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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 8-12

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 15th, 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.


RPG Clicker

There’s been a prevalence of one-tap RPGs, and RPG Clicker is one of the more recent entries. It’s a lot like all the others, albeit with a slightly more involved equipment system, but you’ll still find yourself drawn in against your better judgement.You tap on the screen in order to inflict damage upon your enemies. Keep at it and eventually they die, you gain a bit of experience, and the process repeats all over again. Every now and then, you come across a treasure chest which offers up a handy piece of equipment to boost your abilities. You also earn gold for every kill. This gold can be used to upgrade your abilities, your weapon, spells, and also unlock new areas. --Jennifer Allen


Insight Guides Phrasebook

You’re going to need to pay up to glean the real benefits of Insight Guides Phrasebooks, but that doesn’t make the free app a complete waste of time by any means.Designed to get you set up with the basics for a simple vacation, Insight Guides Phrasebooks isn’t going to help you become fluent in any language but it will help you with how to ask for directions. -Jennifer Allen


Blades of Brim

While I have to admit that games like Blades of Brim seem to be almost as prolific as match-3 puzzlers and Threes! clones, it actually feels like progress rather than more of the same. It might just be the game that gets me back into endless runners (that aren’t Canabalt).Blades of Brim is a third-person (i.e. over-the-shoulder) endless runner that plays much like you’d expect on the surface. Swiping left or right makes the runner move to that lane, while swiping up will jump. What’s different is how all of these moves also incorporate attacks that can be chained together. Plus you can pull of some rather fancy moves, regardless. --Rob Rich


Sago Mini Boats

Continuing the sandbox/playbox style theme that’s worked so well for the Sago Mini games in the past, Sago Mini Boats is sure to be fun for your little ones. It’s a little overly sensitive at times with its controls, but you can pretty much forgive it thanks to some overwhelming cuteness. You control Harvey the dog, as he sets sail for fun and adventure. You can choose the destination, as well as the kind of boat you control. The latter is particularly colorful with plenty of options for variety. You can opt to manipulate a banana boat or a more conventional tugboat. Even a shark or pirate ship can be controlled too. In each case, movement is much the same. You can either hold your finger to the side of the screen or drag the boat around, throwing it into the air if you want. --Jennifer Allen


Radical Rappelling

The first mobile game that ever truly grabbed me was Halfbrick's Jetpack Joyride. Although the endless runner has been done to death, there are just enough things about that game that would draw me back in for "one more run." Radical Rappelling is their latest spin on the genre, and I'm finding myself similarly grabbed by it. With a high level of polish, tons of unlockables, and a unique approach, Radical Rappelling is definitely my new go-to quick game on my phone. When players first boot up Radical Rappelling, they will likely notice two big features that aren't usually present in runners. First, it's played in portrait mode characters are rappelling down a cliff side. Second, the characters don't move automatically but instead jump on their own while players must tap the screen to start sliding down. These differences are pretty fundamental mix-ups to the standard runner and make Radical Rappelling feel fresh from the get go. --Campbell Bird


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown


Neo Smartpen N2

An opportunity to check out the Neo Smartpen N2? Yes, please…It looks sleek, but still retains a professional feel. In a meeting of executive ballpoint pens, the N2 wouldn’t look too out of place. It has a dark finish, is angled but still faintly cylindrical and almost pyramidal; with the cover off, it tapers to the writing end. There is a power button and a color LED towards the “bottom” of the pen, and at the very end portion, there is a micro-USB charging port.--Tre Lawrence


Outside World

Fans of simple puzzles should enjoy Outside World.For those keen on backstory, the one here is simple: the play controls our protagonist, Kyrsten, who is on a quest to find her way home. At the onset, she hooks up with a spirit entity called Jaynie who is willing to help her on this journey.There… the journey begins.--Tre Lawrence


PowerIt Multipurpose Charging Kit

As always, I am a huge fan of measured convergence. I’ve said it before and will say it again: give me a combo device, as long as it does multiple things well.This is especially true of portable battery packs. One stays in the go-bag whenever I am out; but what if that unit can charge multiple batteries, add something useful like a flashlight, and… oh… say… jump a dead car battery?Ah. Maybe the PowerIt Jump Start Kit?--Tre Lawrence

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

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 10th, 2015

Jump Into June With 148Apps

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


Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

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


Coup

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


Sproggiwood

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


Portal Pinball

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


Fotograf

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


Simple Machines

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown


Star Trek Trexels

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


Gravity Line

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


Divoom Voombox Party Wireless Speaker

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

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

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.

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 18th, 2015

May Days at 148Apps

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


Heroes and Castles 2

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


Multicross

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


THRED

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


Mr. Bank

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


Wand

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


Wings Remastered

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown


Motorola E (2nd Gen) 4G LTE

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

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

This Week at 148Apps: May 4-8, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 11th, 2015

A-MAY-ZING Reviews at 148Apps

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

This Week at 148Apps: April 13-17, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 21st, 2015

The Apps of April

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

This Week at 148App: March 23-27, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 30th, 2015

Spring Roars In 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.


Final Fantasy Record Keeper

There’s no denying that Final Fantasy All the Bravest received a rather unfriendly reception on the App Store. There’s also no denying that people are going to be inclined to think of Final Fantasy Record Keeper as more of the same.I’d urge you not to write it off so quickly, though. While it’s not an all-star tour de force like, say, Dissidia, it’s still a decent stroll down Memory Lane. There’s some mumbo jumbo about paintings of the various Final Fantasy universes being guarded in one location, and said paintings are being corrupted while some sinister influence is spreading across the land. The two might be (read: totally are) related. Really it’s just a tenuous excuse to let players romp through 16-bit recreations of classic Final Fantasy moments throughout the series. And I’m okay with this. --Rob Rich


Star Squad Space Rescue

When you think of bullet-hell games, you think of waves of bullets coming at you - and also the waves that you can inflict upon others. Star Squad Space Rescue isn’t like other bullet-hell games, though. Those waves might keep coming at you, but you don’t have anything to fire back in defense. Instead, Star Squad Space Rescue is all about ducking and weaving your way around such attacks, and hoping you can survive longer than last time.That means that Star Squad Space Rescue is an often tense game to play. It is, however, very simple to learn. You use your finger to move the ship around, enjoying the fact that it offers a mercifully small hitbox. That means you can quickly move through very small gaps, and you’re going to need to, a lot.-- Jennifer Allen


Impecca Bamboo Bluetooth Keyboard

Yes. It's a keyboard. Yes, it has a unique, natural finish.It's Impecca's Bamboo Wireless Keyboard.The styling is interesting - the bamboo finish all but defines the product from the get-go and the wood exterior tops the keys and most of the top surface, with dark brown lining on the sides. The grain of the wood is probably the best aspect of its appearance, with a polished feel that is almost surprising; the natural imperfection creates a somewhat regal look.It seems compact, but it comes as close to being a full-size keyboard as any portable unit. Coming in at 11 x 6.6 x 0.6 inches, it is only a hair smaller than the typical Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. It's full QWERTY, and mimics said Apple keyboard closely with regards to layout, with six rows that encompass function keys, numbers, and option/tab buttons. At the top right there is a LED for battery level and Bluetooth. The bottom has the same bamboo finish, and there is an extra ledge that allows the otherwise flat keyboard to be raised at the front. Towards the front, right around dead center, there's a micro-USB port for charging. --Tre Lawrence


Mr. Jump

The idea is as simple as the name. Mr Jump has to jump from platform to platform, in order to progress to the next stage. He automatically runs with your taps dictating when he jumps and how high. It can’t really get much simpler than this. That doesn’t mean it’s easy though, not by a long shot.Speedy reactions are vital here with mostly everything harming Mr Jump. Even bouncing off a wall will cause him to fail the stage. He’s that sensitive. The first level simply offers you one form of jump, while the second stage introduces a way in which to form a double jump. That explains the difficulty increase along the way.You’ll die frequently as you go along, but the restart button is quick, giving you an indication of how far you’ve got in a stage, and urging you to go that bit further next time. And you will, you’ll keep chipping away at the stage, keen to get further and come across something even harder along the way. --Jennifer Allen


CARROT Weather

Over the past couple of years, the CARROT series of apps have done a great job of berating you while also motivating you to complete all manner of things from getting up on time to clearing your To-Do List. While its latest instalment, CARROT Weather, can’t change the weather (no matter how angry it gets), it is an entertaining way to get the facts.Starting out, there’s a choice to go with your current location or to pick out a different place, a small but important touch. As soon as you pick a place, you get the full grumpy CARROT experience. While some voice intros can be simply ‘weather forecasted’, there’s also the inclusion of such delights as ‘I’ve got a collection of 6,241 fingers that were lost to frostbite’ to indicate that, yes, it’s pretty cold in Chicago right now. --Jennifer Allen


Adventures of Poco Eco

Controlling curious explorer, Poco Eco, you wander your way around some delightfully designed levels by tapping on where you want him to go next. Being challenged is rare as Adventures of Poco Eco - Lost Sounds is more about exploration than conquest. Progressing to the next section is usually a matter of running over a button to activate it, thereby moving a platform to form a path for you. A small red spirit guides your way, showing where you need to head to next.Around a dozen levels are there and, admittedly, they won’t take hugely long for you to complete. Anyone who’s played a platformer before will know what to expect when it comes to button tapping and wandering. It’s clear that Adventures of Poco Eco - Lost Sounds is aimed at those who haven’t played many (if any) platforms before. -- 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


Nyrius Songo HiFi Wireless Music Receiver

The review sample we were sent is the retail version, and contains the Bluetooth puck, power adapter, auxiliary to RCA cable, standard 3.55mm audio cable and documentation.Now, once out of the box, if the main piece surprised me with its size — and it did, as I expected it to be a tad bigger — it definitely surprised me with regards to the weight, being only 2.4 ounces on a frame of 3.2 x 2.8 x 0.79 inches officially. The main unit is a rectangular cuboid, crafted in hard black plastic that is only broken up by required labeling, company logo and input/connection ports.The ports are for power, 3.55mm audio out and, interestingly enough, optical input. --Tre Lawrence


Kenu Stance Micro-USB Tripod

When it comes to a cool accessory, give me one that is small, portable, and effective. You know, just like what the Kenu Stance Micro-USB Tripod claims to be.To give one an idea of how compact this tripod is, it just about fits in the palm of one’s hand. Out of the box, it is fairly nondescript, with brushed sinc-alloy making up most of the legs. It possesses a neon green topper (the MicroMount, made of “grilamid” composite material) that fits into a micro-USB port; similarly colored thermoplastic rubber covers the end of the legs. At first glance, it is clear that the the legs are somewhat irregular, but are engineered to lay plush together when the unit is not being used. Altogether, it comes in at 0.94 x 0.47 x 3.1 inches and only 1.2 ounces. --Tre Lawrence


Jabra Sport Wireless+ Headphones

As we like to say, being connected is a privilege, more and more aspects of our lives are becoming portions of IoT, and our smartphones are becoming the de facto hubs. This is so very obvious in the area of fitness and health, where accessories are quite the rage.With Jabra’s Sports Wireless+ Bluetooth Headphones, we get to see a formidable option from an industry vet. --Tre Lawrence

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 24th, 2015

Spring Roars In 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.


Take It Easy

The single player side of the game is divided into a few different modes - each with a different challenge in mind. For the most part, your goal is to gain as many points as possible. Each board consists of a series of hexagonal shapes and you have to place down tiles to create lines and rows of numbers. Each tile looks a little like a small pipe layout and the most points are gained for combining these to good effect.Classic mode simply requires you to gain as many points as possible, with satisfaction gleaned from a job well done. Puzzle mode has a bit more going for it than that, requiring you to meet a particular score in order to progress to the next level. Obstacles can get in your way, such as locked tiles that can’t be moved, but you can also be aided by wild card tiles, too.--Jennifer Allen


Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager

The nearest that pretty much any of us are going to get to exploring space is through a game. Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager takes a different route to the usual space based games, concentrating on the management efforts on Earth in order to make it possible. And thanks to some overly-wordy tutorial screens it’ll seem more more complicated than it actually is. Once you’ve cracked the surface though, you’ll soon see that Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager is a game focused squarely on Resource Management rather than anything more lofty. One of those key resources is the value of time. Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager is broken up into various seasons. Each task, such as building a new unit or working towards improving upon a rocket design takes a number of season to complete. A lot of the time, you’re going to be assigning tasks before hitting the ‘end season’ button and waiting for a report back to see how well it all went. --Jennifer Allen


Real Steel Champions

The first Real Steel game was a surprising hit, so what’s less surprising is that there’s a sequel - Real Steel Champions. It’s a very simple fighting game that’s mostly a cover for a plentiful supply of freemium elements, but it’s not without some merit. In a structure not unlike games such as CSR Racing, you’re following a series of levels in order to unlock new stuff and generally profit. Each level is a fight between you and another robot. You control your robot through movement buttons and a few action buttons, allowing you to inflict heavy, light, and special attacks. You can interact more so with those special attacks, by hammering a finger to the screen. Don’t expect too much depth though, Real Steel Champions is a game more about levelling up your stats than actual fighting skills. --Jennifer Allen


The Hero of Kendrickstone

The Hero of Kendrickstone is a particularly meaty adventure game book app, and one that is asking for multiple replays. Weighing in at an impressive 240,000 words, it isn’t a title to skim through. That alone means that it’s easily worth its $2.99 asking price.You play a young hero, as they find their way in the world, gain employment from various dubious sources, and discover the world. There’s a main plot line involving you rescuing the city of Kendrickstone, but it’s not the only thing you can achieve here. Instead, you feel like an adventurer with plenty of options at hand. Such freedom is refreshing. --Jennifer Allen


David Wiesner's Spot

Few apps transcend age barriers as David Wiesner’s Spot does - a picture book without words and a wonderful piece of artwork developed for the iPad for children and their adults, young and old alike. Many readers will know the work of David Wiesner, a three-time Caldecott winner known for his fantastical wordless picture books that I greatly admire. Here, David Wiesner’s Spot is also reminiscent of the Zoom books by Istvan Banyai - books that begin with a close-up of a detail and with the turn of each page the image one sees becomes zoomed back to show a bigger picture.Here, one begins the journey of Spot with the ability to enlarge the image of a ladybug large enough to look inside its center spot, bringing you into a world where one can zoom the pages closer and closer with the use of a fingertip, diving into the brilliantly detailed worlds of five distinctly different stories. --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


Sony Xperia Z3v

For Android smartphone aficionados, every OEM has something about it. We do associate things to different OEMs — some good, some bad. Personally, I love being able to see unbranded hardware and more or less guess who makes it based on some design cues. Since Android is blessed wit device makers that have backgrounds in varied consumer electronics ventures, it’s interesting to see how their Android smartphones extend the brand.Sony definitely has a rep in consumer electronics, and its Xperia line is the embodiment of that reputation in te personal computing space. Specifically with the Sony Xperia Z3v, one of its latest devices, Sony shows us how even the sleek can get, well, even sleeker. --Tre Lawrence


Goats on a Bridge

So what happened to the billy goats after the fable? That’s the story Goats on a Bridge tries to tell.Goats on a Bridge is a new game that re-imagines Three Billy Goats Gruff in the essence of a platform puzzle and race game.The idea is fairly easy, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t start off by mentioning how it looks. It packs a vivid visual punch, with bright colors that are seemingly made to underscore the gameplay. The animations are not too complex, and invoke a playful air. --Tre Lawrence

Finally, we have Nintendo doing the unthinkable, a cool new SHMUP, and a rubbish looking movie. It's all kicking off on AppSpy.

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 9th, 2015

Your App News and Reviews Source


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.

AG Drive

Wondered what futuristic street-racing looks like? Check out AG Drive. It’s the future — 2260 to be more exact — and “anti-gravity” drive-powered machines are all the rage. Fantastic spacecraft fill the air, interstellar travel is commonplace, and everything is done at a brisk pace. Racing has also evolved, and as to be expected, the new drives are at the root of it. Spurred on by the craziest, windiest race tracks imaginable, we get the backing story for AG Drive. And the environments in the game help define it a great deal. The graphics are slick, but stop short of being pretentious, and the vehicles characterized therein look realistically futuristic. The animations are vivid, and the laws of physics are not overly disrespected in the name of action. --Tre Lawrence


Overkill 3

Craneballs is back. With Overkill 3. It’s a gritty affair, with a plot line that yanks the player into a dystopian future that lacks hope or societal order. Our main character is someone who is willing to unite the resistance against the evil Faction, and bring hope to mankind — all while sporting the tightest digital haircut, like, ever. Overkill 3 is in the same vein as the previous two titles: cover system rules the roost. One big change from the earlier iterations is the fact that the player perspective is shifted from first to third person. This does make for some subtle changes, but the action is definitely not in short supply. --Tre Lawrence


Meteorz

It sounds crazy, but the App Store really does feel like the true successor to arcades. It’s full of tiny, extremely varied games still figuring out just what to do with a new entertainment technology and the new audience that comes along with it. Plus, lots of those games are trying to infinitely steal your money. Games like Meteorz make this metaphor even easier, in a good way. In Meteorz players work to protect planets each going through their own personal Armageddon, as in the Bruce Willis movie. Meteors hurtling towards the planets threaten to destroy them, so players hop between worlds to defend them. If the minimal, angular, crystalline sci-fi visuals and haunting spacey synth songs weren’t enough of a throwback, each round plays something like a modern version of arcade classic Asteroids. However, instead of piloting a spaceship, players rotate armed defense satellites around the fixed planet to target obstacles. --Jordan Minor


Heavenstrike Rivals

Heavenstrike Rivals is a free-to-play strategy game by Square Enix. In it, players duke it out against each other or AI in the quest to prove the supremacy of their squad. With some unique gameplay systems and some new twists on familiar ideas, Heavenstrike Rivals is really fun, though a little bit intimidating. Part of Heavenstrike Rivals‘s promotion on the App Store mentions that the game is a trading card game (TCG), though it doesn’t look like one. Much like some card games, like Magic: the Gathering and SolForge, players do construct armies of creatures and send them down one of three lanes with the ultimate goal of bringing the opposite players’ life score to 0. However, most presentations of the creatures in the game are fully animated and move around the game like some kind of papercraft puppets, which makes the whole thing looks really sharp. Players that are particularly fond of the steampunk aesthetic, anime, or both should be pleased with the work that has gone into making Heavenstrike Rivals look the way it does. --Campbell Bird


This is My Weather-Meteorology for Kids

Like much of the country, we are experiencing a rough winter this year, oftentimes with days too cold and snowy to spend a lot of time outside. During these times of difficult weather, I have enjoyed testing the new app This is My Weather – Meteorology for Kids – a content-rich interactive application that thoughtfully uses a child narrator to explain different weather topics. First, children will have a chance to dress a character of their choice in weather-appropriate gear. This app may generate a temperature to dress for as well as allow parents to change up the need for different outdoor apparel and to dress for local weather. I enjoy this section, especially as one can choose a boy or girl of many different skin tones to dress, but I would love to be able to pre-select what is considered an appropriate outfit for my child’s specific needs the way one can adjust the temperature itself as here the character will announce that he is too cold, hot, or just right. --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

Misfit Shine

The new Misfit Shine is hardly new, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that plenty of people still consider it a piece worth at least trying out. We were eager to get the review unit Misfit sent us. The unit itself is tiny, barely bigger than a quarter in circumference; the unit contains a battery, and fits into a watch-like band. It’s quite light, almost slender on the wrist, but reasonably nondescript for something crafted from aircraft grade aluminum. It is waterproof, and grayish in color (there are other color choices), which mostly hides the series of LEDs when they are not lighted.. --Tre Lawrence


Runes of Camelot

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

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 23rd, 2015

February Fun at 148Apps


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

World Zombination

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


Puny Stupid Humans

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


Clear for Action

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


Swipes

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


Foldpass

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


Clementine Wants To Know: Where Do Babies Come From?

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown

D-Link Pan & Tilt Wifi Camera

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


Blood Brothers 2

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


Feed The Cat

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

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

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

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 17th, 2015

Warm Your Winter With New Apps!


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

Nobody Said It Was Easy

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


The Hardest Flight

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


Yet It Moves

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


Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect

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


Gang Nations

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


9 Months!

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown

Garden Fever

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


Sentinel: Sci-Fi Space Shooter

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


Cell Motus

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

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

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

App Store Downloads Have Room to Breathe as Apple Doubles Their Accepted Size

Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 13th, 2015

Pocket Gamer reports that Apple has decided to allow developers more room for their downloads; bringing the maximum size of iPhone and iPad apps from 2GB to 4GB.

Apple's site said this on the topic:

The size limit of an app package submitted through iTunes Connect has increased from 2 GB to 4 GB, so you can include more media in your submission and provide a more complete, rich user experience upon installation. Please keep in mind that this change does not affect the cellular network delivery size limit of 100 MB.

This is a huge deal, as games and apps can now have double the amount of content - but of course those with 16GB devices are going to fill their libraries a lot faster.

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 9th, 2015

Warm Your Winter With New Apps!


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

Dark Echo

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


The Detail

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


The Witcher Battle Arena

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


Potatoman Seeks The Troof

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


Radiation Island

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


Toca Kitchen 2

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown

Puro Sound Labs Kids Bluetooth Headphones

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


City Island 3

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


Checkpoint Champion

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

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

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

This Week at 148Apps: January 26-30, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 3rd, 2015

Warm Your Winter With New Apps!


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

Playworld Superheroes

Playworld Superheroes is one of those games that’s unabashedly aimed at younger iOS users. It starts off slow, almost too mildly, as the player learns the crafting process. It begins with selecting a base character from a batch of different prototypes, and after this the player is guided to a treehouse (which is the home location of this digital tale), and guided through the process of finding simple items that can be crafted to make what look like rudimentary parts of a superhero outfit. --Tre Lawrence


Mean Girls: The Game

Positioned as a sequel to the original film, no not the sequel they actually made, Mean Girls: The Game has Cady Heron, Regina George, and the rest teaming up to repel a new generation of cliquey Plastics. But turning stuck-up high schools girls into literally identical endless enemy fodder is just one of a few ways the game uses tower defense tropes as a clever metaphor. The towers themselves represent different groups of students. Cheerleaders damage nearby foes with their routines while jocks hurl basketballs at targets. They start as freshmen and players use earned popularity to level them up all the way until graduation. Matches themselves tend to drag, but there are a bunch of new student groups with intriguing properties to unlock, and the environments, ranging from cafeterias to gyms, feature lots of different snaking path. --Jordan Minor


Battle of Toys

Wouldn’t it be great if toys came to life when we weren’t around like they do in Toy Story? Wouldn’t it be even better if instead of getting up to hijinks and adventure they just beat the stuffing out of each other instead? Battle of Toys seems to think that’s a great idea. From their growing collection, players can choose up to 6 toys to take into battle with them, each with their own special attacks and wide selection of costumes. The controls prioritise reaction time and a set of touch gestures over a standard button layout, requiring players to stop the indicator in one of the green zones to launch one of two combos. One of a handful of reaction mini-games will then pop up to help maximise damage. There is no active defense ability to speak of though, so sometimes an attack won’t land because the opponent has literally beaten the player to the punch. --Lee Hamlet


All Star Quarterback

All Star Quarterback is a free-to-play football game in which players can live out a fantasy of being the quarterback of a pro football team. Unlike most football games, this title tasks players with managing the life of a single football player and their time on and off the field, rather than a whole lineup of eleven players from week to week in a football season. The result of this twist on traditional sports games is surprisingly refreshing, though the game itself isn’t much more than a clicker/management game with some light role playing and action sequences. All Star Quarterback begins with players creating their character by making very simple, but custom choices, like name and skin color. From there, players are drafted to a professional team (though the game is not NFL licensed) and have to train, buy, and play their way to a successful career. --Campbell Bird


Ambition of the Slimes

While it may play more like a Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy: Tactics, in a lot of ways Ambition of the Slimes feels like a deconstructed Dragon Quest. First off, there’s the genre-flipping premise of playing as the lowly slime monsters. Being the cool, big bad villain is one thing, but these are worse than henchmen. Also, the game’s Minecraft-esque aesthetic looks like someone ripped the chunky sprites out of a classic 8-bit RPG and dropped them into a trippy retro 3D world. Rotating the screen and watching pixels shift to maintain perspective is always a neat effect, and even the poorly translated dialogue (intentional or not) adds an appropriate charm hinted at by the absurd title. But what really makes Ambition of the Slimes so spectacular is its ingenious strategy hook. Players start each match with a party of slimes they’ve collected. Being slimes, they aren’t great at fighting directly. They’re underpowered and outmatched. However, if players can position them next to a stronger human enemy unit like an archer or a knight, the slime can hop in that poor person’s mouth and possess them. This adds so many awesome new strategy considerations. What units do I go after? How much should I soften up this target before going in for the steal? Possess first and then attack? Use possessed units to shield weaker slimes? --Jordan Minor


Winky Think Logic Puzzles

There is a new favorite application in our house that I am quite eager to let readers know all about – Winky Think Logic Puzzles from Spinlight Studio. This app, as the name may suggest, consists of logic puzzles that both children as well as adults and all ages in between will enjoy. At 180 levels, this application truly includes hours of activities ranging from those simple and straightforward to complex and difficult tasks even for adults. Winky Think starts out easy enough, with players needing to slide a blue pentagram into a related cutout marked with a smaller gem of the same color and shape. In the next level, things build a bit as now children are asked to slide a red pentagram into a corresponding open spot, now choosing this correct over other colored gems also seen on the board. Soon other shapes are included to color-match as simple maze-like areas of the puzzle are added that one needs to navigate. This app begins slowly for the benefit of young users, but I found these levels utterly engaging as an adult with its dynamic use of jewel colors popping against the grey background, made up with a subtle mix of different shades of warm, bright greys instead of the bleak, stagnant color that a lesser developer may have chosen 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

IOGEAR Tunetap Wireless Audio Receiver

As we become more connected in the digital sense, wireless solutions become that much more relevant. Bluetooth is an oldie but goodie, and the trusted protocol is easily incorporated in several ways. Now that it is all but ubiquitous with regards to mobile devices, it makes sense that mobile devices — especially Android — can be the ultimate hub in connected setups. Looking at the IOGEAR TuneTap Audio Receiver, it’s easy to see why it could be compelling; it’s small, easy to set up and comes from IOGEAR. The review unit sent to us exhibits that size, which is 2.88 x 2.88 x 0.97 inches, weighing only 1.6 ounces. It is a sleek little thing, with solid fusing and ports for audio out, optical out and a power jack; on the top, there is a subtle LED light right under the logo. The package also contained 3,55mm to RCA cable, power cable and documentation. --Tre Lawrence


Laser Quest

Laser Quest has a flashy name that might fool folks. In a good way. It’s a puzzle game, true, but it’s how the puzzles are framed that make this interesting. Our protagonist, Nio the octopus, is an industrious creature with an eye for treasure, and a willingness to travel to procure it. The playing area is a grid made of smaller squares, and the general premise is to move Nio from the start point to the the location square of the treasure chest. these squares can also be occupied by items that can be collected by contact, or otherwise manipulated to effect a solution. There are also stars that can be collected; each level has three. --Tre Lawrence

This past week, Pocket Gamer previewed The Detail, Forgotten Memories, and The Wild, checked out remastered versions of Fahrenheit and Grim Fandango, and asked, "hey, wanna be a dead body?"

And finally, last week on AppSpy: the very best RPGs on mobile, an early look at The Wild and Forgotten Memories, plus a whole bunch more.