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.
One of the first comics I can remember buying with my own money as child, purchased from a newsstand near my great-grandmother’s apartment, was an issue of Marvel’s Contest of Champions. Contest of Champions was groundbreaking in a couple of different areas: it was Marvel’s first publication released in a “limited series” format, and it was also one of the first attempts to blatantly strip out any attempt at more nuanced story arc by instead offering three issues of heroes clashing against one another in page after page of epic battles as cosmic puppet masters tugged at their strings. Despite revisiting the concept a couple of times in intervening years, nothing ever quite captured that same spectacle that my five year old self felt while leafing through those pages. However, Marvel and Kabam are dragging the old chestnut out of mothballs again in the form of a head-to-head fighting game. And despite a couple of issues, it’s actually not the worst licensed game I’ve seen. --Rob Thomas
How lucky do you feel? Area 777 is heavily dependent on luck, so you’d better hope that you’re a naturally fortuitous person. Thanks to that dependency, it’s not overly gripping. Even when it eventually introduces new chip types it feels like too little, too late. The concept behind it is that it’s part slot machine, part tower defense game. In reality, it’s almost all slot machine with a hint of tower defense. Each level consists of a slot machine, with enemies slowly making their way across it in order to cause you damage. You have to hit the spin button and, mostly, hope that the reels line up and you take them out along the way. There is some element of strategy in there, mostly through the acquisition of chips, but it’s fairly basic. These chips frequently correspond to an element, such as fire or ice, thereby allowing you to set the enemies on fire or freeze a reel in a particular position. It’s helpful but hardly enough to make you feel fully in control of the game. --Jennifer Allen
SimplePlanes gives players all the tools they need to build airplanes from scratch. But successfully making use of those tools means wrapping your head around all the different parts and physics that, presumably, actual engineers need to consider. The game tries to help ease players in with its extensive manuals explaining the difference between an airfoil and a fuselage, but absorbing that data takes time and practice. There are a few convenient shortcuts, like the ability to mirror the plane so players won’t have to waste time sculpting the perfect wing twice. But like Minecraft, the best rewards – whether it’s a speedy biplane or functioning VTOL aircraft – will come to those with the patience to literally construct them piece by piece. --Jordan Minor
Luna League Soccer is the kind of soccer game that you’ll dive into for a few minutes here and there, but not exactly think too deeply about. It’s an arcade sports game through and through, meaning it takes seconds to master. On the left of the screen you have a floating joystick, while the right offers a contextual button that enables you to shoot, pass, tackle, or switch players depending on what’s going on during the match. It’s very simple to pick up, with each team bringing their own special moves to the fold. --Jennifer Allen
The graphics are pleasantly glitzy; the several environments showcase the developer’s penchant for being able to highlight artistic perspective and use of lighting and corresponding virtual colors. The animations are cool, and one can almost taste the kicked-up dirt. When the optional sound effects are tossed in, it’s hard not to appreciate the complete package of sights and sounds. When it comes to gameplay, off the bat I liked that I could get into the nitty-gritty with a minimum of interactions. As noted, this is mostly about destroying other combatants without being destroyed, and the tool at hand is a heavily weaponized truck on big wheels. The controls are virtual in nature, with buttons for shooting, accelerating, braking/reversing, and steering – the last of which can be switched to tilt or arrow control. With this, and after one picks the format (multiplayer vs single player), it’s off to the races. --Tre Lawrence
Online quizzes are a big deal these days. They’ve always been fairly popular but the rise of Buzzfeed, Playbuzz, Zimbio, and so many other places has really strengthened our love of answering a bunch of questions to figure out what animal/TV show character we are. It turns out such structures can be used for good as well, such as in the case of Hi.Q – Health IQ. It’s an app that offers you thousands of health-related questions, devised by experts, and can therefore teach you some valuable facts. Dive in and you’ll immediately notice that Hi.Q – Health IQ is stylishly laid out. Looking like it’d easily fit into a lifestyle magazine, each quiz is clearly described along with an attractive photo to further sell its purpose. Some quizzes may offer a lot of different questions but they rarely take too long to complete. Each time you answer a question the answer or an explanation is shown, meaning you’re constantly learning. --Jennifer Allen
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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:
Ninja. Running. Swords. Enter Amazing Ninja. Side-scrolling action is the name of the game. Our protagonist martial artist runs aggressively from left to right, looking to avoid or confront different obstacles on the left. The ninja is stick-figurish in appearance, is armed with a sword and has enviable ups at speed; jumping and slashing are his only means of recourse. Tapping on the left side of the screen invokes jumping; on the right causes a slashing motion. The first type of obstacle are the blue-colored “deserters” that are seemingly fleeing the very conflagration that our hero is eager to get to. These terrified soldiers can be dangerous in their haste, and can end a run by making contact. Slashing the deserters has dire consequences, and as such, our boy has to jump over the blues. --Tre Lawrence
We get pitched a fair amount of accessories to take a look at, and, frankly, some are very, uh, unique. Not all work, either; some are ambitious, but might have a fatal flaw. Or two. Or seven. In any case, mobile accessories can be interestingly varied. I’d like to say I am open-minded, and I do feel like a decent assessor of product, but every now and then, I am surprised. But hold a sec; let’s talk about the Olixar Light Bulb Speaker. The name says it all: it’s a light bulb that doubles as a bluetooth-enabled speaker. The review package MobileFun sent us highlights the unit; in hand, it is mostly white, with a gold mid-section. It is more streamlined than “regular” bulbs, but also weighs a bit more. It sports LED light too, and emits 3W light (which the distributor says is equivalent to 50W from a standard bulb. It screws into regular receptacles (the package comes with an adapter piece for European light sources) and works the same way. Turn on the switch, and it bathes the room in bright, warm light. It functions well upright and upside down. --Tre Lawrence
The past couple of years have definitely been the years of the streaming media unit. All the big players have a hat in the Big C, and with good reason: we like content. Lots of it. Enter Fire TV, the still-relatively-new offering from Amazon. Amazon provided us a gaming bundle package to check out, containing the black unit, black remote, power cables, batteries, and the optional bluetooth gamepad (one should ensure one has HDMI cable). It’s fairly svelte, a bit smaller than one would guess, coming in at 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.7 inches and just under 10 oz. It has a quad core processor and 8 GB of storage, and supports output of 720 x 1080p up to 60fps. Specs aside, there is little to dislike about Amazon Fire TV. It looks good, and is a veritable source of content. It has a lot of the go-to programs that can be downloaded to it: Netflix, WatchESPN, Pandora, Crackle, Showtime Anytime (based on provider) and, of course, Amazon Instant and Amazon Music, among other offerings. Setup is easy, and the included control is definitely a huge positive. On its own, as a streaming accessory, it holds its own against the competition. --Tre Lawrence
Also this week, Pocket Gamer reviewed Gunbrick and Sol Invictus, played Metamorphabet and Need for Speed: No Limits, and figured out how to play PS4 games on any Android device. All that and loads more, right here.
And finally, AppSpy kicks 2015 off by giving you the definitive rundown of the best Nintendo-esque games on mobile, showing you the first gameplay video of Need For Speed: No Limits, a world exclusive look at Team17's Flockers, and much more. Join us, won't you?
Need for Speed No Limits, by Electronic Arts, will be coming out this year for iOS. You'll be able to compete against some of the toughest crews in Blackridge City in some action packed street racing. The game features real-world cars and an advanced customization system.
You can check out Need for Speed No Limits in AppSpy's hands-on video below.
+Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch
EA and Firemonkeys have announced Need for Speed No Limits, the next mobile installment in the Need for Speed franchise.
Firemonkeys is known as the team behind Real Racing 3 and other mobile Need for Speed titles, with No Limits being built from the ground up in order to deliver the best performance and graphics as possible on the newest devices.
More details about Need for Speed No Limits are set to be announced by Firemonkeys in the following weeks and months.
A sale has raced in for EA's Need for Speed Most Wanted, bringing the price down to $0.99. No reasoning has been given for this sudden sale, nor is there any end date for this lower price, so those of you on the fence may not have much thinking time.
For those of you looking for opinions on the quality of the game, we at 148Apps gave the game 4.5 stars back in 2012, with the game also carrying a 8.3 rating over on the QualityIndex.
This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre examined why mobile games just don't seem to have as much depth as their console brethren. He says, "Should gamers expect the same experience on mobile devices as on console? Probably not–but that may be changing. Michael de Graaf, the producer for the mobile version of Need for Speed Most Wanted, feels that the difference between console and mobile is narrowing. “At the moment, consoles still have an edge when it comes to raw power but that gap is narrowing,” he told us, “and we’ve seen possibilities continue to expand on mobile. The current quality of screens we are seeing and new form factors are increasing the quality and diversity of experiences that gamers can now have on a mobile device.”
Nick Rish, vice president of mobile publishing for EA, believes that comparing the two is futile. “There is something very immersive about holding a device 10 inches from your face,” he said, “putting on headphones and enjoying a game like Need for Speed Most Wanted while on your lunch break … It’s tough to say one platform provides a better consumer experience than the other; gaming is in the eye of the beholder.”
“Mobile gaming grew from very basic flash games we all’ve been playing on web browsers,” said Przemek Marszal, art director at 11 bit studios, the developer behind the Anomaly Warzone series. But that’s changing, he said, noting that even a hard-core indie developer like John Carmac sees the potential of iOS gaming.
Over at GiggleApps.com, writer Amy Solomon got back to nature with her review of Scholastic First Discovery: The Forest: "Scholastic First Discovery: The Forest for iPhone is an impressive adaptation of the printed non-fiction title “In the Forest” A First Discovery Look and Learn Book from Scholastic. A version of this app is also available for iPad.
The Forest is an impressive application about nature, with wonderfully bright colors and robust details on each page bringing the sights of forests to devices. Instead of text that one would read, this app consists of very good narration that leads children through interactive exercises that will teach them a lot about the forests of North America.
Six chapters are included that cover a lot of ground, such as learning about both deciduous and coniferous trees, tapping leaves or branches to learn about the trees they belong to, also allowing children to drag these realistic bits of foliage around the screen."
Last up, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson was happy to announce that one of our favorite games, Punch Quest, is coming to Android: "Android, get ready to start punching. Punch Quest is coming to Android very soon. The culprit? Noodlecake Games, who have made a habit (or a business model) out of releasing and supporting iOS-to-Android ports. Punch Quest combines and endless runner with beat ’em up gameplay, as players run through a dungeon, punching and uppercutting the foes they come across. Coins can be earned to be spent on new skills, power ups, and hats. Sweet, sweet hats."
And we've cleared yet another week in 2012. Join us next weekend for another recap of the latest and greatest news from the week that was - and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest info on the hottest apps. Now go get the rest of your holiday shopping done!
I had the chance today to take a quick look at three upcoming games from EA. Some of them are hotly anticipated, another we hadn't even heard about before today.
Need for Speed: Shift
This has to be one of the most anticipated games of the season. Well at least for Chris, our editor. He shut himself in a small room with nothing but red bull and Cheetoes and played Need for Speed: Undercover until his thumbs stopped working. I think he's going to be out of touch for weeks when he get ahold of Need for Speed: Shift.
This game looks fantastic. While the original specs and screens we saw were less than inspiring. But now that the game is done and real, it's fantastic. Especially so if you have a 3GS as it has some special graphic taking advantage of the better graphics processor on that device.
Shift has everything you expect in a Need for Speed game. There's multiple events/tracks, multiple game methods, multiple upgradable cars, etc. The different events and cars are, of course, unlockable as you progress through the career mode.
One big feature that Shift has that the previous Need for Speed didn't have is multiplayer. While it's only local and 2 player with Bluetooth and 4 player with Wifi, there are 6 different game methods.
Here are a few more images to hold you over. Need for Speed: Shift will be out soon.
EA announced Spore: Creatures for the iPhone a few months ago. But, they were quiet about it after that. Well, until now. While I don't really think that Spore: Creatures is much different than Spore: Origins, it does take everything up a few notches. There's just more of everything as this game is meant to pick up where Origins ended.
More creature customization options. Lots more. I've been told there are well over a billion different possibilities from the dozens of creature parts, colors, and abilities that you can add.
Included in the game itself are 4 different and distinct game play zones. Each zone has 5 different levels to travel through while evolving your little Spore.
The one thing that is really different with the game play over the previous Spore game is that ability to either fight or socialize. This can change the way the game progresses and how your creature evolves.
Here are a couple more pictures, Spore: Creatures should be out in January.
The Simpsons Arcade
This one came out of left field. The Simpsons Arcade is an old school arcade fighter set in the Simpsons world of Springfield. Developed under the supervision of one of the writers and featuring the voices of all 6 Simpsons voice actors from the series, this promises to be a fun and very funny fighting game.
You control Homer in this game. There's an on screen joystick and two buttons that let you perform different attack and defense moves.
You progress through 25 levels set in 6 different environments in Springfield. There are of course a bunch of different weapons to use that you can pick up along the way. There are 6 major bosses and 12 mini-bosses. The final boss battle is said to be epic!
As a Simpsons fan, I'm looking forward to this. I was a little worried when I first heard of this. Lets be honest, there have been some less than stellar Simpsons games over the years. But in my short time with the game I found it to be interesting, well made, and really fun. The Simpsons Arcade will be out soon.
Today we got some updates from EA on two highly anticipated franchise games coming to the iPhone. What we still don't know yet are release dates for either. Though I think it's safe to say they are trying to get them out in the next couple months in time for Christmas.
Need for Speed: Shift
The latest in this racing franchise from EA is Need for Speed: Shift. This iPhone translation looks like it will be a scaled down translation of the console game. While that's a little disappointing, the previous in this franchise, Need For Speed Undercover [ our review ] was an absolutely excellent game on the iPhone.
Take a look at these screen shots for a look at the game. Note that I'm fairly sure that these are just mock-ups. They don't look nearly as crisp as you'd expect for actual screen shots and there are other noticeable inconsistencies.
Unfortunately the specs read a lot like the previous version. 20 different customizable and upgradable cars (NFSU had 20 as well), 3 different racing environments, Tokyo, Chicago, and London (NFSU also had 3), 28 different events (NFSU had 20).
So, what is different?
The main thing is that there will finally be multiplayer. Unfortunately there's no Internet multiplayer, only Wifi and Bluetooth. In addition I'm sure we'll see the graphics quality upgraded a little. The previous one was very good for the time, but we expect more now. Take a look at the supplied stats below for more.
RIP IT UP AROUND THE WORLD Rage on the roads of Chicago, London, and Tokyo in up to 28 Street and Pro racing events.
MATCH YOUR SKILLS AGAINST FRIENDS Challenge friends to head to head races via Bluetooth multiplayer or WiFi.
MUSCLE OVER PERFORMANCE? Get behind the wheels of 20 of the fastest, hottest, most powerful cars in the world and blow the doors off your competitors.
UPGRADE AND CUSTOMIZE Take your ride to another level with Top Speed, Handling, Acceleration, and Nitrous upgrade features.
RACE FOR REWARDS Earn points and trophies on the circuit for your Aggressiveness and Precision. Be a full-throttle Need For Speed superstar.
Considering the huge number of games in the App Store, over 15,000 at last count, there has yet to be a full 3D basketball game. NBA Live will change that. While we haven't seen it yet, we're hoping that it has the depth and great gameplay of EA's last sports game for the iPhone, Madden 10. Take a look below for the stats, it's looking good, though multiplayer is noticeably missing from the list.
NOTHING BUT NET. NBA LIVE by EA SPORTSTM delivers the most realistic 5-on-5 action available for iPhone® and iPod touch®!
Tip-off anytime, anywhere, and watch your game come to life in vivid 3D. Even replay your most awesome plays. It’s fun and intuitive enough for the casual gamer, but also delivers the authenticity to meet the demands of the most hardcore basketball fans.
AUTHENTIC TEAMS, REAL STARS, TRUE LEGENDS With real NBA rosters, you can dominate the game as Dwight Howard and other NBA All-Stars. Or unlock legends and elevate your game with true Hall-of-Famers.
MULTIPLE MODES FOR EVERY KIND OF NBA ACTION Match up all 30 NBA teams in the new 82-game Season Mode. Play a casual game in Exhibition Mode, or battle all the way to the Finals in the ultra-intense Playoff Mode.
PLAY WITH TOUCHSCREEN CONTROL Control the game with a virtual analog stick. Use the accelerometer to accurately shoot free-throws. Touch the clip board to pick from a number of offensive plays or to select your defensive strategy.
TAKE IT TO THE RACK WITH A SOLID SOUNDTRACK Stay in the zone with 15 music tracks from artists like Matt and Kim, Snoop Dogg and Xzibit.
COMMENTARY FROM A BROADCAST LEGEND Hear legendary announcer Marv Albert accent the action as you rain 3s from downtown.
Need For Speed: Undercover is a groundbreaking example of how the larger developers should treat the iPhone. This game has been given very special attention to make it entirely unique to the iPhone, using the accelerometer and video playback capabilities
EA Mobile really likes to surprise everyone with the releases of their iPhone apps. No release dates, just bam, there they are. That happened again today with the release of one of the most hotly anticipated iPhone games, Need For Speed Undercover.
The game which has been delayed more than once, was first seen last year in early forms has finally arrived. You can grab it now via this link. It will show up in the iTunes App Store indexes after they are next refreshed.
This game had also been mentioned as a possible launch title for the rumored Premium App Store -- guess this puts that rumor to rest, for now anyway. The game was released for $9.99, not the rumored $19.99 point. Pinning $9.99 as the top price point for games for the iPhone.
The game features a story mode like all of the recent Need For Speed games. Luckily all of the movies can be skipped so that you can get to the racing. And the racing, at least in our initial tests, delivers good and smooth, performance. There are multiple race types and of course multiple cars to unlock.
We'll have a full review for you soon. But so far this is shaping up to be a pretty good racer.
For full app description and some more screen shots, check after the jump.