With less than a week to go before Christmas, the rush is on to find the perfect gift. Why wade through endless streams of furious shoppers when the perfect app is right here? Take a look at what we’ve reviewed this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.
Sure, the Sonic the Hedgehog series is known as a classic now, but for me, the moment when the series jumped from being about “blast processing” and Not-Mario to being a classic in its own right was Sonic 2. It was a rather comprehensive game, laying the groundwork for much of the series’ conventions. So when Christian Whitehead got his chance to helm a remastering as he did with Sonic CD and the original Sonic, there wasn’t too much he could add. But what has been added preserves what made the original game great, modernizes just what needs to be done, and adds one very cool easter egg for die-hard fans. –Carter Dotson
For some unknown reason, no one seems to be able to make a decent Star Trek game. Some argue the last time a good Star Trek game came out, it was for the Sega Genesis. Some would even go farther back, saying it was on the NES. Regardless, every Star Trek related game from older PC games up to the most recent one based on the J. J. Abrams adaptation of the series have not received high praise from critics. So, does a simulation/management style mobile game fare any better? –Mike Deneen
The Jam Fusion Wireless Headphones are on the budget end of the spectrum for wireless headphones, coming in at just $63 on Amazon currently ($99 list). The headphones offer a modest 6 hour playback time, so make sure they are charged before that long flight. The headphones do have a decent sound, though they’re lacking a bit in the low end. I must admit that I have a big head but I can only judge comfort by the head I have, and these are too tight to use for any length of time. There is not enough give in the arm to allow the on-ear pads to sit comfortably on my ears. –Jeff Scott
Om Nom just can’t get enough of that sweet, sweet candy. Seriously, I think he has a problem. The lengths he would go to were pretty intense before, but in Cut the Rope 2 things are even crazier. He’s got more worlds to snack in, more obstacles to overcome, new creatures to help him, and unfortunately a few unwelcome monetization methods. Spiders have stolen Om Nom’s candy stash using a hot air balloon (naturally), and the little addict is dragged along with them as they make their escape. Literally: his adorable little foot gets tangled in the anchor line and he goes for a ride. Once free, players must stuff him with sweets as they work their way through 120 all-new levels. Cut the Rope 2 is in many ways similar to the original – what with the rope cutting and all – but a number of new elements have also been introduced that change the formula up quite a bit. –Rob Rich
I’m confident I wasn’t alone in being mildly worried about Ridge Racer Slipstream when a teaser trailer was released for it. Looking like it was going to pursue a freemium route, it made me twitchy. Fortunately, there was little need to worry. Ridge Racer Slipstream is a premium title that’s backed up by the availability of in-app purchases rather than reliant upon them. They’ll speed things along a fair bit, but a lack of an energy bar system is quite reassuring. –Jennifer Allen
If anyone were to take a generic straw poll of journalists who reviewed games during the PlayStation 2 era, asking what their “Game of the Generation” was, there is a very good possibility that Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas would top at least a few lists. Not only was it well received critically, it went on to smash top sales records all over the place. But the question remains: have the last nine years been kind to this storied classic? In the legendary words of Dr. Dre, “HELL YEAH.” –Blake Grundman
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:
Digital password safes are almost necessities for the productively mobile in this day. There are several options available to Android users, and this is a god thing, as this means only worthy candidates will step into the ring. Enter Sticky Password Manager and Safe from Lamantine Software. Sticky packs AES encryption, and boldly looks to be the consummate password solution; off the bat, I like having the choice if either using the app as a standalone option, or getting in on cloud sync on one or more devices for $20 a year. Signup is a breeze and can be done on mobile device or the web. –Tre Lawrence
A disintegrating plane. Scattered luggage. Iced up animals. A snowboard. Such is the world of Snow Spin: Snowboard Adventure from Android development vet Ezone.com. To understand the gameplay, one must understand the backstory. It revolves around a successful explorer (Professor Headwind), who, in his travels to exotic locations, has accumulated a veritable horde of exciting items. On the way home, an ill-fated shortcut has dire consequences; his plane breaks apart, strewing his property and plane parts on snow covered mountains. –Tre Lawrence
To say the truth, I’ve only played original Castle Raid for a little while, so my experiences with this sequel aren’t really comparable. I’ve seen enough to suggest that the games aren’t wholly different. Castle Raid 2 is just as fun, has a bit better graphics, more units, and a larger campaign – but the gameplay only differs in details. It’s still a hellish time-sinker, regardless of whether you play it with a friend, or against an AI. Story in Castle Raid 2 spins in a surprising direction from the original. While human armies are fighting against each other, the whole kingdom and nearby lands get overrun by orcs that drive the humans off their own land. This forces the old enemies to band together, and claim their lands back. This means that the blue units are now people, and the red – orcs, both having distinct armies with different looks – although they’re still completely identical in powers, abilities and costs. Honestly, my biggest – and probably, only – peeve with Castle Raid 2 is that I really wanted to see at least two sides with unique units and abilities. That would turn this fine strategy into an amazing one. –Tony Kuzmin
And finally, Pocket Gamer reviewed Walking Dead: Season 2, Republique, Colossatron, Cut the Rope 2, and Ridge Racer Slipstream. The guys chatted to Republique creator Ryan Payton about moving from Kojima to Kickstarter, and picked out the best tablets you can buy. All that, and loads more, here. And, in AppSpy’s latest video wrap-up, you can watch reviews of games like The Walking Dead: Season 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. They also went hands-on with new releases like Cut the Rope 2, Ridge Racer Slipstream, and Colossatron: Massive World Threat. Click here to see all these games in action.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is set to arrive on the App Store tomorrow with enhanced and remastered visuals. This includes new lighting effects, an enriched color palette, and improved character models. It also comes ready to use with all iOS controllers, and has three different touch-screen control schemes for players to customize.
Rockstar just announced that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will be making its way to iOS devices this December. It’s been enhanced with newly remastered graphics that include upgrades to the shadows, color palette, characters, and cars. It will also come with three different control options for driving and maneuvering, and it features full controller support for iOS. Rockstar has even tweaked the checkpoint system to make it easier for progression once it arrives on the App Store this December.
Every week, we endeavor to point the way to the games and apps that most made an impact in the App-o-sphere. Here’s this week’s picks:
Zombie Highway – Cars, guns, and zombies bring smiles to all the kids faces. What else do you really need to know to not already love this game? Steer the car to avoid obstacles that creep up in the way. Shoot zombies that are looking to get some juicy brain matter. Repeat until you are king of the Facebook rankings. Time to prove just how awesome those zombie survival skills are.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-08-27 :: Category: Games
The Hero HD – Those who don’t spend their days saving babies, putting out fires in a single breath, or stopping crime with a pinky finger can live vicariously through The Hero. Take up that iPad and enjoy the fun comic book style graphics. Prove those heroic deeds with online leader boards and achievements. Just leave the Superman costume in the closet, you are only playing an iPad game.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-09-09 :: Category: Games
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD – Time for iPad owners to rejoice and sing songs of praise. GTA: Chinatown Wars is finally getting the proper HD treatment. New controls specifically for the iPad are just the start here. Bigger, sweeter, and sexier visuals will grace your pupils. Game play will suck away hours of your time. Download this now…just do it!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-01-18 :: Category: Games
GetGlue for iPad – GetGlue is a social network for entertainment buffs. Now iPad owners get to see what all this fuss is about. Check-in when you crack a new book or fire up that B-rated horror movie. Check out what friends are up to. Even find some new jingle that might become a new ring-tone. Round off all this fun with stickers for all those ratings your slapping down on those TV shows.
PhotoArtista: Oil – Time to take those boring vacation photos and add some punch to them. PhotoArtista will take that photo and turn into and oil painting that even Van Gogh will be envious about. Choose from several oil styles, bush sizes, stroke variations, and effects. There is enough here to keep artists busy playing around for hours.
Last week, as most of you know, Rockstar Games announced that it was porting its critically acclaimed GTA: Chinatown Wars to the iPhone. Not only is this great news for fans of the game, though we do already have the superb Gangstar, but it also shows how seriously the iPhone is taken as a gaming platform. Rockstar is not a company to make gratuitous ports for every platform available (I don’t think the Wii will be getting GTA anytime soon), so this upcoming port shows that Rockstar believes in the power of the iPhone. If Rockstar will port GTA for the iPhone, what other big-name developers will follow? The days of the iPhone being a phone that you could play some gimmicky accelerometer games on are over. Sony, I would be afraid.
New ngmoco FPS trailer, now called Eliminate, reveals the use of micro-transactions
Ngmoco has released a new trailer for their upcoming Eliminate, and while the game is looking awesome, most people are fixating on another detail: you will only be able to play so many matches online for credits in one day, and if you want to play for credits again without waiting a day, you have to buy an “energy pack” using real money. So what’s the big deal? Well if you ask me, as long as ngmoco doesn’t abuse this, nothing. Here’s the kicker: if you run out of energy, you can still play online, you just won’t win credits. So the only people who will buy extra energy are the perfectionists who have to show how good they are. For people like me, who just want to play a game to have fun (isn’t that what a game is for), you can play however much you want and still have fun. So really, this is a great idea as long as two things hold true: the game is not originally priced above $6.99 and the amount of energy you get per day is reasonable. What do you guys think? Sound off in our comments below.
C64 Emulator finally approved by Apple
After months of back room deals, Apple rejections, and Apple non-communication, Manomio has finally gotten their superb C64 emulator has been approved! Obviously this won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re one for nostalgia, at $4.99, it’s worth picking up because of the high level of polish and solid controls. The emulator comes with five fully licensed games, but no BASIC emulator as was originally included, though it’s apparently suspiciously easy to enable the BASIC if you’re SSH savvy. Future games will be available via DLC at prices to be determined by the original IP holders. Next up, Manomio, a legal Atari emulator (I wish)!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-09-04 :: Category: Music
This, week, as a first for MMAHQ, we’re holding a contest where you can be the lucky winner of a $15 iTunes gift card! To enter, simply comment on this article with your prediction for what will happen at the 9.9.09 Apple event on Wednesday. What will the new iPod Touch look like? Will any huge games come out (like Madden)? Will Steve Jobs be there? The winner will be the person who has the most accurate or funniest prediction will be deemed the winner (that’s right, this is completely arbitrary)! Hopefully we can get some good participation, and if all goes well, we might have some more contests later on.
Apps of the Week
Modern Combat: Sandstorm
Modern Combat is the most visually impressive title on the iPhone to date, bar none. Models are good, textures are sharp, and everything is fully and accurately 3D. Not only this, but Gameloft actually nailed the controls, a first for an FPS on the iPhone. The gameplay, specifically the AI and level structure leave something to be desired, but Sandstorm remains a great accomplishment nonetheless, and it comes with a solid recommendation at the low price of $6.99.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-02 :: Category: Games
Samurai: Way of the Warrior
Samurai is one of the coolest games I’ve played on the iPhone. It’s a hack-and-slasher with great graphics, perfect controls, and gratuitous blood! Controls involve different combinations of swipes, and the gameplay is actually somewhat strategic – you have to balance small attacks with huge combos, because if you miss a huge combo, you leave yourself very prone to an attack. Execute moves correctly, and you might be lucky enough to see the body of the opponent samurai stop, then fall on the ground in two pieces, with blood squirting across the screen. Samurai comes with both a story mode and an endless or “dojo” mode. My only complaints about this game are that once you figure out the controls, it’s too easy – there’s an uneven difficulty curve, and that it does get repetitive at times. Still, I found myself playing this $2.99 gem much more than Sandstorm. Expect a full review soon, but until then, you really have to see a video to appreciate the awesomeness of this game.
Sweet Photoshop job done by the lovely folks at PSPWorld.com
Apparently unhappy that GangStar is the only 3D GTA style game on the iPhone, Rockstar Leeds has announced today that they will be bringing over GTA: Chinatown Wars to the iPhone later this fall. “Chinatown Wars is a perfect match for the iPhone and iPod touch,” said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games. “We are very excited to bring this incredibly ambitious version of Liberty City, with this level of detail and immersive gameplay on Apple’s new gaming platforms.”
Currently, GTA: Chinatown Wars is currently only available for the Nintendo DS, but is coming out later in the fall for the PSP. The official press release, from which I got the lovely quote above, can be found here for your reading enjoyment.
I don’t have many details now, but it’s safe to say that I’ll be scouring the internet for an official promo video. Enjoy!