It’s Christmas time again and Santa will be starting his global voyage any moment now. Did you know that you and the kids can track Santa’s progress around the globe with your iPhone or iPad? Here are a couple apps that help you do it.
By far the best way is to use Google Earth. To view the Santa tracker in Google Earth, just hit the menu tab at the bottom of the screen and select the Santa tracker to follow Santa around the earth.
Vito Technologies has also released an update to Star Walk that lets you track Santa in an augmented reality sort of way. Hold your device up to the sky to track where around the earth Santa is.
To all of you and your families a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from 148Apps!
‘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.
If you enjoy this list, feel free to tweet or share this post on Facebook.
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.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
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.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-12-01 :: 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.”
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.
If you enjoy this list, feel free to tweet or share this post on Facebook.
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.
Update 12/24, 10am: updated with a couple dozen newly found great apps on sale – at the top of the list of “all the rest”. Merry Christmas Eve!
Big Fish Games
Big Fish Games prides itself in putting out a new game every day. And most of their games are now on sale. That’s a lot of games. Here’s the full list and a few of our favorites below.
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, works on iPad
Released: 2012-05-29 :: Category: Games
EA / Popcap / Firemonkeys Annual Game Sale
EA has, once again, put nearly all of their games on sale for $0.99 the holiday. A great way to stock up on any that you may have missed. Here are a few of our favorites, or see the full list for EA, Firemonkeys, or Popcap games on sale.
In the last few weeks, I’ve noticed an interesting trend among my young cousins. No longer do they want cuddly toys or regular action figures from Santa. This year, it’s all about iPhones and iPads–a marked change from the increasingly distant days when I was a kid. Given the importance of such devices this Christmas, we thought we’d take a look at just how apps are invading the toy aisle and offer a few ideas for festive presents.
Ideas for Babies and Toddlers
Fisher Price offer plenty of great ways of integrating iPhones or iPads with your kids’ playtime. The Laugh & Learn Apptivity Case turns devices into a form of 21st century rattle. Noisy beads keep them interested, while a mirror means that baby can take a look at themselves. There’s peace of mind too, as the case can withstand drool, teething and a certain amount of throwing around. It comes in iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad varieties.
The Apptivity brand continues from there, too. There’s a Storybook Reader, which turns an iOS device into a book that can be turned just as easily as a conventional tome.
For the more active baby, there’s the Gym, allowing babies to hone their motor skills in conventional ways, while also playing peek-a-boo with the Fisher Price app.
Finally, there’s the Monkey, with its cuddly toy nature combined with the power of some fun iOS games for the youngster.
Toddlers can enjoy the fun of Dora the Explorer Let’s Play Backpack, which lets kids place a toy backpack on an iPad in order to unlock new activities to learn logic, Spanish and many other important skills.
Toy Vehicles for the 21st Century
Remember as a kid how much fun it was to play with toy cars? Disney and its AppMATes toys have brought that up to date. Disney Cars2 AppMATes come in two varieties: Lightning McQueen/Holley Shiftwell and Mater/Finn McMissile. In both cases, kids place the car on the iPad screen before taking it for a spin around Radiator Springs. It’s perfectly safe for the screen, too, thanks to the rubber contacts, although doesn’t work through screen protectors.
For the Scientific Child
iTikes offers a great range of toys that turn iOS devices into more educational tools. The Map Explorer uses a form of Augmented Reality to help kids interact with a world map, as well as learn about the Solar System, dinosaurs and animals.
Other toys such as the Microscope, Keyboard and Canvas offer a similar mix of educational fun. It’s all helped by the fact that kids don’t require an iOS device at all times to enjoy the toy.
This week at 148Apps.com, we got into the holiday spirit with a review of a gadget that might be on many people’s wish lists this year – the iRig Keyboard. Site editor Rob LeFebvre writes, “IK Multimedia might be trying to take over the music peripheral world. The company has a wide range of apps, instruments, and support items that could, in theory, be used to build a band entirely out of iOS instruments. The latest offering from this prolific manufacturer is titled iRig Keys, a super portable iOS keyboard with 37 velocity-sensitive keys, modulation and pitch wheels, low power consumption, and core MIDI compliance. The iRig is aimed at the portable musician, the composer on the go, the backpack virtuoso, and as such, it succeeds brilliantly.”
The upcoming holidays were also on our minds at GiggleApps.com, as Amy Solomon reviewed Ice is Nice: All About the North and South Poles. Amy says, “As the name may suggest, Ice Is Nice does indeed give a lot of great information about the earth’s North and South Poles, as well as animals found in these areas that children and their adults will enjoy a great deal.
As with the other titles from this series, go on an adventure with The Cat in the Hat, Dick and Sally as well as Thing One and Thing Two, who are all here to learn such topics as the harsh temperatures found at the Poles or why there are six months of darkness or perpetual sun.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-06-27 :: Category: Books
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson explored the improvements made in Tapjoy’s latest SDK: “Mobile advertising service Tapjoy has announced version 9.0 of their SDK for iOS and Android. The purpose of this update is meant to expand out and improve their current set of features to improve user engagement with their ads, and to integrate daily rewards, a popular feature that developers can now easily implement. These are meant to provide advertisers ways to developer targeted ads in a better way, and for developers to generate revenue even from non-paying users through incentivized ad viewing, service signups, and app installs.”
And that sets us up for a week of pre-Thanksgiving hysteria here in the States. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to keep track of holiday app sales, news and reviews across all of our sites…and do yourself a favor and start thawing that turkey now.
Historically, Christmas is one of the biggest days of the year for entry of new mobile devices and the apps that make them more productive and entertaining. This year is no different with mobile analytics company Flurry reporting record-breaking mobile growth for both Apple and Google. Apple is on pace to exceed a staggering 10 billion downloads. This would double the overall downloads earned across 2008, 2009 and 2010. With multiple Android operating systems available with multiple carriers, it’s no surprise that the Android Market also set records, more than tripling its life-to-date downloads of 3 billion, reached in May 2011, to now over 10 billion cumulative downloads reached this December.
With an average of 1.5 million mobile activations from December 1 to December 20, Christmas day hit 6.8 million, a 353 percent increase. And with all of those new devices there was a surge of app downloads with an increase from 108 million to 242 million, or 125 percent. That’s a lot of mobile presents and rightly so as they’re no longer a way to only make calls, but to access social sites, video, music, games and much more. The full report is available here.
Happy Holidays! If you’re like many folks, you’ll have gotten a new iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch this holiday season. And if you’re looking for a place to learn all about this new magical device in your life, you’ve come to the right place. 148Apps has tons of resources on using your new device and filling it with the best thing about it: apps.
Learning The Basics
The operating system of these devices is one of the most intuitive around. However, there’s always more waiting under the hood to make things just that much easier or better on us. While your new iPhone or iPad may not come with a manual, you can download one fairly simply from the iBooks Store. First, grab iBooks (FREE!, + Universal App), then grab the manual for your new iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
Speaking of the operating system, we’ve written a few articles about the latest and greatest from Cupertino right here on 148Apps. Check out our Full Feature Roundup on iOS 5.
We even published some downloadable magazine-style User Guides last year, on each of the devices. Feel free to grab them and read through them – many of the tips and tricks included there are just as relevant today as they were then. iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
To the iCloud!!!
You may have seen some of the information about iCloud in the Apple TV commercials. It’s a great system that gives you unprecedented storage and sharing options. Here’s a short intro to iCloud from Apple.
We’ve got you covered with iCloud as well. Here’s information on both moving your data to the iCloud to help keep things synced and backed up. You may also need more information on how you set up iCloud in a multiple user family. This details all the ins and outs of multiple user groups who may otherwise share iTunes accounts.
There Really is an App for That
Once you’ve got a good handle on using that sleek new iOS device, you’ll of course want to dive in and start downloading apps. Whether you’re an avid gamer, a music lover, a book reader or even (gasp) all three, you’ll find everything you need in the iTunes Store.
When it comes to Apps, iOS has no peer. There are over 500,000 apps in the App Store, so you’ll doubtlessly find something you like. The trick, however, is filtering through all of those apps to find the specific things you want. That can be tricky, but luckily there are many ways to help.
First off are our very own reviews. We review a ton of apps weekly to give you the best recommendations about the best apps we find. Be sure to look through our Reviews lists, which can be filtered by type of app as well as sorted by date, app name, or app rating. If you just want to read reviews of our highest rated iPad games, for example, it’s an easy click. And for on the go browsing of 148Apps reviews, grab the 148Apps App (FREE!, iPhone App).
In addition, we have our famous Price Drops lists, which can be sorted to just show the latest drops in prices, or even just the latest FREE apps. Very handy, if we say so ourselves. If you’re looking for the very latest additions to the App Store, we have a list for that, as well as one for the Top Apps across all the App Store categories for each device. Then of course there’s always the very best of the best in free apps available in the free games and free apps lists.
If you want even more app discovering goodness, you might want to check out a few apps made to help you wade through the App Store. Some of our favorites are AppShopper (FREE!, + Universal App), Chomp (FREE!, iPhone App), and AppZapp (FREE!, iPhone App). There are even specific apps to help you find the latest free apps. Some of the best include Free App A Day (FREE!, iPhone App), Apps Gone Free (FREE!, + Universal App), and Free App Alliance (FREE!, iPhone App). These will all help you sort and find and browse apps and games to your heart’s content; we use them all the time to find new great apps to use and write about on the site.
Where Else To Find 148Apps?
We’re everywhere, really. However, the best places to find us are on Twitter, Facebook, and now even Google+. Be sure to come visit and chat with us there. We’re ever so responsive.
Free Apps You Shouldn’t Do Without
Now, we wouldn’t be the premier Apps review site without some sort of parting gift, now would we? How about some apps you really should try out? To make the deal even sweeter, let’s make them free apps.
iBooks, Nook, & Kindle – Reading ebooks is all the rage these days, especially on these fancy new iOS devices. We love reading on our iPad, and have even been known to crack a virtual spine or two on our iPhone while waiting at the doctor’s office. For those of you with shorter attention spans, there’s always Newsstand, iOS’s magazine subscription service. Some of the best ereader apps include iBooks (FREE!, + Universal App), Nook for iPhone (FREE!, + Universal App), Nook for iPad, and Kindle (FREE!, + Universal App). Happy reading!
Facebook, Twitter, & Instant Messaging – Keep in touch with family, friends, and us – your favorite Apps website – with these free social networking apps. Tell ‘em 148Apps sent you!
There’s Facebook (FREE!, + Universal App), Twitter (FREE!, + Universal App) though Tweetbot ($4.99, iPhone App) is much better, though not free like the official Twitter app.
For instant messaging, check out imo (FREE!, + Universal App) and imo for iPad (FREE!, iPad App). And don’t forget Skype (FREE!, iPhone App) and Skype for iPad (FREE!, iPad App). We’ve become big fans of GroupMe (FREE!, + Universal App) lately too for group communication.
Gaming on the Cheap – Now, we put out a sweet weekly article that tells you about the latest FREE gaming apps, but here are a few we think you won’t want to miss. We could go on for hours about it, really, but these should get you off to a good start.
For a great free endless runner, check out Temple Run (FREE!, + Universal App). A wonderful game. For some great physics puzzle fun, the new king is Where's My Water? Free and you can never go wrong with the classic Angry Birds Free (FREE!, iPhone App). A couple other free games we really like include The Sims Freeplay (FREE!, + Universal App) and TinyTower (FREE!, + Universal App).
You should also check out our massive iOS game and app sale post. There are tons of great deals and quite a few temporarily free apps there. Be sure to grab the great Jetpack Joyride (FREE!, + Universal App) while it’s free. It’s one of our favorite games of the year.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about your new magical iOS devices. The iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are some of the best new gadgets to give or receive. Be sure to come back often to see what we have for you; we’re always looking to find the news or apps you want to know about first. From all of us here to all of you out there, Happy Holidays!!!
He spoke not to me, but to my device,
And Jeff quickly asked Siri if I had been nice.
Her answer was good, so he connected Wi-Fi,
And filled my gadgets with even more apps to try!
His work here now done, he gestured with a wave,
And called for his assistant, the jolly Rob LeFebvre.
But I heard them exclaim, as they logged off for the night,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
Christmas is creeping ever nearer. The decorations are up, the presents wrapped and under the tree, and there’s that hopeful feeling for a White Christmas (at least in the UK where that doesn’t happen often!). Why not celebrate such a festive season with the release of Elf Rescue?
Offering action-packed platforming puzzle fun, Elf Rescue is all about Aava the elf and dedicated Elf Rescue agent who must save Santa after a sleigh crash in the wilderness. Everything about Elf Rescue oozes Christmas spirit as players find themselves using Aava’s jetpack to navigate the snowy scenery and the plentiful supply of balloons throughout. There’s even the fearsome presence of the mysterious Sasquatch!
It looks like it’ll be the ideal game for families to play together in the build up to Christmas. There’s also the promise of new levels throughout 2012 included in the very reasonable price of $0.99.
As Christmas fast approaches there are gifts to be bought, lists to be made, and of course children, old and young, whose anticipation needs to be kept in check. As always, during a holiday season the App Store gets a slew of half-baked themed offerings, so we’ve put together our favourite four apps for getting through the pre-Christmas madness for you here.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas! – Dr. Seuss
The beloved Dr Seuss Christmas book-turned tv-holiday-special comes to life in this digital rendition for young and old alike. For the little ones there is a read-to-me as well as a read-to-myself option. For everyone else, there is wonderful narration, classic illustrations, and the timeless tale of a decidedly green Scrooge, a town full of friends awash in Christmas spirit and Cindy-Lou Who to open the Grinch’s very small heart.
An all-purpose seasonal app and a classic of sorts, Christmas!! is a countdown and Advent calendar full of surprises. But, the app also has games to keep kids occupied, jokes, songs, holiday wallpaper to dress up your iPhone and even a shopping list.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-11-06 :: Category: Entertainment
The website, by the same name, known for helping make all group holiday gift-giving and ecard-sending a breeze is now an app. Elfster keeps gift lists for anyone, has hot gift ideas, and is ideal for planning office or school parties and Secret Santa exchanges.
Released: 2011-11-03 :: Category: Social Networking
Robot Unicorn Attack Christmas Edition
For those of us who are a bit older but still find ourselves wishing the big day would arrive, Adult Swim has a new version of its hit endless runner, Robot Unicorn Attack, all dressed up and ready to race us through the holiday season. If this offering proves as much fun as previous ones in the franchise, players will still be addicted right into the new year.
This week at 148Apps.com, we opened the floodgates for the 2011 Best App Ever Awards. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, “In its fourth year, the Best App Ever awards is a people’s choice awards for apps. Last year over 500,000 votes were cast in the quest to find the best apps, not just the best selling. This year it’s back bigger and better than ever. In a big change this year, not just iOS but also Android applications and games are up for nomination in the awards competition. Users can nominate their favorite apps and games in any of the multiple categories by heading to the app nomination page and choosing a category.”
Over at GiggleApps, our site dedicated to reviewing the latest apps for kids, reviewer Amy Solomon took a closer look at the new Charlie Brown Christmas App, saying, “It is lovely that children can decorate their own tree with included ornaments and other decorations, as well as a few that must be earned by finding all the hidden items as accomplishments. This area is found on the first title page of the book and can easily be overlooked as one starts to read. Please look for it. I am also smitten with the last page of this app where the characters are all shown with image and name, and a tap letting readers hear the line they are most noted for in this story, a great section for me to go over with my son as he is new to these characters.”
Finally, AndroidRundown writer Carter Dotson published a commentary regarding the recent CarrierIQ revelations. Dotson says, “Some of the fallout is settling from the explosive Carrier IQ revelations – naturally, most parties involved are denying any kind of wrongdoing, or even that their tools are even installed at all on the phones. Apps to search for the existence of the tools on phones now exist. As well, apparently even Carrier IQ was found on iOS devices, although Apple has pledged to remove them in a future iOS software update. Interestingly, one researcher has found that the software likely isn’t sending vast swaths of user personal information back to carriers and manufacturers, although there are still some questions about the data that is being recorded by Carrier IQ tools. In fact, a lot of this data may be used for benign purposes such as determining where phone calls are being dropped, rather than any kind of purpose of spying on user information.”
We’re done for this week. But next week brings us that much closer to Christmas, and closer to the new year. Keep informed by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter. Jingle on your merry way….and see you next week.
Cooking a roast is quite a skill to master. Getting the timing is just right. How long does the beef need to be beautifully rare? Or how about that huge turkey? How long does that need to be cooked safely and deliciously? Thanksgiving may be behind us but Christmas and its delightful food is just ahead. Why not use an app like Is It Ready Yet? to help keep an eye on when things are cooked.
Is It Ready Yet? is simple to use. Choose from a selection of 23 different meat choices encompassing beef, pork and poultry then select the weight of the food. Is It Ready Yet? then suggests what temperature to cook it at plus how long it’ll take. Both of these figures are viewable in either Imperial or Metric units.
With a built in cooking timer that runs in the background, Is It Ready Yet? keeps things running smoothly. Just what anyone needs at this busy cooking time of the year!
Remember making Christmas present lists as a kid? In a way, it was the most exciting part of Christmas. All that anticipation of working out exactly what deserved to be on the list and the preciouse hope that Santa would buy all of the items.
Pen and paper seem to be increasingly going out of fashion, but now people can create personalized Wish Lists to share with friends, family and Santa via Amazon Santa! Yup, Amazon is so popular, even Santa is using it for some gifts.
Amazon Santa offers all the functionality of the Wish List feature on the site but in a simplistic way that’s ideal for children. Kids can browse more than 500,000 family-friendly toys, games, books, music, video games, movies and TV shows, adding items at the tap of the screen.
Parents can then review and edit the Wish List, sharing it via email with anyone they want such as grandparents, siblings or family friends. It’s secure too, with Wish Lists only viewable by the contacts that parents select.
Amazon Santa is a modern interpretation of a tried and tested part of Christmas. It’s out now for the iPad and it’s free.
Helping children through charitable causes is always a noble effort. It can be a fun effort too when it comes to games like JetPack Santa.
JetPack Santa has been designed as part of the UK charity Prince’s Trust ‘Million Maker Challenge 2011′ project. It’s an initiative dedicated to raising money to help young people get back into work in deprived areas across the United Kingdom. As anyone who’s experienced the job market around the world recently, it’s tough out there, and young people need all the help they can get. The Prince’s Trust does precisely that.
Developed by volunteers at Hewlett Packard and in partnership with the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University, JetPack Santa isn’t just a honorable purchase to make. It’s also a fun and seasonal game with Santa needing to fly around the world to deliver presents to children. It’s a great way to get into the festive spirit and help some deserving young people too.
Thanksgiving has only just passed yet already we’re looking to the future; Christmas, to be exact. It’s only a month until Santa hops down everyone’s chimneys and we revel in a day of present exchanging and eating huge quantities of food.
The season also brings with it a good dose of Christmas-themed gaming delights. One such game is that of Zynga’s CityVille Holidaytown, the company’s first Christmas-themed app.
I was quite a fan of CityVille Hometown when I looked at it in the summer. While deeply seated in freemium elements that actively encouraged in-app purchases, it offered a solid structure of fun ensuring that players felt like they were constantly achieving things.
CityVille Holidaytown looks set to offer a similar experience but with one crucial difference: everything is in order to save Christmas! Players must help Santa rebuild the North Pole after a terrible blizzard. Enticing elves back home is vital in order to rebuild workshops and make more toys for the children of the world. Fortunately, there are plenty of fun ways to do that.
A steady supply of objectives pop up as the player grows their economy by building new workshops and harvesting magical winter crops to use. Plenty of cute Christmas themed decorations can also be placed around the area. Players can also help their Facebook friends by visiting their towns.
It’s a cute idea and no doubt one that’s bound to entice families and children alike. Further incentive comes from the special prizes that can be earned each day, plus CityVille Hometown players get an added bonus. It should all keep players entertained in the run up to the big event.
To get into the Christmas spirit, why not download CityVille Holidaytown now? It’s a free and universal game with plenty of in-app purchases available, but none vital to progression.
Ah, mid-November. The time of year when everyone starts buzzing about gift exchanges, menorahs, fat guys in red suits and all manner of “tidings.” Yessir, nothing like getting the holiday into full-swing before December. Suffice it to say, I’m personally not very thrilled with the practice of jumping the gun. But just because I’m morally opposed to shoving holiday cheer down the throats of the masses well over five weeks too early doesn’t mean I’m against general preparations. And what better way to prepare for the inevitable and lengthy trip to a distant relative’s house for a seasonal meal then to have an assortment of topical audiobooks on-hand?
Tales2Go is a fairly popular subscription-based (1,600+ books and counting) kids audiobook app in its own right, but Tales2Go – Happy Holidays is something a little different. This is a stand-alone app, with no subscription fee needed to access the 20 different stories contained within. These include The Night Before Christmas, A Christmas Carol, The Gift of the Magi (read by Jim Weiss), The Story of Hanukkah (read by Joel Ben Izzy) and many, many more.
Tales2Go – Happy Hoidays is already available, and all of these audiobooks can be had for a total of $0.99. That’s one dollar for 20 audiobooks. It might seem a tad too soon for this kind of stuff, but it couldn’t hurt to be ready once it’s time to jump in the car and drive 14 hours to grandma’s house.
Super Mega Worm is such a wonderful guilty pleasure that you can be excused for wanting to dig back in once again. Well now you can as Dead Pixel has announced that the world-destroying worm is returning to wreak a terrible vengeance on none other than Santa Claus himself. That’s right, it’s Super Mega Worm vs. Santa, and the North Pole is no longer safe.
The new title will be a separate release from the standard Super Mega Worm and will retail for 99 cents. The game features 15 new North Pole themed levels alongside 15 new items to eat, three new super powers and two different game modes. Oh, and did we also mention you’re trying to eat Santa? I mean come on now what is there not to love about this?
It’s pretty funny how Dead Pixel has decided to get into the same Christmas spirit that seems to be popping up in several other App Store titles these days. While most other games have you celebrating the holiday this is a game which finds players trying to actively destroy it, much to their glee. “Well I’m sorry you didn’t get that bike you wanted Little Timmy, but a giant worm attacked the North Pole and ate Santa. Now, now, don’t cry! The horrible monstrosity is heading this way to devour us whole as well, so we might as well make the most of what little time we have left.” Or does it turn out that if Super Mega Worm eats Santa he then assumes Ol’ Saint Nick’s powers and becomes the new bringer of gifts? So now children will burst into the living room on Christmas morning to open acid-spit soaked presents as dad fills in the “Christmas hole” Wojira created to tunnel into the house and leave the presents under the tree. Oh the joy!
Super Mega Worm vs. Santa is out this week, so prepare yourself for some holiday-destroying fun.
Does anyone remember JibJab’s iconic cartoons, starring our potential heads of state? Well, JibJab featured their heads, at least, on top of dancing cartoon bodies. Now there’s an app for that, too, except that instead of watching ironic political jingles with presidential candidates, you get to insert your dearest friends into holiday songs.
That app is Super Dance Elf Christmas, and it’s here in perfect time for the holiday season. The app may have a grammatically cringe-worthy title, but the name is admittedly descriptive. You take a photo of your face (or your friend’s, your coworker’s, etc) or draw one from your Camera Roll, and the app grafts it onto a video of a dancing elf’s body. The elf dances, the photo-face bobs up and down, and obnoxiously cheery Christmas music plays in sync. Want to see it in action? I recommend the video.
In addition to the default elf, Super Dance Elf Christmas comes with a girl elf, a “reggae reindeer,” and “Miss Merry Christmas.” Once you’ve composed a video you like—there aren’t too many settings to tweak—you can save your video within the app and email it off to friends. Blackmail, or a great joke? Hmm…well, on the bright side now you can falsify proof of your dancing skills.
If this sounds good to you, Super Dance Elf Christmas is available now on the App Store for a lowly buck. Dancing skills don’t come much cheaper than that!
As if it weren’t hard enough to walk away from the adorable Om Nom and his insatiable desire for candy, we’ve just learned that Cut the Rope will have its hooks into us a bit longer as Chillingo prepares for the release of Cut the Rope: Holiday Edition. Tis the season to fall in love with the game all over again.
The new title will be a standalone game available free of charge and should show up in the App Store any day now. The game features 25 new stages as well as a new “Christmas Sock” mechanic. Apparently the magical stocking will allow you to teleport candy from one place to another, putting a whole new wrinkle in the experience. All of this will be bundled with new music and achievements, not to mention a generous helping of holiday cheer.
It’s nice to see high-profile games getting in on the holiday spirit, and it seems that games published under the Chillingo banner are leading the way. First we got Angry Birds Halloween, which has now morphed into Angry Birds Seasons and is providing a new level every day throughout the holidays. The only difference was that while that update went for $0.99, the new Cut the Rope content is free, which is an even sweeter deal.
More than current Cut the Rope owners, this promotion seems aimed at the folks who will be getting an iOS device for the holidays and are looking for fun new apps to add. If Chillingo can hook them with a free tinsel-strewn version of an already addictive game, then the odds are very high that those same consumers will go pick up the full version of the standard game practically immediately. It’s a smart strategy indeed, and one from which all us current Cut the Rope owners will also stand to benefit.
November 26 is a dangerous yet thrilling day to be an American shopper, as it marks Black Friday. As US consumers know, the day after Thanksgiving is typically when retailers offer their biggest sales and best incentives in the hope of kicking the holiday shopping season off with a bang. Further complicating an already hectic day is the fact that if you’re looking to buy an iPad or iPhone for a loved one then you’d best make the Apple Store or another electronics retailer your first stop, as they’re poised to go fast.
According to a survey conducted by BlackFriday.com, the iPad is the most sought after holiday gift this year, and the iPhone comes in third. That means that if you’re looking to buy either item then you might want to go ahead and get in line at your local Best Buy right now, because both are likely to be sold out about ten minutes after the store opens on November 26 and then remain MIA through New Year’s. The upside to all this is that the iPod Touch isn’t in the top 10 list of most-wanted items (it lands at number 11), so while all the other crazed shoppers are fighting over the other iOS devices you should be able to snap up an iPod with minimal fuss.
What’s most surprising about the Black Friday predictions in general is just how tech-centric they are. Every item in the top 15 is some sort of gadget or gizmo, and nearly 60 percent of survey respondents said they wanted some form of electronics as a holiday gift. In fact, tech dominates the list, with most folks saying that they want things with microchips inside them under the Christmas tree this year. And remember, this isn’t some tech site running the survey, but rather a general interest website which is devoted solely to helping people find good sales. In other words, its target market is the average American consumer, and it seems that such consumers really want iPads and iPhones. Looks like Apple is shaping up to have a very happy holiday season.
What do kids want Santa to bring them this year? According to battery-maker Duracell, iOS machines sit atop the list. Fourteen percent of tykes want an iPhone 4, while 13 percent are wishing for an iPod Touch and 12 percent opine for an iPad. As a point of comparison, Microsoft’s Kinect, the new “controller free” controller, comes in at only six percent.
The survey was conducted with over 2,000 children ages 5-16, and we’re hoping that it was the upper tier of ages which tilted the numbers in favor of the iOS devices. While there’s plenty of reason for a 16 year-old who wishes nothing more than to be cool to want an iPhone or iPad, the machines should really hold little sway over a kindergartner. Then again, Apple’s ubiquitous iOS ads may have made demand transcend age, in which case we can only say kudos to the evil-yet-effective marketing team. Here’s the full top-ten list for those who are curious:
01) iPhone 4 (14%)
02) iPod touch (13%)
03) iPad (12%)
04) Kinect (6%)
05) Zhu Zhu Pet Hamsters (5%)
06) Flip Video Camera (4%)
07) Toy Story 3 Jet Pack Buzz Lightyear (4%)
08) PlayStation Move (4%)
09) Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4: The Video Game (3%)
10) Barbie Video Girl (3%)
For those of our readers with kids, how closely does this list align with what your youngsters have been asking for? More importantly, how many of you are thinking about getting your children an iOS machine and how many believe that these are devices really more aimed at adults and should be kept out of the hands of kids? Maybe instead you buy yourself the iPad and let your kids play with it when you put it down — which is never.
UK development studio Sauce Digital will be holding a 12 Days of Christmas Apps contest from December 26 (Boxing Day) through January 6 (Epiphany). They’ve gathered hundreds of promo codes from participating developers, and will be giving away one twelfth of the codes on every day of the event. To enter the contest, all you have to do is submit your name and email on the official site, http://www.12daysofchristmasapps.com. The website also has an area where interested developers can sign-up for taking part in the promotion.
Sauce Digital is probably known best for their game Nano Rally, and have recently released Touch Soccer 3D. Their suite of games will be offered in the competition, as well as those from a variety of developers including Hanged by Freeverse, and Harbor Master by Imangi Studios. So far 47 developers have joined the contest pool, and the total number of promo codes collected is at 365 and counting.
Never one to be outdone by the likes of EA and other game publishers, Gameloft has announced their own holiday promotion, which starts today. For the next 7 days leading up to Christmas, Gameloft has placed 7 of their titles on sale for $0.99. Here is the complete rundown:
Brain Challenge $4.99 > $0.99
Castle of Magic $1.99 > $0.99
Castle Frenzy $1.99 > $0.99
Shrek Kart $4.99 > $0.99
Terminator Salvation $2.99 > $0.99
Real Tennis 2009 $4.99 > $0.99
Real Soccer 2010 $4.99 > $0.99
There’s been much mention of Blacksmith Games’ Appvent Calendar program, which offers a free app a day from December 1st to the 24th. EA Mobile has now followed suit, and although they won’t be offering any freebies of their own, they will be putting a game on sale every day until Christmas. According to their site, the sale prices will reach up to 80% off, and most games will be available for 99 cents.
The first title out of the gate for the 25 Games Til Xmas promotion is Trivial Pursuit. Normally available for $4.99, Trivial Pursuit’s sale price is $1.99. Chris reviewed it back in May, and gave it a very respectable 4 1/2 stars, calling it a faithful adaptation of the board game.
EA Mobile will be announcing each day’s discounted app on their Twitter and Facebook pages. Will any of the other big publishers follow suit? If Black Friday was any indication, then there’s bound to be a considerable amount of sales throughout the holidays, and we’ll be covering them all as they hit.
I had decided a while ago that I wasn’t going to post any reviews of Christmas (or any other) holiday apps. They are all just to trite, simple, and down right annoying. Especially so to a grinch like me. But then, I saw Earthscape Santa Tracker and my heart grew three sizes that day.
Ok, maybe it only expanded 1.5 sizes. But this is still a great app. Earthscape Santa Tracker is a holiday photo viewer and 3D Santa tracker based on Earthscape’s great 3D earth platform. If you have kids, it will be extra special on Christmas eve. Here’s the description from the developer:
Ho Ho Ho! Follow Santa as he makes his way around the world this Christmas Season! See where Santa is, or will be, on Christmas Eve and explore thousands of beautiful photos of the holidays being celebrated around the world. Learn how to share your own holiday pictures with the rest of the planet for a very special Christmas!