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.
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
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
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
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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:
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 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
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
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
“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
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a huge game. Especially when starting out, you will get lost. Here’s some tips to help you out on your way early on.
Choose wisely, padawan.
Choosing a class and starting attributes without having ever gotten to play the game is rough, because it really takes getting in to the game and playing it a lot to realize just what is possible, and the path you might want to take with your characters.
If you’re the type that prefers beating people down and being the tank, then the Soldier class is for you. Scoundrels are best at most non-combat abilities like Persuasion and Security, meaning Jedi mind tricks and breaking in to doors. Scouts provide a balance between the two. However, there’s two things to consider when choosing a class early on: one, it’s possible to travel with a party of three, so even if one play style is preferred, it’s possible to have party members fill a different but useful role. Two, the main character is always gonna be there, and there’s certain skills like Persuasion that only they can really use. So, why not have them focus on that? Use the wookiee to beat stuff up.
Focus, you must.
Jack of all trades, master of none. That saying is a warning in KotOR. You’re going to get the best effects and stat bonuses by choosing to focus on particular paths, whether it be a certain set of combat skills, or going down the Dark or Light Side path. Have a plan and stick to it and you’ll get the best results. Again, if you’re worried about any deficiencies, remember that you have three party members and can control any individual character, so you can cover most any area of expertise at any time if your party is set up accordingly.
Blow it up like Alderaan.
Your first playthrough is going to be one giant mass of confusion. Taris, the first planet, is big and confusing and you will get lost often. Plus, you won’t quite know what everything in and out of combat is until you experience it in the game.
By the time you’re ready to leave Taris, you’ve gotten to experience the gist of the game’s elements, so this is time to make a decision: do you want to keep going with your selected main character? Don’t be afraid to start anew at this point. It will take significantly less time to get back to where you started, and odds are, you’ll be far more satisfied with the results. And if not, hey, there’s multiple save slots for a reason. Use them!
Exploit the game like the Death Star’s exhaust port!
Need a quick heal? If you can warp out the area on the map screen, you can get healed instantly and for free. And unlike on the Xbox, loading is so brief that you’ll save yourself thousands of credits on medpacks.
If you have a tough Persuasion roll, know that some characters can be re-rolled by going through the conversation again. This doesn’t always work, but consider it. Just quicksave before making any important decisions.
The structure of the game isn’t perfect – you’ll discover the gaps and how to take advantage of them as time goes on.
Of course, part of the fun of KotOR is the ability to dig in and find a lot of this stuff out yourself. Don’t just follow the guides. Experiment! The quicksave and multiple save slots are there for a reason. Explore! There’s a lot to find, and when you discover it yourself, it’s the most satisfying.
We got a chance earlier this week to take a deep look at Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It’s a very long and involved RPG style game set in the Star Wars universe many years before Episode 1. KotOR has hours and hours of gameplay, and here’s just a bit of those many hours to whet your appetite for the real thing.
You know you’ve made it big today when you’re showing up in memes. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (aka KotOR) while not a modern game by any means, is still one of (if not the) most popular Star Wars games of all time.
It’s not surprising, then, that the internet has taken its own inability to refrain from putting big blocky letters on top of images and mashed that up with images and references to this most geeky of geek games. Here are several of the best from around the ‘net. Click on each image to go to the original source.
Let’s start with a meme from a popular series of beer commercials, the world’s most interesting man.
Yeah, it’s a bit obscure for us, too.
And, keeping within the classic meme concept, here’s a good one, referencing KotOR, the new Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic, and, well, Xzibit.
Seriously, dawg, we did.
Of course, no meme bank would be complete without actual images from the game itself. Here’s one of the main characters, Bastila Shan, who apparently has a bit of a judgmental attitude.
Voiced by Jennifer Hale, no less.
Then there’s the angry droid companion, assassin HK-47, who refers to all non-droids as, well, you get it.
I can haz Jedi-burger?
Darth Malak has Bastila up against the torture table, and leans in close, menacing. Suddenly…
A new fragrance from the maker of “JediPassion,” Darth Malak.
Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic, popularly known as KotOR, was the first computer role playing game (RPG) set in the Star Wars universe. It was originally released on the Microsoft Xbox in July of 2003 in North America, eventually coming to Windows computers in November of that same year and Mac OS X in 2004.
Bioware, headed up by Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka at the time, revealed the upcoming title at the Entertainment and Electronics Expo (E3) in 2001 to some great fanfare. Working under license from LucasArts, Bioware chose to set the game 4,000 years before Star Wars: Episode I in the official Star Wars timeline, thus avoiding any movie tie-in pressure and allowing the developers some freedom to create new content in a familiar universe. While the team of over 40 had to send concept artwork to LucasArts, there was only minimal direction from “the ranch.”
While previous BioWare games ran long (Baldur’s Gate was 100 hours of gameplay, though it could take over 300 hours for the non-expert to complete it fully), the KotOR team wanted to keep gameplay short enough to justify all the extra world and environment building. “Our goal for gameplay time is 60 hours,” said Mike Gallo of LucasArts in an interview with GameSpot in 2002. “We have so many areas that we’re building–worlds, spaceships, things like that to explore–so we have a ton of gameplay.”
BioWare had experience developing for PC, so the development team settled on Xbox as the obvious initial target for development. One of the challenges, though, was deciding how much detail to give the visuals versus the AI, scripting, and character models. With an console, the storage space is limited to how much can fit on a game disk, and the graphical performance is determined by the console maker, not the hot-rodding PC modder. In fact, the PC version of the game has higher resolution for both display and textures, an extra location to visit, and more non-player characters (NPCs), items, and weapons.
LucasArts worked on the KotOR audio, using its vast resources and movie-library of sound effects to make the game sound like a true Star Wars experience. The game also contained 300 unique characters with 15,000 lines of dialogue, leading to a script that filled ten 5-inch binders. Around 100 voice actors filled all the roles, including some big names like Ed Asner and Jennifer Hale. The music for KotOR was an original score by composer Jeremy Soule, who used similar themes as the motion picture soundtrack while creating something new, all on an 8 megabit per second MIDI system.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic launched to strong critical and player acclaim, winning several awards, including game of the year from Game Developers’ Choice, best Xbox game of the year from BAFTA, and an Interactive Achievement Award for best console and computer RPG. The game also received many Game of the Year awards from places like IGN, Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer, and G4, and has an average Metacritic score of 93/100. KotOR has been named one of the 100 greatest video games of all time by Time, and it came in at 54 on Game Informer’s 2010 Top 200 Games of All Time list.
Rubicon have kept their ears open and made a number of changes to Combat Monsters based on the feedback received from fans. The new update provides users with a revamped user interface, a new skeleton monster, asynchronous multiplayer, and new matchmaking that keeps the multiplayer battles fair with no need to pay to win.