Posts Tagged ios

Nifti Review

Nifti Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Nifti is a new app that wants to become the online companion to its user's shopping experience.

Read The Full Review »

Despite issues with the company’s live recording equipment back in September, reportedly preventing the firm from being able to provide a true live-stream of its iPhone-focused media event to its iOS customers, Apple has today announced that its October 22 event will be streamed live around the world.

2013-10-22_02-58-48-stream_2The stream will be available for those who own an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, as well as through a web browser on your Mac and for those who own an Apple TV. This will notably be the the first live-stream that the company has provided for its special media events held throughout this year.

Set to showcase all of the announcements we can expect to see when executives from the company take to the stage later today, for those devices which support web browsing the stream will be accessible around 10AM Pacific, 1PM Eastern, through a specially-designed page which went live on the company’s website just a few hours ago.

To access this exclusive live-stream from your chosen iOS device, all you need to do is ensure that your Wi-Fi setting is ‘On’ (Settings > Wi-Fi > ON), open Safari, and head over to this page. The stream will take advantage of Apple’s QuickTime video technology, so it’s worth noting that in order to view the stream from your Mac, you’ll first need to have Safari 4 (or later) installed, and ensure that your system is running on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (or later).

Alternatively, if you’re planning on tuning-in to the event from your iPhone, or iPad – which we imagine most of you might be – you’ll need to be running iOS 4.2 (or later). Streaming the event to your big-screen via the Apple TV will require either a second or third-generation Apple TV, and the TV-connected device must also be running software 5.0.2 (or later).

Expert App Reviewers

 

So little time and so very many apps. What’s a poor iPhone 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.

Device 6

 
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I love what Simogo is doing in 2013. While the studio has always been a purveyor of a different kind of experience on iOS, this year their releases have been centered around story-telling and puzzle solving. It started with Year Walk and now continues with Device 6. They’re creating unique and intelligent experiences that deserve to be seen and heard. Now, much like Year Walk, this is something that is best when not spoiled so I’m only going to touch on cursory details of the plot and scenario: this is a sort of interactive piece of fiction that players read through that frequently wraps around the screen, requiring players to rotate their device to keep up with where everything is going. The story is about a woman named Anna, who wakes up in mysterious circumstances. To advance the story, certain puzzles, whose hints are embedded in the narrative and visuals, must be solved. The challenge comes from solving the puzzles and putting together the hints – have some pen and paper or some kind of writing app on a computer or other device open to take down notes to solve everything and to advance the story. –Carter Dotson

Soul Gambler

 
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Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend. A successful scholar who, dissatisfied with his life, makes a pact with the devil and exchanges his soul for unlimited knowledge and worthy pleasures. The legend of Faust has been retold throughout history via many forms of media, and has been the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works. Soul Gambler is the remake of the original free unfinished interactive visual novel inspired by Goethe’s famous German tragic play, “Faust,” that has had a complete revamp; and with the success of its Kickstarter, has been made into a fantastic-looking interactive graphic novel that combines the art style of comic books with playable mechanics most commonly found in video games. –Lucy Ingram

Fist of Awesome

 
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An unlikely hero. Bears. Lots and lots of plaid. A talking, time-traveling fist. These are only a handful of examples as to what players can expect when they jump in to FIST OF AWESOME. It’s certainly a weird, wacky, and wild beat-em-up with old school brawler roots and a few modern concessions. There are a few not-so-awesome issues nestled in with all those homicidal talking bears, however. Tim Burr is just a hard-working lumberjack with simple aspirations and a close group of friends. His is a happy life, and he envies no one. That is until the timeline is inexplicably altered and bears become the dominant species of Earth. Tim’s hand begins speaking to him, identifying itself as the FIST OF AWESOME and taking him on a journey through several eras in history – all overrun with bears – as the unlikely duo set out to fix history. –Rob Rich

OmniFocus 2 for iPhone

 
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OmniFocus 2.0 for iPhone is a to-do list and task management app that’s built for the person who’s deadly serious about tracking what they need to get done and when. After all, the app for iPhone is $19.99, which is well above what most apps are priced, but OmniFocus has a wealth of features and syncing options to help justify it. Still, it’s a cost that just may be worth it, because this is comprehensive yet still somewhat simple. It’s like fishing with grenades. –Carter Dotson

PumaTrac

 
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PUMATRAC may sound like just another fitness app at first, but it provides a unique user experience that others like it currently don’t offer. PUMATRAC is designed to keep runners motivated by giving them insights on conditions that affect running performance so that workouts are actually more fun and rewarding. This means that the app can tell whether users run faster to pop music or longer on Fridays just by analyzing many different conditions thanks to Tictrac technology. –Angela LaFollette

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

Cavemania

 
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Free-to-play match-three puzzles are as inescapable as bathroom issues after an all-you-can-eat night at Taco Bell, and are just as expected. Although I know I should hate them for their complete lack of originality, or artistic merit, my primitive synapses still get their share of enjoyment, just from matching things in the right order, without any particular reason and reward. Perhaps, my mom was right, and I should have gone in accounting. In any case, Cavemania tries to introduce some new mechanics, but it’s unclear whether they help overall game, or just get in the way. –Tony Kuzmin

Lumber Jacked

 
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It’s too primitive that lumberjacks are always seen as the most manly of all people. So what if they have muscles of iron, and spend days at a time, uniting with nature and flinging mighty axes all day? Internet critics also have cramped up muscles, unite with nature every five to seven hours, and fling mighty keys up and down. Still, I’m yet to see a single game that gives the credit where it’s due, and features the mighty and the powerful, as the ultimate example of manliness. But, while the ungrateful, primitive culture moves down the familiar road, we get Lumber Jacked, another game, where lumberjack is the mighty hero yet again. It’s not like I remember any other games with lumberjacks, but there have to be lots of them, or this whole paragraph makes no sense. –Tony Kuzmin

Drift Mania: Street Outlaws

 
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Drift Mania: Street Outlaws is the latest in the series of Drift Mania games by Ratrod Studios, with the scene shifted to street racing. But is it worth playing? There isn’t much content available without a lot of gameplay in Drift Mania: Street Outlaws. From the start of the game one car and one track is unlocked. Unlocking additional tracks is far from a simple task. For each track you can race on there are a number of achievements, such as drifting a certain distance or finishing in a time limit. Once enough of these are achieved, the next track is unlocked. Cars can be bought at any time, but are very expensive. –Allan Curtis

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviewed DEVICE 6 and compiled a complete walkthrough to the game, went hands-on with Dungeon Keeper and Tiny Death Star, and made some bold predictions for next week’s Apple press conference. Head to Pocket Gamer for their weekly wrap-up.

Keyboard shortcuts on iOS are an extremely useful feature. However they may be extremely underused, perhaps because people just don’t know what they can do.

Read our guide on setting up and using text shortcuts (which is still valid with iOS 7) and then utilize these clever methods for keyboard shortcuts!

HowToKeyShortcuts-Intro

Canned responses to emails

Does your job have you responding to lots of emails saying the same basic thing? Create a shortcut with a good canned response to save some time and thought.

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Fix common typos

iOS’ built-in autocorrect is useful, but sometimes its autocorrect can try to correct to phrases that aren’t what you want. So, make your common mistake the shortcut, and the corrected version your phrase. This will take preference over autocorrect’s suggestion so you can create your own autocorrections!

As well, autocorrect works for text shortcuts you’ve created. So if you make a typo for a shortcut, autocorrect will fix it to the correct shortcut and correct expanded text. You don’t have to be perfect – just close.

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Only use the emoji you want

Like to use certain emoji but hate having the international keyboard button? Well, it’s possible to have only certain emojis be triggered by using a keyboard shortcut. Just enable the emoji keyboard, insert the emoji(s) in the phrase section, and then create a useful shortcut. Want to insert the US flag into tweets? Just create a usflag keyboard shortcut.

You can then disable the emoji keyboard and it will still work – it’s a system font, so it will work even if the keyboard is disabled. This works with any international keyboard, too, though emojis are more fun.

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Insert frequently-used URLs

Constantly need to link to something? Set the URL as the phrase and set an easy-to-remember shortcut. This is perfect for reaction images or for, you know, more serious purposes. But mostly for GIFs.

What kind of shortcuts should I use?

Make sure that they’re phrases that don’t conflict with actual words. I like to make six-character shortcuts, usually making the first three relate to the topic of the shortcut, and the last three being something about the shortcut. It needs to be simple, memorable, and short enough to justify you saving time! Note that shortcuts do sync up between iCloud devices, so you don’t have to worry about having to recreate shortcuts when you pick up your other device.

Keyboard text shortcuts are a great way to save time – using them is a great way to make the use of your device more efficient! Go on and be short!

Expert App Reviewers

 

So little time and so very many apps. What’s a poor iPhone 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 Reviews Archive for every single review we’ve ever written.

Shadowrun Returns

 
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What was old is new again. Thanks to popularization of crowd-funding services like Kickstarter, many forlorn, neglected, and abused franchises of yesteryear are receiving a new lease on life. One such series seeing a massive resurgence is the strategy RPG and table-top classic, Shadowrun, which finally found its way to iOS in the form of the newly released Shadowrun Returns. Can it somehow live up to the nostalgia laced, sky-high expectations of fans, or will it suffer the same fate as the attempted Xbox 360 reboot? Looking back through the annals of history, the last time that a proper Shadowrun RPG was released, Sega was trying to hock the Sega CD. Thankfully, time has been kind to the genre, and the developer, Harebrained Schemes, has went to great lengths to assure that the title’s mechanics meet up with the expectations of a modern audience. The action itself plays out from a third-person, isometric view, akin to what would be found in most modern tactical RPGs, and is coupled with an extremely organic screen tapping control scheme. –Blake Grundman

Incredipede

 
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Incredipede by Sarah and Colin Northway, is almost two different games built into one title. The first is the main adventure, one where players control Quozzle, a spunky little cyclops gal going through those awkward years where one doesn’t know how many limbs and muscles one has at any given time. There’s not just that, but there’s also the need to collect fruit to save the fellow members of one’s species who have been kidnapped. So the player, serving as the control agent for Quozzle’s muscles, tries to both get Quozzle to the end and to collect the fruit in the levels, which are used to unlock future levels. –Carter Dotson

Pixel This!

 
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I suppose a sign that a game is really good is when I lose all track of time; just constantly diving back in, ignoring all other responsibilities, just playing the game again and again until there’s no more game to play. That’s Pixel This! by Mark Brown , a game he created because “Most of the Picross apps on iOS kind of suck, so I made a better one.” Well, he succeeded. –Carter Dotson

Projector Up!

 
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As a freelance writer and small business owner, keeping tabs on all of my finances and projects can become quite daunting. Plugging numbers into excel, cross referencing projects and figuring out my profits are just a few tasks that can get overwhelming. Now that there’s an app for pretty much everything, I was intrigued by what Projector Up! had to offer myself and other freelancers. The app’s main purpose is management of accounting. It focuses only on small studios and freelancers and isn’t intended for big businesses. Aside from its simple and clean interface, Projector Up! boasts many features like goal tracking, financial planning and visual tracking. –Angela LaFollette

Gappy’s Mystery Letters

 
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Gappy’s Mystery Letters is a charming and effective interactive letters app starring Gappy, the cartoony character from Spinlight Studios’ earlier app Gappy’s First Words. Here, Gappy will be thinking of a letter and asking children to trace with a finger a moving star which engages children to draw a letter that they will then match up with a series of letters to choose from. I believe that the sense of mystery, complete with fun and suspenseful music, will keep children engaged longer than simply tracing over a template which can oftentimes be scribbled over instead of specifically worked with, as this app taps into a child’s sense of wonder as they form these letters. Another nice moment is revealing the gift Gappy receives that corresponds with the letter in question, such as wagon for “W” – nicely stylized as an image later to be used as a coloring page – a nice touch as this cute moment will not register the way it would if Gappy were being given a whole lot of “stuff” like more tangible toys. I would, however, like to be able to control the speed that one needs in order to follow the star as I could see a child new to tracing or printing having difficulty at first – a minor concern really as this is a great app for those new to learning their letters but who are looking for something a little different. Also included is a blank drawing page as well as 52 coloring pages based on the alphabet that can be unlocked by slowly solving the mystery games found within this app. –Amy Solomon

Other 148Apps Network Sites

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

AndroidRundown

Blood Battalion

 
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Sometimes it is fun just to watch games. Anyone who’s played the Sims knows that watching the drama unfold can be as fun as creating the drama. These types of players will likely love Blood Battalion, a strategic RPG which is light on the gameplay and heavy on the spectacle. Players begin the game by selecting a hero. It’s possible to pick from such heroes as a healer girl who’s fairly useless in a fight, but has the vital ability to keep other troops alive, to a swordsman who has immense power but not much else. –Allan Curtis

LavaCat

 
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Fast Cats and lava. Welcome to LavaCat from PocketCake. The basic premise is what one expects in a side-scrolling adventure: moving from the left of the screen to the right, the main objective is to get as far as possible without getting fried by any of the heat-related dangers that lined the playing area. In the interest of fair disclosure, it should be noted that the playing area is molten lava travelway with falling spikes and steam geysers that can do lethal damage to a poor little puddy cat. The controls are minimalist. One bank has a direction button set that controls “forward” and “backward” movement. There is also a jump button. An hourglass button rounds out the core controls. The cat remains stationary on the bottom surface unless a button is being held; not a lot of momentum is retained when movement in either direction is not engaged. –Tre Lawrence

Total Conquest

 
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Ever wanted to build a charming Roman village from the ground up, build a thriving economy and then shatter the peace by recruiting a huge army to crush friends and rivals, then look no further than Total Conquest, a new game from Gameloft where aspiring generals can do just that. In Total Conquest the player starts off with a Town Hall and not much else. From there villas are constructed to generate gold and farms are planted to generate food. Each building can be upgraded multiple times. Temples can be raised to gain blessings from the gods, bestowing faster or stronger attacks and players can also build a bunker like Militia building which garrisons troops in case of attack. –Allan Curtis

And finally, this week This week, Pocket Gamer reviewed The Cave and Transport Tycoon, crowned the best iOS and Android games of September, looked at the most exciting mobile games for this month, and went hands-on with The Room 2, Monument Valley, and Framed. Take a look, in PG’s weekly wrap-up.

Your App Experts

 

The furor over two new iPhones and the release of iOS 7 may have passed, but that doesn’t stop the oncoming wave of new apps. If you want to know what’s worth your time and what’s not, just look to the expert app reviewers at 148Apps. And if you want more app reviews than you can shake a stick at, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Big Brain Master

 
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Big Brain Master is a pure puzzle game that tells a story whilst engaging the player in some enjoyable and challenging puzzles. A new and artful take on “mind” games, it’s simple and entertaining approach manages to keep players guessing without being too complex. The art style is highly detailed, with a nice, clean, and simple graphical outlook, and the puzzles are presented in an interesting format which gives it an interesting and refreshing feel whilst playing. Navigating the user interface is nice and straightforward, and the design layout is linear enough to not overcomplicate by looking too clunky or crowded. Each of the 250+ levels are divided up into seven puzzle styles that are each distinctive from the last. Although this might seem refreshing enough to most players, I personally feel that perhaps having less levels per style and more of a variety of puzzle styles would have made it slightly less repetitive, as after a while gameplay seemed to become a little tiresome and I felt like I was just repeating actions that had already become less of a challenge. –Lucy Ingram

Pocket Trains

 
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NimbleBit has a clear formula with their bitizen-featuring simulation games, one that repeats with the third such title, Pocket Trains. They’re games that are fueled not so much by challenge, but by keeping the player interested in propelling the machine forward and not punishing them for playing the game – like so many other free-to-play simulations are wont to do. It’s why I find myself falling into the same pit with Pocket Trains where I check it regularly for weeks on end, the same as I did with Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes. This feels almost like a remix of Pocket Planes that’s been simplified a lot. Where that game had some complexity due to the free-form nature of air travel,Pocket Trains is forced to be simpler because of the fixed nature of rail lines. Only one train can own a segment between two cities, though of course multiple train lines can travel through cities on intersecting lines. The paths are thus largely pre-defined and there’s now no monetary cost for traveling to a city, only a fuel gauge that refills when a train is idling or when the player pays a couple bux to refill it. –Carter Dotson

Trouserheart

 
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Trouserheart is an ideal game for the mobile format. It’s the kind of thing that can be jumped into for five or ten minute sessions, while still actually achieving something in that short space of time. In the vein of games such as Diablo and Torchlight, Trouserheart is a hack-n-slasher that’s very simple to learn. Using a virtual d-pad and one sole button to attack with, it takes seconds to master. What takes a little longer is learning to dodge enemies by moving around them quickly. It’s still all pretty simple stuff, though. Vibrantly animated, Trouserheart also maintains a charming and humorous take on events, right down to the player’s quest to rescue one’s trousers. Yes, really. –Jennifer Allen

Chainsaw Warrior

 
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I’d admittedly never heard of the original Chainsaw Warrior tabletop game from the late 80s, but that’s probably due to a combination of me not being all that into board games back then and also being six years old. Regardless, the player-versus-game gore fest has made its way to iOS. And it is ridiculously awesome. Chainsaw Warrior is essentially every action movie in the 80s turned into a dice-rolling game. A dimensional rift has opened up, resulting in New York being overrun by horrible mutants and other monstrosities, with a shapeless dark being running the show. In about one hour’s time the rift will open further and swallow the entire city. So it’s up to the titular hero to wade through hordes of terrible monsters in a desperate attempt to reach the Darkness and put a stop to the otherworldly assault. They’ll have to fight through a deck of over 50 cards just to reach a second, which is the only place where the Darkness will appear. Dying happens a lot. –Rob Rich

Wombi Math

 
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Wombi Math is a cute and fun app that will encourage grade school children to work on their math skills. Set in a charming urban landscape, a brick wall is used as the backdrop for different math equations and their answers to be displayed – be it with the possible use of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. Tap on an equation as well as the matching answer to clear the board. I admire how simple it is for parents to adjust the math questions used for the abilities of a specific child as well as how the questions and answers are represented – be it in uniform block boxes or more colorful and sometimes geometric shapes. One can also scroll through a few related brick walls that include each function, whether mixed, addition, subtraction, or division – each with a nice, different use of color yet maintaining an intentionally sparse background, keeping the focus on the math. –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

Terraria

 
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Outdoor survival, nicely-rendered 2D graphs with whimsical monsters and… wait for it… zombies? People: Terraria is here! The gameplay takes familiar survival staples and rolls them into a fairly complex system involving manipulation, combination and strategy. The tutorial underlines the basic stuff quite well; the first grand explains how to use the left-set control to move on either direction, as well as how to jump, scale downward… and instinctive movements, like directing jumps in either aerial direction are logical. The tutorial goes on to walk through collection of materials, protection, creations and dangers. –Tre Lawrence

Tanktastic-3D Tanks Online

 
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Porches. Lamborghinis McLarens. All infinitely cool, but I dare anyone to show me a guy who hasn’t wanted to rock a tank at least once. Go ahead. I’ll wait. For folks who can’t or won’t do a 4-year bid just to do some infantry driving, Tanktastic is a relatively safe alternative that brings team combat, tactics and good old speed of accurate firing to bear. Jumping into a random group battle mostly describes the gameplay in all its muscled glory. The task is dropped into a terrain with different types of structured obstacles, and several other manned tanks. It’s a shameless free for all that measures speed, accuracy and cunning. The controls are straightforward, and encourage quick movement and shooting; I felt most comfortable with dual thumb controls. –Tre Lawrence

Pivvot

 
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Pivvot is nothing if not eye-catching. Its stark graphics and simple gameplay demand attention. But how does it play? Pivvot’s concept is as simple as it gets. You control a rotating circle that moves along a line. As you move along you’ll see obstacles you need to avoid, lest you crash into them and die. To do so you use very simple two finger controls that rotate your intrepid circle left or right. While this sounds like an incredibly simple concept, in practice it is extremely challenging. The game starts off simple with easily avoided obstacles such as spikes that only take up one side of the course, but quickly adds in much harder ones that require exact positioning, like lines of small walls that move constantly. –Allan Curtis

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer demystified iOS 7 controllers, picked out the perfect games to show off your new iPhone 5S, reviewed hot new App Store games like Boson X and Trouserheart, and showed off this week’s iOS games in video show What’s New? See it all in PG’s weekly wrap up.

New iPhone? New apps? You Need Our Know-How!

 

Each week brings with it a wealth of new apps, but, we’ll admit, some weeks are just more exciting than others. Such is the case with this week, with its iPhone 5s and 5c announcements coupled with the long-awaited release of iOS 7. Be sure to catch up on our continuous coverage by checking in at our iOS 7 hub. And if you want more app reviews than you can shake a stick at, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Diptic PDQ

 
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Conveniently fitting into the iOS 7 aesthetic that we’re all growing to quite like, Diptic PDQ lives up to its name by being a Pretty Dang Quick photo collage creation app. It’ll prove immensely useful to those who want to create a collage out of their photos and don’t have much time to do so. Distinctly speedy to use, Diptic PDQ dispenses with any bells and whistles that really aren’t needed; immediately requesting the photos that the user wants to import (as well as offering options to take images directly through the iOS device’s camera). Users are then able to drag and drop the photos into their respective places on the layout. There are 35 layouts in all, and each are the kind of template that one would actually use rather than the kind that are too wacky to be practical. –Jennifer Allen

Angry Birds Star Wars II

 
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There once was a man named George Lucas who decided he wasn’t prosperous enough. In search of never-ending wealth, he released three new films in his storied Star Wars franchise. After eventually completing his quest for riches and fortune, Lucas licensed out the rights for his films to Rovio, the brains behind the Angry Birds franchise. And thus a glorious gaming baby was born in the form of Angry Birds Star Wars II. Can this entry make just as big of a splash as the first installment, or have the days of Force-wielding fowl long since passed? Marketing professionals go an entire lifetime dreaming of working with a single brand that even remotely has the clout of a singular Star Wars or Angry Birds. Melding these two juggernauts together is a cross-promotional fantasy that has probably sold an iOS game or two… million. Taking a whack at the more recent trilogy is the aim of the sequel and this time around Rovio has ambitions of pulling out all of the stops. –Blake Grundman

Marvin

 
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Previously quite the hit for iPad-owning reading fans, Marvin has made its way to the iPhone ably demonstrating just what a great eBook reader the device can be. For those who enjoy reading on the move, Marvin should be a firm choice for a while to come. The app is immediately simple to use. Relying upon DRM-free EPUB books, it comes with a selection of great classics such as “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” “Crime and Punishment,” and many more. Importing others is just as simple, done via iTunes, Dropbox, or a Calibre plugin. Tutorials for doing such things are located via Safari rather than built into the app, but fortunately it’s all quite straightforward. –Jennifer Allen

Double Dragon

 
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Double Dragon celebrated its 25th anniversary with an updated iPhone version, but has it managed to hold on to everything that has made it such a legendary franchise in the process? I was happy to see that the classic visuals, 80′s soundtrack, and damsel-in-distress story were all still present and cheesier than ever before. In terms of the game screen, the amount of buttons is deceptively simple. Although there may only be one directional button and four attack buttons there is an impressive array of moves available as laid out in the command list. Uppercuts, flying knees, head-butts, and special attacks all go towards keeping gameplay varied and particularly challenging to master (especially when it comes to initiating juggling). Let’s not forget the infamous weapons either. Barrels, whips, and steel pipes are all available to pick up and wield against the never-ending parade of thugs. –Lee Hamlet

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

Monster Match

 
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A lot of games find it hard to stick to one ‘type’ nowadays. It seems that every game is of type X though has Y components. It’s not enough to find one solid game mechanic, it seems the trick is to mix several together. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m happy to say that Monster Match‘s attempt at mixing Pokemon and Connect 4 has worked a charm. The premise, as with most good games, is simple. You have a board which is full of coloured gems. You need to swipe at these gems connecting 2 or more of the same color. The more you connect, the better. Better how? Let me explain. –Matt Parker

Quad Drawer

 
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The past few renditions of the Android devices have had a lot more memory to store apps. The problem is, we can add more stuff to the phone because we have more space, so we do. When we have a hundred or more apps on our devices, it can take some time to find the right app to open. Quad Drawer is a great solution for most people to help find apps faster. After it’s downloaded, Quad Drawer will run a check to find all of the apps on the device. Once it does, finding an app is super easy. The apps are found by simply typing in the name of the application. While this may sound pretty simple, the majority of phones and other Android devices out there do not have a feature like this. –Trevor Dobrygoski

Infectonator Hot Chase

 
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Infectonator Hot Chase has a tough legacy to follow. The original Infectonator was an insane stew with zombies, tactics, humor and originality. This game only has zombies. Being worse than Infectonator still counts as a praise, although I’d much rather have original gameplay extended. But oh, well, maybe we’ll see that later. Infectonator Hot Chase is still fun, though. If you played Dead Ahead, then it’s easy to understand the concept of this game: it’s the same as Dead Ahead, but the heroes are zombies, not the survivals. The main zombie is running constantly to the right, just as the still-surviving humans do. He is also steering automatically to the bottom of the road, while pressing at the screen makes him strafe to the top. The player’s task is to “catch” the humans as the main zombie runs past them, and infect them. The freshly-infected start running alongside the main zombie, and help infect more people, or pick up gold and power-ups. The zombie slows and loses health over time, both of which can be replenished by eating people, or picking power-ups. When the main zombie dies, the gold he picked up is added to the bank, and can be spent to upgrade himself, or special mutations that temporarily imbue him with new powers. –Tony Kuzmin

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviews Infinity Blade III and Angry Birds Star Wars II, charts the history of Grand Theft Auto on handhelds, goes hands-on with Pokemon X & Y, investigates FIFA 14‘s in-app purchases, and celebrates iOS 7’s best and hidden features. Check out the Pocket Gamer Weekly Wrap-Up for all of this and more.

ios7-release-header

Today will see the launch today of iOS 7, the biggest update we’ve seen yet in the mobile operating system that powers nearly 600 million devices. With a new user interface, many new features, and back end features that have developers stoked, it’s a pivotal day for iOS. We’ll be covering the release of iOS 7 and apps developed exclusively for it throughout the day. Check back here often.

iOS 7 should be released around 10am Pacific time — Carter has already taken the plunge and walks you though how to prepare for iOS 7, and how to upgrade to iOS 7.

If your device isn’t upgradeable to iOS 7, don’t worry you don’t need to upgrade right away. Apple updated the App Store to support older versions of apps for older versions of iOS yesterday.

The iPod touch and iPad iBooks user guides are out. The iPhone one is probably waiting for the release of the iPhone 5s and 5c on Friday.

Security is a new focus for Apple and Carter tells us how to Use the Anti-Theft activation lock in iOS 7.

iOS 7 was originally announced at WWDC this past June. Before the announcement talked with people in the industry about their wishes for iOS 7. One of our biggest concerns is how iOS 7 is falling behind for family users. As a group, before the final announcement of iOS 7 we talked about what we liked about iOS 7 and hoped for in future versions. And I wrote about how important the announcement was for Tim Cook and Apple.

Jen talks to a bunch of Game Developers and gets their thoughts on iOS 7.

 

Apps Created or Updated for iOS 7

 

Lots of apps have been updated for iOS 7 to take advantage of new features from the background updates, to deeper backend stuff. But many have just been updated to match the visual style and user experience of iOS 7. Here are a few of our favorite updates:

Pocket Casts 4.0 podcast catcher
TED Talks informative video player
Slacker Radio streaming radio player
Flipboard mobile magazine app
Camera+ 4.0 best camera replacement app
Twitterific Twitter client
Todo 7.0 Appigo task manager
Addappt living address book
New York Times newspaper app
Pocket offline reader
Evernote information organizer
Mailbox Mail.app replacement
Pocket Informant Pro Calendar and Reminders replacement
Shazam the music identification app
AroundMe the local activities app
Springpad the information manager
GroupText! the most popular group text manager
OmniGroup Updates OmniFocus, OmniOutliner, and OmniPlan Productivity and pretty
Sky Live is an app for finding good stargazing times
HootSuite a professional Twitter client
Pandora the music streaming app
Quora the q&a social network app
PCalc is the best calculator replacement
Clear (task manager)
Roambi a great data visualization app
Cobook a contact manager app
Scanner Pro from Readdle a great document scanner
Perfect Weather a new sexy weather app
Reeder 2 an RSS reader

 

Around The Web

 

Around the web, many are also doing some amazing work writing about iOS 7. Here’s a few of our favorites:

Rene Ritchie over at iMore has an amazing and exhaustive review of iOS 7.

TUAW takes a look at some great new settings in iOS 7.

MacStories hits a home run with their coverage of iOS 7 and has a great editorial on Living with iOS 7. They also have a great list of Tricks and Tips for iOS 7.

Our friends over at Pocket Gamer have a list of their favorite new features of iOS 7.

9to5Mac has a great interview with iOS app developers on working with iOS 7 development and design.

iOS 7 is arriving tomorrow and Apple has extended some love to owners of older iOS devices, reports Engadget. Apple has added a new compatibility feature that allows users to download the last version of an app that is still compatible with their phone. So, for users running around with an old iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, they’ll be able to use this compatibility feature to find the latest compatible version and use it on their device.

Credit: Engadget

Credit: Engadget

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source: Engadget

This Week at 148Apps: September 9-13, 2013

We Know Our Apps

 

Sorting through the gigantic swarm of apps out there can be daunting. 148Apps is here to help. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Ninja Cats vs. Samurai Dogs

 
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The age-old battle between samurai and ninjas has been told throughout time across several forms of media, but Eutechnyx has taken it to a whole new level with Ninja Cats vs. Samurai Dogs. Ninja Cats vs. Samurai Dogs is a tower defense game in which the field of battle is divided up into five lanes. There are a variety of towers available to build that each have various functions and resources, but there are only five spaces in which to place them so it has to have some sort of strategy. Otherwise it’s just a case of trial and error. Units are created and deployed from these towers, which are generated as cards that all have different abilities. Once the decision to deploy a unit has been made it is then possible to choose where to place the character, with the aim of getting them across to the other side to destroy enemy towers. If a character, be it a ninja cat or a samurai dog, passes an enemy on their path (or adjacent to, depending on abilities) there will be a face-off to the death and the victor will advance forward. –Lucy Ingram

Heroes of Loot

 
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Distilling a genre down to its basic elements isn’t necessarily a difficult task, but doing it well absolutely is. Just cutting gameplay and other mechanical elements out at random won’t do; it really requires surgical precision. And yet, Orangepixel pulls it off so well with Heroes of Loot they make it look effortless. Heroes of Loot, at its most basic, is what happens when a game like Gauntlet is combined with Roguelike elements. The four adventurers (Elf, Warrior, Wizard, and Valkyrie) are in it for the money and not much else. Once players select their character, it’s on to adventure! Or in this case something akin to an arcade dungeon crawl. Randomized dungeons, quests, and special items make an appearance along with permadeath, but it’s all been streamlined to the point that dying is merely a (very) temporary setback. –Rob Rich

Junk Jack X

 
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The 2D mining and crafting genre is becoming a crowded one on iOS, with The Blockheads leading the way (in this writer’s humble opinion), Terraria making the jump to iOS, and now Junk Jack X – a follow-up to the 2011 2D crafting game that launched on iOS. And for those looking for a fun 2D crafting game can’t go wrong with Junk Jack X. Now, as someone intrigued by the genre but not an expert on them per se, I find the way that a game like Junk Jack X decides to just leave players in the middle of nowhere to start off with, left to fend for themselves, absolutely fascinating. In a world of handholding it’s kind of refreshing to be left to fend for myself. Of course then nightfall comes and I’m being assaulted by zombies, slime monsters, and spiders constantly, and I’d kind of appreciate some hand-holding! The ability to zoom way out to see where one has been and what the upcoming landscape may hold is great, especially handy for after a death, trying to make it back to the place one worked from. –Carter Dotson

Disney Princess Royal Salon

 
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Disney Princess Royal Salon is a very nice universal application that allows young children to dress up Disney princesses as well as style their hair with a tap or drag of a finger. Having only a son, we never got into the princess theme the way some children do, but I did spend a few years looking for a moderately-priced styling head that was not attached to Barbie as my boy showed interest in trying to style my hair and apply pretend makeup to my face, so I think he would have fun with this kind of pretend play toy. It is these kinds of styling head toys that came to mind as I tested the Disney Princess Royal Salon app as after choosing among Cinderella, Belle, Rapunzel, and Ariel one gets to decide which of four invitations to select, and one has a chance to style a princess’s hair with the tap of a finger. –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

SimpleRockets

 
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Space. The final frontier. The strange, black mass around the Earth that’s calling out to us, daring to come at it with all the technologies we could think of. As the space exploration in real world is stalling behind the schedule, videogame spacemen are orbiting on the countless devices, including mobile phones. The most popular among the “realistic” space exploration simulators is, undeniably, Kerbal Space Program. It’s a whole another topic, worthy of a hundred of articles, but it’s quite obvious where SimpleRockets took the inspiration from. Although it’s a lot more simple, it’s fitting perfectly into the mobile screen. –Tony Kuzmin

Wordcraft

 
wordcraft

Wordcraft is a combo word game from Littlebigplay. The game is an interesting mix of word games like Scrabble and crossword puzzles. The playing area is a rectangular grid made up of squared letter tiles set up in 8×13 fashion. The letters are random, and contain all the letter of the alphabet with varying probabilities. As in Scrabble, each letter has a number value that seems to be based on the use of the letter in the English language. Thus, E, T and A have the lowest values, and K, X, Q, J and Z have high values. –Tre Lawrence

Daddy Was A Thief

 
thief

Isn’t it strange that a game is only perceived as mature when the developers consciously try to make it so? By all accounts, Daddy Was A Thief is a hardcore circus of violence and destruction, but since it has nice music and cute graphics, it feels like a completely peaceful game. And I’m definitely digging its style. I’ve already reviewed it a while ago on iOS, and since Daddy Was A Thief got an update, I figured it would be a great time to also review this great game on Android, as well. –Tony Kuzmin

Also this week, Pocket Gamer went preview crazy, with first impressions of Infinity Blade III, Trials: Frontier, Gunner Z, Assassin’s Creed: Pirates, Pocket Trains, Valiant Hearts, Fist of Awesome, and Rayman Fiesta Run. Get more reviews, news, and videos in Pocket Gamer’s weekly wrap up.

And finally, in this week’s AppSpy News Wrap-Up, James talks you through the Infinity Blade III trailer, and shows you the first gameplay video from Trials Frontier, Assassin’s Creed: Pirates, and Rayman Fiesta Run. He also talks in a pirate voice for longer than is strictly necessary. Visit AppSpy.com for more video reviews, news, and previews.

Ninja Cats vs. Samurai Dogs review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Go barking mad and claw a path to victory in this purr-fectly unique tower defense game.

Read The Full Review »

Sumhold Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Sumhold may look like just another calculator, but its elegant interface, ability to store numbers, and running total feature help make it one of the best simplistic iOS calculators available.

Read The Full Review »

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.

Zombies Ate My Friends

 
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Zombies and video games go great together. We tend to forget this, especially as zombies in general become increasingly played out, but it’s a fact regardless. While Zombies Ate My Friends is no The Walking Dead, or Zombies Ate My Neighbors for that matter, it still showcases why this combination is so strong in the first place. As a zombie apocalypse tears through the town of Festerville, players loot and scavenge just to survive. However, since this is an RPG, that is only the beginning of the lengthy, 8-episode story. Throughout their quests, players will reconstruct helicopters, recruit new survivors into their camp, and desperately search for cures for their infected teammates. Sharp writing keeps even the grind-heaviest missions from getting stale. Complimenting that is the excellent art style best described as “Scott Pilgrim” but without the video game aesthetic. Raiders, boss zombies, and other characters have big, expressive, chibi cartoon heads and fluid animations that energize the presentation. Meanwhile dark, moody colors and macabre background details like “Murphy’s Law Office” constantly reinforce the funny yet bleak tone. –Jordan Minor

Cloud Spin

 
cloudspin1

Cloud Spin is a quite gorgeous game to look at. Never skipping a beat visually, it uses the Unreal Engine well to provide a fast-paced and enjoyable racing game like few others already out there. Do be aware of slightly flaky controls, though. Keeping it relatively simple, Cloud Spin offers a delightfully uncluttered interface. Straightforward instructions early on provide everything one needs to know. Flying around the screen is just a matter of swiping a finger in the relevant direction. Holding a second finger to the screen gives the player a speed boost, and that’s pretty much all that needs to be taught. Then it’s just a matter of gliding around each arena, collecting stars, dodging obstacles, and hoping to gain a precious medal at the end. –Jennifer Allen

Donna, Manage Your Day

 
donna

Donna, Manage Your Day is an app that’s designed to get its users to their scheduled appointments and events on-time in an intelligent way, but it’s definitely not flawless. Donna links in to contacts and calendars; automatically adding events scheduled for the next 3 days and letting users specify where they are and how to get to them. By default only one calendar is added, but the settings offer ways to toggle other calendars on the device. Users can specify in the settings their home and work locations, as well as handy shortcuts for common starting and stopping points. Destinations can be searched for by address and venue name. When getting directions, users can specify which transportation method they’re going to use – perfect for those in big cities who might switch between walking, public transit, a bike, and/or car as necessary. It also shows the weather! Then, when it’s nearing time to leave, a notification pops up to head out. –Carter Dotson

Bramble Berry Tales: The Story of Kalkalih

 
Bramble Berry Tales-House

Bramble Berry Tales – The Story of Kalkalih is an important interactive storybook app as it incorporates the oral histories of Canadian indigenous people of many, many generations past. An app of undeniably high quality, I enjoy the palette of warm earth tones and stylized animation that include interactive hot spots that one can trigger with a swipe or a tap, as well as how the words to this story are highlighted when read by optional narration; always a nice touch. This tale is a story within a story. First, siblings Lily and Thomas get dropped off to spend time at their Kookum and Mooshum’s house, which is Squamish for grandmother and grandfather. Lily can be a handful, however, as she is too excited to stay in her bed at night, sneaking into the kitchen to help herself to next morning’s homemade jam, and even turning on the radio and waking up the others who are sleeping. –Amy Solomon

Asphalt 8: Airborne

 
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Gameloft’s Asphalt series returns to take arcade racing pleasantries to a new height. Asphalt 8: Airborne features everything players are familiar with, especially the vehicle handling during each race. There are numerous cars to purchase and upgrade, and multiple objectives to accomplish besides the typical potential three star earnings by placing in the top 3. However, what it really brings to the table – besides an overhaul of the user interface and graphics, which look nice – is a new way to launch vehicles in the air while performing stunts. Airborne. That’s the key word in the title and the main focus in the game, and it elevates the entertainment that it provides by letting players watch their vehicles go flying across the screen. Plus it’s pretty awesome when the boost is activated and players come crashing down on top of other vehicles for a takedown. I’ve always had great fun with arcade racers and enjoyed the previous Asphalt entries, but something as simple as adding ramps and a few stunts to the action has really taken this series in a new direction. Up! –Andrew Stevens

Mynd Calendar

 
mynd

The App Store is flooded with productivity apps and calendars, but each of them is a little bit different from the rest. Mynd Calendar is trying to break away from the mold by presenting users with a smart calendar that doesn’t just record things but helps users do them. It’s easy to get started. With the user’s permission, Mynd asks to integrate with any calendars, add contacts, use location services, and send push notifications. With just a few quick taps and some edits in the Settings menu, users are ready to use Mynd to help them get through their daily tasks. –Angela LaFollette

Timeline WWI

 
timelineww19

Much like Timeline Civil War, Timeline WW1 is a fantastic resource of information for those interested in certain periods of history. Capturing the essence of the battles involved, as well as how the Great War affected the people wrapped up in it, Timeline WW1 is both a fascinating and bleak reminder of what our ancestors struggled through. The interface is much like Timeline Civil War; proving immensely simple to browse through for young and old alike. Using a multitude of different types of media users can read through the interactive timeline to gain snippets of information on each event, while also choosing to delve further in and discover pertinent facts through video, audio, and photography. With 500 images and over 100 film clips and newsreels to explore, there are hours upon hours of content here. –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

Fleet Combat

 
fleet

Tower defense in a new, sea-bound world is the name of the game in Fleet Combat. This adventure is set on the high seas, and I admit that I did not mind the intro backstory: no zombies in this apocalypse; just good old Mother Nature in the form of engulfing sea levels. The resulting disaster leads to a restructuring of power, and our game story revolves around resistance against invading enemy forces. The game developer was prudent enough to put in an interactive tutorial, which helps explain the game “pieces” and general strategy. The defending pieces will be familiar to US Navy aficionados, taking the form of different types of warships (the whole setup when looking at the ships is somewhat reminiscent of Battleship, but I digress). –Tre Lawrence

Fantashooting

 
fanta

Some titles don’t really need explaining. Some games just simply throw you into the action and give you the experience you’re after right out of the gate. Fantashooting is one of those games and, following its example, I’m going to get right on with the review. Fantashooting is a ‘dual-joystick’ shooter where instead of joysticks you use the touchscreen. Most of you will know how this works, but for those that don’t be aware that there are two on-screen ‘joysticks’ that you move around by touching the screen. One joystick moves the character and the other shoots a weapon or throws a magic spell. Shooting at what and magic spells at who? Well, quite simply, you’re killing monsters. A lot of them. Fantashooting is simply a wave survival game where you aim to kill as many monsters as you can before being killed yourself. The more you kill, the more money and points you get. Some of you may have guessed this already – the money and points can be spent on upgrading your character. –Matt Parker

KungFu Quest: The Jade Tower

 
kungfu

I am an old timer. I used to go to the 7-eleven and pump all of my paper route money into the arcade games. Usually there was to of them so there was some choice. KungFu Quest : The Jade Tower reminds me of an old game I used to play there, so I was excited to do this review. The tutorial dojo is a good place to get and idea of how KungFu Quest : The Jade Tower is played. The side scrolling method of game play helps eliminate the need for an on-screen D-pad. I was glad about that because I am not a fan of those. Instead, on the bottom left side of the screen, there are left and a right arrows that work well. On the bottom right side of the screen are the attack buttons. The action button will punch and kick, the other is to jump. –Trevor Dobrygoski

Shiny Happy App Reviews

 

The App Store can be a daunting place. What to try? What to buy? How do you know? Thank goodness the review team at 148Apps is here to save the day. 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.

Plants vs. Zombies 2

 
IMG_0599

Game development is a fickle business. One day a studio is the talk of the industry and the next it’s scrambling to save face. Rarely is a team able to attain success and remain a darling of both the press and gamers alike. PopCap is one of the exceptions to the rule that somehow manage to impress, no matter what the obstacle. Their newest offering, Plants vs. Zombies 2, could put all of their hard-earned credibility on the chopping block by opting to implement a free-to-play monetization structure. Does the freemium model suit the franchise, or is this an unnecessary stir of the pot? –Blake Grundman

Notograph

 
notograph

A new app has landed that is simple yet amazing. Notograph is essentially a way to take notes with photographs. It allows users to capture photos of things that they need to remember, and it stores them in a separate location so users don’t fill up their Camera Roll or Photo Stream with pictures that get in the way of their memories. Every time Notograph is opened, it takes users straight to the live camera. It’s designed for quick captures so there’s no messing around with features that aren’t needed. Just tap on the big yellow button to capture. Next to the capture button, users can turn the flash on or off, alternate between the front and back cameras, and view a list of captured pictures. –Angela LaFollette

TeeVee 2

 
teevee

There are a lot of good TV shows out there nowadays to keep track of. Sure, there are a lot of terrible TV to keep track of too, and TeeVee 2 doesn’t discriminate. It just wants to serve as a quick way to track TV shows and see when they’re coming on next. Just search for a show in a widely-available database, and it will be added to the list left under three categories: “upcoming” for shows that have scheduled upcoming episodes, “announced” for shows that are still airing but don’t have future episodes scheduled yet, and the “dead” section serves as a painful reminder that America rejected the witty antics of Happy Endings. America, for shame. –Carter Dotson

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Paint and Play HD

 
Mickey-Living-Room-600x450

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Paint and Play HD is a unique and fun coloring book app that helps children explore 2D and 3D animation. An iPhone version of this app is also available. This application consists of the classic Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse who star in three separate areas of this app, each including various objects which can be painted. When this app opens up for the first time, children will notice three rooms from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – starkly white and without color yet nicely decorated with many props and other objects that one would expect from fully furnished rooms as well as an outdoor scene. These areas – the living room, kitchen, and garden – each include many details that one would expect; be it easy chair or shelf, counter or cupboard, trees and flowers – all in need of some creative color. One can even add personal touches to Mickey and Minnie as well – a nice feature that I really enjoy. –Amy Solomon

ScribbleMix

 
scribblemix

Taking plenty of inspiration from last year’s social gaming phenomenon, Draw Something, ScribbleMix is a fun re-imagining of the popular format with just enough to make it seem different. This time round, players must draw an entire phrase rather than one word. It makes a significant difference, too, both in terms of challenge and in terms of entertainment value. Rather than simply drawing a cheerleader, one might have to draw a cheerleader dancing in the sea for instance. As the Disney name is strongly attached here, there are Disney themed moments, too, such as my favorite: Iron Man bouncing in a desert. Plenty of categories are available so it’s convenient to be able to use some of the in-app currency to either re-spin for another shot, or choose a different category. –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

After the Gods-An Augmented Reality God Game

 
gods

Sometimes you’ll come across a game that deserves and needs to be looked at differently. To give After the Gods a score out of ten would be missing the point and would stop discussion before it even began. Why is this? Because, quite simply, After the Gods isn’t a particularly good game. It consists of a fairly basic premise that’s easy to achieve. You have to tap on different statues to activate them and then move your camera around to call upon the selected God’s power. Rain, wind and the power over light are all combined to complete a couple of different objectives. For to get flowers to grow, you need it to be raining and sunny. After a couple of these ‘objectives’, the game’s over. 6 out of ten. –Matt Parker

Gurk III-The 8-Bit RPG

 
gurk

I wanted to start this review by saying how Gurk was an old-school RPG from the olden days, but quick Googling turned up the fact that there was no such thing, and my memory is playing tricks on me. Well, how about that. It’s actually quite a modern-day RPG that was simply made to look like it’s a clone of an old-school game. Still, it doesn’t mean that the game is in any way bad. Conversely, it’s one of the most absorbing role-playing games on the mobiles, and it manages to be like that with only a handful of pixels and colors to spare. In Gurk III, three heroes, a mage, a warrior, and an archer, have to travel across lands and dungeons, eradicating all enemies that are all too eager to munch on their squishy human faces. They are represented by a single icon on the global map, but when encountering an enemy, the map will zoom up on them, and they will fight the enemies in a turn-based battle mode. As in all the other RPGs, there are tons of items to find, and tons of gold to collect. –Tony Kuzmin

QbQbQb

 
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There’s a problem with QbQbQb, and so many other puzzle games, from a reviewer’s perspective: they are impossible to describe. They look fine and simple, when I play them, but when I have to put them on paper – it was easier to describe my feelings to a girl I liked in fifth grade, and get a lifetime of shame, than to explain this stuff. Although QbQbQb is difficult to understand from the screenshots, or my ramblings, it’s actually very simple to play. That said, it’s not easy – and it’s a great combination. Simple to learn, impossible to master. The challenge comes from the twisted way the game looks. It’s a Tetris-esque match-something arcade, but instead of giving a traditional flat surface to throw the incoming bricks on, QbQbQb opts for a circular one. To put it simply: there are various shapes, falling onto a planet from all angles, and the player needs to rotate the planet around its axis, to put them in the required places on top of it. The planet only rotates by 30-degree angles, so there are 12 possible positions the pieces are coming from, and can be placed on, which makes it a bit more manageable. But still difficult to wrap the head around, in the heat of the action. –Tony Kuzmin

This Week at 148Apps: August 5-9, 2013

Expert App Reviews

 

Yet another week has passed, and that means the 148Apps reviewers have combed through the vast numbers of new apps out there in hopes of reviewing the latest and greatest. 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. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

My.Shopping

 
shopping

Offering a quite powerful way in which to organize one’s shopping, My.Shopping isn’t going to win prizes for simplicity or minimalism, but it might suit those looking for a more complex solution than the usual methods. A cluttered interface introduces proceedings but a clearly laid out plus sign does at least guide users the right way. It’s possible to add product names and sellers so they’re easier to include in the future, as well as actual shopping lists. Being able to configure sellers accurately to include local area details is a potential option, too. –Jennifer Allen

Disney Animated

 
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Disney animated films are kiiiiinda popular, and have been ever since Snow White was released in 1937. They’ve been going strong ever since. Countless books both official and not have been published documenting the company’s techniques, movies, and so on. However, I don’t think any of them, or even all of them put together, hold a candle to Disney Animated. Disney Animated isn’t a simple eBook. Oh no. It’s an interactive encyclopedia of all fifty-three of Disney’s feature length animated films. Ten different chapters explain the history of the animation giant, its methods (past and present), character development, music, and more. Each of these sections explains a core concept and offers up several detailed examples that can be viewed, and often directly interacted with, via a single tap. Curious about Disney’s animation techniques over the years? Check out the chapter on Animation and view dozens of samples from Lady and the Tramp, The Lion King, Tangled, and more. Or maybe take a stab at animation itself by doing some simple skeletal adjustments using a model of Vanellope from Wreck-it-Ralph. There’s a remarkable amount of information for Disney fans to appreciate here, and a significant portion of it is either animated, interactive, or both. –Rob Rich

Mikey Hooks

 
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Mikey Hooks takes the sublime speed-run platformer Mikey Shorts and adds grappling hooks to it. I love Mikey Shorts and I love grappling hook games. I’m no mathematician (I’m a writer instead) but that adds up to Mikey Hooks being an incredible game. Through 24 story levels and 12 race levels, players must run, jump, and swing their way through levels as quickly as possible. As this is the second game in the series, the training wheels have been taken off: now players have limited health and can die when touching spikes, and there’s a lot more freedom in path-taking as the trapped humans aren’t in the levels any more. The story levels still have challenges for collecting all the coins (which are used to unlock a wild variety of new disguises) and finding the hidden golden shorts in each level. –Carter Dotson

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 
We are happy to announce that all past and future Giggleapps content will now be featured throughout 148Apps. Here’s some of what Giggleapps writer Amy Solomon brought to the table this week:

Create & Learn Apptivity Case from Fisher Price

 
apptivity

Recently, I have been given the chance to test a new iPad case, the Create & Learn Apptivity Case from Fisher Price. This case is compatible with 1st 2nd and 3rd generation as well as the new iPad, but a camera is needed to access a section of the related application of the same name. I remember when we first got our iPad 3, my husband was intent on encasing our device in something that would be utterly protected from our sometimes irresponsible – if not occasionally downright reckless – five year old boy. Our old case has done the trick as our iPad has never seen any damage, but not without some cost, as my husband announced after some time struggling to get this piece of hardware onto the iPad that he was NEVER, EVER taking this case off, as it was too difficult to do so. Of course, as we had been given the chance by Fisher Price to review not only this iPad case, but two previously reviewed Apptivity play sets as well, it was understood that this case would have to come off, which it did, with a lot of cajoling. –Amy Solomon

Symmetry School

 
symmetry

Symmetry School: Learning Geometry is an app for iPad that helps children understand the principles of symmetry in this engrossing interactive app. Both reflective and rotational symmetry are touched upon here as children drag differently colored geometric shapes onto a grid that needs to be filled in accordingly. Three levels of difficulty are included for both the reflective and rotational sections of this app. Children will have the easiest time starting to explore this app with the reflective section as this is symmetry they may find familiar such as in a mirror image, looking at the details of butterfly wings, or creating Rorschach-like art by adding paint to a folded piece of paper and distributing color equally between both halves. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes

 
might and magic

How long should a game last? Are you the type of person that demands 30 hours of gameplay before you’d even consider purchasing a title? Well, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes has got you covered. This game is huge. Try and bear in mind I’m being quite relative with my usage of the word ‘huge’. It’s no Skyrim, but for your average Android download, Clash of Heroes contains a campaign that easily clocks in at over 30 hours. Is this a good thing, though? Do we want to grind through 30 hours of Clash of Heroes? It will all come down to how much you enjoy the game’s basic structure and combat. Clash of Heroes is a Strategy RPG title. Battles are turn based and at the end of each fight, you’ll level up, gain EXP and all sorts of other RPG tropes are thrown in. –Matt Parker

Rail Rush

 
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Yes, Rail Rush may induce a double take. In a good way, that is. A decrepit, seemingly endless mine shaft is the scene of this caper; the playing environment is mostly made up of the the running area that this type of running game is known for, but the running path appears as a three-lane rail track that is treacherous in its condition, and the runner is maneuvering a runaway mine cart along the railway. Plenty of obstacles are present, which most of the swipe controls help avoid. Swiping up and down invokes jumping and sucking respectively, while swiping left or right jumps the cart in either direction. This is useful for jumping off of a busted track to a (temporarily) safer one, or for avoiding objects on the tracks. Additionally, there are left and right tilt movements, which are not only effective for avoiding obstacles, but key in collecting gold nuggets, gems and other specials that line the sides of the rails. –Tre Lawrence

Autodesk Homestyler

 
homestyler

Some people used to look at me funny when I’d tell them the best bit about playing The Sims wasn’t drowning people by removing a simple ladder, but that it was the building and design phase that I spent most time on. There’s something about creating your perfect home. Something that The Sims made look so simple and didn’t involve a single piece of Ikea flat-packed furniture. Something so easy about it all. It’s that same feeling that Autodesk Homestyler also evokes. It’s a fairly simple design tool that allows you to place furniture within a preset blank canvas of a room or you can import pictures of your own home. –Matt Parker

Your Source For The Latest App Reviews

 

Every single week, the 148Apps reviewers search through the new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. 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. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Dropchord

 
dropchord07

It’s hard to imagine Double Fine producing something that isn’t a quirky adventure or contains more than a fair bit of bizarre humor. And yet produce Double Fine has, and now we have Dropchord. It’s definitely a departure from the norm, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. Dropchord is a simple-ish rhythm game at its core. Players use two fingers, placed around the outside of a large circle in the center of the screen, to twist and turn a line around the middle. The goal is to grab all the good stuff (glowing orbs and such) while avoiding the bad stuff (bright red bolts of electricity that scream DO NOT TOUCH) by winding and whirling around everything. Hit the red stuff and lose some health, grab enough not red stuff and gain health at the end of the level. Every so often players will also have to forego the spinning as they tap away at various circles that appear on screen in what can best be described as a kind of bonus round. –Rob Rich

Knightmare Tower

 
KnightmareTower-02

Burrito Bison creator Juicy Beast’s latest game, Knightmare Tower is based around offensive gameplay instead of pure survival like other similar vertical endless games. Players control a knight flying upward, and dash downward on top of enemies to hurt them and bounce back up in the air at a higher rate. Combos can accelerate the knight even faster, and powerups can help along the way. The enemies aren’t just there to take a beating: they’ll try to attack the knight and do enough damage to kill them. The other big hazard is lava, aka “Dear Knight, I suggest going faster if the plan is to not burn to death. Love, The Giant Rapidly-Rising Pool of Lava.” I suggest staying out of it. –Carter Dotson

rymdkapsel

 
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Complexity can be a difficult thing to balance in a game, but so can simplicity. Distilling an idea or genre down to its more basic elements is no easy task, especially when trying to do it well, and for that reason alone I think rymdkapsel is worth celebrating. It’s a strategy/sim-lite without any of the typical blandness one would associate with so much fat trimming. Of course that’s not the only reason; it’s also a pretty great game all-around. rymdkapsel is about expanding a space station while simultaneously fighting off waves of hostile attackers. Players must construct various rooms – reactors, gardens, weapons, etc – in order to gather more resources so that they can expand their base, train additional workers, and construct even more rooms. However, the larger the base’s overall area the tougher it is to defend. It encourages planned expansion and interlocking the Tetris-like rooms together in order to keep the station from becoming too spread out. Of course there are also several obelisks scattered around the map that can be researched to enhance things like worker movement speed and weapon attack ranges. It’s a toss-up deciding between hastily crafting a path to a given obelisk, thus sacrificing defensibility, and rushing to acquire better tech early on. –Rob Rich

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 

Pango Playground

 
pango

Pango Playground for kids is a charming universal app for babies and toddlers which adults will enjoy a great deal as well. This app opens up to a very nice assortment of children’s toys such as train tracks or building blocks. Do choose a scene and tap on a number flag 1 to 4 to be taken to a new area. All of these scenes are variations on the same basic assortment of toys, different colorful building blocks, train tracks and chunky wood blocks crafted to look like familiar characters from the Pango series of applications. –Amy Solomon

Art Class With Dr. Panda

 
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Art Class with Dr. Panda is a charming new universal interactive app – part of a series of Dr. Panda role-playing apps for young children. As many readers may know, my family really enjoys these apps as they allow children to pretend to take part in many occupations and activities – be it a doctor’s duties or working in a restaurant, supermarket or farm. Here Dr. Panda is teaching an art class to animal children. I enjoy his costumes as he assists children who need help in six different crafts. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Color Zen

 
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Color Zen is a cool cucumber. It seems to want to tease your brain while calming it. It’s a lofty idea, but thankfully, I love checking out lofty ideas. The game is definitely interesting. The best explanation is received from playing it and actually “feeling” the game. The object of the game is to solve the color-centric puzzles. In the game’s playing area, there is a frame color — a color that covers a thin area around the play grid, kind of like a picture frame. In the grid itself are any number of colored shapes. In general terms, touching any of the colors against another imbibes the second with the color of the first; in other words, the color is absorbed. For simplicity, one of the colors in the grid always matches the color of the outer rim. –Tre Lawrence

Drisk

 
drisk

Remember playing the board game Risk back in the day? If so, I bet one of those memories is how long it took to play the game. In fact, it took almost as long if not longer as a good game of Monopoly. Well, the makers of Drisk came up with a game really similar to Risk but won’t take 6 months to play a full game. Starting out with Drisk, there will be the choice to play a local game or an online game. When playing a local game, the number pf players can be selected as well as if they are actual people or computer players. When playing online, the sign in is done through a Scoreloop account. This is mandatory to play online. To get the hang of the game, it’s a good idea to watch the tutorial. It goes pretty quick but it gives you a basic idea of how the controls work. If any questions arise, take a look at the help button on the main menu screen to hopefully answer them. –Trevor Dobrygoski

Space Beats

 
spacebeats

Ever imagined something like Dance Dance Revolution for the fingers? Yes! We all have, and Space Beats is just the game for folks with sturdy digits, keen eyes and wrists that move to the rhythm. Nimble fingers win the day. Simply put, you tap rapidly forming three-dimensional objects with the beat to keep the music going. The pieces to the orbs all come in from different angles, playing havoc on the eyes. Tapping on the orb scores points, but actually tapping on it to the beat scores even more. An arcade-type game is not worth its salt without multipliers, and in this aspect, this game is worth its salt; there are multipliers to be had, and they can be invoked by tapping. Additionally, the freestyle level is yet another change of pace, allowing players to tap on beat for even more points. –Tre Lawrence

HowToVolume-MusicSettingsiOS’ devices volume settings are anything but straightforward, what with the different volume levels, switches, and inconsistent rules of what plays sound and what doesn’t when it should be silent. Hopefully this guide will make controlling the volume more clear, so as to understand why some things are loud, and some things are not!

There’s two different volume settings to be aware of: the ringer volume and the sound volume. The ringer volume controls phone ringtones and notification sounds. The sound volume controls the output of sound from games, videos, and music.

Now, it’s possible to control the ringer volume either manually or to have it set to a specific volume. The latter might be handy for those who don’t want to accidentally make their ringer quiet, or just like to have one set volume. Go to Settings->Sounds. Set Change with Buttons to off. Drag the volume slider to your desired setting. Disable Change with Buttons to make the volume buttons always control the sound volume.

Now, music and especially videos run into a fairly annoying problem: they don’t respect the iPhone’s mute switch for playing sounds. Sitting in a meeting, and suddenly that baseball game’s sound starts playing? Awkward! The prevailing thought on Apple’s side seems to be that by playing one of these despite having the silent switch on, that the user wants sound to play. For music, sure, makes sense. For videos, especially live streaming of sports? Nope. Be careful: ensure that the sound volume is muted as well as the ringer volume before starting.

If you want to ensure that you are lowering the sound volume and not just the ringer volume if you have the volume buttons set to control both, double-tap the home button and swipe to the left until you see the volume control. This takes two swipes on iPhone and iPod touch, one on iPad.

HowToVolume-SoundsMeter

This all gets especially confusing considering that the iPod touch and iPad have a virtual mute switch that is all-encompassing, meaning it will quiet music and videos as well. This is available from the multitasking bar as well by double-tapping and swiping left. This is not available on the iPhone, and it will not display on the iPad if your side switch is set to mute. You can configure what the side switch does in Settings -> General.

HowToVolume-iPadSettings

Finally, the Music section of Settings has some additional olptions for the built-in music app and volume. Sound Check will attempt to level the volume of all songs. Volume Limit will set a maximum volume for listening to music so as to ensure that you don’t blow your ears out with your headphones!

HowToVolume-MusicSettings

This should hopefully demystify what the different sound settings do. Turn it up to 11! Or don’t.

Expert App Reviews

 

Every week, the 148Apps reviewers comb through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. 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. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Magic 2014

 
IMG_0522

Fantasy based card games are very much an acquired taste. Some have been drawn to the genre since grade school, while others join later in life, but one thing remains the same: Magic the Gathering is by far the most popular example of the genre. On the heels of last year’s Magic 2013, it would only make sense for Wizards of the Coast to follow up their smash hit, for a new year. Can Magic 2014 manage to meet the same bar of excellence raised by the original installment, or is this essentially a glorified re-skin? Fans of last year’s Magic installment have a very similar experience awaiting them when opening Magic 2014. Most of the game’s core interface has remained fairly unchanged, but it really was never broken to begin with, so there was no need for a fix. Newcomers and veterans alike will find more than enough card based shenanigans to keep them busy for countless rounds. –Blake Grundman

JetScanner

 
jetscanner

The App Store is loaded with many apps that scan documents, but most of them seem to take an eternity to process files. Additionally, they aren’t always accurate. I’ve scanned business cards and manuals, only to go back and enter additional information in manually. There’s a new app that promises users that they will no longer have to wait and it boasts that it can produce PDF documents from any photo at a very high speed and at the highest image enhancement quality. It’s easy to get started with JetScanner as a quick start guide helps users learn the ropes. There are two ways to create documents. Users can either tap the camera icon or tap the album icon. Once a document is created, users can make adjustments by tapping on the wizard icon to adjust the smart crop or edit additional processing options like adjusting color, making the image black and white or quickly reverting back to the original. Additionally, users can tap the information button in the upper right corner to change the paper size of the PDF. –Angela LaFollette

Cling Thing

 
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Cling Thing starts off with some great, but little, moments. They feel fleeting. However, then another great little moment appears and another and another. Eventually, these seemingly small yet neat tricks cling together to form a superb whole. In Cling Thing, players guide wacky Madballs-esque creatures to the end of each stage by using their slimy, stretchy, sticky tendrils to move around. The action resembles World of Goo but with just one ball to manage instead of dozens. Those two games also share a similar creative drive to get the most out of their deceptively simple yet deep mechanics. Early levels are pretty straightforward where all the creatures have to do is slime-swing to the end of the stage Spider-Man style. However, later stages introduce doors that need keys, blocks that need moving, wheels that need to be spun, and underwater areas with new physics that need new approaches. –Jordan Minor

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 

Talking ABC

 
abc

Talking ABC… is a delightful alphabet app which includes charming and impressive claymation animals that will engage adults and children alike. I do love this kind of animation, so I was eager to see the claymation included within, and I can say that these bright and quirky animal creatures do not disappoint, as an estimated 770 pounds of clay was used to create the animals and letters – impressive to say the least. As one may expect, there is a main section of this app which includes 26 letters, each with its own corresponding animal seen to the left of the screen. –Amy Solomon

Pango Imaginary Car

 
pango

Pango Imaginary Car is an app that allows children to create cars and other vehicles by combining various parts together. I enjoy this app. It is a concept that is not exactly unique, yet this is an app that is of very high quality and utterly appealing. The first thing one will notice when opening this app is color. A bright, sophisticated lime-green color makes up the background of the center screen where one builds his creation, dragging vehicle elements from the tabs seen left of the page. Eight tabs are included, with details that will create the body of the car, such as the front ends of a few differently shaped cars, trucks and a train as well as basic shapes that can be used to create a larger vehicle as well. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Cubed Rally Redline

 
cubed

Most endless runners inspired by Temple Run take the standard behind-the-back perspective. Sure, Pitfall had a more dynamic camera angle, but that’s the exception. Cubed Rally Redline steps things up and does it from an isometric perspective, similar to developer Jared Bailey’s original version of Cubed Rally Racer that Android gamers sadly don’t have. However, where the game also differs from most 3D endless runners is in the number of lanes: there’s five to deal with here. Good luck. –Carter Dotson

Bombcats Special Edition
bombcats

Bombcats Special Edition is Radiangames’ entry into the casual physics-puzzler genre after an assortment of action-oriented titles and block-based puzzle games, and it stands out as a fun and addictive title. The gameplay can be best described as a hybrid between Angry Birds and iBlast Moki. The goal is to free all the bombkittens from their electric cages by launching the bombcats around the levels, eventually using their ability to “tele-splode” (so they don’t actually die) to free them from the cages. However, there’s a fuse on the bombcats, so getting them from point A to point B in a timely fashion is key! –Carter Dotson

Spelling Monster

 
spelling monster

Spelling Monster is a gift from heaven to parents with kids in the early school years. it incorporates several learning tools and exercises into the gameplay, which is wrapped in the pleasing veneer of an Android game. The main menu breaks the game into an adjustable word list and a bunch of mini games. The word list allows for the addition of just about any words, which is great for accounting for, say, vocabulary or multiple kids of different abilities using the app. The game list had five different games: Letter Pop, Missing Letter, Letter Catch, Word Traffic and Word Jumble. –Tre Lawrence

Your App Authority

 

Every week, the 148Apps reviewers comb through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. 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. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

We also went deep in our coverage of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, with a review, strategy guides, and a Commander’s diary. Be sure to check that all out.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

 
xcomeu28

The original X-Com: UFO Defense has been one of my all time favorite games for almost 20 years. There’s something about the combination of naming soldiers after friends and family members, carefully trying to manage finances and tech trees, and the tense search for hostile aliens in unfamiliar terrain that still excites me to this day. So when it was announced that Firaxis, the developers behind the latest entries in the Civilization series, were going to release a modern update of the 1994 classic I was both supremely excited and ridiculously nervous. Of course I was worried about XCOM: Enemy Unknown for nothing. It turned out to be a fantastic re-imagining of my favorite strategy game that trimmed away a lot of the unnecessary fat and added a few more contemporary elements to create an incredibly compelling experience. Then it was announced that Firaxis and 2K China were going to take that same experience and somehow cram it on to iOS devices. Again I found myself excited and worried at the same time. And again I was worried for nothing. –Rob Rich

Where’s My Mickey XL

 
mickey

Disney’s Where’s My Water series has been both a success both financially as well as creatively, with its original incarnation bringing unique physics gameplay and an original character to the table. Now, Disney has expanded the series in part by integrating their known characters into the gameplay. The problem has been that they just haven’t fit all that well: Perry from Phineas & Ferb in Where’s My Perry felt like Disney just slapping a character into the formula, and to me at least, it fell flat. So now, we have Where’s My Mickey, which ramps up the character integration from “secondary character on a Disney Channel animated series” to“ the very face of Disney.” Thankfully, the Disney folks decided that with their superstar, they had to bring their A-game to Where’s My Mickey and by gosh golly, they nailed it. –Carter Dotson

Videon

 
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It’s quite difficult to fault Videon. It’s a video recording app that offers mostly everything anyone could want from such a tool. Something that’s bound to be welcomed amongst those planning on recording plenty of videos this summer. Aligning towards many different needs, users can go straight into recording something or choose to change some settings around first. The former is ideal for when the opportunity arises, such as when a child or pet is doing something cute. The latter is great, when planning ahead. –Jennifer Allen

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 

Mini U: Zoo Abracadabra

 
zoo

Mini-U: Zoo Abracadabra for iPad is a charmingly different puzzle app that kids and their parents will both enjoy. This app includes a circus theme where animals create towers holding each other up, creating wondrous shadow-animal shapes. Children are then asked to choose what animal is making up this grand tower from the animal tiles one can select, seen at the bottom of the screen. There are three different levels of difficulty within this app that include an increase in the number both of the animal tiles to choose from as well as the number of the animals balancing together, creating most interesting shapes. –Amy Solomon

Dr. Panda Handyman

 
panda

My family and I are always excited when a new role-playing app becomes available as these types of apps allow children to imagine themselves performing various occupations as well as to engage in pretend play, making these apps favorites in our house. This new app, Dr. Panda Handyman, is such an app, as children work alongside Dr. Panda helping to fix damaged objects of animal friends and neighbors seen within five separate scenes. I enjoy how the different animal connected to each scene may vary as do some of the details found in these scenes. It makes me smile to see some old faces from other apps such as the polar bears or elephants or monkeys, as well as new characters to meet along the way. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Little Nick: The Great Escape

 
nick

Little Nick is a running game game that is based on the popular Nicolas TV and books character. It’s a running game, and the abbreviated top-down view is quite reminiscent of endless runners like Temple Run. In this adventure, we ditch jungle temples and crazed monkey-ish beasts for somewhat suburban streets and Mr Goodman in pursuit. And, we get a bike! For background, Nick is framed for the dastardly destruction of a window, and takes off out the property gates on his two-wheeler to escape the vengeful Goodman after him. But these city streets are littered with obstacles, making escape especially hard. The graphics were more than decent, with good animations. –Tre Lawrence

Warmly
warmly

Warmly is an atypical productivity offering from The Chaos Collective that seemingly wants to make the descriptive term “alarm” a misnomer by changing the way we do alarms and wake patterns in the first place. The opening user interface is a clear cut celebration of simplicity, and hints at the design elements that govern the entire app. It gives a scroll-through window for setting the time (with an AM/PM toggle), and nine (9) big square buttons. After a scheduling check-off and an off and ok button, THAT’S IT. Laid against the soothing yellow backdrop, the relatively minimalist viewers are hard not to like. –Tre Lawrence

Neon Snap

 
neon

Neon Snap is one of those games that soothes the mine just by looking it. With the tetrominoes and gridded space, it is practically impossible to not think of Tetris, if just a little. It’s advisable to avoid getting too caught up in the similarities, as Neon Snap sorta turns the gameplay over on its head. The developer uses simple graphics to frame the game. With a mostly dark backgrounds, the play pieces are brightly colored, and the color of the pieces depends on their respective shapes. The animations are decent; rotations are handled in a utilitarian manner, and everything comes together with a minimalist feel. –Tre Lawrence

E3 2013: Terraria Coming to iOS

Terraria, the breakout PC and Xbox 360 game from Andrew Spinks, is a 2D side-scrolling retro-pixel game that takes a ton of inspiration from Minecraft, with a fan following almost as big.

If you’ve played the console or PC version, you’ll recognize the iOS version immediately. It will be a universal app, and the dev team wants to add Game Center and iCloud support to allow you to play across the devices seamlessly. They also hope to add local Wi-Fi multiplayer support in a post-launch update.

Here’s a quick video to spark your interest.

We got a sneak peak at an upcoming team battle arena game, Heroes War, from com2us today at E3. Sitting down with general manager Don Lim and community manager John Lee, we got to see how this free-to-play game will work.

The company is still working on localizing the content for a US audience, but hopes to have a final game ready for you to build a team, battle with friends or in dungeons, and continually upgrade your characters to epic proportions.

Look for this one in July of this year in both the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

We met with Thomas Konkol today, an indie developer who runs Imminent Games. Drip Drip, originally released on the Mac App Store, is coming to the iPad within the next few months. The game looks great, and the touch-screen really seems to be a great fit for this rain-management game.

We sat down with Eric Cho of Gamevil today, to take a quick look at Steel Commanders, an upcoming card ballte, trading card game coming this Thursday to iOS and Android. It’s a science fiction-themed digital card game with factions, PvP, and some gorgeous artwork. Check it out:

The Latest App Reviews Are Here

 

Need to know the latest and greatest apps each and every week? Look no further than 148Apps. Our reviewers comb through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. 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. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

 
KOTOR_7

Ten years ago, BioWare released the revolutionary Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR). This took the Dungeons and Dragons combat that BioWare were masters of in the PC niche they had carved out, placed it in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and had a non-linear story where decisions have a major role in what happens. BioWare made all this complexity accessible in a way that both new and existing audiences–including console gamers–fell in love with KOTOR. The success propelled the gaming company to become one of the most important game developers of the past decade, with wildly successful original franchises like the Mass Effect series. Flash-forward to today, and a new generation of gamers gets to play KotOR thanks to renowned port producer Aspyr, known for bringing many titles to the Mac. While the game isn’t always a perfect fit for the iPad and shows its relative age in spots, KotOR is still as transcendent an experience as it was a decade ago, thanks to its sheer depth. –Carter Dotson

Warhammer Quest

 
warhammerquest09

Rodeo Games knows strategy. Hunters was a fantastic game that seemed to come out of nowhere, and Hunters 2 pretty much set the bar for a lot of iOS strategy RPGs that would follow it. In fact, they set the bar so high I was worried that Warhammer Quest wouldn’t quite measure up. Either that or end up feeling like more of the same. Turns out I worried for nothing. Warhammer Quest puts players in charge of a group of warriors as they travel the realm seeking fame and fortune. Mechanically the gameplay is similar to Rodeo’s earlier titles with its top-down view and simple but intuitive tap interface, however there’s a much bigger emphasis on close quarters combat since there aren’t any sniper rifles or machine guns to be found. There’s also a liberal sprinkling of more traditional RPG elements such as extra dungeon encounters or even random events, such as a hero getting partially digested by a slime monster, that can keep even the most well prepared players on their toes. –Rob Rich

Wake Alarm

 
wakealarm4

Find it tough to wake up? I know the feeling. While I struggle to get to sleep at night, I have as much trouble trying to wake up. That snooze button is all too tempting. Wake Alarm is out to stop any such problems and ensure that one gets up at the time they want to. Immediately simple to look at, the app works on a scroll wheel basis, one that’s immediately reminiscent of the classic iPod interface. Simply spin the virtual dial to set the alarm and away it goes. That’s the most basic way to use Wake Alarm, but there’s a little more to it. –Jennifer Allen

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 

Crayola Light Marker

 
crayola

Recently, I was given the chance to try out the Crayola Light Marker. This piece of hardware, as the name may describe, allows children to use this chubby crayon-like tool – part laser pointer of sorts – to draw and in other ways interact with the free app associated with this Light Marker. Included with the Light Marker is a simple but nicely functional green plastic stand for the iPad that is thoughtfully included as this app is used on a propped iPad, with children standing between two and three feet away from their target. –Amy Solomon

 
jazzy

Jazzy World Tour is a delightful exploration of music around the world, including the same characters and watercolor stylings as seen in the earlier companion app, A Jazzy Day. This app opens up with different countries marked with a flag on a world map. Tap to select a flag to explore the related country. Three sections are included, specifically Learn, Play, and Create. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

The Conduit HD

 
conduit

The Conduit HD is probably the finest console-quality FPS available on mobile because it actually is a console FPS on mobile. Originally released as a Wii game by High Voltage Studios, they have now brought it to Android with a fresh coat of paint for HD devices, but with the same gameplay. On mobile scale, it’s quite an achievement, but does the title actually work on mobile? It’s a mixed bag. Players control Michael Ford, a government agent who soon finds himself facing down an alien invasion after being betrayed by a shadow government, and forced to work for the ‘terrorist’ Prometheus who may not be as bad as he seems. Players swap between a variety of weapons and use the “All Seeing Eye” to activate switches, unlock doors, and find hidden items and messages spread throughout the game world. –Carter Dotson

Swype Keyboard

 
swype

I’m a brave man. I believe a couple centuries ago, I would have been an explorer of sorts. I love a challenge, and few things scare me. Except spiders. In any case, the prospect of switching from a device with a physical keyboard to one with a virtual one made me nervous. I was okay with switching from from one OS to another; I had done my research, liked the new ecosystem and liked the hardware available to me. The thing that really bothered me was the eventuality of having to peck on a touchscreen. I’m here to tell folks: Swype made the switch possible. –Tre Lawrence

10000000

 
10000000

“And lo, the hero’s adventure did come to an end because he couldn’t unlock the chest in time.” This is something that does happen in 10000000, the indie match-3 RPG from EightyEight Games (aka Luca Redwood) that has been brought to Android. Sometimes it’s not the enemies that fell the player, it’s the inability to get the keys to unlock doors and chests, leading to one’s doom. Wait, why? Well, in the world of 10000000, players exist on a horizontal scale where they need to keep moving, and anything that slows them down or keeps them from advancing it a threat. Sure, the enemies are greater threats because they’ll actually knock the player back, stopping them on their quest to get ten million points and free the protagonist from his mysterious imprisonment. –Carter Dotson

ios7

At 148Apps, we use iOS a lot. I mean, a LOT. What may be an inconvenient feature to the average user is possibly a daily chore to folks like us, who use their iPhones and iPads every day, hour after hour.

As we sat and talked about our hopes and dreams for the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 7, we figured it might be cool to get a couple more folks in on the conversation, like Aaron Watkins, a public relations guru with Appency, and Tim Harris, currently President of Industrial Toys, developer of the much anticipated upcoming core sci fi shooter game, Morning STar.

Aaron WatkinsAaron Watkins, Appency
One of the trends I’ve seen recently is brilliant software developers coming up with much improved versions of native apps. Better mail, better calendars, better contacts apps… yet it’s still impossible to get rid of the apps that came with the device (Newsstand can’t even be put in a folder!). We’ve had better maps now for quite a while – Apple’s own attempt at maps has been a bit of a disaster and I would venture to guess that more people use third party map apps like Google for their navigation needs. 
That being said – Apple needs to give the maps app a feature face-lift. Automatic routing when you go off course has huge room for improvement, and searching for items along a route would be a great cure for my Starbucks habit. 

Along the line of phone organization for the OCD – as the hard drive space gets larger and larger in progressive phones, more and more apps end up on our phones and I would love to see folders within folders to do additional subdivision of content. The same goes for contacts, where the ability to create contact groups needs to be available on the phone itself. 

The app store itself has plenty of room for update. The native phone app store on its last major redesign went from a place where the top 10 apps were readily visible to  a system where its really the top 4 that get all the visibility. A combination of the best elements of the last version and this version would be an ideal solution.  With the problems associated with app discovery, it would be great to see more categories – but my pie in the sky hope would be a system in which third parties could create white labeled app stores that used an iTunes based system and billing mechanism, but allowed others to create their own curated content stores that they could locate on their own websites. Why cant a travel magazine have their own iPhone app store where they highlight the best apps they have looked at, and sell them directly on their website without all the current redirection. 

Oh – and one last thing – developers need to be able to respond to reviews in the app store. Its basic customer service!

roblefRob LeFebvre, 148Apps
Good stuff, Aaron. There is lots of room for improvement in discovery, including categories and stuff. A curated app store for different groups would be cool, too.

Personally, I’d like to see the iOS update to include a lot of the stuff we’re seeing from Android, like more customizable home screens, widgets, and the ability to define default apps, even if they’re not Apple ones.

I’d love to be able to turn wireless and Bluetooth on and off without having to dig for the Settings app, and for gods sake, let us login to multiple accounts on the App store. Sigh.

I’m also really hoping for a better, more unified look and feel. The skeuomorphic stuff gets a bad rap, and while I don’t think it’s that big a deal, I’d love to see a flatter, less faux-anything look and feel. 

I’d like to see Game Center improved, as it just feels kind of tacked on, right now. And lets get it on Android, or just give up and embrace Google’s new push.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, I’m sure I’ll chime in more as the discussion gets going. 

carterCarter Dotson, 148Apps
What I really want to see from iOS 7 beyond just a new visual look is something that significantly streamlines and de-clutters the user experience. Are we so sure that the standard grid of icons is still the best way to go about using the multitude of apps on our phone, especially with the sheer number that’s out there? Why must I still go to Settings in order to turn basic settings on and off?  As well, for those of us that have used iOS for years and have gotten used to the incremental changes, it’s easy to forget that for many people, iOS has a lot of complex aspects to it.

Considering that Android and Windows Phone have experimented with different ways to display important content in creative ways, I would love to see an Apple take on making the experience more user-friendly and intelligent. If there’s a better way to use our myriad devices here in 2013 with everything they’re capable of, shouldn’t it be Apple leading the way? iOS has felt static for a while, and I hope there’s more than just a new coat of paint coming.

Tim Harris FaceTim Harris, Industrial Toys
I agree with the sentiments about management of apps, and my main hope is along those lines.
 
The running app tray needs work. There should be a more user friendly view to see what apps are running, and a better way to close them. The search screen and the pull-down screen are underutilized for this type of thing. The current “double tap the home button” sucks, and manually closing everything to free up the device suxxors. Toggles like Wifi, Do Not Disturb, and Airplane Mode should be easier to find and one click and allowing users to bring their most-used out of Settings and into “normal” screenspace would make life easier.
 
I’m also going to pile-on Rob’s Gamecenter thing. We’ve seen slight improvements to Game Center over the versions, but it’s never gotten to a level that game developers can get excited about (or users, for that matter). I’d love to see friending, challenging, incentivizing and deep-linking get better. Achievements should be able to be integrated into the games innards rather than being tacked on so that we have to write our own systems to make it all work. Points should mean/do something. Gimme gimme.
 
jeffscottJeff Scott, 148Apps
I think my big hopes are around openness. Rob mentioned this a bit with the ability to choose default apps, like Maps, email, browser. But I think it goes beyond that. App to app communication needs to be enhanced. We’ve seen really interesting things done with Audiobus, and Apple must love it since Garage Band was one of the first apps to support it. More of that for all media types or in general, data. Open up Siri, the notifications tray, basically loosen the grip. It can be done without making the phone look like some 13 year old kid has designed it.

Apple also need to open up with the App Store. Give developers the tools they need to sell, support, and grow. The App Store economy is larger than the GDP of most countries in the world. It’s time to give it the support it needs. I have a gut feeling the reason not as much has been done is because iTunes is still based on the now ancient java based WebObjects. It’s ancient, fragile, and a beast to change. It needs to be replaced, but that’s no easy task.

And I agree with Carter on the look and the grid of icons. That hasn’t changed since the first user interface, the Xerox Alto in 1973. Forty years is too long. Some may say that it works, but when you have 500 apps installed, it just doesn’t work. We need a new interface, other than a grid of icons.

Search may be the answer to some of these issues. And I expect Apple to make some big advances with Siri, hopefully in iOS 7, but certainly going forward.

Now, the big one. The one I have been hoping for since the iPad was announced. Multi-user logins for iOS. In particular an iPad that is shared in a family. It’s a must. Parents don’t want kids in their email, kids don’t want parents in their Clash of Clans villages. There is so much that could be done with a good multiuser system. I have too many ideas, but we’ll save that for another time. But, to me, this is a must have, and it must be in iOS 7 because it was needed in iOS 5.

Basically, Apple really needs to bring it with iOS 7. I personally think they have been left in the dust by Google and Android. Even Windows Phone and Amazon have shown some insights and features that Apple should have and could have done first.

Tim Harris, Industrial Toys
Oh, yes– I’d like to take a moment to be a crybaby. The existence of app updates destroyed my sanity, thus my tears. It’s not that I hate updating much-loved and much-used software. Quite the contrary, I get excited about the latest and greatest from my favorite developers. However, the current iOS visits two very specific evils upon me, turning me into a compulsive update checker/reader/clicker:

1. it won’t let me choose apps to automatically update when updates are available, and 2. it won’t let me update as many applications as possible when I am short on drive space.

Every couple of weeks, I find myself with over 100 update notifications and when it gets to that level, I’m stuck updating every app click by click. Some intelligence to the app update process would save users tons of time and self-loathing. It would save developers angst, too, making valued updates more likely to reach their install base.

Rob LeFebvre, 148Apps
Alright, I’ll whine a bit, too.

Please let me take care of the stupid red number at the top of my apps that use the badge notification icon. I’d really like a “mark all as read” option in Mail. I’d love to be able to have the red badge of shame go away when I open an app and close it – not just when I open an app, take care of all the stupid stuff, and then close it, 30 min later. 

Also? Let’s make it a lot easier to buy in-app purchases with one account when we originally “purchased” the app with another. Does it really matter which account we’re using to download an app, vs. buying smurfberries for?

Aaron Watkins, Appency
As someone with kids, I dont know if making in-app purchases too much easier is a good thing- I dont want my 10 year old, or my 4 year old for that matter, purchasing things. That being the case, I would love to have kid modes where I can hand my iPad over to my youngest and only show for her apps that I have pre-selected as appropriate, and then do the same and have a different set for my 10 year old son. Maybe even a “play mode” and a “homework mode” that could be used in schools or for when you give your kid the device to look up vocab words and end up discovering he has been playing RoboKill the whole time.

Thanks to one and all for their time on this topic. Will Apple give any of us what we want? Only time will tell, as Apple is set to announce iOS 7 for the first time at WWDC this June. Keep your eye peeled (ew, gross) on 148Apps for all the lowdown when we know more.


Continue reading 148Apps Roundtable: iOS 7 Hopes, Dreams, and Blue Sky Wishes »

Recent versions of iOS have made your voice a much bigger part of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch usage experience. Now, it’s possible to use your voice to do many commands with Siri, and to type things out with your voice. Here’s how to use iOS’ voice actions, available on iPhone 4S & 5, iPad 3, 4, & Mini, and iPod touch 5th generation.

Siri is very easy to use. Call up Siri by holding down either the home button or the play/pause button on your headset remote. Siri can respond to a variety of commands, most of which can be seen by tapping the (i) after the “What can I help you with?” text. This shows all the commands that you can speak to Siri, including actions as diverse as sending tweets and getting sports scores.

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Siri’s options can be configured by going to Settings->General->Siri. Here, it’s possible to change the language, the default info that Siri will work with, and to enable Raise to Speak.

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The other big feature is the ability to type with your voice. Just tap the microphone button next to the space bar, and say what you need to say. Enunciate clearly for the voice recognition to be more accurate. If a word may have multiple possible interpretations, a blue squiggly line will appear underneath the text. Tap the word to get alternate suggestions.

Now, saying the name of a punctuation mark will generally add that in to the sentence you’re speaking. This is especially annoying if you want to talk about how awesome the Jurassic period was. In many cases, using the word “period” in a sentence will default to the punctuation, but if you see that blue squiggly line underneath the preceding word and the punctuation, then you can tap that and a new suggestion that includes the actual word “period” should be suggested. Sometimes the voice recognition will intelligently actually put down the word “period” but it varies on a case-by-case basis.

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Finally, do you want to use large capital letters to get people’s attention, but just don’t have the heart to convey your anger through your fingers? Just enable caps lock by double-tapping the Shift key before enabling voice typing.

Hopefully these tips have helped you use the speech-to-text functionality of iOS.

The App Experts

So many apps, and so little time! Just look to 148Apps for the best app reviews on the web. Our reviewers sift through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. 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. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol

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Ace Patrol is the latest title from Sid Meier and the team at Firaxis Games. Set during World War I, it’s the player’s job to guide a squadron of pilots in strategic turn-based gameplay. The free-to-play version features one stage from the British campaign with six single-player missions for players to engage in. If they want to play and beat the full campaign, which is three additional stages, they’ll have to purchase it for $0.99 cents. Players are given a choice of three missions to choose from at the start of the game. Missions have a wide range of objectives, such as having players attack an enemy train, protect a surveillance plane, attack an enemy bomber, and dogfight in ace vs ace action. Players are able to decide on what mission to select based on the objective or how many points it offers. Those points are multiplied depending on the four available difficulty levels and help provide better scores for the leaderboards. –Andrew Stevens

Infuse

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A particularly situational app, some users will look at the feature set of Infuse and wonder just why they need it when the built-in Videos app does everything they want. Infuse is for those users who want to play videos from other sources, without the need for conversion first. That covers quite a few different needs, from those wanting to watch family videos taken on a different device to those wanting to watch their converted DVD or blu-ray collection, while on the move. It’ll even allow users to view video attachments that have been emailed through. Regardless of one’s needs, Infuse is an attractive and useful app. Covering many of the more important bases, Infuse offers support for over 14 file formats, such as AVi, M4V, FLV, MOV and OGM. Plenty of audio formats are catered for too, such as the increasingly elusive Dolby Digital Plus format. Infuse works smoothly too, with little significant slowdown noticeable during my time using it on either my iPhone or iPad. –Jennifer Allen

Las Vegas!

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One of the biggest constants in casinos is also a very simple concept: the house always wins. Sure somebody might hit the jackpot or win a few Blackjack hands against the dealer, but statistically (and by an overall average) the house always come out on top. Not so with Las Vegas, Ravensburger’s iOS port of the board/dice game. In this particular casino the player always wins, even when they lose. The rules of Las Vegas are fairly simple; players (and possibly AIs) take turns rolling right dice. The numbers each one lands on represent one of six casinos on the board, each with a range of cash values up for grabs. They then have to “bet” their dice by placing them in their casino of choice with the highest bid earning the pot. Conversely if there’s a tie all matching bids cancel each other out. Naturally larger bids have a better chance of winning but the toss up is that it means fewer and fewer dice each following turn. There’s a certain amount of strategy to placing each bet and it’s possible for savvy players to sneak in and grab a 90,000 casino with a single die while other players vie for the top spot and negate each other. After four rounds all the cash is added up and a winner is declared. –Rob Rich

Star Command

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Star Command is a sci-fi simulation game that clearly takes cues from Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe. Although the game takes a few missteps in parts of its design, the whole package is so charming that it hardly matters. Anyone wanting a good Trek-like combat experience should stop reading this review and go buy it now. For everyone else, here’s how Star Command plays: Players begin by choosing a captain and a ship to command. From here, an in game tutorial gives just enough information on hiring crew members, building rooms on your ship, and how combat works, and then promptly throws you into the thick of it. Before you know it, you’ll be commanding your engineers to put out fires by sick bay while your weapons crew has to abandon their battle stations to combat enemy aliens that have beamed aboard. –Campbell Bird

Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

Little Red Riding Hood

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Little Red Riding Hood by Nosy Crow is a universal app that I have eagerly been anticipating for quite some time, and I can say with much excitement that this app is worth the wait.
This is a re-telling of the classic story with a few great twists along the way. A special app, Nosy Crow has added some wonderful new elements to a classic story, specifically allowing children to choose one of many paths they would rather take as Little Red travels through a forest on her way to Grandma’s, collecting numerous objects along the way as well as meeting new characters. –Amy Solomon

Zoe’s Green Planet

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Zoe’s Green Planet is an interesting universal application about diversity. This is the story of Zoe, an inhabitant of a green planet with a demographic of entirely green people, seen vividly with the use of illustrations with heavy paper mache elements creating a subtle 3D effect, as well as a tactile, slightly distressed feel that I find appealing, as I do the numerous shades of green that make up the palette of this app. One day, a red space ship lands on the green planet. Inside is a red family who would like to visit other planets and makes a home on the green planet. They have a daughter who is Zoe’s age, and they go to school together and become friends. –Amy Solomon

Brains My Body

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Brains My Body is a very nice interactive app for children which teaches about basic anatomy and diversity and includes fun facts about the body. The look of this app is crisp and clean, with colorful, textured woven fabric used as the background for these activities. Also of note are the layered ambient sounds heard throughout, consisting of a beating heart, blowing wind and wind chimes – interesting choices I have enjoyed listening to. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Goomy: to the Rainbow Land

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Goomy: to the Rainbow Land is an interestingly styled platform running game with a unique set of characters. Goomy came personified as ball that took nine different forms. Legend has it that he wants to make it to the mythical, happiness-filled Rainbow Land. However, the journey is not without dangers but of course, how could we have expected anything less? The playing area was an expansive end-to-end platform, with Goomy traveling from left to right. The traveling area was irregular in design, with land masses of different heights interspersed with deep, lethal canyons. The graphics were rich in color, with playful artwork highlighting the elements of the game. The animations were smooth, and did a good job of adding to the fun factor. A lot of time seemed to have been put into creating the six or so different playing environments. –Tre Lawrence

Punch Quest

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One of my favorite games of 2012 was undoubtedly Punch Quest. Rocketcat Games’ endless puncher’s only flaw? It wasn’t on Android yet. Well, Noodlecake Games, in their first published title after the launch of Super Stickman Golf 2, have rectified this situation. And oh how sweet it is to be playing this amazing game on mobile. Unlike most endless runners where there’s little to no combat, this is all about punching one’s enemies. It’s more of a beat ‘em up with automatic running instead of an endless runner. The fighting is surprisingly complex despite there only being three different inputs: forward punching, uppercutting, and blocking, though each has different functions based on different situations. For example, uppercutting in the air is actually a dive punch. Upgrades can tweak the way that punches work, or give them special functions. But it’s the interplay of the attacks and the way that each enemy has a particular strategy that works best – and ones that don’t work quite so well – that players need to learn and master in order to do well at the game. –Carter Dotson

Modern Snake

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Snake is one of those games everyone knows. It’s popularity was forged in the mall arcades of the 70s, and it has been ported to almost every platform. Ever. Everyone has redone it, and so any developer that touches it best come correct. Modern Snake, at the very least, excels in the area of minimalist design. I liked that there were no extraneous elements; it kept enough familiar designs, like the segmented snake, and tossed in colors and touchscreen compatibility to differentiate it from the original forms. The green worked well on the stark white playing area. The developer did well to add options to spice up what would otherwise be a one-dimensional game. There were options to speed up or slowdown game speed, to have a two-player local game, to play with or without walls and to play with on-screen directional buttons or by swiping. –Tre Lawrence

Apple just released a new update for the flagship iPhone 5. The Loop reports that iOS version 6.1.4 has an updated audio profile for the speakerphone, according to Apple. The update also has some security content that was originally included in the previous iOS software updates.

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via: The Loop source: Apple Support

We Are Your App Authority

Having trouble making sense out of the overwhelming number of apps released each week? Have no fear! Just look to 148Apps for the best app reviews on the web. Our reviewers sift through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. 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. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Pixel Kingdom

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Kingdoms will always be in peril and brave heroes will always be needed. However the format in which they do their “fighting evil” thing can vary wildly. In Pixel Kingdom they do so by meeting the approaching hordes head-on in a three lane defense. And they look so freaking adorable doing it, too. Pixel Kingdom is a fairly straightforward lane defense game for the most part. Players have a stock of various units they can produce and three lanes to produce them in. They’re all “paid for” by a mana pool that fills up over time, which can also be upgraded to fill faster by using more mana. Units are mostly of the melee/ranged attack varieties but there are a number of variations in-between to unlock and play around with. But what would the heroes be without their monsters? The various hordes of evil contain monsters both big and small. Some can knock heroes back, some weave in and out of lanes, and still others can slow a hero’s movement. Thankfully players have access to a cache of special equipment that can be purchased to make their heroes much more formidable. Assuming they have the coin to pay for it all, of course. –Rob Rich

Gemini Rue

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The future is a very bleak place in indie adventure game, Gemini Rue. Clearly taking inspiration from some sci-fi greats such as Blade Runner, as well as a plethora of film noir, the game tells the story from two different perspectives. One part of the adventure follows a time-travelling assassin, Azriel Odin, as he attempts to find his missing brother, while the other part tracks an amnesiac man called Delta-Six, as he finds himself trapped in a hospital with no clue as to what exactly happened to him. And, of course, their fates overlap in a twisting narrative that will stick in one’s mind for a while to come. At its most basic, Gemini Rue is an adventure game full of the need to tap on items and combine them in some way. Really, though, it’s interactive fiction. The puzzles are hardly taxing, although I did find them interesting. Using more than just a combination of items, players have a communicator that ensures they can contact characters, as well as check their notes and conduct a form of research. It’s a small yet attractive feature, that gives players a sense of control far beyond simply offering up a list of objectives. In typical adventure gaming style, players have a choice of icons to determine how to interact with others, including the ability to look, use, talk or kick. –Jennifer Allen

The Orchestra

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Touch Press has been publishing astonishing digital books for iPad for as long as the platform has existed. With their earlier apps, like The Elements, The Wasteland, The Barefoot World Atlas and The Sonnets, the company shows a knack for taking a subject many consider dry or academic and turning it a multimedia feast that engages not only students, but anyone with even a passing curiosity in the subject matter. With The Orchestra, the team has raised its own bar, creating much more than a than a digibook. The Orchestra takes users on an exclusive tour of the UK’s Philharmonia and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen’s interpretations of eight classical pieces from composers like Hayden, Mahler, Stravinsky, and Beethoven in unparalleled fashion. The app is a two-part affair. The home screen guides users to the performances first. Each orchestral work is presented with several videos focusing on key musicians/instruments and on Salonen’s baton. These videos can be rearranged with intuitive gestures to focus on whichever appeals at the moment. Below that, users watch the score scroll by in sync. One can view the entire orchestration, a curated score that focuses on key instruments in the piece, and for those who don’t read music, there is a graphical representation using color-coded bars. –Lisa Caplan

Black Operations

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In an App Store full of countless derivations of the same handful of genres, sometimes all it takes for a game to stand out is to just execute on one of those genres really well. That’s what Black Operations does and that’s why anyone interested in mobile real-time strategy should give it a look. Specifically, Black Operations is a 2D sidescrolling strategy game. The playfield is a linear plane with two bases on each end; to win, players must overcome what is essentially a tug-of-war battle to overthrow the enemy’s HQ. It’s a simplified take on real-time strategy that’s been proven successful on mobile phones, consoles, and pretty much anything without a mouse. However, Black Operations does throw in a few new elements to liven things up. In most games like this once a unit is spawned they march forward and attack until they die. Here, though, players use intuitive multi-touch gestures to tell soldiers to move out, retreat, or stay put. This opens up new tactical possibilities like having units rally around a newly-capture watch tower or drawing enemies out by sacrificing individual soldiers. –Jordan Minor

Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

PICME Moviebook: You Are The Star

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In PICME, my son’s likeness is used to create a boy character who delivers a piano to a friendly lion named Juno, who claims to be able to play, yet in reality needs to practice a great deal to be able to make true music with this instrument. There is much that I really appreciate in this interactive storybook. First, two distinct versions of this tale are included – a movie as well as a storybook, and although the plot of this story remains the same, I especially appreciate how the video is not just a straight animated version of the book. It is also a different yet related experience which adds more characters and nuances that work perfectly in this movie. The book, however, is a little more simplistic, making a nice, tight narrative that I equally appreciate. –Amy Solomon

Ansel and Clair: Triasic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Dinosaurs

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I would like to introduce readers to a trilogy of dinosaur apps from the Ansel and Clair series of educational applications. I am a huge fan of these apps, as Africa and Paul Revere’s Ride, and now the dinosaur time periods have each been visited by Ansel, a travel photographer from the planet Virtoos and Clair, a Virtoosian robot companion in order to gather photos to teach about these moments in history back on their home planet. There are three sections broken up into different times, specifically the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, that each goes back to explore the world, learning about the unique dinosaurs what differenceates each of these periods seen in the landscapes of each of these apps, such as the Triassic period which was less green and more barren than the other periods of time –Amy Solomon

More Trucks

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My son and I loved this first app – a children’s interactive application allowing one to explore five different truck and car-themed activities, as seen here in the review of this app. More Trucks includes four new scenes that children will also have fun with. Nice children’s narration will explain how these sections work, and parents and children alike will enjoy the familiar nursery rhyme-themed classical music that Duck Duck Moose is known for. These sections are uniformly bright and colorful, including the same stylized looks that fans have come to expect from these applications. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Ninja Village

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I’m a sucker for retro games. There is just something charming about going into the past with today’s hardware. I get especially teary-eyed when 8-bit graphics appear. Kairosoft’s Ninja Village is that type of tearjerker that I’m talking about. Set in ancient Japan, it it is a city simulation set during the period of feudalism. It’s craftily set as a unification adventure that involves ninja clans, so in one swoop, I was getting some awesome backstory angles to work with.
Yes, the game came with retro looks, down the pleasant (for me) shaky movements and blended color. I liked the detail the developer put into creating a fun-looking environment. The gameplay was a potent mix of civilization simulation and domination principles. Frankly, I really enjoyed the intricate nature of this title. Its game engine was pretty cool, and a lot of thought seemed to have been put into the basic logic. I was responsible for training and upkeep of my ninja warriors. A key component of this was the ability to manage my non-infinite resources. First, I had to do stimulate basic commerce to increase my funds; villagers needed food, and food also brought valuable cash when sold to merchants. I was able to build industry like farms and also able to build infrastructure for my growing clan. –Tre Lawrence

SmartWallit

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I realize that I am not the only person who misplaces their wallet, but I find it hard to believe that there are people on this earth who lose theirs more consistently than I do. For years I have been casually looking into different ways to help me organize my life, and there are a few products on the market that allow the user to remotely find their missing, tagged items. Obviously, the problem here is that these products, for the most part, are separate items and are just as prone to being forgotten and misplaced as the wallet itself. So why not put the device on the smartphone? Everyone has one and if implemented well enough it can work as a symbiotic relationship. Fortunately for all of humanity there is a project floating around on KickStarter right now that might be the world’s solution to the endless struggle to keep tabs on arguably the two most important items in the average person’s life. Called SmartWallit, this ambitious startup has developed a product that will ingeniously alert its owner if either the wallet or phone gets left behind. –Joseph Bertolini

Jurassic Park Builder

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The Jurassic Park franchise was the quintessential morality tale. It’s what we needed in the 90s: a reminder of the dangers of mankind subverting nature. Dinosaurs are interesting, and having a zoo full of them would be exceptionally cool, but only bad things could happen in the end. Keeping prehistoric beasts as confined pests is rarely a good idea, especially the carnivorous ones. Jurassic Park Builder, a game from Ludia Inc, is just the type of title that can fix melancholy. It put me in charge of developing theme park populated such as the one on the novel and movie it derives it name from. It was a park simulation with a twist. I was tasked with building and expanding space, as well as making sure my livestock flourished. The originating story was close to the original; I found dinosaur DNA fortuitously trapped in amber, and was able to create viable eggs with the DNA. From then on, it became a matter of suave management of resources. I got to pick whether I wanted terrestrial animals or aquatic ones. I also had to feed the creature based on defined diets. –Tre Lawrence

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Having trouble making sense out of the overwhelming number of apps released each week? Have no fear! Just look to 148Apps for the best app reviews on the web. Our reviewers sift through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. 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. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

WB and NetherRealm’s original DC Comics fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us has been adapted for the iPad, and that doesn’t just mean that they ported down a full console fighting game, or just made an Infinity Blade clone like some are wont to do; no, they converted this into an actual touchscreen-friendly game that’s free-to-play, though definitely encourages spending money. The actual combat is dramatically less complex than the Street Fighters of the world, because players have three basic actions: tap to do a light attack, swipe forward to do a heavy attack, and tap & hold with two fingers to block. Combos will call up swiping actions to knockdown the opponent, and special moves will require different inputs to unleash those attacks. The complexity comes in with using the three chracters efficiently; not only is it about letting them go to the sidelines to regenerate health, but also to swap in characters whose special power meters are recharging while on the sidelines. As well, different special attacks have different effects that are useful in various scenarios. I like to keep one character with a power drain effect with me when fighting bosses so as to limit the number of times they can do massive damage. The combat strikes a great balance between being simplified for the platform, while keeping enough strategy to be interesting. –Carter Dotson

Mittens

Mittens, both the name of this app and of the cat which the game revolves around, is the latest physics puzzler from Disney. The company had an extreme amount of success with Where’s My Water a couple of years ago and this is definitely a notable follow-up. As one would expect from a Disney game, the visual assets are top-notch. The cartoony visuals and cute cut scenes definitely feel like something Disney would have a hand in. Players interact with the level components by tapping and swiping, and swiping an electrical wire or piece of wood will cut it. Players can only interact with the level components and can’t directly control Mittens. All of the normal laws of physics apply, so Mittens falls and bounces, and will automatically grab onto ledges. Besides static environmental elements like wires, awnings, and planks of wood, other animals also appear in the levels, like birds to latch onto. Ultimately, the goal is to make it to a floating milk bottle. When he finally gets to it, Mittens does a little dance. –David Rabinowitz

Mailbox

Mailbox represents a perspective shift to email, in that it treats the inbox not as a list of messages hanging around one’s neck like so many albatrosses, but as a list of tasks that need to be completed. So, reading an email and being done means that it can be removed the list like a completed task, meaning it is archived from the inbox. Messages can be ‘delayed’, making them temporarily hidden from the inbox, reappearing at a later time defined by the user to be completed later. But, the important thing is that they are removed from the inbox, making inbox zero a potential daily occurrence. –Carter Dotson

Badland

BADLAND is a quite beautiful amalgamation of side scrolling platform action, with a dash of Endless Runner about it. The latter part comes more from the one touch controls that ensure that BADLAND is easy to play for any ability, albeit not necessarily easy to complete thanks to a series of challenging obstacles. 40 levels pave the way and, while early stages are quite easy, later stages prove rather fearsome and tough. Even better, there’s plenty of replayability through the acquisition of clones which boost the rating of a level, once captured. BADLAND might sound immensely restricted due to its one touch controls, but that’s quite far from the truth. At first, tapping on the screen is used more to keep the cuddly yet mildly sinister creature afloat, thrusting them through each stage and avoiding simple obstacles. Get pushed off the screen and it’s game over, but when early structures simply consist of pillars and platforms, it’s no great hardship. As things progress, however, and the player learns more about how to play, the imaginative nature of BADLAND shines through. Orange colored globes affect the size of the creature, either making him grow or shrink to some degree. Both have advantages and disadvantages, the former allowing him to crush certain things, and the latter allowing him to sneak through small gaps. Other power-ups emerge, too, such as one that allows him to stick to walls or roll at speed through the scenery. –Jennifer Allen

Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

Alex The Handyman

Alex The Handyman – Kids Educational App is a cute and fun app allowing children to use various tools to help friends with a variety of home repairs. Ten scenes are included, each one bright and colorful to look at as one meets a friendly animal character who needs help. From fixing fence posts and ladders to a tree house, to inflating a tire on a car or mending a tear in a dress, Alex the Handyman is a true jack-of-all-trades as he takes on tasks such as sewing, painting, spot-cleaning stains or light gardening. Children will need to choose the correct tool for the job, such as wrench to tighten a leaky faucet or screwdriver to repair a toy, that will become highlighted if help is needed. –Amy Solomon

Zachy the Robot: Quest for the Museum Treasures

Zachy the Robot: Quest for the Museum Treasures is a terrific interactive app that delves into different topics of natural history in a way that is sure to captivate children and their adults. This is the second Zachy the Robot app. This one takes place again in Robocity, focusing on a group of robot friends, the Robocity Repairbots, who help their town with their problems, as their wheelhouse is fixing structural issues in buildings, as seen in the first app which focused on engineering. Here, the gang is brought back to add exhibits to the newly built and empty Robocity Natural History Museum, explained in the bright, colorful and fun animated intro. I love how excited these characters are by the topic of natural history – an enthusiasm that parents will hope rubs off on their children. –Amy Solomon

Gro Memo

Most adults remember playing “memory” – also known as “concentration” – as children, where cards or tiles are laid out in pairs face down and players have to take turns turning over two cards looking for mates, remembering where the other cards are in order to create matches. This style of game is also a very popular one in an application form, be it the app’s main focus or an additional section found in a storybook so it is very nice to see a “memory” style game that really stands out from the pack in terms of game play and overall quality. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Nimble Quest

Nimble Quest, the latest from NimbleBit, starts off with an immediate nod to its direct influence, Snake. Before mobile games exploded, everyone enjoyed Snake on a Nokia mobile phone, because what else was there to do besides play Snake? So, immediately, it seems like there may not be much to this at all. Nope. Nimble Quest takes that simple concept and makes it deeper and more fun than it has any right to be. It starts by adding a bit of strategy to the standard Snake gameplay of turning left and right, avoiding walls and enemies. See, players control a character that has a special attack ability that triggers when near enemies, and they use that to take out enemies. Other heroes can be collected as drops from enemies that form parts of the snake, and can use their own individual attacks. Now, enemies can attack as well, so it becomes about staying out of danger, as the heroes have health bars that will quickly diminish, and if the lead hero dies, it’s game over. So, there’s a strategy to approaching the enemies, one that is about taking as little damage as possible. –Carter Dotson

MiiPC

This week’s KickStarter Spotlight focuses on an ambitious, and impressively polished product that is squarely aimed at parents who are concerned about their child’s computer usage called MiiPC. It is not so much the content as the amount of time wasted that most parents worry about, and it is a fact that technology can be a major distraction for young people with homework. I can attest that even in the course of writing this post, I have looked away to a USA Today update and watched a few YouTube videos that were sent to me by a few Facebook friends. What MiiPC aims to deliver is a computer that, in all honesty, is not much more than a converted, overpowered tablet in a box. The main feature is the complete control parents have over the device. From setting time restrictions on apps or websites, to monitoring exactly what activity a user is doing at any time; MiiPC allows a parent to have total peace of mind while still ensuring their children get an appropriate introduction to the vast wonder of the internet. –Joseph Bertolini

Fate of the Pharaoh

Fate of the Pharaoh is a fun simulation set in, well, ancient Egypt. In this game, I worked as an Adviser to Pharaoh, tasked with rebuilding the empire after a victorious but devastating war.
To make it easy, it’s a G5 game, so I expected nice graphics. I wasn’t disappointed. I found the rich graphics, sharp animations and fine detail that we all have come to expect from G5. There were two modes: Adventure Mode (timed) and Relaxed Mode. Anyone who has read my reviews knows I am a sucker for tutorials, and thus, this gamee found a way to my heart early on. The teaching section allowed me to use taps to get a basic understanding of gameplay: accruing money, and the different ways you can spend it. I learned that to progress, I had to finish tasks and manage resources.–Tre Lawrence

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