Posts Tagged apps
We Are Your App Review Source
Need to know the latest and greatest apps each and every week? Look no further than 148Apps. Our reviewers comb through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
Granted I’ve yet to watch either of the Star Trek reboot films (I know, I know), but I seem to recall there being something about Kirk and Spock not liking each other. Or rather, they have a kind of rivalry going on. Which is appropriate since Star Trek Rivals is all about going toe-to-toe with friends. And shoving their faces in the dirt with superior tactics. In a friendly way. Star Trek Rivals is essentially the Triple Triad mini-game from Final Fantasy IX with Captain Kirk, the Enterprise, and so on. For the unfamiliar that means a 3X3 grid and a bunch of cards with a number on each of their four sides. When a card is placed next to a rival’s, and it has the higher number between the two touching sides, that card is converted to the other side. The overall goal is to have dominion over more cards than the opposition by the time the grid is full. This is done by strategically placing cards so that they either block an opponent’s attempts at assimilation or take over their cards directly. –Rob Rich
Jawfish Poker is Texas hold ‘em poker for the mobile generation. A tournament can be played in minutes against dozens and dozens of players. For those wanting a rapid-fire poker experience, this is worth checking out. Instead of sitting at a table against a multitude of players, all the matchups are heads-up against players in the same tournament. Betting has been simplified: there’s a steadily-increasing big and small blind, and the only options are to fold or to go all-in. This means that for every hand that is called, someone’s getting knocked out. It’s high-intensity poker all the time, all against real players. While the Texas hold ‘em rules remain the same, new challenges arise. Bluffing becomes a particularly risky strategy just because it’s only really possible to steal the blinds with the all-in-or-fold betting system. Thus, knowing which hands are good to bluff on becomes key because any hand could instantly be a life-or-death situation. –Carter Dotson
With hardly a sign of animated talking animals, Disney’s Story is a fairly mature storyboard creation app for those who want to combine their images to create their own tale. Immediately accessible, not much is needed to get started. Facebook sharing is there, requiring a quick log-in but it’s far from essential at first. Instead, users can get straight into the action by manipulating the images from their camera roll. Story divides these images, at first, into dates proving particularly useful for those collecting memories from a specific day. For instance, I looked for the date in which I got a new baby guinea pig and within moments, could create a collage of the memories of the first day for the piglet. –Jennifer Allen
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Colours! is an interesting, interactive color theory app that children and their adults will enjoy. I honestly did not expect much from Colours! as teaching children how to mix primary colors to create secondary shades is not an uncommon topic, so I was pleasantly surprised how complex this app can become. Colours! allows one to mix red, yellow, blue, white and black to form any color possible. A sponge is also included to use as an eraser – a nice touch. –Amy Solomon
Zoola Deluxe is a charming interactive animal app for babies and toddlers – a companion app to the popular Zoola, also reviewed at GiggleApps. Zoola Deluxe contains a nice variety of animals one can interact with. To start, tap on one of nine animals from either Farm, Safari or Forest animals. Babies will enjoy how chunky the areas for each animal to tap are, making this app intuitive for the youngest app users. Once a selection is made, listen to the animal’s name narrated as well as see the word on the screen. Also note the mild yet effective animated elements included as well as the sounds for each creature. This app also contains a nice variety of languages, always a nice touch. –Amy Solomon
Itsy Cars is a unique interactive app that allows children to build the race track of their dreams using a combination of thirteen pieces of track which are connected to create a track that one can drive a race car through. Four differently styled cars can be chosen, and then children will build their tracks with the tap of a finger, connecting pieces of track together. When complete, start the car down the track, tapping the “Turbo Button” when players want their car to go faster. The look of this app is highly computer-generated, with the use of many angles and bright yet not terribly unrefined colors – a style I am not always a fan of but which makes a lot of sense in this app. –Amy Solomon
Sonic the Hedgehog is a classic, at least in the sense that it was the launching pad for a famous character. In reality, it’s a lot more like some bands’ first album: their later stuff is more refined, exploring their strengths better, to make for a better product. Such is the original Sonic game. Sonic 2 and 3 do a lot to make the series much better, so I must admit that when I heard that Sonic 1 was being remastered by Christian Whitehead and company a la Sonic CD, I was initially disappointed. But really, there was no reason to be: the tweaks and new features make this better. Sonic should be well-known at this point. Run, jump, fight Eggman’s robots and contraptions (though he’ll always be Dr. Robotnik to me), and avoid those darn spikes. This is the game that started the classic formula, including the most underappreciated part of the series’ gameplay: the complex levels and challenging platforming that comes from their multiple layers. –Carter Dotson
How much muck could a muck chuck chuck if a muck chuck could chuck muck? Chuck the Muck is a cool entry from KizStudios that merges nice graphics with easy-to-learn gameplay and a familiar scoring method. Bob is the name of our protagonist in this one. A blob with attitude, Bob is described as a being with an appetite, and it seems to hunger for colored gems. It just so happens that these gems are not that easy to get to. Thus Bob’s job is to use the gooey stuff in his environment to solve the physics puzzlers that the the gem placements created. The basic tool was a stretchy, springy “muck” that I could manipulate to a degree. Using it as a trampoline of sorts, I could use my finger to direct Bob in a pre-determined trajectory. This helped me collect the gems for three start score. Missing a target or a landing could lead to Bob’s demise. The controls mostly involved dragging, pulling to release and tap and hold. –Tre Lawrence
I can’t say that I expected much from Elements Battle. The name is about as unimaginative as it gets, the art looked pretty but uninspired and to top it off it’s freemium, which is a business model that I’ve never been entirely comfortable with. As it turns out though Elements Battle is substantially better than I expected. The core game is a lot like Puzzle Quest. The bulk of it is a series of puzzle battles on a grid where three or more identical symbols must be matched each turn. Those symbols correspond to elemental spells which get fired at an opponent once enough of them have been matched. The opponent does the same and the winner is the one with health left at the end. Outside of battles there are some basic RPG mechanics with quests to complete (though they all boil down to battles too), levels to gain and a store used to purchase additional spells and equipment. –James Rogerson
The App Experts
So many apps, and so little time! Just look to 148Apps for the best app reviews on the web. Our reviewers sift through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
Ace Patrol is the latest title from Sid Meier and the team at Firaxis Games. Set during World War I, it’s the player’s job to guide a squadron of pilots in strategic turn-based gameplay. The free-to-play version features one stage from the British campaign with six single-player missions for players to engage in. If they want to play and beat the full campaign, which is three additional stages, they’ll have to purchase it for $0.99 cents. Players are given a choice of three missions to choose from at the start of the game. Missions have a wide range of objectives, such as having players attack an enemy train, protect a surveillance plane, attack an enemy bomber, and dogfight in ace vs ace action. Players are able to decide on what mission to select based on the objective or how many points it offers. Those points are multiplied depending on the four available difficulty levels and help provide better scores for the leaderboards. –Andrew Stevens
A particularly situational app, some users will look at the feature set of Infuse and wonder just why they need it when the built-in Videos app does everything they want. Infuse is for those users who want to play videos from other sources, without the need for conversion first. That covers quite a few different needs, from those wanting to watch family videos taken on a different device to those wanting to watch their converted DVD or blu-ray collection, while on the move. It’ll even allow users to view video attachments that have been emailed through. Regardless of one’s needs, Infuse is an attractive and useful app. Covering many of the more important bases, Infuse offers support for over 14 file formats, such as AVi, M4V, FLV, MOV and OGM. Plenty of audio formats are catered for too, such as the increasingly elusive Dolby Digital Plus format. Infuse works smoothly too, with little significant slowdown noticeable during my time using it on either my iPhone or iPad. –Jennifer Allen
One of the biggest constants in casinos is also a very simple concept: the house always wins. Sure somebody might hit the jackpot or win a few Blackjack hands against the dealer, but statistically (and by an overall average) the house always come out on top. Not so with Las Vegas, Ravensburger’s iOS port of the board/dice game. In this particular casino the player always wins, even when they lose. The rules of Las Vegas are fairly simple; players (and possibly AIs) take turns rolling right dice. The numbers each one lands on represent one of six casinos on the board, each with a range of cash values up for grabs. They then have to “bet” their dice by placing them in their casino of choice with the highest bid earning the pot. Conversely if there’s a tie all matching bids cancel each other out. Naturally larger bids have a better chance of winning but the toss up is that it means fewer and fewer dice each following turn. There’s a certain amount of strategy to placing each bet and it’s possible for savvy players to sneak in and grab a 90,000 casino with a single die while other players vie for the top spot and negate each other. After four rounds all the cash is added up and a winner is declared. –Rob Rich
Star Command is a sci-fi simulation game that clearly takes cues from Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe. Although the game takes a few missteps in parts of its design, the whole package is so charming that it hardly matters. Anyone wanting a good Trek-like combat experience should stop reading this review and go buy it now. For everyone else, here’s how Star Command plays: Players begin by choosing a captain and a ship to command. From here, an in game tutorial gives just enough information on hiring crew members, building rooms on your ship, and how combat works, and then promptly throws you into the thick of it. Before you know it, you’ll be commanding your engineers to put out fires by sick bay while your weapons crew has to abandon their battle stations to combat enemy aliens that have beamed aboard. –Campbell Bird
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Little Red Riding Hood by Nosy Crow is a universal app that I have eagerly been anticipating for quite some time, and I can say with much excitement that this app is worth the wait.
This is a re-telling of the classic story with a few great twists along the way. A special app, Nosy Crow has added some wonderful new elements to a classic story, specifically allowing children to choose one of many paths they would rather take as Little Red travels through a forest on her way to Grandma’s, collecting numerous objects along the way as well as meeting new characters. –Amy Solomon
Zoe’s Green Planet is an interesting universal application about diversity. This is the story of Zoe, an inhabitant of a green planet with a demographic of entirely green people, seen vividly with the use of illustrations with heavy paper mache elements creating a subtle 3D effect, as well as a tactile, slightly distressed feel that I find appealing, as I do the numerous shades of green that make up the palette of this app. One day, a red space ship lands on the green planet. Inside is a red family who would like to visit other planets and makes a home on the green planet. They have a daughter who is Zoe’s age, and they go to school together and become friends. –Amy Solomon
Brains My Body is a very nice interactive app for children which teaches about basic anatomy and diversity and includes fun facts about the body. The look of this app is crisp and clean, with colorful, textured woven fabric used as the background for these activities. Also of note are the layered ambient sounds heard throughout, consisting of a beating heart, blowing wind and wind chimes – interesting choices I have enjoyed listening to. –Amy Solomon
Goomy: to the Rainbow Land is an interestingly styled platform running game with a unique set of characters. Goomy came personified as ball that took nine different forms. Legend has it that he wants to make it to the mythical, happiness-filled Rainbow Land. However, the journey is not without dangers but of course, how could we have expected anything less? The playing area was an expansive end-to-end platform, with Goomy traveling from left to right. The traveling area was irregular in design, with land masses of different heights interspersed with deep, lethal canyons. The graphics were rich in color, with playful artwork highlighting the elements of the game. The animations were smooth, and did a good job of adding to the fun factor. A lot of time seemed to have been put into creating the six or so different playing environments. –Tre Lawrence
One of my favorite games of 2012 was undoubtedly Punch Quest. Rocketcat Games’ endless puncher’s only flaw? It wasn’t on Android yet. Well, Noodlecake Games, in their first published title after the launch of Super Stickman Golf 2, have rectified this situation. And oh how sweet it is to be playing this amazing game on mobile. Unlike most endless runners where there’s little to no combat, this is all about punching one’s enemies. It’s more of a beat ‘em up with automatic running instead of an endless runner. The fighting is surprisingly complex despite there only being three different inputs: forward punching, uppercutting, and blocking, though each has different functions based on different situations. For example, uppercutting in the air is actually a dive punch. Upgrades can tweak the way that punches work, or give them special functions. But it’s the interplay of the attacks and the way that each enemy has a particular strategy that works best – and ones that don’t work quite so well – that players need to learn and master in order to do well at the game. –Carter Dotson
Snake is one of those games everyone knows. It’s popularity was forged in the mall arcades of the 70s, and it has been ported to almost every platform. Ever. Everyone has redone it, and so any developer that touches it best come correct. Modern Snake, at the very least, excels in the area of minimalist design. I liked that there were no extraneous elements; it kept enough familiar designs, like the segmented snake, and tossed in colors and touchscreen compatibility to differentiate it from the original forms. The green worked well on the stark white playing area. The developer did well to add options to spice up what would otherwise be a one-dimensional game. There were options to speed up or slowdown game speed, to have a two-player local game, to play with or without walls and to play with on-screen directional buttons or by swiping. –Tre Lawrence
Make your voice be heard! Or perhaps your music as well. Whatever sounds you need to record, there’s an app to make that happen. Here are four of our favorites.
iSaidWhat?!: I’ve used probably 6 different iOS devices over the past 3 years, and the list of apps that I’ve installed on all of them is short; iSaidWhat?! is on all of them. This audio recorder is perfect for recording audio anywhere and everywhere from the iPhone or the iPad (though it’s not universal, it still works), with the ability to trim files down. But really, the reason why it’s so great? It’s possible to reduce the gain on the mic, so in particularly noisy situations, it’s possible to prevent audio clipping. It’s perfect for loud situations, and makes it the app that I keep using. It could use a modern update, but it’s still great.
Released: 2009-12-19 :: Category: Business
GarageBand: Want to record some music? Why not use Apple’s mobile version of their famous music app? It supports recording through the mic port, including from third-party accessories like iRig for guitar, and external microphones. As well, there’s MIDI support for using devices like keyboards with the app. When it’s all arranged, the files can be exported to SoundCloud, to a desktop iTunes library, or even to Facebook and YouTube.
Released: 2011-03-10 :: Category: Music
Mixlr: Pre-recorded audio is for suckers. To paraphrase Bill O’Reilly: “We’ll do it live!” This app is perfect for that. Just fire up the app on iPhone, and start broadcasting over wifi or 3G/4G/LTE! Want to play music for strangers on the internet? Go for it! Want to start up a live podcast with friends? Sure! Just have random grumblings and rantings that need to be shared with people right now? This app is perfect for that as well. The audio can then be saved for posterity to SoundCloud, Mixcloud, or Dropbox. The revolution will be broadcast live!
Released: 2012-12-19 :: Category: Music
AudioNote: Need to take some notes with the audio you record? This app is a perfect choice to use with it. You can record audio and type notes along with the recording. Best of all, it’s possible to tap on text and go right to that part of the recording. It’s great for transcription or taking notes in class. Plus, the app is universal, giving it an advantage over the similar Notability.
The folks behind the ever-amazing Game Developers Conference, held each year in San Francisco, are expanding their offerings with two new conferences to be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center November 5th-7th, 2013. The App Developers Conference (ADC) will focus on more than just game apps, bringing together developers for iOS, Android, and other mobile platforms for workshops, presentations, and seminars. The GDC Next conference, taking place simultaneously, is the spiritual successor to GDC Online. GDC Next will focus on the future of gaming experiences across all platforms.
Both conferences are looking for presenters from now until May 29, 2013, with the ADC looking for submissions in the areas of Entertainment, Enterprise, Health/Wellness, Lifestyle, Brand Marketing, and Education. Submissions for the ADS are open now at http://adc.callforsubmissions.gdc4p.com.
GDC Next is looking for presentations in the areas of The Future of Gaming, Next Generation Game Platforms, Free-to-Play & New Business Models, Smartphone and & Tablet Games, Cloud Gaming and Independent Games, with a submission form available at http://gdcnext.2013.gdc4p.com.
We spoke with Executive Vice President of GDC, Simon Carless (pictured, right), to find out a bit more about the impetus behind the two new conferences as well as the change in venue. The main reason to have the conferences in Los Angeles is one of logistics. “We’re finding a lot of the top game and app developers are on the West Coast – or can easily travel there thanks to the excellent airport connections Los Angeles has,” said Carless. He continued, saying that the lack of direct flights to Austin, TX, where GDC Online was traditionally held, made an otherwise successful conference tricky to get to.
A secondary reason, especially for the App Developers Conference, is that Los Angeles is a hub for many of the topical areas the conference will focus on, like entertainment, enterprise, fitness, and lifestyle apps.
As far as how GDC Next connects to the now-defunct GDC Online, Carless said, “We’re calling GDC Next the ‘spiritual successor’ to GDC Online, in that a lot of the advisory board from GDC Online are transitioning to this new event, but we’ve discovered that as their focus changes (to tablets, free to play, and beyond!), our focus for the show changed as well.” The resulting new conference and focus is more about the future of games, he said, to bring the conference up to date.
Carless is excited about the ADC, as its an area the group has never covered before, though he does mention that there will be a gaming apps track at GDC Next. “So what we found,” he said, “is that there are a LOT of apps being produced that are not games, and people were asking for a much more learning and takeaway-focused event around enterprise, entertainment, lifestyle, and other apps.” And that’s what the group is doing.
If you’re a developer of gaming or other apps and want to present at either conference, be sure to head to the respective pages, linked above, to submit your presentations to the committees who handle that sort of thing.
Image: Serious Games
Is Notification Center far too busy? Can you not find what you want at any point, and thus any semblance of usability for the drop-down menu has gone the way of the dodo? Well, we can help you de-clutter Notification Center with these handy tips!
Clear out individual apps:
Most apps’ notifications will clear when you enter the app, but some, like Instagram, will not disappear. Thus, just pull down from the top status bar to access Notification Center, scroll to the app that’s got too many notifications, tap the X to the right of the app’s name, and then tap Clear. All these notifications will disappear and the app won’t reappear until new notifications come in.
Disable notifications for an app entirely:
Do you really need to see notifications for that game you barely play? Well, to disable notifications entirely, go to Settings -> Notifications, and scroll down to the app you want to disable. From here, turn Notification Center off, and this will hide notifications from appearing in the drop-down menu, though they will still come in. If you want to disable them entirely, set Alert Style to None, and disable Badge App Icon and Sounds.
Reduce the number of items that appear in Notification Center:
It’s also possible to just make an app take up fewer slots in the menu. Go to the app’s page in the Notifications setting menu, and tap the Show menu. From here you can only show 1, 5, or 10 recent items. All notifications will still come in, but only that many recent ones will appear.
Use manual notification sorting:
So, you still want notifications to appear in Notification Center but maybe just want to have the important ones appear first? From the main Notifications settings menu, choose Manually under Sort Apps:, and then tap the Edit button in the top-right corner. You can now use the drag selector on the right side of an app’s listing to drag it around in the list. Apps will always appear in the order you specify. Note that new apps always get added to the bottom of the list, so you must always sort them to your desired position yourself.
If you don’t need to check stocks, think social media is for teenagers, or live in Texas and don’t need to check the weather ever, you can disable each of the three built-in widgets by tapping on their entries in the Notifications settings and turning Notification Center to off.
Hopefully these tips have made Notification Center a much more useful place for you!
Your Trusted Source for App Reviews
Having trouble making sense out of the overwhelming number of apps released each week? Have no fear! Just look to 148Apps for the best app reviews on the web. Our reviewers sift through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
The Caped Crusader is back in brick form for a new adventure, this time on iOS. As someone who’s had an on-again off-again relationship with LEGO games in the past I was curious to see how a mobile release might hold up. Turns out it holds up very well. Like, ridiculously well. In fact, LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes is hands-down the best LEGO game I’ve ever played. Yes, including ones on consoles. All the wacky villains that should be stuck in Arkham have gotten loose. Again. Now they’re terrorizing Gotham. Again. And this time Joker has managed to team up with Lex Luthor. The two are such a handful that Batman has to enlist the help of other heroes, including Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and a whole lot more. There’s a conventional virtual stick and buttons setup and a surprisingly intuitive touch interface to pick from. No matter their preference, players will be bashing everything in sight to collect studs (the world’s currency), reconfiguring piles of bricks into new contraptions, finding tons of secrets, and doing just about everything else they could expect to find in a big screen LEGO game. –Rob Rich
Is it possible to make something great even better? When it comes to Robot Unicorn Attack 2, the sequel to the popular endless runner where a unicorn jumps and dashes through multi-tiered levels, collecting fairies and smashing stars, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” First off, Adult Swim Games enlisted PikPok on the title, and as a studio well-known for their fun games and high production values, it was a perfect choice. It’s immediately apparent that this game is absolutely gorgeous. The level of detail in the animated backgrounds, the galloping unicorns, and just everything is absolutely astounding. New elements like Giants that can kill the player if their solar beam attacks aren’t avoided add a splash to the familiar experience. –Carter Dotson
Impressively nearing its 100th anniversary, The Thirty-Nine Steps is still a tremendously gripping thriller courtesy of John Buchan. With various cinematic adaptations, it’s easily accessible, too. Now, we have this iPad adaptation, part interactive story, part simple game, to enjoy. It’s quite good too, although slow-paced and not without its problems. Following the story of Richard Hannay, a man framed for murder in 1914, it’s a great mystery full of intrigue and riddles. Readers don’t get to change the outcome or events within the book but they do get to interact with objects, start up conversations and open doors. The latter is a little gimmicky, invoking gestures to perform the required action, but the rest feels like an enhancement to getting into the story. –Jennifer Allen
It’s almost wrong to fault GoComics. As a free app, it does mostly anything could want from it, in terms of content. As a paid app (via an in-app purchase subscription), it eliminates one of its main irritants: the adverts. For a comic fan, it’s an ideal addition to their collection, even despite its issues. GoComics is, essentially, a portal of many of the most popular comic strips out there, as well some great up-and-coming artists. There’s plenty of space for political cartoons, too, sensibly categorized according to their political leanings. It’s immediately easy to dive straight in and find one’s favorites, with the likes of Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts and Garfield playing a prominent part in the appeal. Just tap on their name and the latest strip comes up, along with a calendar that enables users to go back to any date they so choose. It’s fast to browse and easy to lose plenty of time to. –Jennifer Allen
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It will come as no surprise to readers that I am often asked to recommend apps to family and friends, especially for those in grade school, as iTunes seems filled with apps for toddlers and those in preschool, but it can be harder to find apps for older children. Parents looking for an interesting, thought-provoking app for this age set should take note of Escape From Tokeru, a puzzle game that includes an interesting back story, beautiful illustrations and moody, ambient background music. –Amy Solomon
Gappy’s First Words is a new interactive universal app that re-enforces early spelling and reading comprehension from the developers at Spinlight Studio, a favorite developer of mine these apps are consistently rich with details and nuances at a level of quality making these application stands out from others. Meet Gappy, an interesting bunny-like character with large ears and big teeth, and help Gappy hop her way home, filling in the gaps of word puzzles along the way – stylized as a bridge of sorts where pieces of this crossing are missing and need to be completed with correct letter tiles. Success will earn users new details that can be added to Gappy’s house such as new windows, fence or chimney. –Amy Solomon
Cheesy Chess is a creative and fun mouse-themed logic game with heavy chess elements. This app reminds me a lot of the slider puzzles I had as a kid where plastic tiles will ultimately make up an image but needed to be slid within this puzzle, keeping in mind that only one piece can be moved at once. Here, imagine a mouse king who needs to progress through this slider puzzle at the top center to leave this board, but the other puzzle pieces need to be moved out of his way to do so. –Amy Solomon
Mountain Sheep’s arcade hockey game Ice Rage has finally made its way to Android thanks to Herocraft – is this game a slap shot goal or power play where the team with the advantage does not score? I’m not too well-versed in hockey. There are no power plays or penalties or icing here, as it’s all about one-on-one hockey action. It’s really more akin to air hockey instead of ‘actual’ hockey in any way. Players can check the opponent to get the puck, and when they have it, it’s possible to hold down on the one virtual button on screen to charge up and aim a shot. Matches last one just minute in most modes, so it’s perfect for fast sessions. There’s plenty of crazy action that goes on here, with arrow angles and tough shots to make. Just because it’s arcade hockey doesn’t mean that some degree of precision is unnecessary! The arcade ladder made with temporary character upgrades is a fun diversion, and the later difficulties with things like manual goalie control help out as well. There’s a crazy set of characters to play as, including Enviro-Bear. Bear is playing hockey, how can this be? –Carter Dotson
For the over-21 crowd there are not many things that spice up a good night with friends than sitting back and mixing up a few bar favorites. The obvious caveat is that not everyone is a trained bar tender and a poorly mixed drink can put a damper on a good night. Amazingly there are machines that will mix drinks automatically, but those have a large footprint and, besides being expensive, are cumbersome and hard to clean. Besides, what is the fun of making a good lemon drop if some machine pumps one out automatically. So, get a glass that has all those recipes on the side measured out by volume. Well, the problem here is that there can only be 6-7 mixtures tops, and there are hundreds of drink recipes in the world. Also, those do a poor job at measuring solids like sugar or salt. The answer is The Barman, an ingenious KickStarter project by John Gallagher of Sewell, New Jersey. –Joseph Bertolini
Jones on Fire is a fun little runner that will probably have folks doing a double take due to the unique look of the playing characters. It looked very, uh, Lego-ey. And somehow, that wasn’t even the best part. Folks like me who grew up as fans of the iconic chiidren’s building blocks, or have played console games based on their form (like Stars Wars or Batman) will understand. The simplistic block figures were endearing, and I thought they blended well with the unique background. The sharp colors added to the overall experience, with walls of fire retaining a menacing look even while contrasting with localized burns on the ground. I liked the little graphical things, like the look of the game store, decked out with green text and fireman’s pole. The entire atmosphere was almost as enjoyable as the game action itself. –Tre Lawrence
Why should we ever have to look up the number for our favorite contacts ever again? We shouldn’t ever have to, and thanks to the Favorites list and to some clever trickery with home screen shortcuts, it’s possible to never have to memorize a phone number ever again!
The way to access Favorites is through the Phone app on iPhone, or FaceTime app on iPad or iPod touch.even if trying to FaceTime them. So open up the Phone app or FaceTime app and go to the Favorites tab.
Tap the + icon in the upper right corner. Your contact list should now be displayed. Tap on a contact to access their page. Now tap on the phone number or email address you want to add to Favorites.
Phone numbers will add a shortcut to call the person; email addresses will go to FaceTime. Note that each phone number and email address will appear separately in the list, along with the description for the phone or email address, so you can easily call the different numbers for a person. You can rearrange and delete by tapping Edit in the upper-left corner.
Note that this brings easy access to people for phone calls and FaceTime, it may make access too easy! Tapping on the person’s name will start a phone or FaceTime phone call, so if you tap the button accidentally, be prepared to hit the “End Call” button immediately! It isn’t possible to add a person to the list as an SMS/iMessage contact, but tapping the blue arrow to the right of their name (carefully, lest it start a call!) will call up their full contact card, where you can send them a message or email from that page.
Now, an even quicker way to call people or to send them a message is through home screen shortcuts. See, it’s possible through URL shortcuts to call up different built-in apps: tel://1-800-692-7753 when pasted in to Safari would call up Apple’s support hotline, and there’s shortcuts for sms:// and facetime:// as well.
The easy way to set up a home screen shortcut for yourself is to do it through an App Store app – there are several, but OneTap does the job, with the ability to create shortcuts for calls, messages, FaceTime, and even Twitter. It can even set up custom user icons.
The shortcut, once on your home screen, briefly opens up Safari before completing the action you want.
Now, there are ways to do this yourself, but they’re more complicated and they require the iPhone Configuration Utility, or other methods with HTML pages and URL redirection that just aren’t worth your time.
Hopefully this guide helps you on your way to getting to contact the people you want to contact faster!
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Having trouble making sense out of the overwhelming number of apps released each week? Have no fear! Just look to 148Apps for the best app reviews on the web. Our reviewers sift through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
WB and NetherRealm’s original DC Comics fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us has been adapted for the iPad, and that doesn’t just mean that they ported down a full console fighting game, or just made an Infinity Blade clone like some are wont to do; no, they converted this into an actual touchscreen-friendly game that’s free-to-play, though definitely encourages spending money. The actual combat is dramatically less complex than the Street Fighters of the world, because players have three basic actions: tap to do a light attack, swipe forward to do a heavy attack, and tap & hold with two fingers to block. Combos will call up swiping actions to knockdown the opponent, and special moves will require different inputs to unleash those attacks. The complexity comes in with using the three chracters efficiently; not only is it about letting them go to the sidelines to regenerate health, but also to swap in characters whose special power meters are recharging while on the sidelines. As well, different special attacks have different effects that are useful in various scenarios. I like to keep one character with a power drain effect with me when fighting bosses so as to limit the number of times they can do massive damage. The combat strikes a great balance between being simplified for the platform, while keeping enough strategy to be interesting. –Carter Dotson
Mittens, both the name of this app and of the cat which the game revolves around, is the latest physics puzzler from Disney. The company had an extreme amount of success with Where’s My Water a couple of years ago and this is definitely a notable follow-up. As one would expect from a Disney game, the visual assets are top-notch. The cartoony visuals and cute cut scenes definitely feel like something Disney would have a hand in. Players interact with the level components by tapping and swiping, and swiping an electrical wire or piece of wood will cut it. Players can only interact with the level components and can’t directly control Mittens. All of the normal laws of physics apply, so Mittens falls and bounces, and will automatically grab onto ledges. Besides static environmental elements like wires, awnings, and planks of wood, other animals also appear in the levels, like birds to latch onto. Ultimately, the goal is to make it to a floating milk bottle. When he finally gets to it, Mittens does a little dance. –David Rabinowitz
Mailbox represents a perspective shift to email, in that it treats the inbox not as a list of messages hanging around one’s neck like so many albatrosses, but as a list of tasks that need to be completed. So, reading an email and being done means that it can be removed the list like a completed task, meaning it is archived from the inbox. Messages can be ‘delayed’, making them temporarily hidden from the inbox, reappearing at a later time defined by the user to be completed later. But, the important thing is that they are removed from the inbox, making inbox zero a potential daily occurrence. –Carter Dotson
BADLAND is a quite beautiful amalgamation of side scrolling platform action, with a dash of Endless Runner about it. The latter part comes more from the one touch controls that ensure that BADLAND is easy to play for any ability, albeit not necessarily easy to complete thanks to a series of challenging obstacles. 40 levels pave the way and, while early stages are quite easy, later stages prove rather fearsome and tough. Even better, there’s plenty of replayability through the acquisition of clones which boost the rating of a level, once captured. BADLAND might sound immensely restricted due to its one touch controls, but that’s quite far from the truth. At first, tapping on the screen is used more to keep the cuddly yet mildly sinister creature afloat, thrusting them through each stage and avoiding simple obstacles. Get pushed off the screen and it’s game over, but when early structures simply consist of pillars and platforms, it’s no great hardship. As things progress, however, and the player learns more about how to play, the imaginative nature of BADLAND shines through. Orange colored globes affect the size of the creature, either making him grow or shrink to some degree. Both have advantages and disadvantages, the former allowing him to crush certain things, and the latter allowing him to sneak through small gaps. Other power-ups emerge, too, such as one that allows him to stick to walls or roll at speed through the scenery. –Jennifer Allen
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Alex The Handyman – Kids Educational App is a cute and fun app allowing children to use various tools to help friends with a variety of home repairs. Ten scenes are included, each one bright and colorful to look at as one meets a friendly animal character who needs help. From fixing fence posts and ladders to a tree house, to inflating a tire on a car or mending a tear in a dress, Alex the Handyman is a true jack-of-all-trades as he takes on tasks such as sewing, painting, spot-cleaning stains or light gardening. Children will need to choose the correct tool for the job, such as wrench to tighten a leaky faucet or screwdriver to repair a toy, that will become highlighted if help is needed. –Amy Solomon
Zachy the Robot: Quest for the Museum Treasures is a terrific interactive app that delves into different topics of natural history in a way that is sure to captivate children and their adults. This is the second Zachy the Robot app. This one takes place again in Robocity, focusing on a group of robot friends, the Robocity Repairbots, who help their town with their problems, as their wheelhouse is fixing structural issues in buildings, as seen in the first app which focused on engineering. Here, the gang is brought back to add exhibits to the newly built and empty Robocity Natural History Museum, explained in the bright, colorful and fun animated intro. I love how excited these characters are by the topic of natural history – an enthusiasm that parents will hope rubs off on their children. –Amy Solomon
Most adults remember playing “memory” – also known as “concentration” – as children, where cards or tiles are laid out in pairs face down and players have to take turns turning over two cards looking for mates, remembering where the other cards are in order to create matches. This style of game is also a very popular one in an application form, be it the app’s main focus or an additional section found in a storybook so it is very nice to see a “memory” style game that really stands out from the pack in terms of game play and overall quality. –Amy Solomon
Nimble Quest, the latest from NimbleBit, starts off with an immediate nod to its direct influence, Snake. Before mobile games exploded, everyone enjoyed Snake on a Nokia mobile phone, because what else was there to do besides play Snake? So, immediately, it seems like there may not be much to this at all. Nope. Nimble Quest takes that simple concept and makes it deeper and more fun than it has any right to be. It starts by adding a bit of strategy to the standard Snake gameplay of turning left and right, avoiding walls and enemies. See, players control a character that has a special attack ability that triggers when near enemies, and they use that to take out enemies. Other heroes can be collected as drops from enemies that form parts of the snake, and can use their own individual attacks. Now, enemies can attack as well, so it becomes about staying out of danger, as the heroes have health bars that will quickly diminish, and if the lead hero dies, it’s game over. So, there’s a strategy to approaching the enemies, one that is about taking as little damage as possible. –Carter Dotson
This week’s KickStarter Spotlight focuses on an ambitious, and impressively polished product that is squarely aimed at parents who are concerned about their child’s computer usage called MiiPC. It is not so much the content as the amount of time wasted that most parents worry about, and it is a fact that technology can be a major distraction for young people with homework. I can attest that even in the course of writing this post, I have looked away to a USA Today update and watched a few YouTube videos that were sent to me by a few Facebook friends. What MiiPC aims to deliver is a computer that, in all honesty, is not much more than a converted, overpowered tablet in a box. The main feature is the complete control parents have over the device. From setting time restrictions on apps or websites, to monitoring exactly what activity a user is doing at any time; MiiPC allows a parent to have total peace of mind while still ensuring their children get an appropriate introduction to the vast wonder of the internet. –Joseph Bertolini
Fate of the Pharaoh is a fun simulation set in, well, ancient Egypt. In this game, I worked as an Adviser to Pharaoh, tasked with rebuilding the empire after a victorious but devastating war.
To make it easy, it’s a G5 game, so I expected nice graphics. I wasn’t disappointed. I found the rich graphics, sharp animations and fine detail that we all have come to expect from G5. There were two modes: Adventure Mode (timed) and Relaxed Mode. Anyone who has read my reviews knows I am a sucker for tutorials, and thus, this gamee found a way to my heart early on. The teaching section allowed me to use taps to get a basic understanding of gameplay: accruing money, and the different ways you can spend it. I learned that to progress, I had to finish tasks and manage resources.–Tre Lawrence
Ahh, Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is here again. The day of the year where hope springs eternal, where ace takes on ace, and the long haul of 162 games starts with one exciting burst. Well, unless you’re a Marlins fan, it’s just all hopeless until Jeffrey Loria mercifully sells the team. Oh, and even if the Astros won on Opening Night, they’re still gonna be a pit of despair this season. And lest we forget, the Cubs are still cursed. Regardless, there’s plenty of reason to be excited on this holiest of days. And there’s plenty of apps to enjoy the baseball season with. Here’s our favorite four apps for Opening Day 2013.
MLB At Bat: MLB’s official app is still the best way to enjoy the MLB season. There’s the Gameday experience with live pitch tracking. The app has a new interface on team pages for easily seeing team highlights, news, schedule, and even getting tickets. Oh and of course, At Bat subscribers get full access to the app and to live game audio, and MLB.tv subscribers get to watch most live games, with the blackout exceptions being in-market games, and national TV blackouts for Fox’s Saturday games and ESPN’s Sunday game.
Released: 2012-02-29 :: Category: Sports
At The Ballpark: Why just check on the status of games when you can actually go to them? This app from MLB is designed to make going to games easier. You can see which ballparks are near you, and when the next game there is. You can buy tickets, and check in to the ballpark. See the team’s schedule for upcoming games, including upcoming promotions. There’s ballpark directories, transportation guidelines, and even a guide to the music of various players and from the stadium.
Released: 2012-04-02 :: Category: Sports
Flick Home Run: If the home team’s down by 10 but you don’t want to leave because it’s the 4th inning yet are so bored that you start to think maybe this sport is slow and boring after all, perhaps a good baseball video game is worth playing. Nothing gets the baseball fan going like this game’s flicking of virtual home runs out of the park, off of some cars, rooftops, and further than any baseball has any right to go. Beware if playing this at the park, as an actual ball hitting your face will hurt badly.
Released: 2011-10-14 :: Category: Games
Topps Bunt: There’s a lot of MLB card games out there, which is a natural fit because of the proud tradition of baseball cards. So why not play the baseball card game from a well-known baseball card company? Their official card game has been updated for 2013 with the ability to now buy card packs for additional players, along with trading with players all over the world to build the best team possible. Results are based on real-life player performance, so it’s more of a fantasy baseball game than a game built around cards representing players. The game does try to balance out the different player types, from closers to catchers.
Want to listen to listen to the wealth of podcasts that are available on iTunes from anywhere you have an iOS device and an internet connection? Then download the Podcasts app from the App Store. Now, the app can be a bit convoluted to use, so this how to guide should make getting into the app much easier.
If this is your first time using it, the app will show a blank screen with a white square you can tap to go to the Podcasts Store. Otherwise, you can tap Store in the upper-left corner to go browse for podcasts on iTunes.
Use the tabs to find audio and video podcasts, find the most popular podcasts, or search for your favorite podcasts, like The Portable Podcast! You can download individual episodes or subscribe to the podcast, which will show the latest episodes in the app.
To return to the main screen, tap Library in the upper-right corner. From the main screen, tap on the podcast’s icon to open up the available episodes; it’s also possible to add old episodes to be displayed.
Tapping on an episode will start streaming it. It’s also possible to download episodes for offline listening by tapping the downward arrow next to it. As well, tapping the blue arrow will allow you to see an episode’s description, mark an episode as played or unplayed, or add it to an On-The-Go playlist.
When you play a podcast, there’s the standard music controls, along with 15 second skip buttons to easily re-listen to something or skip ahead. The 1x button adjusts playback speed to playback episodes faster or slower, if you wish. The center clock icon allows for a sleep timer to be set. The share arrow allows you to share the podcast via different built-in services.
When you call up the music control buttons from the multitasking bar, the forward and reverse buttons are replaced with the 15 second skip buttons.
The podcast’s settings page allows you to update the podcast with new content, adjust which episodes should be kept, and even enable automatic downloads.
Now, there’s a new “My Stations” feature which is built for the podcast-obsessed. This makes it possible to easily organize your podcasts by topic, or some other methodology. It also houses the On-The-Go playlist for making a quick playlist of podcasts to play back. To make your own custom station, tap the New Station button and name it. Then choose which podcasts you want to appear on the station. The station will show any episodes that have been added to your library, so to get podcast episodes to appear on your station, you need to add them from the individual podcast’s page.
You can choose the order for new episodes from each station to be played in by tapping Edit. Tapping Settings will call up a variety of settings for Play Order, which episodes to include, and the podcasts included in the station.
These tips should help you master Apple’s official Podcasts app for listening to your favorite podcasts from iTunes.
Released: 2012-06-26 :: Category: Entertainment
Thanks to the last two major iOS releases, iOS 5 and 6, sharing on social media has gotten a lot easier. It’s now easy to tweet and post to Facebook from anywhere in iOS. Want to do this for yourself? Here’s our how to guide on taking advantage of social media features on iOS.
First off, you need to log in to your social media accounts, which for most users will be the Twitter and Facebook support. Start by going to Settings. Scroll down to the Twitter and Facebook options. Now you will see a screen that will let you install that service’s official app from the App Store, log in with an existing account, learn more about the service, or Create a New Account. If you don’t have one, this is the quickest and easiest way to make one. Once you have an account, log in with it and let the fun begin!
For Twitter, you can log in to multiple accounts from this screen. Tapping on an account info will let you re-enter your password if you change it, to change the account’s description in iOS, and to disable the “Find Me by Email” setting. Scrolling down to the bottom will allow you to Update Contacts with information from Twitter contacts, and to modify which apps can access data from your Twitter account.
For Facebook, it has many of the same options, but you can only log in to one account. However, you can configure the app’s settings for alerts and HD video recording from here.
Now, time to take advantage of this. Bring down Notification Center by swiping from the top of the screen. You should now have Tap to Tweet and Tap to Post buttons. Each one will send a tweet or a post to Facebook. You can add your location, and the Twitter post box will replace the enter button with the @ and # symbols. You can enter a line break by hitting the 123 button and finding Enter there.
If you want to share a photo, you can do so by going to Photos, and tapping the Share arrow, and you will see options to post the photo to Twitter or Facebook. Twitter will automatically add the photo and subtract the characters for the link in your tweet without showing the actual link in it. Anything like this will be shown with a paper clip and a thumbnail of what is being sent.
Apps can tweet and post to Facebook, too. Try sending a link from Safari using the Share arrow. Some games will let you share your high scores, like Punch Quest does.
Apps like can request access to your Twitter or Facebook contacts to find new people to connect to, such as Vine supporting Twitter contacts, or Game Center letting you discover friends through Facebook.
Some apps can let you instantly log in to them with your registered Twitter or Facebook account, even third-party Twitter apps like Tweetbot. Finally, you can Like apps on the App Store by tapping the Reviews tab and then the Like button.
These tips cover the basics of how you can use the built-in social media connections to share from your iOS device. Note that not all apps use the built-in iOS connections, so you may still need to log in separately in some apps.
St. Patrick’s Day is quite the “holiday.” Like Valentine’s Day, another day named after a saint, the original meaning has strayed far from the original intent of the day, but unlike Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day is fun for the single and taken alike. Here are four apps to help make the day better.
St. Patrick’s Day Live: Can’t make it out to a good St. Patrick’s Day parade? Well, you can watch the New York City parade live with this app from EarthCam, or just watch Dubliners celebrate live. Then, use the Photo Booth feature to share festive photos with added leprechaun hats or “Kiss Me I’m Irish” buttons because why not? It’s a day to celebrate and be Irish!
Released: 2009-03-03 :: Category: Entertainment
Untappd: Drinking cheap beer that’s dyed green is a tradition of this ‘holiday’, definitely. But look, once you’ve drank one cheap plastic cup of it, there’s no reason why you can’t drink good beer after that. And you can use Untappd to share the beers you’ve been having. Why not find some nice, classy Irish beers to celebrate the day? Just search for “Irish” in this social drinking app and it’ll list a bunch of Irish beers to try out. If you drink one, share it with your friends. Drinking is more fun with friends, after all.
Released: 2011-09-30 :: Category: Social Networking
BreathalEyes: So, you’ve had a lot to drink, but just how much have you had? Well, this app can estimate how much you’ve had based on your eyes. It measure horizontal gaze nystagmus to detect how much a person has been drinking. Version 2.0 of the app, recently released, promises more accurate results with the addition of video capture, not just photo capture. It can detect blood alcohol content from .02% to .20% with a margin of error of .02%. The app is for entertainment purposes only, but if someone’s BAC is too high, it might be time to send them home in a cab.
Released: 2011-11-21 :: Category: Entertainment
Uber: …and yes, there is an app for that. Summon a cab directly to where you are with this app. Or if you’re feeling extra-classy, call for an Uber Black ride, which sends a black town car to pick you up. The app handles payment and tip automatically, which will especially come in handy if you have enjoyed a little too much of the fruits of Ireland’s labors. Uber’s more well-known, but also consider Hailo, a service that’s run into far fewer legal hurdles than Uber has, but is available in fewer cities. However you get a ride home, be sure to do it safely. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because getting arrested is an expensive pain, and would totally ruin this glorious day.
We Are The App Experts
Every week, the 148Apps reviewers sort through the latest apps, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
Files App is a pretty handy utility to have around on an iOS device. It makes it quite simple to browse as well as transfer files and hardly any set up is required. Offering a simple and clear interface, the opening screen displays everything the user could need at first glance. Folders and thumbnails of files are pictured, with it down to the user to organize things however they want. A tap of the plus sign, intuitively, leads users to adding content for themselves. It’s possible to import photos from the camera roll, as well as get files directly from within the Mail app. I’d have liked the ability to import all my photos at once with a select all button, but otherwise, it’s smooth sailing. Adding files from a Mac or PC is just as easy, offering USB based options as well as a way to browse via a web browser. This took no time at all to set up and it was very easy for me to drag and drop files between my laptop and iPhone. Import features are also available via Dropbox, Box and Google Drive. –Jennifer Allen
Released: 2013-02-28 :: Category: Productivity
The only thing more daunting than reviewing a game from a significant iOS series is doing so when it’s surrounded by both hype and controversy. It’s probably fairly common knowledge at this point that Real Racing 3 has gone free-to-play, which is where the bulk of the controversy comes from as lots of fans are understandably worried about what such a change could mean for their beloved franchise. It’s also been widely publicized that Firemonkeys has incorporated what they call “Time Shifted Multiplayer” into their new baby, which is something that they feel could change multiplayer mobile games forever. These are both complex issues that warrant some discussion but the important thing to note is that Real Racing 3 is very, very awesome no matter how people might feel about it going free to play. –Rob Rich
Released: 2013-02-28 :: Category: Games
I receive what seems like hundreds of emails a week. Many of these emails are exclusive offers and discounts to my favorite stores, but they quickly become buried as new email arrives in my inbox. While it would be ideal to send these to a separate folder, I still have to take the time to sort through them all to see who has the best deals this weekend. Sift solves the dilemma of cluttered shopping emails by combining them into an HD shopping experience. Instead of sorting and organizing to find the best deals, use Sift to create a personalized shopping list. –Angela LaFollette
Released: 2012-11-15 :: Category: Lifestyle
The Gods: Rebellion is literally the Chinese version of God of War. Not only is it made by a Chinese developer (with some interface elements that periodically match) but it’s also the same essential story as Sony’s action series: man rebelling against the gods, but this time it involves the Chinese mythical character Fu Xi fighting for mankind’s freedom against a bunch of deities, by killing everything that stands in his way. –Carter Dotson
Released: 2013-02-21 :: Category: Games
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Just Going to the Dentist – Little Critter is an adaptation of the title of the same name – part of the Little Critter series of storybooks now available in application form. As the name may imply, this is the story of the Little Critter’s trip to the dentist. In this world, Little Critter is an anthropomorphic animal – a little boy who has been found to be relatable to by children for many years. –Amy Solomon
Released: 2013-01-16 :: Category: Books
Sleep Well My Pet! is a simple and sweet collection of sleeping animals, relaxing to children, hopefully helpful in lulling them into slumber as well. Easy to use, one can watch a slide show or scroll through these sleepy, charming images of animals such as dog, panda, pig or lion – all with their eyes closed as they rest. Non-mammal animals are included such as flamingos or green frog which are interesting as well as peaceful images. –Amy Solomon
Released: 2012-12-20 :: Category: Entertainment
Futaba Classroom Games For Kids is a unique game app for children, educational as well as fun. This app, a digital quiz game for both multi – as well as single players, really stands out because an adult can program the questions children answer to a wide age range of abilities from preschool age through the 10th grade as well as easy, medium or hard questions for these grades. –Amy Solomon
Released: 2012-01-26 :: Category: Education
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Amelia vs the Marathon is a fun game with a fun storyline that brings us back to the wisful times when kneecapping rivals was all the rage. Amelia is an up-and-coming marathon runner with more than a bit of talent. So much so, that the current champion decides to, uh, slow her progress, Tonya Harding style. Using henchmen and objects, the champion decides to derail Amelia’s dreams. Physically. The game was an action thriller, and it had the graphics to match. The excellent use of colors started with the stills in the cutscene. Bright primaries buttressed with changing backgrounds worked well to frame the gameplay. The animations were delightful cartoony. –Tre Lawrence
In past columns, we have taken a look at a few different devices that were created to help silently or casually display notifications. The majority of these are lamps or LED strips that have built in WiFi or Bluetooth technology. One was a charm that attaches to a purse or bad and lit up for calls, messages, and other notifications. These are all great for lounging around the house or driving in the car but their day to day practicality remain a question mark. Being a college student I spend a lot of time in places where I would like to receive notifications but cannot because of the distraction to those around me. Obviously, my phone cannot start blaring Alice in Chains during a Circuits lecture, but I will not say that I am one to strictly abstain from texting in class. Those who work in office settings may find themselves in similar situations with email and annoying SMS notifications. Hailing from Seattle, the engineering duo of Paul Hornikx and Rudi Beijnen have an incredibly simple, elegant, and practical solution to all of these problems. Their idea is called the Embrace+, and is an idea so ludicrously simple that I have a hard time coming to grips with the fact that I did not think of it first. –Joseph Bertolini
Real Racing 3 is a the rare kind of stand-out title that just isn’t frequently seen on mobile. It’s the third in a long-running series from a prominent developer, EA’s Firemonkeys, born from the merger of the creators of Real Racing, Flight Control, and Spy Mouse with the studio that made Dead Space and Mass Effect Infiltrator for mobile. It’s got production values that are rarely seen on mobile, and a hype cycle that’s out of this world by comparison. The constant release schedule on mobile platforms means that it’s always game in, game out. Done, done, on to the next one. For a mobile game to attract pre-release attention, it has to be something truly special. Real Racing 3 is just that kind of game. It’s visually-stunning, and its business model, depending on its success, could have a massive impact on how mobile gaming works in the future. But as a game? Well, it has its fun moments, but it falls short of greatness, of being truly compelling as a game. –Carter Dotson
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Every week, the experts here at 148Apps take on the hundreds of apps released weekly and take the time to sort through them, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. Isn’t that spectacular? A few lucky ones become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Here are a few excerpted notable reviews from this past week. Want to see all of them? Then be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
Thanks to the advent of quality cameras on cellphones, we as a society take a heck of a lot more photos than we ever used to. The simplicity involved and the fact that everyone almost always has their phone on them, makes it all too easy to get very snap happy. What’s the best way of storing them, though? There’s so many different services, it can get complicated. Everpix aims to consolidate all the services together, enabling users to always be able to browse ALL their photos, not just certain groups of them. –Jennifer Allen
Released: 2011-12-22 :: Category: Photography
Major Magnet from PagodaWest Games is at once a celebration of the titles that influenced its creators, but it also exists as a fantastic original concept that works wonders on touchscreens. It’s simultaneously nostalgic, original, and fun, a winning combination. –Carter Dotson
Released: 2013-02-21 :: Category: Games
Simogo has made a name on the App Store for themselves by creating stylish games that operate in a way that’s just a little bit different from the rest of the App Store. Year Walk is a haunting adventure that tells a strange story, seemingly influenced by Swedish folklore, that’s their best title yet. –Carter Dotson
Released: 2013-02-21 :: Category: Games
Wrapcam is the newest photo editing app, but it’s not quite the same as the others. It does use a variety of filters, but these different filter options and effects are designed to let users wrap and roll pictures to create impressive photo art. It’s like taking a picture and wrapping it up in decorative paper or cloth. –Angela LaFollette
Released: 2012-11-15 :: Category: Photography
Within mere seconds of playing, Spunk and Moxie made me smile yet swear. Yes, it’s that kind of game. It’s entirely appropriate that cameos are made by characters from Spelunky, VVVVVV and Super Meat Boy, given they all share a similar level of difficulty. There’s even, currently, a $1,000 cash prize for unlocking all the stars! –Jennifer Allen
Released: 2013-02-21 :: Category: Games
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I am excited to introduce readers to a new maze app by GiggleUp, Preschool Maze 123. As the name may imply, is a delightful maze app for preschool children – a lovely companion app to their other lovely maze app, Toddler Maze 123. –Amy Solomon
Released: 2013-02-13 :: Category: Education
I would never expect or encourage the iMarker and the Crayola Color Studio HD to take the place of coloring by hand with crayons on paper, but my son is quite interested in digital toys and tools. I am happy that he can continue to work on his pencil grip now while using this app, but I would love more apps or more material to be developed that would also work with the iMarker. –Amy Solomon
Released: 2011-05-26 :: Category: Games
Sharing with Duckie Deck is a delightful role-playing app for toddlers which re-enforces how to be nice and share with others. –Amy Solomon
Released: 2012-11-01 :: Category: Education
Rebuild is an interesting apocalyptic game from Sarah Northway that brings survival, end-times and zombies together in a fun, atypical way. It had the major zombie staples: zombies are running amuck, and I had to make it to a sealed off bastion of humanity, and guard against the undead that would just love to welcome us, uh, personally to their fold. Graphically, the developer did well to ensure that the zany artwork became a part of the gameplay, instead of distracting from it. There was a weird sort of bleakness to the abandoned All Mart that lent itself to the storyline. The hand-drawn art was from from unpleasant, and the game animations worked well. –Tre Lawrence
If I thought about some of the least sexy things that I could write this KickStarter Spotlight on, I would imagine that plastic screen protectors would be somewhere near the top. These are the things that nobody wants on their device and, in my opinion, something that really muddles the advantage in having a swift, crisp display. So, that aside, for me to take up an entire blog post about a screen cover it must be fairly incredible. All the latest advancements in Corning’s Gorilla Glass and similar products have ushered in a new wave of advanced smartphone screens capable of being ever sensitive as well as strong. Unfortunately, things do happen. Every smartphone owner, including your’s truly, has that story of the time that they dropped their phone a mere foot and ended up with that disheartening spider-webbed glass. While we might not be able to do anything about the glass in modern phones there is certain control over what goes on that screen. Enter Evolutive Lab’s Rhino Shield which, among carrying on the animal moniker trend, is by-far-and-away the most unbelievable protection that I have ever seen. –Joseph Bertolini
Vector is a side-scrolling running game based on the basics of parkour. It pitted me as an individual reluctant to conform to totalitarian regime in power, and with an understandable need to escape. I started by picking a location… the first of three (Downtown) was opened b default. Each level had its own appropriately named sublevels, which had to be unlocked. Actual gameplay jumped directly into the storyline, with a built-in tutorial (which is always a big plus for me). I had the bad guys after me as I jumped out of a building. Using swipes, I had to conform to my environment to elude an equally skilled establishment thug intent on preventing my escape. While running, there were goodies to collect, and tricks to learn. Prior to the action starting, I was given a trick or two to pull off, which determined moving on to higher levels. Coins collected could be used to open special moves, as could real cash. –Tre Lawrence
This week at 148Apps.com, site founder Jeff Scott interviewed Kevin Dent, creator of P4RK: The Game Achievement Network. Dent says, “So right now gamers on mobile can engage in different rewards platforms, most of these firms reward gamers for having “moments” I am not making this up. Once you hit that “moment” you get a bag of Pop Chips etc. Now I am sure there are people that enjoy Popchips! P4RC is different in that we go in altogether different direction. We created a platform where gamers accumulate points regardless of whether they have their “moment” or not. With those points they can spend them on whatever they want, we are empowering the rewards business.
They are your points, it’s your choice and they are your rewards.
Also we do not cap the points so you can go big, medium or small; they are your points.”
At GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon reviewed another game from the celebrated PBS Kids series Martha Speaks: “Martha Speaks Story Maker opens with a series of questions for the players about the story they would like to create – be it characters, locations or items of interest to be used in their own fun and creative adventures. These choices are then used in a creative and fun story and there are enough variables to choose from that each story can easily be different from the last and can be stored in this app’s library to be enjoyed in the future.”
Released: 2012-10-11 :: Category: Education
And our AndroidRundown.com KickStarter spotlight of the week was for Trellie. Joseph Bertolini writes, “Enter the Trellie, a metallic key chain that attaches to the outside of any woman’s purse and has two lights that illuminate and blink when ever the connected phone is receiving or has missed a call. This really does two things because, especially at night, the blinking will be a great visual alarm as well as something that lets the user dig into their bag and check their phone less. This secondary use really does free up social situations and keeps the user engaged in the people around them instead of constantly rummaging through their purses.”
Thus ends the week that was, but there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow right around the corner. Join us for the latest app news, reviews and more, and keep track of everything by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. See you next week!
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and as everyone knows, Jeff Scott listed sale apps and watched that list grow: “As another year draws to a close, millions of people will find iOS devices and iTunes gift cards waiting for them under the tree. That means lots of people looking for apps and games to download and that means it’s time for a HUGE sale. This year does not disappoint with tons of apps and games on sale and a ton going free for Christmas week.
Here are our picks from the best of the best apps and games on sale. And as a reminder, you can always find the latest apps and games on sale at our iOS Price Drops page.”
Released: 2012-05-29 :: Category: Games
Released: 2012-11-29 :: Category: Games
Then away to GiggleApps we ran with a dash, and checked in with Amy Solomon, who had this news flash: “The Night Before Christmas presented by One Hundred Robots is a personal favorite retelling of the classic holiday story of the same name.
If one were to check iTunes, one could find multiple apps adapting this traditional Christmas story, and this app is a top choice of mine for a few reasons.
Although I am not always a fan of computer generated animation, especially when it boasts a 3D effect.
I do, however, love the bright, colorful and wonderfully stylized look of this computer-generated app, with interesting photographic elements and textures along with a 3D look for a very interesting visual experience. There is a wonderful use of perspective, and the placement of that would be the camera if one were shooting live action as well, as quick camera movements highlights the benefits of working with computer graphics.”
Released: 2010-11-30 :: Category: Books
Then at last we arrived at AndroidRundown, to see what was new in KickStarter-town: “Stands for smartphones are a very usual kickstarted project because they are all generally very simple and relatively cheap to make. We have done a few here for this blog post, and I was trying to stay away from them, but after seeing the crazy look of this week’s KickStarter Spotlight project I had to do it. This week I am showing off Simply Amplified’s Symphony Shells. They are 3-D printed phone stands that are shaped like real-life oceanic shells. They come in three separate forms, the urchin; small and spiked, the murex; arched and pointy, and the nautilus; square and twisting. All can be done in a very colorful and ornate tie-dye pattern or simply come in a solid or di-chromatic color scheme. My initial favorite is the nautilus simply because of its epic size and crazy spiky, square spiral. These really are very beautiful designs and any of them would display a smartphone with style and aplomb.”
This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre examined why mobile games just don’t seem to have as much depth as their console brethren. He says, “Should gamers expect the same experience on mobile devices as on console? Probably not–but that may be changing. Michael de Graaf, the producer for the mobile version of Need for Speed Most Wanted, feels that the difference between console and mobile is narrowing. “At the moment, consoles still have an edge when it comes to raw power but that gap is narrowing,” he told us, “and we’ve seen possibilities continue to expand on mobile. The current quality of screens we are seeing and new form factors are increasing the quality and diversity of experiences that gamers can now have on a mobile device.”
Nick Rish, vice president of mobile publishing for EA, believes that comparing the two is futile. “There is something very immersive about holding a device 10 inches from your face,” he said, “putting on headphones and enjoying a game like Need for Speed Most Wanted while on your lunch break … It’s tough to say one platform provides a better consumer experience than the other; gaming is in the eye of the beholder.”
“Mobile gaming grew from very basic flash games we all’ve been playing on web browsers,” said Przemek Marszal, art director at 11 bit studios, the developer behind the Anomaly Warzone series. But that’s changing, he said, noting that even a hard-core indie developer like John Carmac sees the potential of iOS gaming.
Over at GiggleApps.com, writer Amy Solomon got back to nature with her review of Scholastic First Discovery: The Forest: “Scholastic First Discovery: The Forest for iPhone is an impressive adaptation of the printed non-fiction title “In the Forest” A First Discovery Look and Learn Book from Scholastic. A version of this app is also available for iPad.
The Forest is an impressive application about nature, with wonderfully bright colors and robust details on each page bringing the sights of forests to devices. Instead of text that one would read, this app consists of very good narration that leads children through interactive exercises that will teach them a lot about the forests of North America.
Six chapters are included that cover a lot of ground, such as learning about both deciduous and coniferous trees, tapping leaves or branches to learn about the trees they belong to, also allowing children to drag these realistic bits of foliage around the screen.”
Released: 2012-10-26 :: Category: Education
Last up, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson was happy to announce that one of our favorite games, Punch Quest, is coming to Android: “Android, get ready to start punching. Punch Quest is coming to Android very soon. The culprit? Noodlecake Games, who have made a habit (or a business model) out of releasing and supporting iOS-to-Android ports. Punch Quest combines and endless runner with beat ’em up gameplay, as players run through a dungeon, punching and uppercutting the foes they come across. Coins can be earned to be spent on new skills, power ups, and hats. Sweet, sweet hats.”
Released: 2012-10-25 :: Category: Games
Read the full story on AndroidRundown.
And we’ve cleared yet another week in 2012. Join us next weekend for another recap of the latest and greatest news from the week that was – and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest info on the hottest apps. Now go get the rest of your holiday shopping done!
Sometimes how to articles can cover topics that might seem too advanced. This week, however, I want to cover Notification Center, that helpful list of notifications that can be displayed by swiping down from the status bar. It is possible to manage different apps’ notifications and how they appear on a device, and this guide will make it hopefully less daunting to manage.
To manage notifications, go to Settings and select Notifications. First you will see Do Not Disturb, Sort Apps, and In Notification Center. We’re going from bottom to top.
Each individual app that supports notifications is in this list. For apps from the App Store, this is the default view:
The Notification Center toggles whether the app will appear in the list of notifications available by pulling down from the status bar. Notifications will still appear if enabled. Show will configure how many entries will appear in Notification Center. This way, one app can’t clutter up too much space in the list, or important apps can show many recent notifications.
Alert Style can be set to Banners, which shows the standard relatively unobtrusive banner that appears across the top of the screen. Alerts makes the notification pop up in the middle of the screen, which must be dismissed before continuing to use your device. This is the style of notification that appeared before iOS 5. None means that no alert will appear at all.
Badge App Icon means that as notifications come in, the number on the app will update. Disable this if that number is unimportant or just annoying. Sounds can be toggled to make notifications have sounds or not. View in Lock Screen causes notifications to appear in the lock screen – this can be disabled for emails to protect their private contents, for example. These settings can be mixed and matched: for example, if you want to know about incoming tweets while your phone is locked but not while you’re using it, just enabled View in Lock Screen and Sounds, and then you won’t be bothered while actually using your device, though you can still hear the sounds go off.
Different system apps have different settings: Phone lets you configure the Ringtone from its entry. Messages lets you configure several extra sound and display settings:
Mail lets you configure different notifications for different accounts, along with the VIP settings, as covered in an earlier topic. Finally, the Weather and Share Widgets are just simple On-Off toggles.
Sort Apps allows for apps to either be sorted by time, meaning the latest notification to come in move sall that app’s notifications to the top, or Manually. This means that based on how the apps are sorted in this settings page, done by tapping Edit in the top-right corner and dragging the icon that appears on the right of each list item to move them, will make the notifications always appear in that order in Notification Center.
Do Not Disturb allows for notifications to not go off at certain times. It can be manually enabled in Settings right below Notifications, or it can be scheduled to be set at specific times in Notification Center. Turning the Scheduled switch on allows for specific times to be set on a daily basis for when notifications will not make sounds. Calls can be set to be allowed from Everyone, No One, Favorites in your contacts, or by Groups of contacts. Finally, Repeated Calls means that if someone tries to call again within 3 minutes, then it will not be silenced, so really important calls are not missed.
Hopefully by learning what each setting does, now you know how to manage your notifications like a pro!
The prodigal son has returned. After two years of dabbling in the dark arts on Android, and fortunate circumstances with T-Mobile supporting the iPhone 5, I have finally returned to the Apple camp. But why? I like Android, I still have a Nexus 7, and if I hadn’t gotten an unlocked iPhone right when they went on sale I probably wouldn’t be here right now. Well, here’s what’s convinced me I made the right move.
The iPhone games are just better.
The Android gaming scene is getting better. The iOS scene is still streets ahead. I always felt like I struggled to find a fun game to just have sitting around on my phone because the good ones I usually already had played on iOS! No longer do I have that problem! I don’t have to carry two devices around in order to play games on the go!
Interoperability between Mac and iPad
Tweetbot’s iCloud synchronization between devices works beautifully. Being able to get my photos from my iPhone to my Mac with Photo Stream is extremely handy. I can seamlessly transfer documents with Byword. I can respond to iMessages from my iPad or Mac as well as my iPhone, and it provides a single point of contact for me. Friends that had to figure out which number or email would actually reach me in this past year – I apologize! It’s better now! The interconnectivity just feels great.
Things just work
Android’s Linux roots definitely show. It is getting more stylish, but the nature of the platform always means there’s a few metaphorical exposed wires. There’s a lot less of that on iOS, and sometimes when I want to just pick up my phone and do something, it’s nice to have to worry. And the experience of using most any app is just undeniably smoother. Using Twitter with an app like Tweetbot is streets ahead of any other app for tweeting on Android. Oh, and I can actually expect updates for my phone when they come out, instead of waiting and hoping they arrive at some point.
The size is just right
I like big phones and I cannot lie. The Galaxy S III’s bigger screen was great for video or the games I did play on there. But it is nice to be able to tweet or reply to a text while walking down the street or while standing and hanging on for dear life on an L train. However, the 16:9 aspect ratio still adds a lot to games, makes video-watching great, and shows more info in portrait-orientation apps.
Google services are getting better on iOS
I use several Google-powered email accounts. The Gmail app on Android has been just about perfect for me. The Apple email app’s lack of push email and different langauge for some features still annoy me. But the email app situation has improved: Sparrow lacks native notifications but is fantastic for tackling unread email, and the Gmail app’s 2.0 update is fantastic. Plus, for the rare times I do check Google+, the iOS app is definitely on par with the Android one, and Google Voice, which I still use, is perfectly usable as well. Just because I left Google’s OS doesn’t mean I have to leave my Google services.
I still don’t regret having left iPhone two years ago – and I hope the Android Rundown readers don’t either! But iPhone has definitely improved in the past two years and while I could have stayed with Android and been happy, I love my iPhone purchase. It just feels right.