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

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 9th, 2015

Warm Your Winter With 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.

Dark Echo

Monsters aren’t what makes horror movies scary. It’s the idea of the monster that truly frightens us. The shrouded inhuman figure we can barely make out forces us to fill in the terrifying details with our own imagination. That’s why whenever the monster fully arrives, it just looks silly and the fear disappears. What makes Dark Echo one of the tensest, most ingenious horror games on the App Store is that it’s all about not seeing the monster. Based on the development team’s Ludum Dare game You Must Escape, Dark Echo puts players in the poor shoes of some anonymous victim stuck in a pitch black hallway. Virtually blind, the only way to move around is to rely on your other senses, particularly hearing. The game represents this Daredevil-style echolocation by showing sound waves as white lines bouncing around the black screen. Beyond just being a striking visual effect, this gives players enough information they need to progress while also leaving them incredibly vulnerable. --Jordan Minor

The Detail

It’s a good sign when finishing a game causes me to audibly yell “Nooo, don’t finish there!” at my iPad. It’s also a sign that the first episode of The Detail could perhaps do with being a little longer. It offers just enough to really grab your attention, but its premium price tag doesn’t quite match up with the quantity offered here. The App Store description suggests a mixture of The Walking Dead with the grim realism of The Wire. That’s about right, too. The Detail is a pretty dark game, even this early on, but it hooks you in fast. Following two very different characters – a grizzled and cynical veteran detective and a reformed criminal with a family – it’s not long at all before you’re drawn into the storyline. Action is much like other adventure games with you tapping on hotspots to interact with them in some way. Within a few minutes, you’re inspecting a body, trying to glean clues as to what’s unfolding. You can also talk to people, ask them questions, and adjust your tone accordingly. --Jennifer Allen

The Witcher Battle Arena

The Witcher Battle Arena is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) for people who have never played one before. It lacks the depth of most of the rest of the genre, as well as a few other features that would beguile you. Instead, it’s a bit too simple to really recommend, although I guess it works as a gateway to superior offerings. Unlike other MOBAs, each match is very straightforward with little opportunity for tactical play. Games are 3-vs-3, with teams having to capture the three checkpoints across each map in order to whittle down the opposition’s tickets. Starting out with 500 tickets, games typically take around 10 minutes to complete but will sometimes run a little longer. --Jennifer Allen

Potatoman Seeks The Troof

While games on the whole are noticeably simpler and easier than the games of the 80s and 90s, there’s also a genre full of games keen to remind you of why you enjoyed such challenges once upon a time. Potatoman Seeks The Troof is part of that genre, testing your ability to react exceptionally quickly. Some control issues aside, it’s mostly quite fun if all too brief. With the graphical prowess of an 8-bit console or computer, Potatoman Seeks The Troof is simple looking but also quite charming. Your sole objective is to dodge everything and survive. There’s a certain amount of pattern recognition involved here, but just when you think you fully get it down, it changes things up. Early on, you jump over various cacti. Then, inexplicably, one cactus leaps in the air – usually catching you out the first time round. So, Potatoman Seeks The Troof isn’t just about pattern recognition but also trial and error. Fortunately, it restarts quickly so you never lose out too much. --Jennifer Allen

Radiation Island

As far as conspiracy theories go, the Philadelphia Experiment is a good one to base a game around. Urban legend states the priject, which was supposedly conducted by the United States’ Army in 1943, turned a US Navy destroyer invisible – thus paving the way for technology that would hide other ships and weapons from enemy eyes. But where do “invisible” things go once they’re zapped out of our realm of existence? According to Radiation Island from Atypical Games, the answer is “some mysterious place that’s super-hostile.” Thus begins a game that’s all about survival, crafting, and exploration. --Nadia Oxford

Toca Kitchen 2

Toca Kitchen 2 is a companion to the popular Toca Kitchen – a favorite digital toy for both children and adults. I admire Toca Boca for their willingness to update their apps as well as to develop new versions of their creations in order to continue to challenge the creativity of young people in their various Toca Hair Salon apps, as well as Toca Kitchen apps – be it Kitchen Monsters, the original Toca Kitchen, and now Toca Kitchen 2. A few things have changed from the most recent update of Toca Kitchen; specifically the ability to combine ingredients both in the cooking process as well as on the plate to serve. The other major change here is the use of 3D graphics – as also seen in Toca Nature – when representing the three customers, as well as using muted shades of food textures to replicate the ingredients instead of the bright and colorful food illustrations I was fond of in the original app. --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:


Puro Sound Labs Kids Bluetooth Headphones

Here’s the problem: I’ve come to appreciate quality earphones the older I’ve gotten. I won’t describe myself as an audiophile, but I do enjoy the output a quality set of phones can bring. As such, I do have write a few. Wired, wireless, over-ear, in-ear, lounging, sport… you name it, and I probably have a set for the occasion. I baby them too. They’re cased when not in use, and issued in places that negate the possibility of silly mishaps, like (gasp!) sitting on them. All because I like having options, and dislike procuring stuff twice.
You know what is kryptonite to gadget longevity? Kids. Take my daughter for instance. Ariana Grande must be heard, ave outside hearing the SAME song played on loop, I have to reluctantly lend her a pair of mine. Why aren’t there more gadgets available for kids? That’s a question the Puro Sound Labs Kids Headphones looks to answer. --Tre Lawrence

City Island 3

City Island 3 plays somewhat like a simpler version of SimCity. The player begins with a empty island and must construct a city from the ground up. Houses are placed for your citizens to live in and just like SimCity it is best to construct ones that hold more people to make maximum use of space. Businesses can be placed as well and these are the ones that generate money for the player, using a familiar timer based system. Businesses must be staffed with employees and thus you need to balance the amount of houses and businesses so there is always enough staff to crew your profitable businesses. --Allan Curtis

Checkpoint Champion

Checkpoint Champion is a cool new driving game that rewards careful, skilful driving. Taking control of cute SD versions of well-known cars the player weaves their way to greatness. Checkpoint Champion is a great fit for mobile gaming. Using a simple control system, the player must weave their way through very short ten second challenges. These involve driving into checkpoints before time runs out. Each challenge features plenty of fiendish challenges like hairpin turns; handbrake turns, obstacles that need to be avoided and plain tough driving. Checkpoint Champion rewards precision and it is very satisfying to get a level right. --Allan Curtis

And have you met GEOFF? You should really meet GEOFF. GEOFF is going to change the way you think about video games. Come to AppSpy to find out why.

Finally, this week Pocket Gamer got you free currency in Midnight Star and free critters in Pokemon, picked the best iOS and Android games of January, and handed out its first 10/10 of 2015. What was the lucky game? You’ll just have to click here, won’t you?

Win Sennheiser Momentum headphones with Ingress

Posted by Rob Rich on January 22nd, 2015

Ingress is a free GPS-based game where you find portals in the real world via your iOS or Android device. These portals tend to be landmarks, and the aim of the game is to hack and take over as many as possible for your team - either the Resistance or the Enlightened.

Both headphones we have to give away are blue, the color of the Resistance, so your team has already been chosen!

With these fancy headphones you're bound to get even more involved in your urban exploring. Just watch out for traffic!

How to enter

All you need to do to enter is follow @148Apps on Twitter, and retweet the following tweet:

To find out more about Ingress check out the official site.

Good luck!

Competition Rules
The competition ends on January 23rd, 2015, at 6pm EST, and no entries will be accepted after this date.
The winners will be contacted via Twitter for address details - make sure your account can receive direct messages.
The competition is open to to readers worldwide.
148Apps parent company Steel Media's decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the winners of the competition.
By entering, you agree to the official rules and Steel Media's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

148Apps 2014 Holiday Shopping Guide for Gamers

Posted by Rob Rich on December 11th, 2014

Welcome, one and all, to another 148Apps holiday shopping guide! Are you having trouble figuring out what to get for a distant relative, new neighbor, or estranged second cousin? Thankfully there are people like us putting together handy-dandy holiday shopping guides for you! Whether you’re looking for new hardware and accessories, or just something a bit less impersonal than an iTunes gift card, we’ve got you covered.

Other 148Apps Holiday Gift Guides: for [Health Nuts] [Socializers] [Creative Types] [Power Users]

Today’s guide centers around iOS gamers. These are the folks who love their portable games and spend most of their morning commute matching pieces of candy or fighting immortal titans. If you’d like to make the gamer(s) in your life have an overall more pleasant and convenient gaming experience, or simply get them some really cool stuff to play, check out our list below for some ideas.

Take a Look at These Special Limited-Edition Plants vs. Zombies Earbuds from Skullcandy

Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 2nd, 2014

Crazy Dave has a crazy new product for you: Plants vs Zombie Headphones.

Skullcandy has partnered with Popcap Games to create a pair of stylish headphones to surround you in the sounds of zombies groaning and exploding in all their glory. The headphones come equipped with silicone gel tips in interchangeable sizes for a more comfortable fit, along with a one-button mic/remote and a flat cable that's easier to untangle and lasts through the wear and tear of continual use.

You can pick up a pair from the Skullcandy website for $24.99

Sharebrands Stereo Headphones Hardware Review

By Rob Rich on April 30th, 2014
Sharebrands' Stereo Headphones are a fairly affordable and comfy set of headphones.
Read The Full Review »

Phiaton Fusion MS 430 Headphones Hardware Review

By Carter Dotson on March 31st, 2014
Phiaton's Fusion MS 430 headphones provide a solid listening experience for those looking to get their money's worth out of good headphones.
Read The Full Review »

Jam Fusion Wireless Stereo Headphones Review

By Jeff Scott on December 19th, 2013
A decent budget set of Bluetooth headphones with an innovative feature that allows two pairs to listen to the same source. The build quality, comfort, and sound quality are just not quite there though.
Read The Full Review »

iFrogz Coda Forte Wireless Bluetooth Headphones Review

By Jeff Scott on October 8th, 2013
A nice, affordable pair of Bluetooth stereo over-the-ear headphones. With great battery life and sound, the looks are the only thing that could be improved. Highly Recommended.
Read The Full Review »

earHero Headphones Review

By Jeff Scott on October 3rd, 2013
When safe earphone use is a concern, and it probably should be in more instances than we normally make it, earHero is a great option as it allows users to monitor surrounding sounds as well as output from an iPhone. The downside is that they are not reall
Read The Full Review »

I-MEGO Throne Poison Headphones Review

By Rob LeFebvre on April 5th, 2013
The I-MEGO Throne Poision headset brings clear, brilliant, isolated sound in a comfortable, affordable package.
Read The Full Review »

Zombies, Run! Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jason Wadsworth on March 14th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: TERRIFYING EXERCISE FUN
Run along with a story of survival during a zombie apocalypse and out run zombie hordes while helping other survivors.
Read The Full Review »

Halloween Contest: Scribblenauts Remix!

Posted by Chris Kirby on October 31st, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: SPARK OF GENIUS :: Read Review »

Do you love Scribblenauts: Remix as much as we do? Then show your love with a Scribblenauts-inspired Halloween costume and enter to win either a vinyl Maxwell doll (like the one pictured here) or a pair of Scribblenauts headphones.

What do you have to do? It's simple. Just post a picture of yourself (or a family member - pets included) in Scribblenauts gear to our Facebook page, and we'll take it from there. Winners will be announced Tuesday, while you're recovering from your Halloween sugar binge. Get to it, wannabe Scribblenauts!

Hysteria Project

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Chris Hall on April 20th, 2009
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: CAUTIOUSLY RECOMMENDED
The Hysteria Project is a cinematic horror game that is surprisingly creepy. From the opening moments to the ending scene, there is a sense of urgency that is unparalleled on the iPhone. It's a shame that this game only lasts for about 1-1/2 hours because
Read The Full Review »


iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Chris Hall on March 19th, 2009
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: AVERAGE
If you have a super speedy router and need some wireless headphones to watch movies on a computer plugged into a TV that is across the room, this is the app for you. It would be hard to recommend this app otherwise, given the quality of some other apps th
Read The Full Review »

Apple's 2008 In-Ear Headphones Review

By Tom Hesser on December 19th, 2008
Apple's new in-ear headphone offering is a huge improvement, and they are a lower cost alternative to high-priced, 3rd party sets.
Read The Full Review »