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This Week at 148Apps: May 11-15, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 18th, 2015

May Days 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.


Heroes and Castles 2

The original Heroes and Castles’ interesting take on castle defense appealed to me greatly back in 2013. And not just because of my general enjoyment of just about everything Foursaken Media creates, either. Jump to the present and now we have Heroes and Castles 2 at our disposal. The basic idea is pretty much the same as the first: a horde of monsters is attacking your castle, and you need to defend it. You'll be in the thick of the fight while using the hero of your choice, but you can also use points generated by banner carriers and good old fashioned monster slaying to summon several different soldier types to aid you. Also archers. Having archers on the walls is incredibly important. --Rob Rich


Multicross

Multicross is a vaguely familiar-ish looking puzzle game from Alexey Pajitnov, the mind behind Tetris. But don’t let the tetrominos fool you - while we’ve seen many of these shapes before, this is a very different kind of game. You’re presented a 7X7 grid, with three shapes to place along the bottom of the screen. Once you drag and drop a shape into place, another one will appear in the line. Creating finished rows or columns will clear out those respective lines and earn you points, and if you ever run out of possible moves it’s Game Over. However, if you can manage to complete both a row and a column at the same time you’ll clear the board and earn even more points. --Rob Rich


THRED

THRED is an interesting take on a familiar social networking concept. More visual than most, it’s all about creating "Threds" - a kind of comic book/scrap book mixture of things, enabling you to showcase anything from a recent cooking project to a stunning holiday. It’s got potential.Creating a Thred starts with one of three options. You can choose to find a photo online, import one from your camera roll, or start from a particular location. The latter option tries to give you a relevant starting point depending on the area. You can browse images depending on the day you snapped them too, which is particularly handy when you’re trying to co-ordinate holiday photos.--Jennifer Allen


Mr. Bank

Mr Bank is a simple game, and that’s mostly what makes it a success. It takes seconds to learn but has the potential to keep you itching for just one more go as you work towards beating your previous high score.Each session involves a screen full of numbered tiles. Depending on the difficulty level you’ve chosen, you have to combine those tiles to form at least 20, 30, or 40, before tapping on the created tile to ‘bank’ it. The key here is to create as low a number as possible while still going over the threshold. While the high numbers create the most points, they can also use up tiles that could have been useful elsewhere. Playing the long game is imperative. --Jennifer Allen


Wand

There’s no shortage of apps that want to help you organize your camera roll, and each work to varying levels of success. I think Wand™ might be my new favorite, though. It’s incredibly easy to use and makes short work of even particularly hefty collections.Working on a spectacularly simple basis, Wand™ loads up to offer up a selection of predefined album ideas, such as family, friends, and selfies, along with the option for you to add your own. The latest picture to not be given an album placement is immediately on screen. If you pause for a moment to look at it, Wand™ automatically switches to a view of just that photo, providing an ideal previewing place. In terms of movement, all you do then is tap on the album you want it to go to, and off it goes. It’s as simple as that. --Jennifer Allen


Wings Remastered

Set during World War I, you’re a combat pilot undertaking a series of dangerous missions. You’re rarely alone in battle, but your comrades can be shot down, and you will feel a tinge of guilt when the game tells you their name. In which case, you’d better get the hang of those controls fast.There’s a choice of tilt or touch based, but I’d immediately recommend the touch controls. When flying from a first person perspective, things are tricky enough without considering calibration. At first, it’ll seem awkward but those sequences are quite fun. The scenery is incredibly forgettable and basic, but chasing down planes and, every once in a while, performing a loop the loop is pretty fun. Firing is a matter of hitting the correct button but don’t overdo it. This is a World War I plane, meaning the guns jam quite easily. -Jennifer Allen


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


Motorola E (2nd Gen) 4G LTE

For the longest time, Motorola has been synonymous with Android; it’s been a part of the Android takeover, and some of the best smartphone hardware has born its imprint. With the Moto E2, the device maker looks to show it can have a budget hit. Again.The review unit Moto sent us contained the black handset (a white alternative is also available, two bands (more on that later), power cord and documentation. The phone goes against the grain somewhat, particularly with regards to size; still, it would be rude to call it diminutive at 5.11 x 2.63 x 0.48 inches and weighing in at 5.1 ounces. It is quite comfortable in hand, and feels well constructed, so much so that at first glance, one will definitely be forgiven foe not noticing the interesting band that goes around the side. This flexible band houses hardware buttons and protects SIM and SD card slots, but are also swappable, and allows a degree of aesthetic customization.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus our top 9 apps for the summer blockbuster season.

This Week at 148Apps: May 4-8, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on May 11th, 2015

A-MAY-ZING Reviews 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.

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.


Spy_Watch

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


Disconnect

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:


AndroidRundown


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.

ANTENNA Free Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on April 27th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PLENTIFUL RADIO
ANTENNA Free is a quick way of discovering new radio stations via your iPhone
Read The Full Review »

Watchup for the Apple Watch Makes Your Wrist a Personalized News Channel

Posted by Jessica Fisher on April 22nd, 2015
+ Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

Now you can curate your favorite news into a free streaming video channels withWatchup on the Apple Watch. The app lets you select news, a time you want to stream it, and, using Apple’s Handoff API, you can watch the video on your iPhone.TheApple Watch does not support video, but lets you view a preview of your selected news stories.

This Week at 148Apps: April 13-17, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 21st, 2015

The Apps of April

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.

This Week at 148Apps: April 6-10, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 14th, 2015

The Apps of April

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.

Tiltagon

Tiltagon is an endless survival/tilting game that’s not really anything new, but it looks pretty and it’s fun. We can’t forget about the fun.All you have to do is tilt to steer your ball across a hexagonal tile and grab the floating cube. Then a new hex will appear and you have to make your way over to grab that cube - all before the hex you’re on disappears and without falling off the edge. There’s also a Hard+ mode that tasks you with not touching any of the obstacles (normally they just push you around), just in case the initial challenge isn’t challenging enough. --Rob Rich

DomiNations

As is usual these days, you’re working towards establishing a significant base, chipping away at your enemies, and becoming the greatest leader out there. DomiNations deviates from the typical path, most significantly by requiring you to work your way through the various ages of human history, i.e. from the Stone Age to the Space Age. That means that early on, things are a little basic, but once you reach the Iron Age, you can pick a specific nationality. That leads to unique technologies based upon what you pick, thereby making a big difference.It makes a significant difference in giving you that sense of progression, and DomiNations is kind of full of those - small refinements that can dramatically change how you feel about the game. For instance, you can send out troops to battle but still priotize what they pursue, making battles more strategic than most. Also, the only troops you lose are the ones that are defeated, rather than all of them. It immediately makes you feel better about spending all that time training up troops, knowing you're not doomed to lose them immediately. Even building road networks within your town can help you in some way, as well as look cooler.--Jennifer Allen

Marvel Mighty Heroes

You play through various brief levels alongside three other players. Each of you can choose to switch between characters but rather unusually, you can all play the same character. That’s a problem as four Hulks in battle look silly and highlight just how easy this game really is. While each character offers different skills and abilities, you rarely need to mix things up in order to get anywhere.Also, inexplicably, you have to start at the beginning of each scenario meaning you often replay the same sections over and over again. There’s an energy system too, meaning you can use up a lot of energy simply replaying sections rather than getting anywhere new. Of course, you can always buy more energy. You can buy new characters too, although expect these to be visual changes rather than anything substantial. --Jennifer Allen

Toca Kitchen 2

Learning where your food comes from and how to prepare it properly is an important part of education for children. Generally, knowledge means healthier eating practices. Toca Kitchen 2 is a little lighter than that, focusing on messing around with food more so than following a recipe, but it provides some sensible foundations It’s a very open ended educational game. You can do what you like, for the most part. On one side of the screen are the ingredients, including things such as spaghetti, carrots, potatoes, various kinds of meat, and watermelons. You can serve up food by dragging it onto your character’s plate, feeding it to them raw, but the fun comes through cooking it. --Jennifer Allen

The Trace

Taking its cue from various sources, The Trace isn’t the greatest murder mystery based adventure game but it’s still a pretty fun experience. You play detective as you attempt to figure out who committed a murder and why, by piecing together various clues to come to a sound conclusion. Its closest comparison comes from titles such as the Sherlock Holmes series of games on PC and consoles. You explore various scenes, much like in a Hidden Object game, picking up clues then figuring out how they combine to solve a pertinent issue. Alongside that are various simple puzzles, such as repairing a pair of glasses through a fairly easy jigsaw puzzle. Taking a cue from The Room, you can rotate items and interact with them in a tactile manner, such as by pulling down on a door handle to open it. --Jennifer Allen

Rock On

Do you like SongPop but hate having to wait for your opponent to take their turn? Then Rock On - A SongPop Adventure is just right for you. It’s the single player equivalent, essentially, and it has that ‘just one more go’ thing down to a tee - at least until you run out of lives.Working your way through the game level by level, the idea behind Rock On is simple - guess the song and guess it quickly. Early levels are a simple matter of guessing 5 out of 10 songs correctly. As you progress though, there’s a need to guess 6 songs in a row correctly, or to guess quickly for the sake of points and a steadily decreasing timer bar. The concept remains the same though, as it’s all testing your musical knowledge. Sometimes you need to know the artist, other times the song.--Jennifer Allen


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

Quicklock Padlock

We all love the connected home? What about a connected lock to start it all off?How about the Quicklock Padlock?The review package contained USB-cable, documentation, and NFC card and the lock itself; there’s no missing the lock, in that it looks like, well, a lock. The review unit is mostly blue and grey, with the metal shackle being the latter. The body is in the shape of a small cylinder, with a recessed charging port on the backside, and a bluetooth button/LED on the front.--Tre Lawrence

Kenu Airframe+

My mobile mantra is “simplicity is best.” Essentially, to be as productive as possible, I look to find solutions that are simple and effective. There are plenty of tools that are overly involved, or simply too much solution for a gentle problem. There are also complex solutions that go way beyond a simple use scenario. Technologically speaking, there can be too much of good thing.As I have gotten older, I have started looking for the easy accessories… stuff that enhances the use of my mobile devices, is just as portable and — this one is a biggie — handily affordable.--Tre Lawrence

WorldCard Mobile Phone Kit

Another day, another business card. A hassle? I can be, but a college professor told me that getting business cards is a good thing. As such, PenPower’s WorldCard Mobile Phone Kit, which purports to give users the opportunity to digitize business cards, has to be great.Right?I’d seen pictures of the piece prior to receiving the review package that PenPower sent us, but I still admit to being surprised upon physically handling it. It comes in a nice, polished metal finish; it looks like a device dock with an extended piece behind it. Said piece folds out into a smaller dock of sorts for business cards. It feels nicely machined, with deliberate stylings and gentle curves, such that there are no real sharp edges. it is mostly grey with black and light gold accents, and the moving pars are smooth in action. The whole unit manages to be stately without being overly pretentious.--Tre Lawrence

This Week at 148Apps: March 30-April 3, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 6th, 2015

The Apps of April

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.


Vietnam...'65

Vietnam…’65 isn’t like a lot of other strategy games out there. It’s more like a board game if anything, with its turn-based movement being much more than just a way of slowing down combat. Channeling its PC roots, it’s a pretty lengthy game to play on the iPad, which could be a deciding factor on whether it suits your needs or not. There’s no campaign mode to speak of which is a significant misfire. Instead, you dive into a randomly designed level each time, working towards unlocks and new ranks, rather than seeing a story unfold. Levels start to look quite similar after a time, with each stage easily taking over an hour to complete. Vietnam…’65 isn’t for those wanting a quick fix. --Jennifer Allen


Tiny Dangerous Dungeons

Gamers who grew up in the late 80s and early 90s will confidently state that their first taste of portable gaming came from the Nintendo Game Boy. It was a great system at the time and some of its games have remained highly entertaining. If you’re as nostalgic for the time as I am, the style of Tiny Dangerous Dungeons is really going to tickle you. It looks just like a title from that era, and it plays pretty well, too. It’s a Metroidvania inspired adventure at heart. You play an adventurer as he explores a dungeon, discovering new abilities, and backtracking quite a bit, all in a bid to reach the exit. Relatively early on, you’ll come across a map that highlights everywhere you can go. It seems a little restrictive and small but like any classic Metroid-eque title, there’s a lot of backtracking. --Jennifer Allen


UAG Folio Case

At first glance, it looks a tough, complex cookie. Upon closer inspection, it's clear that at least one of those adjectives holds true. In hand, the empty UAG Folio Case looks like it means serious business. It opens up as a folio usually does - much like a book cover - but it also has an extra trick up its sleeve in that the front cover doubles-up and wraps around in such way that that the back cover can be flipped up and out. It creates a pseudo-three-layered setup, which is perfect for the secondary purpose: creaing a back support so that the tablet can be used upright in landscape. The composite material that most of the case is covered in looks a bit like kevlar, with tough stitching melding pieces together. The inner lining of the front cover comes in soft black felt - perfect for the screen it will be in contact with - and the front cover also incorporates a strap. Altogether, it exudes a sense of being heavy duty but is still quite light. --Tre Lawrence


DuckTales Remastered

I’m not going to lie, I flipped out a little when I first saw that teaser for DuckTales Remastered back in 2013. The NES version of DuckTales has been close to the top of my nostalgia list for many, many years - right up there with Mega Man 2 and Elevator Action to name a couple - so seeing it get a high definition remaster was pretty amazing.But that was about two years ago. By now the shock of the new has worn off, and we’re left with trying to figure out whether or not DuckTales Remastered is a worthwhile iOS port. It kind of is, but it’s got a little bit of a control issue. --Rob Rich


Layout

If you’ve never used a collage making app before, then Layout will probably seem pretty useful to you. Unfortunately, anyone with a passing interest in collage creation probably already has a superior photo editing tool on hand. While Layout is easy to use, it’s also pretty basic.The simplicity involved in using Layout is pretty great. A matter of choosing up to 9 photos before picking out one of many layouts that might look good for your chosen images, there’s not really much more you need to do. In terms of speediness, Layout is unmatched. You can choose to move photos around by simply holding and dragging, or pinching to zoom in and out. There are also options to mirror an image, replace one, or flip them around.--Jennifer Allen


SMART Adventures Mission Math 1

It’s a depressing fact that girls are all too often put off studying science and mathematical based subjects because, well, there’s a whole wealth of debate as to why. Regardless of why you might feel that’s the case, SMART Adventures Mission Math 1 is an excellent game to entice your young children, daughters in particular, into enjoying such subjects again. Working much like a conventional adventure game, you have to figure out why your home, a space station, has been sabotaged as well as fix its various problems. This is done through completing a series of mathematical based problems, as well as exploring the space station to find out more. It’s simply done but with such a story based focus, it’s immediately more interesting than merely going from puzzle to puzzle. --Jennifer Allen


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


Nova Blox External Battery

The Juno Power Nova Blox External Battery is a mobile option that looks to give extended life to our mobile devices.It’s a relatively small piece, mostly silver with deliberate black accents. It has a button on the side, with a micro-USB charging port and what looks to be a prominent LED light on one end, and on the opposite end, there is a USB outlet port. Officially, it comes in at 2.87 x 2.01 x 0.83 inches, and weighs 4.65 ounces. Overall, it is barely bigger than a box of tic tacs, which makes it quite portable and even fairly pocketable. The retail package also provides a micro-USB cable (which can be used to charge the unit and also as an output cable) as well as documentation. We got the silver, and there are other trim options.--Tre Lawrence


INSTEON Home Remote Control

We’ve said it so much that it has to be true: The Connected Home isn’t the future. It is definitely the present, and the smartphone is the new control panel. INSTEON is front and center in this area, and we were eager to check out its customizable solutions.The Starter Kit INSTEON sent us to review contains some of the elements that connect one’s home; the retail packaging contains the INSTEON Hub and two on/off modules. The former serves as the brain of the system, while the latter serve as elements that help effect control.--Tre Lawrence


Nyrius Songo HiFi Wireless Music Receiver

Understanding what the Nyrius purports to do is the key to understanding the proposed functionality; it works as a wireless receiver that collects signals from a Bluetooth source — like an Android device — and allows the audio to be played on a sound system that accepts wired signal from the puck itself. In essence, it bridges a Bluetooth source to an output unit (like a stereo or sound system without a Bluetooth chip) so that, say, music can be played. This is especially useful when one wants to continue using traditional devices, or even for folks like me, who prefer wired connections but like or need to go wireless for one reason or another.--Tre Lawrence

This Week at 148App: March 23-27, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on March 30th, 2015

Spring Roars In 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.


Final Fantasy Record Keeper

There’s no denying that Final Fantasy All the Bravest received a rather unfriendly reception on the App Store. There’s also no denying that people are going to be inclined to think of Final Fantasy Record Keeper as more of the same.I’d urge you not to write it off so quickly, though. While it’s not an all-star tour de force like, say, Dissidia, it’s still a decent stroll down Memory Lane. There’s some mumbo jumbo about paintings of the various Final Fantasy universes being guarded in one location, and said paintings are being corrupted while some sinister influence is spreading across the land. The two might be (read: totally are) related. Really it’s just a tenuous excuse to let players romp through 16-bit recreations of classic Final Fantasy moments throughout the series. And I’m okay with this. --Rob Rich


Star Squad Space Rescue

When you think of bullet-hell games, you think of waves of bullets coming at you - and also the waves that you can inflict upon others. Star Squad Space Rescue isn’t like other bullet-hell games, though. Those waves might keep coming at you, but you don’t have anything to fire back in defense. Instead, Star Squad Space Rescue is all about ducking and weaving your way around such attacks, and hoping you can survive longer than last time.That means that Star Squad Space Rescue is an often tense game to play. It is, however, very simple to learn. You use your finger to move the ship around, enjoying the fact that it offers a mercifully small hitbox. That means you can quickly move through very small gaps, and you’re going to need to, a lot.-- Jennifer Allen


Impecca Bamboo Bluetooth Keyboard

Yes. It's a keyboard. Yes, it has a unique, natural finish.It's Impecca's Bamboo Wireless Keyboard.The styling is interesting - the bamboo finish all but defines the product from the get-go and the wood exterior tops the keys and most of the top surface, with dark brown lining on the sides. The grain of the wood is probably the best aspect of its appearance, with a polished feel that is almost surprising; the natural imperfection creates a somewhat regal look.It seems compact, but it comes as close to being a full-size keyboard as any portable unit. Coming in at 11 x 6.6 x 0.6 inches, it is only a hair smaller than the typical Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. It's full QWERTY, and mimics said Apple keyboard closely with regards to layout, with six rows that encompass function keys, numbers, and option/tab buttons. At the top right there is a LED for battery level and Bluetooth. The bottom has the same bamboo finish, and there is an extra ledge that allows the otherwise flat keyboard to be raised at the front. Towards the front, right around dead center, there's a micro-USB port for charging. --Tre Lawrence


Mr. Jump

The idea is as simple as the name. Mr Jump has to jump from platform to platform, in order to progress to the next stage. He automatically runs with your taps dictating when he jumps and how high. It can’t really get much simpler than this. That doesn’t mean it’s easy though, not by a long shot.Speedy reactions are vital here with mostly everything harming Mr Jump. Even bouncing off a wall will cause him to fail the stage. He’s that sensitive. The first level simply offers you one form of jump, while the second stage introduces a way in which to form a double jump. That explains the difficulty increase along the way.You’ll die frequently as you go along, but the restart button is quick, giving you an indication of how far you’ve got in a stage, and urging you to go that bit further next time. And you will, you’ll keep chipping away at the stage, keen to get further and come across something even harder along the way. --Jennifer Allen


CARROT Weather

Over the past couple of years, the CARROT series of apps have done a great job of berating you while also motivating you to complete all manner of things from getting up on time to clearing your To-Do List. While its latest instalment, CARROT Weather, can’t change the weather (no matter how angry it gets), it is an entertaining way to get the facts.Starting out, there’s a choice to go with your current location or to pick out a different place, a small but important touch. As soon as you pick a place, you get the full grumpy CARROT experience. While some voice intros can be simply ‘weather forecasted’, there’s also the inclusion of such delights as ‘I’ve got a collection of 6,241 fingers that were lost to frostbite’ to indicate that, yes, it’s pretty cold in Chicago right now. --Jennifer Allen


Adventures of Poco Eco

Controlling curious explorer, Poco Eco, you wander your way around some delightfully designed levels by tapping on where you want him to go next. Being challenged is rare as Adventures of Poco Eco - Lost Sounds is more about exploration than conquest. Progressing to the next section is usually a matter of running over a button to activate it, thereby moving a platform to form a path for you. A small red spirit guides your way, showing where you need to head to next.Around a dozen levels are there and, admittedly, they won’t take hugely long for you to complete. Anyone who’s played a platformer before will know what to expect when it comes to button tapping and wandering. It’s clear that Adventures of Poco Eco - Lost Sounds is aimed at those who haven’t played many (if any) platforms before. -- Amy Solomon


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


Nyrius Songo HiFi Wireless Music Receiver

The review sample we were sent is the retail version, and contains the Bluetooth puck, power adapter, auxiliary to RCA cable, standard 3.55mm audio cable and documentation.Now, once out of the box, if the main piece surprised me with its size — and it did, as I expected it to be a tad bigger — it definitely surprised me with regards to the weight, being only 2.4 ounces on a frame of 3.2 x 2.8 x 0.79 inches officially. The main unit is a rectangular cuboid, crafted in hard black plastic that is only broken up by required labeling, company logo and input/connection ports.The ports are for power, 3.55mm audio out and, interestingly enough, optical input. --Tre Lawrence


Kenu Stance Micro-USB Tripod

When it comes to a cool accessory, give me one that is small, portable, and effective. You know, just like what the Kenu Stance Micro-USB Tripod claims to be.To give one an idea of how compact this tripod is, it just about fits in the palm of one’s hand. Out of the box, it is fairly nondescript, with brushed sinc-alloy making up most of the legs. It possesses a neon green topper (the MicroMount, made of “grilamid” composite material) that fits into a micro-USB port; similarly colored thermoplastic rubber covers the end of the legs. At first glance, it is clear that the the legs are somewhat irregular, but are engineered to lay plush together when the unit is not being used. Altogether, it comes in at 0.94 x 0.47 x 3.1 inches and only 1.2 ounces. --Tre Lawrence


Jabra Sport Wireless+ Headphones

As we like to say, being connected is a privilege, more and more aspects of our lives are becoming portions of IoT, and our smartphones are becoming the de facto hubs. This is so very obvious in the area of fitness and health, where accessories are quite the rage.With Jabra’s Sports Wireless+ Bluetooth Headphones, we get to see a formidable option from an industry vet. --Tre Lawrence

This Week at 148Apps: October 27- 31, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on November 3rd, 2014

Another Week of Expert App Reviews


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.

Retry

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


Logitech Protection + Power iPhone 5/5s Case

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


Dragon Quest II

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


Agents of Storm

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


Toca Boo

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


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

Trigger Happy

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


Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor

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


Smart Dynamo Activity Tracker

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.

March with Pridefest, a New LGBT-Themed Game Coming Soon

Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 18th, 2014

Atari announced today their development of Pridefest a 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.”

You can sign up for updates about Pridefest on their website PridefestGame.com

OmniFocus 2 Now Supports TextExpander

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 17th, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: OMNIPOTENT :: Read Review »

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.

Track Your Stats For Destiny With Destiny Companion

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.

Dead Trigger 2 Now Offers Weekly Tournaments, New Weapons, and Plenty More

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 16th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: GOOD GETS BETTER :: Read Review »

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.

Twake Alarm Lets You Take a Selfie The Moment You Wake Up

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.