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This Week at 148Apps: June 29-July 3, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on July 6th, 2015

Into July With 148Apps

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


Divide By Sheep

Mathematics shouldn’t be as fun as Divide By Sheep makes it. Your job is to rescue sheep from the Grim Reaper by flinging them from island to island, eventually depositing them on a transport to safety.The catch is that only a set number of sheep can go on any one transport. Put too few on and the boat goes nowhere, put too many on and you miss out on a star. The sheep only divide up if you fling them onto a platform with too few spaces for them, and that’s what you’re going to be doing a lot. Sacrificing a few sheep for the greater good is everything here, and it only gets nastier.--Jennifer Allen


RESCUE: Heroes In Action

Every once in a while I like to dive into a weird European game. If you do too, look no further than RESCUE: Heroes in Action from rondomedia. This German developer has created a real-time strategy game where players control firefighters as they put out fires, axe down doors, and save citizens. Although it has a fair amount of jank, it's still a fun and challenging experience.Players select scenarios within one of three environment types (Suburbs, Urban central, or Industrial district) and have to use their skills to make sure they manage their water tanks and move quickly enough to remove threats, put out fires, and save lives. To do this they need to tap and drag paths for firefighters and firetrucks to follow along with tapping the appropriate command when a unit is near an interactive object.--Campbell Bird


FireWhip

FireWhip is the latest game from Dan FitzGerald, the mind behind last year's Dawn of the Plow. They might seem like completely disparate or even opposite titles - especially considering one is about fire and one is about snow - but they both share weird control schemes that feel intentionally strange. Because of this, FireWhip didn't click for me at first. However it eventually revealed itself to be a deeply challenging and rewarding arcade experience. Players use their finger to rotate a whip (made of fire, of course) around the screen to fend of waves of abstract enemies. A sudden stop with a fully extended whip can cause it to crack and send flames across the screen, while spinning the whip too fast for too long can cause parts of it to burn out. Keeping these rules in mind, players face off against a variety of enemies including cowards that run away from the flames, fearless tanks that charge ahead, and fast-moving warp units that beam across the screen directly at players. The challenge of FireWhip is in knowing how to deal with each enemy quickly in order to rack up a high score.--Campbell Bird


Sonic Runners

Upon every Sonic the pro- and anti-Sonic crowds get increasingly more disagreeable. Although I don't have particularly strong feelings one way or the other for the blue hedgehog, I think it's safe to say his earliest work was among his strongest. Sonic Runners is an endless runner that captures the speed and platforming of 2D Sonic games, but there are a lot of things wrong with the non-running parts that make it hard to enjoy. The actual meat of Sonic Runners is a pretty fun and challenging runner. Players attain a specific score on a level by accumulating rings and emeralds before facing off against Dr. Eggman, much like the original games. They can unlock Tails and Knuckles as playable characters, both of which lend their strengths in specific situations.--Campbell Bird


Tales From Deep Space

Amazon Game Studios is gradually beginning to make a mark on the App Store. With the recent release of Lost Within and Til Morning’s Light, we now have one time Amazon Kindle Fire exclusive, Tales From Deep Space - a fairly charming puzzle adventure game. It doesn’t revolutionize the genre but that doesn’t stop it from being quite appealing.You control a traveling salesman and his drone as you attempt to escape a Space Station. The two have to work in conjunction when traveling around with the main controls involving you switching between the two at regular points. It’s a familiar concept whereby you leave one character on a switch while the other completes a given task, but it works well here. --Jennifer Allen


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown


Drift Spirits

DRIFT SPIRITS seems to be the type of game that could allow one to live life on the edge. Digitally.At its core, it’s a 1v1 drag racing game with an emphasis on drifting. Competitors go toe-to-toe on curved race track that are all but built to encourage oversteering, and the idea is to level up and get rewards to improve one’s car and progress as far as possible.--Tre Lawrence


SmartNews

In a perpetually fast-paced world, there is always a place for easy-to-use news apps. Enter SmartNews, an app from Japanese developers that already has quite the positive reputation on Google Play.Upon first inspection, the app looks clean. It opens up into the main page, and one gets to see the white background and splashes of color upon that in the tabs at the top. It is set in blog form, with text summaries bordered by a relevant pictures. It a serious look, but easy on the eyes, and easy to appreciate from a visual perspective.--Tre Lawrence


Prison Break: Lockdown

Prison Break: Lockdown is an interesting game that manages to be a mystery, a hidden object game and probably more… simultaneously. It takes a fairly popular theme — escape — and build upon it to create a leveled game.The game incorporates a lot of research elements; the player gets a scene, and has to investigate for objects to interact with. Interacting comes in different forms…some objects provide clues to solve other puzzles; several can be collected and even combined to solve riddles. To see if an area has a clickable item, one must click specific areas on the screen to see if one if those areas can be enlarged.--Tre Lawrence

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

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 29th, 2015

June's Summer Journey Continues With 148Apps

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


LightRunner Armband

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


Fallout Shelter

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


Papaly Bookmark Manager

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


Her Story

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


Piloteer

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown


EA Sports UFC

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


Spider Square

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


Alphabetty Saga

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

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

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 22nd, 2015

June's Journey Continues With 148Apps

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


Hitman: Sniper

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


iSpring Present

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


Peak

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


FullContact

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


MagicMeasure

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown


House of Marley Chant Wireless Speaker

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


Dude Perfect 2

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


Misfit Shine

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

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

The Apple Watch has Officially Made it - Solitaire is Now Available

Posted by Rob Rich on June 15th, 2015
+ Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

As we're all aware, no tiny computer-like device is official until you can play Solitaire on it. So by unwritten law, the Apple Watch is now 100% official.

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 10th, 2015

Jump Into June With 148Apps

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


Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

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


Coup

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


Sproggiwood

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


Portal Pinball

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


Fotograf

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


Simple Machines

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown


Star Trek Trexels

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


Gravity Line

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


Divoom Voombox Party Wireless Speaker

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

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

Why Having Native Apps on the Apple Watch is a Big Deal

Posted by Rob Rich on June 9th, 2015

Yesterday’s WWDC was full of all sorts of interesting announcements for all sorts of Apple-related operating systems. A lot of really impressive stuff is in the works, but the most significant change for the Apple Watch has got to be allowing for native apps (i.e. apps that are installed directly on the watch rather than piggybacking over from the iPhone).

Watch OS 2 is Going to Add More Customization Options, Native Apps, and Lots More Cool Stuff

Posted by Rob Rich on June 8th, 2015

Granted it's still in its relative infancy, but the Apple Watch has been a bit lacking when it comes to third-party apps thanks to WatchKit not really allowing developers to do much other than create a window to a larger iPhone app. Now it looks like Watch OS 2 is going to change that.

Slide Over and Split View for iOS 9 Might Be My New Favorite Thing

Posted by Rob Rich on June 8th, 2015

There have been quite a lot of significant announcements during today's WWDC, but I think my personal favorite has got to be Slide Over for iOS 9.

iOS 9's New Transit Feature for Maps Looks Pretty Neat

Posted by Rob Rich on June 8th, 2015

The Maps app has been going through some growing pains, but it has been getting better. Its upcoming iOS 9 iteration looks to be even better with the addition of a new Transit view.

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 1st, 2015

May Days at 148Apps

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


Cartoon Survivor

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


Cooking Mama Let's Cook!

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


Kapu Fishing

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


Brickies

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


Sword of Xolan

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


Mr. Muscle

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown


Sunburn!

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


Plancon: Space Conflict

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

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

What the Apple Watch Gets Right, and What it Gets Wrong - Revisited

Posted by Rob Rich on May 26th, 2015

A couple of months ago I ruminated on what the Apple Watch could and couldn’t do (as indicated by Apple’s own descriptions, since the watch itself wasn’t out yet). I also ruminated on what it seemed to be doing right and what it was doing wrong. Now that I’ve actually had one for a bit and have been using it daily, some of my thoughts have changed. Some for the better, and some for the worse.

So it’s time to take a look back at what I got right (ha-ha!) and what I got wrong (boo!).

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 24th, 2015

May Days at 148Apps

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


Earthcore: Shattered Elements

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


Horizon 3

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


KANO

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


Tofu Hunter

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


Languinis: Match and Spell

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


Knights of Pen & Paper 2

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown


Neposmart Camera

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


Logitech Keys-To-Go Bluetooth Keyboard

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


WorldPenScan X

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

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

This Week at 148Apps: May 11-15, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 18th, 2015

May Days at 148Apps

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


Heroes and Castles 2

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


Multicross

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


THRED

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


Mr. Bank

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


Wand

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


Wings Remastered

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown


Motorola E (2nd Gen) 4G LTE

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

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

Here’s How to Set a Custom Face for Your New Apple Watch

Posted by Rob Rich on May 18th, 2015

So you’ve just unboxed your very own Apple Watch and have been playing around with some of its features. Neat, huh?

Well if you’re like me, you probably want to get to customizing its face before you really start to show it off to people. And if you’re also like me, chances are you've completely ignored the little info pamphlet that came with everything. It’s okay, unboxing a new piece of Apple tech usually leads to discarded instructions. That’s just the nature of the beast.

And that’s exactly why we’ve put together this short guide on how to go about customizing the face of your Apple Watch.

Here’s the Deal with Real Racing 3’s Team Driver for Apple Watch

Posted by Rob Rich on May 18th, 2015
+ Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

Whether you’ve been playing Real Racing 3 for a while or are just getting started, chances are all you Apple Watch users are wondering what’s up with its watch functionality. Well, rather than acting as some weird sort of remote or letting you race directly on your wrist, it actually functions as a companion app. It’s not unlike a bizarre car-racing virtual pet now that I think about it...