Posts Tagged app store

New Year – New Apps!

 

It’s a new year and, as always, an exciting one for all of us here at 148Apps. Take a look at what we’ve reviewed this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.

Sensei Wars

 
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Continuing the Clash of Clans style motif that has worked well for so many other titles of this ilk, Sensei Wars isn’t exactly a particularly original title but it is one that comes with an original element – namely the ability to control a samurai in combat. As is commonly the way, players take time to build up a village; developing it to be independent and strong, while also cultivating a fearsome fighting force to fend off opposition. Things are well balanced here with resources gained from mines and farms, with such gains leading to the option to build new institutions and train up an army of warriors. Timers litter such progress so expect to be waiting around from time to time in order to reap any significant gains. –Jennifer Allen

Joe Danger Infinity

 
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The joy that can be had by playing Joe Danger is a tricky one to quantify. Anyone who’s played it on a console or PC can confidently say that it’s terrific fun, though. It was the kind of terrific fun that didn’t entirely translate when first coming to iOS in the form of Joe Danger Touch, thanks to touch controls that didn’t quite work as well as expected. That’s all gone when it comes to Hello Games’s latest release, Joe Danger Infinity, with everything feeling that bit sharper and better. –Jennifer Allen

Fun Town for Kids

 
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Fun Town for Kids is an interactive app for young children with a city theme where one can scroll back and forth through a charmingly stylized urban landscape; exploring fourteen mini-games found in store fronts and other areas that line this busy street. The different brightly colored shops in Fun Town allow one to sort coins into like piles in a bank or help out in the candy store as a customer will choose, with the aid of an illustrated speech bubble, specific candy while also including fun photos of real candy such as candy canes and gummy candies – details that children will have fun with. –Amy Solomon

Speaktoit Assistant

 
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Siri has been the integrated iOS go-to virtual assistant for some time now, but despite it becoming the most talked-about client it still tends to have some – albeit slight – depersonalization issues. Speaktoit promises to rectify this by offering users a fully interactive experience by using natural technology language to answer questions, search for information, follow basic commands, and connect the user with a whole network of various web services including Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, and more. –Lucy Ingram

Detective Grimoire

 
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If there is any game genre that really hooks me it’s a great detective game. From Phoenix Wright to modern greats like LA Noire, there’s just something exciting about becoming invested in a thought-provoking mystery. The best element of these light-hearted episodic detective adventures is the host of interesting characters that one will happen on along the journey, and Detective Grimoire is a great example of this. –Lucy Ingram

Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project

 
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Nothing beats loading a game and hearing the age-old drawling quips of a protagonist I have come to know and love over the years. It has been a while since I’ve played a game that made me feel the way Duke Nukem 3D did; as a young teenage girl getting kicks out of a game that was clearly not designed for someone of my age. That said, it paved the way for my descent into a passion for video-games, and I’ve not looked back since. –Lucy Ingram

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

Kaizin Rumble

 
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Kaizin Rumble sees the player slip into the heels of a Great Leader, evil women who lead armies of creatures known as Kaizin. Being evil, the evil empire the player is part of specializes in hunting down and exterminating heroes. From Kick-Ass style guys in red leotards, to actual bonafiled heroes Great leaders travel the world to crush anything that is good. What this boils down to is a series of strange levels where the player makes their way through each area by spinning a slot machine. Matching symbols causes different events to happen, such as finding money or, most commonly, initiating combat. Combat is a very shallow affair. Attacks are as simple as just tapping on the card to be used and the spinning the slot machine to see what happens. –Allan Curtis

Ninja Hero Cats

 
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Ninja Hero Cats mixes two of the most popular things on the internet, Ninja and Cats. How could it go wrong? Ninja Hero Cats has a very simple Angry Birds type story. A group of cats who just happen to be ninjas are about to enjoy a meal when suddenly a tentacled mass appears out of the floor and steals it. The cats jump into the strange portal left behind to retrieve their food and an epic battle against hundreds of hostile creatures ensures! –Allan Curtis

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviewed Joe Danger Infinity, Archangel, Battle Supremacy, simian.interface, and Lost Toys, played with the SteelSeries Stratus, picked the best games of December 2013, and cracked the Detective Grimoire case with a complete walkthrough. All that, and loads more, here.

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Whoever said perfection is overrated obviously never got a five-star review on 148Apps. It doesn’t happen often. Just take a quick look through our reviews and you’ll see lots of well-deserving Editor’s Choice winners, but most only reach four-and-a-half stars. In fact, in all of 2013 there have only been ten five-star reviews. Take a look at some of what we considered the best of the best this year.

Jool

screen568x568Jool is a unique 2D platformer that features a bird and his evil alter ego. Collect items, earn points, and survive. –Michael Carattini
 

Year Walk

yearwalkYear Walk is a haunting adventure game from Simogo that blends a dark world and involved mythology together to create an absolutely amazing experience. –Carter Dotson
 

Continue reading 148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up – The Year’s Best Apps and Games »

Happy Holidays from 148Apps!

 

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

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Remastered

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

Star Trek: Trexels

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

Jam Fusion Wireless Stereo Headphones

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

Cut the Rope 2

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

Ridge Racer Slipstream

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

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

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

Other 148Apps Network Sites

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

AndroidRundown

Sticky Password Manager & Safe

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

Snow Spin: Snowboard Adventure

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

Castle Raid 2

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

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

2013 is rapidly drawing to a close, and you know what that means: tons of “Best Of” lists! In fact, the App Store has just released its picks for the year. We even have our own list (we like to call it the Best App Ever Awards) that you can vote on. Everybody loves lists!

bestof_iphoneFor the iPhone, language learning app Duolingo takes the top top spot, with the rather pretty and useful VSCO CAM and super-cute monster alphabet app Endless Alphabet as runners up. On the games side of things, Ridiculous Fishing gets some very well-deserved recognition, while surreal and clever puzzler Device 6 and the much maligned/celebrated Plants vs. Zombies 2 are close behind. That, my friends, is a pretty solid group.

bestof_ipadThe iPad has its own list of awesome, of course. The remarkably slick and gorgeous Disney Animated has managed edge-out Traktor DJ‘s remixes and WWF Together‘s cuddly animals. Meanwhile, super-atmospheric pseudo-platformer Badland has been selected as 2013′ iPad game of the year, with the shockingly well-made port of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and the infuriating but addictive Impossible Road right on its heels. All fine choices, although my own personal love/bias would probably have put XCOM at the top of the list.

So what do you think of Apple’s selections? Weigh in below and tell us what you agree or don’t agree with, what apps or games you’d prefer, etc. And while you’re at it, remember to cast your vote in the 6th Annual Best App Ever Awards!

This Week at 148Apps: December 9-13, 2013

Apps For The Holidays

 

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

Seagate Wireless Plus 1T Wireless Hard Drive

 
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We’ve previously looked at the Sandisk Connect Wireless Drives. Wireless storage is something that many companies are trying out. Seagate takes things to an extreme; giving us a one terabyte drive capable of holding 500 HD movies, then making it portable and wireless. The drive comes with wireless N, which allows much quicker transfer, and also includes a USB 3 connection for the fastest transfer of data when not in wireless mode. In testing, moving media to the drive in wireless mode was nice and speedy. Regular USB was rapid as well, although I could not test out the USB 3. With the terabyte of space, it stored everything I threw at it. –Jeff Scott

Band Stars

 
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Limber up those fingers and start humming vocal exercises, because developers Halfbrick and Six Foot Kid are ready to help indulge everyone’s inner rock and roll superstar. Their newest release, Band Stars, puts players in control of a budding ensemble on the verge of breaking it big. Can this new music management title strike a chord with its audience, or will it simply get lost in the roar of the crowd? Step aside Game Dev Story fans, because there is a new management game in town. This time around, instead of trying to produce fictional games the product is melody. Each band consists of a collection of characters who have different skills that help contribute to the song sculpting experience. Tunes are produced in three stages: writing, recording, and mixing. One musician with high lyrical and creative abilities is assigned to writing a base track while the entire group performs it and a single member polishes the final mix. There is even an option to highlight solos in each performance, just to give the future smash hit a little bit more juice. –Blake Grundman

The Room Two

 
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A year after the runaway success of the original The Room, we find ourselves with a new set of puzzles in the appropriately titled The Room Two. Can it stand up to the exceptional quality of the original, though? Well, yes. It does exactly that. It’s required that I write more than that of course, but fans of the original should stop here and immediately start downloading The Room Two. It’s everything one could hope for from a good sequel; building upon what worked so well for the original. –Jennifer Allen

Olloclip 3-in-1 Macro Lens for iPhone 5

 
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I’m a huge Olloclip fan. I have been so since their first model for the iPhone 4. As an amateur photographer for many years, I’ve gone from film to digital very early on, to a killer DSLR, and now to almost exclusively the iPhone 5. In that time I’ve lost a little bit of the options for creativity on the hardware side, but slowly they are coming back. This latest 3-in-1 Macro lens set really plays to my interests. I love taking creative macro photos, and this lens set will be a great addition to my camera bag. Like the other Olloclip lens sets, this one has three different lenses; all of them macro on this edition. A 7x, 14x, and 21x lens allow varying levels of magnification on the subject. The Olloclip macro set also includes light diffraction hoods for the lenses. This allows the camera to be placed right on the subject but still allow light in. –Jeff Scott

Angry Birds Go!

 
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The latest in the series of games from Finland-based studio Rovio Mobile that took the world by storm with its creation of the Angry Birds franchise, Angry Birds Go! arrives as a casual racer that still has that unmistakable Rovio touch. Starting out, players can choose to jump right into the race or visit “Toons.tv” – Rovio’s animation service that aims to bring the Angry Birds characters to life in a 52-episode marathon. Jumping in will see one go through a short tutorial consisting of a single solo race, and later having those pesky pigs join in for the ride. –Arron Hirst

The Wolf Among Us

 
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The Wolf Among Us is the latest title from Telltale Games, bringing a story of fairytale fables who live in secret within the real world. This is a five-episode series based on a mature graphic novel series known as Fables. Players take the role of Sheriff Bigby Wolf, previously known as the big bad wolf – a character that is feared and disliked by many. The mood is set early on as players venture into an altercation with another Fable. The decisions made affect the entire story and outcome, so each decision comes with consequences. The story is very intriguing and pulled me in at a hundred percent. It’s a story that turns players into a detective as they try to discover the mystery behind a murder. It definitely takes a dark turn into this world of fairytale characters, and that’s one of the factors that makes discovering what happens next so intriguing. –Andrew Stevens

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

Any.DO Cal

 
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Any.DO is the development house behind one of the most respected task utilities on Android, and its Android calendar app, Cal, is definitely one that needs to be looked at. Forgive the slobber; this app is gorgeous. It comes in with bright colors, pictures and live animations to complement the default white look of the calendar information. the app automatically pulled information from my selected calendars, and presents them in a slick day-in-week view that can be pulled down to expose a monthly date look. Swiping to the left gives the previous day, while the right predictably brings the next day up, and so and so forth; months can similarly be manipulated in the cal1month view. Events on the calendar are ever so gently color-coded. –Tre Lawrence

Tower Madness

 
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Tower Madness is a tower defence game that looks like a lot of things at the same time. Of course, it’s not exactly easy to stand out from as numerous crowd as tower defence, and it’s not like Tower Madness isn’t trying, but I still found myself drawing parallels to other similar games, and especially Fieldrunners, quite a bit. The story is laconic and ridiculous. Aliens need your sheep, all eight of them, and you need to stop them. The stopping power includes about a dozen different kinds of defences, all of which can be upgraded, and should probably be a lot more interesting to aliens in the first place. The aliens come in waves, being delivered by UFOs, and heading straight to the sheep’s pen, with their walking routes being marked by arrows. When the player places a tower in their way, the aliens find a new path, around it. Thus, playing with tower positions, the player eventually creates a corridor of death that can eradicate even the most resilient of otherworldly scum. –Tony Kuzmin

Aztec Antics

 
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Aztec Antics is an interesting platform-based thriller from Bouncing Ball Games that celebrates the golden days when arcade games ruled the roost. It had a decidedly retro look, with an eye-pleasing array of 2D pixelated graphics making up most the background. The characters are itty bitty things, full of vigor and hungry to move. Blocks form platforms and naturescapes set against a soft background denoting jungle and temples. –Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviewed The Room Two, GTA: San Andreas, and Angry Birds Go!, picked out the top smartphones you can buy right now, went hands-on with Trials Frontier, and started its complete walkthrough to The Room Two. All that, and loads more, at the Pocket Gamer Week in Review.

1mapps

Five and a half years after launch and with well over 60 billion downloads, the US App Store has reached the 1 million apps available for download. While Apple announced 1 million available apps at their last press event, that number was including apps available in all countries in the App Store. At that time no single country App Store had 1 million available apps.

With over 1 million available apps, Apple is still well ahead of the 880k+ available on the Google Play Store. In the history of the App Store, Apple has approved over 1.4 million apps with Google Play seeing just over a million approved apps.

The one million available for download mark has been verified with independent sites AppsFire and AppShopper.

via: AppsFire Twitter

via: AppsFire Twitter

Cornfox & Bros. and publisher FDG Entertainment’s Oceanhorn has been an anomaly in the rise of free-to-play games on the App Store: it’s one of the few attempts at making a grand-scale game on iOS and priced at an $8.99 cost that few others have dared to try. The game’s launch saw it rocket to #1 in the paid app charts and in the top 10 of the top grossing apps, bolstered not just by its App Store Editor’s Choice but by a pre-release hype cycle that’s rarely seen for mobile games.

Oceanhorn‘s price risk has paid off: the game recouped its production cost in less than a week, seemingly showing that the kind of games with high production values and premium price points can succeed on the App Store. Thomas Kern, Executive Producer of Oceanhorn at FDG Entertainment, spoke to me about the game’s success at its price point.

148Apps: Why launch at $8.99, and that price point specifically? $6.99 has been a more typical “high” price for games on the App Store, and $9.99 is a more “round” number – so why $8.99? Was launching at a premium price point the plan all throughout development?
Thomas Kern (TK): We’re not setting prices on trends or from a psychological “round number” point of view. The launch price is related to the production cost and quality of the game. We got lots of emails and feedback about the price and it was all positive. People felt it was the right price and the game has done tremendously well at $8.99. We’re very happy about the success of the game.

Oceanhorn-3148Apps: Was there ever any thought to making the game free-to-play, or incorporating a hybrid model like what Infinity Blade uses?
TK:The plan for this game was always to go the traditional premium route, something players are used to from game consoles or handhelds. Oceanhorn is a loving tribute to games we enjoyed in our childhood and we see it as a fan-service to offer the full experience without additional costs.

148Apps: The game was bolstered by Apple’s featuring of Oceanhorn as an Editor’s Choice – do you feel like the game would have done as well without this?
TK: When we launched the game it immediately shot up the charts, before Apple even featured it. It was great to see that Apple agreed with many happy users that this game is a milestone in iOS gaming so they featured it very prominently and supported the game’s launch the best way they could. It seems Apple really appreciates efforts like this, after all, Oceanhorn‘s development time was over 2 years!

Oceanhorn-2148Apps: What about the long-term prospects of the game? Can the game continue to succeed at $8.99?
TK: It does! We see very healthy sales and we’ve recouped the investment in less than a week. For us and the development team, the game is already a great success.

There is no sale to be expected, Oceanhorn will stay at $8.99 but we’ll add more content to it in 2014 so the value will become even better.

148Apps: Do you think that other games can succeed at high price points? Do you believe that Oceanhorn changed anything with the market?
TK: We’ve been contacted by many people in the industry and they’ve been surprised about the success despite the high price point. Especially because the production cost was recouped really quickly. Oceanhorn definitely proves that premium games are not dead and it’s a viable business. We can’t beat some insanely successful Free2Play game revenues, but that was not our plan. Healthy revenues don’t require a position in Top 10 Grossing.

Thanks to Thomas Kern for his time.

$8.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-11-14 :: Category: Games

Shiny Happy App Reviews

 

The App Store can be a daunting place. What to try? What to buy? How do you know? Thank goodness the review team at 148Apps is here to save the day. 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.

Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies

 
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The great strategy of Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol returns with Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies. It’s set during World War II; where players have the choice to play as the US Navy, US Army, Imperial Japanese Navy, and Imperial Japanese Army. It certainly has a familiar presentation for those who played the original, but it’s also more polished and enhanced. The mission set-up is different as players are given one mission instead of a choice between three. I also find the visuals to be more polished and likable, but that’s probably because I love the old warbirds. –Andrew Stevens

Rayman Fiesta Run

 
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Rayman Fiesta Run is the sequel to Rayman Jungle Run, Ubisoft’s mobile version of their Rayman revival series, taking the form of a level-based auto-runner. Rayman Fiesta Run really only serves as an iteration on the previous one, but more of the familiar excellent gameplay and an improved level structure make this a better game. Players control the jumps and punches of Rayman, who can’t stop running for reasons both justified and unjustified depending on the level, trying to collect Lums and just get to the end of each level in however many pieces is optimal for Rayman because he has invisible limbs. Levels, which take on many forms from horizontal platforming to back-and-forth ascents – with the occasional wall-running and jumping, too – are challenging due to the timing needed to succeed and survive the various hazards. –Carter Dotson

Tiny Death Star

 
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Tiny Death Star is one of those ideas that’s absolutely brilliant: take Tiny Tower and put it in the Star Wars universe, having players build a Death Star instead of a non-descript tower. Oh, and the bitizens are all Star Wars characters. If that sounds appealing, then go download Tiny Death Star. It really isn’t too much different from the original Tiny Tower, the game where players earn money by stocking floors of a tower that sell different items, building new stores and residential floors for new people to move in to. Managing where bitizens work is important because they’re more efficient at certain floor types. This whole process continues until one’s tower is as high as players want it to be. It’s just all decked out with Star Wars characters and themes this time. –Carter Dotson

Hipster CEO

 
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Let’s get this reviewing cliche out of the way: Hipster CEO is an acquired taste. It sounds like an excuse to basically say “Some will like it, some will hate it,” but it’s remarkably true in the case of this game. Unlike so many other titles on the App Store, Hipster CEO doesn’t mollycoddle its players. There’s a gameplay guide rather than a comprehensive tutorial, but even that isn’t as useful as simply giving the game a shot and gradually figuring things out. It’ll be rewarding, but it will take patience for those who want to succeed. Occasional moments of being crash-prone can irritate, too. –Jennifer Allen

Sorcery! 2

 
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Bigger, better, stronger. That sums up Sorcery! 2, the sequel to the rather great Sorcery!. Feeling substantially weightier than its predecessor, much like the book it’s based on, Sorcery! 2 is a veritable bargain even despite its premium price tag. It’s been promised that there are over 300,000 words to it with more than 10,000 choices. I have no reason to doubt such a claim as there are plenty of hours of content here. Continuing from its predecessor, it’s not essential to have a save file at the ready but I’d recommend it, purely to carry on the storyline. Players explore Khare: the Cityport of Traps, and it’s a huge city indeed, as they attempt to move forward in their quest, potentially overthrow the city port’s council, and more. I’m grateful that Sorcery! 2 has such an extensive backtracking feature as there really is a lot that can be done here. –Jennifer Allen

ProCam 2

 
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ProCam 2 is the kind of photography app that should, theoretically, mean that no other photography app is really needed. While some might find themselves keen to stick to an app they’re more used to, or with a slightly different look, ProCam 2 covers all the bases meaning that there really isn’t a need to do so. I’m assuming the developers wrote up a list of requirements for a good quality photography app, then kept working until every single one had been included. I’m struggling to think of anything that could have been missed. –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

Dot.Stop.Run

 
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Dot.Stop.Run is a pretty eye-catching runner, but how does it play? Players control Dot, an enigmatic female as she runs along a landscape littered with hazards, such as pits, falling blocks and moving platforms. Using well timed jumps, the player must guide Dot through each level. Dot.Stop.Run has the bare vestiges of a story. Dot has escaped from the unseen system and now runs through an endless binary domain that changes constantly to recapture her. Only by making her way safely through the binary domain can the true power of Dot be unleashed. This story doesn’t really make an appearance in game, but at least it sets the tone for the trippy gameplay to follow. –Allan Curtis

Lost Chapters HD

 
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There has to be some science behind the way certain games force you to stop playing and instead ‘come back later’. I’ll happily admit I’m no expert in the economics of designing free-to-play games, but I always thought turning people away was a dangerous idea. They just might not come back. It’s with this in mind that we talk about Lost Chapters HD. It’s a game all about exploration of an island, completing tasks to unlock new buildings and discovering treasure along the way. –Matt Parker

Wake the Cat

 
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Cats. Lovable bundles of fur or feline freeloaders? How you feel about cats will determine how you want to look at this game. LIKE CATS: Wake the Cat is a puzzle game where you gently roll a ball of yarn towards a sleeping kitty so that you may wake them from their peaceful slumber and play with them. HATE CATS: Wake the Cat is a puzzle game where you launch a ball of yarn (maybe with a rock in the middle of it) so that you stir the cat from its unearned slumber. Maybe to then throw the cat out of the house. I don’t know. –Matt Parker

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer picked the best iOS and Android games of October, reviewed Rayman Fiesta Run, provided some top tips for Tiny Death Star, and followed the saga of an indie developer who got rejected from the App Store… twice. Check out the Pocket Gamer weekly wrap-up right now!

Another Week of Expert App Reviews

 

At 148Apps, we help you sort through the great ocean of apps to find the ones we think you’ll like and the ones you’ll need. Our top picks become Editor’s Choice, our stamp of approval for apps with that little extra something special. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Tweetbot 3

 
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Tweetbot is the best Twitter app that’s out there, hands down. It’s feature-packed and easy to use. Tweetbot 3 continues this app’s legacy as the best, and is a must for anyone who uses Twitter. Now, Tweetbot 3 is a new app, not just an update to the now-previous version of Tweetbot. While the two apps are pretty much feature-identical, there’s been some usability tweaks and a revamped look and feel for iOS 7. It no longer sticks out like a sore thumb – it fits, and it’s a welcome redesign. It is a bit jarring jumping from the new look to a version using the old one, but the Mac version will be updated for Mavericks soon, and Tweetbot for iPad is in the works down the road. –Carter Dotson

Pocket Titans

 
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Pocket Titans mixes a puzzle game with the kind of row and column switching seen in Candy Crush Saga and 10000000. Yet this casual puzzle gameplay is all wrapped up in the veneer of a squad-based RPG. The way it works? Players have their squad of heroes from the various RPG archetypes: warriors, rogues, archers, et cetera. They and the enemies are on a small grid, with the ability to move an entire row or column in one’s turn. Players get to make two moves to put their characters in their ideal position to attack enemies or use their character’s ability. For example, warriors attack enemies nearby (and their attacks can hit all enemies in a nearby radius), archers can hit enemies either diagonally or straight away from them in their line of sight (no obstructions in the way), healers can, well, heal. As well, each class has secondary abilities that activate when they can’t use their primary one. Everything happens automatically, so to learn how to play just requires learning how the various classes work, which is simple enough. –Carter Dotson

Zombie Cupcake Attack

 
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Zombie games aren’t going away anytime soon, but a new zombie game that has landed in the App Store puts a spin on the craze. Starring Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman, Zombie Cupcake Attack features undead treats that need to be annihilated in order to save the world from the apocalypse. The graphics are quite impressive for an endless runner. At the start of the game, it’s evident that the developers put a lot of details in all five endless levels. While it has more of a kid-friendly appeal, adults will find themselves having a lot of fun as well. –Angela LaFollette

Hello World – Book 1: The Lonely Islands

 
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Imagine a magical and whimsical fantasy world full of interesting people, epic battles, mediocre coffee, and a talking cat. This is where the story of Hello World takes us; on a journey through a 3D universe populated by a whole variety of mythical creatures and bizarre people. Hippies, vampires, zombies, trolls, chupacabras; there is no shortage of strange beings. In this first-person adventure, Cap and Leet must quest through a universe unlike any other in order to save the magical and semi-sentient land of “Fred.” Set in the style of an RPG, players must explore forests, caves, and sail the sea, all while meeting the most unique of characters and poking squirrels with sticks. –Lucy Ingram

My PlayHome Stores

 
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My PlayHome Stores is the much-awaited sequel to the popular app My PlayHome; a digital dollhouse app that allows children to interact with a play family within their house, including a vast amount of interactive options. My PlayHome Stores now allows this family a day of shopping as children can explore a variety of stores including clothing and ice cream shops, a smoothie shop, and a restaurant. These apps are lovely, simple, and sweet, bringing the creative play of a traditional dollhouse and other creative play to the iPad and iPhone, and as such bring an intuitiveness children will enjoy a great deal. Fans of My PlayHouse as well as those new to this series will enjoy the many interactions as one places a character into these scenes. Do note that although the family from My PlayHome (a mom, dad and three kids) can be seen at the top right of the screen, one also has easy access to a large cast of characters that include men, women, and children of various races and backgrounds – a very nice touch. –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

Look Out Below

 
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More and more mobile games are utilizing physics in unique ways. Ever since the rise of Angry Birds, developers are looking for new ways to bring the force that dictates all things in the real world into the games that appear on phones and tablets. Physics are implemented in a variety of different games, offering unique game play options and interesting ways of using the laws of science within the game. Look Out Below is one of those games that offers an uncommon usage of physics while offering a simple, but testing game play. –Mike Deneen

IceBurgers

 
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IceBurgers is an environmental tale. Two ships collide in the Antarctic, spewing burgers and letters, and a penguin has to clean it up. Alrighty. Interestingly enough, what makes this game unique is what probably is its best feature: the lack of frills. It rocks a simple motif and features even simpler gameplay, and, as such, can be a formidable time waster. The gameplay is an atypical mix of crossword puzzle and Scrabble. A square grid of 25 tiled letters makes up the playing area, and words are supposed to be created via swiping a finger across letters in fairly liberal fashion. When a word is formed, it lightens up and explodes, and the tiled letters are replaced randomly by falling tiles from above. –Tre Lawrence

BBM for Android

 
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Yes, BlackBerry (formerly RIM) has had better days. The iconic technology company made devices that signified corporate success and helped shape the smartphone market. It’s current troubles are well known, and the company and its devices have arguably lost some of their previous luster. One piece of the BlackBerry ecosystem that has always been respected is BlackBerry Messenger, its eponymous messaging system. It’s always-on nature, perceived reliability and PIN-based connection service is almost universally respected, even by non-BlackBerry device users. So, when BlackBerry announced that it would be opening up the hitherto proprietary messenger to iOS and Android users, ears perked up. –Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviewed Dead Trigger 2, highlighted the stand-out hits from its Big Indie Pitch event, found 8 tablet-only games to play on the new iPad Air, reviewed Ace Attorney on 3DS, and went hands-on with Vita charmfest Tearaway. Head to Pocket Gamer now for their weekly wrap-up.

Expert App Reviewers

 

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

Device 6

 
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I love what Simogo is doing in 2013. While the studio has always been a purveyor of a different kind of experience on iOS, this year their releases have been centered around story-telling and puzzle solving. It started with Year Walk and now continues with Device 6. They’re creating unique and intelligent experiences that deserve to be seen and heard. Now, much like Year Walk, this is something that is best when not spoiled so I’m only going to touch on cursory details of the plot and scenario: this is a sort of interactive piece of fiction that players read through that frequently wraps around the screen, requiring players to rotate their device to keep up with where everything is going. The story is about a woman named Anna, who wakes up in mysterious circumstances. To advance the story, certain puzzles, whose hints are embedded in the narrative and visuals, must be solved. The challenge comes from solving the puzzles and putting together the hints – have some pen and paper or some kind of writing app on a computer or other device open to take down notes to solve everything and to advance the story. –Carter Dotson

Soul Gambler

 
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Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend. A successful scholar who, dissatisfied with his life, makes a pact with the devil and exchanges his soul for unlimited knowledge and worthy pleasures. The legend of Faust has been retold throughout history via many forms of media, and has been the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works. Soul Gambler is the remake of the original free unfinished interactive visual novel inspired by Goethe’s famous German tragic play, “Faust,” that has had a complete revamp; and with the success of its Kickstarter, has been made into a fantastic-looking interactive graphic novel that combines the art style of comic books with playable mechanics most commonly found in video games. –Lucy Ingram

Fist of Awesome

 
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An unlikely hero. Bears. Lots and lots of plaid. A talking, time-traveling fist. These are only a handful of examples as to what players can expect when they jump in to FIST OF AWESOME. It’s certainly a weird, wacky, and wild beat-em-up with old school brawler roots and a few modern concessions. There are a few not-so-awesome issues nestled in with all those homicidal talking bears, however. Tim Burr is just a hard-working lumberjack with simple aspirations and a close group of friends. His is a happy life, and he envies no one. That is until the timeline is inexplicably altered and bears become the dominant species of Earth. Tim’s hand begins speaking to him, identifying itself as the FIST OF AWESOME and taking him on a journey through several eras in history – all overrun with bears – as the unlikely duo set out to fix history. –Rob Rich

OmniFocus 2 for iPhone

 
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OmniFocus 2.0 for iPhone is a to-do list and task management app that’s built for the person who’s deadly serious about tracking what they need to get done and when. After all, the app for iPhone is $19.99, which is well above what most apps are priced, but OmniFocus has a wealth of features and syncing options to help justify it. Still, it’s a cost that just may be worth it, because this is comprehensive yet still somewhat simple. It’s like fishing with grenades. –Carter Dotson

PumaTrac

 
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PUMATRAC may sound like just another fitness app at first, but it provides a unique user experience that others like it currently don’t offer. PUMATRAC is designed to keep runners motivated by giving them insights on conditions that affect running performance so that workouts are actually more fun and rewarding. This means that the app can tell whether users run faster to pop music or longer on Fridays just by analyzing many different conditions thanks to Tictrac technology. –Angela LaFollette

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

Cavemania

 
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Free-to-play match-three puzzles are as inescapable as bathroom issues after an all-you-can-eat night at Taco Bell, and are just as expected. Although I know I should hate them for their complete lack of originality, or artistic merit, my primitive synapses still get their share of enjoyment, just from matching things in the right order, without any particular reason and reward. Perhaps, my mom was right, and I should have gone in accounting. In any case, Cavemania tries to introduce some new mechanics, but it’s unclear whether they help overall game, or just get in the way. –Tony Kuzmin

Lumber Jacked

 
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It’s too primitive that lumberjacks are always seen as the most manly of all people. So what if they have muscles of iron, and spend days at a time, uniting with nature and flinging mighty axes all day? Internet critics also have cramped up muscles, unite with nature every five to seven hours, and fling mighty keys up and down. Still, I’m yet to see a single game that gives the credit where it’s due, and features the mighty and the powerful, as the ultimate example of manliness. But, while the ungrateful, primitive culture moves down the familiar road, we get Lumber Jacked, another game, where lumberjack is the mighty hero yet again. It’s not like I remember any other games with lumberjacks, but there have to be lots of them, or this whole paragraph makes no sense. –Tony Kuzmin

Drift Mania: Street Outlaws

 
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Drift Mania: Street Outlaws is the latest in the series of Drift Mania games by Ratrod Studios, with the scene shifted to street racing. But is it worth playing? There isn’t much content available without a lot of gameplay in Drift Mania: Street Outlaws. From the start of the game one car and one track is unlocked. Unlocking additional tracks is far from a simple task. For each track you can race on there are a number of achievements, such as drifting a certain distance or finishing in a time limit. Once enough of these are achieved, the next track is unlocked. Cars can be bought at any time, but are very expensive. –Allan Curtis

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviewed DEVICE 6 and compiled a complete walkthrough to the game, went hands-on with Dungeon Keeper and Tiny Death Star, and made some bold predictions for next week’s Apple press conference. Head to Pocket Gamer for their weekly wrap-up.

iOS 7 is arriving tomorrow and Apple has extended some love to owners of older iOS devices, reports Engadget. Apple has added a new compatibility feature that allows users to download the last version of an app that is still compatible with their phone. So, for users running around with an old iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, they’ll be able to use this compatibility feature to find the latest compatible version and use it on their device.

Credit: Engadget

Credit: Engadget

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source: Engadget

This Week at 148Apps: September 9-13, 2013

We Know Our Apps

 

Sorting through the gigantic swarm of apps out there can be daunting. 148Apps is here to help. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Ninja Cats vs. Samurai Dogs

 
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The age-old battle between samurai and ninjas has been told throughout time across several forms of media, but Eutechnyx has taken it to a whole new level with Ninja Cats vs. Samurai Dogs. Ninja Cats vs. Samurai Dogs is a tower defense game in which the field of battle is divided up into five lanes. There are a variety of towers available to build that each have various functions and resources, but there are only five spaces in which to place them so it has to have some sort of strategy. Otherwise it’s just a case of trial and error. Units are created and deployed from these towers, which are generated as cards that all have different abilities. Once the decision to deploy a unit has been made it is then possible to choose where to place the character, with the aim of getting them across to the other side to destroy enemy towers. If a character, be it a ninja cat or a samurai dog, passes an enemy on their path (or adjacent to, depending on abilities) there will be a face-off to the death and the victor will advance forward. –Lucy Ingram

Heroes of Loot

 
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Distilling a genre down to its basic elements isn’t necessarily a difficult task, but doing it well absolutely is. Just cutting gameplay and other mechanical elements out at random won’t do; it really requires surgical precision. And yet, Orangepixel pulls it off so well with Heroes of Loot they make it look effortless. Heroes of Loot, at its most basic, is what happens when a game like Gauntlet is combined with Roguelike elements. The four adventurers (Elf, Warrior, Wizard, and Valkyrie) are in it for the money and not much else. Once players select their character, it’s on to adventure! Or in this case something akin to an arcade dungeon crawl. Randomized dungeons, quests, and special items make an appearance along with permadeath, but it’s all been streamlined to the point that dying is merely a (very) temporary setback. –Rob Rich

Junk Jack X

 
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The 2D mining and crafting genre is becoming a crowded one on iOS, with The Blockheads leading the way (in this writer’s humble opinion), Terraria making the jump to iOS, and now Junk Jack X – a follow-up to the 2011 2D crafting game that launched on iOS. And for those looking for a fun 2D crafting game can’t go wrong with Junk Jack X. Now, as someone intrigued by the genre but not an expert on them per se, I find the way that a game like Junk Jack X decides to just leave players in the middle of nowhere to start off with, left to fend for themselves, absolutely fascinating. In a world of handholding it’s kind of refreshing to be left to fend for myself. Of course then nightfall comes and I’m being assaulted by zombies, slime monsters, and spiders constantly, and I’d kind of appreciate some hand-holding! The ability to zoom way out to see where one has been and what the upcoming landscape may hold is great, especially handy for after a death, trying to make it back to the place one worked from. –Carter Dotson

Disney Princess Royal Salon

 
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Disney Princess Royal Salon is a very nice universal application that allows young children to dress up Disney princesses as well as style their hair with a tap or drag of a finger. Having only a son, we never got into the princess theme the way some children do, but I did spend a few years looking for a moderately-priced styling head that was not attached to Barbie as my boy showed interest in trying to style my hair and apply pretend makeup to my face, so I think he would have fun with this kind of pretend play toy. It is these kinds of styling head toys that came to mind as I tested the Disney Princess Royal Salon app as after choosing among Cinderella, Belle, Rapunzel, and Ariel one gets to decide which of four invitations to select, and one has a chance to style a princess’s hair with the tap of a finger. –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

SimpleRockets

 
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Space. The final frontier. The strange, black mass around the Earth that’s calling out to us, daring to come at it with all the technologies we could think of. As the space exploration in real world is stalling behind the schedule, videogame spacemen are orbiting on the countless devices, including mobile phones. The most popular among the “realistic” space exploration simulators is, undeniably, Kerbal Space Program. It’s a whole another topic, worthy of a hundred of articles, but it’s quite obvious where SimpleRockets took the inspiration from. Although it’s a lot more simple, it’s fitting perfectly into the mobile screen. –Tony Kuzmin

Wordcraft

 
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Wordcraft is a combo word game from Littlebigplay. The game is an interesting mix of word games like Scrabble and crossword puzzles. The playing area is a rectangular grid made up of squared letter tiles set up in 8×13 fashion. The letters are random, and contain all the letter of the alphabet with varying probabilities. As in Scrabble, each letter has a number value that seems to be based on the use of the letter in the English language. Thus, E, T and A have the lowest values, and K, X, Q, J and Z have high values. –Tre Lawrence

Daddy Was A Thief

 
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Isn’t it strange that a game is only perceived as mature when the developers consciously try to make it so? By all accounts, Daddy Was A Thief is a hardcore circus of violence and destruction, but since it has nice music and cute graphics, it feels like a completely peaceful game. And I’m definitely digging its style. I’ve already reviewed it a while ago on iOS, and since Daddy Was A Thief got an update, I figured it would be a great time to also review this great game on Android, as well. –Tony Kuzmin

Also this week, Pocket Gamer went preview crazy, with first impressions of Infinity Blade III, Trials: Frontier, Gunner Z, Assassin’s Creed: Pirates, Pocket Trains, Valiant Hearts, Fist of Awesome, and Rayman Fiesta Run. Get more reviews, news, and videos in Pocket Gamer’s weekly wrap up.

And finally, in this week’s AppSpy News Wrap-Up, James talks you through the Infinity Blade III trailer, and shows you the first gameplay video from Trials Frontier, Assassin’s Creed: Pirates, and Rayman Fiesta Run. He also talks in a pirate voice for longer than is strictly necessary. Visit AppSpy.com for more video reviews, news, and previews.


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

5 years since the App Store launch

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

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

 

App Store Insiders

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

Friday, July 12th:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
Thursday, July 11th:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
Wednesday, July 10th:

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

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

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

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

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

 
Tuesday, July 9th:

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

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

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

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

 
Monday, July 8th:

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

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

We’ll have many more interviews throughout the week.

 

Even More

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Share Your Favorites!

 

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

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

 

Celebrating the App Store’s 5th Anniversary

 

App Store Insiders

First up, check out the over 20 interviews that Jeff Scott (with a little help from Carter Dotson) did with the App Store’s best and brightest, like this one from Tapulous co-founder, Mike Lee:

Mike Lee148Apps: If you have one single success within the App Store you’d like to highlight, what would it be?

Mike Lee: I’m really excited about the work the New Lemurs are doing. I’ve been trying to blend technology and altruism both on and off the App Store since before it was a thing, with everything from the Club Thievey fundraising drive that linked Mac developers with the Madagascar Fauna Group to the Obama ’08 app to Appsterdam and on into Lemurs Chemistry.

What distinguishes my work now from what I was doing 5 years ago is this: while I’m still focused on providing great products and experiences to people, that has stopped being the end in and of itself. Now I am much more concerned with spreading good memes. My abilities as an App Maker, and my ability to be an example of what kind of apps we should make and what kind of App Makers we should be, have switched seats.

My current obsession is the idea that games would not be a waste of time if they were made based on science. By replacing the arbitrary game mechanics with rules from nature, you end up with games that happen to be educational as a side-effect, instead of trying to gamify education. Lemurs Chemistry is the embodiment of that idea, and it’s the best game I’ve ever produced.

Be sure to read all of the interviews, chock full of insight and info, right here on 148Apps.

Looking Back

It was a special week across the 148Apps network of sites, as we celebrated the App Store’s 5th anniversary with a wealth of original content from our team of reviewers. Take a look at some of their picks for the best apps from the past five years.

Fairway Solitaire

 
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In all my time playing iOS games, I’ve never been quite so tempted to buy an in-app purchase as I was while playing Fairway Solitaire. This isn’t because there’s so little content bundled with the free version (there’s enough) but because it’s so addictive that I didn’t want to stop playing. For a game that’s essentially a twist on card game solitaire, this is praise indeed. As the name suggests, Fairway Solitaire is a version of Golf Solitaire, a classic variation on the card game that everyone knows and loves. The difference here is that rather than create suits such as in regular Solitaire, the player must score runs by clearing the card deck using the least amount of moves. Once the pile of cards run out, the par is determined and the player moves onto the next hole. At the end of the course, a star rating out of three is offered as a way of encouraging players to master the stage. –Jennifer Allen

Rage of Bahamut

 
rage

Rage of Bahamut wasn’t quite what I was expecting. It definitely involves collecting cards and battling other players, but it’s more akin to a browser game than what most would consider a “proper” iOS title. Whether or not this is a bad thing depends a lot on personal preference, but anyone willing to look past the clunky interface just might find themselves having a great time. At its core, Rage of Bahamut is all about gathering cards in order to complete quests (or battle other players) in order to get better cards, etc. But that’s just the basics. Quests can be completed in order to acquire treasure, more cards, cash, and experience for whichever card has been designated the Leader. It’s all used as expected (i.e. buying car packs, building a stronger deck, etc), really. –Rob Rich

Disc Drivin’

 
disc

Disc Drivin’ is a game whose immediate goal might not be apparent; the easiest way to explain the game is that it is like Mario Kart crossed with Words With Friends. You and your opponents take turns sliding your disc across the tracks, replete with tricky turns, turbo boosts, and powerup icons. The Words with Friends-esque element comes from the turn-based gameplay; when you take your turn, your opponent then takes theirs, and so on until someone completes 3 laps and wins the race. The game supports up to 8 players in either hotseat or local wifi multiplayer, and up to 4 people online, with push notifications notifying you when it is your turn. There’s a reason why I describe this as being similar to Words With Friends in particular, and it is because Disc Drivin’ is just as addictive and viral as that game was around its popularity peak. If you start up one game, you’ll quickly find yourself wanting to start up more and more, and anxiously waiting for your opponents to make their moves so you can play some more. The physics engine with the discs adds to the fun, as wacky things can happen when you hit ramps, bombs or other discs; there is plenty that can happen when discs go flying to cause you to shout for joy or shriek in error. You never know what you’ll see next. That, and just the whole addictive and surprisingly fast-paced nature of the asynchronous multiplayer, is what makes this one a gem. –Carter Dotson

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. GiggleApps writer Amy Solomon served up her App Store favorites during this week’s fifth anniversary festivities:

GiggleApps

 

Toca Tea Party

 
tea party

Toca Tea Party is a wonderfully creative app from one of my new favorite developers, Toca Boca. This app creates a lovely interactive tea party environment which has become a huge hit with our entire family. This is a wonderful iPad app which simulates a tea party for three, be it a child and two adults, a child and two dolls or stuffed animals, or three toys with the help of little hands. This app has been enjoyed in our house in every conceivable way and I can say that my husband, son, and I all love this application. –Amy Solomon

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

 
flyingbooks

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore is a very special interactive storybook for iPad that is perfectly realized in every way. Strong words, I know, but this app is simply wonderful, poetic and beautiful experience for all ages. Based on the short film of the same name, this ebook has interwoven interactions and other animated visuals that are simply striking for use of imagery that will stay with the reader for a very long time. It is hard really to write this review as I would encourage readers to experience this themselves, as I don’t think my words here will do this app justice. The story is said to be inspired by hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, and the Wizard of Oz equally, and is about a man who is currently writing a book about his life. One day, his world gets turned upside down but is fortunate to later find a library filled with books with flying abilities that need a caregiver. In reality, this app is really about so much more. My son, at 3.5 years, still takes things on face value, and for him, this story book is about the love of reading and the warm embrace books deserve as the protagonist takes care of these flying books as if they are living, breathing things. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Smash Spin Rage

 
smashspin

Beautiful, drop dead gorgeous 3D graphics. Relatively easy controls. Frankly who cares about backstory?
Smash Spin Rage is a game that brings mythical elements to 21st century handheld gaming. It brings to bear murder, the supernatural and an unquenchable desire for revenge. I mostly like the graphics in this one. The colors avidly bring to life the spooky ambiance of the location, with natural light combining and contrasting with shadows at the same time. The animations are smooth, and the supernatural effects worked well. From the opening cutscene to the battles all the way to the creativity of the belligerents, the game looks good. –Tre Lawrence

Ultimate Stick Fight

 
stickfight

So many of us cut our gaming teeth on scrolling beat em ups. You know, those games like Fighting Force that gave us the opportunity to graphically beat up hordes of violent thugs. There was usually the simplest of backstory, plenty of swinging limbs and even a weapon or two to procure. Ultimate Stick Fight is in that same glorious vein. Jumps, kicks, punches and tons of people to practice them on. And stick figures. Part of what sets this game apart is the look; instead of regular-looking characters, we get souped up, colorful stick people. Interestingly enough, the developer does well with colorization, and is able to imbibe a good deal of character into the thin guys. The movements and animations were fairly life-like, but kept the whimsical nature that we expect in characters of this genre. When matched with the numerous, creatively diverse backgrounds, it makes a pretty compelling 2D visual feast. –Tre Lawrence

Leaping Legend

 
leaping

Leaping Legend is an arcade-style infinite climbing/running game. The virtual world is decidedly medieval, with the jittery characters and animations presented in 8-bit retro glory. As noted, all the elements come together to create a game with an arcade feel. The animations are fairly utilitarian, and do the job without being too flashy. If creating a remarkable ode to the past is the goal, I think the developer mostly succeeds admirably. In this one, the higher up one goes the better. Trying to free the fair-haired maiden at the “top” is the goal, and to accomplish this, our protagonist has two parallel walls to run up, as well as the ability to leap from one wall to the other on the quest to the top. This ability to leap is invaluable, as along the way, there are all sorts of run-ending obstacles, ranging from scary looking rotating blades to barrels and plenty of dropping debris. –Tre Lawrence

 

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

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

2008 – The Beginning of the Beginning

appstoreevo01The App Store’s first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.

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

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

2009 – Moving Right Along

appstoreevo02aappstoreevo02bThe following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple’s digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.

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

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


Continue reading 5 Years and Counting – The App Store Then and Now »

 

How has the App Store impacted my life? Well, if you give a mouse a cookie…

It started when I first decided to give the iPod touch a whirl: I had heard about the App Store launching, and I picked up a discounted first-generation model of the iPod touch as the second-generation launched. I figured, hey, this might be the future, I’m gonna get onboard now. The store was exactly what I expected it to be: a collection of interesting and occasionally odd games from a wide variety of developers. It was, and still is, an endlessly-fascinating world.

Still one of my favorites from the early days of the App Store.

Still one of my favorites from the early days of the App Store.

The App Store was also indirectly to blame for me getting hooked on Twitter. Apps like Tweetie from Loren Brichter helped me on my way to become the Twitter addict that I am today, especially once I got an iPhone proper. I’ve met many great friends from Twitter, and most importantly, it’s why I’m here on 148Apps today.

It was through following someone on Twitter who recommended following The Portable Gamer that led me deeper down the rabbit hole. One day, they posted that they were looking for new people to record iCasual segments for them. I took them up on their offer, as I figured, “hey, why not – might be fun to do on the side while getting some free games to play.”

Soon, scripting and recording those audio reviews turned into written reviews. It turned out writing about games was pretty fun, plus, I was halfway-decent at it! I was made managing editor of the site a couple months after I joined, and for the next year, it was a regular part of my life. I got to feel important in helping to arrange and post new content on the site, and even got printed in iPhone Life magazine at one point. That was pretty cool.

TPG-Netbook

A little over a year after joining The Portable Gamer, that was when 148Apps advertised that they were looking for a new paid writer. I decided to go for it. For a while, it was just a hobby, albeit a really cool one.

Eventually, I decided: why not try to make writing my career? I love doing it, it was giving me more of a sense of purpose than my college studies were giving me, and hey: I was already getting paid for it. So I ramped up my game. I spent more time writing for 148Apps. I started looking for other writing gigs, which came through connections and just reaching out for other opportunities, with my work here at 148Apps playing a significant role in proving I could be a good and trustworthy writer.

And a year ago, it finally happened. I was able to support myself on my writing work and I moved to Chicago. It was all thanks to the App Store. Sure, there were a lot of steps in between, but I honestly don’t know what my life would be like if it didn’t exist.

It’s been a pretty sweet ride so far, one that I hope continues on for a long time.

 

I’ve been in love with video games for over 25 years, ever since the heyday of the Nintendo Entertainment System. And while the technology has been advancing exponentially ever since, one thing has been constant: my envy of video game reviewers. These were people who were paid to play video games and then write about them. How freaking cool is that??

I idolized everyone who worked for Nintendo Power, IGN, GamePro, EGM, and later Play, Game Informer, OPM, and so on. I’d dreamed of being able to do the same thing myself but it was always one of those “there’s no way, but it would be cool if” kind of dreams. At least until I actually started doing it when I more or less tumbled into writing for Crush! Frag! Destroy!

I’ll never forget the years I spent at CFD! – first as a contributor, then as Managing Editor/website mom. They were instrumental in helping me put together a sizable and diverse body of work that included console, PC, mobile, AAA, and indie games. I got to talk to game developers. I received review copies (FREE review copies) of games like Persona 3 Portable, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect 2. I went to Pax East one year and felt like a friggin’ badass. However it wasn’t until I got myself an iPhone 3GS, crossed my fingers, and sent a resume off to 148Apps that I really started to live the dream.

Much to my amazement I was brought onboard almost immediately as a freelancer. Suddenly I was making money–real money–reviewing video games (and apps). After a few months, a senior writer position opened. Then I crossed my fingers for a second time as I expressed an interest, and was again amazed at how quickly I was given the go-ahead. That was two years ago, and things have only gotten more amazing since then.

Thanks to 148Apps and the existence of the App Store, I’ve been able to write about games (and apps!) to my heart’s content and pay some bills in the process. I’ve been able to meet and interview some great developers, both from the indie scene and from big name studios. I’ve been invited to special press-only preview events. Some developers have come to me specifically so that I can critique (not just review but actually critique) their works in progress. I’ve come to understand and appreciate just how influential, creative, and downright fun iOS games can be. And I’ve made some really great friends that I’ve never actually met in person along the way, too.

If it weren’t for the App Store and 148Apps I honestly have no idea what I’d be doing now. Maybe I’d still be writing gratis while waiting for my big break. Maybe I’d have given up on the dream and focused on something a little more “realistic.” Thankfully I don’t have to worry about any of that because I’m already doing it. And I’m going to keep doing it no matter what.

 

The App Store has been around for five years, and in that time its library has grown from just under a thousand titles to over a million. Even with so many releases (and more on the way) there are still a fair number of developers – prominent, indie, or otherwise – who haven’t gone near it. Why have some embraced the App Store while others have hesitated? Why are there still so many talented people, whose games would be a great fit for iOS, not releasing their games for the platform? I reached out to a number of developers, some who have and some who haven’t released games on iOS, to try and figure it out.

The Initial Draw

appstoredevs_store01With such a big install base (600 million devices sold and 575 million user accounts) and a unified operating system, it’s only natural for many a developer to find the App Store appealing. Especially if the popularity or puslisher support for certain platforms starts to wane. Daniel Steger of Stegersaurus Games has been doing pretty well on the Xbox 360′s Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace, but lately it’s looking like Microsoft might be pulling the plug on the once indie-friendly venue. “iOS has been seen as one option because it has many consumers and seems to fit the scale of games I enjoy making,” Steger said, “Frameworks like Xamarin’s Monotouch could also make porting my games from XBox to iPhone fairly pain-free which is an added bonus as I could continue creating games for both platforms.”

Daniel Steger/Steger Games

Daniel Steger/Steger Games

It was the portability and popularity of Apple’s iOS devices that first attracted ISOTX‘s Jeroen Roding to the App Store. “The iPad is something you have with you all of the time, it is accessible at any given time of the day,” Roding said. “The average revenue per unit is pretty high and the whole shop backend is easy for the users.” It wasn’t just the install base, either. As a developer for Facebook games there was also cross-platform integration to consider that would allow users to “start the game on PC and Mac and finish it while on their tablet,” he said.

Both Marios Karagiannis from Karios Games and independent programmer Suraj Gregory-Kumar attribute their initial interest to the App Store’s popularity as well as Apple’s certification process. According to Karagiannis, “Companies that consider creating casual games for mobile devices cannot really afford to skip the App Store,” since he considers it to be “the biggest, more consistent app store of the 3 major platforms right now.” Gregory-Kumar agrees, but views the situation from a more practical standpoint. “I own an iPhone and wanted to venture in to unknown territory,” said Gregory-Kumar, “but more over it was a way of showing those around me the games I could produce, since the device is portable and easy to show off.”

Suraj Gregory-Kumar

Suraj Gregory-Kumar

As for getting apps certified, Karagiannis considers it to be a necessary buffer. “Remember that the lack of any kind of certification means in practice that a VERY large number of apps are utterly useless – including malicious apps.” In other words it’s like the Wild West. However, that also means getting something approved for the App Store can take a little while, as Gregory-Kumar recalls. “The App Store approval process is something which takes a lot of consideration, as the app must meet their strict guidelines, otherwise the app is declined.”

Mike Roush, co-founder of Gaijin Games, has a slightly different perspective on the matter. BIT.TRIP BEAT has been on the App Store since 2010, however he doesn’t feel like they’ve had much involvement in it’s App Store appearance. “I don’t really feel like Gaijin Games made the game, seeing as it was a port of the Wii version.” Roush said, noting that Namco’s involvement with publishing and co-developing the port attributed greatly to his feeling of detachment. He also believes they could take advantage of the shift in App Store shopper preferences from the quick and casual games of the early years to something more complex. “Nowadays,” Roush said, “it seems to me that people are interested in deeper, richer and more polished experiences.”

Reservations

appstoredevs_store02As appealing as any development platform might be there are always going to be a few aspects that give someone pause. Apple’s certification process, while a welcome buffer for some, becomes an unnecessary barrier for others. Daniel Steger had this exact problem when he attempted to move a few of his Xbox Live Indie Games to iOS. “I spent some time porting my game engine to work with Monotouch,” Steger said, “Unfortunately, after all that time I did not account for Apple’s sensitivity when approving games.” The first game he had attempted to port was rejected three consecutive times; the last of which was anything but constructive or informative. “I was told not to submit the game again, as it would never get approved.”

Jane V./Price Rhythm

Jane V./Price Rhythm

He tried to make the best of it by porting two other games, both of which did fairly well on Xbox Live and were, in fact, approved for the App Store, but it just wasn’t enough. “They were quicker ports just trying to make the best out of a bad situation,” he said. Unfortunately, while these games performed well on Xbox Live they didn’t even come close to recouping the time and money spent porting them to iOS in the first place. He’s been understandably hesitant to port any other projects ever since. Jane V from Price Rhythm was also initially put off by the approval process. “I am holding myself from developing games because I believe that in order to succeed in it and make the “killer” game, you have to make it really beautiful and engaging.” She said, “This requires a lot of graphical capabilities, marketing budgets and etc that a lot of indie developers just don’t have.”

Marios Karagiannis/Karios Games

Marios Karagiannis/Karios Games

Jeroen Roding, Marios Karagiannis, and Suraj Gregory-Kumar, on the other hand, were more concerned about the development tools themselves. Gregory-Kumar wasn’t much of a Mac user initially and was also worried about budgeting on top of his unfamiliarity. “Fortunately, my husband is an Apple fan so his Mac came in handy.” Gregory-Kumar said, “With the Unreal Engine you need a windows machine to install the software, and a mac to submit it, so developing using this process without the technology would prove costly.” Roding, on the other hand, was limited to his prior experience with developing browser-based games. “We didn’t really have the experience at the time to get our game functioning on iOS.” Roding said, “Now we are working with scaleform and Unity in order to get the game running smoothly on iOS and retaining the same value on PC and Mac.”

Marios Karagiannis, however, has had a fair bit of experience in designing for mobile ever since 2011. Although it was for Windows Phone. A platform he picked mostly due to the accessible development tools. “XNA was providing (at the time) an excellent game development framework for indies and Microsoft was really pushing for the platforms, which gave me a lot of perks.” He was also a little preoccupied at the time, what with pursuing his PhD and all. “Revenue as well as user acquisition was not my number one priority,” Karagiannis said, “I opted for having fun creating my games while making them available through a number of people through a centralized store at the same time.”

Jeroen Roding/ISOTX

Jeroen Roding/ISOTX

Mike Roush was mostly concerned about he and his team’s extensive background in console development, as mobile platforms are something of a different beast. The App Store is also a fairly unpredictable marketplace. “If we invest a significant amount of money into an iOS project and it doesn’t hit, then we are in trouble.” Roush said. There was also a lot less pressure for their games to succeed because they were a much smaller studio at first. “We had no fear of failing because our office burn-rate was around $1000.00. We didn’t really have much to lose and we could function on very little.”

Coming Around

appstoredevs_store03Even though they’ve had issues or reservations in the past, everyone agrees that there are some qualities the App Store possesses that made (or will make) it worth the effort. Even Daniel Steger hasn’t totally written off Apple’s mobile platforms. “I wouldn’t say an attempt to return to iOS is out of the question,” Steger said, “but there are a few places that take priority because of my experiences.” He’s been attempting to use Steam Greenlight to release his most recent project, Mount Your Friends, on PC and has been eyeing Google Play for another go at mobile devices. He’d still be willing to give Apple another shot, however. “If I heard Apple was being more transparent now on their review criteria, or heard that my old, rejected submission to the app store would be considered today by Apple that may influence a return.” Suraj Gregory-Kumar is simply looking forward to more time to learn, and hopes that Apple eventually opens up iOS to other development tools. “It would be easier being able to use a windows machine to develop for Apple (using Xcode/Objective-C),” he said.

Mike Roush/Gaijin Games

Mike Roush/Gaijin Games

Marios Karagiannis and Jeroen Roding are pretty much on-board already thanks to Apple’s install base. Since finishing his PhD last December, Karagiannis Has found that his priorities have been changing. “App Store users seem to be willing to pay more than Android users.” His biggest theory on this phenomenon has to do with the install base on Android versus iOS. “While on paper Android users are many more,” Karagiannis said, “the average Android user uses an old device and is used to getting all of their apps for free.” Of course a similar case could be made against iOS users, but there definitely seems to be a more universal acceptance of $0.99 releases on the App Store. Roding is more interested in the number of iOS users rather than the particulars of the App Store’s economics. “From a marketing point of view we really liked the average revenue per unit and the fact that we can reach a larger audience.” Roding said, “Also looking at the numbers for PC gamers having access to or owning a tablet are really good, around 30% of the PC gamers now owns a tablet.”

Karagiannis concurred. “Apple’s ecosystem proved to be quite robust and iOS as a gaming platform seems to be one step away from being the most successful gaming platform at the moment, including game consoles and PCs,” Karagiannis said. Mike Roush feels the same way, and has high hopes for Gaijin Games on the App Store. “We are actually working on the iOS version of Runner2 (it’s super amazing btw). I would be willing to bet, from here on out, every game we make will be on an iOS device.” Roush said, “You just can’t argue with the number of iOS units currently in the hands of people.”

 

When talking about the impact Apple’s App Store has had on people during the last five years it’s easy to just rattle off the numbers. But its influence goes beyond the hundreds of thousands of apps and the billions of downloads. Technology can simultaneously change the lives of entire populations and lowly individuals, individuals like me. The App Store has opened up opportunities for me to do the things I’ve always wanted to do, all while making me better at it.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for writing and a passion for video games. Naturally, video game journalism seemed like the best career to pursue because it allowed me to easily combine the two. In 2007, just as I was settling into high school, I started practicing my craft on tiny fan sites about big games most players had already made up their minds about.

In 2009, though, as App Store games and the sites that covered them were coming into their own, I saw the chance to really get serious about this strange path I was on. With so many games to choose from, players were actually in need of advice. App Store coverage was a growing segment of games journalism that could really help people, so it seemed as good a place as any to launch my career. From 2009 to 2010 I wrote for SlidetoPlay.com and in 2011 I made the jump here to 148Apps. Writing about the App Store these past four years has undoubtedly driven me to strengthen my writing and provide quality analysis, although there are definitely improvements still to be made. I’m incredibly grateful for the editors who have had faith in me and my work.

Reviewing over 150 games for 148Apps alone has also given me a greater understanding of video games as a whole. At least, I’d like to think so. Playing all of the different kinds of games on the platform, no matter how good, bad or crazy experimental, while trying to articulate how and why they do or don’t work has been an immensely beneficial intellectual endeavor. Video game criticism has the potential to be more than just simple purchasing advice. Like games themselves, the writing can become a true art form. As the App Store evolves, its role in gaming is increasing. By highlighting these smaller App Store games I’m hoping to make whatever tiny contribution I can to the larger field. These games can be reviewed on their own terms, without worrying about having to conform to some AAA gaming consensus or fandom pressure and that’s what makes them so special.

Of course, what also make the App Store so special are the people behind it. To get a better understanding of the industry, I’ve recently been trying to talk with more developers and other members of the press. Before leaving Chicago and coming back home for the summer, I had dinner with Tom Eastman of Trinket Studios, creators of Color Sheep, and drinks with 148Apps’ own Carter Dotson in the same week. Both experiences were great. The App Store itself may just be a cold, technological service set up by a massive corporation, but the communities of developers and writers that have come together because of it more than proves its value.

At just five years old, though, the App Store still has a bright future ahead of it. As I prepare to enter my last year of journalism school, I can’t wait to see what that future is and start covering it as a true professional. Writing about games is important to me and that’s not changing any time soon. So thank you App Store, 148Apps, and the wonderful people behind them both for helping me make my insanely frivolous dream an insanely meaningful reality.

 

Five years ago, I was eight years into a job that took me around Alaska via bush plane, working with kids with severe disabilities out in rural communities around the state. I was burning out, hard.

At the same time, I had just co-founded a site called GamesAreEvil (still active today!), a video game news and reviews site. We were starting to see some traction from publishers and PR folks, as they began to send us games to review without us begging them for a copy.

Then July 2008 hit and the App Store happened. We totally ignored it, being the snobbish console and handheld gamers that we were. As games trickled out, we started covering them because, hey, it was super easy for developers to send us their games, and, heck, these guys were pretty nice to boot.

Once 2009 rolled around, I launched The Portable Gamer (now a part of the 148Apps network) and started reviewing iOS and handheld games (Sony PSP, Nintendo DS) exclusively. The App Store continued to grow, as did we. Soon, we were reviewing and reporting on iOS exclusively. There just were that many games.

My day job, in the meantime, was increasingly frustrating. I kept getting raises (yay!) but wasn’t really doing much innovative work (boo!); in addition, I wasn’t seeing much impact of my work with kids. The burnout continued apace with my paycheck increases, and I felt worse and worse every day. I began to look forward to locking myself in my home office and writing for free every evening (when I wasn’t traveling). Looking back, I wish I’d seen the writing on the wall sooner.

As time moved on, I went to my first Game Developers Conference. I met 148Apps founder Jeff Scott there, and it turned out we had a lot in common (beer, old age). We worked together a bit, him helping me with coding things, me fawning all over him and promising to send beer that I never was able to find.

The following year, I said to him (over a beer), “Hey, you need an editor. Why not bring me on part time, see how it works out.”

That was in 2010. I’ve been here ever since.

It’s 2013, and I’ve just quit my day job to devote all of my time to writing. Mostly about the App Store, iOS, and Apple.

Without the App Store, I’d never have had the ability as a tiny site owner to practice and fail at writing, editing, and running a site.

Without the App Store, I’d never have gotten better at doing those things.

Without the App Store, no one would have wanted to hire me, let alone put me in charge of a ton of freelance writers and a crapload of content every day.

Without the App Store, I’d probably still be making a lot of money, and still be incredibly unhappy.

So, thanks Apple. Thanks App Store. Thanks GamesAreEvil and ThePortableGamer. Thanks Jeff and 148Apps. You all have made me a much better person, a much better writer, and–ultimately–a much better human being.

 

AdamSaltsmanAdam Saltsman is one of the most talented, intelligent, and opinionated developers working on the App Store nowadays. He’s worked on a selection of titles on the App Store as diverse as the influential endless runner Canabalt to the abstract touchscreen game Hundreds. However, there are reasons why he thinks Canabalt isn’t quite as influential as it appears to be, and his concerns about the future of the App Stores and the indies working on it.

148Apps: Canabalt remains one of the most influential games on the App Store as one of the first high-profile endless runners, and the one that seemingly sparked a million more games. What do you think of the game’s legacy, though? Do you see it in similar terms?

Adam Saltsman: So the funny thing about Canabalt to me is that it hasn’t sold as well as a lot of people think. We’ve probably sold maybe 250,000 or 300,000 copies or something, and a lot of those were during sales over the last few years combined. That’s nothing to laugh at, and I’m super thankful and grateful for that response from people, but I think the game had a bigger impact on journalists and other game developers than it did on the general public. Not to mention the hordes of games inspired by the games that Canabalt seems to have inspired, which probably outnumber Canabalt’s direct influences by a few orders of magnitude!

Canabalt

It’s important to remember that lots of games influenced Canabalt too, though, as well as Wurdle. These were not things created in a vacuum! All the same I could not be happier with Canabalt’s reception and impact. It feels like a huge honor, all the time, forever.

148Apps: The way that developers make money within the App Store has definitely shifted in the past 5 years, yet you have remained an outspoken critic of the way that many games use in-app purchases. Why is that? Has your position shifted at all over the last few years?

Saltsman: I don’t think my position has changed much. Most of the approaches to IAP or “free to play” style designs that are deployed on the App Store, especially in financially successful games, remain fairly corrupt or coercive in a way that makes me pretty uncomfortable. Some of these approaches have actually been outlawed in Japan, so I don’t think their coercive nature is completely imaginary. These approaches have even become formalized enough to have actual names (treadmills, energy systems, tight loops, etc).

I think players in general are at least slightly more aware of these systems. This is important, especially for kids. Many of these games still target children with schemes like “give us $5 or your virtual fish will DIE.” It’s good for people to understand that a “game” on their phone might operate that way.

But also there have been games with large IAP components that don’t really feel particularly coercive, like ShellRazer, which I think is cool. These games actually speak to the promise of IAP and F2P as a way of engaging a broader or different type of audience in different ways. These games are very definitely the exception to the rule, though.

148Apps: What do you think about the viability of the App Store over the next five years? Will there be any changes, or any directions that you would like to see the marketplace go in?

Saltsman: The App Store to me seems to really strongly favor a particular kind of approach (if you don’t do IAP of course), which we used on Hundreds. This approach goes something like this: “work on the game in relative secrecy for like 1–2 years, then launch it and hope it gets featured and impresses everybody enough to get the critical mass you need to get good word of mouth and a good long tail in the future.”

Hundreds-3

As a member of a small team, and somebody with a growing family, this approach freaks me out pretty bad, and there are a lot of platforms (especially PC/Mac) where you don’t have to take that kind of crazy all-or-nothing path. I would love it if the App Store could support preorders, and bundles, and a lot of these other things that help sustain small teams through risky development on other platforms.

On top of that, launching on the App Store first places certain price limits on your work in some people’s minds, and selling at a higher price point on other platforms later can be a challenge. For small teams, it seems like designing for PC/Mac first, with potentially touch-screen friendly controls in mind (e.g. favoring the mouse over gamepads), is a really superior way to approach things, from a business and tech perspective.

In the “old days” (ha ha!) it felt like you could just think up a real good game for the only model of iPhone/iPod Touch that actually existed, build it in a reasonable period of time, and kind of blow people’s minds. Prices weren’t quite as low back then either. It’s totally natural and understandable that those early successes would draw in more competition, but at this point, as a small team of 2 or 3, you have to be pretty receptive to the idea that you are up against teams of 10 or 12, with 1–2 years of publisher-backed runway. You can still compete, indies can ALWAYS compete…but if you are trying to make games commercially and take care of your family, you have to be cognizant of these things, and more considered in your approach in the future.

Thanks to Adam Saltsman for his time; it’s always a pleasure.

 

Over the past five years, many thousands of developers have tried their luck in creating the next big hit for iOS gamers. While some were there right from the beginning, others have found success in only the last couple of years. I took the time to chat to four relatively recently successful developers to find out exactly why they were so interested in pursuing the App Store route, and how they’ve found the experience so far.

“First and foremost it was the ease of development and getting things…running quickly, with no development kits and long processes of approval,” explained Simon Flesser of Simogo (most famous for the rather exceptionally spooky Year Walk). “That coupled with us being interested in the iPhone as a gaming platform and the different features it provides, touchscreen interaction, motion controls, constant internet connection…”

Simogo's Year Walk

Simogo’s Year Walk

Barry Meade of Fireproof Studios (makers of BAFTA award winning The Room) had similar views: “As a small team with little resources to draw on, the fact you could self-publish on the App Store was a huge enabler for us…The Room might never have been made if we’d had to rely on a publisher as it was a bit too unusual…they would not have believed in the game like we did.” As he pointed out, “the App Store allowed a team from nowhere to make a small game and see big success.”

The Room‘s Fireproof Games is one such team made up of ex-AAA developers, with the studio formed by six ex-lead artists from Criterion Games’ Burnout franchise. Similarly, Warhammer Quest‘s Rodeo Games came from such a background. Formed from executives previously working for the likes of EA, Lionhead, Criterion and Codemasters, Rodeo Games were provided the opportunity to pursue something new, thanks to the App Store.

“Well, we’d been in the AAA games industry for many years and had been talking about how to take steps in setting up our own company. The App Store was just flourishing at the time. It was this awesome, new, bold place for smaller dev teams to put their games in-front of a huge audience. So we crafted a plan with the mindset of making the very best turn based strategy games on iOS, and Rodeo Games was the result,” Ben Murch, co-founder, explained.

Fireproof Games's The Room

Fireproof Games’s The Room

Neil Rennison of Fighting Fantasy developer, Tin Man Games, enjoyed a similar revelatory moment, after a move to Australia, gave him the chance of starting his own indie development studio, just as the iPhone and the App Store came to fruition: “I was originally running a small games art outsource company in the UK and then…I…moved to Australia with the dreams of starting my own indie and making my own titles instead of working on other people’s games.”

How different do they all think things would be if the App Store didn’t exist, though? “Very! Certain types of business models and certain types of games would probably not exist without the App Store,” Simon reckoned. Ben offered similar views, although noted the loss of the “middle tier” of gaming: “The gaming world would be a very different place right now. Just think about how many small companies and jobs have been created just from iOS gaming alone. Before the App Store, there was this surge towards “middle tier” gaming, i.e. titles coming out in the £10 – £20 bracket. I guess that market would have grown more and become an eco-system in itself. However, thanks to the App Store, creators who were interested in that model shifted into the mobile market, effectively crippling the whole “middle tier” gaming sector.”

Rodeo Games's Warhammer Quest

Rodeo Games’s Warhammer Quest

Mention was also made, by Neil, of the fragmentation of the mobile phone operator universe, something that was a significant problem before the advent of the App Store. “Apple’s stock would be worth a lot less”, noted Barry. All quite rightly pointed out that none of them would be in the position they’re in today, if it wasn’t for the ease of the App Store.

For the most part, all four of our interviewees were very positive about the App Store’s impact. Each citing how it’s “paved the way for many small developers”, as Simon eloquently put it, and enabled them to try riskier material. As Ben pointed out, “Without the App Store, it would be nigh on impossible to get your strange little game idea in front of….well, thousands of people would be a struggle. Suddenly, anyone can release something that has exposure to HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of potential buyers. Just thinking about that blows my mind.”

Financial barriers are also lowered, as Barry explained: “The relative cheapness of mobile games development allows niche ideas to thrive.” Neil reinforced that point, citing how the games industry “was slowly becoming a bloated AAA only console game market and traditional game developers were beginning to struggle as the mid-point of the market was getting squeezed. The app revolution helped give developers options and in a way created its own new market in which everyone had the same opportunities from the big publishers to the lone bedroom coder…[it] was a perfect springboard for budding entrepreneurial devs like us.”

Tin Man Games's Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom

Tin Man Games’s Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom

Simon was slightly more cautious, enjoying the risks that were possible to take, but also citing how it’s “paved the way for some very questionable money-grabbing schemes… the market place has been somewhat flooded with low-quality software. It might have lowered the quality bar for what is considered to be a release-able piece software.”

That’s clearly a thought that runs through each of the developers’ minds, given that each recommends changes that make it easier to find good apps and games. Ben would appreciate a better quality Related Apps section and a twist on the Genius section, “Some form of “We recommend these Apps for you based on what you’ve downloaded already” type thing.” Discoverability is a big thing for Barry too, “There should be a lot more ways to format the lists of games when browsing the store. A chart by user rating is very needed for those smaller companies who make great games but get buried by the marketing clout of richer but arguably less skilful publishers.”

Higher “quality control” is an important wish for Simon, while Neil would appreciate a way to reply to App Store reviewers.

Rodeo Games's Hunters 2

Rodeo Games’s Hunters 2

For the most part, though, all four developers were, understandably, happy with how the App Store is performing, both in terms of business and personal use.

“I think Apple does a marvellous job at finding and promoting good games. It’s so nice that they can give small developers, such as us, a big spotlight if they find something that is good…it’s almost…unbelievable that something as strange as Year Walk can get the same type of exposure as a mainstream game from a big publisher,” beamed Simon.

The “open territory” of the Store was appreciated by Barry, also, “You can upload a game to the store and be published in 150 countries within 24 hours – this is really quite incredible when you compare it with how difficult it was to get a game onto other platforms only a few years ago. It’s pretty much a revolution in terms of enabling creativity,” with Neil offering similar views.

Simogo's Bumpy Road

Simogo’s Bumpy Road

As a consumer, it’s also proved quite the hit with Ben pointing out, “it’s that feeling of being able to browse a huge catalogue of games from your sofa, eventually finding something that’s right up your street. They have great landing pages in the App Store making it easy to find great games that you may not have heard of previously.” Neil appreciated the vast wealth of games, too, “it’s enabled me to play games that I haven’t played in over 20 years and also experience new innovative game designs from some truly talented people that wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to shine.”

While it’s clear that the App Store isn’t perfect, mostly in terms of offering great visibility to the titles that deserve it, these four developers have clearly found it an overwhelmingly useful experience. Each of them, from different backgrounds, have found great and deserved success, highlighting the best of what can come out of the App Store in terms of original efforts.

We’re certainly fascinated to see what will come next from these relatively new developers, part of the next generation of exciting game makers.

Thanks to Simon Flesser, Ben Murch, Barry Meade and Neil Rennison for taking the time to answer our questions.

$3.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-02-21 :: Category: Games

FREE!
$4.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-05-30 :: Category: Games

$0.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-09-19 :: Category: Games

$5.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-06-11 :: Category: Games

 

Being asked to sum up the past five years of the App Store, on a personal level, is tough. Partly, because I have the memory of a goldfish, but also because so much has happened in those few years. How do you highlight what’s so great about a device and service that you can’t imagine being without? My iPhone and the App Store, by proxy, has been immensely important to me in this time. It’s given me so much information, enjoyment and even been a great outlet in times of need. Here’s a feeble attempt at trying to sum up how vital it’s all been for me.

Memories

Launch day: Despite the goldfish analogy, I do remember when the App Store first launched. I’d had an iPhone for a couple of months previously and had dabbled in jailbreaking, but didn’t feel too comfortable with it. The day the App Store started was genuinely exciting stuff. It’s hard to believe, for those newer to the Store, but it was possible to browse from start to finish, thanks to there being a mere 500 apps available. I did that, regularly, until it got to a point where there were just too many titles to look at. Like with any launch day event, these apps didn’t show off everything the technology could do, but they did offer a glimpse of a thrilling future.

FlightControlHD-ss3

Flight Control: Excluding a dabble with the no longer with us, Bejeweled 2, Flight Control was my first great iOS love. It showed me how great the touch controls of the iPhone could be, and how quickly one could gain satisfaction from a phone game. My past experiences with mobile gaming had been fun, but lacking that certain something that made me think it could rival handheld consoles. Flight Control changed that, for me, and I loved spending ages battling to improve my high score. Not that I was any good at it, though!

Exploration: I like apps that enhance my life, and I’ve used many in the past. Star Chart sticks in my mind, however, thanks to it enabling me to learn more about an area. While at the summit of an ancient ridge, Cefn Bryn, I could load up Star Chart and work out exactly what stars were above me and where. It was pretty magical.

Highlights

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A career path: It’s a pretty significant one, but if it wasn’t for the App Store, I wouldn’t be writing this. In fact, I’m not entirely sure what I’d be doing, given throughout my freelance career thus far, the App Store and iOS have played a very big role. It’s changed my life for the better. It’s been nearly three years since I wrote my first review for 148apps, Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter, and I’m immensely grateful for how far I, and the site, have come.

The indie uprising: I always passively appreciated the efforts of indie developers, before the advent of the App Store, but my love for them has definitely grown. Perhaps more excitingly, I feel enabled to give it a go myself at some point. While I haven’t yet found the time spare to really pursue it, Xcode, Stencyl and Gamesalad are waiting for me, reminding me that the era of the bedroom coder has returned. That’s got to be a good thing for creativity, right?

Beloved Apps and Missed Titles

KOTOR_5

Favorites: I’ve struggled to narrow the list down. Really struggled. The memories of one Saturday morning avidly playing Game Dev Story in bed, before realising it’s practically lunchtime are particularly strong. Much the same as my hundreds of hours spent with Fairway Solitaire are fond, if tarnished by the time it inexplicably lost all my data and progress. Or how about the time I demonstrated the power of the iPad to my mother with the double whammy of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and XCOM: Enemy Unknown? The former being one of my favorite games of all time.

Out of them all, though, a select bunch are used nearly every day. I take photos each day to track my life and have some fond memories to look back on, so Instagram is a must have for me. I like to back up such things, as well as my social networking sharing, so Momento is always at the forefront of my recently used apps. As a writer, iA Writer completes the selection, thanks to its cloud syncing ensuring I can always write up a quick idea, no matter where I am. New Star Soccer remains the key game that I regularly find myself returning to, living my fantasy as a world class soccer player.

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Apps I miss: There are a couple of apps I miss, though. Puzzle Quest being one such title, given my love of the Match-3 genre and the fact I’ve played it to death on all other formats. Similarly, I adored Big Blue Bubble’s use of the Fighting Fantasy license, although at least Tin Man Games is doing a brilliant job of taking over that mantle.

It’s been a fun five years, and given how far the App Store has come in that time, I’m excited to see what the next five years will bring. It’s looking like a pretty rosy future to me!

 

Celebrate the App Store’s birthday with us — share your favorite apps and games on Facebook.

AppStoreTurns5It’s hard to believe that just half a decade ago, apps weren’t a “thing”. If you wanted to game on the go, or be productive while mobile, your choices were few, you were usually limited to the in-built software for your phone. With apps though, pretty much anything’s now possible. You can use your phone to write documents, find recipes, DJ, play all manner of games, oh yeah, and call and text.

So with this in mind, we’re celebrating this landmark along with our friends at Pocket Gamer, PocketGamer.biz, AppSpy and beyond, over on the Best App Ever Facebook Page. Our editors and regular contributors will be documenting their five favorite apps and games of the last five years, along with their hopes for the App Store in the future.

We’d love for you to be a part of it too. Share your favorite five games, and your wishes for the store moving forward, over on the Best App Ever Facebook Wall.

via: Best App Ever at Facebook

 

Update: 11:00am The time that Apple took the original 10 free apps live has come and gone. Perhaps this isn’t an Apple promotion after all. But, it’s still some great free, and historic apps.

We told you Sunday of the first round of apps and games set free in celebration of the App Store 5th Anniversary. Early indications look like Apple is about to swap those out for 10 new apps and games as the following have just gone free.

Peggle Classic HD - price returned to $0.99, was on sale for FREE!

Peggle Classic - price returned to $0.99, was on sale for FREE!

Dead Space™ for iPad - price returned to $9.99, was on sale for FREE!

Dead Space™ - price returned to $6.99, was on sale for FREE!

Flight Control HD - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for FREE!

Flight Control - price returned to $0.99, was on sale for FREE!

Mirror's Edge™ for iPad - price returned to $9.99, was on sale for FREE!

Mirror's Edge™ - price returned to $0.99, was on sale for FREE!

Make sure you head here and grab the first round too, if you haven’t already. There’s a chance they could go back to paid soon.

Apple is celebrating five years of the App Store by giving away five of the best games and apps. For a limited time, to celebrate the five year anniversary, you can download Badland, Infinity Blade II, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Tiny Wings HD, and Where’s My Water? for free. Also, the following apps have been made available for free to download; Barefoot World Atlas, Day One (Journal/Diary), How to Cook Everything, Over, and Traktor DJ. That’s a pretty sweet deal and a nice way to celebrate!

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 10.43.22 AM

 

The App Store turns five this week, and we’ll be taking a long look back at this disruptive force in the way we use our mobile devices. Back in 2008, when the App Store launched, we had no idea how far it would come in such a short time, but hindsight is a good thing.

During that time, there have been a ton of apps that changed and improved the state of the art. Here, then, are ten that we think really matter, apps that had an effect on our lives, even now. Apps that changed the landscape of what we expected from a mobile device, and gave us new ways of interacting, sharing, and understanding our world.

Instagram

 
instagram
The grandaddy of social image sharing, Instagram created, with an ease of use and pretty image filters, a whole new social network based on images. In an era of Facebook (who eventually bought the service) and Twitter, that was no small feat.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-10-06 :: Category: Photography

Snapchat

 
snapchat
While derided as a possible porn-chat app, Snapchat took a single idea and refined it to a razor’s edge: take a picture, caption it, and share with your friends. Then, zen-like, that picture disappears. The hidden potential in this app caught on with young and old alike, changing the way we communicated with pictures. Without an archive, Snapchat lets users freely share what they might not otherwise.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-07-13 :: Category: Photography

Whatsapp

 
whatsapp 2whatsapp 3
Here’s an app that allows anyone on any platform to exchange messages with anyone else on any other platform. In a world where you’re just as likely to have friends using Android or Blackberry as iOS, this was a revelation. Many other apps tried something similar, but Whatsapp has the userbase and an easy to use, intuitive app that brought it to the forefront. Now we can stay in touch with all our friends and family, regardless of platform, for free.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-05-04 :: Category: Social Networking

Camera+

 
Camera+ multiple importCamera+ lightbox
The photographer’s photography app, Camera+ fairly invented iPhoneography, letting iPhone users capture and edit better photos than the built in app with ease. Since its launch, the app has kept pace with upgrades in technology and the camera lenses in each iteration of iPhone, empowering real photographers and talented amateurs alike. Heck, they even pioneered using the volume button as a shutter release, until Apple shut that down, only to use it in the built-in Camera app.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-06-07 :: Category: Photography

Dropbox

 
HowToFileTransfer-DropboxOpenIn
Before Google Drive, before iCloud, there was Dropbox, a service that mirrors your documents across computers with a simple, unified login. The Dropbox app on the iPhone took the same, intuitive simplicity and allowed us all to access and edit the same documents on the go as easily as doing so on our Macs and PCs.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-09-29 :: Category: Productivity

Evernote

 evernote
Take notes, save pictures, record audio, bookmark websites. Do this on any device you own: Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android. Evernote has become the de facto standard for network-connected note taking, and much more. You can use this app to write a shopping list on your computer, and then pull it up on your iPhone while at the store. You can collaborate with others on documents, sharing notes and notebooks with ease.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category: Productivity

Shazam

 
Shazam2
Ever been in the car when a song comes up on the radio and you just can’t remember the artist that performed it? Hold your iPhone up, launch Shazam, and let the app magically recognize the music, returning the artist name, album, and easy-purchase buttons for the iTunes store. Newer features include movie preview recognition with links to more information, and television ads that, when recognized, provide links to vendor websites. It’s magical technology at its best.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category: Music

InstaPaper

 
Instapaper Pro
Marco Arment created Instapaper as a basic web app, single handedly creating the “read it later” market that many other apps now compete for. Arment started the service in 2008, built the iPhone app himself, and saw the service grow far beyond his initial vision. He’s subsequently sold the app to another company, who promise to maintain and improve it as we continue forward.

FREE!
$3.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-08-21 :: Category: News

Waze

 
waze 2waze 1
Waze was one of the first social mapping and traffic app, allowing users to share road conditions with each other while on the go. It may be one of the most unappreciated apps on this list, but it continues to serve a loyal and vocal user base, providing real-time help from users to help us all plan the best route possible.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-08-01 :: Category: Navigation

Foursquare

 
FourSquare
The check-in craze started here, with Foursquare. Becoming the mayor of a location, along with various gamification features, provided a stickiness not seen before the apps release. Even with privacy concerns dogging its every step, Foursquare has managed to remain in the public imagination as the way to let our friends know where we are at any given time.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-03-27 :: Category: Travel

Flipboard

 
flipboard 3flipboard 4
RSS is great, as are Twitter and Facebook feeds. But what we really want is a place to see all of those things at once, published in a slick, easy to use layout. Enter Flipboard, still the best darn social news reader around. It makes the various web sites and social feeds we all rely on much prettier and interesting to look at, letting us keep up to date without having to dip into several different apps to do so.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-07-21 :: Category: News

Pandora

 
do@-Pandora-socialradarpandora_list
Founded as a streaming internet radio service on the web, Pandora made the transition to iOS brilliantly, becoming a force to reckon with in the competitive streaming music market, as well as a household name known by one and all. While other services continue to chip away at the venerable service, offering on-demand music access, Pandora continues to be the music access app of choice on iOS devices everywhere.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category: Music

Urbanspoon

 
urbanspoon1urbanspoon2
Can’t decide where to eat? Shake your iPhone and Urbanspoon will randomly choose a restaurant nearby that matches your criteria of price, cuisine, and distance. Released in August of 2008, Urbanspoon was the first app on the App Store to combine GPS location data with a database of local dining and drinking establishments, creating a loyal community that reviewed meals, restaurants, and service for other users.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category:

We met with Thomas Konkol today, an indie developer who runs Imminent Games. Drip Drip, originally released on the Mac App Store, is coming to the iPad within the next few months. The game looks great, and the touch-screen really seems to be a great fit for this rain-management game.

Your App Authority

Having trouble making sense out of the overwhelming number of apps released each week? Have no fear! Just look to 148Apps for the best app reviews on the web. Our reviewers sift through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

VideoGrade

videograde06

I’ve never really been one for taking video with my phone, mostly because of storage space. I also like to mess around with the videos that I do take, and straight-up iOS video doesn’t really give me that opportunity. With an app like VideoGrade, however, I might start using the feature a lot more often. VideoGrade is probably easiest to describe as Instagram for video clips. Users can make all sorts of adjustments from Brightness to Vignettes, and even cut down their video if they so desire. They just have to allow access to their Camera Roll, pick what they want, and start editing. Most values are adjusted via sliders that can be set back to the default at any point if a mistake is ever made and once everything is good to go users just have to save the new clip and they’re done. –Rob Rich

Sorcery!

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Tin Man Games has done a fantastic job lately, of bringing the Fighting Fantasy experience to iOS. Now, it’s the turn of a different studio, Inkle. Bringing Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! to iOS is quite the undertaking given the mini-series encompasses four books, but if the first book is anything to go by, this is going to be quite the collection. Don’t expect an experience in which players flick through the book’s pages. Sorcery! isn’t like that. Feeling more like a crossover of a board game and an interactive novel, players are presented with a beautiful hand-drawn map as they drag their character’s pawn through the ever dangerous world contained within. Choices are dictated through a series of blue flags, indicating what can be done, rather than simple text. –Jennifer Allen

Circles Memory Game

circles

Circles Memory Game is a lot like the popular ‘80s game, Simon, if it were reproduced for iOS today. It’s a beautiful and challenging game that’s almost impossible to put down for too long. Players are presented with a clean and polished interface. There are four ways to play: practice, levels, top score and multi-player. It’s best to start with practice to get a feel for things. In practice, gamers can select up to six different colored circles. The idea behind the gameplay is simple. Players watch a sequence of circles light up and play a sound. That sequence must then be repeated. Every turn adds a new part to the sequence and players keep at it until they make a mistake. –Angela LaFollette

Flowboard

flowboard4

Hot on the heels of content creation app, Stampsy, Flowboard is quite the revelation in making it easy to tell a photo story or present a portfolio of work. As simple as it sounds, users can just pick out a template before adding pictures, videos, text and web links to their content. More advanced users can opt to create their own template from scratch. It’s the kind of interface that’s reminiscent of desktop publishing tools of old, but with a much more intuitive touch based set of controls. –Jennifer Allen

Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

YodelOh Math Mountain

yodeloh

Readers and fans of Spinlight Studio may be familiar with an app of theirs from last year, the memorable YodelOh – a wonderful take on the classic shooting gallery-style game taking place in the Swiss Alps. This is a game that my son, although far from mastering, really enjoys playing and although it is not specifically an app with a high educational value, I am happy for my son to use his screen time playing this game as the look of this app is lovely and fun as well as being great for his reflexes and hand/eye coordination. Because of this, I am very happy to let readers know about Spinlight Studio’s new app, YodelOh Math Mountain, with much of the same game play as their original app… –Amy Solomon

Little Dead Riding Hood

riding hood

When I first read about the app Little Dead Riding Hood, I assumed that it was a novelty platformer with zombie elements, as these types of apps can easily be found in iTunes, typically devoid of any educational value.
I am so very happy that I gave this app a closer look because my assumptions were totally wrong, as Little Dead Riding Hood is an interactive storybook app with both English and Spanish translations included as well as the highest of production values – a refreshing tale on this classic story of Little Red Riding Hood. Although I highly recommend this app, this recommendation is a qualified one… –Amy Solomon

Fairytale Maze 123

fairytale

I am quite pleased to let readers know about Fairytale Maze 123, the third in a series of Maze apps by GiggleUp. My son and I are huge fans of these mazes, as they are the ones chosen by my son to work with over and over again. He was tickled pink to explore Fairytale Maze 123, as this app weaves wonderful fairytale elements within, including oftentimes iconic characters as well as other details my son simply adores. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Tennis in the Face

tennis

Tennis in the Face is a morality tale about tennis, energy drinks and the curiously-named Pete Pagassi. In my quest to free society from the debilitating addiction to Explodz that destroyed my promising career as a tennis pro, I used my racquet to defeat hordes of platformed folks with different attributes. The action was leveled and fast paced; Pagassi was armed with a racquet and balls, had to take out different types of opponents by making use of ricochets to get into tight spaces and to avoid deadening obstacles. To put the ball in play, I simply used a finger to draw a path in a straight line to where I wanted it to head to. Basically, I wanted to take out the caffeinated drones out with point-garnering strikes to the body, with extra bounties paid for head shots. –Tre Lawrence

Dog Sled Saga

dog sled

Chicago’s bubbling-under indie scene has seen some Kickstarter success, and the latest project to come up from the Windy City is Dan FitzGerald and Lisa Bromiel’s Dog Sled Saga. This is a cross-platform arcade dog-mushing game. Ever play that before? Well, they’re looking to raise funding for the game’s development via Kickstarter to make this idea a reality. The core gameplay involves tossing food to the team of four dogs to keep them at their peak performance in order to do well in the mushing competitions that are entered. It’s a simple control scheme to use, just tap and hold to control the angle the food will be launched at, but doing this effectively at a continuous rate will be the challenge. –Carter Dotson

Fish Tails

fish

Fish Tails was a fun game that I stumbled upon while reviewing Green Throttle Bluetooth Controller. In this side scrolling aquamarine game, I got to guide my adventuresome koi fish on gold collecting errand. The game made me think of arcade games, with its soft color schemes that made up the background. Visually, it was made up of mostly stills; the animations were not groundbreaking, but they worked. Air was air, water was water and little ambiguity existed. The extras, like fish and birds, were utilitarian in looks and movements. –Tre Lawrence

AppGratis-645x250

Over the weekend, AppGratis, the popular app promotion app with over 12 million downloads, was pulled from the App Store by Apple. It was originally thought that it violated the rules Apple has in place to keep apps from looking too much like the App Store, the 2.25 clause. Yesterday All Things D heard from Apple that it did indeed violate this rule as well as a rule that prohibited commercial use of push notifications.

Today, AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlett tells the AppGratis side of the story.

Dawlett says that he is shocked by the actions Apple has taken against his company due to the fact that AppGratis had cleared some of the rule violations with App Store reviewers prior to being taken down. This included a new iPad version of the app that was approved a few days before the takedown. However, Dawlett notes that it was a new Apple employee that he’s never heard of that made the decision to take down the app for breaking rules, even though they had worked around some of them before. This shows how fine of a line AppGratis was previously walking.

Apple made a decision to do what’s best for the App Store and its ecosystem rather than what’s best for AppGratis. This could be because AppGratis had impact on the the AppStore as their app was able to push almost any download to number 1 on the free charts. Apple probably didn’t like seeing them, or any company, have that type of power over the App Store and sell the service to do so. Most likely, Apple brought in a rule enforcer to take care of the problem.

Dawlett also reassures AppGratis customers (and investors) that the service continues to work. “Our iOS apps may have been unavailable now for a few days,” he wrote, “but at the same time, a few million free apps have been downloaded through AppGratis since last Friday. So for now, it’s business as usual in AppGratis’s world.”

Image: The Next Web

source: AppGratis
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