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
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:
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.
Ever wonder what to do in case of a zombie outbreak? I know I have. I’ve got the plan all lined up, ready in case of attack. Living in a country where guns aren’t easily accessible limits my options but I have backup ideas, even if they are rather inspired by Dead Rising. Even better, soon there’ll be a way to simulate what would happen during such an outbreak.
Zombie Outbreak Simulator is the app I’m talking about. Previously a website, its aim is to track just what would happen if zombies emerged and started attacking humans.
As it’s a simulation, interaction is quite limited. Like on the website, users can adjust certain parameters then it’s just a matter of watching to see the action unfold. The preview build I checked out seems pretty complete and offers plenty of variables. Civilian numbers can be adjusted between 100 and 4000, with up to 1000 zombies available to unleash. Armed civilians can be assigned, along with police numbers. In both cases, accuracy can also play a vital role in their chance for survival so that can be adjusted. Any fan of zombie films knows that zombies react differently so infection time and speed can also be changed.
Together, this makes a pretty comprehensive spectrum of situations. The red dots representing zombies and green dots of humanity then descend upon the Google Map image, with users able to zoom in a bit further to see some of the action. Only one map was available in the preview build but I’m hopeful that the full release will enable Location Services so that players can check out how things work out in their local area. The website offers similar and it’s fun to see what happens.
No one would expect just watching action unfold to be quite so entertaining, but it is. I’m not sure how long the novelty will last but for now, it’s fun to see how adjusting certain numbers can change things so drastically. Even if, all too often, humanity appears to be doomed in this scenario.
Zombie Outbreak Simulator is set for release next week. We’ll be sure to give it the full review treatment nearer the time.
Two of iOS’ most prominent genres (that don’t involve matching together any number of gems) are vertical endless platformers, and dual-stick shooters. However, the paths of the two have rarely crossed…although the upcoming Volcano Escape from Bravo Game Studios is out to change this. In this game, you control the hapless Colonel Charlie Bravo, who went on a summer vacation…and then he got captured by some natives and chucked into a volcano. Oh no. However, not everything is as it seems, as apparently the natives have set up a labyrinth in the volcano to allow you to try and escape before the rising lava or one of the natives or strange creatures get to you. So, your goal is the same as in any endless vertical platformer: try to reach as great a height as possible before your eventual demise!
The controls interestingly take after dual-stick shooters more than vertical platformers. You have a joystick for movement, a joystick for firing in all directions around you, and a jump button. Along the way, you’ll pickup powerups like a shield, high jump, and jet pack, as well as additional weapons like a shotgun and grenade launcher, for taking out more of the enemies around you. You have a double jump and the ability to take up to 3 hits before dying, though lava and traps will kill you instantly. The game feels a bit like Contra’s vertical levels, with the mix of action gameplay and ascension-based platformers. The level designs are random, but tend to follow planned thematic shifts, like at a height of 700 (no unit is ever given), new types of enemies come into play and the levels start to involve more angled paths as well as platforms. When you kill enemies, they turn into molten rock, which can either serve as makeshift platforms, or as obstacles towards your further progress.
On the metagaming side, there’s Game Center support for achievements and leaderboards baked in, and you’ll see the names and scores of other players as you pass them. As well, you can challenge your Twitter followers and Facebook friends to play against you, and share your scores with them. You can unlock one of 5 characters, and an additional one will be available via in-app purchase. iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4th Generation owners will get to enjoy Retina Display support as well. Volcano Escape is releasing on February 17th, and we’ll have a full review of the game then.
After months of waiting for followers of the title, Gameloft have today announced the release of N.O.V.A Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance. Possibly one of the most anticipated App Store titles of the year, N.O.V.A Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance is a science fiction first person shooter set in futuristic environments. Graphically stunning, the game centers around man-made artificial satellites called near-orbitals, created to allow people to live on due to the Earth no-longer able to sustain life.
For the protection of these separate near-orbitals they each came together to create N.O.V.A, or the Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance. A team of mercenary operatives tasked with the mission of fighting to defend mankind. Forced back into battle against your will, you play as Kal Wardin, a retired marine. Knocked out cold by members of the N.O.V.A, Wardin finds himself assigned to a string of life-threatening missions.
Highly compared to that of the Halo franchise which has become insanely popular all over the world on Microsoft’s Xbox platform, N.O.V.A Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance plays out over a satisfying 13 campaign levels, each taking you to a different landscape, including: a jungle, snow, spaceship, bunker and a forgotten alien city. There are six weapons within the game which you can take advantage of to help you on your mission. These include: an assault rifle, a shotgun, a sniper rifle, a handgun, a rocket launcher and a plasma gun. Plus, in certain levels you’ll also get to use grenades and even rock out on machine gun turrets!
As well as playing the game yourself, N.O.V.A Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance can be played in multiplayer mode, too. In this mode, 2-4 players can play in local and online multiplayer deathmatchs, over Wi-Fi and you can versus up to 2 players via a Bluetooth connection. In total, the game’s mutliplayer option offers a range of 5 in-game maps in which you can choose from.
Already a 5-star hit wonder after less than 24 hours on the store, and receiving huge critical acclamation, I can’t help but think N.O.V.A is going to be an instant App Store hit, if it isn’t already! I have to say, having picked up the game myself and played through a level or four, this game sports some of the best visual based graphics I have ever seen on the iPhone (and iPod touch) platform. I’m not just saying it, it’s like N.O.V.A crosses that invisible barrier of mobile game to console wonder, and in my personal opinion, Gameloft has excelled.
Be sure to stay tuned for our full in-depth review of N.O.V.A Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance, very soon. In the meantime, feast your eyes on some in-game shots from the game below!
I got a pleasant surprise in my inbox today, and I hardly slept last night for playing it so much.
Hot on the heals of their great update to Flight Control, Firemint have submitted to the app store a completely different game, Real Racing. Possibly the best racing game we’ve ever see on the iPhone, it’s coming really soon and I’ve got a final build ad-hoc copy. I’ve commented before about how great of a game this is. The final version is even better. It has amazing fit and finish and looks even better than the previous versions I’ve seen. Well done Firemint!
The racing game features 12 tracks, 26 cars, and five different game modes. The most interesting feature, to me, is the asynchronous multiplayer mode. Very well done, and a ton of fun to play.
If you’re on Twitter, you can follow the game specific Twitter account, or become a fan of the Facebook page.
No word yet on price, we’ll see that when the app goes live. And we’ll have a full review ready for when the app goes live. That is if I can stop playing it. For now, check after the jump for the official trailer video, more screen shots, and the official app description.
A new expansion pack is now available for The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth. The Desolations of Smaug is available for free and features new campaign maps and bosses for players to strategize against, along with new armor and weapons for them to collect and equip.