At 148Apps, we help you sort through the great ocean of apps to find the ones we think you’ll like and the ones you’ll need. Our top picks become Editor’s Choice, our stamp of approval for apps with that little extra something special. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
Unlike the endless procession of knock-offs, cash-ins, and clones, Retry actually finds Rovio substantially iterating on the Flappy formula, mixing in the star-ranked progression that drove their own mega-hit. Instead of tapping and flapping through an endless procession of pipe gaps, Retry has players guiding their tiny propeller-driven plane from airport to airport in an elusive search for that perfect landing. It’s no easy feat to fly in Retry, with the inexorable grip of gravity and the drag of momentum screwing up those carefully laid flight paths. Too steep of a climb will pull you over into a loop. Not enough feathering of a descent sends you propeller-first into the ground. But when that sweet spot is delicately finessed out of the greedy grip of physics’ and you manage to glide gracefully out of a near-fatal dive, taxiing to the very edge of the final runway? Sublime. And hey, if not, just tap the screen again; there’s always another retry waiting. –Rob Thomas
This is going to sound funny, but I have clinically diagnosed OCD. One of the weird quirks for me is that I obsess about having several cases or carrying bags for everything. So the idea of a new, very functional case really excites me. When asked about reviewing a case that provides drop protection and an extended battery, I think I replied to the email less than twenty seconds. Sadly, I was told the only colors were black, blue, grey, and white – I was hoping for purple or pink. I really like cases. The Protection + Power comes with a charging cable (USB to micro USB) and a headphone extender (the case lengthens the hole to the jack). Attaching it to my phone was really easy – honestly, it’s the easiest of any battery case I’ve owned. You slide the phone onto the lightning connector, which tilts slightly, then gently push the phone back into the case. Once inside, it seems really secure and safe from most gentle drops. Since it was early in the day, I plugged the charging cable into my desktop computer and watched the lights on the back begin to blink. I went through regular use that day, and took the charging cable to bed. When upstairs, I pulled my lightning cable out of the jack in the wall, and put the USB/microUSB cable in its place. I’ve done this with numerous other charging cases in the past with no issue. In the morning, my phone was at 55% power and the case’s battery was dead. It never charged. –Jade Walker
Opening with the sacking of the city of Moonbrook by the villainous Hargon, Dragon Quest II follows the adventures of a group of young heroes descended from the legendary Erdrick, a recurring character in the series’ mythology. It is as full of cheesy and wonderful faux-Shakespearian dialog as its predecessor was, with the classic RPG mentality that one should speak to every NPC in order to learn about the world and one’s quest. The visuals are bright, colorful pixel art that has been updated for modern devices while retaining that old-school flair. The music, on the other, hand is quite symphonic and adds a sweeping grandeur that enhances the atmospheric qualities. It’s a great juxtaposition of old and new, and it really improves on the gameplay experience. –Andrew Fisher
The first thing you’ll notice about Agents of Storm is that it’s really rather pretty – especially compared to other games of its ilk. That’s the second thing. Games of this ilk – freemium base building games – are incredibly common. Unfortunately for Agents of Storm it’s mostly business as usual, despite a few vaguely original tweaks. Notably, you don’t design your own base. It’s all made for you instead, taking away some personalization and sense of ownership from the whole experience. That base gradually expands the more you level-up, with a couple of taps getting things all set up. –Jennifer Allen
I am eager to let readers know about a new Toca Boca app – Toca Boo – right in time for Halloween. This app is a bit of a departure for Toca Boca, known for their apps that include cleverly themed mini-games and role-playing apps that allow children to pretend to play store, tea party, or drive a train, as well as apps that allow children to build cities or landscapes to drive cars around on. Here, Toca Boca introduces Bonnie, a girl who enjoys being scary, wandering around her house looking for family members to frighten. Children will have fun increasing the creepiness factor for her unassuming victims by turning lights off and on as well as incorporating static on the radio, an alarm clock that rings suddenly, and other objects that can startle others when turned on or off mysteriously – which is done with the tap of a finger, and to be assumed the work of this mischievous girl. Listen to the heart beats rise in the characters as the intensity is increased – a great time to tap one of these characters, triggering their frightened reactions. –Amy Solomon
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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:
Lunagames launched a Halloween-themed shooter for Android, but is it worth you time? Well, that depends: do you like murdering zombies? Trigger Happy from Lunagames is a straightforward action packed shooter. In it, you need to shoot every zombie or other Halloween themed monstrosity that’s coming right for you. You can do that with just your handgun, including unlimited ammo – the way I prefer to play my Halloween/horror games. But that won’t do the job in Trigger Happy. –Wesley Akkerman
I had the misfortune of having some serious health issues a short while ago, and, without getting overly conversational about it, it changed me. It made me take health more seriously, and one fringe benefit is that it allowed me to take a longer, more appreciative look at the burgeoning area of connected health devices. “Burgeoning” is somewhat of an understatement; the category is exploding. As part of my personal fitness odyssey, I’ve had the privilege of trying out interesting connected gear. The Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is one of them. Personal blood pressure monitors are not new; I have had a generic one for quite some time. While convenient, the one drawback is the collation tool is not self-contained. I used my smartphone to collect the data via my all-round app HanDBase, and while the solution worked, I’d like a more homogeneous fix. –Tre Lawrence
As part of our ongoing health series, we explore connected health accessories with an Android connection. For an introduction to Android Rundown’s mobile health series, check out our editorial. Health bands and smartwatches are all the rage now; there are several out in the wild, and, thankfully, several corresponding price points. Being healthy is becoming easier to incorporate in one’s lifestyle — in theory, at least. For a lot of folks, having a connected health tracker just makes sense… especially when it can be paired to a ubiquitous always-on device such as a smartphone. Oregon Scientific is a tech company with good pedigree, and has made a name for itself in the area of personal and home electronics; it’s not too much of a stretch to see why it would throw its hat into the fitness tracker ring. the Ssmart Dynamo Activity Tracker is the fruit of this endeavor. –Tre Lawrence
And finally, head on over to AppSpy, because we’ve been eating loads of English Breakfasts, watching kids poop their pants in fear, playing the best new multiplayer indie racer, and getting spookier than that Michael Jackson video where he’s a zombie (Thriller? Is it Thriller? I want to say it’s called Thriller). And it’s all right here.
For the unfamiliar, Redbubble is a good place to find great artwork – and then have it slapped on a phone case, T-shirt, pillow, etc. And now it’s a good place to find cases for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
You can preorder your case now, but they won’t start shipping until 9/19 to coincide with the iPhone 6 launch. Still, there’s a rather gigantic assortment to choose from, with prices varying depending on the individual artist’s markup.
And heck, if you can’t quite find what you’re looking for you can always make your own account and upload your own illustrations and images. That’s what I did.
[Editor’s Note: I’ve been uploading my own designs to Redbubble for well over a year now. My portfolio is not the reason I decided to share this news, but I do feel it necessary to let everyone know that I have work posted to the site. – Rob]
Mipwr has launched its Kickstarter campaign for its hand-operated charger, backup battery, and protective case for the iPhone 5 and 5S. It’s a great idea for anyone who needs to find alternate power for their iPhone. There are 22 days left in the Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $78,000, so make sure to check it out if this is something of interest to you!
Lots of fresh new content this week at 148Apps.com, including a three part series tracking the history and development of Firemint’s Real Racing series. Rob Rich writes, “The soon to be released Real Racing 3 is on a lot of iOS gamers’ minds these days, especially many of us here at 148Apps. Because of this we thought it would be a good idea to recap the series. In fact, we might have gone a bit beyond that and created a trilogy. First we’ll be taking a look at the series’ history and the history of Firemint, the Melbourne based studio that created the series. After that we’ll be taking a look at the design factors and what when into creating the first two Real Racing titles as well as a little of the third. And in the third part of this series, we’ll take a look at the new Time Shifted Multiplayer found in Real Racing 3.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-12-14 :: Category: Education
And we close out our weekly tour of sites by checking in on the latest KickStarter spotlight on AndroidRundown.com. Joseph Bertolini writes, “It is amazing how many times I leave my phone in the car or forget to bring my keys out with me. Consolidating these two would be a dream and there are a few solutions available but their effectiveness is very questionable. One of the more complete and involved KickStarter projects that we have spotlit here, Intellacase is a smartphone case that incorportes within it a key fab for any modern car with keyless entry. While this does nothing for most car owners who still reside in the land of metallic gateways, a growing number of affordable cars are adopting the keyless ignition as a viable offering. Certainly for anyone who has a car that utilizes keyless technology this is an incredibly attractive opportunity. Image going out on the town, with the increasing prevalence of NFC payments, and being able to bring just a phone which has access to both wallet and car access.”
Another week down, but oh so much more to report in the coming days and weeks! Keep track of the latest happenings by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. You’ll be glad you did. See you next week kiddies!
The iPhone looks pretty attractive the moment it’s purchased but sometimes it’s nice to add that personal touch. It’s easy enough to adjust the home screen image and general background, but how about a whole new personalized cover for the device? That’s what CaseApp provides.
The app enables users to import images from their camera roll and position them on a case from within the app. 20 different themes are available to create a great effect and it’s possible to tilt and resize images appropriately. Once happy with the design, tap order and the case can be shipped straight away.
CaseApp promises a delivery date of 3-5 business days with prices under $30 + shipping and handling.
The kind folks at CaseApp have given 148apps readers 30% off any order they make between now and May 23rd though so it’s the ideal time to purchase. Just use the promo code caseapppc30 to get the discount.
This week at 148Apps.com iPad cases were on our collective minds. First, site editor Rob LeFebvre reviewed the new Hammerhead Capo Case, stating, “The Hammerhead Capo case is a solid, good looking basic case for $40. It comes in black, blue, white, red or orange leather-grained polyurethane. It covers the whole iPad, with molded open areas for the dock port, headphone jack, rear camera, and volume buttons.”
Meanwhile, Lisa Caplan also took a closer look at Brydge, a new Kickstarter project. Lisa writes, “There is a new Kickstarter project, Brydge, by Brad Leong that will come close to converting an iPad into a notebook with a hinged aluminum case and Bluetooth keyboard that looks a lot like a Macbook.”
We also had many, many new kid-friendly app reviews on GiggleApps, including Amy Solomon’s review of the latest Toca game, Toca Kitchen Monsters. Solomon says, “I have a real treat for readers today as I would like to announce that recently, Toca Boca released a free version of their popular digital toy app, Toca Kitchen. Titled Toca Kitchen Monsters, this new app includes two monster characters whom players can cook for and feed, complete with monster-like table manners and house-keeping skills.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-04-05 :: Category: Education
Children’s apps were the focus on 148Apps.biz as well, as Kevin Stout reported on a new study released by Ruckus Media Group. Stout writes, “Parents are tough customers to please. While it’s obvious that children’s apps and games need to be appealing to kids, it’s the parents that those apps are really targeting. Ruckus Media Group just announced the results of its national study about children’s educational apps and parental preferences. The research, done with research group, PlayScience, looked to investigate what app experiences parents provide for their children, what parents prioritize in children’s apps, parents’ involvement in their childrens’ reading, and parental guilt with digital devices. We spoke to CEO of Ruckus Media Group, Rick Richter, and obtained some additional information about the study.”
Thew news, reviews and contests keep on coming across all of the 148Apps network of sites. Keep up to date with the latest by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook. You won’t regret it. Until next week…bye ya’ll!
Griffin, well known accessory manufacturer, and Crayola, the preeminent name in kid’s crafts, have teamed up before to offer young iPad users some neat stuff. At CES 2012, they are paired up again to showcase cases for iPod touch specifically as well as products for the whole iDevice line.
There are two new Crayola-branded headphones coming for kids: Crayola MyPhones Earbuds come in bright colors with padding for small canals, and MyPhones Headphones sport traditional over-the-head design, come in multicolored options with stickers for customization.
Also in the way of accessories are three new iPod touch cases. Crayola Case Creator sounds like the most fun. Slated to go on sale this spring, at a price of $29.99 the product is part app, part case. The child designs the skin using an app that allows for drawing and other creative tools and then prints out one-of-a-kind art that slides into a Griffin case that affords protection.
Crayola Color Clickers, at $24.99, will offer kids mix-and-match striped pieces, 28 in all, to create a protective and unique look every day. Crayola Crayon Classic Cases make iPods look like very wide flat crayons with the traditional Crayola striping available at the same price.
On the app front, Crayola Lights, Camera, Color HD is already on the app store for $1.99 – it allows kids to take photos and turn them into custom coloring pages, which can then be adorned digitally with crayons, colored pencils, markers, even stickers. Yet to be released, Crayola Sill Face Swaps HD will come with coloring pages, and kids can use existing photos or ones snapped with the iOS device to fill in faces for silly creative fun.
Choosing a case is one of those important first steps that you take after buying an iPhone. It’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken too lightly or made too hastily. I’ve seen far too many anxious people run over to the case wall at the Apple Store, get drawn in by the bright colors and cool textures, find the perfect match, and returning it weeks later because they didn’t pay attention to the little things. What are those little things? Well, much like buying a vehicle to drive around small children, safety should be your first priority.
Hard vs. Soft Cases
Every great case debate begins with the topic of Hard vs. Soft and which one provides better protection? While there’s no simple answer and it really needs to be taken on a case by case (no pun intended) basis, some conclusions have been reached by the iPhone community. The whole argument behind using a rubber or silicon case for protection comes from the idea of lengthening the time of impact, similar to crumple zones on cars. This was once a valid point when iPod Classics (with mechanical hard drives) ruled the iPod world. Nowadays though the solid-state memory of the iPhone/iPod Touch makes them far more durable and only really susceptible to outer case or screen damage, leaving case debates to the topics of aesthetics, longevity, features, etc.
Before the smoke has even cleared from the iPad announcement yesterday, some accessory makers are already showing off some new products to go with it. iLuv is amongst the first to unveil a new line of products, full of carrying cases, hard and soft, as well as a few types of screen protectors. Interestingly enough, iLuv has promised these items to be available in February, a bit premature since no one will be able to hold an iPad until March or April, but hey, better early to the game than (insert cliché here). Check out more of their products after the break. Continue reading iLuv Already Showing Off iPad Accessories »