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This Week at 148Apps: August 24-28, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on September 1st, 2015

The Apps of August With 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


Lara Croft GO

When you start playing Lara Croft GO, you’ll feel this urge to go quickly. After all, it’s Lara Croft. You’ve spent years rushing through tombs with her, right? That’s probably the worst thing you could do while playing Lara Croft GO. It’s a turn-based puzzle game where you need to carefully plan each move and, often, many moves ahead. It works remarkably well. Each level offers a grid based layout. You swipe to move Lara around, with her automatically climbing up things as and when an opportunity arises. In turn, if there are moving obstacles such as a circular saw, they move every time that she moves. The trick here is timing and planning ahead in a way that means you don’t get trapped or killed. Early levels introduce this concept relatively gradually, but you’ll soon find yourself having to scout ahead with a level before truly committing to something. --Jennifer Allen


PAC-MAN 256

PAC-MAN 256 isn’t anything like other Pac-Man games. From the makers of Crossy Road, it’s an endless take on the usual Pac-Man format. Instead of running around a maze you’re running upwards, collecting dots, munching up power pellets, and dodging ghosts. It’s a format that works but could do with offering you some more reasons to keep on playing.Dispensing with virtual buttons, PAC-MAN 256’s control scheme is centered around swipes. At first, this might seem a little inaccurate but it soon proves quite straight forward and feeling a lot more natural than a virtual d-pad. As you progress, the maze grows in front of you, keeping you on your toes. Ghosts are easy enough to spot but you have to plan ahead in order to dodge their trajectory. Each type has their own personality too, meaning that some might follow a set path, while others home in on you, making things much trickier. --Jennifer Allen


Galactic Keep

Galactic Keep is easily one of the strangest role-playing games I've played in a long time, mainly due to its strange art style, deep sense of exploration, and unapologetic dedication to the experience of tabletop gaming. As it was developed over the course of six years, Galactic Keep is a labor of love that's both profoundly fun and interesting despite sporting its fair share of peculiarities and flaws. Playing Galactic Keep is closest to what it's like to play a Dungeons & Dragons campaign but with more dice, one character, and a completely unfamiliar set of rules and lore. At the outset, everything is overwhelming to the point that it would be off-putting if it weren't all so intriguing and mysterious. Keeping that in mind, players can expect to die early and often in the game's current module. Over time though, they can upgrade their characters, find loot, and start wrapping their mind around everything. --Campbell Bird


Green Eggs and Ham - Read & Learn

The follow up to The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham - Read & Learn continues that charming trend, being immensely appealing to young and old. In no time, you’ll want to read through this with your child and odds are you're both going to enjoy that time a lot. As before, Green Eggs and Ham - Read & Learn offers up a mixture of reading, interaction, and simple gaming. Following the beloved story of Dr Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham, it’s a lovely tale full of rhymes and charm. You can choose to read via the highlighted narration or go at your own pace, ensuring it’s useful for kids of any age and reading ability. --Jennifer Allen


RollerCoaster Tycoon 3

It's been a while since I've experienced a management sim like RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, which recently emerged on the App Store as a "pay once and play" port of the PC original. This version is largely the same as it was in 2004, albeit with touch controls. This may stir up feelings of nostalgia for some, but that doesn't mean it isn't a bit clunky in its transition to iOS. Like every RollerCoaster Tycoon game, this is all about building and managing a profitable and fun amusement or theme park - whether that be from one of the 18 Career Mode scenarios or in the more free-form sandbox mode. This involves everything from hiring staff to setting the price of foodstuffs in the park and, of course, building roller coasters. All of this is largely handled via menus, but the main screen is almost always displaying the park and its attendees as they go from ride to ride. --Campbell Bird


Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:


AndroidRundown


Anomaly Defenders

And now, we get to Anomaly Defenders....About time…While the series got us going on “tower offense” as a gameplay constant, this one takes it back to more of a tower defense scenario. More pertinently, alien invaders are on the ropes in this one, and humans are the aggressors. Thus, the player takes on the job of saving the home planet of the aliens.Graphically, it is an interesting projection, clearly futuristic, with a Terminator feel to the dark landscapes. The view is top-down in nature, and the play area generally consists of stretches of land interspersed with defined roads on which enemy (human) attack vehicles travel. The animations sizzle, and it looks pretty good overall.--Tre Lawrence


Q*bert Rebooted Free

I first encountered Q*bert years ago; I rocked the heck out of that game on the trusty BlackBerry 8320. Tech eons later, I get to try it out again, this time on Android, presented as Q*bert Rebooted.Definitely worth a look.The game is dual-natured, in that the game presents two versions: the classic version, replete with retro graphics and true to the original gameplay. There is also the “rebooted” version, which is a slick, more modern refresh.--Tre Lawrence


Zipbuds SLIDE Earbuds

The more mobile I get, the more I appreciate a good set of headphones.As the kids get older, there’s only so much Taylor Swift I can listen to; the house sometimes feels like one crazy karaoke machine.So, retiring to the quietest part of the house can be quite rewarding. The pure joy of it makes me smile. Get me an e-book (or mind-bending game), some sweet tea and some headphones with which to listen to accompanying music, and that quiet spot becomes mine.Y’all feel me? That’s why cool stuff like the Zipbuds No-tangle Slide Earbuds are just what the doctor ordered.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, game guides, and even more reviews than we can share here!

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on August 24th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: UP AND DOWN
This amusement park sim got the "extremely faithful" port treatment, but is that a good or a bad thing?
Read The Full Review »

RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile Update Reduces Wait Times and the Cost of In-App Purchases

Posted by Ellis Spice on May 8th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar :: DISAPPOINTINGLY WEAK :: Read Review »

Three weeks ago RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile arrived on the App Store, bringing the beloved theme park series onto iOS. Now the game is set to get its first major update, bringing with it some improvements and new features.

Whilst the game is playable without spending a single penny on in-game coins or tickets, changes have been made regarding micro-transactions - meaning that buying in-game currencies will cost less for the next few weeks. In addition, wait times for building and construction have been reduced.

Alongside this, new attractions and features are set to arrive in the next update. Using a Flyover Plane, players will be able to send customized messages to the parks of other players. The Flyover Plane can also be used to promote your park, resulting in a bonus in coin production whilst the plane is launched. Some of the new attractions set to arrive include a Stadium, the Flying Jumbo Ride and the Gold Rush Mine.

RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile is available to purchase now for $2.99.

RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on April 16th, 2014
Our rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar :: DISAPPOINTINGLY WEAK
The RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise finally comes to iOS, but it's a rather disappointing affair.
Read The Full Review »

This Week at 148Apps: April 7-11, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 13th, 2014

Expert App Reviewers


So little time and so very many apps. What's a poor iOS devotee to do? Fortunately, 148Apps is here to give you the rundown on the latest and greatest releases. And we even have a tremendous back catalog of reviews; just check out the Reviews Archive for every single review we've ever written.

Power Grounds

Power Grounds is probably best described as a minimalistic take on a Roguelike, to the point that it’s more like a puzzle game than anything else. I’d stick to calling it just a puzzle game, but alas, Power Grounds was borne out of something called the Seven Day Roguelike (7DRL) Challenge. The constraints on the creation of Power Grounds are very apparent (hence why I insist it’s more like a puzzle), but they result in a game that has such a laser-like focus on what it is supposed to be that it succeeds in being a very simple but very satisfying experience. Power Grounds takes some of the basic tenants of Roguelikes (randomization, permanent death, turn-based movement) and applies it onto a largely monochromatic grid. Players take control of a stick-wielding hero that is tasked with progressing through six rooms of enemies and obstacles – without dying – to beat the game. To do this successfully, players have to develop a strategy of movement as well as a strategy for unlocking the game’s power-ups. --Campbell Bird


Wind-Up Knight 2

Wind-Up Knight 2, Robot Invader’s sequel to the game that put them on the map, is an auto-running platformer where players must jump, attack, roll, and use their shield to take out enemies and avoid hazards. This is not an endless runner, this is a platforming game where movement is automatic, and it’s freemium (with IAP to unlock the full game) versus an endless runner with consumable IAP so players should go in expecting something quite different from everything else that’s out there. The items that can be bought with the game’s coins (which can be bought with IAP as well) do provide help, but they’re not squarely necessary at all. --Carter Dotson


Breakfinity

Offering that “just one more go” mentality, BREAKFINITY is a brick busting game in the vein of Arkanoid but with a difference. That difference being that it’s effectively endless. It’s a nice twist on the usual format. After all, how often does one ever complete an Arkanoid-style game, anyhow? Usually, it’s a classic example of enjoying the journey rather than seeking out the destination. Each level of BREAKFINITY is relatively quick to complete, mostly because the objective isn’t to clear all the bricks. Instead, it’s to create a gap and hit the top wall of the screen in order to progress to the next stage. Once that happens, the level changes around but the format stays the same. --Jennifer Allen


TapPainter

Once upon a time, those who wanted to see whether a new color suited a particular room in the house were restricted to using paint samplers on their wall and being confined to having to redecorate at some point very soon to hide such things. That day has passed – kind of – with apps like TapPainter emerging to make the process much simpler. Admittedly, nothing is going to quite beat the tactile process of painting things on the actual wall, but TapPainter does a decent job of demonstrating what can be achieved. All the user needs to do is either import or take a photo directly of the room before getting to work. This is where, in the case of my rather lackluster iPad 2 camera, things get fuzzy. I found it a much smoother process to take a photo with my iPhone 5 before importing it that way, but mileage is going to vary here depending on what iPad users have. --Jennifer Allen


Space Pack from Mophie

We’ve looked at other devices that allow for the expansion of available storage on iOS devices, but none have done so in such a elegant and portable way as the Mophie Space Pack. On the surface, the Space Pack looks like any other Mophie battery case. But on the inside are additional smarts and storage to keep up to 32GB of media. This is facilitated by a special app from Mophie called Space. --Jeff Scott


Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:

AndroidRundown

Golfy Bird

Okay, I admit it. I really didn’t want to have a go at Golfy Bird. I mean, it is from Noodlecake, yes, which is almost always a positive. Still, it sounds suspiciously like The App That Was Pulled that we deign not mention by name. Frankly, the clones that popped up were somewhat depressing, and I even winced at real birds for a spell. I was wrong. Golfy Bird is its own person, and it’s somebody that might be very easy to like, and even fall in love with. --Tre Lawrence


Mikey Hooks

Mark my words… There might be a zillion RPGs, and countless board games, and twice as many hidden objects games… no matter the time frame, or the medium of gaming, there will always be a place for arcade action gaming. Always. Mikey Hooks, which comes to us via platform heavyweight Noodlecake Studios and BeaverTap Games, is just one of those games, and I admit that I had pretty much decided to like it at first glance. --Tre Lawrence


SideSwype

Nice to meet you, SideSwype. The playing area is a 5×5 grid, with space for 25 squares of different colors. if filled all the way. The sparse white background is a great counterpoint that highlights the coloring of the squares, and the smooth animations are just what we’d expect from a game that uses gestures as the main form of movement and problem-solving. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer cautiously checked out Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile, took a stab at a Clash of Clans clan war, spent some ker-azy money in Crazy Taxi: City Rush, put together an epic guide to FTL, and checked out some games at Birmingham-based expo, Rezzed. It's all right here.

RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile Brings the Beloved Franchise to the App Store for the First Time

Posted by Stephen Hall on March 17th, 2014

RollerCoaster Tycoon, a game that has long captured the hearts of game players everywhere, is coming to the App Store for the first time via a new game called RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile. In the game, you'll be able to construct and destruct plenty of roller coasters, customize your theme park to your liking, and share your amazing creations with friends.

One of the app's most exciting new features is the addition of Facebook and Game Center support, which will allow players to invite friends to visit their parks "and exchange roller coaster blueprints." Additionally, players can go to the RollerCoaster Tycoon website and register to receive news about the game as well as a free in-game gift. Be sure to check out the game's official announcement trailer below.

RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile is being published by Atari and developed by start up game studio On5, and is set to release on the App Store in "early spring" for the price of $2.99.

Coaster Crazy Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Blake Grundman on November 15th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: RAIL RIDING RENAISSANCE
Roller Coaster madness has been re-born on iOS and has a price tag that just sweetens the deal.
Read The Full Review »

Capcom E3 Preview: Dream Park

Posted by Blake Grundman on June 8th, 2011

As I stepped into the demo for Dream Park, I couldn't seem to shake this feeling that I have seen this game somewhere else.  Echoes of PC gaming's past were calling out the name of Rollercoaster Tycoon as I was shown the second of Capcom's trio of upcoming freemium offerings.  While the game doesn't expressly feature the ability to build your own rollercoasters, many of the other amusement park design and upkeep mechanics are present in their full glory, silently urging you to indulge your inner Walt Disney.

For those that have ever fantasized about building their own fledgling theme, or rather, "Dream Park," from the ground up, this is the title that will definitely scratch that itch. Players can choose from a park that employs any one of three different themes: Jurassic, Science Fiction, or Fantasy Medieval.  After deciding upon a motif to follow, players then can set off to create rides, modify or upgrade their existing attractions, and better please their consumers.

Once new rides have been put into full operation they will continue to earn a steady income until customers either become dissatisfied with the attraction, or it breaks down. Depending upon the popularity of the ride, you will have to make the tough choice to either repair the ride or sell it for scrap.  These are the kinds of decisions that will plague progression through the lifecycle of this interactive magic land.  But really who are we to complain?  Even the worst day on a Ferris Wheel beats any day in the office...

As you might predict, the more successful your Dream Park becomes, the more money that will be at your disposal for customizing and beautifying the layout of the park.  Even the small touches like adding in proper queue lines for attractions can go a long way towards cleaning up the appearance and  better managing crowds.  Once again, the name of the game when it comes to freemium design is customization, and this is an experience that has it in spades.  Will you chose to indulge your inner control freak?

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