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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.

GoatPunks

 
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GoatPunks is kind of a hard game to wrap your mind around, but let’s try anyway. Players control a goat (naturally) competing for domination on a mountain full of other player-controlled goats. They can earn a few points by knocking opponents off of their perch or collecting rabbits that pop up and grant various abilities. But the real jackpot comes from making it to the top and staying there until the end. However, heavy are the horns that wear the crown, and although top players can try to defend their position by raining thunder and fire on their foes below, get usurped and they’ll tumble all the way back to the bottom where they started. With all of that nonsense, GoatPunks has the potential to be a silly fun multiplayer party game, but the execution is lacking – or maybe it’s just on the wrong platform. The game encourages the quick tactical thinking and local good-natured trash talk of something like Super Smash Bros. but dragging around the goat from block to block feels sluggish and indirect, while silent online matches against strangers are alien and lifeless since it’s hard to tell if anyone even knows what’s going on. Reaching the top of the mountain only to get bumped off at the last minute should be this huge, dramatic reversal, but instead it just becomes an endless series of anticlimaxes set to music that sounds suspiciously “borrowed.” –Jordan Minor

XCOM: Enemy Within

 
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Enemy Unknown was (and still is) a fantastic reimagining of one of the greatest PC strategy games of all time. But Enemy Within is better. This new iteration isn’t a sequel, but rather a kind of rerelease with extra content. However, it’s not simply a few new maps and some new hair styles. Enemy Within boasts a lot more additions than just maps – although it does have those, too. There’s a new human faction to fight against that goes by the name of Exalt, and they exist purely to muck-up your operation. In order to deal with them, you’ll need to send one of your agents to infiltrate several of their numerous cells – then send an extraction squad in after them to collect vital information. Once you’ve completed enough of these missions, you should be able to narrow down the location of the radical faction’s HQ and can shut them down for good. But be warned: Exalt has access to many the same goodies that your own soldiers do, which means you’ll need to change up your tactics. –Rob Rich

Candy Crush Soda Saga

 
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Had your fix of Candy Crush Saga and you’re still desperate for more? Well, Candy Crush Soda Saga will be perfect for you then, as it’s a lot like the previous game. It offers up a few new game modes to try out, but ultimately it’s more match-3 gaming done well – albeit with plenty of opportunities for monetization. As before, you’ll be matching candies to gain points and work towards the next stage. There are bottles of fizzy drinks, too. Hence the name, and the new mode: Soda. Soda involves matching up bottles with candies in order to release purple soda up the screen, eventually freeing some candy bears. The same method of playing might apply, but the fact you have a slightly different aim does make a difference. –Jennifer Allen

Super Secret Service

 
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Super Secret Service makes a great candidate. From its first speech to election night it says and does all the right things. But like most politicians, it can’t keep every fantastic promise it makes, and by the time the next voting day comes around it probably won’t deserve a second term. If all of those metaphors didn’t make it obvious enough, Super Secret Service is rather political. Specifically, the game is about protecting the President of the United States using an endless supply of expendable secret service agents, each with their own names and birthdays. Reactionary radicals and hoodlums in hockey masks are trying to throw things at the POTUS and ruin his big speech, so by tapping the screen, agents will leap in to take the bullet. –Jordan Minor

This Is My Car: Mechanics for Kids

 
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This is My Car – Mechanics for Kids allows children a chance to peak under the hood of a car as they scroll their vehicle through different stations, allowing them to peel back the exterior and interior layers of their car that include technical information delivered in a well thought-out manner that they will appreciate. As my son – now six years old – becomes older, his questions about the way things work such as the engine of a car or its brakes become more and more complex. Although my husband and I feel capable of explaining such concepts, I appreciate being able to use this app as a tool to explain in detail the inner workings of vehicles – now with visuals that my son can easily follow. –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

Dragon Quest

 
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If you’re in to old school RPGs and you haven’t played the first Dragon Quest, then you’re in for a treat. Ah, the first Dragon Quest. Although I did not play it when I was young, I did manage to pick the game up later on. And as a RPG lover (especially turn-based ones), I loved what I saw and played. Now I that game is out on Android (for a very cheap price, I might add), I is time for everyone to relieve one of the classic and leading RPGs of all time. Well, if you’ve got the time, that is. –Wesley Akkerman

Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Earpiece

 
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I really, really wanna get down to the nitty-gritty with this one: what’s up with the Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Earpiece? Yes… it’s sleek, as the retail unit Jabra sent us shows: different shades of grey with orange accents, gently-sized at 2.57 x 0.61 x 0.95 inches and 0.28 ounces. Coverable micro-USB port, bluetooth 4.0, NFC and A2DP support, plus retail packaging that also contains micro-USB, earhooks and eargels. There is a dedicated button for Google Now, as well as an answer/redial button incorporated towards the rear and LED. Pairing it with a device is easy and intuitive after the requisite pre-charge. –Tre Lawrence

Circle

 
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If you still can’t get enough of Flappy Bird clones, then here’s another one for ya. When it comes to games that look and feel like Flappy Bird… Well, you got a lot of choice. When you look back at the game, it is actually quite unbelievable what that game did. It did not only make one guy very rich (by mistake?), but it also gave life to a new genre, we’ve called the ‘one button gameplay’ here on Android Rundown. If you can’t can enough of those games, here is another one. –Wesley Akkerman

This week was all about the guides, as Pocket Gamer laid out the steps to complete sci-fi adventure Space Age, comic book puzzler Framed, and those awesome new levels for Monument Valley. All that, plus XCOM, Anki Drive, and iPhone 6 vs Nexus 6, right here.

And finally: What is AppSpy? Is it a website about video games? Is it a state of mind? Is it an energy beverage? It’s all those things (except that last one), and we’d love for you to come pay us a visit. This week we’ve been talking about playable Angry Birds cakes, that new Borderlands game, and endless amounts of golf.

Virtual Reality was a major theme at GDC this year, but Seebright’s prototype head-mounted display (HMD) stood out to me for one very important reason: it’s not a gadget-filled headset, but rather a frame to hold your iOS device and turn it into an affordable, self-contained VR headset.

The device is still in the preliminary stages, and as such will undoubtedly be seeing some deign tweaks in the future, but what I was able to see during my hands-on demo was quite promising. Using special software, the iOS device will display two separate images at slightly different angles. Once it’s placed into the headset interchangeable mirrors (one for a translucent heads-up display and another for a more solid image meant for gaming) reflect the images back to the user’s eyes and create the 3D image. What’s more, it’s able to use the device’s own motion tracking technology in order to allow users to look around in their virtual environment.

Personally I’m quite interested to see what Seebright does with their prototype in the coming months. The combination of accessibility (due to pricing) and the fact that it use preexisting iOS technology certainly opens it up to all manner of possibilities.

SeebrightHMDPrototype

via: Seebright
Developer: I-MEGO
Price: $129.99
Device Reviewed With: iPhone 5, iPad mini, iPad 3

Usability Rating: ★★★★½
Hardware Design Rating: ★★★★☆
Sound Quality Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Pros
+ Incredibly comfortable
+ Great sound isolation
+ Brilliant clarity

Cons
– A bit ostentatious looking
– In-line mic needs volume/skip ability

Headphones are a funny thing. One listener’s sweet spot is another’s bass-heavy muddiness. The I-MEGO Throne headphones come in two flavors: Gold (bass heavy) and Poison (balanced clarity). I am reviewing the second model, which is a pretty purple linen underneath a silver-toned grille on each over-ear cup.

I prefer headphones that I can plug into my iPhone, use as a microphone, listen to music, and–of course–game with. To this end, the I-MEGO Throne Poison headset is ideal. These are by far the most comfortable headphones I’ve worn to date, with a soft, leather over-the-head band that never hurts, even after a couple of hours of use. Ditto the soft leather, sound-isolating ear cups, which only become uncomfortable after a long gaming session due to my upper ear piercings.

The clarity of the sound on these babies is something to experience. I dislike overly-bassy headphone like Beats as they tend to overpower the rest of the sound in the mid and high frequencies. Too high-frequency, however, leads to a tinny sound, and overly mid-range response makes things sound muddy. The I-MEGO Throne Poison headphones have an excellent, across-the-board clear sound, which makes all sorts of music delightful to listen to, including, acoustic, jazz, pop, and rock.

I was surprised by the excellent sound isolation properties of the headphones, as well. I took them on a plane recently, and figured I’d have to crank up the sound as I do with most other over-the-ear styles I’ve used. Not so, at all. I even left them on during the flight without music or games on, just to decrease the ambient noise of the jet engines. The music I listened to, Steve Martin’s banjo-tastic album, Rare Bird Alert, came through loud and clear, without having to crank up the iPhone volume beyond my usual loudness preference. These are fantastic headphones.

The only quibble I have is that the in-line mic only has one button, which lets me start and stop music playback, and answer and hand up the phone. There’s no way to use it to control volume or skip songs, like the Apple Earpods do. It’s a small thing, to be sure, but it would make an already great set of headphones even better. I also wish they came in a less “look at me” style, like a less ostentation solid black, or even white.

Bottom line, the I-MEGO Throne Poison headset is now my favorite set of phones to wear, in all sorts of settings where sound isolation and amazing clarity of sound is required. They’re well worth the price tag, and compete with much more expensive units that have a far less delightful audio response.

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