Posts Tagged apple

This Week at 148Apps: December 8-12, 2014

Happy Holidays from 148Apps!

 

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

Boulder Jack

 

Boulder Jack is a free-to-play endless runner that mixes up the standard formula by having players view the action from in front of their character rather than behind. For fans of the Crash Bandicoot series, this isn’t a particularly new trick, and the developers of Boulder Jack seem to be keenly aware of this as the game also stars a character that is remarkably similar to Crash. Playing Boulder Jack is very, very similar to other endless runners. Players must swipe left, right, up, and down to move between lanes, leap over obstacles, or slide under others, all in the hopes of outrunning a large boulder. Along the way there are invincibility power-ups, speed boosts, and coins to collect – all of which create some risk vs. reward mechanics, but everything presented gameplay-wise is pretty standard. –Campbell Bird

Space Age

 

Space Age: A Cosmic Adventure is an ambitious adventure game that hearkens back to sci-fi tropes of of the 1960s and 70s – complete with alien saucers, fishbowl helmets, and a deep sense of exploration. While the game achieves this aesthetic beautifully, Space Age suffers when it abandons its roots as a game about exploration and decides to try to be something else. Playing Space Age can be kind of difficult to describe. It’s simultaneously an adventure game, a real-time strategy game, a stealth action game, a puzzler, and something of a visual novel. Going into any one of the available ten missions, players might encounter just one or all of these gameplay elements. One thing is for sure, though: every part of Space Age is oozing with character and style that is super-charming, funny, and endearing. –Campbell Bird

Astro Boy Flight

 

There’s a word that keeps bouncing around my head as I play Astro Boy Flight. Rather appropriately, that word is ‘repetitive’. It sums up this endless 2D shooter, based around the famous Japanese manga character, oh so very well. A few seconds of Astro Boy Flight and you’ll see everything the game offers, with little there to mix things up later on. You glide through the skies, all via a portrait perspective, using one finger to move Astro Boy around. Shooting is done automatically, so your sole method of interaction is via this one finger. Waves of enemies come at you, so you have to line up quickly to shoot them down. This isn’t R-Type though, so it’s not exactly challenging stuff. Instead, you’re more likely to fail because you got bored for a moment and stopped paying attention. –Jennifer Allen

Shadowrun: Dragonfall

 

When you start the game, you’re given the chance to design a character. There are quite a few classes to choose from, as well as several races. Without a knowledge of the system in advance, I had a very hard time designing my character and just picked an elf and went with the basic warrior type. Then I was presented with detailed statistics to tweak, again with no idea of what was good or needed in this game’s world. The walkthrough/tutorial said that if I wanted more help I could consult the full rules on their website (linked within the app). When I went to check it out it was pages and pages long and very hard to digest, so I went with a few random choices instead. Shadowrun: Dragonfall is set in a futuristic world where society has changed dramatically. It’s futuristic cyberpunk meets high fantasy, and information is the commodity everyone trades in. You’re part of a group of criminals that’s been hired to raid someone’s mansion and steal data from them. Of course once we moved into the mansion, we tripped an alarm and security came in to stop us. –Jade Walker

Adobe Premiere Clip

 
premiereclip4-338x600

Over the years, Adobe has done a fantastic job of giving us a plethora of powerful yet user-friendly tools for video and graphic editing. They’re doing a pretty good job of converting that magic to iOS. Adobe Premiere Clip is the latest example, allowing you to easily create videos from earlier clips or brand new ones. Taking you step by step through the process, Adobe Premiere Clip can take as long or as brief a time as you want it to. You can choose to just edit one clip or you can bundle a few of them together, creating a montage of your media. Working mostly through dragging and dropping, as well as a few swipes to trim parts out, it doesn’t take long to line things up correctly. In each clip’s case, you can adjust the color, exposure, or shadow effects before moving onto arranging some transitions between each clip. Slow motion effects can also be included. –Jennifer Allen

Sago Mini Road Trip

 
7-600x450

I am always happy to introduce a new Sago Sago app to readers. As many know, Sago Sago is now a part of the Toca Boca family, which develops charming and colorful apps for toddlers and beyond. Their most recent app, Sago Mini Road Trip, allows children the chance to go on a road trip with their favorite orange cat, Jinga. Young ones will appreciate being able to choose from three destinations among a larger selection of choices such as jungle or desert adventures, as well as travels to the beach, mountains, forest, or city. They also will have a chance to pack their own bags with a variety of clothing, toys, and other objects into their bottomless suitcase, adding as much or as little in the way of personal effects as there is always room in their bag – details that will make both parents as well as children smile. –Amy Solomon

Other 148Apps Network Sites

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

AndroidRundown

Bitcoin Billionaire

 

At first glance Bitcoin Billionaire hardly seems like a game and in some ways it isn’t. It is in fact a devilishly addictive habit that uses a finely tuned system to show you ads while ensuring you won’t care and will in fact welcome the sight of ads! Bitcoin Billionaire as you might expect is a game about mining the virtual currency known as Bitcoins. After customizing your avatar with clothes and a spiffy pirate bandana it’s simply a matter of tapping the screen as quickly as possible to generate riches; the faster you tap the more Bitcoins you earn. Once a few Bitcoins have been earned, these can be spent on investments like lottery tickets or collectable comic books. These generate a constant stream of income whenever the player is actively mining or not and also while the app is closed. –Allan Curtis

NBA All Net

 
nba

To say that the card battler is a well worn genre on Android would be the understatement of the year. A basketball card battler is much rarer however. Is NBA All Net swish? NBA All Net’s gameplay is mind numbing and no different to other card battlers on the platform except it’s in the form of basketball. Players simply tap on the “challenge” they would like to play (Which features a description that has nothing to do with the game) and then sit back and watch the game as it unfolds. Players play no role in the game once it has started and it is based on card stats only. Games are dreadfully boring to watch and feature more repetitive animation than an entire season of Scooby Doo so they are best skipped. –Allan Curtis

RAVPower USB Charging Station

 
rav3-600x450

I know we’ve been harping on being organized… with good reason, too. With all the devices and accessories, it gets busy. Toss in a kid or two (with their own electronics and such) and a company-issued device, and one begins to approach wired purgatory. So, it makes sense that accessories that help us to more effectively manage these devices will be if a high premium. Thankfully, proprietary cables are not the norm on Android, because solutions like the RAVPower USB Charging Station use cable standardization as a means to being order to chaos. In essence, this series of products looks to a central port for multiple USB cables, theoretically eliminating the need for several plugs and outlets. –Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week, Pocket Gamer investigated Apple’s ban on nudity in Papers, Please; gave away five amazing iOS games in its Advent Calendar; picked the best MFi controllers for iOS; and reviewed Tales from the Borderlands. All that and loads more, here.

appleholidayWelcome, one and all, to another 148Apps holiday shopping guide! Are you having trouble figuring out what to get for a distant relative, new neighbor, or estranged second cousin? Thankfully there are people like us putting together handy-dandy holiday shopping guides for you! Whether you’re looking for new hardware and accessories, or just something a bit less impersonal than an iTunes gift card, we’ve got you covered.

Other 148Apps Holiday Gift Guides: for [Health Nuts] [Socializers] [Creative Types] [Power Users]

Today’s guide centers around iOS gamers. These are the folks who love their portable games and spend most of their morning commute matching pieces of candy or fighting immortal titans. If you’d like to make the gamer(s) in your life have an overall more pleasant and convenient gaming experience, or simply get them some really cool stuff to play, check out our list below for some ideas.
Continue reading 148Apps 2014 Holiday Shopping Guide for Gamers »

Apps Are 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.

Peggle Blast

 

Take the monetization format of Candy Crush Saga and add the wonderfully addictive Peggle, and what do you get? Peggle Blast – a suitably enjoyable yet similarly cynical version of everyone’s favorite adaptation of Pachinko and Bagatelle. First things first: Peggle Blast plays just as well as any other Peggle game. It’ll still occasionally feel a touch random, but it’s satisfying for the most part. Dragging a finger around the screen manipulates where the ball goes, with holding it down will magnify the area. Lining things up perfectly to perform a loop-the-loop in order to take out loads of tiles at once is particularly satisfying. And, of course, Ode to Joy is still in there for when you succeed at a level. –Jennifer Allen

Wicked Lair

 
wickedlair_04

It’s like some kind of unspoken rule that floats through the universe: good guys build towers to the heavens, and bad guys build underground lairs that go down, down, down. Wicked Lair by Stefan Pratter is all about building a hideout that stretches down into the Earth’s molten bowels. If that’s not enough of a hint, let’s just say it outright: Wicked Lair casts players as a lair-loving bad guy. And that’s OK, because foiling goodie-goods with a trapped underground hideout is as fun as it sounds. Wicked Lair is a mash-up between tower defense and tower building. Players assume the role of a berobed baddie whose subterranean lair is under constant threat from heroes that don’t know how to keep their noses in their own business. –Nadia Oxford

Offroad Legends 2

 

Clearly heavily influenced by the Trials series of games, Offroad Legends 2 is a less refined but mostly enjoyable physics-based racer. It can’t quite compare with the mighty Trials, but given the limited options for the franchise on iOS it’s a worthy substitute. With plenty of variety at hand, you won’t just be racing motorbikes either. Instead, you’ll be using trucks, buses, monster trucks, and more to negotiate the various obstacles within each level of Offroad Legends 2. That comes with its own issues – namely that you never quite get fully comfortable with one vehicle before you move onto the next, but this does keep things interesting. –Jennifer Allen

Earn to Die 2

 
earntodie23

At first, Earn to Die 2 is a lot of fun. Kind of like an endless runner but with more of a structure, you attempt to drive a vehicle from one end of the level to the other. The problem is that there are waves of zombies in the way, plus the terrain itself is far from safe. The other, more significant problem is that things soon turn a bit repetitive and Earn to Die 2 turns out to be too long for comfort. That’s a real shame, as early on Earn to Die 2 easily has that ‘one more go’ factor. Controlling your vehicle is simple enough with buttons to the right adjusting for acceleration or using a boost, while the left side of the screen offers buttons that dictate the trajectory of your vehicle while you’re in the air – much like in a physics based racing game. At first you can mostly get away with hitting the accelerate button and seeing what happens, but soon enough those little tweaks make all the difference in helping you explore. –Jennifer Allen

Bruce Lee: Enter the Game

 
bruce lee (1)

When dealing with the legacy of its title character, Bruce Lee: Enter the Game smartly opts for a more old-school approach – in more ways than one. The gameplay is classic beat ‘em up and has players swiping the screen to clobber goons with fast fists and feet of fury. It’s not the deepest fighting style, but it unfolds at a blistering pace that feels great to execute. In fact, it’s when the system awkwardly tries something more complex, like charging special moves to take down guarded opponents, that it stumbles. Players can also augment Bruce with limited shields and health boosts as well as a power-amplifying fury attack. They can even give him outfits lifted from his films, each with their own bonuses. –Jordan Minor

Duckie Deck Bird Houses

 
37-600x450

Toddlers and preschool-aged children will be delighted to try the new app, Duckie Deck Bird Houses, which allows them to explore this helpful craft. From first glimpse, adults will marvel at the use of the depth of field that this app has to offer as a lush green and mildly interactive landscape can be seen in the distance while one chooses a tree to build a birdhouse for. I am fond of the look of all of the tree selections as they are various shades of brown and grey – wonderful representations of real trees that most people have come across, complete with distinguishing features such as maple leaves, apples, or acorns. They are all very nice choices that will jog the memories that children have of trees from their adventures in nature. Also of note is the well-crafted background music used throughout – upbeat and a little quirky, which adds to the overall experience for both children and adults. –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

MageCraft: The War

 
Screenshot_2014-11-23-12-46-43

Magecraft: The War is yet another in a very long line of freemium city builders for mobile. Aping games like Clash of Kings and injecting a well-worn fantasy vibe does it stand out? Magecraft starts off a lot like most city builders. Starting with a threadbare base, the player must construct buildings and crank out troops to capture resources from enemies and become stronger and gain experience to become even stronger and so on. All player cities exist on the same map so rather than the arbitrary “neighbors” system common in other social games cities must be marched to to be attacked and distance always matters. –Allan Curtis

Antec PULSE Lite Bluetooth Headphones

 
pulselite2

Antec should be known by now for its mostly great, affordable accessories; we’ve had the opportunity to look at several of its offerings. Its line of headphones, as exemplified by the PULSE (which we reviewed a few months ago), are nice value propositions, and we expected similar of the Antec PULSE Lite Bluetooth Headphones that were sent to us to review. So what comes in the box? Well, there’s the white headphones, matching white micro-USB charging cable, and ( I liked this small touch) a simple black drawstring carrying pouch. –Tre Lawrence

Red War

 
red

Red War may look a bit like Clash of Clans but it is in fact a mobile clone of War Commander, a Facebook game that allows players to build a base and take the fight to other players. Red War has the player take control of a basically non-existent base. After rebuilding some basic structures and receiving a small force of units the player must build a base, crank out more troops and generally roll over anyone who gets in their way. The game features a pretty familiar set of units. There are the ever useful rifle armed infantry, heavy machine gunners and snipers. Later on vehicles such as tanks and APCs come into play and medics and engineers round out the tactical options. –Allan Curtis

And finally, Pocket Gamer returned from the Basque Country with the winners of another Big Indie Pitch, reviewed Game of Thrones and Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, picked the best iOS and Android games of November, and recommended some freebies to hold you over until Christmas. Check it all out right here.

Your Cure For Black Friday

 

What to do with all of that post-Thanksgiving holiday time? Search for the latest and greatest apps, of course! 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.

Proun+

 
proun4

During each race, you guid a ball traveling at speed along a pipe. While the ideal scenario is to also beat your competitors to the finish line, early on you’ll just be pleased to maintain momentum and dodge most of the obstacles up ahead. Traveling forwards is mostly automatic, with a boost and brake button affecting how fast you go. The main requirement of you is to duck left and right to dodge what’s coming up. There are plenty of twists to negotiate and Proun+ is far from forgiving. Get stuck behind a post and you immediately lose a lot of speed. It’s fun though, if slightly frustrating at first. Tracks are designed with a sense of speed in mind, with various tunnel style effects arising at regular opportunities. If you want to dodge some frustration you can turn the difficulty level down by playing the ‘relaxed’ set of levels, but I found these a little unexciting. They’re too slow for anything more than coming to grips with the controls, and you’re better off persevering at harder tracks. –Jennifer Allen

VainGlory

 
IMG_0546

I’m a huge fan of action RPGs like Diablo and its iOS clone, the Dungeon Hunter series. I’ve been playing them for years. Sadly, as my hand has stopped working, the games have integrated more and more complex controls and left me behind. VainGlory is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that also feels like very modern take on the action RPG genre, and it returns to the perfect basic controls of yesteryear. Simply tap where you want to move, and tap to attack your target until it’s dead. You pick a fighter of your choice to work with and level-up, each with a unique way of fighting and different special moves. As they level-up, you can make these moves more powerful. You fight your way through battle maps, killing other team’s grunts, gun turrets, and eventually their power crystal, which acts like the king in chess. Once that’s gone, you win. –Jade Walker

Call of Duty: Heroes

 
cod1

As before, you build up a base – sucking up resources around you, waiting for things to upgrade slowly – while also taking out enemies at regular points. There’s a choice of PvP battles or a single-player campaign here, with a mixture of both being most effective when it comes to leveling-up. Call of Duty: Heroes eases you in gently, with a protective shield keeping you away from PvP early on if you so choose to keep it active. You spend much of your time training troops before unleashing them on your enemy, watching them all be used up, before repeating the process. Fortunately, Call of Duty: Heroes does have a couple of tricks up its sleeve. Namely, as the name hints at, you can use heroes from the Call of Duty games, such as Price and Soap. You can control them individually, plus they can level-up and gain their own Killstreaks. It’s a decent step in helping Call of Duty: Heroes stand out at least a little. –Jennifer Allen

Knituma

 
knituma (6)

Knituma is a game about gathering the right objects as they are tossed into the air while avoiding the wrong ones. But in practice it’s surprisingly different from the Fruit Ninja clone that description suggests. Players tap on flying balls of yarn and drag a thread from them into the basket at the bottom. However, if anything interrupts that thread, whether it’s a gliding pair of scissors or the player accidentally lifting their finger, the ball is lost. Combining such a deliberate motion with the pressure to act quickly gives the game a unique rhythm. Plus, the obstacles change nearly every round and introduce new rules. Sometimes cats show up to bat yarn balls away, sometimes moths fly into and ruin the basket if they aren’t crushed, and sometimes nails get driven onto the board to twist up strands. It’s always more than just a bomb. –Jordan Minor

Kingdom Rush Origins HD

 
kingrush7

With slightly more of a focus on fantasy than before, Kingdom Rush Origins HD offers up new towers, heroes, and upgrades, but is mostly just what you’d expect from the series – some tricky but well-balanced tower defense. You’ll be placing turrets in useful positions, attempting to devise choke points to thwart your enemy, and upgrading things as and when the coins come in. Once more you can control the heroes directly, each now offering their own special spell that can be triggered at an appropriate moment. You’ll find yourself depending on them more than before too, as they really can make the difference in battle. A variety of upgrade options mean you can adapt your turrets to your needs, with each offering a choice of different paths to take the further you progress. –Jennifer Allen

The Journey of Alvin

 
82-600x450

I would like to let readers know about a new storybook app, The Journey of Alvin – based on the true story of Alvin Straight, who drove a riding mower a great distance to visit his ailing brother. Adults may wonder from this description if this tale is in some way connected to the David Lynch movie, The Straight Story, and they would be correct as The Journey of Alvin brings this tale of love and determination to children in a way they can appreciate. I am quite fond of The Journey of Alvin as it combines many elements such as including both Spanish and English editions, computer-generated animation, music, ambient sound effects, and narration for a truly magical effect. I admire how the perfect radio voice tells this simple story of Alvin driving his mower to visit his brother, explaining to children how the journey is long as the mower is slow, making this story a process piece about the journey as Alvin comes across various other vehicles on the road that he is passed by – such as a train, a bunch of bikes, and even a turtle. –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

MOS Cable System

 
mos2-600x462

At any given time, I am blessed with an opportunity to review a lot of devices and accessories. I enjoy pitting products against each other, and I love the prospect of squeezing functionality out of our mobile devices by pitting accessories against each other. Survival of the fittest… There are very few downsides to this, but if I were to nitpick, I’d whine about the proliferation of cables. They are all over the place, seemingly sticking out of every outlet. With so many devices, and such a need for juice, it’s understandable, but even my workspace does descend into an infuriating pile of cables quite frequently. –Tre Lawrence

Recoil Winders

 
recoil3-600x600

So, if you’ve been keeping tabs on our hardware reviews, you probably know that my latest rallying cry is organization. Yes, through all the fantastic accessories — and especially amid all the cables we use to power said accessories — we could all definitely use a helper or two when it comes to corralling the requisite wire. Enter Recoil Automatic Cord Winders. –Tre Lawrence

Dark Guardians

 
Dark-Guardians-3

For some unknown reason, there’s literally no backstory in Dark Guardians – and unlike with many generic fantasy games or cartoonish runners, Dark Guardians actually makes me want to know it. As it is, the game presents the player with a badass ancient nordic warrior, who runs through mystical, snow-bound forests, mountaintops, and other picturesque landscapes, and fights against a horde of demonic spirits that are seemingly led by a flying horned demon thing, who looks somewhat like Krampus. The warrior possesses a mighty sword that can smite the undead with a single strike. –Tony Kuzmin

Expert App Reviewers

 

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

SteelSeries Stratus XL

 
SteelSeries Stratux XL 2

Pairing the Stratus XL is as easy as it is with pretty much any other MFi controller. You just turn it on, get your iOS device to find it, and you should be good to go. Then you start up one of the hundreds of compatible games and start playing. And it does play them all quite nicely. The controls are responsive, the button placement feels right, and it’s got a nice heft to it. The build quality is also rather impressive. Whereas other MFi controllers I’ve recently played around with felt sort of hollow and fragile, the Stratus XL feel dense and sturdy. You could probably hurt someone if you threw it at them, actually. [Note: 148Apps does not condone throwing your MFi controllers at anyone, for any reason. That’s bad form.] –Rob Rich

Fantasy Solitaire

 
solitaire4

That’s the main beauty behind Fantasy Solitaire. It uses artwork from fantasy illustrator Ian Schofield, and it shows. Each card looks impressive, with the artwork relating to fantasy characters being really quite delightful. Fantasy Solitaire rewards your success with more cards too, so it soon looks quite gorgeous. Otherwise, Fantasy Solitaire is a fairly typical game of Klondike Solitaire. Each turn involves you drawing three cards before figuring out the best place to put them. The trick, as always, is to try to get the Ace cards pulled out first for any chance of success. Controls are simple enough with taps and drags to place cards, plus an auto-complete button when you’re right near the end of a game. There’s no hints button though, so make sure you’re up to speed with this game type. –Jennifer Allen

Reckless Racing 3

 
IMG_0031

Reckless Racing 3 is here, with driving dynamics that are as satisfying and addictive as ever as spot-on traction physics meets fun-fueled racing. There are 6 new and diverse locations that spawn 6 courses each, ensuring that players will still be kept guessing even though the backdrop might often remain the same. Combine that with the new Gymkhana event (specially laid-out courses that test driving skills), the same wealth of tweaks for controls and settings to enhance player experience, plus the recent addition of 4 reversible classic Reckless tracks, and what’s left is a driving game packed with features. –Lee Hamlet

Click Cam

 
clickcam5-338x600

Click Cam is an interesting new way of sharing photos in that it’s entirely random how it does it. It’s more of a curiosity than an app you’d spend great amounts of time with given its many limitations, but hey, it’s free, so that kind of works. All you need to do is enter a few simple sign up details before taking a photo and uploading it to Click Cam. The actual photo taking interface is pretty basic when it comes to options, but you can choose from a few filters once the image has been snapped. Once you’re happy with what you’ve snapped you can name it, then simply hit the red button so it goes off to some other user somewhere. You’ll never know where or really what the person thought of it. The recipient can rate it but you don’t get to find out how you fared. –Jennifer Allen

AffordIt

 
affordit6-338x600

A simple interface is both a blessing and a curse for AffordIt. It means it’s very easy to use, but it also means that it lacks some important features that would make it really stand out from the crowd. One such pivotal feature is that AffordIt only allows for one format of budgeting at any one time. For instance, you can set things up to plan out your Christmas shopping, but you can’t then have a separate section for your regular outgoings. That immediately restricts AffordIt to one project at any one time. It does that one project pretty well, luckily. You can easily set a budget for whatever it is, before adding additional credits based on whatever comes your way. Have a Christmas budget organized but then you get a bonus at work that you want to set aside for that occasion? AffordIt makes it easy to adjust accordingly. Adding cases of expenditure is just as easy, with the app keeping it simple and focused on what the item is and its value. –Jennifer Allen

Toca Nature

 
74-600x450

Rightfully named Toca Nature, the app opens up with a fertile land ready to be transformed into the landscape of players’ imagination as they transform this area into different regions of their choice – be it hills created with a tap that can easily be built up into snow capped mountains, valleys, and even bodies of water, all of which will soon be inhabited by different animals. The effect is quite magical as one watches fish swimming and beavers climbing out onto dry land for the first time as life is brought to their personalized ecosystem. Trees can be planted that will attract a variety of creatures, be it bears, foxes, rabbits, deer or woodpeckers. An axe is also included as a clever way of arbor clearing and of having a chance to change the topography again and again – a helpful tool to be sure. –Amy Solomon

Other 148Apps Network Sites

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

AndroidRundown

Tank Invaders: Shmup Evolved

 
Tank-Invaders-2

Despite its name, Tank Invaders: Shmup Evolved is neither a shmup, nor is it particularly evolved. It’s still pretty good though. The story and characters put McBane to shame with their corniness. The player becomes a missile commander for allied forces that are fighting against the Terror – as in, an organization that literally calls itself Terror. They employ lunatics and fanatics to their side, lacking but a swastika and the actual Devil as their commander to complete the image of a perfect enemy for the forces of democracy and everything that is good. Anyway, the player has to endure endless waves of enemies as they try to destroy the thingy that the player is trying to protect (what is that that we’re trying to protect, by the way?) by shooting a barrage of missiles onto advancing enemies. –Tony Kuzmin

Joinz

 
Joinz-1

Joinz is a puzzle game with deceptively simple gameplay, starting out easy, but very quickly becoming a test for your brain, particularly that part that is responsible for not throwing violent tantrums when you fail to beat a high-score. The gameplay of Joinz is somewhat similar to Lines. There is a square field that has a single building block. The player can slide this block in four directions, making it travel until it hits an object or a border. Every time the player moves a block, another block appears on a random position on the field. Unlike lines, where the player has to create lines from the blocks of the same color to remove them from the field, Joinz requires the player to create one of the three shapes that pop up on the top of the screen. When the shape is complete, the player gets another one to make. As the player progresses, the shapes get gradually more complex, starting from simple tetris-like forms, to the complexities that fill up half of the game board. Also, appearing blocks start to get additional colors, making the field even more difficult to navigate. The player has to “jump” off of the existing blocks in order to create the required shapes. Don’t forget that once two or more blocks are connected to each other, it’s almost impossible to break them apart, so they’ll behave like a singular shape. –Tony Kuzmin

Ironkill: Robot Fighting Game

 
ironkill3

Ironkill: Robot Fighting Game wants you to fight; it might be the easiest directive to follow in handheld gaming. The gameplay boils down to combat. The initial run is a tutorial of sorts, and the gameplay is laid out with the help of an appropriately named intro robot. The fighting is works as player against a CPU opponent, and is a war of attrition: whoever depletes the other’s life bar first wins, and doing a damage is performed with the help of the control buttons at the bottom. One initiates a quick attack, one does a harder type of attack, and there is a defense button. –Tre Lawrence

And finally, what do you get for spending $3000 in Clash of Clans? What does the new Need For Speed game look like? Which punk rocker is a massive fan of F2P games? We answer all these questions and many more besides, over at AppSpy.

Apps Are 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.

GoatPunks

 
goatpunks-1

GoatPunks is kind of a hard game to wrap your mind around, but let’s try anyway. Players control a goat (naturally) competing for domination on a mountain full of other player-controlled goats. They can earn a few points by knocking opponents off of their perch or collecting rabbits that pop up and grant various abilities. But the real jackpot comes from making it to the top and staying there until the end. However, heavy are the horns that wear the crown, and although top players can try to defend their position by raining thunder and fire on their foes below, get usurped and they’ll tumble all the way back to the bottom where they started. With all of that nonsense, GoatPunks has the potential to be a silly fun multiplayer party game, but the execution is lacking – or maybe it’s just on the wrong platform. The game encourages the quick tactical thinking and local good-natured trash talk of something like Super Smash Bros. but dragging around the goat from block to block feels sluggish and indirect, while silent online matches against strangers are alien and lifeless since it’s hard to tell if anyone even knows what’s going on. Reaching the top of the mountain only to get bumped off at the last minute should be this huge, dramatic reversal, but instead it just becomes an endless series of anticlimaxes set to music that sounds suspiciously “borrowed.” –Jordan Minor

XCOM: Enemy Within

 
xcomew22

Enemy Unknown was (and still is) a fantastic reimagining of one of the greatest PC strategy games of all time. But Enemy Within is better. This new iteration isn’t a sequel, but rather a kind of rerelease with extra content. However, it’s not simply a few new maps and some new hair styles. Enemy Within boasts a lot more additions than just maps – although it does have those, too. There’s a new human faction to fight against that goes by the name of Exalt, and they exist purely to muck-up your operation. In order to deal with them, you’ll need to send one of your agents to infiltrate several of their numerous cells – then send an extraction squad in after them to collect vital information. Once you’ve completed enough of these missions, you should be able to narrow down the location of the radical faction’s HQ and can shut them down for good. But be warned: Exalt has access to many the same goodies that your own soldiers do, which means you’ll need to change up your tactics. –Rob Rich

Candy Crush Soda Saga

 
candy5-338x600

Had your fix of Candy Crush Saga and you’re still desperate for more? Well, Candy Crush Soda Saga will be perfect for you then, as it’s a lot like the previous game. It offers up a few new game modes to try out, but ultimately it’s more match-3 gaming done well – albeit with plenty of opportunities for monetization. As before, you’ll be matching candies to gain points and work towards the next stage. There are bottles of fizzy drinks, too. Hence the name, and the new mode: Soda. Soda involves matching up bottles with candies in order to release purple soda up the screen, eventually freeing some candy bears. The same method of playing might apply, but the fact you have a slightly different aim does make a difference. –Jennifer Allen

Super Secret Service

 
super-secret-service-3-450x600

Super Secret Service makes a great candidate. From its first speech to election night it says and does all the right things. But like most politicians, it can’t keep every fantastic promise it makes, and by the time the next voting day comes around it probably won’t deserve a second term. If all of those metaphors didn’t make it obvious enough, Super Secret Service is rather political. Specifically, the game is about protecting the President of the United States using an endless supply of expendable secret service agents, each with their own names and birthdays. Reactionary radicals and hoodlums in hockey masks are trying to throw things at the POTUS and ruin his big speech, so by tapping the screen, agents will leap in to take the bullet. –Jordan Minor

This Is My Car: Mechanics for Kids

 
42-600x450

This is My Car – Mechanics for Kids allows children a chance to peak under the hood of a car as they scroll their vehicle through different stations, allowing them to peel back the exterior and interior layers of their car that include technical information delivered in a well thought-out manner that they will appreciate. As my son – now six years old – becomes older, his questions about the way things work such as the engine of a car or its brakes become more and more complex. Although my husband and I feel capable of explaining such concepts, I appreciate being able to use this app as a tool to explain in detail the inner workings of vehicles – now with visuals that my son can easily follow. –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

Dragon Quest

 
dragon

If you’re in to old school RPGs and you haven’t played the first Dragon Quest, then you’re in for a treat. Ah, the first Dragon Quest. Although I did not play it when I was young, I did manage to pick the game up later on. And as a RPG lover (especially turn-based ones), I loved what I saw and played. Now I that game is out on Android (for a very cheap price, I might add), I is time for everyone to relieve one of the classic and leading RPGs of all time. Well, if you’ve got the time, that is. –Wesley Akkerman

Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Earpiece

 
jabra4-600x265

I really, really wanna get down to the nitty-gritty with this one: what’s up with the Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Earpiece? Yes… it’s sleek, as the retail unit Jabra sent us shows: different shades of grey with orange accents, gently-sized at 2.57 x 0.61 x 0.95 inches and 0.28 ounces. Coverable micro-USB port, bluetooth 4.0, NFC and A2DP support, plus retail packaging that also contains micro-USB, earhooks and eargels. There is a dedicated button for Google Now, as well as an answer/redial button incorporated towards the rear and LED. Pairing it with a device is easy and intuitive after the requisite pre-charge. –Tre Lawrence

Circle

 
circle2

If you still can’t get enough of Flappy Bird clones, then here’s another one for ya. When it comes to games that look and feel like Flappy Bird… Well, you got a lot of choice. When you look back at the game, it is actually quite unbelievable what that game did. It did not only make one guy very rich (by mistake?), but it also gave life to a new genre, we’ve called the ‘one button gameplay’ here on Android Rundown. If you can’t can enough of those games, here is another one. –Wesley Akkerman

This week was all about the guides, as Pocket Gamer laid out the steps to complete sci-fi adventure Space Age, comic book puzzler Framed, and those awesome new levels for Monument Valley. All that, plus XCOM, Anki Drive, and iPhone 6 vs Nexus 6, right here.

And finally: What is AppSpy? Is it a website about video games? Is it a state of mind? Is it an energy beverage? It’s all those things (except that last one), and we’d love for you to come pay us a visit. This week we’ve been talking about playable Angry Birds cakes, that new Borderlands game, and endless amounts of golf.

This Week at 148Apps: November 3-7, 2014

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.

Winterforts: Exiled Kingdom

 
winterforts (9)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. In WinterForts players split their time between managing a growing home base and using their resources to fund strategic skirmishes against the computer or other players online. If it’s not broke don’t fix it, and considering the massive success of Clash of Clans, WinterForts decided that formula definitely did not need fixing. Players send workers off to gather raw materials outside the city’s walls, train soldiers and erect defenses to stave off barbarian hordes, and patiently wait as freemium restrictions throttle everything from upgrading buildings to digging up “tightly packed” snow floors. –Jordan Minor

Smash Champs

 
smashchamps_02

When I first caught wind of Smash Champs, an animal-based fighting game from Kiloo, I was excited. I’m from the old school: I remember when fighting game developers pit all sorts of fauna against each other in mortal combat, including dinosaurs (Primal Rage) and were-beasts (Bloody Roar). How disappointing to learn Smash Champs has almost nothing to do with fighting. Instead, it’s a Fruit Ninja-style game that lets players “train” their champions, but forces them to sit on the sidelines while battles are carried out automatically. –Nadia Oxford

Twisty Hollow

 
twistyhollow_03

The town of Twisty Hollow has been contorted by odd ordinances passed down by the burg’s self-appointed mayor. Simple tasks are suddenly herculean thanks to these mix-ups. How is a firewoman supposed to slaughter a pig? More importantly, how is she supposed to slaughter a pig using a fishing pole? It’s the player’s job to restore order from nonsense. Each level of Twisty Hollow takes place on a multi-tiered wheel, and on each layer there’s a person, a tool, and an object. Matching up the butcher with a knife and a pig makes bacon, which can then be given to a demanding customer. Matching up a fisherwoman with a fishing pole and a worm makes a fish, which can likewise be given to a customer. –Nadia Oxford

Dino On Fire

 
dinoonfire_04

War is hell. The most grave sin against living things is to commit violence against a nation when there is no just cause, and – wait, Dino on Fire is a war game featuring dinosaur soldiers? And armed dragons? Lecture over. Get in line and grab a rifle. Dino on Fire is a Clash of Clans clone with a scaly difference: Instead of commanding barbarians and the like, the player gets to push dinosaurs around. That’s pretty cool. There’s an additional, albeit small difference: Battle tactics depend more on commanding dinosaur heroes than directing smaller, faceless soldiers on where to attack. –Nadia Oxford

Hygiene Essentials

 
8

I have always been a fan of Duckie Deck apps, as the use of bright colors, upbeat music and fun sound effects are always present within their applications. The presumably watercolor stains seen on the teeth within With Teeth as well as the textures within the mouth really make this app stand out for its level of polish. I equally appreciate all the different hands that one grooms within Hungry Clipper as both my son and I have spend time clipping in order to see who may be next. Gotta Go includes details that make this a kids’ app honest about what may happen when using the toilet to poop. Although some families may not appreciate most vivid sights and sounds included within, parents are doing their children no service to pretend these bodily functions don’t exist as seen within other potty training apps, making Hygiene Essentials an interesting bundle to possibly download, keeping in mind that each of these apps can be downloaded individually as well. –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

The Wolf Among Us

 
wolf1

After a stupid exclusive deal with Amazon, The Wolf Among Us is finally out on Android. Was it worth the wait? The Wolf Among Us is a game by Telltale Games, a developer we all know and love thanks to the awesome series The Walking Dead. The Wolf Among Us is also a episodic game. Now it is out on Android, you can get the first part for free and buy the rest of the parts via in-app purchase. In the game, we follow Bigby Wolf, none other than the Big Bad Wolf, in his quest to uncover the truth behind a gruesome murder. We won’t go in to too much details here, because of spoilers. –Wesley Akkerman

Monkey Racing

 
monkey-racing1-600x336

Remember Monkey Boxing? Wanna see those action junkie primates battle in vehicles Mario Karts-style? Here comes Monkey Racing. Graphically, it looks good, is effective with color without being overdone. Sound is cheery, animations are smooth, and the different locations are designed well. Per gameplay, it flows pretty well; the karts work well as the main racing attraction of the game. It feels a little bit like more entrenched racers, but feels sufficiently different that it doesn’t feel like a clone. It comes in two modes, single and multiplayer, and there are also three different levels to play: easy, normal and hard. –Tre Lawrence

Edifier Prisma Encore Bluetooth Sound System

 
prisma1-600x345

Speakers are big business, and Edifier has a good reputation in that specific sector. It has a host of offerings, portable and not much so, but for the most part, the name invokes quality. As such, we can’t really pretend to be unexcited by the opportunity to take a look at its Prisma Encore Sound System. The review package Edifier sent us was sizable, and hinted at the goodness inside. The review box came with several pieces: three main pieces in black finish with silver accents, and several smaller accessories. The main unit is the subwoofer, and there are two satellite speakers; there is also a power cord, adapter, 3.5mm male-to-male audio cable, a remote with battery and documentation. –Tre Lawrence

And finally, a few words from our friends at AppSpy: You look nice, is that a new outfit? It really suits you! Anyway beautiful, you should get on over to AppSpy because this week we’ve been finding out how to make all sorts of Minecraft-themed cakes, gawping at real life fighting robots controlled by your mobile, and seeing all the stupid stuff you can do in Strung Along. It’s all in our weekly round-up.

And from Pocket Gamer: This week Pocket Gamer picked 18 mobile games to get excited about in November, offered a contentious take on Simogo’s new game, told you all about Seabeard, and hinted at a juicy big game coming next week…

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.

Retry

 
Retry

Unlike the endless procession of knock-offs, cash-ins, and clones, Retry actually finds Rovio substantially iterating on the Flappy formula, mixing in the star-ranked progression that drove their own mega-hit. Instead of tapping and flapping through an endless procession of pipe gaps, Retry has players guiding their tiny propeller-driven plane from airport to airport in an elusive search for that perfect landing. It’s no easy feat to fly in Retry, with the inexorable grip of gravity and the drag of momentum screwing up those carefully laid flight paths. Too steep of a climb will pull you over into a loop. Not enough feathering of a descent sends you propeller-first into the ground. But when that sweet spot is delicately finessed out of the greedy grip of physics’ and you manage to glide gracefully out of a near-fatal dive, taxiing to the very edge of the final runway? Sublime. And hey, if not, just tap the screen again; there’s always another retry waiting. –Rob Thomas

Logitech Protection + Power iPhone 5/5s Case

 
IMG_5047-450x600

This is going to sound funny, but I have clinically diagnosed OCD. One of the weird quirks for me is that I obsess about having several cases or carrying bags for everything. So the idea of a new, very functional case really excites me. When asked about reviewing a case that provides drop protection and an extended battery, I think I replied to the email less than twenty seconds. Sadly, I was told the only colors were black, blue, grey, and white – I was hoping for purple or pink. I really like cases. The Protection + Power comes with a charging cable (USB to micro USB) and a headphone extender (the case lengthens the hole to the jack). Attaching it to my phone was really easy – honestly, it’s the easiest of any battery case I’ve owned. You slide the phone onto the lightning connector, which tilts slightly, then gently push the phone back into the case. Once inside, it seems really secure and safe from most gentle drops. Since it was early in the day, I plugged the charging cable into my desktop computer and watched the lights on the back begin to blink. I went through regular use that day, and took the charging cable to bed. When upstairs, I pulled my lightning cable out of the jack in the wall, and put the USB/microUSB cable in its place. I’ve done this with numerous other charging cases in the past with no issue. In the morning, my phone was at 55% power and the case’s battery was dead. It never charged. –Jade Walker

Dragon Quest II

 
photo-34-450x600

Opening with the sacking of the city of Moonbrook by the villainous Hargon, Dragon Quest II follows the adventures of a group of young heroes descended from the legendary Erdrick, a recurring character in the series’ mythology. It is as full of cheesy and wonderful faux-Shakespearian dialog as its predecessor was, with the classic RPG mentality that one should speak to every NPC in order to learn about the world and one’s quest. The visuals are bright, colorful pixel art that has been updated for modern devices while retaining that old-school flair. The music, on the other, hand is quite symphonic and adds a sweeping grandeur that enhances the atmospheric qualities. It’s a great juxtaposition of old and new, and it really improves on the gameplay experience. –Andrew Fisher

Agents of Storm

 
storm8

The first thing you’ll notice about Agents of Storm is that it’s really rather pretty – especially compared to other games of its ilk. That’s the second thing. Games of this ilk – freemium base building games – are incredibly common. Unfortunately for Agents of Storm it’s mostly business as usual, despite a few vaguely original tweaks. Notably, you don’t design your own base. It’s all made for you instead, taking away some personalization and sense of ownership from the whole experience. That base gradually expands the more you level-up, with a couple of taps getting things all set up. –Jennifer Allen

Toca Boo

 
4.1

I am eager to let readers know about a new Toca Boca app – Toca Boo – right in time for Halloween. This app is a bit of a departure for Toca Boca, known for their apps that include cleverly themed mini-games and role-playing apps that allow children to pretend to play store, tea party, or drive a train, as well as apps that allow children to build cities or landscapes to drive cars around on. Here, Toca Boca introduces Bonnie, a girl who enjoys being scary, wandering around her house looking for family members to frighten. Children will have fun increasing the creepiness factor for her unassuming victims by turning lights off and on as well as incorporating static on the radio, an alarm clock that rings suddenly, and other objects that can startle others when turned on or off mysteriously – which is done with the tap of a finger, and to be assumed the work of this mischievous girl. Listen to the heart beats rise in the characters as the intensity is increased – a great time to tap one of these characters, triggering their frightened reactions. –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

Trigger Happy

 
trigger3

Lunagames launched a Halloween-themed shooter for Android, but is it worth you time? Well, that depends: do you like murdering zombies? Trigger Happy from Lunagames is a straightforward action packed shooter. In it, you need to shoot every zombie or other Halloween themed monstrosity that’s coming right for you. You can do that with just your handgun, including unlimited ammo – the way I prefer to play my Halloween/horror games. But that won’t do the job in Trigger Happy. –Wesley Akkerman

Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor

 
bpm3-300x300

I had the misfortune of having some serious health issues a short while ago, and, without getting overly conversational about it, it changed me. It made me take health more seriously, and one fringe benefit is that it allowed me to take a longer, more appreciative look at the burgeoning area of connected health devices. “Burgeoning” is somewhat of an understatement; the category is exploding. As part of my personal fitness odyssey, I’ve had the privilege of trying out interesting connected gear. The Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is one of them. Personal blood pressure monitors are not new; I have had a generic one for quite some time. While convenient, the one drawback is the collation tool is not self-contained. I used my smartphone to collect the data via my all-round app HanDBase, and while the solution worked, I’d like a more homogeneous fix. –Tre Lawrence

Smart Dynamo Activity Tracker

 
dynamo3-600x337

As part of our ongoing health series, we explore connected health accessories with an Android connection. For an introduction to Android Rundown’s mobile health series, check out our editorial. Health bands and smartwatches are all the rage now; there are several out in the wild, and, thankfully, several corresponding price points. Being healthy is becoming easier to incorporate in one’s lifestyle — in theory, at least. For a lot of folks, having a connected health tracker just makes sense… especially when it can be paired to a ubiquitous always-on device such as a smartphone. Oregon Scientific is a tech company with good pedigree, and has made a name for itself in the area of personal and home electronics; it’s not too much of a stretch to see why it would throw its hat into the fitness tracker ring. the Ssmart Dynamo Activity Tracker is the fruit of this endeavor. –Tre Lawrence

And finally, head on over to AppSpy, because we’ve been eating loads of English Breakfasts, watching kids poop their pants in fear, playing the best new multiplayer indie racer, and getting spookier than that Michael Jackson video where he’s a zombie (Thriller? Is it Thriller? I want to say it’s called Thriller). And it’s all right here.

Apptastic 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.

Puzzle to the Center of the Earth

 
0271-400x600

Puzzle to the Center of the Earth is a puzzle platformer in the most literal sense. The game has players manipulating platforms with a match-three mechanic, with the ultimate goal of journeying further down toward the center of the earth. With bright visuals, smart mechanics, and a satisfying brand of puzzle-solving, Puzzle to the Center of the Earth is a very worthwhile download. As a spelunker, players can move about caverns by sliding their fingers across the bottom part of the screen. As they approach sets of colored blocks underground, they can then tap and slide to link blocks of the same color together and break them. Breaking blocks allows players to move deeper down in a level, which contains an exit on the bottom of the screen. –Campbell Bird

The Silent Age Episode 2

 
silentage1

You play Joe Average as he leaps back and forth between the 70s and the modern day. As before, this is easily achieved thanks to your trusty time machine. It’s a mechanic that changes up what you see in each room or building, and is the kind of thing that means you can’t help but switch between timelines regularly just to see what’s changed. For the most part, this mechanic is used to get past a closed door or two, which means it’s a little underused in terms of its potential, but it’s relatively easy to forgive The Silent Age Episode 2 for its flaws. –Jennifer Allen

Angry Birds Transformers

 
transformers3

Part auto-runner, part side-scrolling shoot-em-up, you control one of many Transformers as they stop the EggBots by taking out their platforms. Instead of flinging birds at your enemies you shoot at them, aiming for weak points in order to vanquish them. It’s simply done, with you tapping to create a reticule. Each level is much the same meaning that Angry Birds Transformers can get a little repetitive, but it’s often fun. At times you can transform in order to duck under obstacles coming your way, which ensures you keep your wits about you. Each level is also pretty brief so it’s an easy game to dip into for a few minutes here or there. –Jennifer Allen

Zero Age

 
zero age (3)

Zero Age‘s visuals and gameplay are both so stunningly well-executed it’s hard to know where to start the praise. Let’s go with the graphics since they’re more immediately striking. The game takes place in a hauntingly atmospheric geometric world filled with vast, cubic vistas. It’s like a minimalist robot city that’s either unfinished or long since abandoned. Guiding the hooded hero through these multi-tiered landscapes while soulful piano music plays would still leave an impression even without the puzzles. Fortunately Zero Age offers some of the most creative and complex 3D puzzles around. Players must get their character to the end of each level. Sometimes that’s as simple as just tapping on the goal, but usually they will have to create a path by manipulating a handful of blocks. Different blocks have markings specifying their rules – some blocks can only move on a horizontal plane, while others are limited to the vertical. However, players can stack cubes on top of each other to move certain blocks in ways they couldn’t before or shield themselves from deadly lasers. Constructing even something as basic as some stairs requires intense levels of spatial thinking. –Jordan Minor

Sleep Attack TD

 
sleepattack5

Each level offers up a series of paths for the waves of enemies to follow. The trick here is that these paths can be rotated around, thereby enabling you to redirect where the foes go. This means that you can send the waves down areas that you’ve fortified particularly well, giving you the edge. The catch is that you have to be constantly aware of what’s going on around you. Unlike other Tower Defense games, where you can usually set up a strong layout then watch it unfold, things change fast and you’re never entirely comfortable about your chances of success. This keeps Sleep Attack TD consistently interesting. It’d be business as usual otherwise, with a typical plethora of enemies to withstand and a bevy of towers that are useful in different scenarios. The rotation mechanic really makes a difference though, and ensures that Sleep Attack TD is more appealing. It looks pretty charming too, with a more fluid style than the usual lane defense mechanics we’re used to within the genre. –Jennifer Allen

Montessori Math City

 
photo-2.1-450x600

As readers who follow my posts may know, my son’s favorite subject is math, and he is eager to practice these skills whenever he has a chance. One of his favorite ways is making a bee-line for any app that includes “math” in the title. A new favorite of his is Montessori Math City, which has strengthened his ability not only to count to one thousand, but to be able to build different sums with the use of smaller numbers in a way that is actually quite open-ended. There is also a city area he can build within, providing motivation to continue working with this app. I must admit that when I sat down to review it I was intimidated, because without a Montessori background I felt at a loss to explain the goings-on within this app in the technical terms that one may expect. Although I don’t find the gathering of correct words intuitive to properly explain what this app has to offer, I must remember that my son does find this app utterly intuitive to use. –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

Republique

 
republique1-300x187

We’ve been wanting this one for a while. And now that Republique is on Android, we can breathe a sigh of relief. We can stop giving Camouflaj and Darkwind Media the side eye. And we can taste of the goodness that this title unabashedly brings. The gameplay comes in two modes: Story, which allows players to experience the story and explore environments, and Normal, which is the standard experience. Going the normal route allows one to pick an episode, and we’re off. –Tre Lawrence

Dementia: The Book of the Dead

 
dementia

At the first sight, this game looks like another simple survival horror, which are quite popular on the mobiles. Surprisingly, Dementia: The Book of the Dead is neither simple, nor a survival horror, in a true sense. It has great and scary atmosphere, but once you understand that the unholy abomination before you can be dealt with by the means of stuffing it with holy bullets, or smashing its abominable face with not-quite-holy lantern, the atmosphere dwindles somewhat. Not to say that it’s in any way a bad game, but the main character’s death is more likely to summon a groan instead of shivers. It’s still a horror, so the enemies always overpower the main character and running away is often a better decision than fighting. In other words, great fun. –Tony Kuzmin

Five Nights at Freddy’s

 
fred1

It is nice to see that some pc games are being ported to Android and that the idea behind the game stays intact. Same goes for Five Nights at Freddy’s. If you have played Five Nights at Freddy’s on pc, than you know what you are up for in this Android version of the game. It is a port of the pc version and one that is very well made. Everything from the first version is the same, only now you use the touch screen as an input source, instead of the mouse. Input methods aside, these game is freaky. Very freaky. The first few times it gave me the creeps and my first reaction was to close the game. When that happens, I say: the objective of the developers must’ve been a success by then. –Wesley Akkerman

And finally, this week, Pocket Gamer went hands-on with the latest Pokemon game, found out how to record iOS games with just a lightning cable and a Mac, picked the best gamebooks, and tried the latest SimCity game for mobile. And it’s all right here for your perusal.

Expert App Reviewers

 

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

Pokemon TCG

 
IMG_0464-600x450

I’ve been playing and enjoying collectable card games for 20 years, now – yeah, I’m old, shut up. While Magic: the Gathering has always been my main game, I’ve tried and enjoyed several others over the years. One of my favorites was always Pokémon, but at my age (I said shut up!) almost none of my peers play. The only way I could enjoy a game was to go to a tournament and play almost entirely against children. Since that’s as awkward as it sounds, I haven’t played in years. Now there’s a solution to that problem. And unlike Magic’s foray into iPad, Pokémon TCG allows a great deal of freedom. –Jade Walker

Diner Dash

 
Diner Dash

Almost a decade after its launch, the classic time management franchise Diner Dash has returned once again to cause stress headaches in a whole new generation of mobile gamers. It’s been about four years since the last entry in the series – Diner Dash 5: BOOM! – and PlayFirst has revamped the venerable workhorse into a mash-up of classic and all-new styles. And, for the first time ever, the series has embraced the free-to-play model. How well do Flo and the crew make the transition to freemium? Well, let’s take a look, shall we? You’d be hard-pressed to find someone these days who isn’t at least passingly familiar with the basic concept of Diner Dash. Players are in charge of Flo, a good-natured (but doubtlessly exhausted) waitress whose job is to seat, serve, and generally keep happy all of the customers of her restaurant – many of whom have specific quirks and needs. Unfortunately, as Flo is only one person with two hands, she can only do so much at a time. This leaves her sprinting about madly to take orders, make coffee, clean up dirty tables, and more, all before customers lose their patience and leave. You really have to wonder why this place doesn’t hire at least a busboy, right? –Rob Thomas

Air Supply-SOS

 
SOS_04

Sheep aren’t loaded with natural defenses. They’re great at standing around, chewing their cud, and waiting to be sheared. That’s about it. That’s why Air Supply – SOS calls on players to foil the Time Travel Company: a greedy organization that kidnaps sheep, robs their fluffy down, and makes clothing. Though these distressed sheep are quantum sheep, they’re still incapable of defending themselves. Do the right thing. Save Our Sheep (“SOS” – get it?). Air Supply is a shooter inspired by the classic ZX Spectrum game Jetpac. Players endure waves of aliens while catching the quantum sheep that fall from the sky. The sheep need to be returned to the rocket ship waiting at the bottom of the screen. Once the requisite number is loaded, the player gets to progress to the next level (often accompanied by a “sheepy hug” of thanksgiving). –Nadia Oxford

Boulder Dash 30th Anniversary

 
boulder dash (7)

Like in the original, players control Rockford: a scrappy young spelunker exploring a series of caves. But these aren’t just ordinary caves; they’re full of gems, and to open up the exit Rockford must collect a certain number of gems before time runs off. From that description, one might think that gem-collecting would be, if not a difficult process, then at least one that took some thinking. But in Boulder Dash, most of the initial free levels can be beaten by tracing the most straightforward route through the dirt and collecting the obvious gems in plain sight. Players spend the majority of the game performing this deeply uninteresting act again and again. Sure there are a few enemies, but with Rockford’s ability to move basically anywhere and survive anything short of a falling rock, there’s far too little in the player’s way. It almost makes one wish the controls weren’t as smooth and forgiving as they are. Later worlds do ramp up the challenge, but the dull and lengthy introduction discourages players from grinding and earning the stars necessary to unlock the more interesting content for free. –Jordan Minor

Bug Mazing-Adventures in Learning

 
photo-64-600x450

Bug Mazing – Adventures in Learning is a new title from Little Bit Studio, the developers known for their series of apps such as Bugs and Buttons, Bugs and Numbers, and a recent favorite, Bug Art. As the name may suggest, Bug Mazing is a maze app with a bug theme that includes activities such as working with numbers, letters, colors and tracing in ways that children will find engaging and adults will appreciate for their educational value. Nature is a big part of these apps and the landscape may either be beautiful and pristine with flowers and insects like bees and ladybugs or include worn details that are possibly less beautiful, but I find these details quite interesting. It also includes a fantasy adventure theme as well as bugs that are styled with different adventure elements, such as Indiana Jones’ hat and other details. A narrator gives encouragement while on each exploration and valuable coins and precious gems are collected as rewards. Each area of this app includes different levels of difficulty and unique bugs select. Do note the selection of languages that is also included within this app – always a nice touch. Multiple children can also keep their own games separate, which is good for at home or the classroom. –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

Entwined Challenge

 
entwined3

Twitch games are an addiction of mine now, so checking out Entwined Challenge was destined to be. The visuals rely on simulated distance perspective; to start, the two flying beings are colored red and blue. In the distance is a circle with colored segments; the colors of the segments are generally red, blue and green. the flying beings can be controlled by thumb gestures on either side to move along the axis of the circle, so that each flying being is guided through a matching color segment. As progress is made, the game adjusts too; for example, where the color segments were stationary, they begin to move, forcing the player to make adjustments and quicker decisions on the fly. While the concept remains simple, the developer does a good job of delicately layering levels of difficulty upon the easy-to-understand premise, and it flows well, with no major deviations to distract from the chase of excellence. –Tre Lawrence

Antec LifeBar 10 Portable Charger

 
lb2

Yes, batteries in mobile devices have gotten better, but in the spirit of being prepared, it just makes sense to have a backup plan. Way back when, getting a couple extra OEM batteries was sufficient. Now, sealed batteries are more commonplace, and having multiple devices at any given time is not unheard of; in any case, all those extra batteries start to add up. Nah, it makes sense to have a portable battery, and when it comes to mobile power solutions, few are as capable of Antec; hence, checking out the new LifeBar 10 Portable Charger is far from a chore. –Tre Lawrence

Withings Smart Body Analyzer

 
with5-600x337

Health tools with a mobile component are especially compelling, and as such, we jumped at an opportunity to check out the Withings Smart Body Connected Scale. The black (white is an option) review unit Withings sent us is pretty much ready to go. At first glance, the first thing that comes to mind is that somehow, the product pictures do not do it justice. It looks like a chiseled dark colored slab. frankly, it look dashing, managing to be modern without being Jetson-silly. The full dark look is accented, and the silver center piece highlights the whole package. The expected display is digital in nature, and still manages to effect art. The battery compartment is at the bottom of the unit, and there is a tab preventing the batteries from cycling; beneath that are two buttons for syncing and selecting units. It looks like a “traditional” scale, but clearly wants people to know it has an extra trick or two up its sleeve. Officially, it comes in at 12.8 x 12.8 x 0.90 inches and 4.62 lbs. –Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer covered Apple and Google’s big announcements, wrote a massive guide for The Silent Age: Episode Two, tackled GamerGate, and picked 11 iOS games that you may never get to play. All that and loads more, right here.

Photo Oct 16, 1 44 23 PMIn a move that surprised nobody, mostly because we all saw it coming, Apple has unveiled their latest iPad: the iPad Air 2. It’s the new thing you need to buy, naturally.

The iPad Air 2 is, of course, even thinner than the original Air – 6.1mm, to be exact. It also uses a special anti-reflective coating to reduce reflections, which Apple claims has never been done in a tablet before. Touch ID will also be available on the new iPad, and it’ll ship with iOS 8.1, but you’re probably more interested in performance and such.

Photo Oct 16, 1 44 33 PMThe tablet will use an all-new A8X processor, which (at the moment) will only be available in the iPad Air 2. The result is 40% faster CPU performance, and apps that can run over twice as fast – up to 180X faster than the original iPad. It’s also got a 10-hour battery life, which is decent I suppose.

The iSight Camera has been updated as well, with 8 MP, 1080p HD video, and the ability to take all sort of fancy shots – slow-mo videos, 43 MP panoramas, burst photos, timelapse, and dual microphones. There’s also an improved Facetime camera for the front that allows for improved facial detection and burst selfies (hurray?).

Photo Oct 16, 1 49 00 PMThe online features have been improved as well, with faster wifi (up to 866MBps) and faster LTE (20 LTE bands).

The iPad Air 2 starts at $499 for 16GB, $599 for 64GB, and $699 for 128GB for the wifi models. There’s also going to be a new iPad Mini 3, with a 7.9″ Retina display, a 5MP iSight camera, 1080p HD video recording, the improved FaceTime camera, Touch ID, and the improved wifi (802.11n with MIMO). Both new iPads will be available for preorder starting tomorrow and they’ll ship by the end of next week.

Photo Oct 16, 2 03 13 PM

Expert App Reviewers

 

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

Banner Saga

 
IMG_0077

Titles that feature the graphical polish of Stoic’s Banner Saga don’t come around every day. Seemingly pulling inspiration from the art style featured prominently in Disney’s animated films such as 1963’s “The Sword in the Stone,” the game tells two parallel storylines of parties venturing into the wilderness and relative unknown, with the simple goal of surviving to see another day. Amazingly, the animated aesthetic doesn’t dull the bite of the compelling storytelling and weighty decisions facing the player. People can die at virtually every juncture; so try not to get too attached to any one character. The action itself plays out through the standard fare of conversational decision trees and third person tactical turn-based combat. Depending upon the abilities of any one character, as well as their prior achievements on the field of battle, they can be upgraded to better meet the steadily increasing challenge brought forth by AI combatants. Any player who is familiar with the tropes of the tactics genre will find that Stoic has stuck very close to the formula, which also reflects well on Banner Saga’s approachability. –Blake Grundman

Skylanders Trap Team

 
STT_Tablet_Starter Pack Contents

Before I delve into the particulars it’s worth noting that the download for Skylanders Trap Team is free, but you’ll need to own the Trap Team Starter Pack ($74.99) – and an iPad 3 or up – if you want to play the full game. The price is nothing to sneeze at, certainly, but bear in mind it comes with a wireless Skylanders Portal, one Trap Master and one slightly less fancy Skylander, two Trap Crystals (more on those in a bit), and a wireless controller. The gameplay should be familiar to Skylanders fans. You’ll be wandering around various levels with your characters, fighting against the forces of the evil wizard Kaos, solving some relatively simple puzzles, platforming on occasion, and swapping between Skylanders in order to access special element-specific gates. It’s a bit on the simple side, which is an understandable byproduct of being a game meant for a younger audience, but it’s absolutely overflowing with charm. –Rob Rich

Acorns

 
acorns02-338x600

Money management and investing in the markets can be daunting for even some of the more seasoned adults, let alone 20-somethings and those making their first long-term financial decisions. With all the heavy fees and blind trust in traders with sometimes dubious intentions it can seem like the risks far outweigh the potential rewards. Acorns is an ambitious app that aims to gain a following by removing all of the hassle of financial planning; even if that means over-simplifying the process. I will say that Acorns does a lot right. The app looks great and navigating throughout the windows is a joy, even if the initial task of finding where all the windows are can be a bit arduous. The simple graph on the front page gives users a simple summary of how their investment is doing, and a more detailed breakdown can be found by simply swiping to the left. Money can be invested either by direct transfer or by linking a bank account and letting Acorns round up purchases made via credit or debit card. This means on a $5.88 purchase, $0.12 would be siphoned into Acorns. –Joseph Bertolini

Just Dance Now

 
justdance1

Normally, with console versions of Just Dance, you’d use your controller (or Kinect, or motion control, as it were) to dance along to the choreographed dancers on-screen, but with Just Dance Now all you need to do is download the app. Anyone who wants to join in can download it as well, then hop into your game by providing a code that can be found at the app’s official website. What follows is a surprisingly complete experience, with a catalogue of pop songs that’s quite impressive. While many are locked behind a paywall in the form of a VIP Pass, many of the free songs are refreshed each day so you can at least have some semblance of choice. You’ve got songs like “Gangnam Style” and Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance,” and there’s a fun selection of free songs so you don’t have to worry about spending money. –Brittany Vincent

Toonia Twinmatch

 
photo-42-600x450

Toonia TwinMatch, as the name may imply, is an interesting new game for children – a matching game of sorts that players old and young will find far more interesting than the typical app based on “memory” or “concentration” where one needs to flip over tiles in order to create pairs. Instead, Toonia TwinMatch is based on traditional Mahjong Solitaire where 144 tiles are laid out as well as stacked in specific ways, with free tiles in need of being paired are those that can be moved without being blocked by other tiles on either the Left or Right and Top. Likewise, top tiles need to be removed to open up tiles on lower levels. Adults may be familiar with the vast options for Mahjong Solitaire as an online computer game or apps for adults. Likewise, instead of traditional Chinese Character tiles, Toonia TwinMatch includes bright, colorful, and stylized fruits and vegetable tiles to match, as well as a helpful light bulb that can be turned on with a tap that will identify free tiles by darkening the ones currently blocked. Pairs will faintly be highlighted as well if a player is slow to make matches, which is a 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

FIFA 15: Ultimate Team

 
fifa2

This year, EA shakes things up by only presenting us the Ultimate Team mode in FIFA 15 for Android. That’s a fact that you either hate or love, but I must say: I was surprised by that choice. Normally I would start a soccer game review with the words that the game is bigger and better than the version released a year ago. But that is not the case with FIFA 15: Ultimate Team. Instead of making the game, sometimes unnecessary, bigger, Electronic Arts tried to built upon the core of the Ultimate Team mode. You know, the mode where you need to collect cards of players, technical staff, coaches and attributes and build your own team based on the cards you collect. You get those cards by fulfilling certain goals. –Wesley Akkerman

Escape Bird

 
escape1

When I saw the screens for Escape Bird, I thought: this looks like the Dark Souls version of Flappy Bird. Was I right? We all know the type of game Flappy Bird was. It was an unfair and unpolished, but somehow hilarious game about a bird, trying to escape whatever through some odd looking pipes, that somehow reminded us all of a Italian plumber. By tapping we made sure the bird didn’t fall or touch anything and by doing good, we all scored higher points. Or not, depending on the (lack of a good) hitbox. –Wesley Akkerman

Sony Music Unlimited

 
sum1

One of the biggest question a music service has to answer is the one that pertains to content. On this front, Sony Music Unlimited packs a major punch; not shocking, considering we’re talking about, well, Sony here. It boasts more than 30 million songs, which is far from shabby. In reality, it picked up almost every artist I threw at it across genres. I was happy to find entire albums from even obscure artists; it didn’t have ALL, but I think I could be satisfied with the selection. The audio is quite clear (320 kbps High Quality Audio), and no ads to contend with. The ability to access the premium service on the web, multiple mobile platforms, Playstation consoles/handhelds and compatible Sony electronics adds to its allure. –Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer played the new VR game from the guys behind Monument Valley, reviewed Skylanders Trap Team, went hands-on with Chaos Rings III, reported on a pair of clever new business models, and shared some sad news for iOS emulation fans. It’s all here, and more, at Pocket Gamer.

applepay03A couple of years ago, with the holiday season rapidly approaching, my mother generously asked me if there was anything I wanted for Christmas. As it turned out my wife and I were just getting into board games as a hobby, but not wanting my mom to bother wandering into a Manhattan board game specialty store I just told her I’d give her the names of a few games we were interested in that I knew she could find on Amazon. She surprised me with her response – that she wasn’t going to be able to get me those games because she didn’t feel comfortable shopping online.

My mother is the first to admit that she’s not the most tech-savvy person around, but I was still shocked that she wouldn’t order anything from Amazon, and further shocked that she had never bought anything online. When I asked why, both she and my father explained that they simply didn’t trust the technology and that it made them uncomfortable.

applepay02I guess the reason I found it difficult to accept is because online transactions have represented the majority of my expenses for years. So the idea that people who are otherwise modern, educated, competent folks wouldn’t trust something as universal as online shopping – their instinctive distrust – seemed downright silly to me as someone who is, by upbringing and profession, constantly exposed to the world of social media, online commerce, and internet connectivity.

Which is why I had to stop and scold myself when I saw Apple Pay and immediately shook my head in disapproval.

Sure, there are security features in place. Sure, your credit info isn’t technically stored on the device. And sure, what is locally kept is locked behind a biometric defense system, can be disabled remotely, and probably has a dozen other security protocols I’m unaware of. Still, my gut reaction to the idea of using my phone to pay for things was instantaneous distrust – and that’s ridiculous.

applepay01Whether you’re an adherent to the Cult of Apple, just think their products are cool, or even if you have no intention of buying Apple’s newest miracle device, the fact is that this idea of a unified way of managing your credit, integrated into your mobile electronics, is a very likely technological progression. Of course security will always be an issue, but is there really any difference in using my computer to order something from an online retailer via my credit card or tapping my iPhone against a sensor to initiate the exact same kind of transaction in person? The bottom line is that (semantics aside) there isn’t, and I doubt very much that this feature will remain exclusive to the iPhone for long.

I also doubt I’m the only one who looked at Apple Pay and scoffed. But I think that, like my parents not trusting the idea of internet commerce, it’s just a product of technological inertia. No, I’m not one of the folks who ran out to get an iPhone 6 Plus on day 1, but I won’t be one of the naysayers who resists the direction this new tech is taking us simply because ‘it’s different and that makes me nervous.’

Your Source For The Latest App Reviews

 

Every single week, the 148Apps reviewers search through the 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.

Monsu

 
monsu5

All too often, endless runners lack some much-needed personality. They can be mechanically sound and still quite satisfying to play, but they rarely feel particularly charming. Monsu aims to buck that trend, even despite the fact it doesn’t really offer much of a story. All you need to know is that you’re attempting to retrieve treasure from thieving villagers. This ties into your reasoning for running wild and bouncing on the heads of spear wielding enemies. You automatically run, with one tap for a single jump and two for a double-jump. Controls are simple yet tight; not once was there a sign of unresponsiveness. –Jennifer Allen

Card Dungeon

 
image_2-338x600

Card Dungeon is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the roguelike genre, eschewing lackluster Western fantasy imagery and the trappings of “normal” turn-based dungeon exploration with (of all things) two-dimensional art and cards. The delightful whimsy of Card Hunter, similar in scope to this title, shines through as Play Tap Games expertly marries the addictiveness of a card game with the strategic requirements of a rogue like. The game gets underway as you select from a handful of cards for how your character will perform. Once you’ve chosen them, you can choose a campaign from a wide selection of areas as the adventure begins. The game and the tutorial mode are one in the same as you make your way through your first dungeon floor, tapping on tile after tile to navigate through. The game is turn-based, with you tapping on a directional tile on the dungeon floor to navigate, then selecting cards from the bottom of the screen in order to play different actions. It’s simple enough to understand by just tapping around to get a feel for what’s going on, but difficult enough that it’s hard to master unless you truly pay attention to the varieties of cards you can use for equipment, defense, attacks, and so on. –Brittany Vincent

Galaxy Trucker

 
galaxy_trucker_04-450x600

If you’ve come to Galaxy Trucker looking for a grim, seedy simulation full of illicit stimulants, questionable encounters with alien females in the docking bays of intergalactic refueling depots, and tiny, pine tree-shaped air fresheners then you may be a bit disappointed. On the other hand, if you’re after an iPad adaptation of a 2007 board game classic that has been nominated for multiple awards, then I have much better news for you. Apparently, in the future, interstellar freight hauling vehicles are made out of jumbles of leftover pipes. Yeah, it seems like a weird choice to me, too. Now, pilots of these long-haul junk freighters are competing with one another for the most choice parts in an attempt to cobble together a ship that will withstand the rigors of deep space, pirates, and the occasional meteor shower. Oh, and also still turn a profit while doing so. –Rob Thomas

Nexticy

 
nexticy4-450x600

It’ll take some practice to truly figure out Nexticy but once you do, you’ll realize it’s a very useful tool for those in many different forms of business. Its flexibility is quite impressive. It’s a form building tool. At its simplest, you can use one of many templates to get started. There are templates for all kinds of situations, such as a nutritional log, invoicing, meeting report, quiz, and even a professional resume tool. For many, a great starting point is to use one of these and edit it to your needs rather than start from scratch. This is especially true when bearing in mind that the app could do a better job of explaining things. Experimentation is key here. –Jennifer Allen

BuggyFun

 
27-600x450

As readers may know, my family really enjoys a good building or math app at our house – very useful for when I need to get my boy tucked in and out of the way so I can perform family business such as dealing with contractors, make other important phone calls, or sometimes just early in the morning when my son wakes prematurely but is not looking to get really active just yet. Although we find applications very helpful at these moments, I do prefer him to work with building toys and other manipulative items during the rest of this free time. We have more natural wood building blocks than I care to admit, but the toys that I feel most overrun by are those that form some kind of tracks and include dozens of smaller pieces needing to be fitted together. I acquired a large amount of Zhu Zhu tracks free with the purchase of robotic hamsters from a woman eager to rid herself of these plastic parts, along with too many fractured Hot Wheels sets as well as the Nano Bug habituate tracks that my son had to have, which he is still working on earning – a day I am not looking forward to. Although I obviously see the value in being able to construct these kinds of toys in many different and creative ways, the reality of all these pieces is at times too much to bear. –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

Cannon Crasha

 
cannon1

Man, Cannon Crasha is ‘one of those games’. In a good way! When you like games like Worms and Swords and Soldiers, you will definitly like this instant classic Android game. Go play it. No seriously. This is one of those games. One of those games where the only thing you need to know is that you need to play it. It should be one of those games everybody should talk about, you know, like the time you were in high school, still playing those GBA games. Cannon Crasha is a turn-based-ish, real time strategic-ish game that borrows elements from games like Worms and Sword and Soldiers, covered up in light-humoured conversations and easy to learn controls. –Wesley Akkerman

Antec 4 Port USB Charging Station

 
a41-600x217

I love my gadgets. I’m told that as far as addictions go, it could be much worse, so there is that. With a family that likes to be connected, the most important resource in our home can sometimes be an unoccupied power outlet. With that in mind, and keeping with the drive to keep solutions simple, it’s relatively easily to see why a gadget like the Antec 4-Port USB Charging Station would catch one’s eye. As with most things from Antec, the device looks sleek without being overly flashy, compact and seemingly well constructed. It is in the rough shape of a rectangular cuboid, except that the hard plastic exterior tapers into a curve on the one side of its 5x5x6 inch frame; it isn’t too heavy either at less than 13 ounces, and the sedate finish is only really broken by the USB ports and input slot. There is an LED indicator at the top; the package also comes with AC cable and documentation. –Tre Lawrence

Keeper Password Manager

 
keep3

At this point, we hope that the need for a good password manager is akin to common sense. We’re regaled with stories of database intrusions daily; it’s smart to protect one’s self with the basics of password security: using different unique password for different websites. Also, passwords should be changed to new unique ones at regular intervals. But, if one even has only a dozen websites to log in to every now and then, those passwords start to blend together; that’s where mobile password keepers shine. Keeper Password Manager looks to be another option in this category, and we got to take it for a spin. First thing to do is to to sign in with a master password. Off the bat, I liked the UI options; who says a productivity app can’t have some personality? It’s possible to change the main color, and while this isn’t life-changing, I feel that one can’t put a price tag on the ability change up looks. –Tre Lawrence

And finally, it was a bumper week for new iOS games, but Pocket Gamer has covered the lot of them. Plus: the best games of September, the most anticipated games for October, and hands-on with The Room 3, Assassin’s Creed Identity, and Hitman: Sniper. Read all about at Pocket Gamer.

According to Cult of the Mac, Apple is planning to release its latest update info for the iPad this Thursday, October 16.

Along with the update they are rumored to be announcing a new iPad Air. It will come with a new A8 processor, improved cameras, and a new gold option. Also the Retina iMacs might show up present their new 5120 x 2880 display and updated processors.

AppleInvite102312

source: Cult of Mac

ipodtouch03I’m an iPod Touch owner, and I think it may be time for me to admit that my device’s time is almost up. But firstly, a little bit of back story for you: 

My first iOS device was a 2nd generation iPod Touch, which is long ago enough for it to not have had a camera or microphone. My second iOS device was a 4th generation iPod Touch, with my current device being a 5th generation device. Putting it bluntly, I’m a fan of the iPod Touch.

To me, the iPod Touch was Apple’s accidental handheld console. Sure you can purely use it as an iPod with a camera if you so wish, but to someone like me, it was (and still is) my gateway into iOS gaming at a much cheaper cost than an iPhone – one that also just happened to fit into my pocket. The fact that I could access the wide variety of iOS games through a relatively cheap device (compared to other iOS devices, anyway) is the reason I’m here today, on a site devoted to iOS apps.

ipodtouch02Once upon a time the release of an iPod Touch was a yearly thing, with the tech in the device just below that found in that year’s iPhone. The 4th and 5th seemingly started the pattern of a new device every two years, meaning this year should’ve bought on the release of the 6th generation. The September 9 iPhone 6 announcement event has long since come and gone however, and the world is seemingly nowhere nearer to seeing a six next to the iPod Touch name.

If you sit down and think about it though, in this day and age the iPod Touch is an unusual thing. It’s the size of the phone and does almost everything you’d expect from a modern phone besides be a phone: it has a touch screen, two cameras, a microphone, and the ability to run apps. To be fair, that’s also everything the average person would likely expect from a modern tablet as well. And therein lies the rub.

I can understand why Apple seems to be no longer supporting it. In the past year, the hardware giant released four iOS devices – the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, and the 2nd generation iPad Mini. Four devices, all varying in price and size, and each with their own niche to cater to. Within those devices, there’s something there for pretty much everyone. You want a phone-sized device to play your iOS games on? Fine, go get an expensive contract and get an iPhone. You want a device devoted to running apps? Fine, go get an iPad or iPad Mini with their bigger screens and better resolutions. You want both? Before, the answer to that question was the iPod Touch. Now, I think Apple would much rather you gave them more money and bought an iPhone and an iPad.

ipodtouch01This time next year, we’ll likely see the release of iOS 9 and the end of support for the generation of devices that used the A5 chip – including the 5th generation iPod Touch. As much as I hope Apple will announce a new iPod Touch next year, part of me knows that the brand is effectively a dead parrot at this point. And as much as I want to nail it to a perch, it’s already pushing up the daises and has joined the choir invisible.

So, farewell iPod Touch. The iPhone minus the phone. The iPad Mini but even smaller. The accidental handheld console. You will be missed.

Your Source For The Latest App Reviews

 

Every single week, the 148Apps reviewers search through the 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.

Cursed Treasure 2

 
cursed6

Previously a browser-based game, Cursed Treasure 2 is a reasonably enjoyable Tower Defense title. There’s a catch though – it’s not overly original, mostly incorporating elements we’ve seen elsewhere. For a change, you play the bad guys attempting to stop the good guys from retrieving the treasure from your castle. Each level offers a series of positions for you to place your towers and attempt to wipe out the ensuing hordes. Different colored terrain offers up different types of tower and you can’t mix and match. Besides restricting you to certain places amongst the landscape, Cursed Treasure 2 also restricts the types of tower you can use. There are only three, although they can all expand into more powerful forms over time. –Jennifer Allen

Leaf on the Wind

 
leafonthewind_05

The snappy, spicy nights of Fall are well on their way, which makes this as good a time as any to play a game like Leaf on the Wind by Pangea Software. This colorful physics/puzzle game involves piles of leaves dancing on the wind – the kind of thing that makes people think of pumpkin spice lattes, apple-picking, and of course, decorative gourd season. However, while Leaf on the Wind‘s graphics are pretty and calming, its gameplay makes the blood race a little bit. In fact, it’s a tricky game – a little too tricky in parts – leading to some needless frustration. –Nadia Oxford

Goblin Sword

 
goblin

Goblin Sword is an action platformer set firmly in the medieval fantasy genre. You will control the blue-haired protagonist as he double-jumps and hacks his way through forests, caves, and castles, slaying beasts and collecting gems. The game features a ton of stages, though each level is quite short – you’ll easily beat most in under 2 minutes, making them excellent bite-sized servings. Goblin Sword has a colorful, cartoonishly retro aesthetic, and the music matches the visuals nicely – if you aren’t sick of the pixel revolution in gaming (and you shouldn’t be, because it’s great), you’ll find a lot to love about its look and feel. The controls are fairly tight, and I never felt as though the controls were at fault when I accidentally walked into a spike pit or got hit by an enemy. –Andrew Fisher

The Strongest

 
imagejpg1_zps0e2afa8a-600x450

It’s only human nature that we all face a certain point in our lives when we just want to punch something. Anything. That’s where video games come in; they’ve always presented a healthy outlet to safely unload all of that frustration. Laboratory’s The Strongest is one of the best recent examples of note when it comes to channeling all the good that can come from indulging the thralls of mindless aggression into a gauntlet of cerebral challenges. –George Fagundes

Astropolo

 
6-600x450

Astropolo is a creative new app with a space travel theme that allows children to help astronaut Polo travel from Earth to planet Tropy. Astropolo includes eight mini-games that children will find fun and unique. Adults will appreciate these activities for their educational benefits as they strengthen areas such as fine motor and problem-solving skills. Although these games are intuitive to play once understood, written directions will need to be read in order to be followed – be it by the user or an adult working alongside the child. A short video of the gameplay of each of these sections is also included that children can follow, even if they are not up to fully reading the description – a really nice touch that also may give a few hints on the best way to play these mini-games. –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

TruGlide Pro Universal Stylus

 
tg4-600x337

There was a time the stylus was a sign of having arrived. Why? This was before smartphones, when Palm and WinMo battled to win the PDA market. True capacitive touchscreens as we know them were not on the scene yet, and a good stylus was more important than having fingers. Then, in 2007, a lot of that changed. As screens get bigger, brighter and more responsive, styli have made a comeback. As tablets and smartphone (and everything in between) become more comprehensive means of data entry, and creatives use digital tools to output thought, having tools that mimic traditional modes of data entry is especially invaluable. This is where tools like the TruGlide Pro Stylus are potentially worth their weight in gold. –Tre Lawrence

enCharge Power Jacket Case

 
ench5-600x337

You’re device battery is probably not bad. Wait… hold the rocks for a hot second. I understand that y’all smart-device newbies think it’s bad, but trust me: power management has come a long way. There is still so much more that can be done, yes, but if the amount of OEM batteries I have carried over time is an indication of the progress we have made (three down to zero), I think we can gently tap ourselves on the back. It wasn’t too long ago that I foreswore devices with non-user serviceable batteries; my last two devices actually had/have sealed batteries. Go figure… having a device that lasts 24 hours on one charge might not be that futuristic after all. Still, being prepared is the name of today’s mobile game, and this is why external batteries seem to be the most talked about mobile accessories. Finding device-specific cases that double as external power sources is also an option, and the enCharge Power Jacket Case looks like the tool many a user could get used to… as a semi-permanent tool or ad-hoc solution. –Tre Lawrence

Empire Run

 
empire1

Will Empire Run be different enough to stand out from all the other endless runners out there? Endless runners need to pack some great content to be noticeable in the Google Play Store. Either that or they must have a great theme or graphical appeal to have a chance to be downloaded. Because there are lots of endless runners out there. Perhaps to much – but that is for another rainy day. The endless runner Empire Run is a game that does things right: it has a very nice graphical style and offers some nice gameplay tweaks, in its attempt not to be overlooked by the public. –Wesley Akkerman

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer played Angry Birds Transformers (and discovered the best pause screen in a mobile game), found 24 amazing iOS puzzlers, figured out how to downgrade from iOS 8 to iOS 7, made a gamebook, reviewed Anomaly Defenders, and reviewed the new Super Smash Bros game. Read all of this, and more, right here.

newappstore01With the release of iOS 8 (finally), Apple has made some noticeable changes on the App Store – bundles, videos, and Testflight integration, to name a few. Many of these additions will make things friendlier for App Store shoppers, but how has it been affecting developers? I asked George Ko (Quantum Sheep), Brandon Pollet (F5 Games), and Nadav B (NAFNA) what they thought of Apple’s changes to the developer submission process, and their answers were rather illuminating.


Surprise! The Rules Have Changed!

George Ko

George Ko

With all the changes to the App Store that had been announced back in June when Apple officially revealed iOS 8, it’s not all that shocking to think that there might be a few more boxes to check off when submitting a new app. However, it seems as though there wasn’t a whole lot of forewarning.

According to Pollet, “I didn’t have any real warning about the submission changes. I’m sure the information was out there but I just happened to log into iTunes Connect last week and the entire interface was different.” Nadav had a similar story, and said, “we have been given access to iOS beta 2 as of June 20, yet, as to submission guidelines, I can find no info.”

“I think that, while Apple transitions from the old system it had, there will be some mistakes and oversights made,” Ko offered, “This is understandable, but it kinda sucks to be uncertain about things when trying to get a game out!”

Continue reading For Better, or for Worse? How the New App Store has Started to Affect Developer Submissions »

I still own an iPhone 4S, and the arrival of iOS 8 and the new iPhone 6 line pains me.

First off, I should explain that I’m not some half-committed neo-Luddite with a knee-jerk fear of new technology. I actually picked up my iPhone 4S on the day it launched – it was shiny, new, and top of the line. It was like basking in the glow of a new relationship, where everything is perfect and you’re so in love. Then, a few months later and through no fault of my own, the person whose family plan I was a part of flaked out and I found myself bereft of service and unable to afford the deposit required to spin my old number off to its own line. My still-relatively young significant other then began its new life as an extra beefy iPod Touch.

Image Source: Nerdrepository.com

Image Source: Nerdrepository.com

I was phoneless for the next couple of years, then eventually acquired a prepaid on a different carrier because it was both cheaper and I wouldn’t be locked to a contract. After enduring months of terrible service (including not being able to get a signal at home, within almost-literal spitting distance of the second-largest city in the state’s downtown area) I finally found out that not only did my old carrier offer prepaid service, but they had just recently allowed the iPhone 4S to be activated on it. I was elated. I could have my phone back again!

But our rekindled romance was short-lived. Once the thrill of having a signal anywhere I went wore off, I immediately began to feel the immense weight of my three years away.

In the interim, Apple had launched and fully iterated the iPhone 5 and and was gearing up to move along to the impending iPhone 6 and the concurrent launch of iOS 8. As I worked my way back into the world of iOS devices, I began to feel increasingly like a relic from a bygone age. Most new apps were not only optimized for iPhone 5 and up, but an increasing number just flat-out wouldn’t run on my old hardware at all. And with each new iOS update, that hardware – already rapidly spiraling towards obsolescence – ran just a little bit worse. Also, my prepaid plan won’t support the 5 series phones at all.

And so, I’ve begun to eyeball the postpaid world once again.

Now mind you, even if I had the money I wouldn’t have been one of those people who obsessively acquires each new phone the second it comes out. I’ve always believed in getting my money’s worth out of a device before moving on. In fact, if I had upgraded a year or so back to, say, a 5s, I could likely be singing a completely different tune at this point. Maybe I wouldn’t yet feel that an upgrade was in order. Sadly, that’s not the case.

Now, after an arduous process that took several hours the other night, my iPhone 4s groans under the strain of running iOS 8. Some features are nice (the integrated Siri song ID via Shazam, the pull-down text message reply from the lock screen) and work more or less as intended. But beyond that, things chug and sputter along slowly and hiccups, glitches, and freezes are far-too frequent. I know some of this is inevitably the bugs that accompany any initial roll-out of new operating systems, but I would be extremely surprised if a fair chunk of it wasn’t due to the fact that I’m running it on a three year old phone that just doesn’t have the muscle to properly support it. And if I thought I was being left behind before with the iPhone 5 app optimization, well it’s about to get even worse.

iphone6-01

And that’s to say nothing of the new hardware itself. I got to put my hands on it a few days ago and I was pretty impressed. I feel like the size issue has been overstated by a lot of people. Despite being a pretty big guy I have surprisingly small hands, but even the iPhone 6 Plus didn’t feel too gargantuan for me to hold reasonably. And despite the fact that it’s an ounce heavier than my 4s, it actually felt lighter. And then there’s the fact that the regular iPhone 6 actually is lighter, despite being considerably bigger. The recently reported bending controversy doesn’t especially concern me either as I don’t wear super-tight pants. And even if I did, I’d most likely normally stash the phone somewhere else, like a jacket pocket or my messenger bag, rather than forcing it uncomfortably into somewhere it would have problems fitting in the first place.

While I loved (and still do love) my 4S, I just feel that our relationship has run its course. We had some laughs together and created some great memories that I will always cherish, but I think it’s time that we move on and see other people.

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It’s the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, both of which hit North America on September 19.

As might be expected by this point, the iPhone 6 is an expensive chunk of technology. You need to talk to it softly, pat it gently, and reassure it as necessary. Here are six tips for taking good care of your new friend.

Also included: Blatant suggestions on what not to do with your phone, regardless of whatever that “fwd: fwd: fwd: READ THIS APPLE FANS!!!” email suggests.


 

How to Clean your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus

Image Source: LifeProof

Image Source: LifeProof

DO: Use a soft, dry cloth. Like most open-face electronics, the iPhone 6 collects fingerprints as efficiently as a 12-year-old collects Pokemon.

DON’T: Use a scouring pad. Or a rock. Or your cat’s fur. Do not spit on your screen and rub it in your shirt. Do not hand your iPhone to your child, for handing anything to a child is the exact opposite of cleaning it.
 

How to Charge your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus

DO: Use the provided Lightning cable. Plug it into a USB port, or use the prong extension to plug it into a wall socket. Proceed to twiddle your thumbs for the next hour or so.

DON’T: Use your microwave. Not unless you want to risk killing yourself in an inexplicable quest to own a stinking, molten chunk of plastic, aluminium, and circuitry. Seriously folks, just because a press release is written in Myriad typeface doesn’t mean you should do what it says.
 

How to carry your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus

Image Source: The Mary Sue

Image Source: The Mary Sue

DO: Purchase a protective case for your device; preferably an amusing retro tribute that resembles a Game Boy or an NES control pad. Keep your iPhone in a bag or purse pocket that’s separate from coins, keys, and gremlins.

DON’T: Stick your iPhone 6 in your back pocket, as aluminum and bum-heat don’t mix favorably (the validity of this rumor has yet to be debunked or verified by Snopes, but when is it ever a good idea to keep electronics in your back pocket, anyway? Hint: Never).
 

How to share your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus

DO: Be generous about letting your friends examine your iPhone 6. Understand their need to do so; touching an object is the most primal way of memorizing its texture, shape, and curves. You should probably stop any attempts to sniff or taste the iPhone, however.

DON’T: Hiss and rear back when your friends reach for your iPhone. Or, if you must do so, at least try and prevent your eyes from flashing yellow and constricting into cat-like slits.

ALSO DON’T: Hand your iPhone 6 to your child. We’ve already discussed why.
 

How to eat with your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus

Image Source: MacSkins

Image Source: MacSkins

DO: Sit your iPhone up at the table, put a bib on it, and offer it a scone.

DON’T: Smear peanut butter between two phones and take a bite.
 

How to properly show off your iPhone or 6 Plus

DO: Lift up your phone slowly and carefully while humming the “Sunrise” theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Before presentation, review your position with the Earth’s sun so that its rays may catch and glint off the sexy aluminum backing.

DON’T: Drop the bloody thing.

Whenever a shiny new gadget comes out, the same question runs through my mind: “Will this become an indispensable part of my tech arsenal, or will it be a glorious waste of money?” Things rarely seem to fall in between – either they change everything, or they change nothing.

Sure the idea of the Apple Watch is intriguing, but as I started my research into the device, the first hurdle I ran into was held in the first image I saw of it; the thing is huge and ugly, with a huge and ugly price tag to match.

applewatch08-600x335I have a lot of mobile devices: my iPad, my phone, and my Shine fitness tracker. Investing in something that boils all of those things down into a single fashion accessory might sound appealing at first but the reality is that, as a part of my daily wardrobe, it just doesn’t fit. In order to be able to have a functional touchscreen, the smallest possible face for the Apple Watch is 38mm. That’s kind of large for someone like me who has small wrists. Sure, it would let me reenact scenes from Dick Tracy (and that’s cool enough to merit serious consideration), but with its metallic 90s style Casio band and massive face it just looks plain silly. If Apple wants to not only become a part of my lifestyle but a part of my appearance, they are just going to have to try harder. Yes, I know they offer other bands, but the current iconic design is neither formal nor cool, and that just won’t do.

In truth, though, I haven’t worn a watch for several years now. With so many devices that keep time already taking up valuable room in my pockets, I haven’t felt the need to wear one. Once again the point would be to minimize the amount of stuff I carry, and in that regard the Apple Watch is intriguing – especially as more apps become available for it.

applewatch09But appearance aside, the biggest hurdle for getting excited about the new Apple Watch is that price. At $349, it’s unreasonable as a substitute for a bunch of tech gear I already own. Also, considering it needs to paired with an iPhone, which I do not presently own, the Apple Watch would be useless to me unless I bought one of those, too.

At the moment, the Apple Watch really doesn’t offer anything truly new to justify itself. Perhaps after the watch is released and a few generations pass I’ll find it a more worthwhile investment. By then the price may drop and my old gear will be out of date and in need of an upgrade anyway. Until then, I think my Dick Tracy impressions will just have to continue to rely on my good old (free) imagination.

How iOS 8 has Improved My iPad Experience

After a solid week of use since its debut, here are my personal impressions of how iOS 8 has refined and streamlined the way in which I use my iPad on a daily basis.

Today is Looking Good

The improved Notification Center is by far my favorite feature of iOS 8 on iPad. The now fully-featured Today screen is finally at a place where it should have been years ago: as an integral part of the iOS experience and adding a whole new spectrum of usability to iOS devices.

On an iPad, a device typically chock-full of apps and games, this feature is even more appreciated. From the lock screen I can get an overview of the most pressing news stories (via News Republic), pop culture or meme-inspired articles that are perfect for passing a few minutes (BuzzFeed), a much more attractive weather report (Yahoo! weather), buttons for launching different functions in Evernote, customizable app shortcuts with Launcher, and a shortcut to where I’m up to in the book I’m reading with the Kindle app. It acts as a real hub of activity, allowing me to view my apps at a glance rather than closing and opening each one systematically.

IMG_1904.PNGIMG_1916.PNG

Better Connectivity

AirDrop between my iPad and my MacBook (running the Yosemite beta) is also a long-awaited feature I’m happy to see added to iOS 8, and is a much more direct way of transferring files between the two. Answering calls on my iPad if my phone is on charge is also a massive plus, meaning I rarely miss those urgent calls from work when my phone is in the other room.

A combination of the new-and-improved Notification Center, the updated Spotlight search, and a rejuvenated Siri will definitely silence some of the critics that previously questioned iOS’ productivity or speed of use, as the home screens have become more of a directory than the be-all-and-end-all of the iOS experience (to me at least).

IMG_1917.PNGIMG_1931-0.PNG

Better Luck Next Year

I’m still waiting for the Control Center to allow for some customization in the same way that the Notification Center lets you edit widgets (for example, a button to turn off data easily) and take proper steps towards becoming a mini settings menu. Hands-free Siri is a great touch, but until Apple comes up with a way to make it work without the constant use of a charger it’s not particularly helpful unless you’re sitting next to the plug socket.


iOS 8 has taken great steps in moving towards achieving true multi-device connectivity, as well as making the whole interaction process a lot more multi-faceted. As more apps add support for notification widgets, it’ll become even more capable.

NAVIGON iPhone 2.1 Route Blocking
I’ve been living with my iPhone 4S for the past two years or so, and if I was living in a world where I wasn’t bombarded with new phone announcements and people of the general public caring enough to upgrade constantly, I wouldn’t think my phone was obsolete. It’s a great feeling phone that does everything I want it to – plus a lot of stuff I don’t care to do. It’s not perfect, but neither are iOS 8, the iPhone 6, or the iPhone 6 Plus, so why spend the hundreds of dollars every year or two?

I’m not even going to attempt to answer that question. I’m merely using it as a rhetorical device to illustrate that the past two years of announcements of Apple hardware and services have not moved me to throw money at them, and here are a few reasons why.

Continue reading Why I Don’t Want to Upgrade to the iPhone 6 – or iOS 8 for That Matter »

Expert App Reviewers

 

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

Goat Simulator

 
IMG_18511-600x450

Looking for a serious goat simulation game involving a bit of grazing, some goats screaming like humans (YouTube it), and a bit of mild milking chucked in for good measure? First of all, what’s wrong with you? Secondly, there’s none of that to be found in Goat Simulator. Rather, it’s about what would happen if an invincible and inexplicably angry billy goat went on a rampage through a countryside village. Players are free to explore the small but largely destructible environment with its challenges, collectibles, and quirks at their leisure. There’s a lot here, from goat slingshots, to goat sumo wrestling, to a sacrificial offering (that last one was unexpected, right?), and it’s great fun to discover what the world has to offer. –Lee Hamlet

Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker

 
kittypowers_04

Cheers, loves. Looking for snuggles, cuddles, and beyond? Miss Kitty Powers is ready to hook the lovelorn up with the good stuff in Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker. Well, to clarify, Miss Kitty Powers will be on the sidelines offering advice – and snark. It’s the player that needs to get their hands dirty by digging up clients’ interests, matching up personalities, and finding them ideal mates. Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker is a dating/matchmaking sim, which isn’t a rare species on mobile platforms. What makes it special is its fast pace, its payoffs, and above all else, its wildly weird sense of humor. –Nadia Oxford

Dragon Quest I

 
IMG_0792-450x600

There are legends that are told time and again; the sort of elemental tales that, in one form or another, define an entire genre. These stories are copied, referenced, and remade endlessly, all because they represent a fundamental part of our shared culture. For RPG fans of any age, one such tale is Dragon Quest. If you loved Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Breath of Fire, the Mana series, or any of the hundreds of other awesome old-school RPGs out there, you owe at least a little to Dragon Quest. Originally released in 1986 for the Famicom/NES as Dragon Warrior, Dragon Quest for iOS is an updated remake of a truly classic game. The visuals strike a great balance between looking like something from an early-era RPG (palate-swapped enemies FTW!), but are still cartoony and fun. The music is good, though you will get sick of the horn trill that sounds at the beginning of every random encounter. The script, written in a faux-Shakespearian tongue, is charmingly full of ‘thees’ and ‘thous’, making for a fun, campy experience. –Andrew Fisher

Plunder Pirates

 
pirates7

Another week, another Clash of Clans style game, right? That’s what you’re probably thinking when looking at Plunder Pirates, and who could blame you. It does look a lot like yet another one of those kind of games. Fortunately, Rovio Stars has a few tricks up its sleeves, ensuring that Plunder Pirates has more going for it than you’d expect. Starting out, it’s a lot like any base building game. You have an island with the basic structures already in place, and it’s down to you to develop it and become the greatest pirate out there. Or something like that. This is done through a number of different methods. Developing each building and upgrading them while also placing new things is vital. –Jennifer Allen

Kunin

 
kunin-1-450x600

There are no frills or microtransactions in Kunin. It lives or dies by the sharpness of its steel and the strength of its twitch arcade gameplay. But from that trial it emerges a nervous yet nice test of ninja reflexes. In Kunin, players try to keep their little ninja alive as long as possible by deflecting oncoming knives and throwing stars. Tapping each side of the screen causes him not only to jump but also face that direction. Turning the right way is crucial because threats come on all sides and strikes from behind are lethal. –Jordan Minor

Pizo Animals

 
32-450x600

Recently I came across some puzzles that are now too young for my six year old son – jigsaws that fit into wooden-backed frames instead of being boxed like the larger puzzles he now enjoys. Much to my chagrin, I realized that many of these puzzles were missing a piece or two, making them unacceptable for charity donations. I still remember the frustration of trying to keep all of these puzzle pieces together that even when completed did not sit well enough in their frames to keep these puzzles intact. Because of this, during his time at preschool we began to work on a lot of puzzles for the iPad and iPhone where the loss of pieces was no longer a concern, allowing them to be enjoyed while laying in bed or on the go. Even better was that, typically, different levels of difficulty were included within these puzzle apps that would grow with my son. Because of this I am always happy to test new puzzle applications, and I am eager to let parents know of a new puzzle app, Pizo Animals. –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

Soccer Fitness Gols

 
gol1

Sometimes, we get apps to review that are so natural to use. As a licensed soccer coach who has played and coached The Beautiful Game most of my life, I have an intimate understanding of how seriously fitness impacts the sport. It’s an important, and there are quite a number of wearables aimed at this segment. In any case, checking out apps like Soccer Fitness Gols not only feels natural, it feels like its my duty. So there. The app itself is simple in design, with bright green, turf-like graphics making up the main background. The developer uses different shades of green in places to contrast the mostly white main screen text. The UI, as noted, is simple, and uses mostly uses taps and some gestures as the main modes of navigation. –Tre Lawrence

Agenday Smart Calendar

 
age1

Making everyday business activities easier is a worthy goal that definitely earns developers a spot in heaven. With Agenday Smart Calendar, PGi might have a chance to go up yonder. The use interface is appropriately businesslike, with the default soft hues and flashes of orange. The welcome screen is tastefully crafted, with weather, date and meetings that are planned for the current day. The date bar is scrollable, and there is a calendar button nestled to the top right, along with the familiar Android-standard three-button menu access. Tapping on a specific part of the weather information leads to Weather Underground, from which more specific weather information can be procured. Altogether, the UI feels clean and intuitive, and avoids the pitfall of being too cluttered. –Tre Lawrence

Super Monkey Ball Bounce

 
supermonkey3

Super Monkey Ball Bounce has a lot of problems, and being a cash cow is just one of them. It is a shame to see what Sega has done to the once beloved series of challenging games. When you love Peggle or games like Peggle, you will clearly enjoy Super Monkey Ball Bounce. That game doesn’t just take inspiration from Peggle, it rips it off completely. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing; one can better steal something good, than make up something bad. It is all in the details; and with details, I mean stuff like themes, power ups and level design. And that’s the part Super Monkey Ball Bounce doesn’t fail to be enjoyed by gamers. Because the base is pretty good. –Wesley Akkerman

And finally, this week the chaps at Pocket Gamer went big on iOS 8, with loads of tips and an investigation into Apple’s new Metal tech. Plus, the guys across the pond looked into iPad virtual reality, the future of Minecraft, and asked if 2014 was the year mobile gaming grew up… Read all about it right here.

This Week at 148Apps: September 8-12, 2014

Expert App Reviewers

 

So little time and so very many apps. What’s a poor iOS devotee 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.

Kapsula

 
kapsula4

Kapsula isn’t an easy game by any means, but it is an appealing one. It combines the obvious mixture of racing and Match-3 gameplay, because that’s a partnership that we’ve all been waiting to see! It sounds odd, but it works by relying upon some very fast reactions and quick decision making. You control a car as it races across some futuristic-looking landscapes. The visuals are quite crude but they match the theme well, adding a kind of beauty to such simplicity. Controls are a matter of tapping on either side to move around and that’s as complex as Kapsula gets. The tricky part is moving at the right time. While racing along, various colored gems called kapsulas (hence the name) appear. Drive alongside one and you snag it to the side of your car. The trick here is to match it up with another of the same color to earn points. –Jennifer Allen

Spider-Man Unlimited

 
spiderman4-338x600

There’s no shortage of endless runners on the App Store. Good endless runners, though? Now, there’s a trickier thing to find. Spider-Man Unlimited is one of those rare delights, made all the rarer by the fact it uses a popular license and still manages to be enjoyable. It’s a narrative led running game, which means it’s split into two parts. There’s the Endless mode that lives up to its name, but there’s also the more structured story mode that offers up some reason to run. Divided up into issues, issue 1 involves you tackling the Green Goblin while issue 2 pits you against the Vulture – with future issues coming soon. –Jennifer Allen

Ninja Warrior Temple

 
ninja warrior temple (4)

Ninja Warrior Temple understands that the way of the ninja is never an easy one. It takes skill and insight bordering on the supernatural: a perfect melding of body and mind. But while its clever designs show its mind is in the right place, the slippery controls suggest the body still needs work. Ninja Warrior Temple is a textbook “masocore” game where players take on super short but devastatingly difficult platforming challenges. While early stages use fairly formulaic layouts like “jump over spikes in an incredibly tight time window,” the game soon reveals its smarter tricks. –Jordan Minor

The Nightmare Cooperative

 
IMG_1659

The Nightmare Cooperative is a dungeon-raiding puzzler and strategy game that forces players to think on their feet while taking multiple factors into account at once. Taking place over 12 levels through 4 zones, players must navigate their team over a checkered game board via up and down swipes that control the whole team at once, moving past deadly enemies and fiery pits. Of course, there is the option to fight back by either bumping into enemies repeatedly or by pressing the special ability button. Enabled by the collection of potions, each character class has their own special ability – including healing, brute strength, and long-range weapons – that will help with getting their teammates and themselves to the exit in one piece. –Lee Hamlet

Gro Flowers

 
2-600x450

As readers can imagine, my son is fortunate to have a chance to test a variety of educational apps that I download as part of my review process. Typically for him, this is alone-time when he chooses not to have a lot of interaction with others as he becomes deeply involved with an app of his choice. Gro Flowers, an app from a favorite developer of ours – Gro Play – is a unique case, as my boy invites me into his world while working with this application. It’s a lovely combination of art and ecology, allowing children to decorate their own flowers to later be pollinated by bees that also produce honey in need of being caught as it drips from the hive. Do shoo away bug spray bottles with a tap, keeping the bees safe and happy. I would first like to point out that Gro Flowers, along with other Gro Play apps, allows multiple players to explore and interact at the same time – working together decorating flowers as well as dragging bees to like-flowers in the interest of pollination, as well as collecting honey and discouraging the use of pesticides, making this app a lovely exercise in cooperation that my son really enjoys sharing with others. The pacing of Gro Flowers, also like the other Gro Play apps, is a little on the slow side compared to arcade games some children play with these days, but I do admire this choice. It allows my son to slow down as well – a lovely nod to the time it takes nature to grow a field of flowers or create honey one drop at a time. –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

Appointment with F.E.A.R.

 
fear

Appointment With F.E.A.R casts the player as a hero with powers of their choosing out to stop an evil meeting of the minds as the criminal organization known as F.E.A.R meet in three days to hatch an evil plot to take over the world. Players begin by picking their powers. What powers they have affects the story great deal. They may be able to fire energy blast from their hands or simply be a Batman like gadget genius with no actual superpowers besides being clever, among others. A few of these feel a bit half-baked though. The engineer type doesn’t really get enough chances to use his gadgets and the mind reader doesn’t get to really read minds, more just use their physic skills to hurl objects at enemies and so on. –Allan Curtis

Help Me Fly

 
fly

There is no shortage of puzzle games in all of the app stores, including the Google Play Store. But finding that must play puzzle game, might be a challenge. Don’t look any further, because we’ve found one. Puzzle games and app stores: it’s like a combination made in heaven. And why wouldn’t it be? Most of those puzzle games are easy to understand, offer a great challenge and have some pretty user-friendly interfaces for us to enjoy. A good puzzle game has all of the above mentioned elements and I’m glad to say that the game Help Me Fly vg fits right in to the description of a good puzzle game. It even has some solid looking graphics that are easy on the eyes. –Wesley Akkerman

Angry Birds Stella

 
stella

The new Angry Birds Stella game just came and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to give the birds a swing again. Only this time, we’re swinging female birds with more tactics at their disposal. With every new Angry Birds installment I always ask myself: what did Rovio do this time to not make me think this game is just like the one before? The gravity mechanic in Angry Birds Space was a first for me, thinking the developer actually did something to improve the basics of the game. And now, I’ve got the same feeling. Angry Birds Stella is, to be very direct, a new Angry Birds game that builds upon the basics of the core of the franchise and really offers something new. –Wesley Akkerman

And finally, Apple made headlines on Pocket Gamer, too. The guys have got tech and size comparisons for the new iPhones, and thoughts on the Apple Watch’s gaming potential. Plus, a preview of Space Age, along with reviews of Goblin Sword, Phantom Rift, and more. Read everything right here.

With the release of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Apple Watch just around the corner, Amazon has announced a special offer for their Trade-In Program. If you submit an item before October 10, that price will be locked-in for the following 45 days after that submission, with these gadgets currently worth the following amounts:

  • iPhone 5S – $400 for 64 GB
  • iPhone 5 – $350 for 64 GB
  • iPad Mini – currently at $150.75 – $261.8 based on model and memory size
  • Samsung Galaxy Gear – $71.40
  • Pebble Steel Smartwatch for iPhone – $100

This offer for the Amazon Trade-In Program is set to last for the next month, through until October 10.

Amazon Trade-In._V326800422_

So, the new iPhones have been announced and we’re all excited, right? Well, maybe not entirely. It’s a funny thing being a self-confessed fan of a company and its products. While I don’t see myself as a blind fan to Apple, over the years I’ve happily owned 2 iPads, 1 MacBook Pro, and 3 iPhones. I’ll no doubt end up with another iPhone at some point soon too, but that hasn’t stopped me from feeling a little disappointed by the news of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

iphone6-02Much of it, I suspect, is down to wanting something life-changing again. The original iPhone, for me at least, was life-changing. Besides eventually leading me to a position where I’m writing this very article, it felt amazing to own one. The sheer potential of what I could do with it was amazing. I think every new iteration, I want that feeling again. Maybe I just expect too much.

As someone who prefers their phones smaller, I’m at a tricky crossroads. The iPhone 5 is big enough that it’s caused a permanent dent in my jeans’ pocket. Its camera is good enough that I’ve taken photos just as the sun is setting and it’s still somehow made it look like much earlier in the day. I do want the speed boost, though. I’m impatient. I like things to react as quickly as possible.

The other features? Not so much.

iphone6-01The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are set to be thinner and offer a better HD display, which is great. It’s not a deal-breaker, though. I’ve got an iPad Mini Retina which covers that, if not quite as well.

Camera wise, things are looking better. At least when it comes to the iPhone 6 Plus’ optical image stabilization, which looks fantastic. The iPhone 6’s improvements, however, are good but not awe inspiring. I want something I can show off to others and they can immediately see the difference and think ‘wow, I want one of those’. It looks like I’ll have to go for a bigger phone in the form of the 6 Plus if I want that.

Touch ID and fingerprint technology is great, but much like the contactless payments via Apple Pay, it’s not something I can see myself using every day. It’s just a nice quirk. A little bit like Passbook.

The biggest delight to come from this for me is the battery life. My iPhone 5 needs charging every night now and was never great two years ago. It’ll be good to not be so reliant upon my charger again. Still though, where’s the wireless charging? Now that’d feel futuristic and it’d be so practical, too.

iphone6-09It’s a tough one to call. Besides better battery life and multi-user support (seriously, where is that? I want to be able to switch to a guest account, hand my phone to my young cousin, and not be worried that they’ll dig around in the wrong places), I’ll admit I can’t list a plethora of things I want to see in my phone – but then I never can. That’s why I don’t work in research and development. Those exciting changes are what I’ve enjoyed about new iPhones. Being told a new idea that’s made me think “I never thought of that. Awesome, I can’t wait.”

I’ll eagerly buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus at some point in the future because I want the speed boost, but I’ll be honest: what I really want is something that I can point out to folks and yell “See? See how awesome that is!” and I don’t feel like I’ve got that this time around. Instead, I’ve got steady but a little bit safe. Is it a matter of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Maybe, but I’ve still got that itch for revolution rather than evolution.

For the unfamiliar, Redbubble is a good place to find great artwork – and then have it slapped on a phone case, T-shirt, pillow, etc. And now it’s a good place to find cases for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

You can preorder your case now, but they won’t start shipping until 9/19 to coincide with the iPhone 6 launch. Still, there’s a rather gigantic assortment to choose from, with prices varying depending on the individual artist’s markup.

And heck, if you can’t quite find what you’re looking for you can always make your own account and upload your own illustrations and images. That’s what I did.

[Editor’s Note: I’ve been uploading my own designs to Redbubble for well over a year now. My portfolio is not the reason I decided to share this news, but I do feel it necessary to let everyone know that I have work posted to the site. – Rob]

rb01rb02rb03

source: Redbubble

applepay03Broken livestream be damned, Apple barreled bravely forward with their highly anticipated press conference today in California. One of the biggest announcements to come out of it was the reveal of the new Apple Pay virtual wallet service.

applepay01Relying on an NFC chip mounted inside the top edge of both the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay will allow consumers to do away with all of the fumbling around with silly, outdated ideas like cards, IDs, and security codes. Working in combination with the Touch ID sensor located in the Home button, Apple Pay will theoretically make the payment methods stored in your stolen phone useless to thieves – unless they get the bright idea to begin lopping off fingers, I suppose. But even if that should be the case, there’s no need to cancel your cards on your way to the hospital as payments from the device can be shut off via Find My iPhone. Pretty nice to not have to deal with that whole hassle, I would say.

applepay02Apple Pay integrates with Passbook and can import the credit card that users already have on file with iTunes. Using the iPhone’s camera, they can also snap pictures of their other cards to add them to the options on file as well, but apparently the credit card number itself is stored on neither the device, nor Apple’s servers. Instead, each transaction will be authorized by a one-time use unique transaction number and a dynamic, shifting security code. Let’s hope this calms fears of trusting cash to the cloud in the wake of last week’s leaked celebrity selfie disaster.

Starting off, Apple Pay will work with all three of the major credit card providers (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover), as well as pretty much all of the major U.S. banks, totaling 83% of the consumer purchase volume. There are also deals in place for a growing number of retailers, restaurants, and other folks who want your money to use Apple Pay as it launches. McDonalds, Panera, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Staples, and more are already involved, with Disney, Chipotle, Sephora, Nordstrom, and others due by the end of the year.

applepay04Apple Pay is only available with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and is due to roll out in the U.S. this October, with the rest of the world still to be announced. Provided they can actually suss out the security issues, I have to admit this does sound like a pretty neat idea. A growing number of retailers have NFC readers at their point-of-sale and it certainly beats having to fumble with your ID when that one store decides to ask for it when a dozen others never bother.

What do you think? Are you ready to abandon your actual wallets just yet and trust that your iPhone’s battery won’t die during a particularly long day out? Let us know how you feel below.

iphone6-01Much to nobody’s surprise, Apple has officially announced the iPhone 6. Not just the 6, though. An even fancier (and costlier) model, the iPhone 6 Plus, is also on its way.

So, what’s this new iPhone all about?

iphone6-03To start with, it’s sleeker than the 5 and 5s. The entire phone is rounded off, with no real corners to speak of. It holds more of a charge – or is at least said to – for a 50% increase in energy efficiency. It’s also even thinner, with the iPhone 6 Plus coming in at 7.1mm and the iPhone 6 at 6.9mm – both narrower than the 5s’ 7.6mm. In other words, you’ll be even more likely to freak out and think your iPhone fell out of your pocket now.

iphone6-02The screen is “ion-strengthened,” and uses a new Retina HD display that shows the full sRGB color range. The iPhone 6 has a screen size of 4.7”, with a 720p Retina display at a resolution of 1334×750 – and 326 pixels per inch. The iPhone 6 Plus is, naturally, bigger and fancier. It sports a 5.5” screen at 1920×1080, 401 pixels per inch, and uses a 1080p Retina display. Both phones use the new A8 chip, which will result in even faster processing and graphics when compared to the 5s. Couple that with Metal, and it’s going to be interesting to see where iOS gaming goes from here.

iphone6-12And how about the service? Apple says the iPhone 6 will have wifi speeds that are significantly faster than the 5s, using 802.11ac. It will also have faster LTE, and supports over 200 LTE carriers. Perhaps most interesting is the addition of wifi calling, which will come in handy for those awkward moments when you lose cell service but still have a wifi connection. Don’t laugh, this actually happens to me a lot.

iphone6-07The iSight camera is still alive and well inside the iPhone 6, along with several enhancements. It now utilizes a new sensor (it can judge distance and elevation now), ƒ/2.2 aperture, 1.5µ pixels, and clocks in at 8MP. The new iSight also incorporates Focus Pixels, which are typically found in high-end DSLR cameras. Heck, the thing can even detect when subjects are smiling and blinking while in Burst Mode, and will automatically recommend shots based around that info.

iphone6-11The iPhone 6 will be available in silver, gold, and space gray, and sell for $199 (16GB), $299 (64GB), and $399 (128GB). The iPhone 6 Plus, meanwhile, is available in the same colors and will sell for $299 (16GB), $399 (64GB), and $499 (128GB). Both models’ prices include a two-year contract, and both will be available for sale on 9/19 – preorders begin on Friday, 9/12.

So what do you all think? What iPhone 6/Plus features are you most excited about?

    Advertisement    





Featured Apps

    Advertisement    


Categories

Developers

Would you like your application reviewed on 148Apps? See the About page for information.
    Advertisement    


Latest Posts

So Many Holiday iOS Sales Oh My Goodness! [Updated x1]

Seriously, there's a rather obscene amount of stuff on sale right now, and more discounts are inevitable.

Make your own Tribez Figures (and More) with Toyze

Toyze, the 3D marketplace app by Eligo Games, has signed a licensing agreement with Game Insight to offer fans the chance to own 3D figures from three of their properties: Tribez, Dragon Eternity, and Mirrors of Albion. “Game Insight is one of the most successful players in the international mobile gaming industry and we are thrilled to […]


Steel Media Network

148Apps - iPhone app reviews and news. The best gosh darn iPhone app site this side of Mars.
http://148apps.com :: @148Apps

Android Rundown - Android news and reviews. Where you get the rundown on Android apps and hardware.
http://AndroidRundown.com :: @AndroidRundown

Best App Ever - Yearly Mobile App Achievement Awards.
http://bestappever.com :: @BestAppEver

Pocket Gamer - Mobile game reviews, news, and features.
http://PocketGamer.co.uk :: @PocketGamer

Pocket Gamer.biz - Mobile games industry news, opinion, and analysis.
http://PocketGamer.biz :: @pgbiz

AppSpy - iOS game news and video reviews.
http://appspy.com :: @appspy