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The SteelSeries Stratus XL is Now Available in Apple Retail Stores

Posted by Ellis Spice on December 10th, 2014

Gaming peripheral company SteelSeries has announced that its full-sized controller for iOS, the Stratus XL, is now available for sale in Apple's brick and mortar Stores.

Introduced earlier this year, its little brother the Stratus was one of the first wireless iOS controller to come to market, with the Stratus XL brought in to give players the option to use a controller more similar to the size and layout of console controllers. The Stratus XL features a pressure-sensitive D-pad, four pressure-sensitive buttons, and four shoulder buttons.

The SteelSeries Stratus XL controller is available at Apple stores and on Apple.com now for $69.99.

This Week at 148Apps: November 17-21, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on November 24th, 2014

Expert App Reviewers

So little time and so very many apps. What's a poor iPhone/iPad lover 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.

SteelSeries Stratus XL

Pairing the Stratus XL is as easy as it is with pretty much any other MFi controller. You just turn it on, get your iOS device to find it, and you should be good to go. Then you start up one of the hundreds of compatible games and start playing. And it does play them all quite nicely. The controls are responsive, the button placement feels right, and it’s got a nice heft to it. The build quality is also rather impressive. Whereas other MFi controllers I’ve recently played around with felt sort of hollow and fragile, the Stratus XL feel dense and sturdy. You could probably hurt someone if you threw it at them, actually. [Note: 148Apps does not condone throwing your MFi controllers at anyone, for any reason. That’s bad form.] --Rob Rich

Fantasy Solitaire

That’s the main beauty behind Fantasy Solitaire. It uses artwork from fantasy illustrator Ian Schofield, and it shows. Each card looks impressive, with the artwork relating to fantasy characters being really quite delightful. Fantasy Solitaire rewards your success with more cards too, so it soon looks quite gorgeous. Otherwise, Fantasy Solitaire is a fairly typical game of Klondike Solitaire. Each turn involves you drawing three cards before figuring out the best place to put them. The trick, as always, is to try to get the Ace cards pulled out first for any chance of success. Controls are simple enough with taps and drags to place cards, plus an auto-complete button when you’re right near the end of a game. There’s no hints button though, so make sure you’re up to speed with this game type. --Jennifer Allen

Reckless Racing 3

Reckless Racing 3 is here, with driving dynamics that are as satisfying and addictive as ever as spot-on traction physics meets fun-fueled racing. There are 6 new and diverse locations that spawn 6 courses each, ensuring that players will still be kept guessing even though the backdrop might often remain the same. Combine that with the new Gymkhana event (specially laid-out courses that test driving skills), the same wealth of tweaks for controls and settings to enhance player experience, plus the recent addition of 4 reversible classic Reckless tracks, and what’s left is a driving game packed with features. --Lee Hamlet

Click Cam

Click Cam is an interesting new way of sharing photos in that it’s entirely random how it does it. It’s more of a curiosity than an app you’d spend great amounts of time with given its many limitations, but hey, it’s free, so that kind of works. All you need to do is enter a few simple sign up details before taking a photo and uploading it to Click Cam. The actual photo taking interface is pretty basic when it comes to options, but you can choose from a few filters once the image has been snapped. Once you’re happy with what you’ve snapped you can name it, then simply hit the red button so it goes off to some other user somewhere. You’ll never know where or really what the person thought of it. The recipient can rate it but you don’t get to find out how you fared. --Jennifer Allen


A simple interface is both a blessing and a curse for AffordIt. It means it’s very easy to use, but it also means that it lacks some important features that would make it really stand out from the crowd. One such pivotal feature is that AffordIt only allows for one format of budgeting at any one time. For instance, you can set things up to plan out your Christmas shopping, but you can’t then have a separate section for your regular outgoings. That immediately restricts AffordIt to one project at any one time. It does that one project pretty well, luckily. You can easily set a budget for whatever it is, before adding additional credits based on whatever comes your way. Have a Christmas budget organized but then you get a bonus at work that you want to set aside for that occasion? AffordIt makes it easy to adjust accordingly. Adding cases of expenditure is just as easy, with the app keeping it simple and focused on what the item is and its value. --Jennifer Allen

Toca Nature

Rightfully named Toca Nature, the app opens up with a fertile land ready to be transformed into the landscape of players’ imagination as they transform this area into different regions of their choice – be it hills created with a tap that can easily be built up into snow capped mountains, valleys, and even bodies of water, all of which will soon be inhabited by different animals. The effect is quite magical as one watches fish swimming and beavers climbing out onto dry land for the first time as life is brought to their personalized ecosystem. Trees can be planted that will attract a variety of creatures, be it bears, foxes, rabbits, deer or woodpeckers. An axe is also included as a clever way of arbor clearing and of having a chance to change the topography again and again – a helpful tool to be sure. --Amy Solomon

Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


Tank Invaders: Shmup Evolved

Despite its name, Tank Invaders: Shmup Evolved is neither a shmup, nor is it particularly evolved. It’s still pretty good though. The story and characters put McBane to shame with their corniness. The player becomes a missile commander for allied forces that are fighting against the Terror – as in, an organization that literally calls itself Terror. They employ lunatics and fanatics to their side, lacking but a swastika and the actual Devil as their commander to complete the image of a perfect enemy for the forces of democracy and everything that is good. Anyway, the player has to endure endless waves of enemies as they try to destroy the thingy that the player is trying to protect (what is that that we’re trying to protect, by the way?) by shooting a barrage of missiles onto advancing enemies. --Tony Kuzmin


Joinz is a puzzle game with deceptively simple gameplay, starting out easy, but very quickly becoming a test for your brain, particularly that part that is responsible for not throwing violent tantrums when you fail to beat a high-score. The gameplay of Joinz is somewhat similar to Lines. There is a square field that has a single building block. The player can slide this block in four directions, making it travel until it hits an object or a border. Every time the player moves a block, another block appears on a random position on the field. Unlike lines, where the player has to create lines from the blocks of the same color to remove them from the field, Joinz requires the player to create one of the three shapes that pop up on the top of the screen. When the shape is complete, the player gets another one to make. As the player progresses, the shapes get gradually more complex, starting from simple tetris-like forms, to the complexities that fill up half of the game board. Also, appearing blocks start to get additional colors, making the field even more difficult to navigate. The player has to “jump” off of the existing blocks in order to create the required shapes. Don’t forget that once two or more blocks are connected to each other, it’s almost impossible to break them apart, so they’ll behave like a singular shape. --Tony Kuzmin

Ironkill: Robot Fighting Game

Ironkill: Robot Fighting Game wants you to fight; it might be the easiest directive to follow in handheld gaming. The gameplay boils down to combat. The initial run is a tutorial of sorts, and the gameplay is laid out with the help of an appropriately named intro robot. The fighting is works as player against a CPU opponent, and is a war of attrition: whoever depletes the other’s life bar first wins, and doing a damage is performed with the help of the control buttons at the bottom. One initiates a quick attack, one does a harder type of attack, and there is a defense button. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, what do you get for spending $3000 in Clash of Clans? What does the new Need For Speed game look like? Which punk rocker is a massive fan of F2P games? We answer all these questions and many more besides, over at AppSpy.

SteelSeries Stratus XL Hardware Review

By Rob Rich on November 21st, 2014
The Stratus XL is definitely a quality controller, but it’s not the best fit for smaller devices.
Read The Full Review »

MOGA Rebel Hardware Review

By Rob Rich on November 18th, 2014
The MOGA Rebel isn’t very portable, and the digital pad doesn’t feel super sturdy, but it shines rather brightly once you’re actually using it.
Read The Full Review »

Phonejoy Bluetooth Game Controller Hardware Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Rich on August 25th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar ::
The Phonejoy bluetooth game controller is a slick little attachment that accommodates all sorts of devices and orientations.
Read The Full Review »

Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch Update Will Improve Artwork and Add Controller Support Very Soon

Posted by Ellis Spice on August 15th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SILVER STAR :: Read Review »

SoMaGa Inc will finally be releasing the long-awaited 'Version 2' update for Lunar Silver Star Story Touch in the near future - and adding iOS7 controller support and refined graphics as well.

For the improved graphics, artwork adjustments have been made that allow the game to provide widescreen 'retina' graphics to devices that support it. If players wish to play in the original 4:3 ratio from before, that option has also been preserved for them.

Lunar Silver Star Story Touch is available on the App Store now for $6.99. No official date for the Version 2 update is available yet, but SoMaGa Inc has stated that it's submitting the new build to Apple this month.

E3 2014 - The 7 Biggest iOS Highlights of E3 2014

Posted by Rob Rich on June 19th, 2014

As nice as it was to see such a strong representation of mobile games and devices at E3 this year, it also means more work when trying to figure out which were the most noteworthy. Seriously, there was a lot of great stuff on display and picking just a few to highlight wasn’t easy. With that said, here are our notables from E3 2014 in no particular order.


I stumbled upon the Phonejoy completely by accident, but I’m very glad I did. It’s nice and compact, well-made, and easily attaches to iOS devices of any size and in any orientation. Unfortunately the version that’s available now isn’t MFi, but one is in the works - and you can be sure that once we find out about a release date we’ll be sharing that info with you. Until then, the current Phonejoy model will still work just fine with other games that still support third party controllers like the iCade.

Final Fantasy VII G-Bike

Square Enix has apparently been developing an iOS game based entirely around that Golden Saucer mini-game from Final Fantasy VII without bothering to tell anyone about it. For shame, Square Enix. But while Final Fantasy VII G-Bike seemed to pop-up out of nowhere, it’s definitely looking like a badass runner/driver/whatever you want to call it. Would that other 3D runners had this game’s sense of style and production values!

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

I’m a Monster Hunter nerd, sure, but the reason Freedom Unite has made the list is because it genuinely impressed me. It looks like a fantastic port, plays very well, and even manages to add a couple of elements that the original PSP release was missing - namely legitimate online play and a lock-on feature. As someone who’s already sunk hundreds of hours into the original Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, I simply can’t wait to get my hands on this one when it officially comes stateside.

The Gamevice

I’ve yet to get my hands on the final version of the Gamevice, but the “beta” version I was able to play around with last week was definitely cool. It’s uses are sadly limited to only the iPad Mini, but the combination of controller and iOS device make for a great handheld gaming setup. And because the Gamevice is essentially in two separate pieces that attach on either side of the Mini, it should also be pretty easy to tote around. Just in case.

Hitman Sniper

Between Hitman Go [GET LINK] and now Hitman Sniper, Square Enix Montreal is definitely a developer worth keeping an eye on. What could have been something as basic as a first-person shooting gallery with a Hitman theme is actually a very clever (and unorthodox) approach to something sort of like a puzzle game. It isn’t just fun to play around with the various interactive elements in each level, either. The constant competition with other players who are close to your rank on the leaderboards also acts as a great incentive to keep aiming (*rimhot*) for the high score.

Just Dance Now

I don’t dance, and there’s about a 99% chance I’ll never play Just Dance Now when it comes out, but I couldn’t help but be impressed by what I saw at Ubisoft’s booth last week. The game is being developed with accessibility as its main focus, which is something I wish more developers took the time to consider. And not only is it being made to work with older iOS devices, it’s also supposed to take it easy on your bandwidth. So it’ll run on your old clunker and won’t double your phone bill if you end up playing over 3G/4G. Seriously, big thumbs-up to Ubisoft for this one.


Image Source: whatculture
I can’t name names, I can’t mention developers, and there’s a good chance I can’t talk about genre. But if I’m obscure enough I don’t see the harm in saying that this thing I played that I can’t go into detail about was actually a whole lot of fun and probably the biggest surprise for me personally at the show. I know that’s not much to go on but it’ll all make sense in time. Suffice it to say, when a developer really cares and knows what they’re doing just about anything can be a hit.
[Please note that the game in-question has nothing to do with Futurama. I just like Futurama and needed an image.]

E3 2014 - Say Hellooo to Gamevice from Wikipad

Posted by Rob Rich on June 18th, 2014

I only found out about the Wikipad recently, but when I did my first thought was “Wow it would be great if this were also available for iOS devices.” And it is! Well, sort of.

Gamevice is a specially-designed control pad that attaches to the iPad Mini, effectively turning it into something like a handheld gaming device. I had the opportunity to play around with it at E3 last week (I’d have said something sooner but I was sworn to secrecy) and I was genuinely impressed. Even though the model I was using wasn’t the finalized product it still worked quite well, and tearing across the highway in San Andreas was as responsive as it could be - seeing as I was using a truck at the time, anyway.

Wikipad is planning to release two versions of the Gamevice around during the holiday season later this year: one that can act as a battery back-up for the Mini, and one that uses its own power source. Both will be available in white.

E3 2014 - iOS Controller Roundup with SteelSeries, Razer, and More

Posted by Rob Rich on June 13th, 2014

The E3 show floor was awash with games, as you'd expect, but there were also a fair number of iOS controllers on display. Three in particular stood out, including a couple of big names as well as a third entry that seemed to come out of nowhere. Curious to know more? Well then read on!

SteelSeries Stratus XL

Imagine a much larger console-style rendition of the Stratus with pressure-sensitive left and right bumpers, a decent heft, comfy fit, a Quick Pair button that makes pairing with an iOS device much easier, and rubber on the analog sticks for a better grip. That's the Stratus XL.

This new full-sized controller ships with (and uses) two AA batteries and holds a charge for up to 40 hours of start/stop play, and will auto sleep after two minutes of inactivity just in case you forget to shut it off. It also features the same compatibility list as the original Stratus.

The Stratus XL should be available for purchase in September or October of this year. No concrete price has been announced yet, but I've been told it will sell for less than the classic model ($79.99).

Razer Junglecat

Then there's the Junglecat from Razer.

What makes the Junglecat interesting is the way it's been designed to act as both an iPhone case and a controller. The control portion actually slides out from the side, turning it into something that's about the size of most handheld gaming devices. Once you're finished with it you just slide it back and go back to using your phone as usual. It was designed with to be a more convenient portable solution to iOS gaming controllers, and it definitely shows.

The Junglecat is available in white or black for $99.99.


The PhoneJoy was tucked away in a corner towards the back of the expo hall, but I'm glad I had the chance to check it out because it's actually pretty neat.

It's certainly similar to the MOGA Ace Power Gamepad in the way it expands and cradles an iPhone, but make no mistake: this is a totally different beast. When collapsed, the Phonejoy takes up very little room - maybe about the size of a wallet - and can easily fit into a pocket, yet it can expand far enough to house a tablet in portrait orientation. Oh, yeah, it can be used with tablets. It also connects to iOS devices via bluetooth.

There are three packages available for the Phonejoy: Basic for $69.90, which is just the controller and a one year warranty; Advanced for $79.90, which includes the controller and warranty, a soft pouch, and a set of specially-designed adapters that will allow you to plug in headphones (because it covers the iPhone's jack) and act as a backup power source; and the Pro Gamer for $89.90, which includes all of the above plus a tablet kickstand and travel case.

SteelSeries Announces the Stratus XL - a Full-Sized Controller for your Mobile Gaming Needs

Posted by Jessica Fisher on June 9th, 2014

SteelSeries revealed their Stratus XL today: a sleek, full-sized, console-style gaming controller designed for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Ever since SteelSeries brought us their quality mini controller in 2012, fans have been asking for a full-sized model.

As with most controllers, the Stratus XL features a D-pad, 4 action buttons, 4 shoulder buttons, and dual analog sticks. It will also have a pairing button to connect to iOS devices via Bluetooth and a convenient on/off switch to conserve battery. The Stratus XL will deliver an estimated 40 hours of gameplay with two standard AA batteries. The controller will be able to interface with many gaming apps such as Leo's Fortune, Bastion, and GTA: San Andreas.

You can expect to see the Stratus XL to be available for purchase later this year.

Sonos Controller App Receives an Update - Gets a New Look and Better Search Features

Posted by Ellis Spice on May 13th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: :: Read Review »

The Sonos Controller app has received the update first announced back in March, bringing with it a sleek new UI and new features.

The app has been rebuilt from the ground up to include a Universal search - one of the most asked-for features for the app. Universal search allows users to search across all the music services available on the app, making it easier to find all the places where an artist’s work exists, including little known covers and remixes. Also included in this update are easier ways to explore music services and the ability to play full stereo sound from rear channel speakers in a home theatre set-up.

The Sonos Controller app is available now and is free.

It Came From GDC - the Sensus iPhone Case Protects and Provides Additional Touch Inputs

Posted by Rob Rich on April 1st, 2014

Touch controls can be a tricky thing to master, especially for designers. Too many inputs can clutter the screen, fingers can get in the way, and sometimes virtual controllers just don’t cut it. That’s why I found Caonpy’s Sensus iPhone case to be so intriguing.

The Sensus attaches to your iPhone 5 or 5s (with future support for more devices planned) and protects it from bumps and scrapes like most other cases can and do. What’s different about it is the inclusion of touch sensors along the back and side that can work as extra control inputs - that use variable pressure, no less. This means that it measures the strength of your taps to create something akin to virtual analog button sensitivity. It also means that, potentially, you’ll be able to use the back and side (or top if you’re playing with a landscape orientation) of the case to control what’s happening on-screen.

A lot of what happens with the Sensus is dependent on whether developers embrace the technology and what they decide to do with it, but there’s so much potential there. No more obscuring the screen with a finger when playing a game. Entirely new control methods that measure how hard you press down on the sensors. Honest-to-goodness virtual shoulder buttons in a place that feels natural!

Canopy is planning to release the Sensus in mid-2014, and the case will retail for $79.99.

The Mad Catz C.T.R.L.i Could be an Xbox Controller Look-Alike for iOS 7

Posted by Stephen Hall on March 3rd, 2014

With iOS 7 came much better support for third-party gaming peripherals, and the MFi (Made-for-iPhone) controller seems to be all the rage lately among accessory makers. Mad Catz is one of many manufacturers that plans to release more controllers for iOS 7 devices, and Engadget reports that the company recently unveiled its latest development: the C.T.R.L.i.

The controller is the first from Mad Catz to natively support iOS 7 and, while it's still in active development, Engadget had the opportunity to experience the peripheral and confirm that it's indeed in fully-playable condition. The device features a "spring-loaded mount" to holster your iOS device, and said mount is attached with a screw - meaning users who wish to use the controller with a device too big for the clip can remove it altogether.

Although many MFi-type controllers have been known as of yet to be expensive and of low build-quality, Mad Catz hopes to break that trend this Spring with the C.T.R.L.i. The device is expected to launch for $80 and come in black, white, blue, red, and orange variations.

Image: Engadget

The SteelSeries Stratus Wireless Controller Has Received a $20 Price Drop

Posted by Rob Rich on January 23rd, 2014

Looks like there's been a change in the SteelSeries Stratus wireless game controller's price recently. The MFi controller is still in its preorder phase, but the price has officially been dropped by $20. So instead of paying $99 for the wireless bluetooth iOS controller, you'll be able to get it for $79. People who have already preordered the controller need not fret however; SteelSeries has stated that they will be honoring the $79 launch price on all preorders, regardless of whether or not they were placed before the price drop.

If you liked what you've read in Jeff Scott's review, or if the new price tag makes it hard to resist, you can head on over to the official SteelSeries store page and preorder a Stratus controller of your own.

Stratus an MFi Bluetooth Controller from Steel Series Review

By Jeff Scott on January 6th, 2014
A great MFi controller, it has all of the controls one would want. Perhaps it's the best available right now. It's hampered only by it's small size and large price.
Read The Full Review »