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

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 9th, 2015

Your App News and Reviews Source


How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.

AG Drive

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


Overkill 3

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


Meteorz

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


Heavenstrike Rivals

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


This is My Weather-Meteorology for Kids

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown

Misfit Shine

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


Runes of Camelot

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

Welcome to Pangoland, the First open World for Kids on iOS

Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 18th, 2015

Pangoland, by Studio Pango, is a sandbox style game for kids where they'll get to explore the world of Pango, Piggy, Fox, Squirrel and Bunny and play tons of games and activities.

The game features secret mini-games, hundreds objects to interact with, the ability to switch between day and night, and no advertising. Among the many things they can do, kids can help Bunny to grow vegetables in the garden, decorate the Christmas tree with Pango, cook dinner for everyone, dig up fossils with Squirrel, or build a robot in Fox’s workshop. With its' cute graphics and endless activities, Pangoland is sure to keep kids busy exploring and having fun.

Pangoland comes out tomorrow on the App Store.

MiniChess by Kasparov Will Teach Your Kids to Play Chess. I Know, Right?

Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 11th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Cheddar the Mouse is an adorable chess master who aims to teach your kids how to play chess. He's also the star character of HeroCraft's new, Garry Kasparov-endorsed educational game, MiniChess by Kasparov.

As kids play,they'll solve puzzles that will teach them the basic rules of chess. The game also lets you play an actual game of chess so you can try out your new skills.

You can download MiniChess by Kasparov for $3.99 on the App Store.

This Week at 148Apps: January 26-30, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 3rd, 2015

Warm Your Winter With New Apps!


How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.

Playworld Superheroes

Playworld Superheroes is one of those games that’s unabashedly aimed at younger iOS users. It starts off slow, almost too mildly, as the player learns the crafting process. It begins with selecting a base character from a batch of different prototypes, and after this the player is guided to a treehouse (which is the home location of this digital tale), and guided through the process of finding simple items that can be crafted to make what look like rudimentary parts of a superhero outfit. --Tre Lawrence


Mean Girls: The Game

Positioned as a sequel to the original film, no not the sequel they actually made, Mean Girls: The Game has Cady Heron, Regina George, and the rest teaming up to repel a new generation of cliquey Plastics. But turning stuck-up high schools girls into literally identical endless enemy fodder is just one of a few ways the game uses tower defense tropes as a clever metaphor. The towers themselves represent different groups of students. Cheerleaders damage nearby foes with their routines while jocks hurl basketballs at targets. They start as freshmen and players use earned popularity to level them up all the way until graduation. Matches themselves tend to drag, but there are a bunch of new student groups with intriguing properties to unlock, and the environments, ranging from cafeterias to gyms, feature lots of different snaking path. --Jordan Minor


Battle of Toys

Wouldn’t it be great if toys came to life when we weren’t around like they do in Toy Story? Wouldn’t it be even better if instead of getting up to hijinks and adventure they just beat the stuffing out of each other instead? Battle of Toys seems to think that’s a great idea. From their growing collection, players can choose up to 6 toys to take into battle with them, each with their own special attacks and wide selection of costumes. The controls prioritise reaction time and a set of touch gestures over a standard button layout, requiring players to stop the indicator in one of the green zones to launch one of two combos. One of a handful of reaction mini-games will then pop up to help maximise damage. There is no active defense ability to speak of though, so sometimes an attack won’t land because the opponent has literally beaten the player to the punch. --Lee Hamlet


All Star Quarterback

All Star Quarterback is a free-to-play football game in which players can live out a fantasy of being the quarterback of a pro football team. Unlike most football games, this title tasks players with managing the life of a single football player and their time on and off the field, rather than a whole lineup of eleven players from week to week in a football season. The result of this twist on traditional sports games is surprisingly refreshing, though the game itself isn’t much more than a clicker/management game with some light role playing and action sequences. All Star Quarterback begins with players creating their character by making very simple, but custom choices, like name and skin color. From there, players are drafted to a professional team (though the game is not NFL licensed) and have to train, buy, and play their way to a successful career. --Campbell Bird


Ambition of the Slimes

While it may play more like a Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy: Tactics, in a lot of ways Ambition of the Slimes feels like a deconstructed Dragon Quest. First off, there’s the genre-flipping premise of playing as the lowly slime monsters. Being the cool, big bad villain is one thing, but these are worse than henchmen. Also, the game’s Minecraft-esque aesthetic looks like someone ripped the chunky sprites out of a classic 8-bit RPG and dropped them into a trippy retro 3D world. Rotating the screen and watching pixels shift to maintain perspective is always a neat effect, and even the poorly translated dialogue (intentional or not) adds an appropriate charm hinted at by the absurd title. But what really makes Ambition of the Slimes so spectacular is its ingenious strategy hook. Players start each match with a party of slimes they’ve collected. Being slimes, they aren’t great at fighting directly. They’re underpowered and outmatched. However, if players can position them next to a stronger human enemy unit like an archer or a knight, the slime can hop in that poor person’s mouth and possess them. This adds so many awesome new strategy considerations. What units do I go after? How much should I soften up this target before going in for the steal? Possess first and then attack? Use possessed units to shield weaker slimes? --Jordan Minor


Winky Think Logic Puzzles

There is a new favorite application in our house that I am quite eager to let readers know all about – Winky Think Logic Puzzles from Spinlight Studio. This app, as the name may suggest, consists of logic puzzles that both children as well as adults and all ages in between will enjoy. At 180 levels, this application truly includes hours of activities ranging from those simple and straightforward to complex and difficult tasks even for adults. Winky Think starts out easy enough, with players needing to slide a blue pentagram into a related cutout marked with a smaller gem of the same color and shape. In the next level, things build a bit as now children are asked to slide a red pentagram into a corresponding open spot, now choosing this correct over other colored gems also seen on the board. Soon other shapes are included to color-match as simple maze-like areas of the puzzle are added that one needs to navigate. This app begins slowly for the benefit of young users, but I found these levels utterly engaging as an adult with its dynamic use of jewel colors popping against the grey background, made up with a subtle mix of different shades of warm, bright greys instead of the bleak, stagnant color that a lesser developer may have chosen to use. --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

IOGEAR Tunetap Wireless Audio Receiver

As we become more connected in the digital sense, wireless solutions become that much more relevant. Bluetooth is an oldie but goodie, and the trusted protocol is easily incorporated in several ways. Now that it is all but ubiquitous with regards to mobile devices, it makes sense that mobile devices — especially Android — can be the ultimate hub in connected setups. Looking at the IOGEAR TuneTap Audio Receiver, it’s easy to see why it could be compelling; it’s small, easy to set up and comes from IOGEAR. The review unit sent to us exhibits that size, which is 2.88 x 2.88 x 0.97 inches, weighing only 1.6 ounces. It is a sleek little thing, with solid fusing and ports for audio out, optical out and a power jack; on the top, there is a subtle LED light right under the logo. The package also contained 3,55mm to RCA cable, power cable and documentation. --Tre Lawrence


Laser Quest

Laser Quest has a flashy name that might fool folks. In a good way. It’s a puzzle game, true, but it’s how the puzzles are framed that make this interesting. Our protagonist, Nio the octopus, is an industrious creature with an eye for treasure, and a willingness to travel to procure it. The playing area is a grid made of smaller squares, and the general premise is to move Nio from the start point to the the location square of the treasure chest. these squares can also be occupied by items that can be collected by contact, or otherwise manipulated to effect a solution. There are also stars that can be collected; each level has three. --Tre Lawrence

This past week, Pocket Gamer previewed The Detail, Forgotten Memories, and The Wild, checked out remastered versions of Fahrenheit and Grim Fandango, and asked, "hey, wanna be a dead body?"

And finally, last week on AppSpy: the very best RPGs on mobile, an early look at The Wild and Forgotten Memories, plus a whole bunch more.

CodeQuest Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on February 3rd, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: LANGUAGE SKILLS
CodeQuest is a fun way of helping your kids learn the basics of HTML and CSS, but you'll wish it went further.
Read The Full Review »

Winter Comes to Children's Programming App, CodeQuest

Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 2nd, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: LANGUAGE SKILLS :: Read Review »

Codarica Inc has released a new update for their children's learning app, CodeQuest. The app offers a quick and easy way to teach children the basics of coding, HTML, and CSS through games and activities.

The new ‘Baby, it’s “Code” Outside’ update gives CodeQuest a wintery theme. The app also has new interactive stories before certain levels, and holiday characters for the iPad. Codarica has updated the buttons with colors to make coding easier and fixed a few bugs along the way as well.

You can download CodeQuest for $1.99 on the App Store and get your kids coding their first website in no time.

Storm & Skye - Magical Adventure Story For Kids Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Amy Solomon on January 28th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar ::
The first book in the Storm & Skye series includes wonderful storytelling, narration and illustrations.
Read The Full Review »

Let Your Kids Talk to Santa with MagicFriends Xmas

Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 17th, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Caramagic Ltd has just launched the MagicFriends Xmas app. The app lets children talk to Santa, Sam the Snowman, Candy the Elf, or Prancer using an iPad or iPhone.

Using a second iPhone or iPad connected via Wi-Fi, a family member can animate the character your child is talking to and hold a conversation with them. The app can change your voice to match each character so that you don't spoil the illusion. The controls for the characters are simple swipe or tap, so it is easy to make them jump, wave, wink, dance, and twirl.

You can download MagicFriends Xmas for free on the App Store.

Mister Mushy Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on December 11th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: ATTRACTIVE STORYTELLING
Mister Mushy is a fairly charming storybook app for young children.
Read The Full Review »

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 8th, 2014

Apps Are Us


How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.

Peggle Blast

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


Wicked Lair

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


Offroad Legends 2

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


Earn to Die 2

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


Bruce Lee: Enter the Game

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


Duckie Deck Bird Houses

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown

MageCraft: The War

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


Antec PULSE Lite Bluetooth Headphones

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


Red War

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

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

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 1st, 2014

Your Cure For Black Friday


What to do with all of that post-Thanksgiving holiday time? Search for the latest and greatest apps, of course! Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


Proun+

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


VainGlory

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


Call of Duty: Heroes

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


Knituma

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


Kingdom Rush Origins HD

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


The Journey of Alvin

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


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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


AndroidRundown

MOS Cable System

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


Recoil Winders

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


Dark Guardians

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

Codarica Introduces CodeQuest, a New App That Teaches Kids to Code

Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 23rd, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: LANGUAGE SKILLS :: Read Review »

During Walt Disney Company’s Disney Accelerator Program Demo Day, Codarica lauched their new educational app for kids called CodeQuest. The game helps children create their first website while learning basic HTML and CSS.

CodeQuest had ten levels that use mini-games to introduce coding ideas, including over 100 lines of HTML and CSS code. The game also uses the built-in camera to add photos to the site. Once the website is complete, parents can publish their child's site on Codarica’s secure servers.

CodeQuest is now available for free on the App Store.

This Week at 148Apps: October 13-17, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on October 20th, 2014

Expert App Reviewers


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

Pokemon TCG

I’ve been playing and enjoying collectable card games for 20 years, now – yeah, I’m old, shut up. While Magic: the Gathering has always been my main game, I’ve tried and enjoyed several others over the years. One of my favorites was always Pokémon, but at my age (I said shut up!) almost none of my peers play. The only way I could enjoy a game was to go to a tournament and play almost entirely against children. Since that’s as awkward as it sounds, I haven’t played in years. Now there’s a solution to that problem. And unlike Magic’s foray into iPad, Pokémon TCG allows a great deal of freedom. --Jade Walker


Diner Dash

Almost a decade after its launch, the classic time management franchise Diner Dash has returned once again to cause stress headaches in a whole new generation of mobile gamers. It’s been about four years since the last entry in the series – Diner Dash 5: BOOM! – and PlayFirst has revamped the venerable workhorse into a mash-up of classic and all-new styles. And, for the first time ever, the series has embraced the free-to-play model. How well do Flo and the crew make the transition to freemium? Well, let’s take a look, shall we? You’d be hard-pressed to find someone these days who isn’t at least passingly familiar with the basic concept of Diner Dash. Players are in charge of Flo, a good-natured (but doubtlessly exhausted) waitress whose job is to seat, serve, and generally keep happy all of the customers of her restaurant – many of whom have specific quirks and needs. Unfortunately, as Flo is only one person with two hands, she can only do so much at a time. This leaves her sprinting about madly to take orders, make coffee, clean up dirty tables, and more, all before customers lose their patience and leave. You really have to wonder why this place doesn’t hire at least a busboy, right? --Rob Thomas


Air Supply-SOS

Sheep aren’t loaded with natural defenses. They’re great at standing around, chewing their cud, and waiting to be sheared. That’s about it. That’s why Air Supply – SOS calls on players to foil the Time Travel Company: a greedy organization that kidnaps sheep, robs their fluffy down, and makes clothing. Though these distressed sheep are quantum sheep, they’re still incapable of defending themselves. Do the right thing. Save Our Sheep (“SOS” – get it?). Air Supply is a shooter inspired by the classic ZX Spectrum game Jetpac. Players endure waves of aliens while catching the quantum sheep that fall from the sky. The sheep need to be returned to the rocket ship waiting at the bottom of the screen. Once the requisite number is loaded, the player gets to progress to the next level (often accompanied by a “sheepy hug” of thanksgiving). --Nadia Oxford


Boulder Dash 30th Anniversary

Like in the original, players control Rockford: a scrappy young spelunker exploring a series of caves. But these aren’t just ordinary caves; they’re full of gems, and to open up the exit Rockford must collect a certain number of gems before time runs off. From that description, one might think that gem-collecting would be, if not a difficult process, then at least one that took some thinking. But in Boulder Dash, most of the initial free levels can be beaten by tracing the most straightforward route through the dirt and collecting the obvious gems in plain sight. Players spend the majority of the game performing this deeply uninteresting act again and again. Sure there are a few enemies, but with Rockford’s ability to move basically anywhere and survive anything short of a falling rock, there’s far too little in the player’s way. It almost makes one wish the controls weren’t as smooth and forgiving as they are. Later worlds do ramp up the challenge, but the dull and lengthy introduction discourages players from grinding and earning the stars necessary to unlock the more interesting content for free. --Jordan Minor


Bug Mazing-Adventures in Learning

Bug Mazing – Adventures in Learning' is a new title from Little Bit Studio, the developers known for their series of apps such as Bugs and Buttons, Bugs and Numbers, and a recent favorite, Bug Art. As the name may suggest, Bug Mazing is a maze app with a bug theme that includes activities such as working with numbers, letters, colors and tracing in ways that children will find engaging and adults will appreciate for their educational value. Nature is a big part of these apps and the landscape may either be beautiful and pristine with flowers and insects like bees and ladybugs or include worn details that are possibly less beautiful, but I find these details quite interesting. It also includes a fantasy adventure theme as well as bugs that are styled with different adventure elements, such as Indiana Jones’ hat and other details. A narrator gives encouragement while on each exploration and valuable coins and precious gems are collected as rewards. Each area of this app includes different levels of difficulty and unique bugs select. Do note the selection of languages that is also included within this app – always a nice touch. Multiple children can also keep their own games separate, which is good for at home or the classroom. --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

Entwined Challenge

Twitch games are an addiction of mine now, so checking out Entwined Challenge was destined to be. The visuals rely on simulated distance perspective; to start, the two flying beings are colored red and blue. In the distance is a circle with colored segments; the colors of the segments are generally red, blue and green. the flying beings can be controlled by thumb gestures on either side to move along the axis of the circle, so that each flying being is guided through a matching color segment. As progress is made, the game adjusts too; for example, where the color segments were stationary, they begin to move, forcing the player to make adjustments and quicker decisions on the fly. While the concept remains simple, the developer does a good job of delicately layering levels of difficulty upon the easy-to-understand premise, and it flows well, with no major deviations to distract from the chase of excellence. --Tre Lawrence


Antec LifeBar 10 Portable Charger

Yes, batteries in mobile devices have gotten better, but in the spirit of being prepared, it just makes sense to have a backup plan. Way back when, getting a couple extra OEM batteries was sufficient. Now, sealed batteries are more commonplace, and having multiple devices at any given time is not unheard of; in any case, all those extra batteries start to add up. Nah, it makes sense to have a portable battery, and when it comes to mobile power solutions, few are as capable of Antec; hence, checking out the new LifeBar 10 Portable Charger is far from a chore. --Tre Lawrence


Withings Smart Body Analyzer

Health tools with a mobile component are especially compelling, and as such, we jumped at an opportunity to check out the Withings Smart Body Connected Scale. The black (white is an option) review unit Withings sent us is pretty much ready to go. At first glance, the first thing that comes to mind is that somehow, the product pictures do not do it justice. It looks like a chiseled dark colored slab. frankly, it look dashing, managing to be modern without being Jetson-silly. The full dark look is accented, and the silver center piece highlights the whole package. The expected display is digital in nature, and still manages to effect art. The battery compartment is at the bottom of the unit, and there is a tab preventing the batteries from cycling; beneath that are two buttons for syncing and selecting units. It looks like a “traditional” scale, but clearly wants people to know it has an extra trick or two up its sleeve. Officially, it comes in at 12.8 x 12.8 x 0.90 inches and 4.62 lbs. --Tre Lawrence


And finally, this week Pocket Gamer covered Apple and Google's big announcements, wrote a massive guide for The Silent Age: Episode Two, tackled GamerGate, and picked 11 iOS games that you may never get to play. All that and loads more, right here.

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

Posted by Chris Kirby on September 14th, 2014

Expert App Reviewers


So little time and so very many apps. What's a poor iOS devotee 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.

Kapsula

Kapsula isn’t an easy game by any means, but it is an appealing one. It combines the obvious mixture of racing and Match-3 gameplay, because that’s a partnership that we’ve all been waiting to see! It sounds odd, but it works by relying upon some very fast reactions and quick decision making. You control a car as it races across some futuristic-looking landscapes. The visuals are quite crude but they match the theme well, adding a kind of beauty to such simplicity. Controls are a matter of tapping on either side to move around and that’s as complex as Kapsula gets. The tricky part is moving at the right time. While racing along, various colored gems called kapsulas (hence the name) appear. Drive alongside one and you snag it to the side of your car. The trick here is to match it up with another of the same color to earn points. --Jennifer Allen


Spider-Man Unlimited

There’s no shortage of endless runners on the App Store. Good endless runners, though? Now, there’s a trickier thing to find. Spider-Man Unlimited is one of those rare delights, made all the rarer by the fact it uses a popular license and still manages to be enjoyable. It’s a narrative led running game, which means it’s split into two parts. There’s the Endless mode that lives up to its name, but there’s also the more structured story mode that offers up some reason to run. Divided up into issues, issue 1 involves you tackling the Green Goblin while issue 2 pits you against the Vulture – with future issues coming soon. --Jennifer Allen


Ninja Warrior Temple

Ninja Warrior Temple understands that the way of the ninja is never an easy one. It takes skill and insight bordering on the supernatural: a perfect melding of body and mind. But while its clever designs show its mind is in the right place, the slippery controls suggest the body still needs work. Ninja Warrior Temple is a textbook “masocore” game where players take on super short but devastatingly difficult platforming challenges. While early stages use fairly formulaic layouts like “jump over spikes in an incredibly tight time window,” the game soon reveals its smarter tricks. --Jordan Minor


The Nightmare Cooperative

The Nightmare Cooperative is a dungeon-raiding puzzler and strategy game that forces players to think on their feet while taking multiple factors into account at once. Taking place over 12 levels through 4 zones, players must navigate their team over a checkered game board via up and down swipes that control the whole team at once, moving past deadly enemies and fiery pits. Of course, there is the option to fight back by either bumping into enemies repeatedly or by pressing the special ability button. Enabled by the collection of potions, each character class has their own special ability – including healing, brute strength, and long-range weapons – that will help with getting their teammates and themselves to the exit in one piece. --Lee Hamlet


Gro Flowers

As readers can imagine, my son is fortunate to have a chance to test a variety of educational apps that I download as part of my review process. Typically for him, this is alone-time when he chooses not to have a lot of interaction with others as he becomes deeply involved with an app of his choice. Gro Flowers, an app from a favorite developer of ours – Gro Play – is a unique case, as my boy invites me into his world while working with this application. It’s a lovely combination of art and ecology, allowing children to decorate their own flowers to later be pollinated by bees that also produce honey in need of being caught as it drips from the hive. Do shoo away bug spray bottles with a tap, keeping the bees safe and happy. I would first like to point out that Gro Flowers, along with other Gro Play apps, allows multiple players to explore and interact at the same time – working together decorating flowers as well as dragging bees to like-flowers in the interest of pollination, as well as collecting honey and discouraging the use of pesticides, making this app a lovely exercise in cooperation that my son really enjoys sharing with others. The pacing of Gro Flowers, also like the other Gro Play apps, is a little on the slow side compared to arcade games some children play with these days, but I do admire this choice. It allows my son to slow down as well – a lovely nod to the time it takes nature to grow a field of flowers or create honey one drop at a time. --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

Appointment with F.E.A.R.

Appointment With F.E.A.R casts the player as a hero with powers of their choosing out to stop an evil meeting of the minds as the criminal organization known as F.E.A.R meet in three days to hatch an evil plot to take over the world. Players begin by picking their powers. What powers they have affects the story great deal. They may be able to fire energy blast from their hands or simply be a Batman like gadget genius with no actual superpowers besides being clever, among others. A few of these feel a bit half-baked though. The engineer type doesn’t really get enough chances to use his gadgets and the mind reader doesn’t get to really read minds, more just use their physic skills to hurl objects at enemies and so on. --Allan Curtis


Help Me Fly

There is no shortage of puzzle games in all of the app stores, including the Google Play Store. But finding that must play puzzle game, might be a challenge. Don’t look any further, because we’ve found one. Puzzle games and app stores: it’s like a combination made in heaven. And why wouldn’t it be? Most of those puzzle games are easy to understand, offer a great challenge and have some pretty user-friendly interfaces for us to enjoy. A good puzzle game has all of the above mentioned elements and I’m glad to say that the game Help Me Fly vg fits right in to the description of a good puzzle game. It even has some solid looking graphics that are easy on the eyes. --Wesley Akkerman


Angry Birds Stella

The new Angry Birds Stella game just came and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to give the birds a swing again. Only this time, we’re swinging female birds with more tactics at their disposal. With every new Angry Birds installment I always ask myself: what did Rovio do this time to not make me think this game is just like the one before? The gravity mechanic in Angry Birds Space was a first for me, thinking the developer actually did something to improve the basics of the game. And now, I’ve got the same feeling. Angry Birds Stella is, to be very direct, a new Angry Birds game that builds upon the basics of the core of the franchise and really offers something new. --Wesley Akkerman

And finally, Apple made headlines on Pocket Gamer, too. The guys have got tech and size comparisons for the new iPhones, and thoughts on the Apple Watch's gaming potential. Plus, a preview of Space Age, along with reviews of Goblin Sword, Phantom Rift, and more. Read everything right here.

Ice Age Adventures Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jordan Minor on August 12th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: STAY FROSTY
Ice Age Adventures is a like a greatest hits collection of casual iOS games.
Read The Full Review »