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EA Doesn't Announce Peggle 2 for iOS, But We All Know It's Coming

Posted by Jeff Scott on August 20th, 2013

EA today announced that Peggle 2 is coming "exclusively first" to the Xbox One. To borrow a phrase from the great Mandy Patinkin in Princess Bride "You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means." Exclusive means exclusive: only one. But Peggle 2 will not be exclusive to the Xbox One. It will come to other platforms, and we can rest assured that it will come to iOS at some point.

In this instance, Microsoft has made so many mistakes with the Xbox One that they are struggling to get attention back. So they pay EA a bunch of money to make Peggle 2 and other games "exclusive" to the Xbox One - for a short period of time. Maybe even as little as a month. Microsoft thinks they look awesome, then we get Peggle 2 a few weeks later on the only platform that really matters, iOS. The Xbox One sells way fewer consoles than Microsoft expected, and mobile finally starts to get the attention it deserves. Wow, I think I just saw into the future.

I'll keep going and guess that it will be announced for iOS in January and be released right after that. And it will be free to play - that is almost a guarantee at this point.

So, um, Peggle 2, yeah. From the short demo shown at Gamescom in Germany, it looks like the original Peggle with more sparkles. Just more levels, and something called "Peggle Masters." Masters are characters in the game that have their own power-ups and abilities. Also included are multiplayer modes. We'll let you know more once the Microsoft exclusivity runs out. Here are a couple screen grabs of Peggle 2 from the EA press conference.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 and the Mind Game of Microtransactions

Posted by Blake Grundman on August 19th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: FANTASTIC FREEMIUM FUN :: Read Review »

In an age where developers are micro-transacting their consumers beyond belief, it is refreshing to hear of the occasional development team willing to take a stand against it. In the most recent example, the financial relief comes from the good folks over PopCap Games. Their most substantial iOS offering to date, Plants vs. Zombies 2, made the unexpected move to free-to-play - much to the chagrin of their audience. Oddly enough, that shift may have actually been the best thing to happen to cash-strapped gamers in recent memory. So how can studios go against the monetization grain and still manage to sustain a profit? A simple change of perspective can go a long way.

Traditionally in-app purchases within free games were viewed under the microscope of paying a cost in order to either continue playing, or unlock an item that will make an unbeatable adversary more manageable. Essentially it boils down to being a pay-to-win structure. In either scenario there is a wide spread negative connotation associated with purchases, drowning in a bubbling cauldron of frustration and anger. When the main motivation behind opening a wallet is to make something that is undesirable cease happening, it feels more like being held hostage than acquiring something beneficial. It might even be fair to say that this is likely the reason that so many folks look down their nose at free-to-play titles.

While working on Plants vs. Zombies 2, the team over at PopCap hit on the discovery that purchases could actually be driven by positivity instead. For example: certain special crops are made available exclusively for purchase with cash through the in-game store. These seeds may be overpowered for a short period, and slightly flashier in terms of presentation, but over time the items that are unlocked simply by continuing to progress through the campaign will end up being just as useful, if not more so. Also, players have the chance to pay to unlock new worlds if they are uninterested in playing through the additional stage permutations in order to clear obstacles the “good old fashioned way.”

The main differentiation is that these acquisitions are completely unnecessary in order to move through the game. In reality they act as more a shortcut for those that don’t have the fortitude of the multitude. Under most circumstances there are only positive underlying motivations associated these purchases; primarily consisting of the desire to play more of a game that they already love, which most will gladly do with a smile. After all, people are far more willing to part with their precious greenbacks when they feel like there's a tangible reward on the other side of a transaction.

PopCap, along with a select handful of other developers, may have finally cracked the nut that the industry has been trying to shell for years. Here’s to hoping that more will pay close attention and make efforts to follow suit. Who knew that future of mobile gaming could be forever transformed, all thanks to a slight shift of perspective?

This Week at 148Apps: August 12-16, 2013

Posted by Chris Kirby on August 17th, 2013

Shiny Happy App Reviews

The App Store can be a daunting place. What to try? What to buy? How do you know? Thank goodness the review team at 148Apps is here to save the day. 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.

Plants vs. Zombies 2

Game development is a fickle business. One day a studio is the talk of the industry and the next it’s scrambling to save face. Rarely is a team able to attain success and remain a darling of both the press and gamers alike. PopCap is one of the exceptions to the rule that somehow manage to impress, no matter what the obstacle. Their newest offering, Plants vs. Zombies 2, could put all of their hard-earned credibility on the chopping block by opting to implement a free-to-play monetization structure. Does the freemium model suit the franchise, or is this an unnecessary stir of the pot? --Blake Grundman


A new app has landed that is simple yet amazing. Notograph is essentially a way to take notes with photographs. It allows users to capture photos of things that they need to remember, and it stores them in a separate location so users don’t fill up their Camera Roll or Photo Stream with pictures that get in the way of their memories. Every time Notograph is opened, it takes users straight to the live camera. It’s designed for quick captures so there’s no messing around with features that aren’t needed. Just tap on the big yellow button to capture. Next to the capture button, users can turn the flash on or off, alternate between the front and back cameras, and view a list of captured pictures. --Angela LaFollette

TeeVee 2

There are a lot of good TV shows out there nowadays to keep track of. Sure, there are a lot of terrible TV to keep track of too, and TeeVee 2 doesn’t discriminate. It just wants to serve as a quick way to track TV shows and see when they’re coming on next. Just search for a show in a widely-available database, and it will be added to the list left under three categories: “upcoming” for shows that have scheduled upcoming episodes, “announced” for shows that are still airing but don’t have future episodes scheduled yet, and the “dead” section serves as a painful reminder that America rejected the witty antics of Happy Endings. America, for shame. --Carter Dotson

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Paint and Play HD

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Paint and Play HD is a unique and fun coloring book app that helps children explore 2D and 3D animation. An iPhone version of this app is also available. This application consists of the classic Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse who star in three separate areas of this app, each including various objects which can be painted. When this app opens up for the first time, children will notice three rooms from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – starkly white and without color yet nicely decorated with many props and other objects that one would expect from fully furnished rooms as well as an outdoor scene. These areas – the living room, kitchen, and garden – each include many details that one would expect; be it easy chair or shelf, counter or cupboard, trees and flowers – all in need of some creative color. One can even add personal touches to Mickey and Minnie as well – a nice feature that I really enjoy. --Amy Solomon


Taking plenty of inspiration from last year’s social gaming phenomenon, Draw Something, ScribbleMix is a fun re-imagining of the popular format with just enough to make it seem different. This time round, players must draw an entire phrase rather than one word. It makes a significant difference, too, both in terms of challenge and in terms of entertainment value. Rather than simply drawing a cheerleader, one might have to draw a cheerleader dancing in the sea for instance. As the Disney name is strongly attached here, there are Disney themed moments, too, such as my favorite: Iron Man bouncing in a desert. Plenty of categories are available so it’s convenient to be able to use some of the in-app currency to either re-spin for another shot, or choose a different category. --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:


After the Gods-An Augmented Reality God Game

Sometimes you’ll come across a game that deserves and needs to be looked at differently. To give After the Gods a score out of ten would be missing the point and would stop discussion before it even began. Why is this? Because, quite simply, After the Gods isn’t a particularly good game. It consists of a fairly basic premise that’s easy to achieve. You have to tap on different statues to activate them and then move your camera around to call upon the selected God’s power. Rain, wind and the power over light are all combined to complete a couple of different objectives. For to get flowers to grow, you need it to be raining and sunny. After a couple of these ‘objectives’, the game’s over. 6 out of ten. --Matt Parker

Gurk III-The 8-Bit RPG

I wanted to start this review by saying how Gurk was an old-school RPG from the olden days, but quick Googling turned up the fact that there was no such thing, and my memory is playing tricks on me. Well, how about that. It’s actually quite a modern-day RPG that was simply made to look like it’s a clone of an old-school game. Still, it doesn’t mean that the game is in any way bad. Conversely, it’s one of the most absorbing role-playing games on the mobiles, and it manages to be like that with only a handful of pixels and colors to spare. In Gurk III, three heroes, a mage, a warrior, and an archer, have to travel across lands and dungeons, eradicating all enemies that are all too eager to munch on their squishy human faces. They are represented by a single icon on the global map, but when encountering an enemy, the map will zoom up on them, and they will fight the enemies in a turn-based battle mode. As in all the other RPGs, there are tons of items to find, and tons of gold to collect. --Tony Kuzmin


There’s a problem with QbQbQb, and so many other puzzle games, from a reviewer’s perspective: they are impossible to describe. They look fine and simple, when I play them, but when I have to put them on paper – it was easier to describe my feelings to a girl I liked in fifth grade, and get a lifetime of shame, than to explain this stuff. Although QbQbQb is difficult to understand from the screenshots, or my ramblings, it’s actually very simple to play. That said, it’s not easy – and it’s a great combination. Simple to learn, impossible to master. The challenge comes from the twisted way the game looks. It’s a Tetris-esque match-something arcade, but instead of giving a traditional flat surface to throw the incoming bricks on, QbQbQb opts for a circular one. To put it simply: there are various shapes, falling onto a planet from all angles, and the player needs to rotate the planet around its axis, to put them in the required places on top of it. The planet only rotates by 30-degree angles, so there are 12 possible positions the pieces are coming from, and can be placed on, which makes it a bit more manageable. But still difficult to wrap the head around, in the heat of the action. --Tony Kuzmin

Plants vs. Zombies 2 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Blake Grundman on August 15th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: FANTASTIC FREEMIUM FUN
Who knew that zombies existed in every historic era? Don't miss out on this journey of epic proportions!
Read The Full Review »

Plants vs. Zombies 2 To Release On The App Store Tomorrow, August 15th

Posted by Andrew Stevens on August 14th, 2013

It's almost here, again. Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time is set to launch tomorrow, August 15th, after originally being planned for a July 18th release. Mac Rumors reports that PopCap delayed the game to provide improvements and tweaks to its in-app purchase system. I guess that's what happens when you go the freemium route!

Prepare yourself for all the defensive action tomorrow, and keep an eye out for our review in the morning!

E3 2013: Plants vs Zombies 2 Is All About Time (For Real)

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on June 12th, 2013

In the sequel to PopCap's hit lane-based defense game, Plants vs Zombies 2 takes players through three different times and places, including Ancient Egypt, The Wild West, and the Pirate Seas, bringing a whole host of new mechanics to the game, including Plant Food power ups and special destructive power buttons.

You'll also see a whole new way of seeing your progression in the game with the big over world map, themed per time and world. THe game is looking great, and we got to play through a couple of levels of time-traveling fun.

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Plants Vs Zombies 2: It's About Time To Launch In July

Posted by Andrew Stevens on May 6th, 2013

It's been announced that Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time will launch this July, though still no decision on what exact day. Pocket Gamer also mentions, while there isn't a lot of detail, that Plants vs Zombies 2 will feature a "bevy of new features, settings, and situations" for gamers to experience.

Bookworm Heroes Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on April 22nd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CUTE WORDINESS
As cute and charming as other Bookworm games, Bookworm Heroes pits player against player in a battle of word creation.
Read The Full Review »

Bookworm Heroes Is A Battle Of Words

Posted by Andrew Stevens on April 19th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CUTE WORDINESS :: Read Review »

PopCap Games has released Bookworm Heroes, a free-to-play word game that lets players go head-to-head against Facebook friends or random opponents. Players take turns building words with letter tiles and can use bonuses and scoring boosts to increase their chances of winning.

“We’re ecstatic to introduce the next chapter of Bookworm to iOS users in a new adaptation that brings multiplayer and social gameplay to what’s previously been a solitary player experience,” said Scott Willoughby, Bookworm franchise director at PopCap Games. “Bookworm Heroes adds a new level of fun and challenge among friends, plus a ton of extras that we believe make this the best Bookworm iteration yet.”

Solitaire Blitz Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 22nd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FAST PACED CARDS
A Facebook favorite comes to iOS, but on this format, it's not the King of the Card Game pack, just yet.
Read The Full Review »

Popcap's Solitaire Blitz Hitting iOS Soon

Posted by Jeff Scott on March 14th, 2013

Solitaire Blitz was a pretty big hit on Facebook when it debuted there last year. That game is now coming to iOS and is currently live in the Canadian App Store.

Here's an video of the game being played on the iPad. We play through a couple hands and it is enjoyable though not as good as the similarly-playing Fairway Solitaire from Big Fish Games in the current version.

Solitaire Blitz seems to be set up to be as a free to play game and it'll be interesting to see how aggressive the monitization of Solitaire Blitz will be. As of now, you can play 5 times for free with one more free game coming every ten minutes.

It should be launched globally soon. We'll let you know as soon as it's live.

Plants vs. Zombies Now Free!

Posted by Jeff Scott on February 21st, 2013

Both the iPhone and iPad versions of Plants vs Zombies are now free. Likely they will be the Apple app of the week in iTunes this week.

It's a great casual strategy game and now for free!

Plants Vs Zombies Trading Cards On Sale Now, Profits To Benefit Charity

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on November 28th, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: Grows on you :: Read Review »

PopCap's popular game, Plants vs Zombies, has Trading Cards, and they're on sale now for a limited time. You can buy them in 4-packs with seven cards in each pack, or the whole shebang with the full retail box, containing all 50 base cards and 10 special cards that include things like stickers and temporary tattoos. The full box also comes with either a signature card or a special sketch card from artist Rich Werner.

The sale ends this Friday, November 30th, so if this interests you, head over to the PopCap store now!

Solitaire Gets Crazy in Popcap's Solitaire Blitz

Posted by Rob Rich on October 25th, 2012

I profess I tend to spend a decent amount of time playing virtual solitaire these days, mostly thanks to some ridiculously early commutes. So it’s a game I’m quite familiar with, although I haven’t come anywhere close to mastering it. Why is this significant? Because Popcap is bringing their popular Facebook adaptation, Solitaire Blitz to iOS and I’m expecting to have a grand old time with it.

The rules of Solitaire Blitz are both familiar and totally new. Players still have to empty their cards into piles by following a particular sequence, but suits and linear progression don’t matter anymore. A King can be tossed on a Queen, to be followed by another Queen, then a Jack. Or it could go 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, Ace. But while this might sound like the challenge has been sucked out of the classic solo card game, the fact of the matter is it still makes for an intense game. Mostly thanks to the never pausing 60-second time limit and slots (up to four) for placing cards that have to be unlocked.

It makes for some rather frantic card shuffling as you attempt to spot anything and everything that can get tossed on a pile, attempt to plan ahead to avoid getting stuck, and search out any cards featuring a key icon that will unlock those essential extra card slots. All of this while the clock keeps ticking down. No specifics have been given regarding price yet but we can all look forward to one of the most intense games of solitaire ever this November.

Vacation Quest: The Hawaiian Islands Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Carter Dotson on October 5th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: A BAFFLING VACATION
Vacation Quest: The Hawaiian Islands is PopCap's take on the hidden object game, with a Hawaiian twist.
Read The Full Review »