Posts Tagged app store

 

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!
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+ 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.

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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

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

Peggle - 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!

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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

 
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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+

 
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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

 
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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

 
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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.

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

Waze

 
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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: Social Networking

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

 
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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

This week at 148Apps.com all eyes were still pointed at Firemint’s upcoming Real Racing 3. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, “Sister site Pocket Gamer editor Richard Brown discovered that Real Racing 3 is showing up in Game Center. The good news is that means it’s been approved by Apple and it can’t be long before the release now. While it’s not out yet, this does bring up something interesting. Something I noticed in the Game Center achievements lends a little to the accuracy of rumors and theories I’ve been hearing that Real Racing 3 will be released as a free to play game.

Last week we took you through a three part series about the history of the App Store icon, Real Racing. Rob Rich covered the history and design of the first two games in the series. He also covered time-shifted multiplayer and other new features expected in Real Racing 3. An excellent series and well worth a read. One thing we didn’t cover is how the game will be monetized as it has yet to be announced. That monetization method is likely to have huge implications on how the game is received by the fans of the series.”

Want more? Read more at 148Apps.

GiggleApps.com writer Amy Solomon contributed a review of Whack A Bone: “Whack A Bone is a wonderful app for iPad that is truly an educational delight, teaching about the anatomy of bones found in the human body.

Nicely sectioned into groups, users will learn about the bones that make up one’s core, such as cranium, sternum or vertebrae which is grouped here into three different categories – cervical, thoracic and lumbar, as well as the arm and leg bones, each consisting of its own section as well.

To play this pirate-themed anatomy game, place the bones from the different sections back to their rightful places inside a skeleton with the direction of a talking parrot whose attitude kids will find witty and fun.”

Read all about Whack A Bone at GiggleApps.

$2.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-11-27 :: Category: Education

And what week would be complete without a KickStarter Spotlight on AndroidRundown.com. This week, writer Joseph Bertolini focuses on Freedom Planet: “It has been a while since we have really taken an in depth look to one of the fields in which KickStarter has benefited the most; indie game developers. As most everyone knows, indie game sales have exploded over the last few years; bolstered by better distribution methods like Steam and a more willing Sony and Microsoft. It goes without saying that a strong indie market is one of the most important factors to a great gaming industry. Recognizing this, our choice for this week’s KickStarter Spotlight is Freedom Planet, a game that will harken strongly back to the days when Sonic and MegaMan were dominating the console market.”

Follow up on this Kickstarter Spotlight on AndroidRundown.

Another week down, but another one right around the corner! Keep track of the latest happenings by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. You’ll be glad you did! See you next week.

Buyers Beware – App-Shopping Red Flags

The App Store can be a wonderful place full of far too many games to count spread across every genre imaginable. However, despite all the rules and regulations for submissions, a few shady characters will inevitably fall through the cracks. In my numerous App Store searches I’ve seen my fair share of cash-grabs, some obvious and some not so much, but I’ve also begun to notice a few telltale signs that can be a good indication of a developer’s intentions.

This guide is not written in stone, and there are always exceptions to every rule. And I in no way mean to imply that the majority of App Store developers are simply out to con the unwary out of their money. Quite the contrary. Most of them are great folks who are just trying to make an honest dollar doing what they love and making other people happy. I only wish to pass a few tips along in the hopes that it may give you all a better idea of some of the things to look out for.


Tip #1 – Judging a game by its icon


Not all icons can be winners. That being said, if you see an icon featuring a recognizable character or a recognizable character who’s been slightly tweaked so they look a little different, proceed with caution. Using an icon that looks incredibly similar to a top selling iOS (even PC or console) game is a tactic often used to trick potential buyers.

Tip #2 – Check the screen shots


Screen shots are another good indication of legitimacy. They won’t all feature showpiece visuals but they still need to be there. If a game only has one or two screens available for viewing in the store, and those screens don’t actually show any in-game content, tread very carefully. Another “tell” of sorts is the actual content of the game screens. If the visuals look exactly like another game, or if (and I’ve seen this before) it looks like someone pasted some virtual buttons on top of a screencap, you might want to think twice before buying.

Tip #3 – File size


You see a game that looks awesome and the description makes it sound like the best thing since, well, the iPhone and it has a dozen glowing reviews. Before you hit “Purchase,” just take a quick peek at its file size. If this jaw-dropping showcase of iOS visual prowess takes up 5 MB (or even 50), it’s highly unlikely those screens or reviews are for real. Which brings me to my final tip.

Tip #4 – Check those reviews


User are largely subjective, but they can still be quite telling. If a game has a dozen five-star reviews and three or four with one-star, take the time to read the one-stars. Not liking a game is one thing, but when a buyer claims the game in question is totally different than what’s advertised you might want to pay attention. Also look out for reviews that are way too positive. It might be a trap.

This Week at 148Apps: January 21-25

This week at 148Apps.com, site founder Jeff Scott interviewed Kevin Dent, creator of P4RK: The Game Achievement Network. Dent says, “So right now gamers on mobile can engage in different rewards platforms, most of these firms reward gamers for having “moments” I am not making this up. Once you hit that “moment” you get a bag of Pop Chips etc. Now I am sure there are people that enjoy Popchips! P4RC is different in that we go in altogether different direction. We created a platform where gamers accumulate points regardless of whether they have their “moment” or not. With those points they can spend them on whatever they want, we are empowering the rewards business.

They are your points, it’s your choice and they are your rewards.

Also we do not cap the points so you can go big, medium or small; they are your points.”

Read more about P4RK at 148Apps.

At GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon reviewed another game from the celebrated PBS Kids series Martha Speaks: “Martha Speaks Story Maker opens with a series of questions for the players about the story they would like to create – be it characters, locations or items of interest to be used in their own fun and creative adventures. These choices are then used in a creative and fun story and there are enough variables to choose from that each story can easily be different from the last and can be stored in this app’s library to be enjoyed in the future.”

Find out more about Martha Speaks Story Maker at GiggleApps.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-10-11 :: Category: Education

And our AndroidRundown.com KickStarter spotlight of the week was for Trellie. Joseph Bertolini writes, “Enter the Trellie, a metallic key chain that attaches to the outside of any woman’s purse and has two lights that illuminate and blink when ever the connected phone is receiving or has missed a call. This really does two things because, especially at night, the blinking will be a great visual alarm as well as something that lets the user dig into their bag and check their phone less. This secondary use really does free up social situations and keeps the user engaged in the people around them instead of constantly rummaging through their purses.”

Read more about this new device on AndroidRundown.com.

Thus ends the week that was, but there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow right around the corner. Join us for the latest app news, reviews and more, and keep track of everything by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. See you next week!

When a week starts off with New Year’s Eve, it’s bound to be a good one, and this week was no exception at 148Apps.com. Site founder Jeff Scott started us off with a bang by saying, “We are proud to announce the nominees for the fifth annual Best App Ever Awards. The awards that celebrate the best apps available, not just the best selling. This year we saw an amazing response with over 715,000 nominations submitted for 6,755 unique apps!

Voting is now open and will remain open through January 31st, 2013. Winners will be announced in February and details on that are to come.”

Want to see the complete list of nominees, and get in on the voting? Head to 148Apps.

Over at GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon took a closer look at Hansel & Gretel: Lost, saying, “Hansel & Gretel: Lost is a well crafted re-telling of this classic story for iPad, wonderfully illustrated with animations as well as including top-notch narration, music and sound effects. Auto-play is also an option as well as silencing the narration to read this book by oneself.

It is easy to tell from the first page that this app is something special. The illustrations are lush with color and beautiful to look at with a marbled textured style that I always find appealing. Every element in this book is at a superlative level of quality that adults will greatly appreciate, as will their children.”

Read Amy’s complete review at GiggleApps.

$3.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-10-05 :: Category: Books

Finally, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson took on the establishment and challenged the conventional wisdom about “iPhone Killer” hardware: “Well, it took a bit longer than expected, but it seems like Google is finally going to use their Motorola acquisition to actually make a standout phone for themselves, the “X Phone.” Or whatever the next Nexus device will be called.

The immediate speculation swirling around is that this is finally Google’s “iPhone Killer.” You know, like the other Nexus devices that were iPhone killers. I don’t think that anything at this point will be an iPhone killer. It just isn’t going to happen.”

Read more of Carter’s missive at AndroidRundown.

And so begins 2013! Keep track of all the latest happenings, including developments in the Best App Ever Awards, by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook and following us on Pinterest. And from all of us across the 148Apps network of sites, have a Happy New Year!

As another year draws to a close, millions of people will find iOS devices and iTunes gift cards waiting for them under the tree. That means lots of people looking for apps and games to download and that means it’s time for a HUGE sale. This year does not disappoint with tons of apps and games on sale and a ton going free for Christmas week.

If you enjoy this list, feel free to tweet or share this post on Facebook.

Here are our picks from the best of the best apps and games on sale. And as a reminder, you can always find the latest apps and games on sale at our iOS Price Drops page.

Update 12/24, 10am: updated with a couple dozen newly found great apps on sale – at the top of the list of “all the rest”. Merry Christmas Eve!

Big Fish Games

Big Fish Games prides itself in putting out a new game every day. And most of their games are now on sale. That’s a lot of games. Here’s the full list and a few of our favorites below.

Cooking Academy (Full) - price returned to $1.99, was on sale for $0.99

On Sale Now-
Sale: $0.99
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, works on iPad
Released: 2012-05-29 :: Category: Games

EA / Popcap / Firemonkeys Annual Game Sale

EA has, once again, put nearly all of their games on sale for $0.99 the holiday. A great way to stock up on any that you may have missed. Here are a few of our favorites, or see the full list for EA, Firemonkeys, or Popcap games on sale.

Need for Speed™ Most Wanted - price returned to $6.99, was on sale for $0.99

FIFA SOCCER 13 by EA SPORTS - price returned to $6.99, was on sale for $0.99

On Sale Now-
Sale: $0.99
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, works on iPad
Released: 2011-02-10 :: Category: Games

On Sale Now-
Sale: $0.99
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, works on iPad
Released: 2010-02-15 :: Category: Games

On Sale Now-
Sale: $0.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-04-01 :: Category: Games

Real Racing 2 - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99

Real Racing 2 HD - price returned to $6.99, was on sale for $0.99

Gameloft

A few of the more recent Gameloft games are on sale for $0.99.

Wild Blood - price returned to $6.99, was on sale for $0.99

The Adventures of Tintin™ - The Game - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99

Order & Chaos© Online - price returned to $6.99, was on sale for $0.99

The Dark Knight Rises ™ - price returned to $6.99, was on sale for $0.99

N.O.V.A. 3 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance - price returned to $6.99, was on sale for $0.99

Rockstar Games

Max Payne Mobile - price returned to $2.99, was on sale for $0.99

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99

Grand Theft Auto III - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99

Sega

Sega have put a few of their games on sale.

Crazy Taxi - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $1.99

Sonic The Hedgehog 4™ Episode I - price returned to $2.99, was on sale for $0.99

Jet Set Radio - price returned to $2.99, was on sale for $1.99

Sonic The Hedgehog 4™ Episode II - price returned to $2.99, was on sale for $0.99

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing - price returned to $3.99, was on sale for $0.99

Square Enix

Squeenix has put a bunch of their games on sale as well. Here’s the full list and our favorites are below.

CHAOS RINGS - price returned to $7.99, was on sale for $3.99

CHAOS RINGS Ω - price returned to $8.99, was on sale for $3.99

CHAOS RINGS II - price returned to $15.99, was on sale for $9.99

Taito

Telltale Games

Telltale celebrates their winning multiple Game of the Year awards for The Walking Dead by putting the first episode out for free, and all of their other games on sale for $0.99.

On Sale Now-
Sale: FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-07-26 :: Category: Games

All The Rest

Bladeslinger Ep.1 - price returned to $6.99, was on sale for $0.99

On Sale Now-
Sale: $0.99
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, works on iPad
Released: 2012-11-21 :: Category: Photography

Lumigon - price returned to $1.99, was on sale for FREE!

DODONPACHI MAXIMUM - price returned to $11.99, was on sale for $6.99

Eufloria - price returned to $2.99, was on sale for $0.99

Super Hexagon - price returned to $2.99, was on sale for $0.99

Bad Hotel - price returned to $1.99, was on sale for $0.99


On Sale Now-
Sale: FREE!
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-08-09 :: Category: Games

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

Racing Legends - price returned to $3.99, was on sale for $0.99

ControlCraft 2 - price returned to $1.99, was on sale for FREE!

METAL SLUG 3 - price returned to $3.99, was on sale for $1.99

SketchBook Ink - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $2.99

Sid Meier's Pirates! - price returned to $2.99, was on sale for $0.99

Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #1 - price returned to $14.99, was on sale for $7.99

Snow Bros - price returned to $2.99, was on sale for $0.99

On Sale Now-
Sale: FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-05-17 :: Category: Games

Crashsite - price returned to $9.99, was on sale for $1.99

Air Tycoon 2 HD - price returned to $2.99, was on sale for $1.99

Gravity 2.0 - price returned to $1.99, was on sale for FREE!

Eufloria HD - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99

GlitchMachine - price returned to $2.99, was on sale for $0.99

On Sale Now-
Sale: FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-12-14 :: Category: Games

The Early Edition 2 - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99

On Sale Now-
Sale: FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-10-15 :: Category: Games

Rapunzel - Interactive Pop-up Book - price returned to $1.99, was on sale for FREE!

Paddington Bear - price returned to $1.99, was on sale for FREE!

This Week at 148Apps: November 19-23

This week at 148Apps.com, we turkey trotted our way into Thanksgiving and the holiday season with a tremendous list of apps for sale, courtesy of site founder Jeff Scott: “Black Friday is the biggest sale day of the year for the big box stores. And the same is true for the App Store. But the good thing about the App Store is there’s virtually 0% chance of getting trampled while trying to get that $39 laptop everyone is racing for.

This week and into Monday we’ll likely see hundreds of iOS games and apps on sale at some really great prices. We’ll be updating this post frequently through Monday with the best of the sale apps and games.”

Want to know more? Read our full Price Drop list at 148Apps.

The holiday spirit continued at GiggleApps.com, with Amy Solomon’s review of Wombi Toys: “Wombi Toys – a toy workshop for kids is a new interactive app that my son is really enjoying.

My son always get so much out of immersive role-playing apps, be it mini-games or more open-ended adventures which allow my son to cook for animals, plant a garden, pretend to be a doctor, fix a car or play tea party.

For those parents who know exactly the genre of app I am talking about, it is worth getting to know Wombi, a Swedish developer with a wonderful sense of style.

They have developed a series of really fun jigsaw puzzles of different themes and other apps that I have also enjoyed, so I was super-excited for the release of Wombi Toys – a toy workshop for kids which allows children to play toy-themed mini-games, building or fixing a very nice variety of toys such as wind-up car, painting alphabet blocks or using a hand pump to inflate a ball as each of these games are cute and fun, tactile as well as intuitive.”

Get your child into the toy workshop and read Amy’s full review at GiggleApps.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-18 :: Category: Games

Finally, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson shared some unfortunate news: One of the biggest names of the early days of touchscreen mobile gaming is about to finally fade away: parent company GREE is shutting down OpenFeint, effective in December.

OpenFeint may not be as fondly remembered on Android as it is on iOS. It was the first real service to provide leaderboards and achievements, a much-desired feature. However, the platform failed to expand upon that core functionality once Game Center kicked in and became ubiquitous; while features like cloud saves were implemented by OpenFeint (and seen in games like INC which provided cross-platform saves) they never took off with developers or the public. However, the service was still purchased by GREE, and has been languishing recently as it transitions in to the GREE Platform.”

Read Carter’s full report on AndroidRundown.

And, as the tryptophan kicks in, we bid you a fond adieu this week. But make sure you keep track of all the latest sales, contests, reviews and news items by following us on Twitter and Facebook. See you next week. Gobble gobble.

Black Friday is the biggest sale day of the year for the big box stores. And the same is true for the App Store. But the good thing about the App Store is there’s virtually 0% chance of getting trampled while trying to get that $39 laptop everyone is racing for.

This week and into Monday we’ll likely see hundreds of iOS games and apps on sale at some really great prices. We’ll be updating this post frequently through Monday with the best of the sale apps and games. You can head also over to our Price Drops page for the full list.

In general most of the following apps and games are on sale in the US App Store. But many will be on sale in all stores all over the world. Have an app on sale that’s not in our list? Send a quick email to editor at this domain and we’ll take a look.

Update History:

2012-11-21 – Looks like it’s going to be a big year. To keep things more reasonable, we’ve split up our list into three parts, Games, Apps, and Educational. See below for the three links.
2012-11-20 – Initial version, some of the app and game sales that have gone live early so we’ve gone live with our list for your app shopping pleasure.

We have 113 top sale apps and games in total. Click below to go to the appropriate post for the sale type you are interested in:

» Black Friday and Cyber Monday iPhone and iPad Games on Sale

» Black Friday and Cyber Monday iPhone and iPad Apps on Sale

» Black Friday and Cyber Monday iPhone and iPad Educational and Kids Apps on Sale

This Week at 148Apps: November 12-16

This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre reviewed some exciting new printer technology for everyone with an iOS device: “The Lantronix xPrintServer is one of those rare bits of networking/printing hardware that just…works. I can’t be more effusive in my praise for this device, having been an IT coordinator for a small office in which printers and the network printing thereof was a weekly headache for my staff and I.

The tiny little plastic xPrintServer comes in a nicely packaged box, which includes a plug with several adapters for various national plug configurations, an ethernet cable, and the device itself: a cute little white plastic rectangle that isn’t much bigger than an iPhone 5. One of the short ends of this device has a port for the ethernet cable, the power adapter and a USB port.”

Want more? Read it all at 148Apps.

Over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon took a closer look at Toca Tailor, saying, “Toca Tailor is the new, highly anticipated universal app that allows children to create their own clothing from a plethora of options.

Toca Boca is well known for what they call “digital toys,” wonderfully themed apps that children can play with in the same fashion as their other classic toys.

Toca Tailor reminds me of my old toy “Fashion Plates” where one could select from a series of plastic head, top and bottom plates, be it skirt or pants choices to create different fashions as one would make a relief, rubbing a crayon on paper placed over these plates with their raised designs. I have very fond memories of this toy, yet I was well aware even as a child that the different outfits one could make were not unlimited.”

Indulge your inner fashionista, and learn more at GiggleApps.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-25 :: Category: Education

Finally, Carter Dotson explored a paradox at 148Apps.biz: “Thursdays are all hype. Despite being the big release day for many new apps, there’s actually very little benefit to marketing or downloads in this period, according to ad firm Chartboost, and every other day has different benefits versus Thursday.

First, according to Chartboost, Wednesday is actually the most popular release day, because it’s the day right before Apple updates their featured lists on the iPhone and iPad App Stores. In reality, what’s happening is that developers are scheduling releases for midnight (0:00) on Thursday, and because apps get released at that time worldwide, which winds up being 11pm eastern in North America due to the Atlantic Time Zone, these apps start appearing on Wednesday.

But here’s the thing: that Thursday is actually a lousy day to be promoting apps.”

Intrigued? Read more at 148Apps.biz.

And that brings us one week closer to Thanksgiving here in the US. Be sure to follow us right here, or on Twitter or Facebook for the latest news, reviews and holiday sales. See you next week, smart shoppers!

App Store Pages Updated

Posted by on November 8th, 2012

Macstories noticed that the iTunes App Store pages on both the device App Stores and the desktop versions have been updated to feature more apps. The individual category pages (like Productivity below) have been updated to look more like the front page by featuring special apps more prominantly. It’s a move that’s been expected since they updated the Games category earlier this year.

source: Macstories

This Week at 148Apps: September 17-21

This week at 148Apps.com, iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 were never too far out of our collective consciousness, as evidenced by site founder Jeff Scott’s discussion of changes in the iOS App Store: “Take exposing the top paid, free, and grossing apps at the same time on the landing page of the Top Apps list, for instance. It seems like a small change, but it promotes free apps to the front of the page and lowers the exposure of the top paid apps past the first three. Michael Zaletel of i4software notes, ‘This gives MUCH MORE prominence to the Top Free Apps and so I predict Free apps and Freemium apps will see a big boost after today.’”

Read more of Jeff’s commentary at 148Apps.

Meanwhile, back in the GiggleApps.com cave, reviewer Amy Solomon had this to say about Superhero Comic Book Maker HD: “Comic Maker allows one to choose from 27 backgrounds, a blank page and a chance to access photos from one’s device to work on. I really enjoy these backdrops, each bold and colorful, as there are wonderful choices to stimulate creative thinking and superhero or monster themes, such as the POV from a spaceship, industrial setting with robots and a conveyer belt, as well as other more natural scenes including a farm, saloon, or desert, which allow these characters to visit Earth. It is worth noting that although the theme here includes monsters, every image included within is utterly family-friendly, as is the included classical music based on classic nursery rhymes that Duck Duck Moose is known for.”

Intrigued? Read Amy’s full review at GiggleApps.

$1.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-08-01 :: Category: Games

And staying on the ‘Super’ theme, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson solicited some marketing advice from Supercool Creative: “Social media is often an enigma to developers looking to promote their apps. It’s a tool that can be incredibly powerful for getting more downloads and driving revenue, but just how to succeed with it is a mystery to many. Facebook integration, especially with the App Store, has been anticipated by developers as a way to help their games spread through social media, but these features won’t be doing all the work to make an app gain users through social media usage. However, David Murdico has written an interesting blog post for Supercool Creative entitled “5 Ways to Promote Mobile Apps and Games with Social Media” that covers many ways to best utilize social media to developers’ advantage.”

Want to know more? Read the full article at 148Apps.biz.

That’s it for this week, but with fall…um…falling, there’s sure to be a huge amount of new content about to drop before the holidays. Keep up with the latest by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook. We’ll make it worth your while! See you next week!

Many of the changes to the App Store on iOS devices has updated the visual look of the apps, better exposing a wider variety of apps to the user. While the changes taken individually seem small, taken together they represent a possible big change in how we will find apps in the App Store.

Take exposing the top paid, free, and grossing apps at the same time on the landing page of the Top Apps list, for instance. It seems like a small change, but it promotes free apps to the front of the page and lowers the exposure of the top paid apps past the first three. Michael Zaletel of i4software notes, “This gives MUCH MORE prominence to the Top Free Apps and so I predict Free apps and Freemium apps will see a big boost after today.”


Top 25 – iOS 5 (left) vs. iOS 6 (right)

Another big change has been the app detail page. That page places much greater emphasis on the first screenshot and reduces the importance of the description. When landing on an app, the user will see a larger icon than before, the rating, and the first screen shot. Scrolling down they will see the truncated description and a few more details. Previously they user would see a small icon, the rating, and the top section of the description.

These changes on the whole place much greater emphasis on the icon and the name of the app. These must be compelling as they are–in most areas of the App Store–the only thing the user will see. Ratings, developer name, and description have all been hidden from initial view in multiple places in the store.

What this will mean to app sales, we’ll have to wait to see. While it seems as though the changes are all for the better for the user, developers may need to prioritize their icon, name, and first screenshot much more than in the past.

In traveling the internet for interesting iOS conundrums to solve, I came across this one on Reddit: “How do I get games that are no longer offered on the App Store?” Now, this was both referring to buying games not available for sale any more, and a false positive at that. But it raises a very good question, one that some people may not realize: it is possible to get a game that is no longer on the App Store if it was once purchased on an iTunes account.

See, when an app gets pulled from public view on the App Store for whatever reason, Apple still allows users to reinstall the app, even if it’s deleted. The thing to remember about this is that purchases are tied to an Apple ID, not to a device. This means that as long as a device is authorized with that Apple ID, either through iTunes or by logging in to the account on the device, that app can be downloaded to that device. This means that some apps that may have been once downloaded and since updated can be redownloaded if once purchased or downloaded, even to a new device – and it also works if the app has gone universal.

For users who sync apps to iTunes, the app should still work if it’s in the library. Just set it up to sync with the device of choice, and it’s good to go. Well, assuming it still works on modern iOS versions.

The other method is to go through Purchased history. Now, one would think that it would be as easy as just searching for it and seeing if it pops up, right? Wrong. This did work shortly after the Purchased tab was introduced in iOS 4.3.5, but Apple changed it so that deleted apps do not show up when searching any more when searching. But they’re still there. It just takes a lot of patience. On iPhone/iPod touch, the Purchased section is available under Updates, at the top of the list. Open this section, and just keep scrolling through the list (either sorted by date or by alphabet, depending on which seems like will pull the app up sooner) until the desired app is found. On iPad, tap the arrow in either the upper or lower right corner to keep going to the next page until the app is found.

This works as recently as iOS 5.1.1 on the App Store – I used it personally to redownload Casey’s Contraptions after it was pulled shortly after the Amazing Alex launch. Some other interesting apps to download if they’re pulled and presumably lost: iDOS, the original Tetris by EA (sans IAP), and heck, even Tris, possibly the first big iOS pulled app controversy, is still available. No app truly dies, it just takes a lot of searching to find. Happy hunting!

This Week at 148Apps: August 27-31

This week at 148Apps.com, we got ready for some much-deserved rest with a comprehensive overview of all major Labor Day app sales. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, “It’s another holiday weekend here in the USA. Burning Man, end of summer, Labor day — pick your favorite. And that means it’s time for another huge sale on iPhone and iPad apps. These apps are on sale and they have to go!”

See the complete list at 148Apps.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-04-12 :: Category: Games

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-12-15 :: Category: Games

Over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon dug deep into the earth and discovered Auracle-Fossil. She writes, “Fossil tells the story of a girl finding a fossil on the beach, and the story of where her mind goes as she imagines this dinosaur alive long ago, as well as the process that this bone must have taken to be transformed into a fossil.

Fossil is beautifully illustrated with striking water colors, as these original illustrations found in the published book work quite well in terms of translating these paintings. Here, the double page spreads from the book are formatted to fit the screens without losing much real-estate, allows readers to see both these pages together without the need to pan and scan, a feature that works in other apps, yet is simply not necessary here.”

Want to know more? Read on at GiggleApps.

Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson reported on an unusual trend in the world of free apps: “Fiksu has released its latest Indexes tracking how much it costs for brands to acquire loyal users, and how many downloads the top free iPhone apps are getting.

The Fiksu App Store Competitive Index tracks the average combined volume of the top 200 free iPhone apps. For July, the Index indicates that daily downloads decreased month-over-month by 5.6%, down to 4.37 million downloads from 4.63 million in June. The number has remained relatively stable after a drop from 6.35 million in February. This may be due to a residual after-effect of the holiday season, which saw steady increases after the launch of the iPhone 4S.”

Need more information? Follow this story at 148Apps.biz.

More big stories are on the way from the App experts at 148Apps! Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep track of the latest sales, reviews, news items and more. See you next week, football fan!

UK-based iOS magazine Tap! has sent us some fascinating statistics to demonstrate just how huge the iOS ecosystem has become. It’s quite intriguing.

Currently, we’re at around 650,000 apps on the App Store, meaning that if you started to read out each name of every app out there, it’d take a full week without stopping to reach the end. Sure, you’d be bored by then and a whole bunch of new apps would have hit the store, but it’d be an unique way of spending that week!

In a similar vein, plenty of money has been earned with Apple determining that $5.5bn has been paid out to developers since the launch of the App Store 4 years ago. To put that into a more imaginable context, that’s enough to fill 2.5 Olympic swimming pools with dollar bills! Even Scrooge McDuck would be overwhelmed by that and he’s used to swimming in money.

It equates to Apple taking in just over $1,000 every second of every day, all from the App Store. Unsurprising given there are 400m customer accounts on the store, roughly the population of South America.

Hardware wise, that means a ton of devices are out there with enough iPhones and iPads sold to stretch around the Earth, or be stacked up to 1/10 of the way from the Earth to the moon. As well as that, over half of the US could be glazed over with all the glass used to make the devices.

Interestingly for those living in the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy, 1 in 3 people who own an iPad also own an iPhone showing that sometimes one iOS device just isn’t enough (and I include myself in that statistic!). Perhaps that’s because Disney recently determined that 75% of parents share their devices with their kids, meaning there are a lot of different hands keen to enjoy all that App goodness.

What does all this mean? Two things: the App Store is constantly growing and there’s a huge amount of options out there, and that everyone loves a fascinating statistic about something.

While you can always keep abreast of the latest developments here, Tap! is also collating their list of the best apps out there so if that appeals, go check out their vote on the magazine’s site.

This week at 148Apps, a new video revolution began, as Amazon.com released its Amazon Instant Video app for the iPad. Carter Dotson writes, “Amazon Instant Video is now available on iPad, expanding out the Amazon’s vast library of video offerings to iOS users. This offers streaming of purchased movies and TV shows from Amazon, with the ability to sync up watch lists between devices. It also includes titles available from Amazon Prime, similar to Netflix, a service offering over 120,000 streaming movies and TV shows. It is only available as a yearly subscription from Amazon as part of the Prime service that also includes free 2-day shipping on Amazon items.”

Read more about this exciting development for iOS at 148Apps.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-07-31 :: Category: Entertainment

Over at GiggleApps.com, writer Amy Solomon got us ready for mealtime wither her review of Bo’s Dinnertime. She writes, “Bo’s Dinnertime in a cute and fun interactive universal app that teaches the sequencing of events that lead up to dinnertime, such as food shopping, putting away groceries, cooking and setting the table, as well as eating dinner and cleaning up afterwards. A simple and sweet song is also included, as is a section dedicated to selecting and eating foods with the tap of a finger. Narration is included, leading children though varied food related exercises, complete with subtle highlighting of new objects to tap or interact with, keeping the flow of this app going nicely.”

Want more? Read the full review at GiggleApps.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-05-15 :: Category: Education

Last, but certainly not least, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson explored the results of a recent study by KinderTown. He says, “KinderTown, developers of an app that helps collect the best kids apps on the App Store, have released a study based on searches within their app. Their “KinderSights” analytics study collected data from June 20th to July 10th, and they have released the results from the study, revealing some key insights into those that search for kids’ apps on the App Store.

The most-searched criterion was age, with 50.2% of searches looking for apps for a particular age. Second was price at 40.6%, followed by platform at 31.8%, and the type of app was last at 30.2%.”

Keep track of this and more mobile app news stories on 148Apps.biz.

This week may be done, but there’s no need to worry. More app reviews, news and contests are always on their way across the 148Apps network. Just follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to stay on top of all the happenings. See you next week, Gothamites!

This Week at 148Apps: June 2-6

This week at 148Apps.com was all about the red, white, and blue as we celebrated the 4th of July. Writer Lisa Caplan contributed to the festivities with her list of Favorite Four apps for Independence Day. She writes, “It’s July 4th, so we hope most Americans are out celebrating and reading this on an iPhone or iPad or between activities. But if you are still looking for apps to help make the day even better, we’ve rounded up four of our favorties that commemorate everything from US History to the traditional BBQ for you here.”

See Lisa’s complete list at 148Apps.com.

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-07-12 :: Category:

$0.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-06-22 :: Category: Education

GiggleApps stayed on a vacation theme with its review of Miny Moe Car. Reviewer Amy Solomon says, “Miny Moe Car is a charming and fun simulated driving app that toddlers and children in preschool will enjoy. I have always been a fan of this type of toy, both as an arcade game as well as a simple children’s plaything. I remember when my son was just a year old, I bought him the most realistic driver I could find – a toy he still enjoys today. A search on iTunes will find a few applications of this type that mostly show a POV from the driver’s seat of a car or other vehicle. This is also the case for this application which does a really nice job of recreating the driving experience for toddlers.”

Read Amy’s complete review on GiggleApps.com.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-05-09 :: Category: Education

And finally at 148Apps.biz, Carter Dotson reported on a new study revealing the iPad as the number one gaming platform. Dotson writes, “Tablets and phones are vastly different devices. This seems obvious, but in reality, they really aren’t: the difference between the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2 is basically different sized screens. However, the way that users, especially gamers, use the two devices is still dramatically different, according to PlayFirst, via Pocket Gamer. Tablet users are playing more games than phone users are, and they’re spending more on games.”

Read the full report at 148Apps.biz.

That’s the end of this week’s happenings, but there’s always more news, reviews and contests headed your way across the 148Apps network. Just follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to keep track of all the goings-on. Until next week, enjoy the fireworks!

Marco Arment, the developer of Instapaper, noticed a curious thing last night – Instapaper was crashing on launch after an update from the App Store.

“Last night, within minutes of Apple approving the Instapaper 4.2.3 update,” he said on his blog, “I was deluged by support email and Twitter messages from customers saying that it crashed immediately on launch, even with a clean install.”

Even though Apple had reviewed the update, and it must have worked for them, every clean installed copy Arment downloaded and installed exhibited this behavior. Instapaper wasn’t the only app, either.

Here’s what he says is typical of such behavior:

Characterizations of this issue:

  • The app crashes immediately on launch, every time, even after a delete and reinstall as long as the corrupt file is being served by the App Store.
  • It doesn’t even show the Default.png before crashing. Just a split-second of a partial fade to black, then back to Springboard.
  • It may only affect customers in some regions.
  • If updating from iTunes, some customers might get a dialog citing error 8324 or 8326.
  • Mac apps might show this dialog:
    “[App] is damaged and can’t be opened. Delete [App] and download it again from the App Store.”
    The console might show: AppleFairplayTextCrypterSession::fairplayOpen() failed, error -42110

Obviously, this is a fairly serious issue, and – according to Arment – has already been fixed by Apple. If you have similar issues with some updated apps today, Ament says, “The only fix for people with bad copies, once good copies are being served again by the App Store, is to delete and reinstall the app.”

In addition, he warns app developers against releasing non-critical app updated for the next couple of days to be sure the issue is resolved.

More as the story updates – stay tuned.

Source: Marco Ament

This week at 148Apps.com, we celebrated the coming Memorial Day holiday with a closer look and an ever-growing list of apps on sale. Site editor Rob LeFebvre writes, “So, it’s that time of year again! BBQs, lawn chairs, beer, and the ability to finally wear shorts with sandals without fear of frostbite. Tan those legs and check out all the huge sales that are going on across the App Store below. We’ll try and keep it updated as we go this weekend, so be sure to let us know of any good sales on iOS apps…”

Read the full list at 148Apps.com.

$4.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-04-12 :: Category: Games

At GiggleApps, writer Amy Solomon reviewed The First Million-Teach Your Child to Read. Solomon says, “The First Million is a lovely universal “mix and match” book application that adults and children will find interesting as well as intuitive as here, as the pages of this book are split into three sections – each being able to be flipped back and forth to create new and intriguing illustrations and word combinations. Unlike other “mix and match” books where one can look for the corresponding thirds of the same image to make a match, this app is completely open-ended with no right or wrong matches to be made, giving children free range to produce any and all combinations they may fancy.”

Read Amy’s full review on GiggleApps.com.

$0.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-21 :: Category: Education

Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Kevin Stout reported on Disney’s push into Angry Birds territory. Stout writes, “Intensely popular Disney game, Where’s My Water?, will be receiving its first line of merchandise based on the game. The physics-based puzzler by Disney has been popular on both iOS and Android. Fans of the popular game can now buy all kinds of merchandise featuring the story’s character, Swampy the Alligator.”

Read more about Swampy’s foray into stores at 148Apps.biz.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-09-22 :: Category: Games

That’s it for us – and we’re one week closer to summer! Remember to follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get all of the latest updates all during the week. See you next time, Marvel Zombies!

Apple has made a couple of changes to their weekly app features that pop up in the Featured tab of the App Store. While “App of the Week” and “Game of the Week” appear to be just rebranded as “Editors’ Choice,” there’s a new feature: the Free Game of the Week. It appears as if Apple is jumping into the kind of promotion that services like FreeAppADay have been doing, but with this being an official Apple promotion, it has the potential to drive massive numbers of downloads.

The first free app that Apple is giving away is Cut the Rope: Experiments for both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad. The game supports iCloud sync between the two versions, so multiple device owners will definitely want to pick up both.

What’s interesting is that it appears that on the initial installation of these apps, it’s not necessary to put in the account password, as the app just automatically downloads. This will make it easier for people to get these free apps. The question remains to be seen how long Apple plans to run these promotions, and if they will only feature paid apps that drop down to free, or if some apps released as free will be featured as well.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-08-04 :: Category: Games

$3.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-08-04 :: Category: Games

It hasn’t been a good few weeks for EA Mobile. With the disastrous launch of Battlefield 3: Aftershock and the eventual permanent removal of the game. And now The Simpsons: Tapped Out has disappeared from the App Store.

We have reached out to EA Mobile press relations for a statement on why the game was pulled and when or if it will return, but have yet to hear back. The help page for the game mentions that it was removed due to server capacity issues.

To ensure current players have the best possible experience, we’ve temporarily removed The Simpsons: Tapped Out from the App Store to limit the game’s server capacity to its current players and address connectivity and lag time issues.

If you’ve downloaded the game, you can continue to play. Actually, your experience should only improve as we work on a solution. As soon as we have resolved these issues to handle greater player capacity, we will return The Simpsons: Tapped Out to the App Store…

EA launching a game with server capacity too low? A problem they traditionally have on console titles, but that’s a new one for mobile titles. But, honestly, I don’t think that server capacity is the only problem with the game. While not as bad as Battlefield 3: Aftershock, it does have more fundamental problems beyond just server capacity.

For one, The Simpsons relies on EA’s frustrating Origin game network to play the game. There’s nothing that a game developer can do to be less inviting to a new user than putting them through a frustrating 5 minute account creation procedure at the launch of the game. Origin is EA’s attempt to capture more of the “user graph” in the EA gaming universe. But for users it’s a painful process totally devoid of any reward. Origin engineers seem to be trying to make the process as difficult as possible. And if you do actually get logged in you are rewarded with a grand total of nothing useful. Game Center works, it’s easy, my gaming friends are there, not in Origin. In addition, Game Center doesn’t require the user to sign in to every game for it to work. Game Center just works.

The other problem, as Brad detailed in our review of The Simpsons: Tapped Out, the game relentlessly pushes you to spend money. Not because you want to have more fun, but because you are annoyed. A trait that is unfortunately common on a badly designed freemium game from a traditionally core gaming company. How many times have we seen this from other companies like Glu and Gameloft? They all seem to struggle to get the balance between fun and making money. And EA seems to be falling into the same traps. The key that they don’t seem to understand is to make people want to pay to make the game more fun, don’t annoy the user into paying.

I’m sure we’ll see The Simpsons: Tapped Out back in the App Store soon. They will fix the server capacity issues and get things going again. I doubt they will fix the fundamental flaws in the game though.

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