Posts Tagged Reviews

This Week at 148Apps: August 5-9, 2013

Expert App Reviews

 

Yet another week has passed, and that means the 148Apps reviewers have combed through the vast numbers of new apps out there in hopes of reviewing the latest and greatest. 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. 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.

My.Shopping

 
shopping

Offering a quite powerful way in which to organize one’s shopping, My.Shopping isn’t going to win prizes for simplicity or minimalism, but it might suit those looking for a more complex solution than the usual methods. A cluttered interface introduces proceedings but a clearly laid out plus sign does at least guide users the right way. It’s possible to add product names and sellers so they’re easier to include in the future, as well as actual shopping lists. Being able to configure sellers accurately to include local area details is a potential option, too. –Jennifer Allen

Disney Animated

 
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Disney animated films are kiiiiinda popular, and have been ever since Snow White was released in 1937. They’ve been going strong ever since. Countless books both official and not have been published documenting the company’s techniques, movies, and so on. However, I don’t think any of them, or even all of them put together, hold a candle to Disney Animated. Disney Animated isn’t a simple eBook. Oh no. It’s an interactive encyclopedia of all fifty-three of Disney’s feature length animated films. Ten different chapters explain the history of the animation giant, its methods (past and present), character development, music, and more. Each of these sections explains a core concept and offers up several detailed examples that can be viewed, and often directly interacted with, via a single tap. Curious about Disney’s animation techniques over the years? Check out the chapter on Animation and view dozens of samples from Lady and the Tramp, The Lion King, Tangled, and more. Or maybe take a stab at animation itself by doing some simple skeletal adjustments using a model of Vanellope from Wreck-it-Ralph. There’s a remarkable amount of information for Disney fans to appreciate here, and a significant portion of it is either animated, interactive, or both. –Rob Rich

Mikey Hooks

 
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Mikey Hooks takes the sublime speed-run platformer Mikey Shorts and adds grappling hooks to it. I love Mikey Shorts and I love grappling hook games. I’m no mathematician (I’m a writer instead) but that adds up to Mikey Hooks being an incredible game. Through 24 story levels and 12 race levels, players must run, jump, and swing their way through levels as quickly as possible. As this is the second game in the series, the training wheels have been taken off: now players have limited health and can die when touching spikes, and there’s a lot more freedom in path-taking as the trapped humans aren’t in the levels any more. The story levels still have challenges for collecting all the coins (which are used to unlock a wild variety of new disguises) and finding the hidden golden shorts in each level. –Carter Dotson

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 
We are happy to announce that all past and future Giggleapps content will now be featured throughout 148Apps. Here’s some of what Giggleapps writer Amy Solomon brought to the table this week:

Create & Learn Apptivity Case from Fisher Price

 
apptivity

Recently, I have been given the chance to test a new iPad case, the Create & Learn Apptivity Case from Fisher Price. This case is compatible with 1st 2nd and 3rd generation as well as the new iPad, but a camera is needed to access a section of the related application of the same name. I remember when we first got our iPad 3, my husband was intent on encasing our device in something that would be utterly protected from our sometimes irresponsible – if not occasionally downright reckless – five year old boy. Our old case has done the trick as our iPad has never seen any damage, but not without some cost, as my husband announced after some time struggling to get this piece of hardware onto the iPad that he was NEVER, EVER taking this case off, as it was too difficult to do so. Of course, as we had been given the chance by Fisher Price to review not only this iPad case, but two previously reviewed Apptivity play sets as well, it was understood that this case would have to come off, which it did, with a lot of cajoling. –Amy Solomon

Symmetry School

 
symmetry

Symmetry School: Learning Geometry is an app for iPad that helps children understand the principles of symmetry in this engrossing interactive app. Both reflective and rotational symmetry are touched upon here as children drag differently colored geometric shapes onto a grid that needs to be filled in accordingly. Three levels of difficulty are included for both the reflective and rotational sections of this app. Children will have the easiest time starting to explore this app with the reflective section as this is symmetry they may find familiar such as in a mirror image, looking at the details of butterfly wings, or creating Rorschach-like art by adding paint to a folded piece of paper and distributing color equally between both halves. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes

 
might and magic

How long should a game last? Are you the type of person that demands 30 hours of gameplay before you’d even consider purchasing a title? Well, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes has got you covered. This game is huge. Try and bear in mind I’m being quite relative with my usage of the word ‘huge’. It’s no Skyrim, but for your average Android download, Clash of Heroes contains a campaign that easily clocks in at over 30 hours. Is this a good thing, though? Do we want to grind through 30 hours of Clash of Heroes? It will all come down to how much you enjoy the game’s basic structure and combat. Clash of Heroes is a Strategy RPG title. Battles are turn based and at the end of each fight, you’ll level up, gain EXP and all sorts of other RPG tropes are thrown in. –Matt Parker

Rail Rush

 
railrush

Yes, Rail Rush may induce a double take. In a good way, that is. A decrepit, seemingly endless mine shaft is the scene of this caper; the playing environment is mostly made up of the the running area that this type of running game is known for, but the running path appears as a three-lane rail track that is treacherous in its condition, and the runner is maneuvering a runaway mine cart along the railway. Plenty of obstacles are present, which most of the swipe controls help avoid. Swiping up and down invokes jumping and sucking respectively, while swiping left or right jumps the cart in either direction. This is useful for jumping off of a busted track to a (temporarily) safer one, or for avoiding objects on the tracks. Additionally, there are left and right tilt movements, which are not only effective for avoiding obstacles, but key in collecting gold nuggets, gems and other specials that line the sides of the rails. –Tre Lawrence

Autodesk Homestyler

 
homestyler

Some people used to look at me funny when I’d tell them the best bit about playing The Sims wasn’t drowning people by removing a simple ladder, but that it was the building and design phase that I spent most time on. There’s something about creating your perfect home. Something that The Sims made look so simple and didn’t involve a single piece of Ikea flat-packed furniture. Something so easy about it all. It’s that same feeling that Autodesk Homestyler also evokes. It’s a fairly simple design tool that allows you to place furniture within a preset blank canvas of a room or you can import pictures of your own home. –Matt Parker

Your Source For The Latest App Reviews

 

Every single week, the 148Apps reviewers search through the new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. 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. 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.

Dropchord

 
dropchord07

It’s hard to imagine Double Fine producing something that isn’t a quirky adventure or contains more than a fair bit of bizarre humor. And yet produce Double Fine has, and now we have Dropchord. It’s definitely a departure from the norm, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. Dropchord is a simple-ish rhythm game at its core. Players use two fingers, placed around the outside of a large circle in the center of the screen, to twist and turn a line around the middle. The goal is to grab all the good stuff (glowing orbs and such) while avoiding the bad stuff (bright red bolts of electricity that scream DO NOT TOUCH) by winding and whirling around everything. Hit the red stuff and lose some health, grab enough not red stuff and gain health at the end of the level. Every so often players will also have to forego the spinning as they tap away at various circles that appear on screen in what can best be described as a kind of bonus round. –Rob Rich

Knightmare Tower

 
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Burrito Bison creator Juicy Beast’s latest game, Knightmare Tower is based around offensive gameplay instead of pure survival like other similar vertical endless games. Players control a knight flying upward, and dash downward on top of enemies to hurt them and bounce back up in the air at a higher rate. Combos can accelerate the knight even faster, and powerups can help along the way. The enemies aren’t just there to take a beating: they’ll try to attack the knight and do enough damage to kill them. The other big hazard is lava, aka “Dear Knight, I suggest going faster if the plan is to not burn to death. Love, The Giant Rapidly-Rising Pool of Lava.” I suggest staying out of it. –Carter Dotson

rymdkapsel

 
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Complexity can be a difficult thing to balance in a game, but so can simplicity. Distilling an idea or genre down to its more basic elements is no easy task, especially when trying to do it well, and for that reason alone I think rymdkapsel is worth celebrating. It’s a strategy/sim-lite without any of the typical blandness one would associate with so much fat trimming. Of course that’s not the only reason; it’s also a pretty great game all-around. rymdkapsel is about expanding a space station while simultaneously fighting off waves of hostile attackers. Players must construct various rooms – reactors, gardens, weapons, etc – in order to gather more resources so that they can expand their base, train additional workers, and construct even more rooms. However, the larger the base’s overall area the tougher it is to defend. It encourages planned expansion and interlocking the Tetris-like rooms together in order to keep the station from becoming too spread out. Of course there are also several obelisks scattered around the map that can be researched to enhance things like worker movement speed and weapon attack ranges. It’s a toss-up deciding between hastily crafting a path to a given obelisk, thus sacrificing defensibility, and rushing to acquire better tech early on. –Rob Rich

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 

Pango Playground

 
pango

Pango Playground for kids is a charming universal app for babies and toddlers which adults will enjoy a great deal as well. This app opens up to a very nice assortment of children’s toys such as train tracks or building blocks. Do choose a scene and tap on a number flag 1 to 4 to be taken to a new area. All of these scenes are variations on the same basic assortment of toys, different colorful building blocks, train tracks and chunky wood blocks crafted to look like familiar characters from the Pango series of applications. –Amy Solomon

Art Class With Dr. Panda

 
panda

Art Class with Dr. Panda is a charming new universal interactive app – part of a series of Dr. Panda role-playing apps for young children. As many readers may know, my family really enjoys these apps as they allow children to pretend to take part in many occupations and activities – be it a doctor’s duties or working in a restaurant, supermarket or farm. Here Dr. Panda is teaching an art class to animal children. I enjoy his costumes as he assists children who need help in six different crafts. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Color Zen

 
colorzen

Color Zen is a cool cucumber. It seems to want to tease your brain while calming it. It’s a lofty idea, but thankfully, I love checking out lofty ideas. The game is definitely interesting. The best explanation is received from playing it and actually “feeling” the game. The object of the game is to solve the color-centric puzzles. In the game’s playing area, there is a frame color — a color that covers a thin area around the play grid, kind of like a picture frame. In the grid itself are any number of colored shapes. In general terms, touching any of the colors against another imbibes the second with the color of the first; in other words, the color is absorbed. For simplicity, one of the colors in the grid always matches the color of the outer rim. –Tre Lawrence

Drisk

 
drisk

Remember playing the board game Risk back in the day? If so, I bet one of those memories is how long it took to play the game. In fact, it took almost as long if not longer as a good game of Monopoly. Well, the makers of Drisk came up with a game really similar to Risk but won’t take 6 months to play a full game. Starting out with Drisk, there will be the choice to play a local game or an online game. When playing a local game, the number pf players can be selected as well as if they are actual people or computer players. When playing online, the sign in is done through a Scoreloop account. This is mandatory to play online. To get the hang of the game, it’s a good idea to watch the tutorial. It goes pretty quick but it gives you a basic idea of how the controls work. If any questions arise, take a look at the help button on the main menu screen to hopefully answer them. –Trevor Dobrygoski

Space Beats

 
spacebeats

Ever imagined something like Dance Dance Revolution for the fingers? Yes! We all have, and Space Beats is just the game for folks with sturdy digits, keen eyes and wrists that move to the rhythm. Nimble fingers win the day. Simply put, you tap rapidly forming three-dimensional objects with the beat to keep the music going. The pieces to the orbs all come in from different angles, playing havoc on the eyes. Tapping on the orb scores points, but actually tapping on it to the beat scores even more. An arcade-type game is not worth its salt without multipliers, and in this aspect, this game is worth its salt; there are multipliers to be had, and they can be invoked by tapping. Additionally, the freestyle level is yet another change of pace, allowing players to tap on beat for even more points. –Tre Lawrence

Your App Authority

 

Week-in and week-out, the 148Apps reviewers search through the new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. 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. 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.

Gentlemen!

 
gentlemen

Occasionally frantic, Gentlemen! is never short of gloriously great fun. Lone gamers won’t be so keen given that it’s exclusively for two players, but it’s the perfect reason to get a friend involved. The idea is simple enough: players must defeat each other in a duel to the death. Just like in the old days of honor and explosive birds, ok, maybe not so much. Presented in portrait mode, each player’s controls are set on opposite sides of the screen. In a nice move, menu buttons and other descriptions are similarly laid out, for either player to easily interact with. Controls are simple with left and right, alongside a gravity flip button and the use of a weapon. Weapons vary, mostly thanks to a switch in the middle of each game enabling players to change around. Knives, bombs, dynamite, electric shields and explosive birds all play a role, each offering their own advantages and disadvantages. It’s as zany as it sounds, while adding a surprising tactical edge to proceedings. –Jennifer Allen

PhotoNova 2

 
photonova

I have a handful of photo apps on my iPhone 5 that I keep handy when I feel like making my pictures look fancy. Each app has its own perks like frames, filters and adjustments. I tend to rotate between them until I find the one that transforms my picture into a work of art. I’m always on the lookout for new photo apps because I’m really looking for that one that will replace all my other go to camera apps. I reviewed PhotoNova+ 2 a few months ago, which is a free version of their paid app. PhotoNova 2 offers users more advanced features like a variety of selection tools, an option to switch out the background of photos that have a green background and an impressive effects selection. –Angela LaFollette

Tangent

 
tangent

Many photography apps tend to do quite similar things to imagery, mostly involving applying filters to photographs. Tangent doesn’t quite do that. It might involve applying new effects to an image, but through a vector art style overlay, improvements are being added to the image, rather than replacing anything. There’s a fairly simple process to follow throughout the app. Users can either import or take a photo directly from within, before opting for a specific style. Tangent offers both straight-forward and quick applications, as well as plenty of choice for those who want to adjust things individually. Shapes form the first set of choices, with circles, rectangles, triangles and plenty more, available to apply to an image. It sounds gimmicky, but it can really set off a photo nicely, giving focus to the important part of a photo. There are plenty of shapes available too, with in-app purchases provided for those who want even more choice. That’s a trend that continues throughout, with plenty of additional blends and colors available at a price. Fortunately, it’s always possible to preview them first. –Jennifer Allen

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 

ABC Aquarium

 
aquarium

Peapod Labs has developed a favorite series of educational ABC apps and has recently added two new titles – ABC Aquarium and ABC Bugs, each terrifically educational and including exceptional photography to allow children to view these different creatures in a way that highlights all of their unique attributes. Each of these apps, now eleven and counting, features a wide amount of content, including terrific, detailed photos of each subject as well as narrated fun facts, curated videos gathered from the Internet and simple, intuitive interactions which young children will enjoy a great deal. –Amy Solomon

Gro Recycling

 
gro

Gro Recycling is a cute and fun interactive universal app that allows children to sort recycling into different receptacles, totaling six in all, including a unique choice of recycling batteries as well as a compost container. Game play is charming and intuitive as one simply drags a piece of recycling to be recycled to the correct container, as these bins happily and hungrily eat what they are being served, while a mistake will result in the spitting out of the wrong material. This app is lovingly styled with the delightful humanizing of these recycling bins as cartoony faces, which are included with fun, witty noises that each of these characters makes, hungry to eat recycled materials. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Attack of the Spooklings

 
spooklings

Mobile games that offer their players to smash the opponents using nothing but their very fingers were at the very start of the touch-screen revolution, but lately it seems that somewhat counter-intuitive habit of putting buttons on touch-screen has largely rendered the “clean” touch-screen games mostly obsolete. Someone should analyze this trend to some revealing, but ultimately unnecessary results. Regardless, we’re here to talk about Attack of the Spooklings. It’s a fine, but incredibly simple game. How simple? It takes longer to read this sentence than to see the whole game. It’s not surprising, considering that it consists of an astonishing single screen, and single enemy. While I’m all for the games with minimalistic design, they should also be complemented with really incredible gameplay. Attack of the Spooklings is quite exciting for some time, sure, but it simply lacks any sort of complexity to be interesting. –Tony Kuzmin

GP Retro

 
gpretro

GP Retro is a racing game that isn’t scared to rock looks of old, and I suspect it is aware of my abject weakness for titles that bring back the wonderful things of days gone by. The game comes at us in glorious 2D, and in this one, retro is no misnomer. The chunky pixels underscore the jittery unsure animations that make these type of games fun to look at. The purposely un-sharp colors were done well, and even the intro pages for the drivers were nicely formatted to fit with the retro look. As for gameplay, it is basically top-down view simulated Grand Prix open-wheel (to start) racing over mostly asymmetrical raceways. Sharp turns characterize the racing; losing control and ending up on grass slows down the race car considerably. There are valuables and power-ups to be collected, as well as hazards to be avoided. –Tre Lawrence

Cross Horizon

 
cross horizon

Yes, I know: there are a LOT of RPG titles for Android. Can Cross Horizon be one that is worth checking out? The dialogue cutscenes were okay, but where the game really excels is in the “live” action sequences. These graphical representations highlight the fantasy world in rich three dimensional form, with perspectives done quite well. The greenery is not too green, and while the shrubbery won’t be confused for a live wallpaper, they work in the context of the game. The mythical creatures look suitably gruesome, and the animations (especially attacks) are relatively life-like. The entire art presentation makes the game stand out in a positive way. I liked the customization options. At the beginning of the game, I got the opportunity to create a character. Face, skin color, hair type… even the shape of the eye can be tweaked. In a post-racial world (stop and dream with me), options like this signal, to me, the work of a developer that has an eye on details. –Tre Lawrence

Your App Authority

 

Every week, the 148Apps reviewers comb through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. 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. 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.

We also went deep in our coverage of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, with a review, strategy guides, and a Commander’s diary. Be sure to check that all out.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

 
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The original X-Com: UFO Defense has been one of my all time favorite games for almost 20 years. There’s something about the combination of naming soldiers after friends and family members, carefully trying to manage finances and tech trees, and the tense search for hostile aliens in unfamiliar terrain that still excites me to this day. So when it was announced that Firaxis, the developers behind the latest entries in the Civilization series, were going to release a modern update of the 1994 classic I was both supremely excited and ridiculously nervous. Of course I was worried about XCOM: Enemy Unknown for nothing. It turned out to be a fantastic re-imagining of my favorite strategy game that trimmed away a lot of the unnecessary fat and added a few more contemporary elements to create an incredibly compelling experience. Then it was announced that Firaxis and 2K China were going to take that same experience and somehow cram it on to iOS devices. Again I found myself excited and worried at the same time. And again I was worried for nothing. –Rob Rich

Where’s My Mickey XL

 
mickey

Disney’s Where’s My Water series has been both a success both financially as well as creatively, with its original incarnation bringing unique physics gameplay and an original character to the table. Now, Disney has expanded the series in part by integrating their known characters into the gameplay. The problem has been that they just haven’t fit all that well: Perry from Phineas & Ferb in Where’s My Perry felt like Disney just slapping a character into the formula, and to me at least, it fell flat. So now, we have Where’s My Mickey, which ramps up the character integration from “secondary character on a Disney Channel animated series” to“ the very face of Disney.” Thankfully, the Disney folks decided that with their superstar, they had to bring their A-game to Where’s My Mickey and by gosh golly, they nailed it. –Carter Dotson

Videon

 
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It’s quite difficult to fault Videon. It’s a video recording app that offers mostly everything anyone could want from such a tool. Something that’s bound to be welcomed amongst those planning on recording plenty of videos this summer. Aligning towards many different needs, users can go straight into recording something or choose to change some settings around first. The former is ideal for when the opportunity arises, such as when a child or pet is doing something cute. The latter is great, when planning ahead. –Jennifer Allen

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 

Mini U: Zoo Abracadabra

 
zoo

Mini-U: Zoo Abracadabra for iPad is a charmingly different puzzle app that kids and their parents will both enjoy. This app includes a circus theme where animals create towers holding each other up, creating wondrous shadow-animal shapes. Children are then asked to choose what animal is making up this grand tower from the animal tiles one can select, seen at the bottom of the screen. There are three different levels of difficulty within this app that include an increase in the number both of the animal tiles to choose from as well as the number of the animals balancing together, creating most interesting shapes. –Amy Solomon

Dr. Panda Handyman

 
panda

My family and I are always excited when a new role-playing app becomes available as these types of apps allow children to imagine themselves performing various occupations as well as to engage in pretend play, making these apps favorites in our house. This new app, Dr. Panda Handyman, is such an app, as children work alongside Dr. Panda helping to fix damaged objects of animal friends and neighbors seen within five separate scenes. I enjoy how the different animal connected to each scene may vary as do some of the details found in these scenes. It makes me smile to see some old faces from other apps such as the polar bears or elephants or monkeys, as well as new characters to meet along the way. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Little Nick: The Great Escape

 
nick

Little Nick is a running game game that is based on the popular Nicolas TV and books character. It’s a running game, and the abbreviated top-down view is quite reminiscent of endless runners like Temple Run. In this adventure, we ditch jungle temples and crazed monkey-ish beasts for somewhat suburban streets and Mr Goodman in pursuit. And, we get a bike! For background, Nick is framed for the dastardly destruction of a window, and takes off out the property gates on his two-wheeler to escape the vengeful Goodman after him. But these city streets are littered with obstacles, making escape especially hard. The graphics were more than decent, with good animations. –Tre Lawrence

Warmly
warmly

Warmly is an atypical productivity offering from The Chaos Collective that seemingly wants to make the descriptive term “alarm” a misnomer by changing the way we do alarms and wake patterns in the first place. The opening user interface is a clear cut celebration of simplicity, and hints at the design elements that govern the entire app. It gives a scroll-through window for setting the time (with an AM/PM toggle), and nine (9) big square buttons. After a scheduling check-off and an off and ok button, THAT’S IT. Laid against the soothing yellow backdrop, the relatively minimalist viewers are hard not to like. –Tre Lawrence

Neon Snap

 
neon

Neon Snap is one of those games that soothes the mine just by looking it. With the tetrominoes and gridded space, it is practically impossible to not think of Tetris, if just a little. It’s advisable to avoid getting too caught up in the similarities, as Neon Snap sorta turns the gameplay over on its head. The developer uses simple graphics to frame the game. With a mostly dark backgrounds, the play pieces are brightly colored, and the color of the pieces depends on their respective shapes. The animations are decent; rotations are handled in a utilitarian manner, and everything comes together with a minimalist feel. –Tre Lawrence

We Are Your App Review Source

 

Need to know the latest and greatest apps each and every week? Look no further than 148Apps. Our reviewers comb through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. 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. 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.

Kingdom Rush Frontiers HD

 
kingdomrushfrontiers04

The original Kingdom Rush pretty much took the tower defense world by storm. Our own Greg Dawson thought very highly of it, in fact. Kingdom Rush: Frontiers is meant to deliver more of the same, with an emphasis on “more.” More towers, more heroes, more levels, and so on. But is more necessarily better? Actually it doesn’t really matter when the core experience is so awesome. Kingdom Rush: Frontiers is more or less the same kind of slightly quirky tower defense that fans of the original have come to expect. For the unfamiliar that means lots of funky upgradeable towers with branching development paths, high powered hero units that can turn the tide of a desperate battle, hordes of enemies designed to make a number of tactics seem ineffective, and a ton of humorous references to other video games. Players can construct towers on specific points, use coins earned by slaying enemies to improve them or even evolve them, then hope like heck they’ve planned ahead well enough because the game has a tendency to throw a few curve balls such as massive enemies creating new paths to guard partway through a level. They can also use points earned while playing to upgrade their towers’ effectiveness and teach their hero new skills. –Rob Rich

Shindig Drink Explorers Club

 
shindig

Trying new drinks is part of the fun of going out with friends, but it’s usually difficult to remember these drinks later. The iPhone has made it possible for users to log this information through apps, but there aren’t too many that cater to all alcoholic beverages. Shindig is a new drink journaling app that includes a long list of beers, wines and spirits. It’s a way for users to remember drinks they’ve tried, leave reviews, and share with other community members. It’s essentially an exclusive drink explorers club, where the only membership requirement is to take an oath to try new drinks, create fun and a little weirdness and to never drink alone. –Angela LaFollette

Analog Camera

 
analog

I have a confession to make – I absolutely love camera apps, and so when I heard that Realmac Software had released Analog Camera to the App Store, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! At it’s core, Analog Camera may just seem like the average camera app with filters built-in, in fact, most people might just dismiss it as another knockoff of Camera+, when in fact, this app could easily give Camera+ a run for it’s money. The flat interface of the app is absolutely stunning. If this type of flat interface is in anyway similar to what Apple is purportedly preparing for release in iOS7 then I would be incredibly pleased. The interface of the app allows users to easily understand the controls – although a brief and helpful tutorial is also available the first time they open the app. The filters that are included with the app all work very well, and users can preview what it looks like on their image by holding down on any filter to open a small preview of the potential result. –Ruairi O’Gallchoir

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 

The Poppin Princess

 
poppin

With great enthusiasm, I would like to introduce readers to the new interactive book, The Poppin Princess. This is a marvelously crafted tale, unique in how this storyline is played out, yet also grounded with classic fairytale elements from stories such as Cinderella or The Princess and the Pea to create a perfect new story that children and adults will adore. The look of this app is lovingly stylized, with bold colors and perfectly realized illustrations to create the world of this kingdom, said to be “elegant, refined and sophisticated” – words I would use to describe the look of this storybook as a whole, yet also including a modern, almost indie quality as well. –Amy Solomon

Pettson’s Inventions Deluxe

 
pettsons

Pettson’s Inventions Deluxe is a unique and highly engaging problem solving puzzle app for children as well as adults. Meet Pettson and his cat Findus, and help them build fantastical contraptions while keeping in mind the laws of physics as players add different parts to the machine-like cogs and belts as well as unique items such as a ramp made out of cheese or a flower pot. It is tempting to compare Pettson’s Intentions to a Rube Goldberg machine, and although I think this comparison has some merit, I do not believe it is spot-on as Rube Goldberg device solve simple daily problems such as turning on a light switch with the use of a convoluted and over-built invention. Here, however, there is more of a sense of nonsense as one may devise a way to open and close monster cages as the creatures when loose may scare an animal making it run, pulling a lever behind them, watering flowers to make them instantly grow which may lure a cow to graze, as well as tasks that could include washing a pig or making it snow around the house with the use of an ice cream cone and a windmill. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

The Secret Society

 
secret

G5 pounds out yet another hidden mystery game, this one cloaked as a shadowy thriller. Welcome to The Secret Society. This first person adventure starts with a somewhat cryptic message from my Uncle Richard’s personal secretary, Christy, telling me he has disappeared, and asking me to come the mansion as soon as possible to retrieve a note left for me. The tutorial reveals I have this special power, like my uncle, to move inside of magic pictures. While learning the ins and outs of discovery, I do learn from Uncle Richard’s mysterious letter that he I have control of the mansion… and his seat on the shadowy Order of Seekers. –Tre Lawrence

NBA 2K13

 
nba

While the NBA season is winding down with the NBA Finals (Editor’s Note: That will hopefully end with the San Antonio Spurs crushing the Miami Heat), with basketball simulations, the season does not ever have to end. This is why NBA 2K13, the port of the ever-popular console basketball game for Android devices, is potentially such a breath of fresh air. The actual graphics are, in a word, fantastic. The definition is superb, and there is a clear flair added. Movements are fairly realistic, with special care given to adequately replicate basketball movements. The background scenery was impressive, with exacting care seemingly paid to different NBA arenas. The animations are good as well; I especially like the little things, such as the ubiquitous daps given between free throws. The replay sequences are nice, and even the entertainment/timeout clips looked believable. –Tre Lawrence

After Earth HD

 
earth

After Earth HD is a game that follows in the trend of high-end movies that get companion games on mobile devices. As I’ve noted before, I like the concept… when it’s done right. Well, when Will Smith and son are affiliated, it should be awesome, no? It’s a running game, and it’s hard not to draw parallels with the de facto barometer of the genre, Temple Run. The story is simply a runway to the action. I was a young cadet granted entrance to the exclusive Rangers Training Academy, in the hopes of becoming a guardian of Nova Prime. –Tre Lawrence

Dispatch Review

Dispatch Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Dispatch claims to make triaging one's inbox easier with a bevy of advanced features, but they just prove to be overwhelming and overcomplicated.

Read The Full Review »

Not all games can be winners, and not all the games we review on 148Apps will receive high marks. But the amazing thing about the App Store and mobile game development in general is that there’s always a second (or even a third) chance. Content updates allow developers to address complaints or perceived issues fairly quickly and have the potential to completely turn a game around.

Which is why we’ve decided to take a look at some previously reviewed titles that didn’t go over so well the first time. Each one has been tweaked at least once since we wrote about it and we wanted to see how they might hold up now. Have they been significantly improved or are they only marginally better? Were major issues resolved or are they still dragging the entire experience down?

Lets take a look and see, then.


Puzzle Planets


Original Review Score – 2.5
ReviewerBonnie Eisenman
Known Issues – Severe performance problems including lag and crashing, control issues due to said lag.
Updates – Performance greatly improved with no discernable lag and no crashing, also resulting in improved control.

I like weird stuff like Puzzle Planets, but even I found it to be tough to play, originally. Thankfully, the game-breaking problems that kept Bonnie from enjoying it at launch have been addressed. And it’s all the better for it.

In my time spent building several alien worlds, I’ve never once had it crash on me, and being able to enjoy an iOS game uninterrupted is pretty important. More than that, however, the lag also seems to have disappeared, which makes it much easier to simply enjoy the game itself. All the planet rotating, pinching to form mountains, reverse-pinching to create fissures, and tapping to create volcanoes, as well as spinning the planet around in order to soak up water and distribute it to the barren land masses to create life all perform smoothly and create a kind of zen-like trance after a few rounds. I’ll certainly admit that it would be nice to have more than 15 planets to mess around with, possibly with some distinct characteristics rather than everything looking like “Earth 2.0,” but that doesn’t keep the somewhat simple time-based puzzles from being fun (and looking great) while they last.

$0.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-03-18 :: Category: Games

Minecraft – Pocket Edition


Original Review Score – 2.5
ReviewerRob Thomas
Known Issues – Virtually none of the features that made the PC version so notable, a complete lack of survival mode, barely any blocks to play with, super-tiny worlds.
Updates – Survival Mode, crafting, armor, mobs, a lot more blocks.

Now this is a game I did check out as soon as it was released onto the App Store. And, just like Rob T. (yes, we have a lot of Robs here), I thought it was a colossal disappointment. Nothing but a simplified Creative Mode with an extremely limited block selection. To call it a mere shadow of its older brother on PC would be a massive understatement. However, Mojang made good on its promise of constant updates, and the game has seen a slew of improvements ever since.

To be fair, this still isn’t a 1:1, pocket-sized version of the PC game. Heck, it’s still technically alpha status at the moment. Even so, this month’s update has brought it much closer. New blocks have made it in, sand and gravel are finally affected by gravity, armor can be crafted now, baby animals will appear, and so on. As I’ve said, it’s not PC Minecraft on iOS, but it’s certainly close enough to make me happy. Heck, in some ways I actually prefer it to the original because I can play it anywhere at any time, and it utilizes a much friendlier crafting system that does away with tile placement and simply shows what can be made outright. If it weren’t for the absence of a few features I’d even call it the best version to own. Even so, it’s a fantastic companion to the indie juggernaut Notch started to build all those years ago.

$6.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-11-17 :: Category: Games

The Simpsons: Tapped Out


Original Review Score – 2.0
ReviewerBrad Hilderbrand
Known Issues – Absurdly long real time requirements for performing tasks, an almost unnecessary reliance on premium currency.
Updates – Improved server stability, special holiday events.

The Simpsons: Tapped Out is another game that I myself didn’t play around with until recently. It’s also a bit more complicated of a comparison than the other three games on this list in that virtually none of the issues mentioned in Brad’s review have been addressed. Instead, the real difference is having another perspective.

First I’d like to say that I 100% respect Brad’s opinion on the matter and can totally see where he’s coming from. This game takes time to play. Lots and lots of time. More so than the average freemium title, it seems. However, I don’t necessarily view that as a “bad” thing. The very nature of many free-to-play games makes them ideal for playing in small increments, and that’s no different here. Sure we have to wait 24 hours while Lisa does all of her homework for the week but when factoring in all the other characters that can be acquired and given tasks to complete it doesn’t seem so bad. I’d consider it ideal, actually, since it means I can fiddle with my own personal Springfield, go off and do whatever my day demands, then check back in on occasion. I can’t claim that the game has been “improved” at all in the past year, but I don’t personally think it really needed to be. It’s Springfield in my pocket, and that’s exactly what I was hoping for.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-01 :: Category: Games

Static Quest: The Delivery


Original Review Score – 2.5
ReviewerRay Willmott
Known Issues – Lackluster freemium mechanics that practically force players to pay in order to progress, overly simple gameplay, no staying power.
Updates – Bug fixes for late-game content.

Based on what I’ve read in Ray’s review, I’m willing to chalk this one up to a fairly drastic difference of opinion. Again, I wholly respect Ray’s views and opinions but mine are almost a complete 180 from his.

It’s true that Static Quest: The Delivery is incredibly basic in its “tap either side of the screen” mechanics. However those same mechanics are what make it ideal for quick mobile play sessions. It’s super easy to start up a game for a minute then put it down just as quickly, and with all the various weapons to unlock and upgrade there’s always something to strive for. I’m also rather fond of the retro pixel visuals (as per usual) but I found the special costumes associated with each weapon to be the real treat. I can totally get behind a game that makes the main character look like Ezio from Assassin’s Creed 2 (and up) when he uses a dagger, or like Robin Hood when he equips a bow and arrow. The fact that it’s actually quite fun to play doesn’t hurt, either.

$0.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-06-28 :: Category: Games

This Week at 148Apps: December 10-14

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.

Read the full post at 148Apps.

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.”

Read Amy’s full review at GiggleApps.

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-10-26 :: Category: Education

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.”

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-25 :: Category: Games

Read the full story on AndroidRundown.

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!

This Week at 148Apps: November 19-23

This week at 148Apps.com, we turkey trotted our way into Thanksgiving and the holiday season with a tremendous list of apps for sale, courtesy of site founder Jeff Scott: “Black Friday is the biggest sale day of the year for the big box stores. And the same is true for the App Store. But the good thing about the App Store is there’s virtually 0% chance of getting trampled while trying to get that $39 laptop everyone is racing for.

This week and into Monday we’ll likely see hundreds of iOS games and apps on sale at some really great prices. We’ll be updating this post frequently through Monday with the best of the sale apps and games.”

Want to know more? Read our full Price Drop list at 148Apps.

The holiday spirit continued at GiggleApps.com, with Amy Solomon’s review of Wombi Toys: “Wombi Toys – a toy workshop for kids is a new interactive app that my son is really enjoying.

My son always get so much out of immersive role-playing apps, be it mini-games or more open-ended adventures which allow my son to cook for animals, plant a garden, pretend to be a doctor, fix a car or play tea party.

For those parents who know exactly the genre of app I am talking about, it is worth getting to know Wombi, a Swedish developer with a wonderful sense of style.

They have developed a series of really fun jigsaw puzzles of different themes and other apps that I have also enjoyed, so I was super-excited for the release of Wombi Toys – a toy workshop for kids which allows children to play toy-themed mini-games, building or fixing a very nice variety of toys such as wind-up car, painting alphabet blocks or using a hand pump to inflate a ball as each of these games are cute and fun, tactile as well as intuitive.”

Get your child into the toy workshop and read Amy’s full review at GiggleApps.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-18 :: Category: Games

Finally, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson shared some unfortunate news: One of the biggest names of the early days of touchscreen mobile gaming is about to finally fade away: parent company GREE is shutting down OpenFeint, effective in December.

OpenFeint may not be as fondly remembered on Android as it is on iOS. It was the first real service to provide leaderboards and achievements, a much-desired feature. However, the platform failed to expand upon that core functionality once Game Center kicked in and became ubiquitous; while features like cloud saves were implemented by OpenFeint (and seen in games like INC which provided cross-platform saves) they never took off with developers or the public. However, the service was still purchased by GREE, and has been languishing recently as it transitions in to the GREE Platform.”

Read Carter’s full report on AndroidRundown.

And, as the tryptophan kicks in, we bid you a fond adieu this week. But make sure you keep track of all the latest sales, contests, reviews and news items by following us on Twitter and Facebook. See you next week. Gobble gobble.

This Week at 148Apps: November 12-16

This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre reviewed some exciting new printer technology for everyone with an iOS device: “The Lantronix xPrintServer is one of those rare bits of networking/printing hardware that just…works. I can’t be more effusive in my praise for this device, having been an IT coordinator for a small office in which printers and the network printing thereof was a weekly headache for my staff and I.

The tiny little plastic xPrintServer comes in a nicely packaged box, which includes a plug with several adapters for various national plug configurations, an ethernet cable, and the device itself: a cute little white plastic rectangle that isn’t much bigger than an iPhone 5. One of the short ends of this device has a port for the ethernet cable, the power adapter and a USB port.”

Want more? Read it all at 148Apps.

Over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon took a closer look at Toca Tailor, saying, “Toca Tailor is the new, highly anticipated universal app that allows children to create their own clothing from a plethora of options.

Toca Boca is well known for what they call “digital toys,” wonderfully themed apps that children can play with in the same fashion as their other classic toys.

Toca Tailor reminds me of my old toy “Fashion Plates” where one could select from a series of plastic head, top and bottom plates, be it skirt or pants choices to create different fashions as one would make a relief, rubbing a crayon on paper placed over these plates with their raised designs. I have very fond memories of this toy, yet I was well aware even as a child that the different outfits one could make were not unlimited.”

Indulge your inner fashionista, and learn more at GiggleApps.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-25 :: Category: Education

Finally, Carter Dotson explored a paradox at 148Apps.biz: “Thursdays are all hype. Despite being the big release day for many new apps, there’s actually very little benefit to marketing or downloads in this period, according to ad firm Chartboost, and every other day has different benefits versus Thursday.

First, according to Chartboost, Wednesday is actually the most popular release day, because it’s the day right before Apple updates their featured lists on the iPhone and iPad App Stores. In reality, what’s happening is that developers are scheduling releases for midnight (0:00) on Thursday, and because apps get released at that time worldwide, which winds up being 11pm eastern in North America due to the Atlantic Time Zone, these apps start appearing on Wednesday.

But here’s the thing: that Thursday is actually a lousy day to be promoting apps.”

Intrigued? Read more at 148Apps.biz.

And that brings us one week closer to Thanksgiving here in the US. Be sure to follow us right here, or on Twitter or Facebook for the latest news, reviews and holiday sales. See you next week, smart shoppers!

This Week at 148Apps: November 5-9

This week at 148Apps.com, we got into the holiday spirit with a review of a gadget that might be on many people’s wish lists this year – the iRig Keyboard. Site editor Rob LeFebvre writes, “IK Multimedia might be trying to take over the music peripheral world. The company has a wide range of apps, instruments, and support items that could, in theory, be used to build a band entirely out of iOS instruments. The latest offering from this prolific manufacturer is titled iRig Keys, a super portable iOS keyboard with 37 velocity-sensitive keys, modulation and pitch wheels, low power consumption, and core MIDI compliance. The iRig is aimed at the portable musician, the composer on the go, the backpack virtuoso, and as such, it succeeds brilliantly.”

Think you might ask Santa for this? Check out Rob’s full review at 148Apps.

The upcoming holidays were also on our minds at GiggleApps.com, as Amy Solomon reviewed Ice is Nice: All About the North and South Poles. Amy says, “As the name may suggest, Ice Is Nice does indeed give a lot of great information about the earth’s North and South Poles, as well as animals found in these areas that children and their adults will enjoy a great deal.

As with the other titles from this series, go on an adventure with The Cat in the Hat, Dick and Sally as well as Thing One and Thing Two, who are all here to learn such topics as the harsh temperatures found at the Poles or why there are six months of darkness or perpetual sun.”

Learn more about the poles in Amy’s review on GiggleApps.

$4.99
$5.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-06-27 :: Category: Books

Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson explored the improvements made in Tapjoy’s latest SDK: “Mobile advertising service Tapjoy has announced version 9.0 of their SDK for iOS and Android. The purpose of this update is meant to expand out and improve their current set of features to improve user engagement with their ads, and to integrate daily rewards, a popular feature that developers can now easily implement. These are meant to provide advertisers ways to developer targeted ads in a better way, and for developers to generate revenue even from non-paying users through incentivized ad viewing, service signups, and app installs.”

Want more info? Read all about it at 148Apps.biz.

And that sets us up for a week of pre-Thanksgiving hysteria here in the States. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to keep track of holiday app sales, news and reviews across all of our sites…and do yourself a favor and start thawing that turkey now.

This week at 148Apps, we left our white shoes behind and got ready for some football with Carter Dotson’s round-up of apps for the NFL 2012 season: “Are you ready for some football, in particular the 2012–2013 season of the premier American football league, the National Football League? Well, with the season kicking off tonight with the Super Bowl champion New York Giants playing the Dallas Cowboys, I’ve collected four apps to help make the game-watching and fantasy-football-playing experience better. No matter what, they’re better than the replacement refs are going to be!”

Read all of Carter’s picks for the season at 148Apps.com.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-09-10 :: Category: Sports

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-07-23 :: Category: Sports

Over at GiggleApps, Amy Solomon reviewed This Is My Body-Anatomy for Kids, saying, “I have really enjoyed perusing this application, consisting of many sections that cover such topics as how fast one grows, the skin, one’s senses, as well as the different systems of the body, such as digestive, respiratory, muscular, nervous and skeletal, going into a very nice amount of depth for children to appreciate.

As this app opens up, children are given a choice of characters to follow, nicely including boy and girl choices some of which are children of color and an Asian character – lovely inclusions still not seen often enough in the US iTunes store.”

Read more about this fun and educational app for kids at GiggleApps.com.

$1.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-08-21 :: Category: Education

And stalwart reporter Carter Dotson returned yet again, this time on AndroidRundown, to look at the latest developments from Apple iPad rival Amazon: “While rumors of a new iPad mini spread, and the Nexus 7 enjoys its sales numbers, Amazon has laid dormant until now with the announcement of new Kindle Fire devices.

The flagship is the Kindle Fire HD. This will come in both an 8.9″ variety and a 7″ variety; the specs on the 7″ are supposed to be the same as the 8.9″, but Amazon was more keen to show off this version. It’s got a 1920×1200 screen (true HD!) which is 254 ppi (compared to the iPad retina display’s 264 ppi), to go along with a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor, which Amazon claims can do 50% more floating point operations as compared to the Tegra 3 processor in the Nexus 7.”

Want more? Get more by reading the full article at AndroidRundown.com.

And that’s a wrap of this weekly wrap-up! Join us throughout the week for the latest contests, reviews and news on our Facebook site as well as on Twitter. Until next week, remember – no white after Labor Day!

This Week at 148Apps: August 27-31

This week at 148Apps.com, we got ready for some much-deserved rest with a comprehensive overview of all major Labor Day app sales. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, “It’s another holiday weekend here in the USA. Burning Man, end of summer, Labor day — pick your favorite. And that means it’s time for another huge sale on iPhone and iPad apps. These apps are on sale and they have to go!”

See the complete list at 148Apps.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-04-12 :: Category: Games

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-12-15 :: Category: Games

Over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon dug deep into the earth and discovered Auracle-Fossil. She writes, “Fossil tells the story of a girl finding a fossil on the beach, and the story of where her mind goes as she imagines this dinosaur alive long ago, as well as the process that this bone must have taken to be transformed into a fossil.

Fossil is beautifully illustrated with striking water colors, as these original illustrations found in the published book work quite well in terms of translating these paintings. Here, the double page spreads from the book are formatted to fit the screens without losing much real-estate, allows readers to see both these pages together without the need to pan and scan, a feature that works in other apps, yet is simply not necessary here.”

Want to know more? Read on at GiggleApps.

Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson reported on an unusual trend in the world of free apps: “Fiksu has released its latest Indexes tracking how much it costs for brands to acquire loyal users, and how many downloads the top free iPhone apps are getting.

The Fiksu App Store Competitive Index tracks the average combined volume of the top 200 free iPhone apps. For July, the Index indicates that daily downloads decreased month-over-month by 5.6%, down to 4.37 million downloads from 4.63 million in June. The number has remained relatively stable after a drop from 6.35 million in February. This may be due to a residual after-effect of the holiday season, which saw steady increases after the launch of the iPhone 4S.”

Need more information? Follow this story at 148Apps.biz.

More big stories are on the way from the App experts at 148Apps! Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep track of the latest sales, reviews, news items and more. See you next week, football fan!

This Week at 148Apps: August 5-9

This week at 148Apps.com, we gave the Editor’s Choice award to Organ Trail: Director’s Cut. Reviewer Rob Rich had this to say about the game: “There’s something timeless about The Oregon Trail. Gearing up and heading west across the country in order to settle in some promising new territory, braving all manner of hardships and diseases along the way, it’s a game that just about everyone loves. Wait a second, the “E” is missing. It’s not Oregon Trail? It’s actually Organ Trail? Well I don’t see what the big difference-OHMYGOD ZOMBIES!!!

Organ Trail: Director’s Cut is a throwback to the classic era of computer gaming. Back when we had to load these things using floppy disks, and in-game sounds consisted entirely of varying forms of *BOOP*. Much like its pioneer era inspiration, the game tasks players with preparing for a cross-country road trip and naming party members after friends in order to make them feel bad when they inevitably die in horrible ways. Only this time it’s during a modern zombie apocalypse, and instead of hunting for food and fording rivers they’ll be scrounging for meager supplies while fending off the walking dead and creeping through zombie hordes.”

Want more of this Editor’s Choice review? Find it at 148Apps.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-08-09 :: Category: Games

Everything was about back to school at GiggleApps.com, where reviewer Amy Solomon had this to say about Murky Reef 1st-2nd Grade Reading, Science and Math: “Parents will appreciate how this app incorporates the Common Core standards for Grades 1 and 2 while keeping children engaged and entertained, especially as children prepare for school to start again soon and need to begin to get back to the business of focusing on school work.

Murky Reef is a collection of 22 interactive games which teach a great deal about the animals of the coral reef as well as include math, logic and language exercises.”

Dive into Murky Reef at GiggleApps.

$4.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-09-30 :: Category: Education

Finally, on 148Apps.biz, Carter Dotson reported on the rise of the app developer middle class, saying, “While there’s often much pessimism among developers as far as the challenges of money making on mobile apps goes, analytics firm Flurry’s latest report discusses how the revenue among mobile apps is being distributed. With it, there’s evidence that an app developer ‘middle class’ is forming, as with more revenue being spent on mobile apps, developers do not need to reach the kind of high ranks that they did in the past to make the same kind of revenue. As well, the ‘long tail’ of revenue is getting longer.”

Want more of this report? Head to 148Apps.biz.

Another week down, but a new one is just around the corner. Join us on Facebook or Twitter to get the jump on the latest news, reviews and contests. Until then, get back to class.

This Week at 148Apps: July 23-27

The Olympic flame was fanned to extreme levels at 148Apps.com this week, as Jennifer Allen explored PlayUp’s socialization of the London games. She writes, “We’ve covered PlayUp before, appreciating its ability to bring sports fans together in their love of their chosen sport. Just in time for the London 2012 Olympics, a major update has been released geared towards keeping users informed during the summer Olympics.

The app offers users all the latest information on their favorite teams and athletes, as well as the latest news on the medal tally. That’s 17 days worth of coverage, across 26 sports, 39 disciplines and 302 medal events. Content is geared towards the geographical location of the user, ensuring that the most regionally relevant content is brought to the forefront when first launched.”

Want to know more? Read the full article at 148Apps.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-10-02 :: Category: Sports

Giggleapps.com got Disney-fied with a review of Minnie Bow Maker. Amy Solomon writes, “Minnie Bow Maker is a cute and enjoyable application for kids – part craft experience – as well as including story and fashion show elements. Having a son, I have not had to deal with a daughter who wants to dabble in the world of fashion at a young age. For this reason, I consider myself fortunate as I could easily be a killjoy when it comes to many action figure dolls geared to fashion-conscious girls that to me, send inappropriate messages.

For this reason, I think many parents, especially those of girls, will enjoy Minnie Bow Maker as this app touches upon fun accessories that may satisfy young children who have shown an interest in the world of fashion.”

Read Amy’s full review at GiggleApps.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-07-02 :: Category: Entertainment

Finally, 148Apps.biz featured a story about 6waves’ WaveX. Carter Dotson says, “Mobile publisher 6waves has announced WaveX, a new advertising tool for developers to drive traffic to their games. This serves essentially as a traffic exchange, where developers can display advertisements for other games, and get more opportunities for traffic by helping to drive new installations of other games. Developers can upload graphics for both portrait and landscape games, and the service is completely free to use.”

Read all about WaveX at 148Apps.biz.

The week is over, but there’s more ahead across the 148Apps network. Follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to gain access to the latest news, reviews, and even a contest or two. Until next week, game on Olympians!

This Week at 148Apps: July 9-13

This week at 148Apps.com, we got into the game with our look at CoachNote. Writer Jennifer Allen says, “CoachNote offers a way of creating sports drills, strategies and tactics, all from an iOS device and it’ll be a real hit for coaches as well as fans. The app makes it easy to create complex plays and strategies with tools for drawing lines in multiple colors to explain what’s going on.”

Read more at 148App.com.

$4.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-01-27 :: Category: Sports

Meanwhile, GiggleApps.com took a closer look at Brave: Storybook Deluxe. Reviewer Amy Solomon writes, “As one would expect from this Disney Pixar film, the illustrations, music and narration are quite striking and beautifully crafted – especially the brilliant use of bright and bold colors which was the main detail that caught my eye the first time I saw a trailer for this film.”

Read Amy’s full review at GiggleApps.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-06-14 :: Category: Entertainment

148Apps.biz presented a guest editorial from Matthew Palmer, founder and CEO of Marketing Your App. Palmer says, “After all the hard work of creating a mobile app, there is one decision that can sink even promising apps more than any other: choosing a price. Knowing what to charge for any product is tough, but the peculiar world of the App Store makes it a top question for even savvy developers.

The rewards are great: Apple has already paid out $4 billion to app creators who have combined a smart app with good marketing. But, too often, sticker shock leads customers to ignore otherwise helpful apps. When developers choose the wrong price, more often than not it seems, they aim too high.”

Read the rest of ‘Why You’re Charging Too Much for Your App’ at 148Apps.biz.

And that, my friends, is the week that was. Don’t miss out on anything in the coming days and weeks. Stay on top of our contests, promos, reviews and news items by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. You’ll be glad you did. Until next week, keep wall crawlin’.

Where To?, Editor’s Choice winning local search app (reviewed years ago by our Editor In Chief, Jeff Scott), has just released its next major version of the app Where To? 5.0. In this fifth major release, new features are added in the favoriting and navigation area.

Specifically, the app has four new major features. Two of those features have to do with favorites. Users can now favorite places to come back and access them later. In addition, those favorites as well as the apps settings can be synced over iCloud. And now, when searching for restaurants, hundreds of thousands of the US restaurants in Where To? include menus for users to search through before they decide to make that tough decision of where to eat. And the app now supports three more navigation apps when users decide to visit a location (iGo Prime, VZ Navigator, and Gokivo). The details pages for places also have a new design.

Where To? is a location-based search app that brings up points of interest in the area around the user. The app is also known for its augmented reality (AR) technology which can be added to the app for an additional fee. Where To? is $2.99 and made for the iPhone. An additional $0.99 will earn users the 3D and Augmented Reality features.

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-06-23 :: Category: Navigation

This Week at 148Apps: June 4-8

This week, 148Apps was all about Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2012. Take, for instance, Carter Dotson’s report on new Xbox 360 features that may allow iOS integration: “At Microsoft’s E3 press conference, they revealed an interesting new feature that will integrate smartphones and tablets to the Xbox 360. Called SmartGlass, this is designed to operate a second screen during games, movies, and TV shows. This means that hypothetically, a game could display a map on the tablet screen, or even integrate interactive game elements like maps and play-calling in sports games.

Read more about this latest innovation at 148Apps.com.

Our kids-centric site, GiggleApps, reviewed Give A Day HD, which, as reviewer Amy Solomon states, “is a thoughtful children’s book app that helps create discussions between children and their adults about the world bigger than their families, as this app brings the topic of less fortunate children to the attention of young readers. This app is also available as an app for iPhone as well and is also part of the PlayTales Reader application.”

Read Amy’s complete review at GiggleApps.com.

$1.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-03-26 :: Category: Books

And finally, 148Apps.biz covered the big news that Google acquired iPad app QuickOffice. Writer Kevin Stout states, “Quickoffice, the mobile document editing software (that particularly handles documents from the Microsoft Office suite well), has been acquired by Google. Announced on Google’s official blog, Google plans to intergrate Quickoffice‘s technology in to their own Apps product suite.”

Read Kevin’s full post at 148Apps.biz.

Our week that was is now did and done. If you’d like to keep up with the latest reviews, news and contests, all you have to do is click the links to follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook. That wasn’t so hard, was it? I didn’t think so. See you next weekend, fellow chupacabras!

Andrew Harper, the popular travel expert and reviewer, now has his own iOS companion app for travelers specifically taking a trip to Paris. Andrew Harper’s Paris: A Personal Guide to the Best of the City, includes his opinions of hotels, dining, shopping, and touring.

The app includes over 350 favorites of Harper. There are 14 different of Harper’s favorite hotels in the app ranging from “grand palace addresses to intimate Left Bank alternatives.” Each hotel has information about the rooms, dining, and features within the hotels. There are 83 different restaurants with menu recommendations and contact information. And it includes over 100 shopping locations with maps, contact info, opening hours, and recommendations.

Andrew Harper’s Paris is a free app. Any of you readers planning on taking a trip to Paris in the near future should give this one a look.

Andrew Harper has been traveling and reviewing hotels and travel experiences for over 30 years. He’s a respectable reviewer that pays all of his own traveling expenses and travels anonymously so that he gets the same experience any other traveler will receive.

Check out a video for the app, highlights, and a FAQ about the app at the Andrew Harper website, here.

FREE!
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-04-19 :: Category: Travel

This week at 148Apps.com, writer Carter Dotson explored all things Zombie with his Favorite Four list. He writes, “May is Zombie Awareness Month. While pop culture seems intent on making us aware of zombies on a regular basis, this is the special month for zombies. May is almost over, but that doesn’t mean there’s not just enough time left to celebrate with some zombie-themed apps.”

Read Carter’s full list at 148Apps.com.

$3.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-02-27 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness

$0.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-10-27 :: Category: Games

Meanwhile, everything over at GiggleApps got dotty, as Amy Solomon reviewed Dot Collector, saying, “Dot Collector is a very nice universal app for the youngest children with simple game play, wonderfully bright colors and soothing sounds that babies will enjoy. This app is utterly intuitive to use as players need to simply drag moving dots into a black dot, clearing the board. A new dot is added to each additional level, adding to the game play.”

Read Amy’s review at kid-centric GiggleApps.com.

Finally, Kevin Stout on 148Apps.biz reported on the increasing numbers of young children using smartphones. Stout writes, “There’s no such thing as to young when it comes to smartphones and tablets. When keeping in mind the younger audiences when developing apps, even the youngest of children have a high percentage of exposure to mobile devices. An infographic released by Schools.com has reported that 38% of 0-8 year-olds have used tablets or smartphones.”

Read the complete report at 148Apps.biz.

That’t it for this Memorial Day week. Summer’s here, so keep your eyes on 148Apps.com, our Twitter and Facebook feeds to make sure you get the latest app news, reviews and contests. See you next week, tovarish!

Bienvenidos! This week at 148Apps.com we started our Cinco de Mayo celebrations early with a special “Favorite Four” apps review from Kevin Stout. Along with several foodie apps, Stout writes, “It can’t hurt to brush up on the history of Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo: The Battle of Puebla provides users with a detailed video on both the Battle of Puebla, the military victory that led to the traditional celebration on May 5th, and the history of the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. The videos include accompanying text for users impatient users that want to read ahead. The app also includes two games, a quiz and a paint game, that can be unlocked for an in-app purchase of $0.99. But the app is free and so are both videos.”

Read about all of Kevin’s picks at 148Apps.com.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-06-28 :: Category: Education

Amy Solomon, over at GiggleApps, writes in her review of Bean Bag Kids Present Pinocchio that, “This app, as the name implies, is a retelling of the classic story of Pinocchio, about a puppet carved from wood by a lonely wood carver who wishes that one day this puppet could become a real boy. Here each actor is played by a bean bag dressed in costume as this application is styled as a live performance that one is watching, complete with red velvet curtain and other theatre details. The adaptation of this story is very nicely done, including the use of excellent narration, as is the choice to underline the text as the words are being spoken – a very nice touch that will aid young readers in following along as these words are being read.”

Read all of Amy’s review at GiggleApps.com.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-28 :: Category: Games

Finally, 148Apps.biz site founder Jeff Scott writes about the latest project from OpenFeint founder Jason Citron, saying, “Jason Citron, founder of Aurora Feint / Open Feint, which sold to Japan based social games company GREE recently for $104M, just announced his new mobile games-based startup, Phoenix Guild.

Phoenix Guild will be focused on creating multiplayer games in a post-PC world. Think MMOs on your iPhone and iPad. He plans on focusing on games that would appeal to core gamers. Sounds like just what we need in a world that has nearly reached the saturation point with variations on Farmville.”

Read more about Phoenix Guild on 148Apps.biz.

The week may have ended, but there’s more content to come from 148Apps. Just follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to keep track of the latest news, reviews and contests. Until next week, keep your Avengers assembling!

This Week at 148Apps: April 23-27

This week at 148Apps.com iPad cases were on our collective minds. First, site editor Rob LeFebvre reviewed the new Hammerhead Capo Case, stating, “The Hammerhead Capo case is a solid, good looking basic case for $40. It comes in black, blue, white, red or orange leather-grained polyurethane. It covers the whole iPad, with molded open areas for the dock port, headphone jack, rear camera, and volume buttons.”

Read Rob’s full review of the Hammerhead Capo Case on 148Apps.

Meanwhile, Lisa Caplan also took a closer look at Brydge, a new Kickstarter project. Lisa writes, “There is a new Kickstarter project, Brydge, by Brad Leong that will come close to converting an iPad into a notebook with a hinged aluminum case and Bluetooth keyboard that looks a lot like a Macbook.”

Read Lisa’s full commentary on 148Apps.

We also had many, many new kid-friendly app reviews on GiggleApps, including Amy Solomon’s review of the latest Toca game, Toca Kitchen Monsters. Solomon says, “I have a real treat for readers today as I would like to announce that recently, Toca Boca released a free version of their popular digital toy app, Toca Kitchen. Titled Toca Kitchen Monsters, this new app includes two monster characters whom players can cook for and feed, complete with monster-like table manners and house-keeping skills.”

Read the full review on GiggleApps.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-04-05 :: Category: Education

Children’s apps were the focus on 148Apps.biz as well, as Kevin Stout reported on a new study released by Ruckus Media Group. Stout writes, “Parents are tough customers to please. While it’s obvious that children’s apps and games need to be appealing to kids, it’s the parents that those apps are really targeting. Ruckus Media Group just announced the results of its national study about children’s educational apps and parental preferences. The research, done with research group, PlayScience, looked to investigate what app experiences parents provide for their children, what parents prioritize in children’s apps, parents’ involvement in their childrens’ reading, and parental guilt with digital devices. We spoke to CEO of Ruckus Media Group, Rick Richter, and obtained some additional information about the study.”

Read more about the new study from Ruckus Media Group on 148Apps.biz.

Thew news, reviews and contests keep on coming across all of the 148Apps network of sites. Keep up to date with the latest by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook. You won’t regret it. Until next week…bye ya’ll!

Recommendation apps and networks generally either try to give users recommendations based on some kind of automated system or give recommendations in a small niche market like books (Goodreads) or restaurants and nightlife (Yelp). LoveThis is a social network where friends can give recommendations to each other on almost anything imaginable (movies, TV, books, restaurants, and more).

LoveThis, a name that vaguely reminds me of a portion size at Coldstone Creamery (I keep accidentally typing Love It), helps users get recommendations from people that really matter to them. Users can save recommendations to their collections for later viewing and discuss those recommendations either in-app or via Facebook. LoveThis is displayed on a clean and easy-to-use interface.

The app even works for people that haven’t downloaded or registered in the iOS app. This is way LoveThis stands out from other recommendation apps and networks. The app allows users to send and receive recommendations in other ways including Facebook and email. This is a great way for new users to become exposed to LoveThis and to expand recommendations beyond the app itself.

LoveThis is free to download. Grab the app and start recommending anything and everything to friends.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-04-12 :: Category: Productivity

This Week at 148Apps: March 26-30

The last week of March was a busy one across the 148Apps network, beginning with 148Apps.com, where Lisa Caplan reported on the massive windfall Apple has already garnered from the release of iPhoto for iOS. She writes, “According to AllThingsD, iPhoto for iOS passed the one million download mark last week. That’s quite an impressive figure, particularly when it implies Apple has earned more than five million dollars from the app in less than a two week period.

Read the full story at 148Apps.com.

$4.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-07 :: Category: Photography

GiggleApps.com kept up the pace with a review of Explore Vincent. Writer Amy Solomon says, “Explore Vincent is a wonderful app for iPad exploring the life and times of Vincent van Gogh, the brilliant yet troubled artist from childhood through adulthood, ending with his death in 1890.
This app is a true multimedia delight as many mediums are explored within this app for iPad.”

Read Solomon’s review at GiggleApps.com.

$0.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-10-16 :: Category: Education

Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Kevin Stout reported on Apple’s new policy regarding apps that access UDIDs. “As Apple warned the development community in August, it has started rejecting apps submitted to the App Store that access a user’s UDID. This seems to be a response to Congress’ interest in privacy concerns in mobile devices.

Kim-Mai Cutler from TechCrunch reports that while the UDID is used for many mobile ad networks for targeted ads, UDIDs pose real privacy issues.”

Read more at 148Apps.biz.

*Whew!* And that’s just a sample of the amazing amount of content making its way across all of the 148Apps sites this week. Stay on top of the latest in reviews, news and contests by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. And don’t forget to check back here next week for another recap of the week that was. See you then, pilgrim!

I’ve purchased all three iPads. Each time I felt that there was enough added to the new version to justify buying the next. But then again, I’m not the average iPad owner. Being completely objective, the new iPad may not be the greatest purchase for the iPad 2 owner. But that’s the last time I’m calling it the “new” iPad. That sets us up for all sorts of confusion in the future. So I’m going to get some practice in this post calling it the third generation iPad.

Review Highlights
First, let’s take a look at some highlights of what been said about the new…the third generation iPad.

Almost everyone had something to say about the retina display. John Gruber (DaringFireball.net) called reading on the retina display “pure joy.”

“Going back to the iPad 2 after reading a few hours on the iPad 3 is jarring…what you thought looked pretty good before (like text rendered on older iPads) now looks blurry.”

Since Joshua Topolsky from the Verge thinks the third generation iPad isn’t a necessary upgrade for everyone, he makes this suggestion,

“And if you’re an original iPad or iPad 2 owner… unless you want to upgrade, just avoid looking at this screen.”

MG Siegler from TechCrunch feels exactly as I do about the screen,

“Web pages look almost as if they’re being displayed in a high-quality glossy magazine. Photos look like photos — the printed out kind. Text is razor sharp and crisp, just like print.”

The Retina display is obviously the selling point for the third generation iPad. But significant upgrades over the iPad 2 include LTE, the A5X chip (with quad core graphics), improved cameras, and upgraded memory (1 GB RAM). The upgraded memory was confirmed after the Apple announcement. Apple didn’t seem to want to mention memory, even on the tech specs page for the iPad. Apparently, Post-PC means rarely ever mentioning the finer points of the hardware. Personally, I think double the RAM is quite important.

Most seemed to agree on what to do about upgrading customers and new buyers. Owners of the original iPad should probably upgrade. New customers should definitely buy a third generation iPad. And it’s a horribly tough decision for iPad 2 owners (that one used to be me).

Topolsky wrapped up with,

“For owners of the iPad 2, this isn’t necessarily a slam dunk. While the updated features are a boon to the new iPad, it doesn’t offer an experience that is significantly different from the previous version.”

But M.G. Siegler seemed a bit more inclined for iPad 2 users to upgrade,

“If you have an iPad 2, it’s a tougher call since it still seems nearly as fast as the new iPad. But if you choose not to upgrade (or to spend $399 for the 16 GB iPad 2 now), again, treat the new iPad as if it were Medusa when you’re in an Apple Store. Do. Not. Look. At. It.”

I would go even farther than Siegler. Don’t even look at comparisons of screenshots from the iPad 2 to the third generation iPad. That’s what hooked me in. I don’t regret making the purchase at all. The screen is absolutely beautiful. But for someone trying to resist, protect your eyes.

Praises and Problems
I’m going to wrap up with some praises and issues that have recently popped up in the news surrounding the third generation iPad.

Let’s start with some praise. Gary Heiting, an optometrist and editor of All About Vision, says that the Retina display on the iPad helps ease the eye strain from staring at a screen for long periods of time.

“A key factor in something that’s called computer vision syndrome, or just eye strain from computer use, is screen resolution…It’s not just an enjoyment issue or an aesthetic issue, but it’s definitely a visual comfort issue, over time”

I’ve definitely noticed an easier reading experience. I never had major eye strain problems. But the difference in strain was noticeable enough for me to feel confident in that statement.

Some other problems that have popped up are heat issues and charging issues. Some have made a bigger deal out of the heat issues than others. But the bottom line is that the new iPad can and does heat up to a warmer temperature than its predecessor. It isn’t going to catch on fire, it isn’t going to melt, but it is going to feel a bit warmer during gaming (bottom-left corner in my experience). I wouldn’t call the heat uncomfortable. Just noticeable.

As for the charging issues, with some thinking it becomes common sense. Since the charger for the third generation iPad is a 10W charger (the same as both previous iPads) but the third generation iPad requires more power for the Retina display and processor, it cannot charge while active in certain situations. While gaming or using power intensive apps, trying to charge the iPad may take longer or even continue to drain. Generally, I’ve found that I can get through a day of heavy use on a full charge of the iPad. So to get around this, I just make sure the iPad is fully charged overnight before heavy use.

My final words are to iPad 2 owners (since everyone else has an easy decision: buy it). If gaming is important, buy it. If taking pictures or video is important, buy it. HD fanatics, buy it. If the reading experience is a priority, buy it. Otherwise, stick with the iPad 2.

This Week at 148Apps: March 5-9

This week at 148Apps.com, site founder Jeff Scott reviewed and recapped the introduction of the New iPad, saying “The iPad 3 looks to be a solid update to the iPad 2. Not only do we get an amazing retina display screen and updated internals for a faster device while maintaining the look of the iPad 2, but we also keep the great battery life and price points. Here’s a quick rundown of the new iPad. Which, by the way is called just “the new iPad.” Or perhaps it will end up being known as just iPad like the Macbook and iMac lines.”

Read our full overview on 148Apps.com.

Meanwhile, at Giggleapps.com, Amy Solomon reviewed the latest in the line of Toca games, Toca House. She writes, “Toca Boca is a very well-regarded developer, possibly best known for its open-ended apps such as Toca Tea Party or Toca Hair Salon. More akin to Toca Doctor, Toca House is a collection of 19 domestically focused mini-games that take place within a wonderfully styled home and yard.

I enjoy the look of this app very much, as does my son, being very bright and colorful. Players will be scrolling up and down through this house that one is visiting, as five floors can be explored from top to bottom – a bathroom, living room, kitchen, laundry room, as well as front door and attached yard space.”

Read the full review on GiggleApps.com.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-02-23 :: Category: Education

148Apps.biz writer Brad Hilderbrand noted that in a recent report from Spaceport, HTML5 showed top performance on iOS devices. Hilderbrand says, “According to extensive testing, the iPad 2 is far and away the best device to run HTML5, and other iOS machines blow their Android counterparts out of the water, performing roughly three times better than the competition. Though the latest Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich are beginning to close the gap, the data still shows that Apple devices are the benchmark against which all others will continue to be measured.”

Read the full report on 148Apps.biz.

And that’s the week in review. 148Apps is always bringing you the latest iOS-related content, including contests, reviews and news, so follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to keep up to date from minute to minute. See you next week, appslingers!

This Week at 148Apps: February 20-24

This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre took an in-depth look at the new Logitech Wireless Boombox. LeFebvre writes, “Logitech’s newest addition to the device genre is by far the best I’ve played with. The sound is amazing for such a small footprint; the lows are deep and rich, the highs successfully bright without becoming too brittle.

The hardware itself is smooth, sleek and rounded. The dip in the middle, where an old school boombox would have held a tape deck, is just right for a hand to grasp it, obviating the need for an extruded handle. The unit feels solid, like it would hold up to some roughness in handling. The plug and line-in jacks are thoughtfully covered with a rubber flap, protecting from dust or mist. In the back of the unit sits a flip out stand, one that folds flat against the boombox for easy travel.”

Read the full review on 148Apps.com.

GiggleApps.com celebrated what’s left of winter with Amy Solomon’s review of Into the Snow: A Stella and Sam Adventure. Solomon states, “Not only are these puzzles fun and interactive, but I appreciate how Stella creates a motif around each puzzle once created, also showing as a faint gray drawing in the snow, demonstrating what one can do with one’s imagination, as the stick man turns into a soccer player or as the additional details are added to the sailboat which are also made from sticks. They then include an ocean full of waves and a “show shark” that moves with the tap of a finger as well as birds seen in the distance. I really enjoy the basic style of art used in these snow drawings, childlike and reminiscent of the illustrations found in Harold and the Purple Crayon.”

Read more at GiggleApps.com.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-03-10 :: Category: Games

And last, but certainly not least, 148Apps.biz writer Brad Hilderbrand reported on a recent agreement regarding smartphone customer privacy: “In a potentially landmark move Apple, Google, HP, Microsoft, and Research in Motion (RIM) have come to an agreement with California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris to strengthen and enhance user privacy. The companies have agreed to create and prominently display a privacy policy detailing what information they collect from consumers and how exactly they plan to use it. App Store curators such as Apple and Google will also have to keep a close eye on how the apps sold in their stores handle user privacy, and both the developers and distributors of offending apps could be hauled into court.”

Read more on this developing story at 148Apps.biz.

That’s a wrap on another week that was. Join us next week for another week that has passed….or something like that. In the meantime, keep up to date on the latest app reviews, news and contests by following us on Twitter or liking our page on Facebook. Bye now!

This Week at 148Apps, December 26-30

Happy New Year to all of our readers! We had a great end to 2011 across all of the 148Apps sites. At our flagship 148Apps.com site, writers Rob LeFebvre and Carter Dotson posted a series of articles counting down the “Favorite 50″ apps and games of 2011. The lists cover every genre and type imaginable, but if you want to cut to the quick, take a look at the top five apps or the top five games. Whether you agree or disagree with our decisions, we feel sure you’ll discover a few new apps along the way.

Over at GiggleApps, writer Amy Solomon continued her mission to review the best new apps for children by reviewing Kids Food Adventure. Solomon writes, “Kids Food Adventure is a very nice universal app that is geared towards encouraging children to try new foods.

The foods included in the application can be searched by season, as one can look at a calendar where each month of the year has seven foods that are in season, and I like how one can pre-select an area of the world – be it North America or Europe – to make the food selections offered, which are accurate in terms of seasonal availability.”

Read the full review on GiggleApps.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-09-22 :: Category: Education

Finally, on AndroidRundown, Carter Dotson commented on why Android phones currently have OnLive, while iOS users are still out in the cold. Dotson says, “So, here we are, two weeks later, and OnLive is still only on Android. It was announced to be released for iOS along with the Android version, but no real reason has been given as to the delay of the iOS version, beyond that Apple is still examining it for approval.
Without firsthand knowledge of the process, I can only assume that Apple is not likely to approve it because it will not fit their policies. See, OnLive’s client is all cloud-based; even the interface and menus to choose games are streamed from their servers. This also means that buying new games comes from operations occuring on their servers.”

Read Carter Dotson’s full commentary on AndroidRundown.

So here’s to a fantastic 2012 for everyone. We’ll stay with you throughout the year, covering all of the latest iOS news, reviews, sales and more. If you want to stay on top of all the happening, plus get plugged into giveaways, follow us on our Twitter and our Facebook streams. Happy New Year!

This week at 148Apps, once we were all finished with our Halloween and post-Halloween merriment, writer Lisa Caplan explored the vast landscape of camera replacement apps for the iPhone. Caplan writes, “Apple has done a lot to improve the native camera app with iOS 5 and lucky iPhone 4S owners are already taking the highest quality iPhone images ever. But, even with the tune up, many of the most requested features from manual adjustments to photo bursts, darkroom effects to more sharing options (Facebook anyone?) are still lacking. But, the app store is filled with alternatives so this week we look at our favorite four camera replacement apps.”

Unlock your iPhone’s photo potential by reading the full article on 148Apps.com.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-06-07 :: Category: Photography

Over at our kid’s apps headquarters, GiggleApps, Amy Solomon took a closer look at an innovative 3D comic book called The Gwaii. Solomon states, “This app does have some 3D effects as well that are best seen as one moves the device, looking at the additional angles that this provides. The 3D here is effective but somewhat overly sensitive to touch and there have been moments that I wish I would have turned this element off, trying to keep my hand steady to minimize the screen movements. I think this effect may be a distraction for some children, while others may really enjoy this effect.”

Read more about this new interactive storybook on GiggleApps.com.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-07-19 :: Category: Books

Finally, AndroidRundown featured an article by Carter Dotson that attempted to address the iOS versus Android ongoing argument head-on. Dotson says, “The thing to remember, though, is that Android and iOS are different in their very natures. iOS is a piece of Apple software, following Apple principles; it is designed to run on specific hardware. That is a big part of why the experience is often smoother. Android is designed to run on many, many forms of hardware, not just what Google has intended for it to run on. Yes, Google has their stock devices that run a pure Android, but Android is meant to be something bigger, and not as something tailored to one set of hardware. That Android is on the caliber of Android is impressive.”

Add your voice to the argument after reading the full article on AndroidRundown.com.

That is the week that was. What started with Halloween ended with the first onslaught of holiday commercials on television, so keep your eye on 148Apps.com and our Facebook and Twitter streams for the latest reviews and helpful hints to get you through the holiday season. See you next week, readers!

Amy Solomon over at GiggleApps took a look at ABC for the Little Scientist for the iPad last week:

ABC for the Little Scientist for the iPad is a nice, interactive letters app with a science theme. Like other apps such as this, ABC for the Little Scientist consists of letters a to z, each illustrated with its own interactive page where one can tap the letter or word in question to listen to narration, here of either a male or female voice as well as to look for interactive hotspots. I like the fact that this app uses unique words not typically found in apps like this but instead tackles more complex ideas such as “connection” as in internet connection, this page including a roaming satellite and the earth from a view in space. A version for iPhone is also available.

For the full review, head on over to GiggleApps.

$0.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-06-24 :: Category: Education

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