How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you’re looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we’ve been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.
Tilt to Live 2 wakes up in a world where the tilt-based game feels almost dead. Free-to-play Skinner boxes rule the landscape, and here’s a $2.99 game that dares to toss things back to 2010 by having us tilt to survive? Well, great gameplay is timeless, and One Man Left has made Tilt to Live 2 feel both fresh and familiar. The core concept of “tilting to live” is the same, but nothing else is. Visually, the game has been given a detailed and fluid overhaul. It looks and feels incredibly lively. But all the power-ups from the original have been replaced with new ones. Now, there’s a brimstone ball that can be bounced around the screen, a dual-bladed energy sword, a shield that can collect dots to destroy them, a dot disguise that makes the player briefly invulnerable, and more. This was a fantastic decision by One Man Left – what it does is that it makes the game feel new. The game is innately familiar, but the ways that the problems are approached and solved are completely different. It’s the perfect approach for a sequel; one that other developers need to consider. –Carter Dotson
Stealth Inc., originally released for Mac and PC under the name Stealth Bastard and then later for the PlayStation 3 and Vita under its more family-friendly name, has been well-loved from the start. And rightly so as it mixes stealth and brutal platforming challenges so effectively. So how does everything hold up on iOS? Ridiculously well, actually. The basic premise of Stealth Inc. is to escape. Players control a very unfortunate clone (several, really, since there will be lots and lots of dying) whose only purpose is to sneak out of a facility that’s absolutely packed with death traps. Now that I think about it, all the place seems to do is make and kill clones. In order to guide their little fellas to figurative safety, players will need to solve a series of challenging environmental puzzles and make a bunch of intricate jumps while also trying to avoid detection at all costs. The game uses a simple left/right slider for movement along with jump and duck buttons to great effect, while a contextual button for interacting with computers and the like pops when needed. –Rob Rich
Monster Hunter? Pokemon? No, this is Hunter Island from ZigZaGame Inc. A game that incorporates both catching monsters and fulfilling side quests in RPG style. Fans of the Pokemon games will feel right at home here, as Hunter Island manages to capture the tone and enjoyment of just what makes this style so engrossing. Anyone familiar with the rules of Pokemon will not find it difficult to work through. Players start off with the option of three different monsters – each with different elemental attributes. It is then the player’s job to decide whether they will be a male or female protagonist, but it doesn’t really make a difference because whichever one is chosen the other will still join them on their journey. –Lucy Ingram
Appigo’s Todo apps have been keeping many people organized for as long as the App Store has existed. After a major OS update in the form of iOS 7, it only seems right to come across Todo 7. The app fits into the aesthetics of iOS 7 extremely well, retaining its position as both powerful and visually appealing. Some people looking for a simpler solution might be disappointed to note that Todo 7 isn’t as minimalist as other To Do list apps, but once taken through the tooltips it offers, it proves to be quite effective. The main screen of Todo 7 offers the bulk of the information. A list of all tasks is offered along with a focus list which prioritizes overdue tasks and those needing to be done today, while a personalized list option offers more control over how content is arranged. Personalization options such as changing the color of each category, and even the list icon and background image, further adds to the control. –Jennifer Allen
Millie’s Crazy Dinosaur Adventure is an interactive title in a series of Millie Was Here – charming multimedia experiences children and their adults will really appreciate. Here Millie, a cute little dog, builds a space ship to hopefully transport her back in time to earlier that day – because after having arrived at her friend’s birthday party, she realized that she had forgotten her present. Things go awry though and Millie actually travels back into the time of the dinosaurs where she goes on an adventure, then safety arrives back in present time. –Amy Solomon
Email is quickly becoming one of the most time-consuming daily tasks. Since most folks are mobile now, it’s necessary to have an email app that is speedy and efficient. SnapinboxHD does its best to make this chore as simple and seamless as possible. Combine all accounts into one inbox, and swipe left or right to organize it without even opening the message. Yes, this may save seconds, but seconds add up to minutes, which add up to hours. –Stacy Barnes
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If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:
Gotta love Move. Its main draw is its simplicity. The game developer does a good job of ensuring that it is accessible enough to almost not even need a tutorial. The basic objective is to move colored, 2D circles to matching squares in the least number of moves. Every level starts out with a suggested number of moves, and not surpassing that is what is the key to earning the most stars. –Tre Lawrence
Pocket Harvest’s premise will be familiar to anyone who’s played Harvest Moon. Players are given control of a small, struggling farm, with few staff and next to no resources. Before long though, the farm will be bustling with a huge variety of crops, animals, attractions and even tourists. Building the farm couldn’t be easier. Fields are placed one by one depending on what kind of crop they grow. Worker houses are placed nearby and if they are close enough the worker will tend the fields, sell the crops and earn cash. Of course there are many things that affect how much money they’ll make, such as the moisture of the field, the worker’s skill at harvesting, how well cultivated the crop is and so on. –Allan Curtis
Combat Monsters is a turn-based strategy game that involves the use of extras to win. It has one of the most thorough tutorials I’ve come across, and it does do a great job of ensuring that the 8-step learner gives the right pointers with regards to how the game works. What the tutorials do reveal are some nice media elements. The whimsical characterization work within this type of fantasy warfare, with simple animations that are fun without being too distracting. The playing area is a battle stage that is set in a circle with chess-like squares that afford movement of the pieces. –Tre Lawrence
And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviewed Oceanhorn, Epoch 2, and Stealth Inc, started its new First Look video series, and welcomed in the new generation of consoles with a round-up of second screen apps. Check it out in the Pocket Gamer Weekly Round-Up.
With the announcement of iOS 7 came plenty of expectations and hopes. While some were realized (hello better multitasking and improved notification center), I think one very important area has been overlooked: the family market.
I don’t have kids of my own but I’ve heard the woes of many friends of mine that do. Apple just isn’t cutting it for them. This is an area where Android is currently ahead and it’s something that I was really hoping that iOS 7 would catch up on.
Take a look at the latest Android update, Jelly Bean. In one deft move known as restricted profiles, it’s covered a lot of ground for the family user. Owners of Android tablets can now set up profiles for everyone in the household. Want to keep the kids away from using specific apps or viewing mature content? Just want to split up everyone’s high scores? It’s possible through setting up their own profile, without leaving everyone else using the tablet to suffer from such restrictions. It’s not perfect, given that developers have to allow their users to be able to restrict such things, but it is a major step forward.
iOS does have one significant advantage here in that users have total control over app-related permissions, but its restrictions tab is really pretty, well, restricted. Without the option for multiple profiles, users can hand over their iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad but they need to turn restrictions on or off each time. Multiple profiles are just so much simpler and require less maintenance, plus there’s the advantage that everyone has their own workspace to deal with rather than the clutter that comes from using one device across an entire family. I know a few families that struggle with the finer details of things like restrictions. If it was just a matter of setting up profiles, I could easily do it for them and they’d be set up for the future. Even better, such profiles would ensure that each member of the family felt like they had some kind of ownership over the device. Something in particular that kids get a real kick out of from technology.
While we prefer to not cover rumors at 148apps, there is an significant one that could relate to this issue: the prospect of a fingerprint sensor built into the iPhone 5S. There’s no guaranteed proof as of yet, and we’ll have to see what’s fully announced in September, but this could pave the way to multiple profiles.
For now though, parents are stuck with the option of using separate apps such as Disconnect Kids rather than a simpler, more comprehensive, built-in solution. However, the potential is great if the fingerprint reader comes to fruition. And if it doesn’t? Well, families may find themselves even more tempted towards an Android tablet purchase, and who can blame them.
There’s a plentiful supply of grocery list apps out there but new app, Grocery List – Buy Me A Pie! is hoping to stand out from the crowd with some very useful features.
Predominantly is the ability to sync lists between all the family’s iOS devices so that each person can add items on the go. This should save users plenty of time as they attempt to consolidate numerous lists, instead the app does it all.
Grocery List – Buy Me A Pie! works through not just iOS devices but also the buymeapie.com site to ensure that it’s always possible to add something to the grocery list for consultation at a later date.
Other features include a word prompting tool which suggests words, items that are automatically grouped within a list and color coded accordingly, plus the ability to create multiple lists for different situations.
Together, Grocery List – Buy Me A Pie! should prove the ideal app for those who need to save time and be more organized in their grocery shopping.
It’s been said that everyone has a good novel inside them. It’s just a matter of finding the time to write it all down! Book Writer might not be able to add extra hours to the day, but it can make creating a book that’s possible to read through iBooks or send to friends, much easier.
The app makes it simple to produce all kinds of books from photo books to cookbooks, manuals or even children’s stories, all through the wealth of options within. It’s simple to add photos or videos to a book, as well as resizes such images and move them around easily. It’s the kind of thing that would be great for collating memories from a special event.
Once created, it’s just as simple to share the book via iTunes, email or by printing the document, making it a great way to share creations with friends and family.
Book Writer is out now, priced at $3.99, and it’s an Universal app.
Many people have privacy concerns when it comes to social networks such as Facebook, understandably so, especially when dealing with images of family members such as children.
Burst is the latest app hoping to encourage users away from bigger networks, with a focus on sharing just with close friends and family. The app requires just one touch to capture then store and organize mobile videos and photos. It’s then simple to share such moments with the special people in one’s life.
Burst can tag and title those moments along with information from the user’s calendar with everything securely stored in the cloud.
Users can restrict who views the content and be notified via Push notifications, email or SMS when a family member comments on the images.
For those looking for a more secure social networking app, Burst will prove invaluable.
Passing one iPad around an entire family can be frustrating, as everyone likely logs in to check their email and social networks without logging back out, and many folks will leave tabs open or clutter up the browser history with sites you could care less about. Rather than constantly log in and out and start to secretly resent those you love why not download Skyfire HotSwap instead?
The new service, which integrates directly into the Skyfire browser, allows users to set up to four separate profiles on an iPad, each with its own social and email settings and browser preferences. Not only is it more convenient, it’s also a boon to user privacy, as now brothers and sisters don’t have to worry about the other spying on their email. Of course, by the same token parents may find it harder to keep tabs on their kids, but parents always find a way.
HotSwap has been integrated into the latest update of Skyfire which is available right now. All you have to do is download (or update) the app and you’ll be ready to put those family fights about the iPad behind you!
My friends and I already use the iPad for our game nights. We play Bleep Word Guessing Game and Jeopardy! HD on occasion. Well a new iPad accessory called Duo Pop has set out to enhance iPad game nights with their popper system.
Duo Pop basically turns the iPad into a game show with four “Poppers” and a transmitted that’s placed near the iPad’s speaker. Similar to Jeopardy, each player’s popper is used to ‘buzz-in’ to answer questions.
Lacking in musical talent? I know the feeling well. I’m what many people would call musically challenged despite desperately wishing I was able to create musical splendours. I’m going to have to settle for just writing words but at least Tones will give me a way of pretending I can create such works of art.
Tones is easy enough to use that even children should be able to figure it out. The user is presented with a grid of sound pads that can be activated by tapping on them. Each provides a way of producing sound through a selection of different musical instruments. Tempo can be adjusted to further change things up and a series of waves, cycles of sound, can be produced, too.
Placed together, Tones creates an unique form of music in a fun and fascinating way. There’s no way of recording just yet but it makes for an ideal, disposable form of creative expression. Just the kind of fun to have with young members of the family who love to see instant results.
I don’t have children of my own but having spent plenty of time around my young cousins as they vie for increasing amounts of independence, I can see one such difficulty that parents face. It’s not just the independence of going out by themselves that’s the problem either. They want to sign up to Facebook and Twitter despite being too young to go on either, all thanks to the wonders of peer pressure.
I’mOK might not entirely solve all these arguments but it does do its darndest to minimize problems. The app is part social network, just for the privileged few and part way of parents keeping an eye on where their kids are going when they’re out. It’s not done covertly though, instead it encourages kids to share their lives more with their long suffering parents.
Kids can voluntarily share their location with parents in order to earn points which eventually lead to rewards, previously approved by the guardian. Nothing is done passively so it’s all done by the hopefully responsible child that’s keen to show off how trustworthy they are. It also means that parents can worry less, knowing that their kid will check in with them at the touch of a button.
I’mOK is a free app so well worth a look for any concerned parents or kids keen to show off how responsible they truly can be.
If any more evidence was needed of just how much the App Store has further democratized game development, look no further than the story of Connor Zamary. CNET reports that earlier this month, Zamary released a 99-cent game called Toaster Pop for iPhones and iPads after pitching investors on the idea through PowerPoint slides, forming his own company and having meetings with developers. Did we mention that he accomplished all this at the ripe old age of 7?
The game itself, inspired by a story Connor’s father Craig told him about an antique toaster, has players swiping toppings like butter and jam onto slices of bread as many times as they can before time runs out. It’s a simple, straightforward, almost Fruit Ninja style premise but it was Connor’s intention to design a game that would appeal to his young peers. Between impressive and surprisingly marketing-savvy moves like that and a desire to help his younger sister launch her own app, we might be witnessing the rise of some kind of game publishing wunderkind.
Although Connor’s father controls the email account Connor uses for conducting company business, rest assured that the bulk of the operations, negotiations and conference calls are personally overseen by Connor himself. An update to Toaster Pop is already on the way. It seems like only a matter of time before he strikes out on his own.
Every summer, my family would get into the car and drive off to some destination chosen by my parents. In some cases, our destinations were days away, and we would spend a great deal of time in the car. Everyone would play car bingo, Twenty Questions and license plate scavenger hunt as well as sing […]
Fluke HD is, in my opinion, one of the best Sorry/Ludo clones on the app store today. It is one that has held my daughters’ attention for months now, and one that we absolutely love coming back to quite regularly to play as a family. The game, as you can imagine, is quite simple. You […]
Fruit Memory HD is, in my opinion, one of the nicest Memory-type games available on the app store, and is one that my daughters and I have a ton of fun with on a regular basis. The thing that first caught my eye with Fruit Memory was its very clean and attractive art style that […]
Newly available for iPhone and iPod Touch owners comes jigsaw puzzler Puzzle Planet.
Previously available solely on the iPad, Puzzle Planet has now become a Universal app. It’s a quirky jigsaw puzzler that promises attractive images and some intriguing power-ups and souvenirs to encourage players to keep playing. There’s even a loose but cutesy story behind things with alien Nur and his friend Glood exploring the wonders of Planet Earth by solving jigsaw puzzles along the way.
The app is a free app to start with, offering 18 different puzzles. Fans can then pay a small $0.99 fee to unlock one of 8 different puzzle packs which further open up more jigsaws, each corresponding to a different theme such as cities or ancient marvels. These aren’t regular jigsaw puzzles either with fast reactions and skill needed to progress, adding a nice twist on the genre. It looks like it’s going to be a great family game in particular.
Puzzle Planet is out now and it’s an universal app.
I’m going to come right out and say this. I love Sandra Boynton. To me, she is the most prolific children’s story writers to come out in this generation, specifically for younger children. I put her alongside Dr. Seuss and Robert Munsch, and that’s high praise. “Moo, Baa, La, La, La” is produced by Loud […]
“The Going to Bed Book” is one of two Sandra Boynton books available on the app store (the other is “Moo, Baa, La, La, La”) and like “Moo, Baa” it is a fantastic book with top notch production value that takes a great story and adds some unique and wonderful interactive elements, making it a […]
Arriving on the app store just in time for Father’s Day comes Photogram, a new photo sharing app that’s aimed at family users.
Photogram enables users to create their own invite or card of sorts which can then be delivered to groups of family or friends via email as well as shared via Facebook and Twitter. It means that users can not only show off their photos to others but add a personalized message to them too. Users aren’t restricted to one photo at a time either with up to four photos possible to share at a time.
To spruce up the images even more so, users can use one of many original themes created by up and coming artists. These artists range from painters, photographers, designers and illustrators so there should be something for everyone’s taste. Each theme will require a monetary fee to download with this revenue being split between the artist and Photogram. Users can even learn more about the artist through the app bio pages if they so wish.
Looking at the screenshots, Photogram looks set to have a fairly homey feel. It looks simple to set up groups and in turn send themed messages to them. There’s certainly some great potential with users being able to send birthday greetings, party invites or simply messages informing others of what they’ve been up to. It might make for a great way of keeping in touch with the extended family for instance. Themes are easily browsed with a range of categories to make it all the more interesting.
Pricing hasn’t been announced for the app or the individual themes but hopefully they’ll be at a competitive price. Potentially Photogram could make for a great replacement to the humble greetings card or invite.
Take a look at the screenshot gallery for now as Photogram will arrive on the App Store June 16th. We’ll be sure to keep on top of the latest news about it.
Five and a half years after launch and with well over 60 billion downloads, the US App Store has reached the 1 million apps available for download. While Apple announced 1 million available apps at their last press event, that number was including apps available in all countries in the App Store. At that time […]