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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!

LightRunner Armband Hardware Review

By Rob Rich on June 22nd, 2015
The Griffin LightRunner armband is a handy and safe way to store your iPhone or iPod while running at night.
Read The Full Review »

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!

The Misfit Shine is Getting a New Limited Edition Accessory - the EKOCYCLE

Posted by Rob Rich on May 19th, 2015
iPhone & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone and Apple Watch, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: :: Read Review »

The Misfit Shine Activity Tracker is a cute little fitness tracker that can be worn in a number of ways thanks the the assortment of accessories you can attach it to. And now a new limited edition option is available, called the EKOCYCLE Field Band.

This Week at 148Apps: April 27-May 1, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 5th, 2015

May Merriment 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.


Spy_Watch

Don’t you hate it when you’re off doing your own thing, minding your own business, then you get a message out of the blue from someone claiming to have known your father and that he used to run a spy agency? And don’t you hate it when you suddenly have to take over this randomly inherited spy agency? Stupid random obligations.That’s the general idea behind Spy_Watch. An agency your father used to run has been torn apart from the inside, and the only person left is a lone analyst with aspirations of becoming a field agent. You’ll have to train them in the arts of stealth, combat, and charm, while also sending them on missions to earn more money for more training. All in the name of completing missions that help you figure out who destroyed the agency and why.--Rob Rich


Disconnect

Have you ever wondered how much information is transmitted when you go to a new website? Wanted to know exactly what’s being tracked and where the unsecured connections are? If you can answer yes to any of that, then Disconnect might just be your kind of thing. It goes even further if you’re willing to pay a subscription fee, too. The free version of Disconnect offers you a way in which to search for various things or go on specific websites, without being tracked. Starting out, you can simply type in a search and find a website that way, or you can opt to go directly to the site. In both cases, everything is done anonymously with your searches hidden away. Once you go onto a site, you can tap on a seeing eye icon and more details are offered. --Jennifer Allen


My Little Pony-Cutie Mark Chronicles

Young children are fairly certain to enjoy the colorful and vibrant nature of My Little Pony - Cutie Mark Chronicles. A mixture of storytelling and simple mini-games, the latter might prove to be slightly tricky in places, but it’s all fairly heartwarming stuff.It tells the story of how six ponies, including Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Applejack, came to discover their own unique talents and benefited from a Cutie Mark highlighting what they can do. To you and me, that’s a cute icon on their back such as apples or balloons. Each tale is fairly good at dispensing morals while also reminding kids that everyone has their own talent somewhere. You listen and read through the words with a quick drag taking you to the next page.--Jennifer Allen


Jurassic World: The Game

You’d be forgiven for mistaking Jurassic World: The Game for Jurassic Park Builder at first glance. Both games involve building or re-building a dinosaur theme park, and both are laden with extinct animals. Aside from general similarities though, this isn’t just a re-skinning meant to capitalize on an upcoming film release. I mean of course it’s supposed to capitalize on the film, but… I’ll just stop myself here. Much has been streamlined this time around. You still have to hatch dinosaurs and clear away the overgrown portions of Isla Nublar, but you won’t also have to spend time and resources removing rocks and other debris after you’ve already cleared an area. You also don’t have to worry about juggling two separate types of food for your critters - this time there’s just one food source that covers both herbivores and carnivores (this is a lot more awesome than it sounds). --Rob Rich


Forgotten Memories

Forgotten Memories is a good survival horror game on the wrong format. It’s creepier and more atmospheric than Lost Within, as well as a lot tougher, but it suffers due to its uncomfortable combat and an old-fashioned save system that struggles on mobile. There’s the almost formulaic setting of a woman waking up in a strange place and attempting to piece together what’s going on. While it could feel cliched, you’re too busy being unnerved by mannequins and encountering strange people to think too much about it. Often, Forgotten Memories feels more like an adventure game than regular survival horror, with plenty of exploration and doors to unlock. There are puzzles too, keeping you involved in all its goings on. Lighting is frequently restricted with a flashlight/torch that offers limited battery life and requires you to wait to recharge at certain points. It adds to the atmosphere well, proving quite unsettling at times. In particular, who wants to sneak around amongst a bunch of mannequins? You’ll be consistently nervous and rightly so. --Jennifer Allen


Cube Koala

Cube Koala is one of those puzzle games that's almost too easy to understand, but somehow takes its simple concepts and creates nightmarishly difficult levels around them. Games that have similar design philosophies include Super Meat Boyand Escape from the Pyramid. Make no mistake though,Cube Koalais not just an also-ran in this category of super-difficult games. It's remarkable because of how pure and intense its brand of difficulty and level design is.So, how simple is it to play Cube Koala? Players control the cube-shaped Koala through the use of only two buttons. One of these buttons rotates the game environment 45 degrees clockwise, while the other button does the reverse. As a koala trapped in a tesseract full of traps that include spikes, fireballs, and other deadly traps, players must use the force of gravity to flip the koala and reach the exit door. --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


Kingston USB 3.0 High-Speed Media Reader

It’s a tough life. I’ve whined about the first world problem of having to keep up with too many devices. Review units, old retro devices, rooting toys… they add up. When it comes to review units, I’m loathe to use my personal cloud networks with them, so I tend to do data transfer locally via flash storage. It’s easy to, say, take a picture via an SD card and move the SD card to a new device. Yes, there are more efficient ways to do this, but stubborn people think differently.--Tre Lawrence


Newer Technology Power2U AC 20A Outlet

I have a problem.Come to my house, and you can see the manifestation. It isn’t always my fault. Blame the device makers for sending devices to review. Or my need to tinker with retro devices (trying to get my T5 to tether to an M8 is a worthy endeavor); Probably has at least a little bit to do with the fact that full-powered devices give me a high. In any case, when it’s all said and done, one issue inevitably arises.So many devices, so little time. --Tre Lawrence


Crayola Trace & Draw

In a world gone electronically amok, it is refreshing to see accessories aimed at kids… the type of gear that harnesses the power of mobile electronics in relatively atypical ways. Back in the day, we could have jamborees with some charcoal and paper.It feels like the Crayola Trace & Draw is a system that hearkens back to those days, while being firmly planted in the present.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus our hands-on experience with The Knights of Pen & Paper 2nd Edition.

Here's Another Roundup of Notable Apple Watch Apps and Games

Posted by Rob Rich on April 27th, 2015

Now that the Apple Watch is publically available (kind of), even more apps and games have been popping up for it. Some of them are updates to existing software, others are brand new. The main thing is that they're all for the Apple Watch, and if you're looking to expand the wearable's library then we've got a list for you. Our previous list is also available for perusal right here.




Apps


8 : Sticker Messenger

By SHAPE GmbH

App Store Description:

"8 is made for a fast and intuitive Watch-centric chat.Invite your friends to chat by email or user name.Drag and drop your free stickers with 8.And if stickers are not enough, add some text.Endless communication, infinite as 8's shape.

We made 8 with love, stay tuned for new stickers and features!"

This Week at 148Apps: March 30-April 3, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 6th, 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.


Vietnam...'65

Vietnam…’65 isn’t like a lot of other strategy games out there. It’s more like a board game if anything, with its turn-based movement being much more than just a way of slowing down combat. Channeling its PC roots, it’s a pretty lengthy game to play on the iPad, which could be a deciding factor on whether it suits your needs or not. There’s no campaign mode to speak of which is a significant misfire. Instead, you dive into a randomly designed level each time, working towards unlocks and new ranks, rather than seeing a story unfold. Levels start to look quite similar after a time, with each stage easily taking over an hour to complete. Vietnam…’65 isn’t for those wanting a quick fix. --Jennifer Allen


Tiny Dangerous Dungeons

Gamers who grew up in the late 80s and early 90s will confidently state that their first taste of portable gaming came from the Nintendo Game Boy. It was a great system at the time and some of its games have remained highly entertaining. If you’re as nostalgic for the time as I am, the style of Tiny Dangerous Dungeons is really going to tickle you. It looks just like a title from that era, and it plays pretty well, too. It’s a Metroidvania inspired adventure at heart. You play an adventurer as he explores a dungeon, discovering new abilities, and backtracking quite a bit, all in a bid to reach the exit. Relatively early on, you’ll come across a map that highlights everywhere you can go. It seems a little restrictive and small but like any classic Metroid-eque title, there’s a lot of backtracking. --Jennifer Allen


UAG Folio Case

At first glance, it looks a tough, complex cookie. Upon closer inspection, it's clear that at least one of those adjectives holds true. In hand, the empty UAG Folio Case looks like it means serious business. It opens up as a folio usually does - much like a book cover - but it also has an extra trick up its sleeve in that the front cover doubles-up and wraps around in such way that that the back cover can be flipped up and out. It creates a pseudo-three-layered setup, which is perfect for the secondary purpose: creaing a back support so that the tablet can be used upright in landscape. The composite material that most of the case is covered in looks a bit like kevlar, with tough stitching melding pieces together. The inner lining of the front cover comes in soft black felt - perfect for the screen it will be in contact with - and the front cover also incorporates a strap. Altogether, it exudes a sense of being heavy duty but is still quite light. --Tre Lawrence


DuckTales Remastered

I’m not going to lie, I flipped out a little when I first saw that teaser for DuckTales Remastered back in 2013. The NES version of DuckTales has been close to the top of my nostalgia list for many, many years - right up there with Mega Man 2 and Elevator Action to name a couple - so seeing it get a high definition remaster was pretty amazing.But that was about two years ago. By now the shock of the new has worn off, and we’re left with trying to figure out whether or not DuckTales Remastered is a worthwhile iOS port. It kind of is, but it’s got a little bit of a control issue. --Rob Rich


Layout

If you’ve never used a collage making app before, then Layout will probably seem pretty useful to you. Unfortunately, anyone with a passing interest in collage creation probably already has a superior photo editing tool on hand. While Layout is easy to use, it’s also pretty basic.The simplicity involved in using Layout is pretty great. A matter of choosing up to 9 photos before picking out one of many layouts that might look good for your chosen images, there’s not really much more you need to do. In terms of speediness, Layout is unmatched. You can choose to move photos around by simply holding and dragging, or pinching to zoom in and out. There are also options to mirror an image, replace one, or flip them around.--Jennifer Allen


SMART Adventures Mission Math 1

It’s a depressing fact that girls are all too often put off studying science and mathematical based subjects because, well, there’s a whole wealth of debate as to why. Regardless of why you might feel that’s the case, SMART Adventures Mission Math 1 is an excellent game to entice your young children, daughters in particular, into enjoying such subjects again. Working much like a conventional adventure game, you have to figure out why your home, a space station, has been sabotaged as well as fix its various problems. This is done through completing a series of mathematical based problems, as well as exploring the space station to find out more. It’s simply done but with such a story based focus, it’s immediately more interesting than merely going from puzzle to puzzle. --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


Nova Blox External Battery

The Juno Power Nova Blox External Battery is a mobile option that looks to give extended life to our mobile devices.It’s a relatively small piece, mostly silver with deliberate black accents. It has a button on the side, with a micro-USB charging port and what looks to be a prominent LED light on one end, and on the opposite end, there is a USB outlet port. Officially, it comes in at 2.87 x 2.01 x 0.83 inches, and weighs 4.65 ounces. Overall, it is barely bigger than a box of tic tacs, which makes it quite portable and even fairly pocketable. The retail package also provides a micro-USB cable (which can be used to charge the unit and also as an output cable) as well as documentation. We got the silver, and there are other trim options.--Tre Lawrence


INSTEON Home Remote Control

We’ve said it so much that it has to be true: The Connected Home isn’t the future. It is definitely the present, and the smartphone is the new control panel. INSTEON is front and center in this area, and we were eager to check out its customizable solutions.The Starter Kit INSTEON sent us to review contains some of the elements that connect one’s home; the retail packaging contains the INSTEON Hub and two on/off modules. The former serves as the brain of the system, while the latter serve as elements that help effect control.--Tre Lawrence


Nyrius Songo HiFi Wireless Music Receiver

Understanding what the Nyrius purports to do is the key to understanding the proposed functionality; it works as a wireless receiver that collects signals from a Bluetooth source — like an Android device — and allows the audio to be played on a sound system that accepts wired signal from the puck itself. In essence, it bridges a Bluetooth source to an output unit (like a stereo or sound system without a Bluetooth chip) so that, say, music can be played. This is especially useful when one wants to continue using traditional devices, or even for folks like me, who prefer wired connections but like or need to go wireless for one reason or another.--Tre Lawrence

UAG Folio Case Review

By Tre Lawrence on April 2nd, 2015
A potent combination of form and function.
Read The Full Review »

How the Apple Watch Could Change the Face (har-har) of iOS

Posted by Rob Rich on March 31st, 2015

The Apple Watch is still a ways out, but my previous musings on the wearable’s various features got me thinking: what might it be like a year after launch? Two years? Five years? What if it becomes a symbiotic part of the iOS framework to the point that it practically comes packaged with the iPhone?

Of course it’s going to be a while until we know for sure whether Apple’s latest piece of hardware will be considered a hit or a miss, but for argument’s sake let’s fast-forward a few years and pretend the Apple Watch was a resounding success. This is how I think it could permanently change the way we mobile.

For starters, I expect that we’ll see a big divide between the types of software available for the Apple Watch versus just the iPhone. The Apple Watch, due to its small screen and the fact that it’s pretty much designed to be interacted with in short busts, will probably have far more apps and far fewer games - I’m thinking weather, message alerts, maps and GPS functions, and all sorts of stuff nobody’s thought of yet. I’m sure there will still be games for it, but apps will serve a much more significant purpose.

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

Impecca Bamboo Bluetooth Keyboard Hardware Review

By Tre Lawrence on March 25th, 2015
Impecca wants you to go slack-jawed over its Bamboo Bluetooth Keyboard.
Read The Full Review »

This Week at 148Apps: March 2-6, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 9th, 2015

Your App News and Reviews Source


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.

AG Drive

Wondered what futuristic street-racing looks like? Check out AG Drive. It’s the future — 2260 to be more exact — and “anti-gravity” drive-powered machines are all the rage. Fantastic spacecraft fill the air, interstellar travel is commonplace, and everything is done at a brisk pace. Racing has also evolved, and as to be expected, the new drives are at the root of it. Spurred on by the craziest, windiest race tracks imaginable, we get the backing story for AG Drive. And the environments in the game help define it a great deal. The graphics are slick, but stop short of being pretentious, and the vehicles characterized therein look realistically futuristic. The animations are vivid, and the laws of physics are not overly disrespected in the name of action. --Tre Lawrence


Overkill 3

Craneballs is back. With Overkill 3. It’s a gritty affair, with a plot line that yanks the player into a dystopian future that lacks hope or societal order. Our main character is someone who is willing to unite the resistance against the evil Faction, and bring hope to mankind — all while sporting the tightest digital haircut, like, ever. Overkill 3 is in the same vein as the previous two titles: cover system rules the roost. One big change from the earlier iterations is the fact that the player perspective is shifted from first to third person. This does make for some subtle changes, but the action is definitely not in short supply. --Tre Lawrence


Meteorz

It sounds crazy, but the App Store really does feel like the true successor to arcades. It’s full of tiny, extremely varied games still figuring out just what to do with a new entertainment technology and the new audience that comes along with it. Plus, lots of those games are trying to infinitely steal your money. Games like Meteorz make this metaphor even easier, in a good way. In Meteorz players work to protect planets each going through their own personal Armageddon, as in the Bruce Willis movie. Meteors hurtling towards the planets threaten to destroy them, so players hop between worlds to defend them. If the minimal, angular, crystalline sci-fi visuals and haunting spacey synth songs weren’t enough of a throwback, each round plays something like a modern version of arcade classic Asteroids. However, instead of piloting a spaceship, players rotate armed defense satellites around the fixed planet to target obstacles. --Jordan Minor


Heavenstrike Rivals

Heavenstrike Rivals is a free-to-play strategy game by Square Enix. In it, players duke it out against each other or AI in the quest to prove the supremacy of their squad. With some unique gameplay systems and some new twists on familiar ideas, Heavenstrike Rivals is really fun, though a little bit intimidating. Part of Heavenstrike Rivals‘s promotion on the App Store mentions that the game is a trading card game (TCG), though it doesn’t look like one. Much like some card games, like Magic: the Gathering and SolForge, players do construct armies of creatures and send them down one of three lanes with the ultimate goal of bringing the opposite players’ life score to 0. However, most presentations of the creatures in the game are fully animated and move around the game like some kind of papercraft puppets, which makes the whole thing looks really sharp. Players that are particularly fond of the steampunk aesthetic, anime, or both should be pleased with the work that has gone into making Heavenstrike Rivals look the way it does. --Campbell Bird


This is My Weather-Meteorology for Kids

Like much of the country, we are experiencing a rough winter this year, oftentimes with days too cold and snowy to spend a lot of time outside. During these times of difficult weather, I have enjoyed testing the new app This is My Weather – Meteorology for Kids – a content-rich interactive application that thoughtfully uses a child narrator to explain different weather topics. First, children will have a chance to dress a character of their choice in weather-appropriate gear. This app may generate a temperature to dress for as well as allow parents to change up the need for different outdoor apparel and to dress for local weather. I enjoy this section, especially as one can choose a boy or girl of many different skin tones to dress, but I would love to be able to pre-select what is considered an appropriate outfit for my child’s specific needs the way one can adjust the temperature itself as here the character will announce that he is too cold, hot, or just right. --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

Misfit Shine

The new Misfit Shine is hardly new, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that plenty of people still consider it a piece worth at least trying out. We were eager to get the review unit Misfit sent us. The unit itself is tiny, barely bigger than a quarter in circumference; the unit contains a battery, and fits into a watch-like band. It’s quite light, almost slender on the wrist, but reasonably nondescript for something crafted from aircraft grade aluminum. It is waterproof, and grayish in color (there are other color choices), which mostly hides the series of LEDs when they are not lighted.. --Tre Lawrence


Runes of Camelot

Camelot (of course) is our location and, of course, there ain’t no Camelot without Arthur. Amelia and Merlin are out to help the noble monarch save Camelot by thwarting the evil Morgana’s plans, and they do this with runes or special potions. To begin the game, one gets to choose a character, and each is said to have a unique storyline. At its core, Runes of Camelot is a match-3 puzzle game. As such, the idea is to get a line of three or runes of the same color, horizontally or vertically. Getting three straight (via gesture swipe) dissolves the matched set, and they are replaced by pieces that fall from the top. The pieces are randomized, but any triples created from swaps also dissolve and are replaced. When a set of four pieces are formed, a diamond-looking rune with special powers is formed. These runes can be manipulated to create column shattering reactions that help finish levels. Regular matches yield special powers that are diverse and helpful in time crunches. --Tre Lawrence

This Week at 148Apps: January 5 - January 9, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on January 12th, 2015

New Year - New Apps!


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.

Marvel Contest of Champions

One of the first comics I can remember buying with my own money as child, purchased from a newsstand near my great-grandmother’s apartment, was an issue of Marvel’s Contest of Champions. Contest of Champions was groundbreaking in a couple of different areas: it was Marvel’s first publication released in a “limited series” format, and it was also one of the first attempts to blatantly strip out any attempt at more nuanced story arc by instead offering three issues of heroes clashing against one another in page after page of epic battles as cosmic puppet masters tugged at their strings. Despite revisiting the concept a couple of times in intervening years, nothing ever quite captured that same spectacle that my five year old self felt while leafing through those pages. However, Marvel and Kabam are dragging the old chestnut out of mothballs again in the form of a head-to-head fighting game. And despite a couple of issues, it’s actually not the worst licensed game I’ve seen. --Rob Thomas


Area 777

How lucky do you feel? Area 777 is heavily dependent on luck, so you’d better hope that you’re a naturally fortuitous person. Thanks to that dependency, it’s not overly gripping. Even when it eventually introduces new chip types it feels like too little, too late. The concept behind it is that it’s part slot machine, part tower defense game. In reality, it’s almost all slot machine with a hint of tower defense. Each level consists of a slot machine, with enemies slowly making their way across it in order to cause you damage. You have to hit the spin button and, mostly, hope that the reels line up and you take them out along the way. There is some element of strategy in there, mostly through the acquisition of chips, but it’s fairly basic. These chips frequently correspond to an element, such as fire or ice, thereby allowing you to set the enemies on fire or freeze a reel in a particular position. It’s helpful but hardly enough to make you feel fully in control of the game. --Jennifer Allen


SimplePlanes

SimplePlanes gives players all the tools they need to build airplanes from scratch. But successfully making use of those tools means wrapping your head around all the different parts and physics that, presumably, actual engineers need to consider. The game tries to help ease players in with its extensive manuals explaining the difference between an airfoil and a fuselage, but absorbing that data takes time and practice. There are a few convenient shortcuts, like the ability to mirror the plane so players won’t have to waste time sculpting the perfect wing twice. But like Minecraft, the best rewards – whether it’s a speedy biplane or functioning VTOL aircraft – will come to those with the patience to literally construct them piece by piece. --Jordan Minor


Luna League Soccer

Luna League Soccer is the kind of soccer game that you’ll dive into for a few minutes here and there, but not exactly think too deeply about. It’s an arcade sports game through and through, meaning it takes seconds to master. On the left of the screen you have a floating joystick, while the right offers a contextual button that enables you to shoot, pass, tackle, or switch players depending on what’s going on during the match. It’s very simple to pick up, with each team bringing their own special moves to the fold. --Jennifer Allen


Maximum Overdrive

The graphics are pleasantly glitzy; the several environments showcase the developer’s penchant for being able to highlight artistic perspective and use of lighting and corresponding virtual colors. The animations are cool, and one can almost taste the kicked-up dirt. When the optional sound effects are tossed in, it’s hard not to appreciate the complete package of sights and sounds. When it comes to gameplay, off the bat I liked that I could get into the nitty-gritty with a minimum of interactions. As noted, this is mostly about destroying other combatants without being destroyed, and the tool at hand is a heavily weaponized truck on big wheels. The controls are virtual in nature, with buttons for shooting, accelerating, braking/reversing, and steering – the last of which can be switched to tilt or arrow control. With this, and after one picks the format (multiplayer vs single player), it’s off to the races. --Tre Lawrence


Hi.Q Health IQ

Online quizzes are a big deal these days. They’ve always been fairly popular but the rise of Buzzfeed, Playbuzz, Zimbio, and so many other places has really strengthened our love of answering a bunch of questions to figure out what animal/TV show character we are. It turns out such structures can be used for good as well, such as in the case of Hi.Q – Health IQ. It’s an app that offers you thousands of health-related questions, devised by experts, and can therefore teach you some valuable facts. Dive in and you’ll immediately notice that Hi.Q – Health IQ is stylishly laid out. Looking like it’d easily fit into a lifestyle magazine, each quiz is clearly described along with an attractive photo to further sell its purpose. Some quizzes may offer a lot of different questions but they rarely take too long to complete. Each time you answer a question the answer or an explanation is shown, meaning you’re constantly learning. --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

Amazing Ninja

Ninja. Running. Swords. Enter Amazing Ninja. Side-scrolling action is the name of the game. Our protagonist martial artist runs aggressively from left to right, looking to avoid or confront different obstacles on the left. The ninja is stick-figurish in appearance, is armed with a sword and has enviable ups at speed; jumping and slashing are his only means of recourse. Tapping on the left side of the screen invokes jumping; on the right causes a slashing motion. The first type of obstacle are the blue-colored “deserters” that are seemingly fleeing the very conflagration that our hero is eager to get to. These terrified soldiers can be dangerous in their haste, and can end a run by making contact. Slashing the deserters has dire consequences, and as such, our boy has to jump over the blues. --Tre Lawrence


Olixar Light Bulb Speaker

We get pitched a fair amount of accessories to take a look at, and, frankly, some are very, uh, unique. Not all work, either; some are ambitious, but might have a fatal flaw. Or two. Or seven. In any case, mobile accessories can be interestingly varied. I’d like to say I am open-minded, and I do feel like a decent assessor of product, but every now and then, I am surprised. But hold a sec; let’s talk about the Olixar Light Bulb Speaker. The name says it all: it’s a light bulb that doubles as a bluetooth-enabled speaker. The review package MobileFun sent us highlights the unit; in hand, it is mostly white, with a gold mid-section. It is more streamlined than “regular” bulbs, but also weighs a bit more. It sports LED light too, and emits 3W light (which the distributor says is equivalent to 50W from a standard bulb. It screws into regular receptacles (the package comes with an adapter piece for European light sources) and works the same way. Turn on the switch, and it bathes the room in bright, warm light. It functions well upright and upside down. --Tre Lawrence


Amazon Fire TV

The past couple of years have definitely been the years of the streaming media unit. All the big players have a hat in the Big C, and with good reason: we like content. Lots of it. Enter Fire TV, the still-relatively-new offering from Amazon. Amazon provided us a gaming bundle package to check out, containing the black unit, black remote, power cables, batteries, and the optional bluetooth gamepad (one should ensure one has HDMI cable). It’s fairly svelte, a bit smaller than one would guess, coming in at 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.7 inches and just under 10 oz. It has a quad core processor and 8 GB of storage, and supports output of 720 x 1080p up to 60fps. Specs aside, there is little to dislike about Amazon Fire TV. It looks good, and is a veritable source of content. It has a lot of the go-to programs that can be downloaded to it: Netflix, WatchESPN, Pandora, Crackle, Showtime Anytime (based on provider) and, of course, Amazon Instant and Amazon Music, among other offerings. Setup is easy, and the included control is definitely a huge positive. On its own, as a streaming accessory, it holds its own against the competition. --Tre Lawrence

Also this week, Pocket Gamer reviewed Gunbrick and Sol Invictus, played Metamorphabet and Need for Speed: No Limits, and figured out how to play PS4 games on any Android device. All that and loads more, right here.

And finally, AppSpy kicks 2015 off by giving you the definitive rundown of the best Nintendo-esque games on mobile, showing you the first gameplay video of Need For Speed: No Limits, a world exclusive look at Team17's Flockers, and much more. Join us, won't you?

10 Digits Learning Toy Hardware Review

By Amy Solomon on December 18th, 2014
10 Digits is a classically-styled wooden numbers learning toy that work with the iPad to teach early math concepts.
Read The Full Review »

This Week at 148Apps: December 1-5, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 8th, 2014

Apps Are 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.

Peggle Blast

Take the monetization format of Candy Crush Saga and add the wonderfully addictive Peggle, and what do you get? Peggle Blast – a suitably enjoyable yet similarly cynical version of everyone’s favorite adaptation of Pachinko and Bagatelle. First things first: Peggle Blast plays just as well as any other Peggle game. It’ll still occasionally feel a touch random, but it’s satisfying for the most part. Dragging a finger around the screen manipulates where the ball goes, with holding it down will magnify the area. Lining things up perfectly to perform a loop-the-loop in order to take out loads of tiles at once is particularly satisfying. And, of course, Ode to Joy is still in there for when you succeed at a level. --Jennifer Allen


Wicked Lair

It’s like some kind of unspoken rule that floats through the universe: good guys build towers to the heavens, and bad guys build underground lairs that go down, down, down. Wicked Lair by Stefan Pratter is all about building a hideout that stretches down into the Earth’s molten bowels. If that’s not enough of a hint, let’s just say it outright: Wicked Lair casts players as a lair-loving bad guy. And that’s OK, because foiling goodie-goods with a trapped underground hideout is as fun as it sounds. Wicked Lair is a mash-up between tower defense and tower building. Players assume the role of a berobed baddie whose subterranean lair is under constant threat from heroes that don’t know how to keep their noses in their own business. --Nadia Oxford


Offroad Legends 2

Clearly heavily influenced by the Trials series of games, Offroad Legends 2 is a less refined but mostly enjoyable physics-based racer. It can’t quite compare with the mighty Trials, but given the limited options for the franchise on iOS it’s a worthy substitute. With plenty of variety at hand, you won’t just be racing motorbikes either. Instead, you’ll be using trucks, buses, monster trucks, and more to negotiate the various obstacles within each level of Offroad Legends 2. That comes with its own issues – namely that you never quite get fully comfortable with one vehicle before you move onto the next, but this does keep things interesting. --Jennifer Allen


Earn to Die 2

At first, Earn to Die 2 is a lot of fun. Kind of like an endless runner but with more of a structure, you attempt to drive a vehicle from one end of the level to the other. The problem is that there are waves of zombies in the way, plus the terrain itself is far from safe. The other, more significant problem is that things soon turn a bit repetitive and Earn to Die 2 turns out to be too long for comfort. That’s a real shame, as early on Earn to Die 2 easily has that ‘one more go’ factor. Controlling your vehicle is simple enough with buttons to the right adjusting for acceleration or using a boost, while the left side of the screen offers buttons that dictate the trajectory of your vehicle while you’re in the air – much like in a physics based racing game. At first you can mostly get away with hitting the accelerate button and seeing what happens, but soon enough those little tweaks make all the difference in helping you explore. --Jennifer Allen


Bruce Lee: Enter the Game

When dealing with the legacy of its title character, Bruce Lee: Enter the Game smartly opts for a more old-school approach – in more ways than one. The gameplay is classic beat ‘em up and has players swiping the screen to clobber goons with fast fists and feet of fury. It’s not the deepest fighting style, but it unfolds at a blistering pace that feels great to execute. In fact, it’s when the system awkwardly tries something more complex, like charging special moves to take down guarded opponents, that it stumbles. Players can also augment Bruce with limited shields and health boosts as well as a power-amplifying fury attack. They can even give him outfits lifted from his films, each with their own bonuses. --Jordan Minor


Duckie Deck Bird Houses

Toddlers and preschool-aged children will be delighted to try the new app, Duckie Deck Bird Houses, which allows them to explore this helpful craft. From first glimpse, adults will marvel at the use of the depth of field that this app has to offer as a lush green and mildly interactive landscape can be seen in the distance while one chooses a tree to build a birdhouse for. I am fond of the look of all of the tree selections as they are various shades of brown and grey – wonderful representations of real trees that most people have come across, complete with distinguishing features such as maple leaves, apples, or acorns. They are all very nice choices that will jog the memories that children have of trees from their adventures in nature. Also of note is the well-crafted background music used throughout – upbeat and a little quirky, which adds to the overall experience for both children and adults. --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

MageCraft: The War

Magecraft: The War is yet another in a very long line of freemium city builders for mobile. Aping games like Clash of Kings and injecting a well-worn fantasy vibe does it stand out? Magecraft starts off a lot like most city builders. Starting with a threadbare base, the player must construct buildings and crank out troops to capture resources from enemies and become stronger and gain experience to become even stronger and so on. All player cities exist on the same map so rather than the arbitrary “neighbors” system common in other social games cities must be marched to to be attacked and distance always matters. --Allan Curtis


Antec PULSE Lite Bluetooth Headphones

Antec should be known by now for its mostly great, affordable accessories; we’ve had the opportunity to look at several of its offerings. Its line of headphones, as exemplified by the PULSE (which we reviewed a few months ago), are nice value propositions, and we expected similar of the Antec PULSE Lite Bluetooth Headphones that were sent to us to review. So what comes in the box? Well, there’s the white headphones, matching white micro-USB charging cable, and ( I liked this small touch) a simple black drawstring carrying pouch. --Tre Lawrence


Red War

Red War may look a bit like Clash of Clans but it is in fact a mobile clone of War Commander, a Facebook game that allows players to build a base and take the fight to other players. Red War has the player take control of a basically non-existent base. After rebuilding some basic structures and receiving a small force of units the player must build a base, crank out more troops and generally roll over anyone who gets in their way. The game features a pretty familiar set of units. There are the ever useful rifle armed infantry, heavy machine gunners and snipers. Later on vehicles such as tanks and APCs come into play and medics and engineers round out the tactical options. --Allan Curtis

And finally, Pocket Gamer returned from the Basque Country with the winners of another Big Indie Pitch, reviewed Game of Thrones and Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, picked the best iOS and Android games of November, and recommended some freebies to hold you over until Christmas. Check it all out right here.