At 148Apps, we help you sort through the great ocean of apps to find the ones we think you’ll like and the ones you’ll need. Our top picks become Editor’s Choice, our stamp of approval for apps with that little extra something special. 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.
Unlike the endless procession of knock-offs, cash-ins, and clones, Retry actually finds Rovio substantially iterating on the Flappy formula, mixing in the star-ranked progression that drove their own mega-hit. Instead of tapping and flapping through an endless procession of pipe gaps, Retry has players guiding their tiny propeller-driven plane from airport to airport in an elusive search for that perfect landing. It’s no easy feat to fly in Retry, with the inexorable grip of gravity and the drag of momentum screwing up those carefully laid flight paths. Too steep of a climb will pull you over into a loop. Not enough feathering of a descent sends you propeller-first into the ground. But when that sweet spot is delicately finessed out of the greedy grip of physics’ and you manage to glide gracefully out of a near-fatal dive, taxiing to the very edge of the final runway? Sublime. And hey, if not, just tap the screen again; there’s always another retry waiting. –Rob Thomas
This is going to sound funny, but I have clinically diagnosed OCD. One of the weird quirks for me is that I obsess about having several cases or carrying bags for everything. So the idea of a new, very functional case really excites me. When asked about reviewing a case that provides drop protection and an extended battery, I think I replied to the email less than twenty seconds. Sadly, I was told the only colors were black, blue, grey, and white – I was hoping for purple or pink. I really like cases. The Protection + Power comes with a charging cable (USB to micro USB) and a headphone extender (the case lengthens the hole to the jack). Attaching it to my phone was really easy – honestly, it’s the easiest of any battery case I’ve owned. You slide the phone onto the lightning connector, which tilts slightly, then gently push the phone back into the case. Once inside, it seems really secure and safe from most gentle drops. Since it was early in the day, I plugged the charging cable into my desktop computer and watched the lights on the back begin to blink. I went through regular use that day, and took the charging cable to bed. When upstairs, I pulled my lightning cable out of the jack in the wall, and put the USB/microUSB cable in its place. I’ve done this with numerous other charging cases in the past with no issue. In the morning, my phone was at 55% power and the case’s battery was dead. It never charged. –Jade Walker
Opening with the sacking of the city of Moonbrook by the villainous Hargon, Dragon Quest II follows the adventures of a group of young heroes descended from the legendary Erdrick, a recurring character in the series’ mythology. It is as full of cheesy and wonderful faux-Shakespearian dialog as its predecessor was, with the classic RPG mentality that one should speak to every NPC in order to learn about the world and one’s quest. The visuals are bright, colorful pixel art that has been updated for modern devices while retaining that old-school flair. The music, on the other, hand is quite symphonic and adds a sweeping grandeur that enhances the atmospheric qualities. It’s a great juxtaposition of old and new, and it really improves on the gameplay experience. –Andrew Fisher
The first thing you’ll notice about Agents of Storm is that it’s really rather pretty – especially compared to other games of its ilk. That’s the second thing. Games of this ilk – freemium base building games – are incredibly common. Unfortunately for Agents of Storm it’s mostly business as usual, despite a few vaguely original tweaks. Notably, you don’t design your own base. It’s all made for you instead, taking away some personalization and sense of ownership from the whole experience. That base gradually expands the more you level-up, with a couple of taps getting things all set up. –Jennifer Allen
I am eager to let readers know about a new Toca Boca app – Toca Boo – right in time for Halloween. This app is a bit of a departure for Toca Boca, known for their apps that include cleverly themed mini-games and role-playing apps that allow children to pretend to play store, tea party, or drive a train, as well as apps that allow children to build cities or landscapes to drive cars around on. Here, Toca Boca introduces Bonnie, a girl who enjoys being scary, wandering around her house looking for family members to frighten. Children will have fun increasing the creepiness factor for her unassuming victims by turning lights off and on as well as incorporating static on the radio, an alarm clock that rings suddenly, and other objects that can startle others when turned on or off mysteriously – which is done with the tap of a finger, and to be assumed the work of this mischievous girl. Listen to the heart beats rise in the characters as the intensity is increased – a great time to tap one of these characters, triggering their frightened reactions. –Amy Solomon
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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:
Lunagames launched a Halloween-themed shooter for Android, but is it worth you time? Well, that depends: do you like murdering zombies? Trigger Happy from Lunagames is a straightforward action packed shooter. In it, you need to shoot every zombie or other Halloween themed monstrosity that’s coming right for you. You can do that with just your handgun, including unlimited ammo – the way I prefer to play my Halloween/horror games. But that won’t do the job in Trigger Happy. –Wesley Akkerman
I had the misfortune of having some serious health issues a short while ago, and, without getting overly conversational about it, it changed me. It made me take health more seriously, and one fringe benefit is that it allowed me to take a longer, more appreciative look at the burgeoning area of connected health devices. “Burgeoning” is somewhat of an understatement; the category is exploding. As part of my personal fitness odyssey, I’ve had the privilege of trying out interesting connected gear. The Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is one of them. Personal blood pressure monitors are not new; I have had a generic one for quite some time. While convenient, the one drawback is the collation tool is not self-contained. I used my smartphone to collect the data via my all-round app HanDBase, and while the solution worked, I’d like a more homogeneous fix. –Tre Lawrence
As part of our ongoing health series, we explore connected health accessories with an Android connection. For an introduction to Android Rundown’s mobile health series, check out our editorial. Health bands and smartwatches are all the rage now; there are several out in the wild, and, thankfully, several corresponding price points. Being healthy is becoming easier to incorporate in one’s lifestyle — in theory, at least. For a lot of folks, having a connected health tracker just makes sense… especially when it can be paired to a ubiquitous always-on device such as a smartphone. Oregon Scientific is a tech company with good pedigree, and has made a name for itself in the area of personal and home electronics; it’s not too much of a stretch to see why it would throw its hat into the fitness tracker ring. the Ssmart Dynamo Activity Tracker is the fruit of this endeavor. –Tre Lawrence
And finally, head on over to AppSpy, because we’ve been eating loads of English Breakfasts, watching kids poop their pants in fear, playing the best new multiplayer indie racer, and getting spookier than that Michael Jackson video where he’s a zombie (Thriller? Is it Thriller? I want to say it’s called Thriller). And it’s all right here.
Atari announced today their development of Pridefesta social-sim game for tablets and mobile devices. This is the first LGBT-themed game from Atari. With Pridefest, players can build their own personalized pride parade and march it through a city of their choosing.
Players can customize their own parade floats with festival supplies and other bonuses they receive by completing quests. They can unlock new parade and festival supplies, or receive other bonuses. Pridefest also allows players to chat with friends, visit each other’s city and create avatars.
Todd Shallbetter, Chief Operating Officer, Atari Inc. said, “We are excited to be developing Atari’s first LGBT-themed game that will give players of all backgrounds the chance to play a fun and unique game that represents a passionate cause. We will continue offering a variety of games that are inclusive for all Atari fans and Pridefest is another example of how we are doing that.”
Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 17th, 2014 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
A new update for task management app, OmniFocus 2, has just been released, adding TextEpander support to the tool.
That means you can now enjoy being even more productive, thanks to being able to rely upon using various text based shortcuts. No longer do you have to worry about retyping the same snippets of text all the time when adding new tasks!
As well as that, the app has had a few bug fixes, reducing its chances of crashing or suffering from a glitch or two.
OmniFocus 2 is available from the App Store, priced at $19.99.
Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 16th, 2014 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Just in time for the launch of the Destiny public beta test comes Destiny Companion, the ideal app for tracking how you fare at the console game.
For those not in the know, Destiny is the latest title from Halo developer, Bungie, and is set to be a huge hit for online FPS players when it’s released on September 9. In the meantime, players can enjoy a brief dose of what to expect with the Public beta starting July 17 and running until July 27.
Destiny Companion enables you to analyze your player stats, see how your friends are performing, as well as manage your inventory, all from your iOS device.
It’s available now from the App Store and is a free download.
Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 16th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
There’s a huge new update for popular zombie shooter, Dead Trigger 2, and it’s bound to excite fans.
It brings with it substantial content additions including tournaments, a continuation to the story based campaign, new weapons, and new environments to explore.
The tournaments side of things allows you to participate in a different challenge each week to show just who the best fighter out there is. Starting with the Purgatory Arena, you can expect new environments as well as new traps such as the Impaling Spikes and Gallows Ropes.
With a plethora of new regions, environments, and weapons to check out, it’s the ideal time to try Dead Trigger 2.
The game is free to download from the App Store now.
Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 15th, 2014 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Have trouble waking up or simply want to take a selfie of yourself the moment you hit the alarm button? If it’s the latter, I think you’re mad but clearly there are others like you. That’s why apps such as Twake Alarm exist.
Twake Alarm is an alarm app that allows typical features like setting a sound from your iTunes library and setting up multiple alerts. What makes it special, however, is that it’ll snap a photo of you as soon as you wake up, just ready for you to share with others if you’re so inclined.
As well as that, a simple numbers game is required to switch your alarm off, meaning by the time you’ve finished, not only will you have a photo of yourself, but you should be pretty awake.
If that sounds like your kind of thing, you can download Twake Alarm from the App Store for free.
Posted by Ellis Spice on July 11th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Bicolor, the minimalistic two color puzzle game from 1Button which we gave four stars back in May, has received sixty new hand-crafted levels in its latest update, bringing the level total in the game up to 240.
Bicolor is available on the App Store now for $0.99.
Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 11th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A new update has just been released for Plague Inc and it ties into forthcoming movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
The update adds a special Simian Flu expansion pack for $1.99. Players must control communities of intelligent apes, seeing how the disease evolves to allow ape-to-ape transmission. You must decide when your apes should rally against research labs and work towards making apes the dominant species on the planet. Fun, huh?
Plague Inc. is priced at $0.99, with $1.99 snagging you the Simian Flu expansion pack.
Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 11th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A new update has come speeding onto the App Store for everyone’s favorite racer, Real Racing 3.
Gold payout has now been improved drastically with the maximum payout for levelling up now increased to a whopping 100 gold, 20 times more than it was before! Once you hit Driver level 6, you can enjoy such bonuses every time you level up. Check out the video below to learn more about the gold increase.
Besides that, new cars are available including the Ferrari F40 and the Ferrari F50. The inclusion of those cars also mean you can enjoy a Ferrari Showdown Series to see which is the very best vehicle out there.
Real Racing 3 is out now and is free to download from the App Store.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on June 27th, 2013 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Wibbitz takes text articles and creates video summaries out of them, giving users another way to keep up to date on the latest news. The app creators have found that reading long articles on mobile devices is too difficult, so they created Wibbitz to let you watch the news in form of video without needing to read. Users can choose from a number of news sources, such as world, business, and sports, and can arrange their feed in any order they wish.
Now, for an example, stop reading what I have to say about the app and watch the video explain it instead!
Posted by Rob LeFebvre on November 8th, 2012 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Social newsreader Pulse updates its iPhone app to include iPad in this new update, adding a fully redesigned interface and other great features. Will it replace Editor’s Choice recipient, Flipboard, as the king of the hill? Check it out and let us know in the comments below.
★ Unlimited Pages: Add as many sources as you want to follow via Pulse!
★ Improved Navigation: Access any page, settings, catalog and your saved stories effortlessly via a brand new sidebar!
★ Comprehensive Search: Search for any website, person, brand or topic and find results from Tumblr, Youtube, Reddit, Facebook, Google, Flickr, Blekko, and more!
★ Simpler Customization: Edit button on every page to quickly personalize your Pulse.
★ Infinite Scrolling: Keep swiping horizontally to read as many stories as you want from any source in Pulse.
Guzzle is a good app, and the service does a solid job of constructing keyword-specific news feeds. If you need a narrowly-focused news feed, it's worth looking at. Just be sure to test out the (free) website first.
Coupons, Inc., today announced that they have acquired the app Grocery IQ from developers Free State Labs for an unspecified sum and plans on integrating mobile coupons into the application in version 2.
What seems most interesting to me is that this is one of first examples of an iPhone application, developed by a small group, being acquired by a larger company. There are a couple examples of applications being sold from one small indie developer to another. Where To? comes to mind. Even smaller apps being licensed by larger companies, for example Light Saber.
I’m surprised that we haven’t seen acquisitions happen more. It’s a great way for larger companies to buy an audience. And it’s a good way for developers, who perhaps have grown tired of supporting an application that may no longer be bringing much revenue, to make a little money with it and move on to the next project. Guessing we’ll see more of this in the future.
Quarterly results are in — Apple reports record revenue of $10.17 billion and record net quarterly profit of $1.61 billion. This is the first quarter ever that Apple has posted revenue over 10 billion dollars.
Apple sold 2.5 million computers in the quarter (+9% y/y). Desktop sales are down about 25% while portable (laptop) sales are up around 34%.
They have also bucked the trend of luxury retailers and actually seen retail growth of 2% in the quarter ending 12/27/2008 at the 251 Apple retails stores.
Coming just a few days after Apple announced that there have been over 500 million app downloads, we now know to whom all those apps are being sold. Apple sold 22.7 million iPods in the quarter (3% growth y/y) — it’s expected that a modest number of those are iPod Touches but they represent a greater percentage of the revenue. In addition, they announced that 4.4 million iPhones (88% growth y/y) were sold in the last quarter bringing the total to 13.7 million for the year.
In addition, Apple re-affirmed commitment to the Apple TV, seeing 3x growth in sales year over year. Stressing that it’s still considered a hobby and that they see growth in the segment in the future.
Well, the keynote is over and no significant iPhone news. No significant news at all, really. Quick roundup: new 17″ MacBook Pro, new iWork, new iLife, DRM free iTunes music.
The only iPhone related news had to do with other products mainly. First, there are some new slideshow formats you can sync to the iPhone from the updated iPhoto. Whoop-tee-do! Second, all songs in the iTunes Music Store will be DRM free by the end of this quarter (that’s March 31st to you and me). And there will be variable pricing (you know — all the songs you want will cost more while the ones you don’t want will cost less). And finally there will be a Keynote Remote app available for the iPhone. While these are great and wonderful things to some, to me it’s just meh…
Where’s the iPhone Nano? Were the case manufacturers just playing with us?
Where’s the notification service? You know, the one that we were told would launch in September 2008? The one that was in the iPhone SDK, then pulled? Where’s iChat for the iPhone?
But most importantly, where is MMS? Every $9 phone has that now. Why doesn’t the most advanced phone in the world have it? I bet that new Palm to be announced tomorrow will have it.
I guess we’ll have to just keep waiting for these things. Apple always does things on their own time schedule. But, come on! Please, Steve? Or Phil? Or anyone? Pretty please? Or maybe, I will look at that new palm? I wonder how many apps you can load on that device?
At 148apps.com we have always taken pride in putting out great reviews not lots of reviews. We only publish reviews for about 1 in 30 of the apps we try out. But with the number of apps coming out, we need to start publishing more reviews. That means we need more quality review writers. If you think this is something you might be interested in doing, read on for further details. Continue reading Call for Writers for 148apps.com »