamond-looking rune with special powers is formed. These runes can be manipulated to create column shattering reactions that help finish levels. Regular matches yield special powers that are diverse and helpful in time crunches. --Tre Lawrence


Buzz Killem

Action platformers almost always resonate; they are simple to learn, easy to enjoy and can be tweaked with several gameplay elements. With Buzz Killem (from industry strongman Noodlecake), we get some glorious graphics, easy-to-learn controls, arcade goodness and a lot of action. Buzz Killem is a story of, well, going buck wild. It’s Rambo meets Independence Day. Buzz (action star’s Bill Killem’s dad) is a war vet who is brought back to confront an alien threat. Now, the kicker is tha Buzz has no compunction with regards to blasting away, and in the 2D environment that the game is set, all advantages are to be treasured. --Tre Lawrence


Livescribe Sky Wifi Smartpen

When I look at adding accessories to my workflow, I try to keep to a few important precepts: portability, functionality and compatibility. Portability is obvious; the ability to use stuff on the go is quite important. With regards to functionality, before adding an addition or substitution to my creative/work process, I’d rather know that it is worth the time to make a change. Lastly, the ability to use a tool with other tools and across platforms is priceless. On paper, Livescribe’s Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen seems to touch on these elements quite comfortably. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, super fast racers, super slow runners, and GEOFF tears the Nvidia Shield a new one - that's the week according to AppSpy.

This Week at 148Apps: February 16-20, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 23rd, 2015

February Fun 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.

World Zombination

World Zombination tackles the threat of zombie invasion in a different way than most. For one thing, you can choose to play the role of the zombies or the humans. While the former allows you to unleash hundreds of zombies at once, the later is a bit more tower defense in nature with you opting to carefully place units around a city in order to take out the waves of enemies up ahead. In both cases you gradually gain new units, as well as train them and level them up, watching as they improve their skill set. It’s a lot of fun. There are plenty of single player missions to tackle, as well as PvP. It’s kind of like how various base building games tackle things, but it doesn’t feel as staid as that. Outside of each level you can spend time training your units, as well as accumulating resources for more profit. You can even take a step back and send your troops out on their own without your assistance, although this affects your stamina levels quite significantly. --Jennifer Allen


Puny Stupid Humans

When aliens land on prehistoric Earth, naturally they are scared and confused. But, like the evil invaders they ultimately are, soon they begin terraforming their crash site into a futuristic headquarters and conscripting the vicious local wildlife to their cause. If that sounds suspiciously familiar then congratulations because you’ve successfully deduced that this is yet another game about building a base, improving its defenses against lesser hordes, managing freemium currency, and raising an army to take on real-time strategy missions and other players online. How novel. But as its title foreshadows, Puny Stupid Humans milks enough cleverness out of its stranded aliens premise to give it at least some personality. There is legitimately humorous banter between the dopey overlords as well as some fun fourth wall-breaking moments involving their mind control device. The mechanism is actually a living creature aware of the player’s presence and finds it deliciously ironic that there’s another force controlling the ones who think they are in control. --Jordan Minor


Clear for Action

While it’s fair to say that pirates were ultimately all about making money, their lives were filled with things other than loot. Most pirate-themed media, games, movies, or whatever else captures these more exciting aspects of the job. But Clear for Action steers clear of such unprofitable diversions. After losing their impressive ship due to some family disagreements, players have to build their fleet back up from a single, measly skiff. So they’ll need to purchase new ports and sail between different islands while stealing goods and selling them elsewhere. As players earn money and experience, they can upgrade their ship and recruit new crewmen. They can also buy additional ships to carry out multiple transactions at once. The map starts out small, but players unlock new locations as their nautical forces improve. --Jordan Minor


Swipes

Swipes is a productivity app designed to help users organize their task lists and get things done. Although the idea of a task app is certainly not new, Swipes has some awesome integrations with Evernote that may make it worth picking up. Most users familiar with any third party task apps like Clear and Wunderlist will feel right at home with Swipes. Its interface shows users the tasks for that day in a simple, minimal-looking list that can be manipulated by tapping or swiping on items to mark them as complete, edit, or ‘snooze’ them for later. The core idea is to present a user’s tasks effectively and beautifully while also being careful to just keep the focus on the most time-sensitive tasks. --Campbell Bird


Foldpass

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry with many different iterations and nuances, but the format the West is most familiar with is a three-line verse with a five – seven – five syllable count. I’ve always been a writer, but I suck at writing poetry. Whenever I was instructed to put together a poem, I’d go the “easy” route by banging out a haiku. Sometimes the teacher was impressed. Often they weren’t. See, writing haiku is not actually easy. You have to express yourself and paint a visual with a very limited sentence structure. Once you harness the joy of minimalistic creation, you can put together some neat stuff. --Nadia Oxford


Clementine Wants To Know: Where Do Babies Come From?

Clementine Wants To Know: Where Do babies Come From is a warm and charming app for children about where babies come from that focuses on the social side of sexual education as well as including factual material about a baby’s evolution from an embryo to a fetus, including a live birth. Unlike 9 Months!, which I reviewed previously, Clementine Wants To Know takes a decidedly child-centric tone as it tackles this subject from the point-of-view of Clementine: a six year old who has just found out that she is going to be a big sister. From here, the age-old question of “where do babies come from?” is approached in a way that really makes me smile. --Amy Solomon


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown

D-Link Pan & Tilt Wifi Camera

When it comes to a secure home, why no pull out all the stops? Connected cameras are a big part of home safety options, and devices made by D-Link — a company that can actually afford to name drop — are especially interesting. As such, we were eager to check out the D-Link Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera. The review unit D-Link sent us came in retail packaging; in the box, one gets the camera itself, a mounting bracket, ethernet cable, power cable, mounting paraphernalia and documentation. The camera itself is mostly white with black accents. Standing right-side up, it looks like a short lighthouse with a matching white antenna out the back. Dimensions-wise, it is 5.26 x 4.03 x 3.99 inches, and weighs 0.64 lbs. --Tre Lawrence


Blood Brothers 2

We all know that most ‘free’ games are built around hooks. Hooks that get you to come back to the game once a day. Hooks that make you want to spend a little bit of money here, a little bit of money there. Hooks that make you want to know when the next update is coming. Blood Brothers 2 knows exactly what it’s doing when it sets up all of these hooks right off the bat. To start with, Blood Brothers 2 is essentially a strategic card game where you can play through an extensive story mode or play online against human opponents. --Matt Parker


Feed The Cat

When cats aren’t busy playing the keyboard, flying on rainbows across the sky and generally being cute for the Internet, they have to eat. At least that’s what the game Feed the Cat suggests. Feed the Cat turns the concept of feeding the cuddly creatures into a puzzling affair in its most literal sense — players must solve puzzles by swiping food across levels and into hungry cats’ mouths. The concept is simple and adorable, but the execution fails as the game’s levels are about as challenging as actually feeding a cat in real life. --Ryan Bloom

And guns are being censored on the App Store and GEOFF knows why, plus Swap Heroes 2 and a cool new skateboarding game - that's the week according to AppSpy.

Finally, this week Pocket Gamer told you how to make a Minecraft server, reviewed the excellent AG Drive and Alto's Adventure, showed the first footage of Sonic Runners, and went hands-on with games like DomiNations! and Magic Touch. It's all right here.

Latest episode of What the GEOFF!? explores Apple's decision to censor guns on the App Store

Posted by Peter Willington on February 19th, 2015

Three episodes in and AppSpy's James has decided to give GEOFF - the Gaming Entertainment Online Fact Finder - a serious test: why are guns being censored on the App Store?

And is looking at a pretend gun that bad?

And why are games being treated differently to other mediums?

AND ISN'T THIS AMERICA?

This Week at 148Apps: February 9-13, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 17th, 2015

Warm Your Winter With New Apps!


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

Nobody Said It Was Easy

Nobody Said It Was Easy makes no attempts to mask its difficulty from players. The title tells them exactly what to expect. However, what they might not expect is just how creative the fiendish tricks actually are. Right from the start Nobody Said It Was Easy makes all the right choices that separate fair challenging games from purely frustrating ones. Running and jumping feel super precise, even with the added hindrance of virtual buttons. Players have more control over their character’s momentum on the ground and in the air than most games, or real-life, would ever provide, and instant respawns put players right back in the action after the constant, inevitable deaths. Even if the game consisted solely of the merciless enemies and rapid obstacles of most “masocore” games, it would still work because of how well it nails the overall feel that makes those games even remotely playable. --Jordan Minor


The Hardest Flight

Requiring reasonably speedy reactions, The Hardest Flight doesn’t quite live up to its name (there are harder games out there, by a long shot). But that doesn’t stop it being a diverting way of spending five minutes. You have to control a ship as it attempts to negotiate various colored barriers. Controls are very simple: you tilt the iOS device to move the ship around and hold a finger to the left turning the ship blue, while holding a finger to the right turns it to pink. Don’t touch anything and your ship remains purple, the default color. The key here is to keep moving your ship around, while also changing color at the right moment in order to pass through barriers. --Jennifer Allen


Yet It Moves

Previously a PC and WiiWare indie hit (albeit with an extra ‘And’ at the start of its name), Yet It Moves has made the natural move to iOS. Issues with its brevity seem less like a big deal in a mobile format, although its controls are occasionally an irritant. Fundamentally, Yet It Moves is a side-scrolling platformer that has you helping a sketch figure to make his way back to the piece of paper he’s been cut from. No, I’m not sure why either, but it forms the basis of a fun concept. You can move left or right by holding a finger to either side of the screen, but everything else comes down to rotating the world. This is done through a hold and drag motion which, unfortunately, often interferes with movement. --Jennifer Allen


Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect

It hasn’t been long since massive hit Sons of Anarchy officially ended its run on TV. The story of the outlaw motorcycle gang was the perfect amalgamation of family, betrayal, violence, and drama. The TV show might have reached its zenith, but the franchise does get a breath of fresh air in Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect. This saga is based on SAMLIN, a chapter out of Oregon, and the opening sequence gives a bit of insight into the game. The portion reviewed covers the first chapter; it’s a rambling affair – a first-person perspective that starts off on a bike, tosses in brooding dialogue, and also sneaks in some gameplay tips. From there we meet our main protagonist, and learn a bit about the pressures that cause him to go down the dangerous road he goes down. --Tre Lawrence


Gang Nations

It’s easy to dismiss a game as a Clash of Clans clone because there really are a ton of them out there. Gang Nations certainly owes a lot to that format, but it offers a few subtle differences to ensure that it feels more worthy of playing than most. Even if it does feel somewhat racist in terms of its stereotyping, at times. Your mission is to build a significant urban city and keep it safe from attack. It looks kind of slum-like, which is apparently (I guess?) why your defensive forces are comprised of hoodlums, thieves, convicts, and more. The usual format applies here: you use a mixture of cash and juice to buy stuff and upgrade places, and storage areas need to be upgraded as frequently as everything else so that you have any chance of progressing. --Jennifer Allen


9 Months!

Nine Months! is a thoughtfully produced documentary app about the development of a baby growing inside mom’s belly. It’s broken down into nine chapters that do a great job of explaining, in wonderful detail, the growth from embryo to fetus and culminating in a live birth. The major part of this app is seen as a cross-section of a woman’s belly, with the baby becoming larger and more developed month after month, including details such as the uterus complete with cervix, placenta, and umbilical cord, as well as details of how the baby’s body develops. --Amy Solomon


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown

Garden Fever

Good things come in threes, they say. How many ‘connect three’ games make their way onto the marketplace every month? More than three, I’d imagine, so it’s becoming very difficult to find games in this genre that really stand out. Garden Fever, it has to be said, does everything well, though I can’t think of any one thing that it does differently. Which, when the Google Play Store is so flooded with these titles, is a bit of a killer. You should know the drill. Colored block (in this case they’re fruit) are aligned on a grid and it’s your job to slide adjacent blocks so that there’s at least 3 of the same color in a horizontal or vertical line. If you happen to align 4 or even 5 blocks, you not only clear more blocks but you get left behind with more powerful items that can clear even more blocks. To complete each level, you need to meet certain requirements such as ‘clear 60 red apples’ whilst also dealing with squares that have ‘mud’ or ‘ice’ in them. --Matt Parker


Sentinel: Sci-Fi Space Shooter

Space adventurers, take heed: Sentinel: SciFi Space Shooter is here. The game is a bit more involved than might seem at first glance; there are a host of subtle details that are revealed during the tutorial. The game offers two modes, a quick Arcade version and a more complex Campaign mode. Campaign opens up with the optional tutorial, and it walks the player through the basics of gameplay.The backstory highlights the gameplay: somewhat desperate space pilot, mining and unfriendly enemies. the view is first-person, and there are two main virtual control buttons that cover weapons to the right. The game runs in landscape, and this allows the player to control movement and sights with the left thumb. There is a bank of menu buttons towards the leftmost top, and there are life/shield gauges at the top. --Tre Lawrence


Cell Motus

Everyone needs a good puzzle; Cell Motus wants to be that puzzle one can lean on. The game is its own tutorial; it starts off easy, giving a taste of the gameplay. The player is faced with a singular puzzle, with an encompassing “cell” looking to be matched with a small circle of the same color. The trick here is that each cell has an incorporated direction point that controls which way the cell can go; so, when tapped (tapping the cell invokes movement), the cell can only go forward in the direction of the angled pointer. Now, the first level is a gimme — one cell, one circle, and a couple taps to solve. The next few levels are fairly easy too, even as we begin to see multiple cells and matching circles. --Tre Lawrence

And what do Kim Kardashian, quick time events, and a Tigrex all have in common? They're all a part of AppSpy's round up of the biggest videos of the week.

Finally, you can't show guns on the App Store, but you can poke fun of Kim Jong-Un. The App Store is weird, basically, is Pocket Gamer's take on last week.

This Week at 148Apps: February 2-6, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 9th, 2015

Warm Your Winter With New Apps!


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

Dark Echo

Monsters aren’t what makes horror movies scary. It’s the idea of the monster that truly frightens us. The shrouded inhuman figure we can barely make out forces us to fill in the terrifying details with our own imagination. That’s why whenever the monster fully arrives, it just looks silly and the fear disappears. What makes Dark Echo one of the tensest, most ingenious horror games on the App Store is that it’s all about not seeing the monster. Based on the development team’s Ludum Dare game You Must Escape, Dark Echo puts players in the poor shoes of some anonymous victim stuck in a pitch black hallway. Virtually blind, the only way to move around is to rely on your other senses, particularly hearing. The game represents this Daredevil-style echolocation by showing sound waves as white lines bouncing around the black screen. Beyond just being a striking visual effect, this gives players enough information they need to progress while also leaving them incredibly vulnerable. --Jordan Minor


The Detail

It’s a good sign when finishing a game causes me to audibly yell “Nooo, don’t finish there!” at my iPad. It’s also a sign that the first episode of The Detail could perhaps do with being a little longer. It offers just enough to really grab your attention, but its premium price tag doesn’t quite match up with the quantity offered here. The App Store description suggests a mixture of The Walking Dead with the grim realism of The Wire. That’s about right, too. The Detail is a pretty dark game, even this early on, but it hooks you in fast. Following two very different characters – a grizzled and cynical veteran detective and a reformed criminal with a family – it’s not long at all before you’re drawn into the storyline. Action is much like other adventure games with you tapping on hotspots to interact with them in some way. Within a few minutes, you’re inspecting a body, trying to glean clues as to what’s unfolding. You can also talk to people, ask them questions, and adjust your tone accordingly. --Jennifer Allen


The Witcher Battle Arena

The Witcher Battle Arena is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) for people who have never played one before. It lacks the depth of most of the rest of the genre, as well as a few other features that would beguile you. Instead, it’s a bit too simple to really recommend, although I guess it works as a gateway to superior offerings. Unlike other MOBAs, each match is very straightforward with little opportunity for tactical play. Games are 3-vs-3, with teams having to capture the three checkpoints across each map in order to whittle down the opposition’s tickets. Starting out with 500 tickets, games typically take around 10 minutes to complete but will sometimes run a little longer. --Jennifer Allen


Potatoman Seeks The Troof

While games on the whole are noticeably simpler and easier than the games of the 80s and 90s, there’s also a genre full of games keen to remind you of why you enjoyed such challenges once upon a time. Potatoman Seeks The Troof is part of that genre, testing your ability to react exceptionally quickly. Some control issues aside, it’s mostly quite fun if all too brief. With the graphical prowess of an 8-bit console or computer, Potatoman Seeks The Troof is simple looking but also quite charming. Your sole objective is to dodge everything and survive. There’s a certain amount of pattern recognition involved here, but just when you think you fully get it down, it changes things up. Early on, you jump over various cacti. Then, inexplicably, one cactus leaps in the air – usually catching you out the first time round. So, Potatoman Seeks The Troof isn’t just about pattern recognition but also trial and error. Fortunately, it restarts quickly so you never lose out too much. --Jennifer Allen


Radiation Island

As far as conspiracy theories go, the Philadelphia Experiment is a good one to base a game around. Urban legend states the priject, which was supposedly conducted by the United States’ Army in 1943, turned a US Navy destroyer invisible – thus paving the way for technology that would hide other ships and weapons from enemy eyes. But where do “invisible” things go once they’re zapped out of our realm of existence? According to Radiation Island from Atypical Games, the answer is “some mysterious place that’s super-hostile.” Thus begins a game that’s all about survival, crafting, and exploration. --Nadia Oxford


Toca Kitchen 2

Toca Kitchen 2 is a companion to the popular Toca Kitchen – a favorite digital toy for both children and adults. I admire Toca Boca for their willingness to update their apps as well as to develop new versions of their creations in order to continue to challenge the creativity of young people in their various Toca Hair Salon apps, as well as Toca Kitchen apps – be it Kitchen Monsters, the original Toca Kitchen, and now Toca Kitchen 2. A few things have changed from the most recent update of Toca Kitchen; specifically the ability to combine ingredients both in the cooking process as well as on the plate to serve. The other major change here is the use of 3D graphics – as also seen in Toca Nature – when representing the three customers, as well as using muted shades of food textures to replicate the ingredients instead of the bright and colorful food illustrations I was fond of in the original app. --Amy Solomon


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown

Puro Sound Labs Kids Bluetooth Headphones

Here’s the problem: I’ve come to appreciate quality earphones the older I’ve gotten. I won’t describe myself as an audiophile, but I do enjoy the output a quality set of phones can bring. As such, I do have write a few. Wired, wireless, over-ear, in-ear, lounging, sport… you name it, and I probably have a set for the occasion. I baby them too. They’re cased when not in use, and issued in places that negate the possibility of silly mishaps, like (gasp!) sitting on them. All because I like having options, and dislike procuring stuff twice.
You know what is kryptonite to gadget longevity? Kids. Take my daughter for instance. Ariana Grande must be heard, ave outside hearing the SAME song played on loop, I have to reluctantly lend her a pair of mine. Why aren’t there more gadgets available for kids? That’s a question the Puro Sound Labs Kids Headphones looks to answer. --Tre Lawrence


City Island 3

City Island 3 plays somewhat like a simpler version of SimCity. The player begins with a empty island and must construct a city from the ground up. Houses are placed for your citizens to live in and just like SimCity it is best to construct ones that hold more people to make maximum use of space. Businesses can be placed as well and these are the ones that generate money for the player, using a familiar timer based system. Businesses must be staffed with employees and thus you need to balance the amount of houses and businesses so there is always enough staff to crew your profitable businesses. --Allan Curtis


Checkpoint Champion

Checkpoint Champion is a cool new driving game that rewards careful, skilful driving. Taking control of cute SD versions of well-known cars the player weaves their way to greatness. Checkpoint Champion is a great fit for mobile gaming. Using a simple control system, the player must weave their way through very short ten second challenges. These involve driving into checkpoints before time runs out. Each challenge features plenty of fiendish challenges like hairpin turns; handbrake turns, obstacles that need to be avoided and plain tough driving. Checkpoint Champion rewards precision and it is very satisfying to get a level right. --Allan Curtis

And have you met GEOFF? You should really meet GEOFF. GEOFF is going to change the way you think about video games. Come to AppSpy to find out why.

Finally, this week Pocket Gamer got you free currency in Midnight Star and free critters in Pokemon, picked the best iOS and Android games of January, and handed out its first 10/10 of 2015. What was the lucky game? You’ll just have to click here, won’t you?