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This Week at 148Apps:June 22-26, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 29th, 2015

June's Summer Journey Continues With 148Apps

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.


LightRunner Armband

The LightRunner armband is about what you’d expect from a typical armband meant for running - at least I think, but I’m hardly an expert on running equipment - but it does offer a couple of useful features that could give it an edge. Mostly because of how it uses a protective layer to guard your iPhone or iPod from scratches while still letting you use the touch screen, and because it can light up to make nighttime jogs a bit safer. It’s a pretty well-constructed band that keeps your device secure while also allowing access to the headphone jack if you need it. I feel it’s a bit on the bulky side, but seeing as it’s meant to fit 11 different kinds of smartphones (from the iPhone 5 to the Moto X) I’m not sure there’s much they could’ve trimmed off. It might take some getting used to, but it works. --Rob Rich


Fallout Shelter

In preparation for Fallout 4's release this fall, Bethesda announced thatr they had also been working on a mobile title named Fallout Shelter. It's largely a management tapper like Tiny Tower, though it feels distinctly more like a Fallout wasteland scenario and less like a knockoff free-to-play experience. Fallout Shelter may not be for everyone, and it may seem like it misses a few opportunities, but it's a very interesting experience.Fallout Shelter lets players see what it would be like to be the overseer of a vault in the Fallout universe. Essentially this just means they're in charge of building a vault that provides safety and happiness for the dwellers within it. Much like Tiny Tower, players can expect to build additional rooms, match dwellers with jobs that make them happy, and collect resources.--Campbell Bird


Papaly Bookmark Manager

On the surface, Papaly Bookmark Manager sounds like something that isn’t really needed in a world of Instapaper and Pocket. In reality, it’s a very different kind of thing.It’s a way of organizing your links, but it also means that you can easily share them, according to subject, with other users. In that respect, it’s almost like a community. You can opt to simply import your links from social media and keep them safe, but you can also view many other selections. There’s a category devoted to gaming sites, for instance, as well as news sources.--Jennifer Allen


Her Story

At first glance, Her Story doesn't seem like much. It emulates the look and feel of seaching a police database from 1994 on an old Windows desktop - down to the horror of that teal background and ugly interface. There are only six things to click on and no real action to speak of. And yet, there is something strikingly compelling about it all. Sam Barlow, creator of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Aisle, has brought his storytelling expertise to this interactive narrative. The entire game revolves around searching through clips of several videos of the police speaking with someone named Hannah Smith. --Jessica Fisher


Piloteer

I had my first experience with Whitaker Trebella’s Piloteer several months ago during GDC, and my opinion hasn’t changed much (read: at all) since then. It’s still super-awkward to control, it’s still incredibly difficult, and it’s still ridiculously fun.You control a nameless (but you get to name her so I guess she’s technically not nameless) inventor who’s just made the world’s first jetpack. Since she presumably doesn’t have the same knack for PR as she does for tinkering, she’s going to have to pull off some impressive stunts in order to convince the rest of the world that she’s on to something. This is, of course, much easier said than done. --Rob Rich


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


EA Sports UFC

If anyone should try to tackle a sports sim, it should be EA Sports. And tackle fighting it did with EA SPORTS UFC.Somehow, the tutorial is quite enjoyable on it’s own. It’s of the hands-on variety, so one is able to learn while doing with visual cues that help folks to understand the control system — which incorporates gestures and swipes to control the basics. With said tutorial we see attacks and special attacks, defensive maneuvers, take-downs and even submissions. The controls require dexterity and a keen eye, as there are times a very precise tap is needed. The teaching tool also doesn’t clear until one is able to execute the moves proficiently.--Tre Lawrence


Spider Square

We did wonder just what Spider Square is all about. What better way to find out than to, well, play it?Graphically, it looks like a basic affair; the game uses bright splotches of pastels, and is presented in 2D form. The animations are crisp, and as we see when we get into the action, the colors do frame the gameplay quite well.When we say “simple” with regards to the gameplay, we mean just that. The idea is so easy to grasp, the game barely needs a formal tutorial. It’s an arcade game that is delightfully cloaked as a platformer. The action “moves” from left to right, and the main concept is to get a square, uh, spider(?) to keep moving rightwards (forward) for as long as possible. The main tool is a rope, and the cube moves by swinging from said rope attached to the roof of the playing area. The kicker is that the cube can’t touch the floor or ceiling.--Tre Lawrence


Alphabetty Saga

Yes, Alphabetty Saga is a word game, but clearly wants folks to know it is more than simply that; it packs in elements across the board, from Scrabble, word search, matching, and even a lit bit of Tetris-y gravity play… and then some. It does a lot, which helps it come out the gate strong.At first glance, it’s easy to see developer King’s handprint on the visuals. The game employs bright colors and graphics that lean towards the whimsical without necessarily stumbling into the cartoonish. As a word game, it relies heavily on tiles, but the developer isn’t so jaded as to forget splashing character into the background. It’s a vivid presentation, and it mostly works in the plying area, which usually consists of random word tiles.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

This Week at 148Apps: June 15-19, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 22nd, 2015

June's Journey Continues With 148Apps

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.


Hitman: Sniper

If you had to imagine what a sniper game on iOS would play like, Hitman: Sniper is almost exactly like what most would expect. It uses a first-person perspective, with players zooming in and out over an environment and taking out targets as necessary. Although much of Hitman: Sniper is very expected - and it has major-sounding drawbacks like only one level - there's so much more than meets the eye that makes it more than the sum of its parts.Just like other entries in the series, players step into the shoes of elite assassin Agent 47. Unlike other entries, Agent 47 isn't sneaking around environments, garroting people, and pushing them down elevator shafts. Instead, armed with a sniper rifle, he is tasked with taking out high-profile targets discreetly from a distance. --Campbell Bird


iSpring Present

iSpring Present makes quite a crucial misstep in its opening moments. It requires you to have an account for iSpring, but gives you no way of signing up other than to open your web browser and find the sign-up site yourself. Oops. Fortunately that’s the only real misstep for iSpring Present. It’s otherwise a fairly useful way of transferring content from your PC to your iPad, with the added bonus of some great PowerPoint support. That support means iSpring Present particularly lends itself to making your presentations easier. You can easily create a presentation on your PC then send it over to iSpring Present and still see all the relevant PowerPoint effects. That’s often a rare thing in such apps, but this one ensures you don’t miss out on anything. -Jennifer Allen


Peak

Brain training games are nothing new, but that doesn’t stop them from being oddly enticing. Everyone wants to feel good about themselves, right? Or feel as if they’re training themselves to be better at something. Peak captures that fairly well. You’ll need to subscribe for the full benefits, but even the free build will offer you some use.Each day, you’re given a few games to complete. These test various parts of your brain, such as your problem solving skills, language capabilities, or simply your ability to focus. They’re simple tests, only taking a couple of minutes to complete, but quite fun to do. Once you complete the session, Peak figures out where your strengths and weaknesses are, giving you a visual indication through a graph.--Jennifer Allen


FullContact

Contact lists are increasingly messy now that we’ve all had phones for years. FullContact aims to cure much of that problem by giving you a place to consolidate everything. By using it you can combine Google Contacts, iPhone Contacts, Facebook, and Twitter details. It’s quite good at what it does too, saving you some time.For the most part, by simply inputting your various log in details, FullContact will happily join the dots for you. Within a few seconds, you can check out photos of your contacts, alongside their contact details, and social networking presence. That’s particularly handy when your contacts are predominantly business related and you’re trying to keep track of who’s who.--Jennifer Allen


MagicMeasure

It takes a little bit of set up and a little tweaking, but MagicMeasure is actually a reasonable replacement for the humble tape measure. You’ll soon be able to measure all kinds of things reasonably quickly.The initial set up is what might put you off a little. Calibration is easy enough, with simple steps guiding you through the paces. It’s that first time of measuring something where you find yourself paying a lot of attention to what’s being asked of you and it still not feeling entirely intuitive. Stick with it though. Once you figure it out, MagicMeasure works quite well. --Jennifer Allen


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


House of Marley Chant Wireless Speaker

Yes, I admit The House of Marley intrigues me. Beyond the iconic name, the company makes some nice-looking accessories, and its commitment to use sustainable materials can only be lauded. It’s Chant Bluetooth Speaker looks to be an example of what House of Marley can bring to market, and we were quite willing to give it a try.It’s cute, but can’t be accused of looking trivial; it possesses a small cylindrical shape that almost makes it resemble a small candle jar. It has a hard cloth/denim-like material on the exterior, with cutouts at the bottom and a zipper at the top, plus a caribiner and Jamaican flag accents; this is indeed the cover (which is made out of natural materials and recycled goods), and inside, the smooth, bamboo-trimmed main speaker sits. The main grill is at the top, with two smaller ones towards the bottom. There’s an on switch and LED at the top, and mini USB charging port, microphone and 3.55 mm plugin port. On its own, it looks okay, but when paired with the zip-up case — as it is meant to be — it looks a bit more defined. Officially, it is 5.9 x 4.4 x 4.4 inches and about 1 lb.--Tre Lawrence


Dude Perfect 2

To understand Dude Perfect 2, one almost has to be acquainted with the source franchise, which is based upon a group of friends doing trick shots and other guy things that make the rest of us jealous. If this game is a cute way to get us to live out that life just a little bit, we are grateful.The game is zany in appearance, featuring a vivid use of color on an eye-catching template. The animations are fairly smooth, and off the bat, the design evokes a sense of playfulness. When it comes to the gameplay, the first series gives an idea of just what the player is looking to accomplish: making basketball shots. At first, it’s easy; to make a shot, the player manipulates a shot and distance meter to get the right balance and get the ball in the ball in the hoop. The less balls one uses, the better, and success yields points and cash. At the end of a series, a three-star system rates one’s performance.--Tre Lawrence


Misfit Shine

Misfit blazed on the scene with an interesting concept: ultra useful fitness trackers that dare to look snazzy. Since then, we’ve seen other products and accessories land on the market.Its latest endeavor underscores the company’s commitment to the health of the planet in addition to individual people; as we noted a short while go, the special edition EKOCYCLE set is one borne out of a recycling-minded collaboration with will.I.am and the Coca-Cola company, and brings a unique wrist strap to go with a limited edition black Shine tracker.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus E3 previews, news, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

This Week at 148Apps: June 8-12

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 15th, 2015

Jump Into June With 148Apps

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.


RPG Clicker

There’s been a prevalence of one-tap RPGs, and RPG Clicker is one of the more recent entries. It’s a lot like all the others, albeit with a slightly more involved equipment system, but you’ll still find yourself drawn in against your better judgement.You tap on the screen in order to inflict damage upon your enemies. Keep at it and eventually they die, you gain a bit of experience, and the process repeats all over again. Every now and then, you come across a treasure chest which offers up a handy piece of equipment to boost your abilities. You also earn gold for every kill. This gold can be used to upgrade your abilities, your weapon, spells, and also unlock new areas. --Jennifer Allen


Insight Guides Phrasebook

You’re going to need to pay up to glean the real benefits of Insight Guides Phrasebooks, but that doesn’t make the free app a complete waste of time by any means.Designed to get you set up with the basics for a simple vacation, Insight Guides Phrasebooks isn’t going to help you become fluent in any language but it will help you with how to ask for directions. -Jennifer Allen


Blades of Brim

While I have to admit that games like Blades of Brim seem to be almost as prolific as match-3 puzzlers and Threes! clones, it actually feels like progress rather than more of the same. It might just be the game that gets me back into endless runners (that aren’t Canabalt).Blades of Brim is a third-person (i.e. over-the-shoulder) endless runner that plays much like you’d expect on the surface. Swiping left or right makes the runner move to that lane, while swiping up will jump. What’s different is how all of these moves also incorporate attacks that can be chained together. Plus you can pull of some rather fancy moves, regardless. --Rob Rich


Sago Mini Boats

Continuing the sandbox/playbox style theme that’s worked so well for the Sago Mini games in the past, Sago Mini Boats is sure to be fun for your little ones. It’s a little overly sensitive at times with its controls, but you can pretty much forgive it thanks to some overwhelming cuteness. You control Harvey the dog, as he sets sail for fun and adventure. You can choose the destination, as well as the kind of boat you control. The latter is particularly colorful with plenty of options for variety. You can opt to manipulate a banana boat or a more conventional tugboat. Even a shark or pirate ship can be controlled too. In each case, movement is much the same. You can either hold your finger to the side of the screen or drag the boat around, throwing it into the air if you want. --Jennifer Allen


Radical Rappelling

The first mobile game that ever truly grabbed me was Halfbrick's Jetpack Joyride. Although the endless runner has been done to death, there are just enough things about that game that would draw me back in for "one more run." Radical Rappelling is their latest spin on the genre, and I'm finding myself similarly grabbed by it. With a high level of polish, tons of unlockables, and a unique approach, Radical Rappelling is definitely my new go-to quick game on my phone. When players first boot up Radical Rappelling, they will likely notice two big features that aren't usually present in runners. First, it's played in portrait mode characters are rappelling down a cliff side. Second, the characters don't move automatically but instead jump on their own while players must tap the screen to start sliding down. These differences are pretty fundamental mix-ups to the standard runner and make Radical Rappelling feel fresh from the get go. --Campbell Bird


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


Neo Smartpen N2

An opportunity to check out the Neo Smartpen N2? Yes, please…It looks sleek, but still retains a professional feel. In a meeting of executive ballpoint pens, the N2 wouldn’t look too out of place. It has a dark finish, is angled but still faintly cylindrical and almost pyramidal; with the cover off, it tapers to the writing end. There is a power button and a color LED towards the “bottom” of the pen, and at the very end portion, there is a micro-USB charging port.--Tre Lawrence


Outside World

Fans of simple puzzles should enjoy Outside World.For those keen on backstory, the one here is simple: the play controls our protagonist, Kyrsten, who is on a quest to find her way home. At the onset, she hooks up with a spirit entity called Jaynie who is willing to help her on this journey.There… the journey begins.--Tre Lawrence


PowerIt Multipurpose Charging Kit

As always, I am a huge fan of measured convergence. I’ve said it before and will say it again: give me a combo device, as long as it does multiple things well.This is especially true of portable battery packs. One stays in the go-bag whenever I am out; but what if that unit can charge multiple batteries, add something useful like a flashlight, and… oh… say… jump a dead car battery?Ah. Maybe the PowerIt Jump Start Kit?--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, previews, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

This Week at 148App: June 1-5, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 10th, 2015

Jump Into June With 148Apps

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.


Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

Oh Geometry Wars. Every time I think I’m done with you, you pull me right back in.As you’d expect, you can move your glowy little ship around by way of a lefthand virtual stick. You can also aim your guns by using another virtual stick on the right side of the screen. What’s neat is that you can also ignore aiming entirely and just focus on movement while the ship auto-targets enemies for you. It’s not a perfect system as some enemy types are easier to get rid of if you lead your targets a bit, but it’s a great option to have in a pinch when you can’t split your focus between moving and shooting.--Rob Rich


Coup

Games about bluffing are sometimes hard to pull-off, particularly when players aren't in the same room. When there's no way to read facial expressions or other tells, it's hard setup feigned reactions to situations or otherwise subvert others' expectations. With that being said, Coup is 100% about deception and it works remarkably well.In every game of Coup, players are dealt two cards that the others cannot see. These can be any one of five characters, all of whom have their own set of abilities geared toward forcing players to flip their cards over, and the whole thing plays a little bit like a more complicated version of Rock-Paper-Scissors. The goal of every game is for players to be the last one left. What makes it feel less about luck and more about skill is that players can lie about anything, and it's up to others to call them out.u can always start fro scratch. Or spend a precious continue token (I don’t know what their actual name is) to try a failed task again. --Campbell Bird


Sproggiwood

It’s the price tag for Sproggiwood that’s going to make you understandably a little uncertain. While that’s a great price for any PC game (which is where Sproggiwood started out), $9.99 can go much further on the App Store. However, try to look past that. This is a game worth your money and a sharp reminder that premium purchases can be worth making. Sproggiwood is a roguelike and a particularly well made one at that. Inspired by Finnish mythology, it certainly offers plenty of charm. You play a simple farmer as they find themselves lured away by a talking sheep and ending up a prisoner of Sproggi, a strange forest spirit. It’s as bizarre as it sounds, but it actually all seems quite cute. You work your way through various dungeons, improving upon your level and equipment, as well as developing a village of your own. --Jennifer Allen


Portal Pinball

In an unusual move, we soon learn that combining pinball with the great first-person puzzle series, Portal, is actually quite inspired. Portal Pinball captures the spirit of the games while also providing a decent pinball table with plenty of objectives to pursue.The idea is that you’re guiding Chell and Wheatley through test chambers, navigating portals and so forth. It’s certainly atmospheric, looking just how you would expect things to look, with the added bonus of snippets of audio from the cast of the games. You’ll still hear Stephen Merchant encouraging you, for instance. There’s a constant stream of background music adding to the urgency too.--Jennifer Allen


Fotograf

Offering good - if typical - photography features, Fotograf is worth checking out. But you might find yourself wondering if it’s worth paying up for when there are so many alternatives already out there.A choice of two primary features awaits you. You can opt to take photos from within the app, or import them via your camera roll. The former allows for you to use auto filtering methods but, more interestingly, it also gives you the chance to manually adjust exposure. That’s a handy feature that not every photography app offers, giving you the chance to create some interesting images through a quick adjustment of a slider. --Jennifer Allen


Simple Machines

Aimed at teaching kids how experimenting with different machines can be pretty fun, Simple Machines is a rather nice experience. Older kids are going to end up wishing there was a bit more of a structure to things, but the younger ones will like just messing around. Simple Machines is divided up into six simple machines to check out. They teach you things such as how lever and pulleys affect things, as well as the importance of inclined planes, wedges, wheels, and screws. What this really means is you can poke about with a lot of things. Simple Machines doesn’t offer much instruction, leaving you to figure things out. --Jennifer Allen


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


Star Trek Trexels

Star Trek Trexels is one of those games that, right off the bat, has something immense going for it: a backing franchise that almost demands one try out the game.We did.The game is a glorious ode to games past; graphically, it delights in its chunky looks, exuding a retro feel that mostly defines the game. It uses text bubbles as a means to convey dialogue, and the animations do what one would expect of them in a game that uses such a design scheme.--Tre Lawrence


Gravity Line

There are some serious games available to Android players, and they run the gamut; it’s easier to find a major PC game that doesn’t have an Android port than to list all the ones that do. As it stands, it’s easy to pick one’s poison, and the devices that are on the market are more than capable of carrying the loads.Still, there are times when folks just want simple; you know… a game that one can just get into and play. No campaigns. No levels. Just play.What Gravity Line does is to take the “simple” concept and runs with it. Fast and hard.--Tre Lawrence


Divoom Voombox Party Wireless Speaker

We love to check out wireless solutions, especially speakers. A tool that can enhance sound on the go? Let me loose!Well, here’s the Divoom Voombox-Party.The review package we were sent contains the speaker, power cable, audio cable and documentation. The unit looks like it means business; it looks like a solid brick of technology, with gently tapered angles and a defined rubberized finish. The control bank at the top is simple to navigate: power toggle, bluetooth pairing, phone answering and two buttons for volume. To the side, there are covered ports for power and audio cable. In hand, it is hefty piece, and it feels well crafted. Officially, it comes in at 9.17 x 2.13 x 4.06 inches and 2.4 lbs.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, previews, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

This Week at 148Apps: May 25-29,2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 1st, 2015

May Days at 148Apps

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.


Cartoon Survivor

An auto-runner about a dodo bird getting tossed into a reality TV show where it has to run a gauntlet of cavemen, dinosaurs, angry Mayans, lava, and more - all with a stick of dynamite strapped to its back? Sure, Cartoon Survivor, I’ll bite. Aside from being the kind of reality show that nobody would willingly sign up for, Cartoon Survivor is a pretty solid auto-runner. Tilting the device will move the dodo back-and-forth along the “road,” while tapping the screen jumps and tapping and holding will glide. You can also tap the Boost icon for a temporary speed increase but let’s not get too carried away. --Rob Rich


Cooking Mama Let's Cook!

Mama is back, again, with Papa in tow. This time she’s got a new free-to-play game that’s… well it exists.Cooking Mama Let’s Cook! is classic Mama for the most part. You get to select from a small assortment of dishes, and perform all sorts of gesture-based actions on the touch screen to try and complete various steps of each recipe. If you fail to pull a single step off perfectly it’s going to torpedo your chances at a three-star rating, but you can always start fro scratch. Or spend a precious continue token (I don’t know what their actual name is) to try a failed task again.--Rob Rich


Kapu Fishing

It turns out that foxes love to jump in boats, sail off, and go fishing. At least that’s what Kapu Fishing tells us, and it proves to be an adorable and simple game that should captivate your little ones for a while. With controls that are ideally suited for toddlers, it won’t take long for them to figure things out and have fun. As the app explains through some simple gestures, casting a line is a simple matter of dragging your finger across the screen. How far the line goes depends on how far you drag your finger. It’s the kind of intuitive thinking that’ll be ideal for educating your kids through. Once the lure hits the water, gentle taps cause it to come nearer to you. --Jennifer Allen


Brickies

Brick-busting Arkanoid style games are nothing new, yet Brickies feels more fresh than most. Offering a few new tricks up its sleeve goes a long way to enticing you into carrying on playing.The key change to Brickies is how missing a shot doesn’t mean game over. Instead, it deactivates the ball, leaving it useless until you bounce it back again with one of your paddles. You have two paddles - one on either side of the screen - which respond in the same manner throughout. The focus is less on keeping your ball in play, and more on getting things done quickly, with each level offering a fairly tight time limit on things.--Jennifer Allen


Sword of Xolan

I often look forward to seeing larger games released for iOS, both because I wish more people would take the platform seriously (as they should) and because being able to play something like Knights of the Old Republic on my phone is just really, really cool. But that doesn’t mean that shorter, more bite-sized games can’t also shine. And Sword of Xolan is definitely a tiny shiner. That sounded a lot better in my head. Sword of Xolan follows a similar structure to other mobile platformers from developers like Ravenous Games. It’s broken up into two different modes - Adventure and Challenge - with the former itself being broken up into three acts. And each act is made up of several platforming levels and a final boss fight. You can simply blitz through everything in a rush to the end, but stages are really meant to be replayed. --Rob Rich


Mr. Muscle

Don’t let the impressive beach body or the far more impressive mustache fool you; Mr. Muscle is actually a featherweight. As a game, I mean. There’s nothing particularly feathery about the buff fellow holding goodness nows how many pounds of metal above his head.Seriously though, I have to give credit to Flow Studio for Mr. Muscle’s presentation. If nothing else, it sports a very enjoyable and clean-looking art style. It’s also complimented by a simple but pleasant music loop that sound almost vaudevillian in nature. Fitting given the striped swimming trunks and massive handlebar mustache, I think. --Rob Rich


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


Sunburn!

We’ve waited for a while for Sunburn!, and with good reason; early clips of the gameplay hearkened to something fun and engaging. Now that it’s out, we have the perfect occasion to check it out.Graphically, it’s a fun, retro-feeling trip, with old-school characterizations and purposely stilted animations. It incorporates the use of color effectively, as in the visual representation of the target sun. The backdrop is dark, and the sound effectively carries along the gameplay.--Tre Lawrence


Plancon: Space Conflict

If you’re a fan of Serenity, those lyrics will make sense almost immediately. The criminally short-lived series would probably find a kindred spirit in HeroCraft’s new caper Plancon: Space Conflict. In this one, space exploration is the name of the game, ut with an added twist: invading aliens.The action starts with an in-game tutorial; it is a bit of a slow going, almost ploddingly so, but, as gameplay further on underscored, it is important to understand the basics. The player takes on the persona of an adventurer in a future world where extended space travel is possible and commonplace. The game leads one through the basics of interplanetary travel, which is effected by tapping and double-tapping. There is also the collection of valuable materials, and simple combat. One is also introduced to the commerce system, which is probably the most intricate aspect of the game.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus Apple Watch reviews of Yellow Pages, Wear Reader, and TripAdvisor.

This Week at 148Apps: May 11-15, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 18th, 2015

May Days at 148Apps

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.


Heroes and Castles 2

The original Heroes and Castles’ interesting take on castle defense appealed to me greatly back in 2013. And not just because of my general enjoyment of just about everything Foursaken Media creates, either. Jump to the present and now we have Heroes and Castles 2 at our disposal. The basic idea is pretty much the same as the first: a horde of monsters is attacking your castle, and you need to defend it. You'll be in the thick of the fight while using the hero of your choice, but you can also use points generated by banner carriers and good old fashioned monster slaying to summon several different soldier types to aid you. Also archers. Having archers on the walls is incredibly important. --Rob Rich


Multicross

Multicross is a vaguely familiar-ish looking puzzle game from Alexey Pajitnov, the mind behind Tetris. But don’t let the tetrominos fool you - while we’ve seen many of these shapes before, this is a very different kind of game. You’re presented a 7X7 grid, with three shapes to place along the bottom of the screen. Once you drag and drop a shape into place, another one will appear in the line. Creating finished rows or columns will clear out those respective lines and earn you points, and if you ever run out of possible moves it’s Game Over. However, if you can manage to complete both a row and a column at the same time you’ll clear the board and earn even more points. --Rob Rich


THRED

THRED is an interesting take on a familiar social networking concept. More visual than most, it’s all about creating "Threds" - a kind of comic book/scrap book mixture of things, enabling you to showcase anything from a recent cooking project to a stunning holiday. It’s got potential.Creating a Thred starts with one of three options. You can choose to find a photo online, import one from your camera roll, or start from a particular location. The latter option tries to give you a relevant starting point depending on the area. You can browse images depending on the day you snapped them too, which is particularly handy when you’re trying to co-ordinate holiday photos.--Jennifer Allen


Mr. Bank

Mr Bank is a simple game, and that’s mostly what makes it a success. It takes seconds to learn but has the potential to keep you itching for just one more go as you work towards beating your previous high score.Each session involves a screen full of numbered tiles. Depending on the difficulty level you’ve chosen, you have to combine those tiles to form at least 20, 30, or 40, before tapping on the created tile to ‘bank’ it. The key here is to create as low a number as possible while still going over the threshold. While the high numbers create the most points, they can also use up tiles that could have been useful elsewhere. Playing the long game is imperative. --Jennifer Allen


Wand

There’s no shortage of apps that want to help you organize your camera roll, and each work to varying levels of success. I think Wand™ might be my new favorite, though. It’s incredibly easy to use and makes short work of even particularly hefty collections.Working on a spectacularly simple basis, Wand™ loads up to offer up a selection of predefined album ideas, such as family, friends, and selfies, along with the option for you to add your own. The latest picture to not be given an album placement is immediately on screen. If you pause for a moment to look at it, Wand™ automatically switches to a view of just that photo, providing an ideal previewing place. In terms of movement, all you do then is tap on the album you want it to go to, and off it goes. It’s as simple as that. --Jennifer Allen


Wings Remastered

Set during World War I, you’re a combat pilot undertaking a series of dangerous missions. You’re rarely alone in battle, but your comrades can be shot down, and you will feel a tinge of guilt when the game tells you their name. In which case, you’d better get the hang of those controls fast.There’s a choice of tilt or touch based, but I’d immediately recommend the touch controls. When flying from a first person perspective, things are tricky enough without considering calibration. At first, it’ll seem awkward but those sequences are quite fun. The scenery is incredibly forgettable and basic, but chasing down planes and, every once in a while, performing a loop the loop is pretty fun. Firing is a matter of hitting the correct button but don’t overdo it. This is a World War I plane, meaning the guns jam quite easily. -Jennifer Allen


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


Motorola E (2nd Gen) 4G LTE

For the longest time, Motorola has been synonymous with Android; it’s been a part of the Android takeover, and some of the best smartphone hardware has born its imprint. With the Moto E2, the device maker looks to show it can have a budget hit. Again.The review unit Moto sent us contained the black handset (a white alternative is also available, two bands (more on that later), power cord and documentation. The phone goes against the grain somewhat, particularly with regards to size; still, it would be rude to call it diminutive at 5.11 x 2.63 x 0.48 inches and weighing in at 5.1 ounces. It is quite comfortable in hand, and feels well constructed, so much so that at first glance, one will definitely be forgiven foe not noticing the interesting band that goes around the side. This flexible band houses hardware buttons and protects SIM and SD card slots, but are also swappable, and allows a degree of aesthetic customization.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus our top 9 apps for the summer blockbuster season.

This Week at 148Apps: May 4-8, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 11th, 2015

A-MAY-ZING Reviews at 148Apps

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.

This Week at 148Apps: April 13-17, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 21st, 2015

The Apps of April

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.

The Quest Keeper Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on April 6th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CROSSY DUNGEONS
Even with its annoying ad model, The Quest Keeper is an awesome interpretation of the Crossy Road formula.
Read The Full Review »

This Week at 148App: March 23-27, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 30th, 2015

Spring Roars In At 148Apps

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.


Final Fantasy Record Keeper

There’s no denying that Final Fantasy All the Bravest received a rather unfriendly reception on the App Store. There’s also no denying that people are going to be inclined to think of Final Fantasy Record Keeper as more of the same.I’d urge you not to write it off so quickly, though. While it’s not an all-star tour de force like, say, Dissidia, it’s still a decent stroll down Memory Lane. There’s some mumbo jumbo about paintings of the various Final Fantasy universes being guarded in one location, and said paintings are being corrupted while some sinister influence is spreading across the land. The two might be (read: totally are) related. Really it’s just a tenuous excuse to let players romp through 16-bit recreations of classic Final Fantasy moments throughout the series. And I’m okay with this. --Rob Rich


Star Squad Space Rescue

When you think of bullet-hell games, you think of waves of bullets coming at you - and also the waves that you can inflict upon others. Star Squad Space Rescue isn’t like other bullet-hell games, though. Those waves might keep coming at you, but you don’t have anything to fire back in defense. Instead, Star Squad Space Rescue is all about ducking and weaving your way around such attacks, and hoping you can survive longer than last time.That means that Star Squad Space Rescue is an often tense game to play. It is, however, very simple to learn. You use your finger to move the ship around, enjoying the fact that it offers a mercifully small hitbox. That means you can quickly move through very small gaps, and you’re going to need to, a lot.-- Jennifer Allen


Impecca Bamboo Bluetooth Keyboard

Yes. It's a keyboard. Yes, it has a unique, natural finish.It's Impecca's Bamboo Wireless Keyboard.The styling is interesting - the bamboo finish all but defines the product from the get-go and the wood exterior tops the keys and most of the top surface, with dark brown lining on the sides. The grain of the wood is probably the best aspect of its appearance, with a polished feel that is almost surprising; the natural imperfection creates a somewhat regal look.It seems compact, but it comes as close to being a full-size keyboard as any portable unit. Coming in at 11 x 6.6 x 0.6 inches, it is only a hair smaller than the typical Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. It's full QWERTY, and mimics said Apple keyboard closely with regards to layout, with six rows that encompass function keys, numbers, and option/tab buttons. At the top right there is a LED for battery level and Bluetooth. The bottom has the same bamboo finish, and there is an extra ledge that allows the otherwise flat keyboard to be raised at the front. Towards the front, right around dead center, there's a micro-USB port for charging. --Tre Lawrence


Mr. Jump

The idea is as simple as the name. Mr Jump has to jump from platform to platform, in order to progress to the next stage. He automatically runs with your taps dictating when he jumps and how high. It can’t really get much simpler than this. That doesn’t mean it’s easy though, not by a long shot.Speedy reactions are vital here with mostly everything harming Mr Jump. Even bouncing off a wall will cause him to fail the stage. He’s that sensitive. The first level simply offers you one form of jump, while the second stage introduces a way in which to form a double jump. That explains the difficulty increase along the way.You’ll die frequently as you go along, but the restart button is quick, giving you an indication of how far you’ve got in a stage, and urging you to go that bit further next time. And you will, you’ll keep chipping away at the stage, keen to get further and come across something even harder along the way. --Jennifer Allen


CARROT Weather

Over the past couple of years, the CARROT series of apps have done a great job of berating you while also motivating you to complete all manner of things from getting up on time to clearing your To-Do List. While its latest instalment, CARROT Weather, can’t change the weather (no matter how angry it gets), it is an entertaining way to get the facts.Starting out, there’s a choice to go with your current location or to pick out a different place, a small but important touch. As soon as you pick a place, you get the full grumpy CARROT experience. While some voice intros can be simply ‘weather forecasted’, there’s also the inclusion of such delights as ‘I’ve got a collection of 6,241 fingers that were lost to frostbite’ to indicate that, yes, it’s pretty cold in Chicago right now. --Jennifer Allen


Adventures of Poco Eco

Controlling curious explorer, Poco Eco, you wander your way around some delightfully designed levels by tapping on where you want him to go next. Being challenged is rare as Adventures of Poco Eco - Lost Sounds is more about exploration than conquest. Progressing to the next section is usually a matter of running over a button to activate it, thereby moving a platform to form a path for you. A small red spirit guides your way, showing where you need to head to next.Around a dozen levels are there and, admittedly, they won’t take hugely long for you to complete. Anyone who’s played a platformer before will know what to expect when it comes to button tapping and wandering. It’s clear that Adventures of Poco Eco - Lost Sounds is aimed at those who haven’t played many (if any) platforms before. -- 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


Nyrius Songo HiFi Wireless Music Receiver

The review sample we were sent is the retail version, and contains the Bluetooth puck, power adapter, auxiliary to RCA cable, standard 3.55mm audio cable and documentation.Now, once out of the box, if the main piece surprised me with its size — and it did, as I expected it to be a tad bigger — it definitely surprised me with regards to the weight, being only 2.4 ounces on a frame of 3.2 x 2.8 x 0.79 inches officially. The main unit is a rectangular cuboid, crafted in hard black plastic that is only broken up by required labeling, company logo and input/connection ports.The ports are for power, 3.55mm audio out and, interestingly enough, optical input. --Tre Lawrence


Kenu Stance Micro-USB Tripod

When it comes to a cool accessory, give me one that is small, portable, and effective. You know, just like what the Kenu Stance Micro-USB Tripod claims to be.To give one an idea of how compact this tripod is, it just about fits in the palm of one’s hand. Out of the box, it is fairly nondescript, with brushed sinc-alloy making up most of the legs. It possesses a neon green topper (the MicroMount, made of “grilamid” composite material) that fits into a micro-USB port; similarly colored thermoplastic rubber covers the end of the legs. At first glance, it is clear that the the legs are somewhat irregular, but are engineered to lay plush together when the unit is not being used. Altogether, it comes in at 0.94 x 0.47 x 3.1 inches and only 1.2 ounces. --Tre Lawrence


Jabra Sport Wireless+ Headphones

As we like to say, being connected is a privilege, more and more aspects of our lives are becoming portions of IoT, and our smartphones are becoming the de facto hubs. This is so very obvious in the area of fitness and health, where accessories are quite the rage.With Jabra’s Sports Wireless+ Bluetooth Headphones, we get to see a formidable option from an industry vet. --Tre Lawrence

Breath of Light Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on March 30th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: AIRY PUZZLES
Breath of Light is a pretty and stylish puzzle game, but one that players have probably seen before.
Read The Full Review »

Escape from the Pyramid Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on March 30th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: HIEROGLYPHIC HOPPING
Escape from the Pyramid is a fantastic platformer because of its great sense of style, speed, control, and challenge.
Read The Full Review »

Imps in Tokyo Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on March 26th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: IMP-RESSIVELY STYLISH
Imps in Tokyo is a cool and stylish little game that's capable of winning over just about anyone who isn't completely opposed to line-drawing mechanics.
Read The Full Review »

Pocket Mine 2 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on March 25th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: DIG DEEPER
Pocket Mine 2 does a reasonable job of improving on the original game's formula, although it hasn't captured its full potential.
Read The Full Review »

Road to Dragons Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on March 25th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: A WELL WORN PATH
This free-to-play puzzle/RPG injects new mechanics into a proven formula, but doesn't quite hit the mark.
Read The Full Review »