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This Week at 148Apps: April 27-May 1, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 5th, 2015

May Merriment at 148Apps

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.


Don’t you hate it when you’re off doing your own thing, minding your own business, then you get a message out of the blue from someone claiming to have known your father and that he used to run a spy agency? And don’t you hate it when you suddenly have to take over this randomly inherited spy agency? Stupid random obligations.That’s the general idea behind Spy_Watch. An agency your father used to run has been torn apart from the inside, and the only person left is a lone analyst with aspirations of becoming a field agent. You’ll have to train them in the arts of stealth, combat, and charm, while also sending them on missions to earn more money for more training. All in the name of completing missions that help you figure out who destroyed the agency and why.--Rob Rich


Have you ever wondered how much information is transmitted when you go to a new website? Wanted to know exactly what’s being tracked and where the unsecured connections are? If you can answer yes to any of that, then Disconnect might just be your kind of thing. It goes even further if you’re willing to pay a subscription fee, too. The free version of Disconnect offers you a way in which to search for various things or go on specific websites, without being tracked. Starting out, you can simply type in a search and find a website that way, or you can opt to go directly to the site. In both cases, everything is done anonymously with your searches hidden away. Once you go onto a site, you can tap on a seeing eye icon and more details are offered. --Jennifer Allen

My Little Pony-Cutie Mark Chronicles

Young children are fairly certain to enjoy the colorful and vibrant nature of My Little Pony - Cutie Mark Chronicles. A mixture of storytelling and simple mini-games, the latter might prove to be slightly tricky in places, but it’s all fairly heartwarming stuff.It tells the story of how six ponies, including Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Applejack, came to discover their own unique talents and benefited from a Cutie Mark highlighting what they can do. To you and me, that’s a cute icon on their back such as apples or balloons. Each tale is fairly good at dispensing morals while also reminding kids that everyone has their own talent somewhere. You listen and read through the words with a quick drag taking you to the next page.--Jennifer Allen

Jurassic World: The Game

You’d be forgiven for mistaking Jurassic World: The Game for Jurassic Park Builder at first glance. Both games involve building or re-building a dinosaur theme park, and both are laden with extinct animals. Aside from general similarities though, this isn’t just a re-skinning meant to capitalize on an upcoming film release. I mean of course it’s supposed to capitalize on the film, but… I’ll just stop myself here. Much has been streamlined this time around. You still have to hatch dinosaurs and clear away the overgrown portions of Isla Nublar, but you won’t also have to spend time and resources removing rocks and other debris after you’ve already cleared an area. You also don’t have to worry about juggling two separate types of food for your critters - this time there’s just one food source that covers both herbivores and carnivores (this is a lot more awesome than it sounds). --Rob Rich

Forgotten Memories

Forgotten Memories is a good survival horror game on the wrong format. It’s creepier and more atmospheric than Lost Within, as well as a lot tougher, but it suffers due to its uncomfortable combat and an old-fashioned save system that struggles on mobile. There’s the almost formulaic setting of a woman waking up in a strange place and attempting to piece together what’s going on. While it could feel cliched, you’re too busy being unnerved by mannequins and encountering strange people to think too much about it. Often, Forgotten Memories feels more like an adventure game than regular survival horror, with plenty of exploration and doors to unlock. There are puzzles too, keeping you involved in all its goings on. Lighting is frequently restricted with a flashlight/torch that offers limited battery life and requires you to wait to recharge at certain points. It adds to the atmosphere well, proving quite unsettling at times. In particular, who wants to sneak around amongst a bunch of mannequins? You’ll be consistently nervous and rightly so. --Jennifer Allen

Cube Koala

Cube Koala is one of those puzzle games that's almost too easy to understand, but somehow takes its simple concepts and creates nightmarishly difficult levels around them. Games that have similar design philosophies include Super Meat Boyand Escape from the Pyramid. Make no mistake though,Cube Koalais not just an also-ran in this category of super-difficult games. It's remarkable because of how pure and intense its brand of difficulty and level design is.So, how simple is it to play Cube Koala? Players control the cube-shaped Koala through the use of only two buttons. One of these buttons rotates the game environment 45 degrees clockwise, while the other button does the reverse. As a koala trapped in a tesseract full of traps that include spikes, fireballs, and other deadly traps, players must use the force of gravity to flip the koala and reach the exit door. --Campbell Bird

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:


Kingston USB 3.0 High-Speed Media Reader

It’s a tough life. I’ve whined about the first world problem of having to keep up with too many devices. Review units, old retro devices, rooting toys… they add up. When it comes to review units, I’m loathe to use my personal cloud networks with them, so I tend to do data transfer locally via flash storage. It’s easy to, say, take a picture via an SD card and move the SD card to a new device. Yes, there are more efficient ways to do this, but stubborn people think differently.--Tre Lawrence

Newer Technology Power2U AC 20A Outlet

I have a problem.Come to my house, and you can see the manifestation. It isn’t always my fault. Blame the device makers for sending devices to review. Or my need to tinker with retro devices (trying to get my T5 to tether to an M8 is a worthy endeavor); Probably has at least a little bit to do with the fact that full-powered devices give me a high. In any case, when it’s all said and done, one issue inevitably arises.So many devices, so little time. --Tre Lawrence

Crayola Trace & Draw

In a world gone electronically amok, it is refreshing to see accessories aimed at kids… the type of gear that harnesses the power of mobile electronics in relatively atypical ways. Back in the day, we could have jamborees with some charcoal and paper.It feels like the Crayola Trace & Draw is a system that hearkens back to those days, while being firmly planted in the present.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus our hands-on experience with The Knights of Pen & Paper 2nd Edition.

My Little Pony - Cutie Mark Chronicles Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on April 30th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CUTE STORIES
A fun series of stories bundled alongside design your own Pony tools.
Read The Full Review »

My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic Takes Players to the Dance Floor in a New Mini-Game

Posted by Andrew Stevens on October 18th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PONY UP :: Read Review »

My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic gets the new Equestria Girls update, bringing a new dance mini-game to the app. So get ready to break out your dance moves while playing with Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Apple Jack, or Fluttersky; each of which have 4 new outfits with different in-game bonuses. Now go get your groove on to three new songs!

Why Cheat in Games Like Letterpress With Apps Like Lettercheat?

Posted by Carter Dotson on November 29th, 2012

The modern era of asynchronous multiplayer has led to not only people playing more word games, but more people flagrantly cheating at them. After all, it’s a lot easier to cheat at something when the opponent can be physically far away, or someone completely unknown. There’s no immediate repercussions. So while Scrabble clones like Words With Friends have allowed for a cottage industry of cheating apps to rise up, to turn the tide in the favor of those who wish to win by any means necessary.

The cheats are quickly evolving beyond just looking up Scrabble words online, though: they’re starting to exploit this sufficiently advanced technology that we carry around in our pockets. One Words With Friends hack for jailbroken devices actually hijacked the game to make any word playable. And one App Store app for iOS original word game Letterpress makes cheating almost too easy.

Lettercheat doesn’t do anything as malicious as hijacking a game’s rules, but it does use an impressive technological trick for unscrupulous purposes: it recognizes the game board based on a screenshot, and analyzes the letters on the board to find the best words to be played. It can even find, when available, moves that will end the game instantaneously. But the developers, who ask only for $0.99 after getting to try 2 games of cheating (piggybacking off of Letterpress’ business model), also promise something else: the ability to “Smurf” a game board by turning it all blue in the game’s default theme. Even the avatar carries this theme.

But why? Why intentionally release an app that is designed to break a competitive multiplayer game like this?

Loren Brichter, creator of Letterpress, doesn’t know. “I don’t get it. But it’s an inherent human problem, you can solve it technically or legally — capitalism promises that where there’s a want there’s a product. Maybe it’s a by-product of the competitive primordial brain overwhelming the reason why you’re competing in the first place (to have fun).”

The Lettercheat creators did not respond to a direct email as of press time, but did share their reasoning on their website and in a blog post. They say that “Lettercheat is meant to be a companion app to the Letterpress game. We’re hoping that the app can help you develop strategy skills and better understand how to win. Plus it’s a lot of fun to see an entirely blue board.”

While there will be some that use this as a fun tool, there will be those who use it to try and win, and such a tool seems difficult to conquer. And because this is a multiplayer game, there doesn’t seem to be the kind of “victimless crime” aspect and moral imperative that some players of the recent My Little Pony game have claimed as why they use a hack that reduces or eliminates the cost for expensive items in the game. However, that game is primarily a singleplayer experience, and Letterpress is meant for fun with other players, though there’s no global leaderboard for those mastering the game. If this cheat allows people to have fun with the game, and if it’s used responsibly, what harm is there?

There isn’t really a good solution for these kinds of cheats, at least from a technical perspective, either for creators or players. But there is a human one, as Loren Brichter suggests: “play with friends you trust not to cheat.”

My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Angela LaFollette on November 13th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PONY UP
Unleash your inner Brony or Pegasister in this free city-builder game, but expect to eventually hit a pay wall.
Read The Full Review »

My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic Out Now

Posted by Jeff Scott on November 8th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PONY UP :: Read Review »

It's finally here. Some people will make fun of this game, but there is a large number of people who have been anxiously awaiting it and will absolutely love it. Gameloft has released a game set in the My Little Pony universe called My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic. In our preview of the game, we have a great video that will show you what you can expect in this city builder with mini games.

Try as I might, I can't find another way to include Brony or Pegasister in this post. So I'll just leave that there. (see what I did there?)

Gameloft Announces Six New Games at Casual Connect

Posted by Carter Dotson on July 26th, 2012

At Casual Connect 2012 in Seattle this week, Gameloft has announced six new titles that will try to cut a wide swath across the casual gaming spectrum.

The potentially biggest game on the list is the My Little Pony game – the series has a wide cross-generation appeal, being a show written for little girls, yet having found an adult male fanbase known as “bronies.” Creating a game that would have the same appeal seems like a tall order. The game will let players build their own Ponyville and play minigames, all featuring characters from the series.

Other games include UNO and Friends, a new version of the card game with online multiplayer that will let players take their games across phones, tablets, and Facebook. Monster Habitat will let players take care of papercraft monsters and the village they live in. Cosmic Colony will have players managing a colony on a mysterious planet. Kingdoms & Lords will be a simulation and strategy game where barbarians must be fended off, with multiplayer battles. Texas Poker for Prizes is exactly what it says on the tin. These games will begin rolling out before the end of summer.