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This Week at 148Apps: June 30-July 4, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on July 6th, 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.


Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

Trying to explain Monster Hunter Freedom Unite to someone unfamiliar with the series is always a challenge. There’s an almost unrivaled amount of satisfaction to be had the first time you best a Rathalos or when you complete an armor set . You might’ve spent hours hunting dozens of Diablos, to the point that you can do it in your sleep, but now you’ve got what you need and can finish your set and oh it looks so amazing you can’t wait to show it off to your friends! I suppose that’s actually the best way to explain Monster Hunter: you earn it. You earn everything. And it’s difficult not to be extremely proud of that. --Rob Rich


World of Tanks Blitz

It was dark all around and there was frost in the ground when the Tigers broke free. And a good time was had by all. World of Tanks Blitz is a mobile take on World of Tanks, the PC-based online tank combat game from Wargaming.net. World of Tanks has been consistently popular since its North American and European release in 2011, so it’s surprising the game has taken this much time to get an official mobile release. Many imitators have sprung to life in the meantime – some of which are quite good – but unsurprisingly, the real deal is one of the best tank games available for mobile. --Nadia Oxford


Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake

I wouldn’t be pleased if monsters actually ate my birthday cake. How dare they snarf up the sugary confection I was poised to chow down on myself?! It’s a sentiment no doubt shared with the developers at Sleeping Ninja, who have crafted a satisfying twist on The Legend of Zelda-like puzzle-solving. Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is a sweet treat for mobile gamers that serves up an excellent mix of puzzles, bright and colorful characters, and engaging content that rivals triple-A blockbusters in terms of unadulterated fun. When you get started you’ll find yourself swapping out characters in order to complete level-specific puzzles. Each level has characters with differently-assigned abilities, and each monster has its own loadout. In order to conquer the various obstacles scattered throughout each area, you’ll have to become acquainted with the monsters’ abilities while avoiding or eliminating enemies completely. --Brittany Vincent


X BEATS

Music theory is one of the trickier parts of learning to play a musical instrument. Learning how to read the musical notes and understand how they each sound different isn’t always that fun to figure out, either. This is where X BEATS hopes to buck that trend. It’s a puzzle game that relies upon musical notes to solve the challenges. Each level consists of a mostly empty grid. Players then have to fill up the grid based on the note values to reach a certain amount at the end. Predictably, early stages are pretty simple and easy enough to bluff through, although that’s not the point. They simply require matching up 4 beats and there are limited options to ensure you can’t go wrong. --Jennifer Allen


Lars and Friends

I would like to introduce readers to the new app, Lars and Friends: a charming storybook for young children that contains very special illustrations, making it really stand out among a sea of other apps within iTunes. Lars and Friends is the simple and sweet tale of a horse named Lars and his adventures with many different types of creatures, allowing children to become familiar with the unique names used to describe a group of specific animals such as a colony of ants, knot of frogs, or tower of giraffes. I have had a lot of fun with the different activities Lars engages in with different creatures large and small, creating whimsical images about some unlikely friendships that will stay with readers as well as teaching the sometimes odd name-groupings children of all ages and their adults will enjoy learning about. --Amy Solomon


yantouch Diamond+ "Music+Light" Bluetooth Speaker

When turned off in a well-lit room, the yantouch Diamond+ looks kind of like a slightly garish ball of nothing. When turned on in a dark room – especially when displaying colors based on the tempo of the being played through it – it’s more like staring into a technicolored Eye of Sauron. You know, if Sauron were actually a pretty cool guy and not bent on conquering/destroying the world. Setting up the Diamond+ is pretty easy, and there are a couple of options you can pick from. Initially I hooked it up to my computer via the included audio cable, then later via bluetooth. I’m not sure if it’s just my imagination but it actually sounded a little tinny when connected via the cable, but it sounds just fine via bluetooth. --Rob Rich


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

Wave Wave

Life is sweeter when it’s easy. When everything moves the way it should for as long as it should, one can’t complain. There isn’t any shame in appreciating that. With video games, we like reasonable levels of difficulty, but I think that deep down, we all really want an epic battle… something seemingly impossible to conquer. Basically, we love torture by pixel. Why else would games like Wave Wave be so addictive? We’ve known about this game for a while, and finally had a chance to take it for a spin. It is a twitch/reaction games, so it makes sense to go into it with a soothed state of mind. Simplistically explained, the playing area is an insane, jazzy splash of altering colors. A lined arrow travels through this playing area, and the base idea is to use the controls to avoid the quick-appearing obstacles that appear. --Tre Lawrence


Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville

I admit to being a bit surprised back when Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville was announced – a Powerpuff Girls Metroidvania, developed by Radiangames, known for their dual-stick shooters and puzzle games? And it released on Steam? I didn’t get around to playing it until now, when it surprisingly released on mobile recently, but it makes a lot more sense that it’s a Radiangames title – and it’s a unique, if imperfect, take on the open-world adventure genre of Metroidvanias. The game starts out with Mojo Jojo, famed villain of the Powerpuff Girls, having erased all of the girls’ memories, imprisoning Bubbles and Blossom, with only a flightless Buttercup around. Flight is the first power earned back by collecting in the world, and here’s where the game shows its original qualities. Many games in the Metroidvania vein restrict progress by restraining movement, but this game relies solely on the lack of certain powers necessary to progress. I feel like it’s almost fairer, because it’s kind of nice to not have things that are just out of short jumping reach. It’s more artificial, but it feels more natural in a weird way. --Tre Lawrence


First Strike

First Strike is all about nukes. The crux of many an action movie nukes can be fun to throw around. First Strike contains all the fun of launching arrays of nuclear death without all that pesky fallout afterwards. First Strike throws diplomacy out the window. By the time of the game the world is already going to be bathed in nuclear fire. The only question is who will do most of the bathing? First Strike divides each nation up into sections and each section has a number of silos, the number of which is controlled by tech level. Each silo can have a particular kind of missile. There are cruise missiles which are used to intercept incoming nukes and ICBMs, which are used for nuking other nations. --Allan Curtis

And finally, 2014 is halfway through, so Pocket Gamer revealed its top-rated iOS, Android, Vita, and 3DS games of the year so far, and found 100 upcoming mobile games to look forward to. The guys also started documenting their adventures in bizarre art installment art MTN, took a look at Civilization Revolution 2, and produced a whopping great guide to Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake.

The Rhythm of Fighters Out Now, Challenging Players to Fight with the Music

Posted by Ellis Spice on June 26th, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: OFF-BEAT :: Read Review »

SNK has released their 'Fighting x Music' game The Rhythm of Fighters onto the App Store. Featuring tracks likely familiar to fans of SNK titles, such as The King of Fighters and Fatal Fury, the game challenges players to play to the rhythm of the music and unleash moves and combos on their opponent using a one-touch control system.

The Rhythm of Fighters is available on the App Store now for $0.99, with additional packs of tracks available for $2.99.

Sequence Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on June 17th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: NEWBIE MUSIC CREATION
Always wanted to create some music but don't know where to start? Sequence has it covered.
Read The Full Review »

Slyde Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on May 22nd, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: VARIED MUSIC DISCOVERY
Discover new music and find out more about the artists with this convenient and stylish app.
Read The Full Review »

Stereo Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on May 19th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: MINIMALIST MUSIC PLAYER
Stereo is a minimalistic music player app that focus on simplicity. Unfortunately, it has issues when it comes to listing music.
Read The Full Review »

Record Run Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on May 14th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: RHYTHMIC RUNNER
Run to the soundtrack of your own library in the latest rhythm game from the creators of Rock Band and Dance Central.
Read The Full Review »

huurd.it Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on May 13th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SOCIAL MUSIC DISCOVERY
Discover new and interesting music with this music-focused social networking app.
Read The Full Review »

Sonos Controller App Receives an Update - Gets a New Look and Better Search Features

Posted by Ellis Spice on May 13th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: :: Read Review »

The Sonos Controller app has received the update first announced back in March, bringing with it a sleek new UI and new features.

The app has been rebuilt from the ground up to include a Universal search - one of the most asked-for features for the app. Universal search allows users to search across all the music services available on the app, making it easier to find all the places where an artist’s work exists, including little known covers and remixes. Also included in this update are easier ways to explore music services and the ability to play full stereo sound from rear channel speakers in a home theatre set-up.

The Sonos Controller app is available now and is free.

Melodrive Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lee Hamlet on May 5th, 2014
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: OUT OF TUNE
Melodrive translates songs into haphazard tracks in an intense but flawed rhythmic racer.
Read The Full Review »

Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on May 2nd, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: RHYTHMIC RTS
Move your monkeys in time to the beat in this rhythm game/real-time strategy hybrid.
Read The Full Review »

Petites Choses Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Amy Solomon on April 25th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EARLY INTERACTIVE ART
Petites Choses is a simple interactive app for young children filled with memorable images and music.
Read The Full Review »

IK Multimedia Releases Guitar Processor and Recording App AmpliTube Orange for iPad

Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 8th, 2014
iPad App - Designed for iPad only

Music application and accessory heavyweight IK Multimedia has released yet another iOS music-inclined app. AmpliTude Orange is specifically geared toward iPads.

According to the app information, AmpliTube Orange was developed with careful guidance from the tone gurus at Orange to ensure the authenticity of the sound. Derived from the award-winning desktop recording studio version, AmpliTube Orange for iPad lets you choose from 6 Orange amp models and 3 stompbox models.

Amplitube Orange is available on the App Store for $14.99.

- Real-time guitar and bass mobile + recording app
- Full rig with 4 simultaneous stompboxes + amp with effects + cabinet + mic
- Inter-App Audio support (available on iOS 7 only)
- Audiobus compatible: works in any of the 3 Audiobus "slots"
- 4 stompbox models — Highway Drive, The Shaker, Echo Trip (by registering), and Noise filter
- 6 Orange amps with matching Cabinets — OR50™, Rockerverb 50™, Thunderverb 200™, Tiny Terror™, AD 30™, AD 200 Bass MK3™
- Dynamic + condenser mic models
- Ultra-realistic tones derived from the AmpliTube Orange™ Mac/PC software
- Single track recorder (with re-amping and preroll) expandable to 8-track studio with master effects through in-app purchase
- AutoFreeze allows for separate, tweakable effects per track on the multitrack recorder
- Import songs/backing tracks directly from your Music library on your device or from your computer
- Export via E-mail, SoundCloud, FTP or File Sharing
- NO VOICE feature removes the lead vocal or guitar solo from imported songs
- Change the tempo (-50% to +200%) of imported songs without affecting their pitch
- Digital audio in/out
- MIDI controllable
- Powerful preset system
- Includes tuner and metronome
- Low-latency for real time playing
- Can be incorporated into AmpliTube 3 for iPad app via in-app purchase.

Rap-Creation App AutoRap Gets a Redesign, Adds Integration with Smule Nation

Posted by Tre Lawrence on March 28th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

AutoRap, the fun app that is able transcribe words into auto-tuned rap music using beats from popular musicians from Smule, is getting a sizable update.

The update includes a full re-design of the app. One big feature added is integration with Smule Nation, the developer's own social community; this allows users to collaborate with each other. There is also a Rab Battle feature that allows AutoRap users to challenge others, and the ability to use the app to generate a Mixtape.

AutoRap is available for free (with optional paid in-app content) on the App Store.

Cover Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Angela LaFollette on March 21st, 2014
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: DISCOVERY SERVICE
Cover provides iPhone users with an appealing way to discover new, old, and upcoming releases of music, games, and movies with just a few taps on the screen.
Read The Full Review »

Piano Mania Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad only
By Jennifer Allen on March 18th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: LEARNING IS FUN
Learning to play the piano has never been quite so fun, or as simple.
Read The Full Review »