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GDC 2015 - Sick Bricks is What Would Happen if Skylanders and LEGO had a Baby

Posted by Rob Rich on March 9th, 2015

Games like Skylanders have some pretty intense appeal for kids, and they cater to the toy market quite nicely as well. The LEGO games also have a pretty good handle on that section of the market. Sick Bricks from Spin Master takes the madcap weirdness and love of building blocks from LEGO, and fuses it with the real world-meets-toy world concept behind Skylanders to an impressive degree.

The game itself uses simple but seemingly intuitive and responsive touch controls to let you wander around the world of Sick Bricks. Of course by "wander" I really mean "fight badguys and explore various locations for goodies."

What's cool is that you can find (i.e. purchase separately) all sorts of toys, then scan them into the game using your device's built-in camera. Admittedly this method can run into problems when the lighting is a bit dim, but I was seriously impressed with just how well it worked even in semi-dusky conditions. It also works extremely fast. You just line the character up to the wireframe and a couple seconds later you've got them in the game. Character parts like heads, bodies, and hats are interchangeable, so you can mix and match all your real world toys for some truly bizarre (and powerful) creations.

You can also build and scan vehicles, but I didn't get to see this particular feature in action so I can't be sure if it's as simple and quick as character scanning. It's certainly a neat idea, though.

If any of this sounds like your kind of thing, you won't have long to wait for it. Sick Bricks will be coming to the App Store this Thursday (3/12) as a free download.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Announces an Awesome Mobile Games Line-Up!

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 4th, 2015

Warner Bros. has some exciting games coming down the pipe!

Command ranks of supervillains in Batman: Arkham Underworld, by Turbine. You will be a kingpin, building your hideout, recruiting villains such as the Riddler, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc, and ruling with an iron fist over Gotham. You can test your skills against other villains, private security forces, the G.C.P.D, and perhaps even the Batman, himself, if you get big enough. You can sign up for the beta of Batman: Arkham Underworld at http://www.arkhamunderworld.com/sign-up-for-beta/.

Miss playing as Batman? How about in LEGO form? LEGO Batman: Beyond Gotham, by TT Games, has Bats joining up with other super heroes of the DC Comics universe to save the earth from Brainiac's evil plans. The game, originally released for PC and consoles, is making its way to mobile this year.

Lastly, Mortal Kombat X, by NetherRealm Studios, promises to be a collectible card game with all the action of a classic Mortal Kombat game. It will feature cinematic gameplay, brutal fatalities, and a few all-new fighters exclusive to Mortal Kombat X. The app will also connect to the console or PC version of the game and give players the ability to unlock content cross-platform.

“In just four years, we have launched 25 games with more than 150 million installs worldwide across diverse fighting, strategy, puzzle and action adventure genres, and we will focus our business on a strong games-as-a-service model in 2015,” said Greg Ballard, Senior Vice President, Mobile, Social and Emerging Platforms, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “Our line-up of strong titles will deliver deep player engagement, as well as innovation like console game connectivity with games including Mortal Kombat X and Batman: Arkham Underworld.”

The LEGO Movie Video Game Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Tre Lawrence on January 27th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME
LEGO-EY goodness and a story to die for.
Read The Full Review »

The LEGO Movie Video Game is Available Now for iOS

Posted by Ellis Spice on January 23rd, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME :: Read Review »

Warner Bros and TT Games have announced the launch of The LEGO Movie Video Game on iOS. Starring LEGO every-man Emmet on an epic quest after being mistakenly identified as the key to saving the world,  The LEGO Movie Video Game features over 90 characters from the film to play as, including Batman, Superman, and Gandalf, as well as 45 levels to build and smash your way through. This mobile version also includes controller support and two touch screen control schemes to choose from: 'Classic' and 'Touch Screen'.

The LEGO Movie Video Game is available to download from the App Store now for 499 Gold studs $4.99.

LEGO Minifigure Toys Are Now Fully Intergrated with LEGO Minifigures Online

Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 6th, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

LEGO Minifigures Online now works with the LEGO Minifigures Series 12 collectible toys.

You can unlock each figure with the unique code inside each bag. The game includes tons of minifigures to play with in a variety of worlds including Dino World, Pirate World, Medieval World, and Mythology World. As you level up your minifigures you can unlock achievements and fight big boss battles.

You can check out LEGO Minifigures Online for free on the official website, and it will be coming to iOS sometime in the (hopefully near) future.

LEGO Star Wars The New Yoda Chronicles Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on September 9th, 2014
Our rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar :: DULL
It's inoffensive enough, but that's the problem for LEGO Star Wars The New Yoda Chronicles. It's actually quite a dull variety of inoffensive.
Read The Full Review »

This Week at 148Apps: June 23-27, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 28th, 2014

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.

Star Wars Scene Maker

Ever since the launch of the new Star Wars trilogy back in the summer of 1999, people have been second-guessing George Lucas’ decisions as a filmmaker. With that in mind, it seems like it was only a matter of time before he threw up his arms and said, “Oh, you think you can do better?” Though that scenario may be fictionalized, the resulting application is very real: Star Wars Scene Maker. Is the application powerful enough to let fans bring balance to the Force, or will the lack of free content leave the sandbox more barren than Tatooine on a summer day? Lights. Camera. Action. It is hard to deny the allure of a big Hollywood production. In Star Wars Scene Maker, the user gets to sit in the director’s chair and design their own scene set, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” Everything from the camera angles and positioning to the actions being scripted and performed bends to the will of the director. Even the dialog can be spoken and inserted directly into the application. Simply put, the storytelling potential of this tool is virtually limitless. As long as you are willing to pay the price, of course. --Blake Grundman


Mecha Ace

Mecha Ace is an interactive reading experience centered around the interstellar civil war between the ruthless Empire of Earth and its independent space colonies. At the beginning of the book, readers will be asked whether the gender of non-playable characters will be randomized or not. What seems like a futile question actually just serves to show the sheer scope and flexibility of Mecha Ace, as this seemingly minor adjustment can easily effect how readers will react to key relationships within the game. Readers will soon come to choose minor details such as tactical strategy and custom upgrades, all the way up to character-defining moments such as justifying murder or deciding their initial motivation for joining the fight for Earth. These and other decisions really allows for a deeper connection to the story and its characters. --Lee Hamlet


LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril

The LEGO series of games have had their fair share of ups and downs, providing fans with inconsistent experiences from game-to-game. While some have succeeded in recreating the success of their console brethren, others have fallen far short of this benchmark. Can the most recent Marvel themed outing brought over from the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita make the successful transition to iOS, or will our favorite heroes be left looking decidedly less super? From the moment that the game begins it’s obvious that LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a far cry from some of the other highly-polished LEGO games on the App Store. For starters, the fixed three quarters top-down camera proves to be a sticking point that negatively affects both the presentation and controls. Core elements of the environment like ledges are very difficult to determine from the perspective that the game implements. But who doesn’t like a little unnecessary backtracking, right? --Blake Grundman


Transformers: Age of Extinction - The Official Game

No matter how you feel about Michael Bay’s take on the franchise, its hard for anyone with an even remotely geeky bent to not have at least a little soft spot for the Transformers. So whenever a new Transformers-related game rolls in, there’s always that small spark of hope that it’ll turn out more like High Moon Studios’ excellent 2010 console release Transformers: War for Cybertron and less like, well, pretty much every other Transformers game in the history of ever. [Editor's Note: Oh you did NOT just forsake Fall of Cybertron and the one for the PlayStation 2 based on Armada!] That’s not to say that I’m expecting a full console-style experience from a free-to-play iOS release, mind you. That would be a grossly unfair burden to shoulder Transformers: Age of Extinction with. I’m speaking more to just the general level of quality, fun, and fan service that one would hope for. And while I’m not saying that it totally falls short in all these categories, it doesn’t really quite reach them either. --Rob Thomas


Science Museum Splash!

Science Museum Splash! is a new interactive app for iPad and iPhone that young children will find quite engaging as they explore this water-themed activity by filling a bathtub full of water and having lots of fun dropping different items into the tub to explore whether they will float or sink. A few novelty animals are included, as well as the ability to change the color of the water and also to customize the background colors seen within this app. I appreciate this application because, universally, children really enjoy playing with water. Yet parents can sometimes do without the wet mess that comes along with this type of exploration. This app also gives children the vantage point of being able to see the toy or other object’s effect within the water – be it popping back to the surface or falling to the bottom, which children can’t visualize as well when they are in the bathtub themselves. Although this app is no substitute for playing within a water table or playing during bath time, it allows children to explore the physics of water in the comfort of their own bed or when out and about if they choose. --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

Winning Kick

Winning Kick feels good to play not only because it’s a bit of fun, but also because 50% of all proceeds from the game go to the Charity Ball, a organization that provides soccer balls to kids in developing countries. This is a great idea. Luckily, the game is enjoyable as well. Winning Kick is simple yet effective. It is less a soccer game and more a game of timing. The game starts with one of the players with the ball. An arrow moves quickly back and forth. The idea is to tap to pass the ball when it is aimed at another player so they receive it. In this way the ball can be worked towards the goal player by player, avoiding the keeper as well. Once a goal is scored, the ball is given to a random defender and the cycle starts again with the goal to set the highest score. --Allan Curtis


Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake

Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is a Kickstarted puzzle collaboration between SleepNinja Games and Cartoon Network The game is self-described as being like Legend of Zelda, and that specific description is apt. The 2D stylings are whimsically implemented, with cutscenes and dialog boxes used to move the gameplay along. The intro action kind of plods along, but as soon as one gets through that, the backstory catapults us into the digital quest. Our protagonist is a young boy named Niko, who, upon wanting to experience the renown glory of cake for breakfast on his birthday, finds that his cake has been stolen by the Boogin King and his cohorts in a fit of “cakelust.” Accompanied by his trusty canine companion, Niko looks to save all treats by looking to best the Boogin King. In practice, this is done by solving puzzles presented in the leveled series. It starts off simple enough to highlight the controls: tapping and dragging to guide the movement of our hero. --Tre Lawrence


Flick Soccer Brazil

I blinked and I missed it. England’s run in this year’s World Cup has been close to shambolic and to be honest I missed a lot of it. Mainly because I was playing Flick Soccer Brazil. The setup’s simple. A ball, a goal and a keeper. The aim is to swipe at the football and then as the ball’s mid-flight you swipe at the screen again to apply some extra dip, lift or swerve. This sounds easy but there’s a real skill to swiping at the ball just quick enough to get enough height on the shot so it reaches the top corner. Even a fraction too much velocity to your swipe and the ball will end up in row Z. --Matt Parker


Swipe Tap Smash

Swipe Tap Smash takes after the NES’ Super Smash Volleyball, which is one of those games that perhaps has been played by millions through random cartridges floating around. It was a pretty neat game, one that feels underrepresented by modern developers recreating retro games. But now, someone has, as an endless arcade game. The title perfectly describes how it is played. One of the volleyballers sets the ball, the other sets it up high for a smash, which the player then swipes toward the ball, tapping to smash it on time. Each successful ball hit to the other side is worth a point in the game’s endless mode. A trick mode is available where various criteria, including hitting the ball quickly, and knocking over both opponents with a powerful smash, can award the player more points for their individual shots. --Carter Dotson

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Blake Grundman on June 25th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: FAR FROM SUPER
Never have super heroes felt less empowered.
Read The Full Review »

Grab Your Spandex! LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril is Here

Posted by Jessica Fisher on June 20th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: FAR FROM SUPER :: Read Review »

Oh no! Loki and his evil buddies are constructing a super-weapon. Who can stop them? The LEGO® Marvel™ Super Heroes! After their success with consoles and PC last year, Marvel and Lego have teamed up to bring LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril to mobile devices. Play as Spider-Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and 88 other characters. Seek out the Cosmic Bricks in the 45 missions that span the Marvel Universe.

The game has two control settings: “Console” and “Touch Screen,” which will make it easier for players to play the way they prefer. As the app requires no internet access players can feel free to play where and when they like. Just watch out when downloading the game. It takes up 2.2gb of space when downloaded with wifi.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril is available on the App Store for $4.99.

Lots of LEGO Games are on Sale for $0.99 Right Now

Posted by Rob Rich on May 20th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: A MERRY QUEST :: Read Review »

LEGO games are quite popular, generally quite good, and certainly here to stay. And several of them are currently on sale for $0.99 on the App Store.

At the moment the titles affected by this seemingly random price drop are LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, LEGO Batman: DC Superheroes, and LEGO The Lord of the Rings. So if you're in the mood for some wizard schooling, villain chasing, or cursed ring destroying you're in luck!

You can nab each of the four games mentioned right now for $0.99 apiece.

Funcom Shows Off Lego Minifigures Online's Pirate World at GDC 2014

Posted by Stephen Hall on March 28th, 2014

Funcom's upcoming Lego Minifigures Online that we told you about at the beginning of this month was demoed extensively at GDC 2014, focusing in particular on the previously yet-to-be-seen Pirate World.

The game is going to feature a large number of playable characters, this time being the standard Lego Minifigures rather than the licensed famous characters seen is many of Lego's other games. The ability to unlock different characters and use them to play through the countless adventure maps and battle bosses is definitely the main allure to this game; each character has its own set of special abilities for you to play with.

The game is planned to be available as a public beta sometime this summer and is going to see a release this "fall." As for pricing, Lego Minifigures Online is going to be free-to-play, but there will almost certainly be in-app purchases to more quickly unlock those bags of characters. While you wait, be sure to check out the previously-unreleased screenshots of the game's Pirate World below.

LEGO Minifigures Online Gives the Blind Bag Collectibles Their Own Virtual Worlds to Play in

Posted by Rob Rich on March 5th, 2014

Funcom has recently announced LEGO Minifigures Online: an online (naturally) adventure featuring the quite popular LEGO collectibles.

LEGO Minifigures Online looks to be a combination of the LEGO adventure-style games you're no doubt already familiar with, along with the ability to collect and even improve a bunch of different characters. Finding stars earns you more bags, more bags means more figures, and more figures means more abilities. Plus it seems like a pretty solid reason to keep playing.

You'll be able to get your hands on LEGO Minifigures Online later this summer. Although if you're going to be in San Francisco on Tuesday, March 18 - Thursday, March 20 (i.e. during GDC), you can also try to swing by The Westin San Francisco Hotel for a live demo, or possibly some hands-on time.

Warner Bros. Releases MMO Game LEGO Legends of CHIMA Online

Posted by Tre Lawrence on March 3rd, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Warner Bros has just released LEGO Legends of CHIMA Online, which, as the name hints at, is an online multiplayer adventure with solo play options.

The game is based on the LEGO CHIMA universe, where animals take on human characteristics and the eight animal tribes fight to control CHI. Folks familiar with the toys and/or cartoon will find many familiar elements. It allows the player to select from one of four tribes, and to customize a warrior to battle the other four tribes; it also allows one to create weapons and outposts, and to perform trades and alliances with other online players. There is also the ability to pick up a paused or interrupted game from other online portals.

LEGO Legends of CHIMA Online is available for free on the App Store.

This Week at 148Apps: February 3-7, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 8th, 2014

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.


Threes

Threes, from Puzzlejuice creator Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend, artist of Ridiculous Fishing and Hundreds, is the first great mobile game of 2014. The goal of Threes is to match together tiles on a four-by-four board by sliding them around. 1 and 2 tiles can be matched together to make 3 tiles, a pair of 3 tiles can be matched together to make 6s, 6s make 12s, 12s make 24s, and so on. Each tile starting with the 3s has a point value that is three times as much as the previous tile, so the game rewards making larger numbers. --Carter Dotson


Toast Time

In Toast Time, players are in control of TERRY (Toast-Ejecting Recoil and Reload sYstem): an English toaster with an arsenal of bread-built projectiles. And, if they choose, a monocle and dapper hat. The bad guys are alien-like blobs determined to steal time by descending on TERRY’s clock in droves. Players tap where they want to shoot, and the bread bullets start flying. An added little twist has TERRY caroming off the ground and bouncing around the screen with each shot. Timing the shots with TERRY’s maneuvers can be the key to passing a level. Especially on levels like “Rabid Fan Base” or “Fannying Around.” Just saying. --Stacy Barnes


LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters

Presumably aimed at the younger market, LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters initially seems quite fun. It’s a shoot-em-up set across 18 different stages, each taken from important battles within Star Wars history, and looks like it would be ideal for twitchy gamers. Turning repetitive all too soon though, and proving really quite dull, it’s not so great after all. Immediately easy to learn, LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters lends itself well to touch screen play. With the player in control of the direction of the aircraft and its weaponry, with it propelling forward automatically, it’s a one or two-finger kind of game. Holding one finger to the screen not only aids in moving the ship around but also in firing at the enemies. Hold two fingers down and a special attack is unleashed, wiping out a large number of them at once. --Jennifer Allen


Orderly

Looking simple yet offering all the features that one could need, Orderly is a very handy To-Do list app. It fits into the stylings of iOS 7, retaining a clean interface throughout. Even better, it should help organize one’s life a little easier. The app starts out offering a fairly extensive tutorial. At first it might seem a little intimidating, which is fairly far from the truth. Orderly is intuitive enough; with regular iOS users sure to be able to understand what goes where. Using a choice of buttons or gestures, it’s simple to set up a variety of different reminders and notes. Rather than restricting users to one line of content, it’s possible to create lists within lists, proving particularly handy for a combination of similarly themed tasks. --Jennifer Allen


Marvel Run Jump Smash!

As a huge fan of superhero games and the world of Marvel, I jumped at the chance to try out Marvel Run Jump Smash!. Disappointment came all too quickly. It’s an Endless Runner in the vein of Jetpack Joyride and one that doesn’t really give players a sense of progression by any means. Players are initially given the choice of controlling either Nick Fury or Maria Hill, with more characters available to play as things tick along within the game. Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man, and The Hulk are there for the grabbing, assuming one catches their shield shaped icon to switch out to them. --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

Arcade Ball

Arcade Ball takes the humble game of Skee Ball to the digital age. Arcade Ball is a pretty standard game of Skee Ball. Players bowl balls down a lane aiming at targets with different point values. Landing the ball in a cup awards that amount of points and the more points that are scored the more tickets are earned after the game. These tickets can be exchanged for prizes. Tokens can also be earned that power a few special moves like bowling three balls at once. --Allan Curtis


Circle Stop

It’s pretty difficult to come up with a game concept simpler than Circle Stop. There is a dot, “rolling” around in a circle in the middle of the screen. Other small dots of various colors are spawned on this circle, and the player needs to touch the screen just when the main dot’s trajectory overlaps with other dots, to get some points. Then the colored dots are removed, and the others are spawned, while the “player” dot keeps rolling and rolling, until the player three mistakes, tapping while the dot is not over anything. Then the game ends and the player gets a score and there’s nothing else. --Tony Kuzmin


Grandpa and the Zombies

Zombies mess with everybody. Why not the elderly? In Grandpa and the Zombies, we get to see what happens when a cranky, indefatigable wheelchair-bound gentleman named Willy decides not to be pushed around – or consumed – by the actively undead. Thankfully, the developer dispenses with convoluted backstory in setting up this saga. Via cutscenes, we get the most basic of zombie apocalypse stories: gramps wakes up in the hospital, with no memory but a sturdy cast. With zombies closing in, he commandeers a wheelchair and rolls rapidly to safety. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer looked into dodgy Dungeon Keeper ratings, found 11 games better than Flappy Bird (it wasn't hard), reviewed Threes and Final Fantasy VI, picked the best iOS and Android games of January, and told EA to keep its greasy mitts off Theme Hospital. All that, and loads more, here.

LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on February 5th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: SAMEY SHOOTING
It's a nice idea, but LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters turns too repetitive too quickly.
Read The Full Review »