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This Week at 148Apps: March 3-7, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 9th, 2014

Expert App Reviewers


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

Principia

Principia is definitely not a “casual play” game for those looking for a quick fun fix. Rather, it is a challenging and fulfilling experience that requires the player to play the roll of engineer/creator to solve puzzles and build various devices and contraptions. Principia begins by offering the player three options: Play, Discover, or Create. Choosing the Play option allows them to either complete an introductory level (highly recommended for new players) or dive into the game’s main puzzles (which are divided into more than 30 levels). Each puzzle challenges the player to move a robot around the playing area and accomplish some sort of task (or tasks). The player has the ability to move certain objects around on the screen to help accomplish the task but what sets Principia apart from many other building games is the complexity of the objects that can be manipulated, including mechanical, electrical, and robotic objects. --Charlie Miller


Sherlock: Interactive Adventure

The tales of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes are quite timeless, with many TV adaptations, film versions, and more ensuring that his eccentric ways are forever at the forefront of our mystery-tackling minds. The books themselves are wonderful too, and well worth checking out, which is precisely where SHERLOCK: Interactive Adventure turns into an attractive proposition. The app is an interactive version of “The Red-Headed League,” one of the many short stories of Sherlock Holmes. It won’t take regular readers a particularly long time to read through, but its interactive components do ensure that it’s a different experience from simply reading a conventional e-book. --Jennifer Allen


Block Fortress: War

I’m just going to rip this band-aid right off – Block Fortress: War has some issues. There. I said it. It feels good to get it out. This spin-off from Foursaken’s critically acclaimed Block Fortress shares a great deal of its predecessor’s DNA. The block-based visuals, UI elements, even the loading screens will feel instantly familiar to veterans. What differs is in how players will go about mowing down the lumbering, cubic hordes. --Rob Thomas


Tanuki Forest

Look, a new Endless Runner on the App Store! No, wait, don’t run away. Tanuki Forest is actually quite charming and offers some fun things that aren’t commonly included in the genre, honest. Amongst some quite luscious hand-painted imagery, players must help a flying squirrel explore a dark and dangerous forest while saving animals along the way. It’s a very simple title to play with one-touch controls at all times, but it also offers up some neat twists. For instance, animals are saved by flying them through gates, gaining points but also reducing the multiplier for the player. There’s a risk/reward system here given that animals are lost when one clashes with an enemy or spike, but more points are gained for accruing many at once. --Jennifer Allen


Dr. Panda's Restaurant 2

As readers may know, our family really enjoys the Dr. Panda series of apps that include friendly, recurring animal characters and child-friendly themes that may allow children to role-play at being a doctor, farmer, or handyman. One of my son’s favorites of these apps is Dr. Panda’s Restaurant – where one can prepare foods for animal clients in an upscale restaurant setting. Because of this, my son was really excited to find Dr. Panda’s Restaurant 2 downloaded on our iPad. Here, players will cook in the kitchen of a more casual waterfront restaurant. I really like how the hungry animal customers arrive by boat and ask for a specific dish, then approach a window to the kitchen to give the OK on the ingredients one is looking to cook with. Children will enjoy supplying favorite foods as well as choices these animals are not fond of in many different ways. Explore kitchen tools such as a knife, grater, or food processor as well as bake, boil, and sauté in the safety of one’s own homes and without help from adults. --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:

AndroidRundown

Slash of the Dragoon

Slash of the Dragoon is a collection RPG with a difference. Working though a world map with a team of monsters and warriors it’s the player’s job to chop their way through increasingly harder staged with parties of enemies. Completing a stage awards more monsters and these monsters can be used to level up other monsters and eventuality evolve them into new, more advanced versions. The big difference in Slash of Dragon is its combat method. Rather than tapping enemies and just watching the battle, the player must slice their way through blocks that appear on the screen. --Allan Curtis


Dubstep Hero

Many people, including myself, often ask just what the heck is Dubstep. The simplest explanation is that it’s a form of electronic/techno music that focuses on drum and percussion lines that focus on bass and sub bass frequencies. To some, it’s just a lot of noise. But to a growing number of folks, dubstep is the hottest musical trend, brought into the spotlight like artists such as Skrillex. Despite your feelings on the genre, there is no denying it’s growing popularity and adaptation in contemporary pop music. Now, some of you will also remember for a moment when rhythm/ band karaoke games were all the rage. Titles such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero were quintessential titles to have if you owned a gaming console. However, those times are a thing of the past, with interest in those games being as great as public opinion of freemium games. But that doesn’t stop some indie devs from making games similar to the old popular rhythm titles, such as Brus Media’s Dubstep Hero, which brings the world of Dubstep to the once loved rhythm game style. --Mike Deneen


Word Puttz

Word games come a dime a dozen on Android, and thus, it takes a decent game to make headway. Gotta tell you, with the elements Word Puttz brings to the table, it might just have more than a passing flirtation with success. At first blush, it reads like one’s run-of-the mill crossword puzzle, except for the limited area. But the first glance is deceptive, and leaves one wondering how word search, scrabble and putt-putt (yes, people, the mini-golf game) get added to the mix. --Tre Lawrence


LAWLESS

LAWLESS is one of those games that appeals to our collective decadent side. It is a game from powerhouse Mobage that is able to combine a few different elements into a neat (but explosive) package. It is a career crime game, perfect for the straitlaced do-gooders out there. To begin, the player has the option of selecting his/her main character, which is decked out with weaponry and tasked with being good at being bad. --Tre Lawrence


And finally, this week, our pals at Pocket Gamer picked the best iOS and Android games of February, took a look at Insomniac's Outernauts, and provided some handy tips for sci-fi drama Out There. Oh, and you won't believe how often a new Flappy Bird clone is released... Take a look, in PG's weekly wrap-up.

Garden Plate Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on January 16th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: TASTY RECIPE IDEAS
Eating healthily doesn't have to be dull. Garden Plate demonstrates this with some delicious recipes.
Read The Full Review »

Henri Le Worm Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on December 3rd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CUTE AND EDUCATIONAL
Charming, educational, and cute, Henri Le Worm is an ideal way to teach kids about the importance of eating well.
Read The Full Review »

Gluten-Free Recipes By iCookbook Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on November 4th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: VARIED BUT UGLY
It's far from attractive to look at, but this app offers plenty of great recipes for those pursuing a gluten-free diet.
Read The Full Review »

Recipe Kitchen Isn't Just for Sharing Recipes, it Also Keeps Stock of What's in Your Pantry

Posted by Rob Rich on September 3rd, 2013
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Cookbook and recipe apps aren't exactly new to iOS. However, Recipe Kitchen doesn't aim to be just any old recipe app.

Many of the expected features are present in Recipe Kitchen; such as a sizable selection of food items to make, recipe sharing, and cooking timers. However, it can also keep track of all the ingredients you have in your kitchen. You can scan barcodes to add new items, create shopping lists for what you're running low on and sync it to multiple devices (so that other family members will know what to pick up while they're out), and even call up a list of recipes that are available based on what ingredients you currently have available.

Sounds super-handy, no?

The Whole Pantry Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on August 19th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: WHOLESOME LIVING
The Whole Pantry might not be the most comprehensive of cookery apps but it works well as part recipe app, part lifestyle guide.
Read The Full Review »

Caveman Feast Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on July 29th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: TASTY AND PURE MEALS
Plenty of recipes abound in this Paleo diet focused cookery app.
Read The Full Review »

Veggie Weekend Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on July 15th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: DELICIOUS IF MINIMAL
Lacking a plethora of recipes and features, Veggie Weekend still offers enough tasty delights to be worth a look.
Read The Full Review »

Illustrated Step By Step Baking Cakes Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on June 21st, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: TASTY BAKES
Offering tasty baking ideas galore, this app is probably one to avoid for those trying to eat healthier. It's just too tempting!
Read The Full Review »

Vegetarian How To Cook Everything Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on May 27th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: LACKING STYLE
The content might be quite interesting, if simple, but the look and style of the app is really quite mediocre.
Read The Full Review »

Food Network Cupcakes! Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Jennifer Allen on April 22nd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: TASTY TREATS
Tasty treats galore within, but a slightly awkward interface might put some off.
Read The Full Review »

The Photo Cookbook - Tapas Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 27th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: TASTY TAPAS
More virtual cookbook than app, what The Photo Cookbook- Tapas lacks in features, it more than makes up with tasty images.
Read The Full Review »

Munchies Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 22nd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: QUICK & SIMPLE RECIPES
Stuck for what to cook tonight? Only got a few items in the fridge and cupboards? Munchies aims to make things so much easier by suggesting meals to make from the items you have.
Read The Full Review »

Delicion Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 18th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: DELICIOUS RECIPES WITHIN
Ideal for those with special dietary needs, Delicion ably demonstrates that it's still possible to have many delicious and tasty meals, no matter what the restriction.
Read The Full Review »

Healthy Desserts Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 5th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: TASTY YET HEALTHY
Omitting some basic and useful search tools, Healthy Desserts isn't perfect but it does offer some very tasty recipes for those looking for a cleaner living lifestyle.
Read The Full Review »