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Marvel Future Fight from Netmarble Launches Globally This Week

Posted by Jessica Fisher on April 28th, 2015

Netmarble has announced that their action RPG, Marvel Future Fight, is launching globally in just a few more days.

Marvel Mighty Heroes, the Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, is Here

Posted by Jessica Fisher on April 1st, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: OVERLY SIMPLE :: Read Review »

DeNA and Marvel Entertainment have brought us a new action-packed brawler: Marvel Mighty Heroes. You can play with up to four of your friends as you favorite marvel heroes like Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, Captain America, Star-Lord, Hulk, and Hawkeye, and you'll be collecting new characters and levelling-up as you battle evil and save the world. Each character has different powers and abilities, and you can discover alternate costumes for them that grant new powers.

"Marvel Mighty Heroes starts with old-school Super Hero gameplay from the glory days of playing alongside friends at the arcade and adds a modern twist for mobile devices through intuitive touch controls and global cooperative gameplay,” said Barry Dorf, Vice President of Partnerships and Alliances at DeNA, in a press release. “Marvel fans of all ages will love the timeless characters and evolving Marvel storylines based on classic plots and new story arcs.”

The first in-game event starts today with the release of the game. You'll be playing in a six-part weekly “Infinity” event series, where the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy will be facing off against Thanos, the Mad Titan. Marvel Mighty Heroes is available for free on the App Store.

F84 Games & POW! Announce Stan Lee Video Game App!

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 2nd, 2015

F84 Games has announced that it is working with legendary comic creator Stan Lee and POW! Entertainment to produce Stan Lee’s Hero Command. The game will be a action adventure of heroic proportions. The game stars Stan Lee, himself, as he recruits and controls a team of super heroes including Captain Steamhammer, a Russian strongman with a steam-powered suit and Seer, a kid genius and powerful psychic. He will send them on missions every day to fight evil and save the world.

Stan Lee’s Hero Command will be available as a free to play download from March 19th 2015.

The Sandbox Gets Exclusive Update, Adds Invincible Characters Campagin

Posted by Tre Lawrence on January 29th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: CREATE :: Read Review »

The batch of pixelated goodness known as The Sandbox is no stranger to update goodness, and its latest build brings in yet more interesting features.

The latest update reveals a collaboration with Robery Kirkman's Invincible comics characters.

Battle against villains and restore peace in the world with the heroes from Invincible! Heroes Team! Punch enemies, solve puzzles, and make your heroes work as a team by toggling between them!

Discover the incredible powers of our 4 new super-heroes elements: Dupli-Kate, Invincible, Rex-Splode and Monster Girl! (Based on the comic book series entitled “Invincible" created by Robert Kirkman, Corey Walker and Ryan Ottley)

We had an opportunity to review The Sandbox a while back, and loved it.

The update is out now, with the game available for free (with optional in-app purchases) on the App Store. The new update trailer is below:

LINE Webtoon Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on July 15th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FREE COMICS ARE GOOD
Want free comics to read, even when you haven't got an internet connection? LINE Webtoon is probably what you want to try out.
Read The Full Review »

Opinion: Why the Comixology Debacle Shows That Apple Needs to Change its Consumer-Unfriendly App Store Policies

Posted by Carter Dotson on April 28th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Are you angry about the new Comixology app, which removes the ability to buy comics from inside the app itself? If so, you should be just as angry at Apple for their policies making such an absurd situation, where an app can offer the ability to consume the content it sells without actually selling it, as much as you are at Comixology/Amazon for inconveniencing you.

The economics for the change are clear: they were giving 30% of every sale to Apple, as per App Store policies. That's the way it's been since the App Store opened - every time money changes hands, Apple takes its 30% cut. When in-app purchases were introduced, Apple kept the rate per transaction the same: 30% on everything. Thus, when Comixology sold a comic for $3.99, they only got ~$2.80 from it, for a book they had to sell for the same price on their site, by Apple policies.

It's likely that this 30% cut hurt Comixology's bottom line - they are beholden to a number of outside forces and right holders for the comics they sell - and the move to Amazon apparently provided them the opportunity to change their selling model.

For years, Comixology's Comics app was one of the top grossing apps on the App Store - especially on the iPad. Source: AppAnnie

So, that 30% fee on transactions that Apple takes is problematically high. Certainly, it can be justified for paid apps: Apple provides approval, storage, bandwidth, tax collection, and a variety of services beyond just taking the money, in order to justify taking such a cut of a developer's revenue.

But for in-app purchases, Apple is serving as little more than a payment processor, though they do track whether non-consumable IAP is owned by the user. And 30% is exorbitantly high for payment processing. PayPal merchant fees are 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. Amazon charges the same for transactions $10 or above, with a 5% + $0.05 per order for smaller transactions. These aren't counting the bulk volume discounts that these processors provide.

You could go to your local comics shop or to a vendor at a convention, and using a Square credit card reader, they can sell you that comic at a 2.75% per swipe fee. So what right does Apple have to be taking 30% on a similar transaction? I think they should be allowed to take a reasonable premium on top of payment processing for the App Store services they provide, but it's clear that 30% is unreasonable, especially for low-margin fields like the sale of music, movies, and comic books.

And because Apple specifically restricts outside payment systems, there's no recourse for anyone who wants to offer media or subscription services through an app but to not sell said services in the app itself. It's why you can't buy a Netflix, Spotify, or Dropbox subscription from inside their apps at all - because Apple can't take their steep tax.

Apps like Kindle have to sidestep just why they can't actually sell you books in the app itself

Why would Apple, a seemingly pro-consumer company in the way that they design their products to be easy to use, do this? Well, they're not actually a pro-consumer company. They're a pro-Apple-consumer company. Everything they do is designed explicitly to get you to stay with Apple products. Ever thought about getting an Android or Windows Phone but decided not to because you didn't want to lose iMessage? Exactly.

Remember that Apple sells music, video, and books of their own (though not comics to the scale that Comixology does); they have a weighted incentive to make it hard for outside sources to provide them on the App Store unless they pay the exorbitant 30% fee. And when people are inconvenienced by app makers because of Apple's policies they get mad at the app maker, not Apple, which has to cause a chill to run up the spine of anyone struggling with a similar decision as Comixology.

The thing is, it doesn't have to be this way. Google has a similar setup with in-app purchases where they take 30% of every transaction, but they provide alternatives. Specifically, they have a policy that enables Comixology to still sell comics through their app through their own payment system: "Developers offering additional content, services or functionality within another category of app downloaded from Google Play must use Google Play's in-app billing service as the method of payment, except: where payment is for digital content or goods that may be consumed outside of the app itself (e.g., buying songs that can be played on other music players)."

Thus, Android Comixology users can still buy comics through the app. Those who relied on Google Play credit to buy books will find themselves out of luck. Of course, Google doesn't have a monopoly over content distribution or an interest on keeping people as tied to Google Play and their own services, but it's still a better way to operate than the monopolistic way that Apple does. The 30% payment processor fee for in-app purchases is still on the exorbitant side, but the nature of it is a lot more fair.

So, what Apple ultimately has is a situation that's meant to give off the illusion of consumer-friendliness by making it only possible to spend money through iTunes accounts, when it really restricts the freedom that people have to get the content they want, where they want it from.

If a solution that's actually friendly to users (and not just to those who buy in to the Apple system) is to happen, it's going to require public pressure. They could enact the exact same policy that Google Play has, for one. This same policy is the one that allows Starbucks to allow for store credit refills through direct credit card or PayPal payments. It just needs to be expanded to cross-platform media so that users don't get left out in the cold, or compelled to buy from Apple's stores. Give them actual choice.

Or Apple needs to make their tax on in-app purchases - these purely digital transactions - a smaller fee, in order for it to be viable for sellers in high-margin transactions involving media. Somewhere from 5 to 10% may be more reasonable than the current 30%. Whatever the solution I believe change needs to happen, because right now, the ultimate loser from Apple policies are ordinary people who have had convenience taken away from them because of corporate politics.

Uncanny Comics Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lee Hamlet on March 11th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EXCELSIOR
Uncanny Comics is a great resource for interesting articles and exclusive interviews, but it needs some fine-tuning to make it more interactive and iOS-friendly.
Read The Full Review »

Geek Resort Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Arron Hirst on March 5th, 2014
Our rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar ::
Geek Resort is a tycoon-style park creation title with an overall fun art-style; it's simply let down on its reliance of in-app purchases to drive its gameplay, and a few obvious bugs.
Read The Full Review »

Chunky Comic Reader Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Mike Deneen on January 31st, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: THE BEST AT WHAT IT DOES
Looking for a Comic Book Reader that has it all? Chunky Comic Reader will keep things organized and make comics look amazing, all while giving users a ton of options.
Read The Full Review »

148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up - The Dynamic Duo of Digital Comics and iOS

Posted by Lee Hamlet on December 31st, 2013

Comic book purists who like their comics bagged, boarded, and boxed may disapprove, but there's no doubt that digital comics have revitalized the comic book industry these last few years as more and more people embrace the platform on their tablets. Below are just a few of the ways and reasons to go digital this year.


Where better to begin than with the biggest comic book store on iOS: Comixology. Featuring titles from DC and Marvel (sharing content from their respective apps), Valiant, Image, and a plethora of indie publishers - their thoughtful collections, frequent discounts, and generous giveaways are a great avenue for discovering new series and lesser-known works. Digital format is also often the only way to read out-of-print comic books or issues that would cost a fortune to purchase from online merchants.

Comics have often been thought of as a perfect medium between literature and cinema, and Comixology's Guided View technology only strengthens that idea. Delivering the content in a frame-by-frame format not only makes reading possible on smaller devices, but really builds suspense unlike anything comic readers will have previously experienced. Especially since there is no opportunity to have a cheeky peek at those bottom-of-the-page spoil-the-surprise panels.

This Week at 148Apps: December 2-6 2013

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 8th, 2013

Expert App Reviewers

So little time and so very many apps. What's a poor iOS devotee to do? Fortunately, 148Apps is here to give you the rundown on the latest and greatest releases. And we even have a tremendous back catalog of reviews; just check out the Reviews Archive for every single review we've ever written.

Skulls of the Shogun

Death is a very common thread in gaming, though admittedly in most cases it is being used as a motivating factor that the player wants to avoid. In the freshly ported iOS version of Skulls of the Shogun, the focus is actually on what happens after the main character has left the land of the living. General Akamoto and his ragtag group of hoodlums are trying to fight their way to the proverbial pearly gates, one decapitation at a time. Naturally they face quite the uphill struggle, with plenty of amusing shenanigans along the way. --Blake Grundman

Assassin's Creed Pirates

Assassin’s Creed Pirates is a game that’s appropriately multi-faceted: it encompasses multiple types of gameplay in its quest for pirate action in the Caribbean seas around the time of Assassin’s Creed IV. It’s a game with plenty to do and offers fun looting and boat-sinking times, it’s just structurally sub-optimal. There are two main parts to the game: sailing and combat. Sailing takes place in two different environments: a top-down map view that allows for just drawing lines to get around, and an “immersive” view where players can actually steer the ship, raise or lower the sails to control their speed, find random items to pick up, and challenging neutral ships that they cross. This is more fun, just more time-consuming. Certain missions require a certain view: race missions require immersive view while assassination missions which require stealth to sail past ship patrols use the top-down view. --Carter Dotson

Maps Pro With Google Maps

Offering fairly powerful mapping features tied into Google Maps, Maps Pro with Google Maps is the kind of app that regular travellers are going to want to keep on their iPads for future reference. So much simpler and more intuitive to use than the website, it’s a very handy tool. Even better, it hardly needs learning. That’s how easy it is to figure out. Immediately placing a pin on the user’s current location, everything about Maps Pro with Google Maps is easily laid out. The opening page offers up directions, sharing, street view, settings, and a search bar. --Jennifer Allen

PDF Expert 5

PDF Expert 5 isn’t an update to the already popular app, but is instead a newly redesigned package that provides iPad users with more features. It handles everything about a PDF - like reading, annotating, and editing. The app was just released this week and its fresh and sleek design make it a perfect fit for iOS 7. Whether users are familiar with previous versions or are just trying it out for the first time, it’s clear that the new features help to make navigation easier. For starters, there is a new PDF viewer that allows users to open large files, search through text, extract text from PDFs, and even open password-protected documents. There’s plenty of room to view PDFs thanks to full screen annotations and the smart zoom option that help users make notes and draw with ease. --Angela LaFollette

Roxie's Puzzle Adventure

Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure is a terrific universal puzzle adventure app for all ages, adapting the richly detailed illustrations of Roxie Munro’s previous puzzle app, Roxie’s a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure, into a jigsaw puzzle that players of all abilities will enjoy. This app consists of a colorful, stylized, and magnificently drawn landscape that is then broken up into 16 different smaller puzzles. I appreciate how up to five players use this app and their game will be saved independently, and how players can choose to break these individual puzzles into a number of puzzle pieces ranging from six chunky pieces to 260 small pieces on the iPad and 130 pieces on the iPhone, giving young children as well as seasoned adults a chance to enjoy this app equally. --Amy Solomon

Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


Banana Kong

In Banana Kong, the players can learn an important lesson: eventually, your possessions and greed turn on you. And the more things you get, the harder they will fall on your head, and no matter how long you run, they will eventually bury you. Unless you have a hog you can ride on. This is where the analogy kind of falls apart for me. --Tony Kuzmin

Dream of Pixels

There’s no point beating about the bush when talking about Dream of Pixels. It’s Tetris but with a twist. There’s no other way to explain it. Dream of Pixels is a puzzle game where you have to place familiar look shapes onto the screen. Unlike the game it clearly derives from, these shapes don’t drop down from the top of the screen, so there’s no need to shift your shapes from left to right before they hit the bottom. Instead, Dream of Pixels slowly (at first) scrolls the entire screen upwards. Your job is to ensure that no empty spaces make their way to the bottom of the screen. This means you need to use your shapes to ensure that each line is full of blocks. --Matt Parker

Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World is an arcade pseudo beat-em up arcade game that also serves as an official Android companion game to the movie of the same name. The game is nice to look at. Thor’s hair has the golden yellow halo effect, and the virtual environment is a fine interpretation of of cinematic imagination. Bright colors, interesting beasts and nicely animated characters rolling to the booming voice of Thorish proclamations. There is a judicious use of color, and while some of the animations are a bit formulaic they are altogether hard not to enjoy. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviewed Blek, Assassin's Creed Pirates, Space Hulk, and The Wolf Among Us, picked the best iOS and Android games of November, tore it up with Touchgrind Skate 2's video upload feature, went hands-on with The Room 2, and put together holiday gift guides for 3DS and Vita. For all that and loads more, Head to Pocket Gamer for their weekly wrap-up.

Story Me Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Mike Deneen on December 5th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EASY TO USE
There are a lot of comic creator apps out there, but this one is perfect for beginners.
Read The Full Review »

Comics Gets a New Design to Fit the iOS 7 Look

Posted by Andrew Stevens on October 21st, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Comics by Comixology, the app with over 40,000 comics, has been updated with a brand-new look that goes along with the iOS7 theme. Give it an update, check out its new look, and get back to reading your favorite comics.

YACReader Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on July 11th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: GOLDEN AGE
Simplicity meets functionality in this clever little comic book reading app.
Read The Full Review »

GoComics Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on April 26th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: BOUNTIFUL
GoComics offers a great portal of many years worth of comic strip content, for many different great comics, even if its layout isn't quite perfect.
Read The Full Review »