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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: February 23-27, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 2nd, 2015

Final February Fun 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.

Alto's Adventure

‘Just one more go’ is a pretty good thing to think while playing a game, even if it’s hardly conducive to your productivity. That’s been the case for me with Alto’s Adventure, as I find myself having ‘just one more go’ to double check something before writing this. It’s an endless runner (something that shouldn’t hook anyone so easily these days), but it’s also a fine example of the genre. We’re talking borderline Tiny Wings levels of fun here. It helps a lot that Alto’s Adventure is gorgeous to look at. It’s relatively simple looking at first glance but that hides some beautiful little touches. Most notable of all is how things change depending on if it’s day or night in the game. It’s thoroughly delightful, with the only real issue being that rocks can be hard to see when it’s dark. --Jennifer Allen


Do Camera

How often do you take a photo then immediately want to send it elsewhere or do something else with it? Probably pretty often, right? Courtesy of the power behind IFTTT, Do Camera can do all that for you, saving you some valuable time. It won’t cover every eventuality but it’s still going to be pretty useful most of the time. As with other IFTTT products, Do Camera is centered around the concept of using recipes to set things up. You hit the Add Recipe button, then make some choices as to what you do next. In each case this means that the central button on the camera side of Do Camera relates to that recipe. All you do is hit the camera button and Do Camera takes the photo while also performing whatever act you’ve set it up to commit. --Jennifer Allen


Swap Heroes 2

Swap Heroes 2 is a prime example of a game giving players exactly what they want. As an iteration on the fun-but-flawed Swap Heroes, this sequel delivers all of the strategic elements from the original while removing some of the more random elements and adding a good mix of heroes. For those familiar with the first title, Swap Heroes 2 should be very familiar. Players take control of a set of four heroes and control them purely through swapping their positions in their T shaped formation. Each character has their own set of stats and can unleash special attacks only after being swapped from the back of the formation to the front. Despite being a pretty simple formula, it maintains a sense of depth by providing a wide variety of enemies, character upgrades, and multiple viable strategies for success. --Campbell Bird


Planet Quest

Playing Planet Quest couldn’t be simpler. Players are in charge of a UFO’s zapper that’s supposed to zap costumed creatures as they zip along a planet’s surface to the beat of a song. Although it may sound unintuitive, the rotation of the planet is analogous to the note highway of games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, and the notes are just giraffes, bunnies, flowers, and other weird creatures. At first players are walked through the basics, which are essentially ‘tap to the rhythm to zap the creatures’, but along the way more nuance is added. For example, some levels obscure the game view to add difficulty. Also, things like the flower need to be avoided as they take points off of a player’s high score. The game ends when players lose three hearts by missing too many creatures, but it’s forgiving enough that they can miss a note or two while still being able to earn hearts back. --Campbell Bird


Capsule

If you’re like me, you often find yourself thinking how you really need to text someone but it’s 2am and you don’t think they’d appreciate a message right now. All too often I then entirely forget by the next morning, and so the pattern repeats itself for far too long. Sure I could send myself an email as a reminder or add something to my To-Do list, but wouldn’t it be great if I could schedule a text instead? That’s the thinking behind Capsule – a flawed but useful way of texting in the future. You set Capsule up by inputting your phone number and then receiving an authorization code. It doesn’t take too long to do and is possible anywhere throughout the world. After that, using Capsule is simply a matter of tapping Create and you can get texting. You type your message as usual, choose whether you want to add a photo or video, pick out your contact, and then schedule a time and date. It’s as simple as that. --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

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


Buzz Killem

Action platformers almost always resonate; they are simple to learn, easy to enjoy and can be tweaked with several gameplay elements. With Buzz Killem (from industry strongman Noodlecake), we get some glorious graphics, easy-to-learn controls, arcade goodness and a lot of action. Buzz Killem is a story of, well, going buck wild. It’s Rambo meets Independence Day. Buzz (action star’s Bill Killem’s dad) is a war vet who is brought back to confront an alien threat. Now, the kicker is tha Buzz has no compunction with regards to blasting away, and in the 2D environment that the game is set, all advantages are to be treasured. --Tre Lawrence


Livescribe Sky Wifi Smartpen

When I look at adding accessories to my workflow, I try to keep to a few important precepts: portability, functionality and compatibility. Portability is obvious; the ability to use stuff on the go is quite important. With regards to functionality, before adding an addition or substitution to my creative/work process, I’d rather know that it is worth the time to make a change. Lastly, the ability to use a tool with other tools and across platforms is priceless. On paper, Livescribe’s Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen seems to touch on these elements quite comfortably. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, super fast racers, super slow runners, and GEOFF tears the Nvidia Shield a new one - that's the week according to AppSpy.

This Week at 148Apps: February 9-13, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 17th, 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.

Nobody Said It Was Easy

Nobody Said It Was Easy makes no attempts to mask its difficulty from players. The title tells them exactly what to expect. However, what they might not expect is just how creative the fiendish tricks actually are. Right from the start Nobody Said It Was Easy makes all the right choices that separate fair challenging games from purely frustrating ones. Running and jumping feel super precise, even with the added hindrance of virtual buttons. Players have more control over their character’s momentum on the ground and in the air than most games, or real-life, would ever provide, and instant respawns put players right back in the action after the constant, inevitable deaths. Even if the game consisted solely of the merciless enemies and rapid obstacles of most “masocore” games, it would still work because of how well it nails the overall feel that makes those games even remotely playable. --Jordan Minor


The Hardest Flight

Requiring reasonably speedy reactions, The Hardest Flight doesn’t quite live up to its name (there are harder games out there, by a long shot). But that doesn’t stop it being a diverting way of spending five minutes. You have to control a ship as it attempts to negotiate various colored barriers. Controls are very simple: you tilt the iOS device to move the ship around and hold a finger to the left turning the ship blue, while holding a finger to the right turns it to pink. Don’t touch anything and your ship remains purple, the default color. The key here is to keep moving your ship around, while also changing color at the right moment in order to pass through barriers. --Jennifer Allen


Yet It Moves

Previously a PC and WiiWare indie hit (albeit with an extra ‘And’ at the start of its name), Yet It Moves has made the natural move to iOS. Issues with its brevity seem less like a big deal in a mobile format, although its controls are occasionally an irritant. Fundamentally, Yet It Moves is a side-scrolling platformer that has you helping a sketch figure to make his way back to the piece of paper he’s been cut from. No, I’m not sure why either, but it forms the basis of a fun concept. You can move left or right by holding a finger to either side of the screen, but everything else comes down to rotating the world. This is done through a hold and drag motion which, unfortunately, often interferes with movement. --Jennifer Allen


Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect

It hasn’t been long since massive hit Sons of Anarchy officially ended its run on TV. The story of the outlaw motorcycle gang was the perfect amalgamation of family, betrayal, violence, and drama. The TV show might have reached its zenith, but the franchise does get a breath of fresh air in Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect. This saga is based on SAMLIN, a chapter out of Oregon, and the opening sequence gives a bit of insight into the game. The portion reviewed covers the first chapter; it’s a rambling affair – a first-person perspective that starts off on a bike, tosses in brooding dialogue, and also sneaks in some gameplay tips. From there we meet our main protagonist, and learn a bit about the pressures that cause him to go down the dangerous road he goes down. --Tre Lawrence


Gang Nations

It’s easy to dismiss a game as a Clash of Clans clone because there really are a ton of them out there. Gang Nations certainly owes a lot to that format, but it offers a few subtle differences to ensure that it feels more worthy of playing than most. Even if it does feel somewhat racist in terms of its stereotyping, at times. Your mission is to build a significant urban city and keep it safe from attack. It looks kind of slum-like, which is apparently (I guess?) why your defensive forces are comprised of hoodlums, thieves, convicts, and more. The usual format applies here: you use a mixture of cash and juice to buy stuff and upgrade places, and storage areas need to be upgraded as frequently as everything else so that you have any chance of progressing. --Jennifer Allen


9 Months!

Nine Months! is a thoughtfully produced documentary app about the development of a baby growing inside mom’s belly. It’s broken down into nine chapters that do a great job of explaining, in wonderful detail, the growth from embryo to fetus and culminating in a live birth. The major part of this app is seen as a cross-section of a woman’s belly, with the baby becoming larger and more developed month after month, including details such as the uterus complete with cervix, placenta, and umbilical cord, as well as details of how the baby’s body develops. --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

Garden Fever

Good things come in threes, they say. How many ‘connect three’ games make their way onto the marketplace every month? More than three, I’d imagine, so it’s becoming very difficult to find games in this genre that really stand out. Garden Fever, it has to be said, does everything well, though I can’t think of any one thing that it does differently. Which, when the Google Play Store is so flooded with these titles, is a bit of a killer. You should know the drill. Colored block (in this case they’re fruit) are aligned on a grid and it’s your job to slide adjacent blocks so that there’s at least 3 of the same color in a horizontal or vertical line. If you happen to align 4 or even 5 blocks, you not only clear more blocks but you get left behind with more powerful items that can clear even more blocks. To complete each level, you need to meet certain requirements such as ‘clear 60 red apples’ whilst also dealing with squares that have ‘mud’ or ‘ice’ in them. --Matt Parker


Sentinel: Sci-Fi Space Shooter

Space adventurers, take heed: Sentinel: SciFi Space Shooter is here. The game is a bit more involved than might seem at first glance; there are a host of subtle details that are revealed during the tutorial. The game offers two modes, a quick Arcade version and a more complex Campaign mode. Campaign opens up with the optional tutorial, and it walks the player through the basics of gameplay.The backstory highlights the gameplay: somewhat desperate space pilot, mining and unfriendly enemies. the view is first-person, and there are two main virtual control buttons that cover weapons to the right. The game runs in landscape, and this allows the player to control movement and sights with the left thumb. There is a bank of menu buttons towards the leftmost top, and there are life/shield gauges at the top. --Tre Lawrence


Cell Motus

Everyone needs a good puzzle; Cell Motus wants to be that puzzle one can lean on. The game is its own tutorial; it starts off easy, giving a taste of the gameplay. The player is faced with a singular puzzle, with an encompassing “cell” looking to be matched with a small circle of the same color. The trick here is that each cell has an incorporated direction point that controls which way the cell can go; so, when tapped (tapping the cell invokes movement), the cell can only go forward in the direction of the angled pointer. Now, the first level is a gimme — one cell, one circle, and a couple taps to solve. The next few levels are fairly easy too, even as we begin to see multiple cells and matching circles. --Tre Lawrence

And what do Kim Kardashian, quick time events, and a Tigrex all have in common? They're all a part of AppSpy's round up of the biggest videos of the week.

Finally, you can't show guns on the App Store, but you can poke fun of Kim Jong-Un. The App Store is weird, basically, is Pocket Gamer's take on last week.

This Week at 148Apps: January 19-23, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on January 26th, 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.

Trivia Crack

The exercise of flexing your brain muscles through the art of trivia has always been a concept that many still struggle to entertain themselves with. Even in this day and age some just downright avoid it. One of the biggest factors to why people find trivia so intimidating is the overwhelming pressure it instills in a competitive environment by creating an immediate divide of accessibility between the savvy and the casual, with little compromise considered towards the latter. Trivia Crack strives to tear down that wall by creating an asynchronous multiplayer climate that allows for a slew of social avenues that are seamlessly available to in a manner that’s geared around doing everything it can to acclimate to anyone who plays it, without having to make any sort of intellectual concession as a result. --George Fagundes


The Hunger Games: Panem Rising

Your base of operations in Panem Rising is the underground city of District 13, where the rebels are conspiring to infiltrate and take over the Capitol. But overthrowing an entrenched government is best done in baby-steps, so your early missions mostly involve traveling to different districts and helping its residents against individual acts of the Capitol’s tyranny. Taking down a threat primarily involves tapping the “explore” button over and over in an area, which carries you forward. Each step costs energy (warning: you run out quickly), and yields prizes like coins and fighter cards. Fighter cards are your key to winning battles against the Capitol’s goons. Most of the cards you pick up off the ground are for low-level workers with little battle worth, but you may occasionally find powerful cards based off notable characters. The low-level cards you discover serve as effective feed for your heroes. --Nadia Oxford


Adventure Time Game Wizard

Essentially two games in one, Adventure Time Game Wizard is part platformer, part creation tool. The Adventure Mode is where the meat of the game resides, with you leaping from platform to platform and attacking enemies along the way. You switch between the likes of Finn, Jake, Ice King, Flame Princess, and BMO, each offering their own abilities and talents. Original voiceovers, as well as an appearance from ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, is a sweet move to endearing you more to the game. A significant problem arises with the control scheme, though. While your left hand manipulates a sliding pad to move around, your right hand taps buttons to jump or attack. Neither fully works as well as you’d like. It’s too easy for your finger to slip and not tap the button you desire, and sliding just isn’t as effective as using a virtual d-pad or joystick. You’ll often find yourself fighting more with the controls than enjoying the action. That’s a shame as it’s a reasonably enjoyable romp with some nice fan service. --Jennifer Allen


Handle

Assuming you have a Gmail account at your disposal, Handle is sure to make your work more organized and your life less stressful. It combines To Do Lists and Calendar functionality alongside email capabilities, ensuring everything is tied up neatly. Somehow it does all that for free, too. Setup is pretty straightforward with a tutorial guiding you through the paces. If you’ve used any organizational tool before, Handle should make perfect sense to you. A swipe to the left or right takes you wherever you need to go, with sections divided according to To Do, Calendar, and Email. Email is fairly typical of any email app but with some subtle additions; namely, you can choose to add an email to your To Do list or add a reminder to your Calendar linked to the message. You’ll find yourself doing this often and saving yourself time while you plan. --Jennifer Allen


Saved

It might not be the most inexpensive of budgeting apps, but Saved gets the right balance between offering the features you need without overcomplicating things. It’s certainly a convenient way of helping you keep track of what you’re spending money on. The thinking behind it is that you want to be able to do everything quickly. No one wants to spend time having to enter lots of figures as that’s the kind of thing that puts you off doing so particularly often. Instead, with Saved you can just enter a monthly budget (either differing each month or a set amount all year) and add things as you go along. --Jennifer Allen


Pepi Ride

Pepi Ride is a new car-driving app that is bright and colorful, allowing children to drive vehicles around different paths. Car-driving apps where children need to navigate a track are becoming commonplace, which I can understand as these apps remain quite popular with my son who holds no grudges and this driving genre is certainly not the most unique idea to hit iTunes. Having said this, Pepi Ride is an app that I appreciate as it has enough content to keep children’s attention for quite some time as well as to help them with their problem-solving skills as they navigate areas that become more and more complex . To start, children will have a chance to choose one of four cars complete with driver – be it a boy or girl, as well as two fantasy animals that are then customized by children – complete with a variety of paint colors to choose from as well as the option to use a spray can, paint brush, or pencil point. There is also wheel selection as well as a chance to add sticker-like details and other ornaments, be it attachable horn choices or the like. I also enjoy how transparent the spray paint effect is, allowing one to layer different colors together for an airbrushed appearance. The selections offered here to personalize one’s car have enough options to make a variety of different looks, yet I appreciate how the effects one can choose for the car are limited in order not to overshadow the driving experience within this application. --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

Hungry Hal

Hungry Hal is a reversal of the typical zombie runner. Rather than fleeing in terror from the undead menace, Hungry Hal casts the player as that undead menace. Taking control of Hal, the player must hurtle down a course, avoiding obstacles and snacking on brains to reach his final destiny, whatever that may be. Hungry Hal plays like a typical runner. There are multiple lanes on the screen and swiping up or down moves Hal upwards or downwards. However these controls are rather poor. There is a second of delay before Hal moves, often enough to plow into an obstacle or miss a human. It can just be impossible to move Hal quickly enough, especially if the humans are two lanes away. --Allan Curtis


9 Elements: Action Fight Ball

While it looks like a generic anime-styled garbage fills Google Play all the time, 9 Elements: Action Fight Ball is very distinct and fun. It combines two very different genres with a surprising simplicity, although I wouldn’t mind if it was a little more complex. 9 Elements: Action Fight Ball is an sports action game of sorts. A bunch of colorful characters play a very violent variation of volleyball, using magic and weapons to confuse and knock out the opponents. Each round, the player needs to score more points than the opponent while the timer counts to zero. If he wins, he gets some magic rocks that he can use to upgrade his character, or purchase a new one. The characters differ by their stats, as well as by the style of their attacks and super attacks, although the basic tricks remain the same for all of them. --Tony Kuzmin


WWE Immortals

The fans of WWE can rejoice: they got a cool new fighting game, titled WWE Immortals. It gives all of the famous WWE characters even more crazy and unrealistic abilities and pits them against each other in teams by three. If this isn’t enough for you, then mind that they also get really violent finisher moves and exciting battlegrounds to fight in. If this also isn’t enough, then I know about WWE even less then I thought, sorry. In all seriousness though, WWE Immortals is a surprisingly good game – at least when compared to the previous WWE titles that I got to play before. It looks and sounds great, almost comparable to the fighting games on the consoles. There’s also a ton of different characters to chose from – even though they’re not as different as they seem. More surprisingly, it does require some skill to win. --Tony Kuzmin

This Week at 148Apps: December 15-19, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 22nd, 2014

Happy Holidays from 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.

Dragon Quest III

Fairly tricky to track down in North America, Dragon Quest III’s $9.99 asking price doesn’t seem so bad when placed into the context of eBay prices for a NES or Gameboy Color cartridge. That doesn’t stop Dragon Quest III from seeming rather dated by modern standards, but JRPG fans will enjoy this slice of history. You play the child of a hero, sent to see the King on their 16th birthday before being thrust into an adventure to save the world. Dragon Quest III doesn’t bother with too much originality on this front but it’s forgivable. It adds some more originality and flexibility through its party system. While there’s no chance of being overly attached to your fellow party members, given they’re essentially soulless husks of statistics, they do offer plenty of potential. You simply head to the local tavern to recruit your party and then head out, forming them into exactly what you want of an ally. --Jennifer Allen


Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath

Roaming the Oddworld version of the Wild West is the Stranger: a gruff bounty hunter turning wanted criminals in for cash. There are a few gameplay styles on offer here, the first being the third-person platforming that allows for navigation of each area, as well as basic combat. The second is a first-person shooting mode that enables players to think more strategically by making use of a variety of critters that can be captured and used against enemies. Will they use a Bolamite to tie up their enemies, a Chippunk to draw them away from their buddies, or just electrocute them into submission with a Zapfly? Either way, the freedom of approach is an excellent touch. Last of all is the stealth element, giving players the option to take out enemies one by one by setting off traps or creating them, all while hidden from view amidst tall grass. These different styles come together seamlessly to give players the ability to decide how they resolve the matter at hand, preventing Stranger’s Wrath from feeling too linear and monotonous, and instead feeling fresh and exciting. --Lee Hamlet


Papers Please

As unlikely as it might sound, I had a job once that was vaguely like playing Papers, Please. It wasn’t on the border control of a corrupt state, but it did involve conducting background checks on people and checking that their papers as well as their stories added up. I stuck around as there was a strange satisfaction in looking out for discrepancies, and I also happened to be quite good at it. Papers, Please succeeds partially because of that similar sense of satisfaction, but also because of a storyline that draws you in bit by bit. Not that it should, technically. The idea of a game all about working on border control, checking over people’s papers before either admitting them to the country or rejecting them, really isn’t that fascinating on the surface. Two things save Papers, Please from being monotonous, however. The first is how, on a simple level, it gradually introduces new elements to what’s expected of you. --Jennifer Allen


1Writer

Text editing apps are fairly commonplace on the App Store, but every now and then one will come along that clicks that bit more easily than the last. 1 Writer is one such app. Simple to use but reasonably powerful as well, it’s the kind of text editor that works just as well for taking notes quickly as it is for more powerful markdown-based work. A quick tap on the plus sign guides you straight into things. You can choose to just type away as normal or opt to throw in links, bold, italics, lists, and even images. Along the way, 1 Writer can upload it all to Dropbox and generate the relevant markdown syntax for you. A cursory swipe to the right takes you to a built-in web browser, lending itself well to research purposes. --Jennifer Allen


Flyhunter Origins

Flyhunter Origins from Ripstone and Steel Wool Games offers a solid demonstration of how mobile games are getting a bit ahead of themselves. Players zip through Flyhunter Origins as Zak, an alien janitor aboard a flyhunting spaceship. During some impromptu roleplay, Zak accidentally jettisons the ship’s crew and its cargo (bugs) into space. Then they promptly fall back to Earth. Zak needs to round up the crew and the bugs or else he risks making his powerful boss very unhappy. --Nadia Oxford


10 Digits Learning Toy Hardware

Recently, I was given the chance to review the 10 Digits learning toy – wood numbers that interact with the iPad and other tablets. Two apps work in tangent to this number set that teaches basic number recognition, addition and the manipulation of numbers up to one hundred within these Montessori-styled applications. I was eager to test this new toy as its brightly colored classic good looks and wooden construction remind me of the wood number puzzle my son had as a toddler, which he loved and oddly anthropomorphized by dragging these numbers within their frame to listen to stories or play with other toys as though this puzzle would take an interest in these activities. A close look at each of these wooden numbers from the 10 Digits toy will find three soft plastic feet on the back to allow these pieces to work on top of the screen of the device. Each foot pattern is unique; they’re akin to Braille and work with the iPad and other tablets to recognize each number in use. Both the apps 10 Fingers and Up to 100 have free lite versions to download and unlock easily using the 10 Digit toy pieces. I admire the clean look of these apps; the white screen, boldly colored numbers, and other details seen with bright translucent colors and subtle brush strokes are details reminiscent of felt tip markers on a dry erase board. --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

Pear Sports System Hardware

Being fit is gently moving on from being a pastime to being a habit of successful people. Of course, as the need to be healthy becomes more pervasive, it is natural to see more and more tools that have a mobile component. It makes sense… smartphones are the ubiquitous pocket companions. The Pear System looks to bridge this gap, first by being a veritable heart rate measuring tool, and then by wirelessly connecting data via one’s Android device. The review package Pear send to us highlights the system; the review packet contains the Pearl heart rate monitor, a chest strap, headphones and a carrying pouch. Most of th pieces are bathed or accented in bright blue. The HRM unit is diminutive, with the company logo tastefully stamped on the front. The back has two press-in buttons and the battery cover. The strap is black, with the press-in receptacles, and is adjustable and stretchy. The headphones look simple, but have interesting buds, and there is a button on the right ear. Finally, the carry pouch is light and zippered. --Tre Lawrence


Star Wars Galactic Defense

Star Wars Galactic Defence is a pretty basic tower defence game. Enemies of different types run along lanes in each level. The player must build a series of towers to prevent the m enemies reaching a certain area . After each level the player receives a rank depending on how many enemies they managed to stop. Player can also select 1-3 heroes for each level. These heroes can be freely controlled. Star Wars Galactic Defence doesn’t stray far from this formula and indeed lacks fairly basic tower defence features, like an upgrade system or hero skills. The only hint of progression in the game is new towers that are unlocked at certain levels. Galactic Defence doesn’t just encourage players to replay previous levels, it requires it. Every level after the first is so difficult that it is nigh on impossible to repeat earlier levels to gain money and hero experience. Enemies simply flood in and getting three stars is difficult indeed. This is the polar opposite of fun and is compounded by the fact that to unlock later levels the player must acquire a certain amount of stars. --Allan Curtis


Call of Duty: Heroes

Call of Duty: Heroes, despite its action game roots has more in common with Clash of Clans than with Modern Combat. Does the mammoth license of CoD make it a good game? After an initial battle, like other city builder games, the player is put in charge of constructing a base from the ground up including resource buildings, troop training facilities and base defence. This proceeds slowly. After a few resource buildings are ticking over the player can begin to crank out an army. These range from average rifle wielding grunts to..other slightly different soldiers such as RPG ones. --Allan Curtis

And finally, what were the ten most watched videos on AppSpy? What are the best gamebooks on Android? And just how good is Galcon 2? All of these questions, and at least four more, are all answered on AppSpy's lovely website this week.

Also this week, Pocket Gamer finished off its advent calendar with five more amazing freebies, reviewed the new SimCity and Brothers in Arms games, and reported on the most Googled game of 2014. It wasn't Destiny... All that and loads more, right here.

So Many Holiday iOS Sales Oh My Goodness! [Updated x5]

Posted by Rob Rich on December 19th, 2014

The holiday season is in full-swing, which means a whole lot of iOS apps and games are going on sale. A bunch already have, in fact. Naturally this means we're putting together a hand-picked list of the best discounts and sales we can find in order to make your own App Store holiday shopping easier.

Things are already kicking off with an impressive assortment of great titles, and it's only going to get better as we close in on the New Year. So take a peek at what's on sale, and treat yourself a little.

[Updated - 12/20]: Holy moly there were a lot more things on sale than we expected. Over 150 entries are in the list right now, including some rather significant titles like Chaos Rings II, Where's My Water, and Deus Ex: The Fall. We've also updated the list with a devoted Apps section, and that's loaded down with some significant sales on apps like AmpliTube, Fantastical 2, and Launch Center Pro as well. The best part is we're just getting started!

[Updated - 12/22]: As expected, the list just keeps growing. A few things went back up to regular price (boo!), but way more things have gone on sale to make up for it (yay!). We're talking apps like GoodReader and The Hit List, and games like Machinarium and Infinity Blade III.

[Updated - 12/23]: Did the sales stop yet? Yeah, no, no stopping. Today's updates include big price drops on apps like Scanner Pro and Splashtop Remote Desktop. Well, the app side of things, anyway. Game sales are even more crazy, with sales on titles like Republique, XCOM: Enemy Within, and FTL just for starters.

[Updated - 12/24]: Nope, we're still not done!

[Updated - 12/26]: The holidays are over, but the sales aren't. Things have admittedly slowed down a little, however there are still some great games that we've added to the top of the list. Games like Type:Rider and Out There.



Games


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This Week at 148Apps: December 8-12, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 15th, 2014

Happy Holidays from 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.

Boulder Jack

Boulder Jack is a free-to-play endless runner that mixes up the standard formula by having players view the action from in front of their character rather than behind. For fans of the Crash Bandicoot series, this isn’t a particularly new trick, and the developers of Boulder Jack seem to be keenly aware of this as the game also stars a character that is remarkably similar to Crash. Playing Boulder Jack is very, very similar to other endless runners. Players must swipe left, right, up, and down to move between lanes, leap over obstacles, or slide under others, all in the hopes of outrunning a large boulder. Along the way there are invincibility power-ups, speed boosts, and coins to collect – all of which create some risk vs. reward mechanics, but everything presented gameplay-wise is pretty standard. --Campbell Bird


Space Age

Space Age: A Cosmic Adventure is an ambitious adventure game that hearkens back to sci-fi tropes of of the 1960s and 70s – complete with alien saucers, fishbowl helmets, and a deep sense of exploration. While the game achieves this aesthetic beautifully, Space Age suffers when it abandons its roots as a game about exploration and decides to try to be something else. Playing Space Age can be kind of difficult to describe. It’s simultaneously an adventure game, a real-time strategy game, a stealth action game, a puzzler, and something of a visual novel. Going into any one of the available ten missions, players might encounter just one or all of these gameplay elements. One thing is for sure, though: every part of Space Age is oozing with character and style that is super-charming, funny, and endearing. --Campbell Bird


Astro Boy Flight

There’s a word that keeps bouncing around my head as I play Astro Boy Flight. Rather appropriately, that word is ‘repetitive’. It sums up this endless 2D shooter, based around the famous Japanese manga character, oh so very well. A few seconds of Astro Boy Flight and you’ll see everything the game offers, with little there to mix things up later on. You glide through the skies, all via a portrait perspective, using one finger to move Astro Boy around. Shooting is done automatically, so your sole method of interaction is via this one finger. Waves of enemies come at you, so you have to line up quickly to shoot them down. This isn’t R-Type though, so it’s not exactly challenging stuff. Instead, you’re more likely to fail because you got bored for a moment and stopped paying attention. --Jennifer Allen


Shadowrun: Dragonfall

When you start the game, you’re given the chance to design a character. There are quite a few classes to choose from, as well as several races. Without a knowledge of the system in advance, I had a very hard time designing my character and just picked an elf and went with the basic warrior type. Then I was presented with detailed statistics to tweak, again with no idea of what was good or needed in this game’s world. The walkthrough/tutorial said that if I wanted more help I could consult the full rules on their website (linked within the app). When I went to check it out it was pages and pages long and very hard to digest, so I went with a few random choices instead. Shadowrun: Dragonfall is set in a futuristic world where society has changed dramatically. It’s futuristic cyberpunk meets high fantasy, and information is the commodity everyone trades in. You’re part of a group of criminals that’s been hired to raid someone’s mansion and steal data from them. Of course once we moved into the mansion, we tripped an alarm and security came in to stop us. --Jade Walker


Adobe Premiere Clip

Over the years, Adobe has done a fantastic job of giving us a plethora of powerful yet user-friendly tools for video and graphic editing. They’re doing a pretty good job of converting that magic to iOS. Adobe Premiere Clip is the latest example, allowing you to easily create videos from earlier clips or brand new ones. Taking you step by step through the process, Adobe Premiere Clip can take as long or as brief a time as you want it to. You can choose to just edit one clip or you can bundle a few of them together, creating a montage of your media. Working mostly through dragging and dropping, as well as a few swipes to trim parts out, it doesn’t take long to line things up correctly. In each clip’s case, you can adjust the color, exposure, or shadow effects before moving onto arranging some transitions between each clip. Slow motion effects can also be included. --Jennifer Allen


Sago Mini Road Trip

I am always happy to introduce a new Sago Sago app to readers. As many know, Sago Sago is now a part of the Toca Boca family, which develops charming and colorful apps for toddlers and beyond. Their most recent app, Sago Mini Road Trip, allows children the chance to go on a road trip with their favorite orange cat, Jinga. Young ones will appreciate being able to choose from three destinations among a larger selection of choices such as jungle or desert adventures, as well as travels to the beach, mountains, forest, or city. They also will have a chance to pack their own bags with a variety of clothing, toys, and other objects into their bottomless suitcase, adding as much or as little in the way of personal effects as there is always room in their bag – details that will make both parents as well as children smile. --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

Bitcoin Billionaire

At first glance Bitcoin Billionaire hardly seems like a game and in some ways it isn’t. It is in fact a devilishly addictive habit that uses a finely tuned system to show you ads while ensuring you won’t care and will in fact welcome the sight of ads! Bitcoin Billionaire as you might expect is a game about mining the virtual currency known as Bitcoins. After customizing your avatar with clothes and a spiffy pirate bandana it’s simply a matter of tapping the screen as quickly as possible to generate riches; the faster you tap the more Bitcoins you earn. Once a few Bitcoins have been earned, these can be spent on investments like lottery tickets or collectable comic books. These generate a constant stream of income whenever the player is actively mining or not and also while the app is closed. --Allan Curtis


NBA All Net

To say that the card battler is a well worn genre on Android would be the understatement of the year. A basketball card battler is much rarer however. Is NBA All Net swish? NBA All Net’s gameplay is mind numbing and no different to other card battlers on the platform except it’s in the form of basketball. Players simply tap on the “challenge” they would like to play (Which features a description that has nothing to do with the game) and then sit back and watch the game as it unfolds. Players play no role in the game once it has started and it is based on card stats only. Games are dreadfully boring to watch and feature more repetitive animation than an entire season of Scooby Doo so they are best skipped. --Allan Curtis


RAVPower USB Charging Station

I know we’ve been harping on being organized… with good reason, too. With all the devices and accessories, it gets busy. Toss in a kid or two (with their own electronics and such) and a company-issued device, and one begins to approach wired purgatory. So, it makes sense that accessories that help us to more effectively manage these devices will be if a high premium. Thankfully, proprietary cables are not the norm on Android, because solutions like the RAVPower USB Charging Station use cable standardization as a means to being order to chaos. In essence, this series of products looks to a central port for multiple USB cables, theoretically eliminating the need for several plugs and outlets. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week, Pocket Gamer investigated Apple's ban on nudity in Papers, Please; gave away five amazing iOS games in its Advent Calendar; picked the best MFi controllers for iOS; and reviewed Tales from the Borderlands. All that and loads more, here.

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.

148Apps 2014 Holiday Shopping Guide for Socializers

Posted by Rob Rich on December 9th, 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] [Creative Types] [Gamers] [Power Users]

Today’s guide centers around highly social iOS users. I’m talking about the people who practically live on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and all that. It can be tough to come up with something for such diehard (virtual) social butterflies, and even more tricky to surprise them, but we’re certainly going to give it a shot! Check out our list below for some hopefully useful ideas.

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.

148Apps 2014 Holiday Shopping Guide for Health Nuts

Posted by Rob Rich on December 8th, 2014

Welcome, one and all, to another 148Apps holiday shopping guide! Today marks the first of five guides for iOS-related holiday gifts we'll be sharing with you all every day, over the course of the week. 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 [Socializers] [Creative Types] [Gamers] [Power Users]

Today’s guide is for the health nuts. Those people who get up inhumanly early to exercise, bike and/or jog with regularity, or otherwise make athletic activities a significant part of their day. If you’d like to help the health-conscious iOS users in your life with some handy gizmos, or maybe nab a useful app or two they may not have heard of, check out our list below for some ideas.

Firefox for iOS? Mozilla Says They're Working on it

Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 4th, 2014

According to Tech Crunch, Mozilla has changed their mind about making a browser for iOS. Now that they have a new CEO, Chris Beard, they've started work on some concepts.

Mozilla stated on their blog:

"At Mozilla, we put our users first and want to provide an independent choice for them on any platform. We are in the early stages of experimenting with something that allows iOS users to be able to choose a Firefox experience."

This is exciting news for Firefox fans. It will be interesting to see how Mozilla adapts their technology to iOS over the next year.

This Week at 148Apps: November 24-28, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 1st, 2014

Your Cure For Black Friday


What to do with all of that post-Thanksgiving holiday time? Search for the latest and greatest apps, of course! 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.


Proun+

During each race, you guid a ball traveling at speed along a pipe. While the ideal scenario is to also beat your competitors to the finish line, early on you’ll just be pleased to maintain momentum and dodge most of the obstacles up ahead. Traveling forwards is mostly automatic, with a boost and brake button affecting how fast you go. The main requirement of you is to duck left and right to dodge what’s coming up. There are plenty of twists to negotiate and Proun+ is far from forgiving. Get stuck behind a post and you immediately lose a lot of speed. It’s fun though, if slightly frustrating at first. Tracks are designed with a sense of speed in mind, with various tunnel style effects arising at regular opportunities. If you want to dodge some frustration you can turn the difficulty level down by playing the ‘relaxed’ set of levels, but I found these a little unexciting. They’re too slow for anything more than coming to grips with the controls, and you’re better off persevering at harder tracks. --Jennifer Allen


VainGlory

I’m a huge fan of action RPGs like Diablo and its iOS clone, the Dungeon Hunter series. I’ve been playing them for years. Sadly, as my hand has stopped working, the games have integrated more and more complex controls and left me behind. VainGlory is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that also feels like very modern take on the action RPG genre, and it returns to the perfect basic controls of yesteryear. Simply tap where you want to move, and tap to attack your target until it’s dead. You pick a fighter of your choice to work with and level-up, each with a unique way of fighting and different special moves. As they level-up, you can make these moves more powerful. You fight your way through battle maps, killing other team’s grunts, gun turrets, and eventually their power crystal, which acts like the king in chess. Once that’s gone, you win. --Jade Walker


Call of Duty: Heroes

As before, you build up a base – sucking up resources around you, waiting for things to upgrade slowly – while also taking out enemies at regular points. There’s a choice of PvP battles or a single-player campaign here, with a mixture of both being most effective when it comes to leveling-up. Call of Duty: Heroes eases you in gently, with a protective shield keeping you away from PvP early on if you so choose to keep it active. You spend much of your time training troops before unleashing them on your enemy, watching them all be used up, before repeating the process. Fortunately, Call of Duty: Heroes does have a couple of tricks up its sleeve. Namely, as the name hints at, you can use heroes from the Call of Duty games, such as Price and Soap. You can control them individually, plus they can level-up and gain their own Killstreaks. It’s a decent step in helping Call of Duty: Heroes stand out at least a little. --Jennifer Allen


Knituma

Knituma is a game about gathering the right objects as they are tossed into the air while avoiding the wrong ones. But in practice it’s surprisingly different from the Fruit Ninja clone that description suggests. Players tap on flying balls of yarn and drag a thread from them into the basket at the bottom. However, if anything interrupts that thread, whether it’s a gliding pair of scissors or the player accidentally lifting their finger, the ball is lost. Combining such a deliberate motion with the pressure to act quickly gives the game a unique rhythm. Plus, the obstacles change nearly every round and introduce new rules. Sometimes cats show up to bat yarn balls away, sometimes moths fly into and ruin the basket if they aren’t crushed, and sometimes nails get driven onto the board to twist up strands. It’s always more than just a bomb. --Jordan Minor


Kingdom Rush Origins HD

With slightly more of a focus on fantasy than before, Kingdom Rush Origins HD offers up new towers, heroes, and upgrades, but is mostly just what you’d expect from the series – some tricky but well-balanced tower defense. You’ll be placing turrets in useful positions, attempting to devise choke points to thwart your enemy, and upgrading things as and when the coins come in. Once more you can control the heroes directly, each now offering their own special spell that can be triggered at an appropriate moment. You’ll find yourself depending on them more than before too, as they really can make the difference in battle. A variety of upgrade options mean you can adapt your turrets to your needs, with each offering a choice of different paths to take the further you progress. --Jennifer Allen


The Journey of Alvin

I would like to let readers know about a new storybook app, The Journey of Alvin – based on the true story of Alvin Straight, who drove a riding mower a great distance to visit his ailing brother. Adults may wonder from this description if this tale is in some way connected to the David Lynch movie, The Straight Story, and they would be correct as The Journey of Alvin brings this tale of love and determination to children in a way they can appreciate. I am quite fond of The Journey of Alvin as it combines many elements such as including both Spanish and English editions, computer-generated animation, music, ambient sound effects, and narration for a truly magical effect. I admire how the perfect radio voice tells this simple story of Alvin driving his mower to visit his brother, explaining to children how the journey is long as the mower is slow, making this story a process piece about the journey as Alvin comes across various other vehicles on the road that he is passed by – such as a train, a bunch of bikes, and even a turtle. --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

MOS Cable System

At any given time, I am blessed with an opportunity to review a lot of devices and accessories. I enjoy pitting products against each other, and I love the prospect of squeezing functionality out of our mobile devices by pitting accessories against each other. Survival of the fittest… There are very few downsides to this, but if I were to nitpick, I’d whine about the proliferation of cables. They are all over the place, seemingly sticking out of every outlet. With so many devices, and such a need for juice, it’s understandable, but even my workspace does descend into an infuriating pile of cables quite frequently. --Tre Lawrence


Recoil Winders

So, if you’ve been keeping tabs on our hardware reviews, you probably know that my latest rallying cry is organization. Yes, through all the fantastic accessories — and especially amid all the cables we use to power said accessories — we could all definitely use a helper or two when it comes to corralling the requisite wire. Enter Recoil Automatic Cord Winders. --Tre Lawrence


Dark Guardians

For some unknown reason, there’s literally no backstory in Dark Guardians – and unlike with many generic fantasy games or cartoonish runners, Dark Guardians actually makes me want to know it. As it is, the game presents the player with a badass ancient nordic warrior, who runs through mystical, snow-bound forests, mountaintops, and other picturesque landscapes, and fights against a horde of demonic spirits that are seemingly led by a flying horned demon thing, who looks somewhat like Krampus. The warrior possesses a mighty sword that can smite the undead with a single strike. --Tony Kuzmin

Cyber Monday on the App Store - Plenty More iOS Games (and Apps) are on Sale

Posted by Rob Rich on November 26th, 2014

It's almost turkey time! Which means lots and lots of food but also lots and lots of sales. Some sales have even started a few days early, which is why we've put together a list of iOS games that are currently discounted (sometimes by a lot).

Chances are this list is only going to get bigger as we approach the weekend, so check back in with us from time to time to see what else you can nab for a reduced price.

[Updated 11/26]: Even more games have been discounted and it's still not even Thursday yet! A lot of fairly well known titles have joined the list this time, including games like Surgeon Simulator, Republique, and Thomas Was Alone.

[Updated 11/27]: Goodness but there are a lot more sales happening right now! Just under 40 games have been added to the list this time, with big names like Banner Saga, Table Tennis Touch, King Oddball, a whole bunch of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, and a whole lot more.

[Updated 11/28]: If you thought all the sales were done, you were mistaken. Even more price drops have gone into effect since yesterday, for big titles like Joe Denver's Lone Wolf, Knightmare Tower, Talisman, and Kingdom Rush. But that's not all. We've also updated the list to include apps! You can click the link below to jump to the Apps page.

[Updated 11/30]: Yep, we're still going. The list is still growing, and will most likely continue through Monday. Currently we're looking at a number of board game additions like Eclipse and Kahuna, as well as plenty of non-board games like Warhammer Quest and The Firm.

[Updated 12/1]: Happy Cyber Monday! A few titles have returned to regular price over the weekend, but several are still discounted and we've got plenty more to add to the list. And Little Inferno and Infinity Blade II are just the beginning.

Games (click here for Apps)

[appsale: 604376012,0.99]
[appsale: 590250573,2.99]
[appsale: 447689011,0.99]
[appsale: 649599216,0.00]
[appsale: 736946004,0.99]

This Week at 148Apps: November 17-21, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on November 24th, 2014

Expert App Reviewers


So little time and so very many apps. What's a poor iPhone/iPad lover to do? Fortunately, 148Apps is here to give you the rundown on the latest and greatest releases. And we even have a tremendous back catalog of reviews; just check out the Reviews Archive for every single review we've ever written.

SteelSeries Stratus XL

Pairing the Stratus XL is as easy as it is with pretty much any other MFi controller. You just turn it on, get your iOS device to find it, and you should be good to go. Then you start up one of the hundreds of compatible games and start playing. And it does play them all quite nicely. The controls are responsive, the button placement feels right, and it’s got a nice heft to it. The build quality is also rather impressive. Whereas other MFi controllers I’ve recently played around with felt sort of hollow and fragile, the Stratus XL feel dense and sturdy. You could probably hurt someone if you threw it at them, actually. [Note: 148Apps does not condone throwing your MFi controllers at anyone, for any reason. That’s bad form.] --Rob Rich


Fantasy Solitaire

That’s the main beauty behind Fantasy Solitaire. It uses artwork from fantasy illustrator Ian Schofield, and it shows. Each card looks impressive, with the artwork relating to fantasy characters being really quite delightful. Fantasy Solitaire rewards your success with more cards too, so it soon looks quite gorgeous. Otherwise, Fantasy Solitaire is a fairly typical game of Klondike Solitaire. Each turn involves you drawing three cards before figuring out the best place to put them. The trick, as always, is to try to get the Ace cards pulled out first for any chance of success. Controls are simple enough with taps and drags to place cards, plus an auto-complete button when you’re right near the end of a game. There’s no hints button though, so make sure you’re up to speed with this game type. --Jennifer Allen


Reckless Racing 3

Reckless Racing 3 is here, with driving dynamics that are as satisfying and addictive as ever as spot-on traction physics meets fun-fueled racing. There are 6 new and diverse locations that spawn 6 courses each, ensuring that players will still be kept guessing even though the backdrop might often remain the same. Combine that with the new Gymkhana event (specially laid-out courses that test driving skills), the same wealth of tweaks for controls and settings to enhance player experience, plus the recent addition of 4 reversible classic Reckless tracks, and what’s left is a driving game packed with features. --Lee Hamlet


Click Cam

Click Cam is an interesting new way of sharing photos in that it’s entirely random how it does it. It’s more of a curiosity than an app you’d spend great amounts of time with given its many limitations, but hey, it’s free, so that kind of works. All you need to do is enter a few simple sign up details before taking a photo and uploading it to Click Cam. The actual photo taking interface is pretty basic when it comes to options, but you can choose from a few filters once the image has been snapped. Once you’re happy with what you’ve snapped you can name it, then simply hit the red button so it goes off to some other user somewhere. You’ll never know where or really what the person thought of it. The recipient can rate it but you don’t get to find out how you fared. --Jennifer Allen


AffordIt

A simple interface is both a blessing and a curse for AffordIt. It means it’s very easy to use, but it also means that it lacks some important features that would make it really stand out from the crowd. One such pivotal feature is that AffordIt only allows for one format of budgeting at any one time. For instance, you can set things up to plan out your Christmas shopping, but you can’t then have a separate section for your regular outgoings. That immediately restricts AffordIt to one project at any one time. It does that one project pretty well, luckily. You can easily set a budget for whatever it is, before adding additional credits based on whatever comes your way. Have a Christmas budget organized but then you get a bonus at work that you want to set aside for that occasion? AffordIt makes it easy to adjust accordingly. Adding cases of expenditure is just as easy, with the app keeping it simple and focused on what the item is and its value. --Jennifer Allen


Toca Nature

Rightfully named Toca Nature, the app opens up with a fertile land ready to be transformed into the landscape of players’ imagination as they transform this area into different regions of their choice – be it hills created with a tap that can easily be built up into snow capped mountains, valleys, and even bodies of water, all of which will soon be inhabited by different animals. The effect is quite magical as one watches fish swimming and beavers climbing out onto dry land for the first time as life is brought to their personalized ecosystem. Trees can be planted that will attract a variety of creatures, be it bears, foxes, rabbits, deer or woodpeckers. An axe is also included as a clever way of arbor clearing and of having a chance to change the topography again and again – a helpful tool to be sure. --Amy Solomon


Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:

AndroidRundown

Tank Invaders: Shmup Evolved

Despite its name, Tank Invaders: Shmup Evolved is neither a shmup, nor is it particularly evolved. It’s still pretty good though. The story and characters put McBane to shame with their corniness. The player becomes a missile commander for allied forces that are fighting against the Terror – as in, an organization that literally calls itself Terror. They employ lunatics and fanatics to their side, lacking but a swastika and the actual Devil as their commander to complete the image of a perfect enemy for the forces of democracy and everything that is good. Anyway, the player has to endure endless waves of enemies as they try to destroy the thingy that the player is trying to protect (what is that that we’re trying to protect, by the way?) by shooting a barrage of missiles onto advancing enemies. --Tony Kuzmin


Joinz

Joinz is a puzzle game with deceptively simple gameplay, starting out easy, but very quickly becoming a test for your brain, particularly that part that is responsible for not throwing violent tantrums when you fail to beat a high-score. The gameplay of Joinz is somewhat similar to Lines. There is a square field that has a single building block. The player can slide this block in four directions, making it travel until it hits an object or a border. Every time the player moves a block, another block appears on a random position on the field. Unlike lines, where the player has to create lines from the blocks of the same color to remove them from the field, Joinz requires the player to create one of the three shapes that pop up on the top of the screen. When the shape is complete, the player gets another one to make. As the player progresses, the shapes get gradually more complex, starting from simple tetris-like forms, to the complexities that fill up half of the game board. Also, appearing blocks start to get additional colors, making the field even more difficult to navigate. The player has to “jump” off of the existing blocks in order to create the required shapes. Don’t forget that once two or more blocks are connected to each other, it’s almost impossible to break them apart, so they’ll behave like a singular shape. --Tony Kuzmin


Ironkill: Robot Fighting Game

Ironkill: Robot Fighting Game wants you to fight; it might be the easiest directive to follow in handheld gaming. The gameplay boils down to combat. The initial run is a tutorial of sorts, and the gameplay is laid out with the help of an appropriately named intro robot. The fighting is works as player against a CPU opponent, and is a war of attrition: whoever depletes the other’s life bar first wins, and doing a damage is performed with the help of the control buttons at the bottom. One initiates a quick attack, one does a harder type of attack, and there is a defense button. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, what do you get for spending $3000 in Clash of Clans? What does the new Need For Speed game look like? Which punk rocker is a massive fan of F2P games? We answer all these questions and many more besides, over at AppSpy.