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Katamari Amore Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on September 29th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: A FLEETING LOVE
Katamari Amore is a freemium version of the Katamari series, available as a universal app.
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Rally-X Rumble Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on August 26th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: RALLYING
Rally-X Rumble is a new take on the arcade game Rally-X, with a new visual style and Game Center multiplayer modes.
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This Week at 148Apps: June 13-17

Posted by Kyle Flanigan on June 20th, 2011

This week, June 13-17, 148Apps announced that is will be one of this year's Muther of All Hackathons media sponsors. "148Apps is proud to be a media sponsor of the Muther of All Hackathons coming up next weekend in Mountain View, CA. The goal of this hackathon is quite ambitious, they hope to develop 100 mobile applications in just 24 hours!" writes 148Apps Founder Jeff Scott. And, as part of a special promotion to mark the occasion, we'll be giving away ten free passes to the Hackathon. Click here for all the details.

In other news, with Father's Day looming ever closer, Namco have slashed their prices across over twenty applications, including PAC-MAN and Isaac Newton's Gravity. "If there is one thing that everyone loves about Father’s Day it is spending a little quality time with their parents, right?" quips Blake Grundman, contributor at 148Apps. "Okay, so maybe some of us may not be as eager to spend quality time bonding with our parental units, so why not give your Dad a game or two instead?" The full list, available here, represents a temporary price cut that will be reversed after the big day - so grab your copies now!


On the application front, the Editor's Choice badge was awarded to Vice President Al Gore's interactive book, Our Choice. "This app will not only inform, but also help readers become proactive in the fight to save Earth. Eco-warriors, tech junkies, and readers alike should celebrate Our Choice, it’s interactive reading as never before seen on iOS" writes Lisa Caplan, who awarded the application five stars for its flawless user interface and iPhone integration. Our Choice is available for $4.99, and can be downloaded by following the link below.

With SEGA's announcement to move their console titles Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing to the iOS platform, Blake Grundman had a hands-on with upcoming application. "If what I played was any indication, players will want everything you can snag. Oh, and did I mention multiplayer? There will be both local and online multiplayer available at launch that will accommodate for matches between folks on both iPad and iPhone." Coming soon.

Favorite Four took a turn to board games this week, as Kevin Stout examines the most enjoyable turn-based games available to download. RISK, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne and Game Table all made it to the mix. See the full run-down here. Remember that iOS 5 will bring Game Center support to turn-based games, meaning the titles above, and others of the same concept, can be played through Apple's official social gaming network.

Finally, Episode 89 of The Portable Podcast is now available to download, featuring special guests Colin Walsh of Celsius Game Studios, Gavin Bowman of Retro Dreamer and Peter Bibey of Strapped to a Meteor Studies. Host Carter Dotson discusses iOS 5 and the future of development on the platform.

That's it for this week - be sure to check back soon for all your latest iOS news!

Namco Honors Father's Day with Sale

Posted by Blake Grundman on June 17th, 2011

If there is one thing that everyone loves about Father's Day it is spending a little quality time with their parents, right?  Okay, so maybe some of us may not be as eager to spend quality time bonding with our parental units, so why not give your Dad a game or two instead?  The good folks over at Namco are making this an even more cost effective solution by announcing a special Father's Day Sale.

Here is what you can expect to find marked down:


In case you couldn't tell, that is a massive chunk of the Namco's iOS line-up, all marked down by at least half in most cases. There are many solid titles in that list, so give it a look and see what strikes you, or your father's fancy.

Galaga 30th Anniversary Collection Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on June 10th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: INTERGALACTIC
Galaga 30th Anniversary Collection contains 4 enhanced versions of classic games in the Galaga series.
Read The Full Review »

Namco Bandai's Weekend Spring Fever

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 6th, 2011

Spring is in the air, and Namco Bandai is celebrating with a sale. From Friday, May 6 through Monday, May 9, take advantage of markdowns on some of the company's biggest iOS games. Below is a full list of games that will be on sale but please note that some or all games may only be on sale within the US iTunes store.

Brain Exercise with Dr. Kawashima (iPad) -> $0.99
Buccaneer Blitz (Universal) -> $0.99
House of Glass (iPad) -> $2.99

Isaac Newton's Gravity (iPad/iPhone) -> $0.99
Lost in Time: Clockwork Tower (iPad) -> $2.99
Mishap (iPad/iPhone) -> $0.99
More Brian Exercise with Dr. Kawashima (iPhone) -> $1.99
More Brian Exercise with Dr. Kawashima (iPad) -> $2.99
Mr. Driller (iPhone) -> $0.99
Ms. PAC-MAN (iPhone) -> $1.99
Ms. PAC-MAN (iPad) -> $1.99
PAC-MAN (iPad/iPhone) -> $1.99
Pole Position: Remix (iPhone) -> $0.99
Pool Pro Online 3 (iPhone) -> $0.99
Pool Pro Online 3 (iPad) -> $0.99
Star Trigon (iPhone) -> $0.99
Stroke of Midnight (iPad) -> $2.99
Tamagotchi: Round the World (iPhone) -> $0.99

You Can Get Cooties From An iOS Device

Posted by Blake Grundman on April 26th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

That's right folks, the scourge of the kindergarten playground is back and this time it has manifested itself on the the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad.  Mothers lock up your daughters and fathers try to warn your sons about the newest outbreak of this horrible condition that has now advanced beyond being a more than just a figment of your imagination into an actual iOS game.

In what looks to be fun for the entire family, players have to gather stars and dodge cooties, as they attempt to clear every stage.  Following the Angry Birds trend, three stars are the goal, but just remember to avoid those noxious kisses, because everyone knows that they are super gross!

Easily the best part about the game is that it is currently on sale for free until May 1st, so be sure to download it before all of your friends get infected.  Next up, I want to option the rights to a kindergarten version of Pac-Man and call it "Chill Pills."  You know where to send the royalty checks, Namco.

PAC'N-JUMP Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on April 11th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EAT A CAR!
Pac'n-Jump is an endless ascension platformer that has you controlling a Pac-Man through levels inspired by various classic Namco games.
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Bird Zapper Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Bonnie Eisenman on March 24th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: BIRD-BRAINED FUN
Bird Zapper is a fun reincarnation of the omnipresent "match-3" game, with a fluid feel, good graphics, and a highly ridiculous premise.
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Zap Birds and Free the Power Lines with Namco's Upcoming Game, Bird Zapper

Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on March 15th, 2011

Namco Bandai's newest game sounds...well, a bit wacky. Entitled "Bird Zapper!", the game enlists players to help Skippy the Squirrel, who is enraged by the birds who short-circuited his music player. A bit of a complicated premise, yes, but the end result is easy to understand: the birds are squatting on the power lines, and with a swipe of your finger, you can knock them off!

Swiping like-colored birds will send them toppling from the power lines, and some birds will provide special bonuses or attacks. The more birds you dethrone, the higher your score. The power lines, and their birds, are set up in a grid-like arrangement. (Be sure to look at the screenshots; the graphics are bright and detailed, despite just featuring cartoon birds.) Because of the way the power lines are laid out, Bird Zapper! actually resembles a match-3 game like Bejeweled more than anything else, which is somewhat unfortunate. How many Bejeweled clones do we need? However, Namco hopes that it will still stand out.

Bird Zapper! will ship with three different play modes. In Survival, you swipe as fast as you can until your "power meter" is depleted. In Blitz, the goal is to reach the highest score in sixty seconds. Finally, Zen mode has no restrictions or time limits.

While Bird Zapper! has not yet been released, the website lists it with a "March 2011" release date, so we expect to see this new title take flight soon. Namco plans to release Bird Zapper! as a universal app with both iPhone and iPad versions for $0.99, while an Android version will ship later for the same price.

Ms. PAC-MAN for iPad

iPad App - Designed for iPad only
By Timothy Smith on February 15th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: MS. DIRECTION
Namco tries to revive the popular Ms. PAC-MAN franchise on the iPad. It isn't perfect, but it certainly serves up some nostalgia.
Read The Full Review »

Ridge Racer Acclerated HD Speeds on to the iPad This February as a Freemium Title

Posted by Carter Dotson on February 9th, 2011

It's time to fire up your engines and prepare your Dig Dug decals, as Namco is bringing Ridge Racer Accelerated to the iPad later this month, after the game's iPhone release last year. This latest version in the venerable arcade racing franchise focuses not just on trying to cross the finish line faster than your opponents, as per standard racing game procedure. You also have to master drifting technique, which fills up your nitrous meter, which you can then use to deploy speed boosts when you need them. The game features 57 unlockable vehicles, 11 courses playable both forwards and backwards, and 5 game modes, including a Game Center Time Attack mode. That sound you hear is Kaz Hirai being very excited about this racing series, which has amazingly almost been around for 2 decades now, coming to the iPad in full-screen, high-resolution glory.

The interesting thing about Ridge Racer Accelerated for the iPad is that it will be released as a freemium app - it will be free to download, include 3 cars, one course, with Time Attack and Game Center ranking modes available for free, and will cost $9.99 in-app to unlock the full app. This is Namco's fourth freemium game release for the iPad, following Time Crisis 2nd Strike HD, Lost in Time: The Clockwork Tower and House of Glass. It appears as if this model is starting to pique the interest of major publishers, especially on Namco's side, as this is their second release that has been freemium.

It would be interesting to see if this is a potential future business model for games on the iPad, as it seems to have drawn raised interest on this platform, between NimbleBit's Dizzypad HD, One Man Left's Tilt to Live HD, and now Namco seems to be pushing the freemium model with their iPad titles. Is there something about the platform that encourages more business model experimentation? Are iPad users buying apps in different ways than what the iPhone/iPod touch userbase tends to consume apps? Between these titles and Gameloft testing the model out over on the iPhone side of the App Store, it'll be curious to see how consumers react to it and if we continue to see it used down the road. Ridge Racer fans will get to express their opinion on the model later this month when Ridge Racer Accelerated HD hits the iPad.

Buccaneer Blitz Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Chris Hall on December 24th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: GALCON REDUX
Strategy Purists will still prefer Galcon, but Buccaneer Blitz is a strategy gem with the average gamer in mind.
Read The Full Review »

Namco's iOS Christmas Sale

Posted by Chris Hall on December 21st, 2010

Namco, of worldwide PAC-MAN fame, is having a huge iOS Christmas sale that will last until January 3rd. With a ton of apps that are going for $0.99 and $1.99, there's just no reason for people to not play the heck out of all the Namco games they can get their hands on. Enough talk though, here's the Christmas sale!

House of Glass – in-app purchase lowered to $2.99
BIT.TRIP BEAT Blitz – in-app purchase levels lowered to $0.99

BIT.TRIP BEAT - $0.99
BIT.TRIP.BEAT was definitely one of my favorite retro experiences over the past year. Taking the classic Pong game and pumping in some heavy interactive beats and crazy graphics, BIT.TRIP.BEAT will definitely entertain anyone looking for an extremely stylish retro gaming remix. It won't haunt your Pong loving dreams like Be2: Escape From Pongland, but it is definitely a game worth playing.

BIT.TRIP BEAT HD - $0.99
Isaac Newton's Gravity - $0.99
Mishap - $1.99
Mishap for iPad - $1.99

More Brain Exercise with Dr. Kawahsima - $1.99
Dr. Kawashima is the pioneer of tying brain exercise to video games with the huge success of Brain Age on Nintendo DS. After selling millions of copies of his book, many more millions of copies of his branded game on the DS, Namco decided to bring the brain training guru to the App Store. More Brain Exercise isn't quite as advanced as Brain Age, but if brain training is what you are looking for you've come to the right place. At this discounted price you definitely won't be disappointed.

More Brain Exercise with Dr. Kawahsima HD - $1.99
Mr. Driller - $0.99

Ms. PAC-MAN - $1.99
Ms. PAC-MAN, whether you like it or not, was the very first game to tie into Apple's Game Center. While I prefer regular PAC-MAN, gamers looking to capture a bit of gaming history can download the game and attempt to crack the global top 50 list... a list littered with hard core gamers that were patiently waiting for other games to populate the Game Center system. Good luck! The competition is stiff.

PAC-MAN - $1.99
PAC-MAN for iPad - $1.99
PAC-Match Party - $0.99
PAC-Match Party HD - $0.99
Pole Position: Remix - $0.99
Pool Pro Online 3 - $0.99
Pool Pro Online 3 for iPad - $0.99
Star Trigon - $0.99

Tamagotchi: 'Round the World - $0.99
Tamagotchi? In the App Store? As an app reviewer I feel like I should hang my head in shame, but as an adult stuck in the late 90's, all I can say is O.M.G. The App Store's description says that I can "Eat, dance, play and even poop your way to a happier and healthier planet!" Perfect.

OpenFeint Launches Game Channel, Features Group Sales

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on December 17th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

OpenFeint has just announced its newest iOS venture, Game Channel. The new service promises to offer lots of great features, including a free game of the day spotlight that will help users discover great free apps they might have otherwise missed. The main draw of Game Channel though is going to be Fire Sale, a new service which is taking the Groupon model of group sales and bringing it to iOS.

According to OpenFeint, Fire Sale will present a premium app that is going on sale every week. Much like Groupon, users who are interested in buying the game at a discounted price can vote, and when enough votes are reached the price will drop. Fire Sale will then send out a push notification to everyone who voted on the app, letting them know the title is available at a discount. The first game going on sale is Jaws from Bytemark Games, and users can start voting on the title on December 17 at 12:01 am PST.

“We have a motivated community that has proven time and again that they’ll come back for great deals. This happens every day with Free Game of the Day,” says Jason Citron, CEO of OpenFeint. “Fire Sale is a truly social, community-based promotion, that is a perfect way for game developers to get their games downloaded.”

So how well will this new feature go over? That largely depends on the quality of apps offered and how deep the discounts go. For instance, Jaws is currently available for $2.99 and will drop to $0.99, is that good enough for consumers? Of course, the price can't go much lower than that so the quality of the game will likely play a major factor in many potential buyers' decisions.

We'll also have to keep an eye out on which publishers opt to support the program, as that will be a big determining factor. If OpenFeint can convince major players like Chillingo/EA, Namco and Gameloft to come aboard then things should go very well, but if the big companies decide to sit this one out then the appeal of Fire Sale may be quite limited. In any case, it will be very interesting to see if this group sale model can catch on for iOS. Could it be possible that we're witnessing a revolution in digital distribution?