Posted by Stephen Hall on March 12th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Real Racing 3, known as that racing game from EA with breathtaking graphics, has received an update featuring a massive number of new car customization features. After you’ve used these new features to tweak your ride’s height, its rims, and you’ve given your car one of a multitude of new vinyls, the update also lets you share your creation with friends using a new “Photo Mode” – allowing you to stop the action mid-race and capture a beautiful shot of your car.
Other new features in this version 2.1.0 update include new cars – Aston Martin’s DB9, Vanquish and V12 Vantage S – to add to your Real Racing experience, support for your favorite MFi iOS 7 controller, “Gold Achievements,” and a “New All Star Vendetta Series.”
You can get Real Racing 3 – and all the beautiful car tweaking features available in this update – on the App Store for free.
Posted by Stephen Hall on March 12th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The Sandbox, a game for iOS that is – appropriately – a sandbox, has just received even more sandbox-y goodness. The version 1.800 update, titled “The Sninobi Adventure,” features 17 Japanese-themed levels as part of the new Shinobi Adventure Campaign. Within these new levels, you’ll encounter many obstacles including lava pits, challenging puzzles, and hordes of Imps.
But along with any “The Sandbox” adventure mode update also comes many new elements for you to play with – and to help you on your oriental adventure. These include a new Sun Stone that can be used to create a movement detection laser, smoke bombs, and even bamboo bushes.
The new trailer is available below, and you can grab the new update for The Sandbox right now.
In partnership with Kongregate, Emerald City Games has released its exciting new strategy-based tactical RPG entitled Lionheart Tactics. The game takes you into turn-based battle, putting you in command of over 15 different classes, and requires you to use your wits to “take advantage of the terrain and your enemy’s weaknesses.”
The game allows you to train up to 30 of your own heroes, slowly but surely upgrading their equipment and trainable skills. Emerald City Games boasts that Lionheart Tactics is not just an action packed battle game, but includes a “rich, and sometimes witty” story as well. The game features beautiful 3D graphics, but if you want a better idea of what Lionheart Tactics is you should probably just watch the trailer below; you’ll see why Kongregate partnered with Emerald City to make this game happen.
You can grab Lionheart Tactics for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch today on the App Store for free, and be on the lookout for out official review.
Posted by Stephen Hall on March 6th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Not to be confused with Autumn Dynasty Warlords, a new game from GAMEVIL that goes by the name of Dynasty Warlord is now available on the App Store.
Dynasty Warlord is a social network RPG; it’s the second installment in the “Warlord Series” and succeeds its predecessor, Monster Warlord. The game includes both co-op and PvP modes, allowing you to complete quests and battle rival warlords with other players across the globe. Players are furthermore able to join “massive guilds” to obtain in-game perks, and work their way up the game’s real-time ranks for special bonuses and prizes.
GAMEVIL recently launched Dynasty Warlord on the App Store, and you can grab it today for free.
Posted by Stephen Hall on March 6th, 2014 iPad Only App - Designed for iPad
Disney Interactive’s Disney Infinity: Toy Box has received an update with a ton of new features, including many that were previously exclusive to the game’s full console version. In version 1.4, players will now be able to add toys to their Toy Boxes without being required to tether to the full-fledged version of the game. Additionally, the update adds “waves one and two hexagonal power discs,” more pre-made Adventures, all of the game’s Mastery Tutorials, and more features previously exclusive to the Disney Infinity console and PC game.
Additionally, the app now features a rewards program; log-in and play Disney Infinity on iPad, Windows Tablet, and PC at least 4 times within the week to earn a variety of new pre-made Adventures and additional toys. Finally, the update boasts the addition of a plethora of new in-app purchases including the “Ultimate Toy Box Experience,” character bundles, and power disc bundles as well.
You can get Disney Infinity: Toy Box on the App Store for free.
Posted by Stephen Hall on March 5th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, which actually received the honor of being a 148apps Editor’s Choice game, was recently updated to include a new “Promo Pack;” a purchasable upgrade that packs a variety of new cards. Instead of charging you outright for the game, the developers behind Ascension have decided on a free-to-play model, including a variety of packs and features within in the game that are only obtainable as in-app purchases.
Today’s update to Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer brings Promo Pack 4, which is said to be a “a digital exclusive ready to challenge how you play Ascension!” The update packs “3 new Heroes, 1 new Construct, and 1 new Monster,” according to the game’s version 1.6.0 update notes. This pack is the fourth Promo Pack to be released, but actually one of 7 sets of additional features which are purchasable in-game.
You can get Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer on the App Store for free.
Tabasco Interactive, the independent studio behind upcoming space action game Star Horizon, has yet to release a game at all if its website is to be believed. But this new dashingly beautiful 3D space shooter that they’re about to throw at us looks to be a very promising first entry into the App Store.
In a similar visual style to EVE Online (and notably without the ridiculous massively multiplayer online aspect), Star Horizon tries to set itself apart with beautiful graphics, “dynamic and intuitive handling” of your spaceship, and the ability to “write your own galactic story” among many other features. The game is on-rails, an aspect that apparently was decided on to make the game “more about pure action and not flying around trying to catch the target,” according to a post made by the developers on TouchArcade.
Expect the game to be released on March 20th with a price tag of $3.99; Tabasco says the app will be free of in-app purchases.
Doggins, a new game from indie studio Brain&Brain, was nominated for the SXSW Gamer’s Voice Award; an honor given to the best indie game as voted on by gamers on the floor of the SXSW Gaming Expo. But what makes this game worthy of such an awesome nomination?
In Doggins, you play a dreaming terrier in a battle of wits with an evil, monocled squirrel who intends on reversing the progress of humanity. The game takes you to the moon to complete classic “item-based” puzzles in the style of a “quiet adventure” focused on presenting the world and story in an immersive and beautiful way, with gesture-based controls and minimal UI.
The game is going to be released sometime during the month of March, but there’s no word yet on how much Doggins is going to cost you. The developer has made clear, though, that the game will not have any in-app purchases nor ads.
Games Insight, the development studio behind a plethora of iOS free-to-play games such as Tank Domination and Dragon Eternity, has announced X-Mercs: Invasion; its upcoming turn-based strategy game. The story sounds familiar (fighting aliens and saving the human race), but this iPad-only free-to-play game might just the refreshing change we need to see in the realm of turn-based shooters if the game lives up to the quality and fun-factor of its siblings.
The details are scant at this point; it’s not yet clear when the game will be released nor what kinds of in-app purchases you will inevitably need to buy to get the full experience. But, as is the case with all Games Insight games, the game will at least be free to download. Be on the lookout for X-Mercs: Invasion later this year.
Nozoku Rush, a game from indie development studio Chaotic Box and successor to the original Nozoku, is primed to hit the App Store this Thursday. The premise of the game, while simple, seems to be exciting and fast-paced if the below video is to be believed. Essentially, the player must tap and drag over numbers on the board, racing against to clock, to make combinations that subtract down to zero.
“Swipe tiles that subtract down to zero to clear them off the board. Set up big combos to maximize your score and dominate the leaderboards,” says the game’s official website. The game features three modes including “Rush Mode,” where the tiles fall faster as the game progresses, “Race Mode,” which pits the player against the clock, and “Extreme Mode,” which you should turn on to “crank up the intensity!”
Nozoku Rush will be available for purchase on the App Store at a price of $2.99 on March 6.
Posted by Stephen Hall on March 3rd, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Only One, a game that received a relatively positive 148apps review, was recently updated with many new features; including a new “Ultimate Power,” new in-game music, and updates to the main character’s nimbleness.
The “Ultimate Power” is actually an in-app purchase, which, according to the app’s update notes, “now defines the full game experience.” Depending on how you feel about in-app purchases this could be a great or a horrible addition. The app’s reviews, which have typically been near perfect on the App Store, have definitely been a taking a hit since the addition of this feature. “Would have been 5 stars if I hadn’t had the ultimate power shoved in my face,” notes one disgruntled iOS user.
The newly added song, as well as the ability to move the character around on-screen a bit easier, are also welcome additions to this great fight-your-way-to-the-top game. You can download Only One off the App Store for free.
Monument Valley, the upcoming puzzler from London-based ustwo, has raised quite a lot of interest since first being teased a few months ago. It’s uniquely MC Escher inspired interactive 3D puzzle style has piqued the interest of many. It seems to be on-track to be the next indie hit for iOS. I recently had a chance to sit down with Dan Gray, Producer, and Neil McFarland, Director of the game to discuss and play through the game. Let’s find out if all of the early accolades are deserved.
Ustwo has a reputation of quirky, yet quality games with a very unique visual style. Their office in an old warehouse in the Shoreditch area of London is just what I would imagine from a company that makes games like Whale Trail. A large number of bright, interesting, inspirational, funny, and oddball bits and found objects all over the offices and common spaces fits that perceived personality. It’s as though their offices were in the world’s largest art student dorm room. A perfect environment to foster the unique styles and somewhat off-the-wall games. Their previous iOS hit, Whale Tail, is the perfect illustration of their unique style in action. It combines a visually interesting look and bright color pallet with fun game mechanics and music.
Monument Valley takes a slightly cleaner, reserved aesthetic over Whale Trail, though it maintains a very oddball game mechanic. In this game the main interaction is rotating parts of the screen, mechanical or otherwise, leading to illogical optical illusions that create new paths for the characters to travel. It’s these unique puzzle elements that require that you put what your mind thinks of as spacial reality on hold. Swinging platforms and stairways connect in seemingly impossible ways by rotating the entire structure or small sections on screen. It seems illogical, but when it fits, it’s genius.
The game is designed with flat colors and intentional lack of detail that lends perfectly to the logic defying geometric puzzles. The lack of color and detail is almost the exact opposite of what would be expected for a game that moves in this way and stresses perceived logic so greatly. Where detail is given in the game, it is intentional to draw the eye to an available action or clue to how to progress. Tremendous thought has been given to the many levels of puzzles in this game. Maddening levels of trial and error have lead to some of the most unique puzzle and maze elements I have experienced.
For some reason the game reminds me of what a sliding 15 tile puzzle would look like if MC Escher designed it during a month long bender on absinthe and peyote. It’s absolutely visually compelling and draws you in, wanting more and more. Moreish as the English say. It’s relaxing and stressful. Balancing that line perfectly.
Ustwo takes pride in making unique and interesting games and it shows in Monument Valley. We can expect to see it released at some point this spring or early summer. It will be a premium game, priced reasonably the developers tell us.
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.