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.
Monsters aren’t what makes horror movies scary. It’s the idea of the monster that truly frightens us. The shrouded inhuman figure we can barely make out forces us to fill in the terrifying details with our own imagination. That’s why whenever the monster fully arrives, it just looks silly and the fear disappears. What makes Dark Echo one of the tensest, most ingenious horror games on the App Store is that it’s all about not seeing the monster. Based on the development team’s Ludum Dare game You Must Escape, Dark Echo puts players in the poor shoes of some anonymous victim stuck in a pitch black hallway. Virtually blind, the only way to move around is to rely on your other senses, particularly hearing. The game represents this Daredevil-style echolocation by showing sound waves as white lines bouncing around the black screen. Beyond just being a striking visual effect, this gives players enough information they need to progress while also leaving them incredibly vulnerable. –Jordan Minor
It’s a good sign when finishing a game causes me to audibly yell “Nooo, don’t finish there!” at my iPad. It’s also a sign that the first episode of The Detail could perhaps do with being a little longer. It offers just enough to really grab your attention, but its premium price tag doesn’t quite match up with the quantity offered here. The App Store description suggests a mixture of The Walking Dead with the grim realism of The Wire. That’s about right, too. The Detail is a pretty dark game, even this early on, but it hooks you in fast. Following two very different characters – a grizzled and cynical veteran detective and a reformed criminal with a family – it’s not long at all before you’re drawn into the storyline. Action is much like other adventure games with you tapping on hotspots to interact with them in some way. Within a few minutes, you’re inspecting a body, trying to glean clues as to what’s unfolding. You can also talk to people, ask them questions, and adjust your tone accordingly. –Jennifer Allen
The Witcher Battle Arena is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) for people who have never played one before. It lacks the depth of most of the rest of the genre, as well as a few other features that would beguile you. Instead, it’s a bit too simple to really recommend, although I guess it works as a gateway to superior offerings. Unlike other MOBAs, each match is very straightforward with little opportunity for tactical play. Games are 3-vs-3, with teams having to capture the three checkpoints across each map in order to whittle down the opposition’s tickets. Starting out with 500 tickets, games typically take around 10 minutes to complete but will sometimes run a little longer. –Jennifer Allen
While games on the whole are noticeably simpler and easier than the games of the 80s and 90s, there’s also a genre full of games keen to remind you of why you enjoyed such challenges once upon a time. Potatoman Seeks The Troof is part of that genre, testing your ability to react exceptionally quickly. Some control issues aside, it’s mostly quite fun if all too brief. With the graphical prowess of an 8-bit console or computer, Potatoman Seeks The Troof is simple looking but also quite charming. Your sole objective is to dodge everything and survive. There’s a certain amount of pattern recognition involved here, but just when you think you fully get it down, it changes things up. Early on, you jump over various cacti. Then, inexplicably, one cactus leaps in the air – usually catching you out the first time round. So, Potatoman Seeks The Troof isn’t just about pattern recognition but also trial and error. Fortunately, it restarts quickly so you never lose out too much. –Jennifer Allen
As far as conspiracy theories go, the Philadelphia Experiment is a good one to base a game around. Urban legend states the priject, which was supposedly conducted by the United States’ Army in 1943, turned a US Navy destroyer invisible – thus paving the way for technology that would hide other ships and weapons from enemy eyes. But where do “invisible” things go once they’re zapped out of our realm of existence? According to Radiation Island from Atypical Games, the answer is “some mysterious place that’s super-hostile.” Thus begins a game that’s all about survival, crafting, and exploration. –Nadia Oxford
Toca Kitchen 2 is a companion to the popular Toca Kitchen – a favorite digital toy for both children and adults. I admire Toca Boca for their willingness to update their apps as well as to develop new versions of their creations in order to continue to challenge the creativity of young people in their various Toca Hair Salon apps, as well as Toca Kitchen apps – be it Kitchen Monsters, the original Toca Kitchen, and now Toca Kitchen 2. A few things have changed from the most recent update of Toca Kitchen; specifically the ability to combine ingredients both in the cooking process as well as on the plate to serve. The other major change here is the use of 3D graphics – as also seen in Toca Nature – when representing the three customers, as well as using muted shades of food textures to replicate the ingredients instead of the bright and colorful food illustrations I was fond of in the original app. –Amy Solomon
Other 148Apps Network Sites
If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:
Here’s the problem: I’ve come to appreciate quality earphones the older I’ve gotten. I won’t describe myself as an audiophile, but I do enjoy the output a quality set of phones can bring. As such, I do have write a few. Wired, wireless, over-ear, in-ear, lounging, sport… you name it, and I probably have a set for the occasion. I baby them too. They’re cased when not in use, and issued in places that negate the possibility of silly mishaps, like (gasp!) sitting on them. All because I like having options, and dislike procuring stuff twice.
You know what is kryptonite to gadget longevity? Kids. Take my daughter for instance. Ariana Grande must be heard, ave outside hearing the SAME song played on loop, I have to reluctantly lend her a pair of mine. Why aren’t there more gadgets available for kids? That’s a question the Puro Sound Labs Kids Headphones looks to answer. –Tre Lawrence
City Island 3 plays somewhat like a simpler version of SimCity. The player begins with a empty island and must construct a city from the ground up. Houses are placed for your citizens to live in and just like SimCity it is best to construct ones that hold more people to make maximum use of space. Businesses can be placed as well and these are the ones that generate money for the player, using a familiar timer based system. Businesses must be staffed with employees and thus you need to balance the amount of houses and businesses so there is always enough staff to crew your profitable businesses. –Allan Curtis
Checkpoint Champion is a cool new driving game that rewards careful, skilful driving. Taking control of cute SD versions of well-known cars the player weaves their way to greatness. Checkpoint Champion is a great fit for mobile gaming. Using a simple control system, the player must weave their way through very short ten second challenges. These involve driving into checkpoints before time runs out. Each challenge features plenty of fiendish challenges like hairpin turns; handbrake turns, obstacles that need to be avoided and plain tough driving. Checkpoint Champion rewards precision and it is very satisfying to get a level right. –Allan Curtis
Finally, this week Pocket Gamer got you free currency in Midnight Star and free critters in Pokemon, picked the best iOS and Android games of January, and handed out its first 10/10 of 2015. What was the lucky game? You’ll just have to click here, won’t you?
Otosense, by OtoSense Tech, is a sound recognition app for the deaf and hard of hearing. The app can identify sounds such as the doorbell, smoke alarm blares, or oven timer and send you a notification.
It comes pre-programmed to recognize many sounds, but you can also teach Otosense to listen for certain things by recording the sound and labeling it. You can also set the notifications to flash, vibration, and third-party notifications such as SMS text.
Otosense will be available on the App Store soon – hopefully a little later today, in fact. To find out more you can watch the explanation video below.
I’m sorry to bring this news to you all, but apparently we are all dead this Halloween. Sucks, I know! However, it appears as if there may be a way to return to back to the other side as Sean Bean will guide us all through the darkness in Papa Sangre II!
Sean Bean will guide us through the darkness? Whatever, 006! I don’t trust you! You want the ring for yourself!
Put on your headphones and check out the trailer below!
If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. That’s what George Hufnagl, a Chicago-based sound designer, did. In need of easy-to-use portable tools for audio and video editing, he set out to do just that. And the result? Pocket Audio Tools.
He partnered with Canada-based Christian Floisand, who is also a programmer but learned Objective-C specifically to make this app, to help bring Pocket Audio Tools to life. The app itself is a bit technical, and of use primarily to certain audiences, which George Hufnagl was glad to show me in this demo video running down the various features:
The app currently has four features: a tempo finder for finding the BPM based on a region’s duration, beats, and the type of notes being played. This relates to the Modulation section, where particular tempos can be modulated to different values when trying to slow down or speed up a piece for particular uses. The SMPTE section allows those who work with audio along with video to calculate particular frame values based on SMPTE (Hours:Minutes:Seconds:Frames) timing or frame timing, to help get audio down to the specific value they need it to be at, with the ability to save favorite values.
The scale frequency section is the only one that actually features sound output! This lets sound designers see the frequencies of certain notes, their MIDI key equivalents, and to output that frequency to test how it will sound. Different scales based in different notes can be chosen to help get the exact frequencies necessary.
But most importantly, this is an app that George says that he uses regularly, especially the tempo finder in the sound projects that he works on.
This is just the beginning for Pocket Audio Tools: the app is planned to be updated over the next year with additional features added in (the Feedback link will send an email to the programmer, Christian) as per users’ requests and with plans to bring the app to other platforms including desktops. This is a tool meant to be handy for audio professionals, and considering that the creators are audio professionals themselves, they don’t just have to live up to their users’ standards: they have to live up to their own.
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.
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
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
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
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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:
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 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
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
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
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
Posted by Rob LeFebvre on August 15th, 2012 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Work or play around a lot of noise? This may be the app for you.
Hearcules measures the noise, counts down the permissible exposure time and notifies you when you should move away from the noise. These times are determined in accordance with the American “National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health” standards. The iPhone version is being introduced first on the App Store with the Android version coming up in the following months.
User Interface Rating:
Hardware Design Rating:
Bluetooth speakers rock my world. I love being able to run music from my iPhone to a nearby speaker without having to tether it with a cable. While the BT connection does not keep my iPhone charged, the payoff in mobility is worth it.
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.
What’s brilliant about a bluetooth speaker system is the ability to play music from any source. I was able to send streams of music to the Logitech device from a Macbook Air, a Mac Mini, an iPhone and an iPad. Pairing is simple and consistent with other bluetooth devices; hold the button for pairing, marked by a big Bluetooth logo, until it flashes blue. Open the preferences on the sound source and choose the Logitech Boombox, already named and ready in the list of devices available.
The only small issues I noticed? The boombox did not wake from sleep when I used my iPhone to start playing again, even when plugged into a wall. It would be nice if, when connected to power, the boombox would wake and connect to the last connected source device. It was only a simple matter of pressing the power button on the Logitech device, though, and the music was restored.
The second issue? Battery life seems a bit short. The length of time the boombox lasts seems limited to one or two albums at a time when not connected to a plug. Enough for a short time out of doors, perhaps, but nothing to rely on for longer periods. The unit does, however, lower the folume and flash a yellow light when the battery life is low–a handy visual feature.
As of now, this is my favorite external speaker for all the Bluetooth capable gadgets around the house. I’ve been using it for gaming, playing music, and watching netflix on my iPad. The Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch got it right with its rich spectrum of sound response, great industrial design curves, and easy pairing of Bluetooth devices.
Ridiculous and physically impossible musical instruments, with equally ridiculous and physically impossible names, can only mean one thing: Dr. Seuss. Or in this case, a Dr. Seuss Band.
Players can choose from a set of five different horns, then decide whether they’d like to mess around making their own music or try to go for the high score while recreating tunes from one of ten original songs from Hop on Pop to The Cat in the Hat. The sounds each horn makes can be tweaked by adding bizarre attechments such as fishbowls and train whistles, which fits right in, honestly. It’s even possible to exchange various horn parts to create some truly weird… things that make noise.
This suitable-for-all-ages piece of musically interactive childhood has just recently seen a price drop, so now anyone can compose their own Seussian melodies on their iOS device for free. Sounds awfully tempting…
Yes, the name of the app I’m reviewing today is the entire alphabet. From this point on, I’ll refer to it as abcdefg for the sake of my fingers. I stumbled across this app thanks to the title, it initially seemed like a unique way to learn the alphabet and practice word sounds, but I […]
I’m going to come right out and say this. I love Sandra Boynton. To me, she is the most prolific children’s story writers to come out in this generation, specifically for younger children. I put her alongside Dr. Seuss and Robert Munsch, and that’s high praise. “Moo, Baa, La, La, La” is produced by Loud […]
“The Going to Bed Book” is one of two Sandra Boynton books available on the app store (the other is “Moo, Baa, La, La, La”) and like “Moo, Baa” it is a fantastic book with top notch production value that takes a great story and adds some unique and wonderful interactive elements, making it a […]
The developer calls it musical geometry, and that’s a great description. The idea behind the app is that you have a faucet dropping out balls at a particular tempo. You draw lines for the balls to bounce off of. The faster they are going when they bounce, the higher the pitch of the sound they make.
As you can imagine, if you get enough lines to restrict the balls and direct them in the right direction, you can get quite a sound going. The app is at it’s most musical when you have just a few lines. The sounds it can make in these cases is pretty interesting.
Soundrop is free, and it’s very fun. I’ve found myself more than once wrapped up in Soundrop for more time than I want to admit. Give it a shot, it’s a Universal app that works on both the iPad and iPhone. Though the app really shines on the iPads larger screen.
Wunder Radio is an internet radio application that gives live feeds from thousands of stations across the world. Whatever you're in the mood for - you'll find it in here. From the Bahamas to Poland, United States to United Arab Emirates .. there's no shortage of choice.
Monster Pinball has a great sound and colour along with 6 tables of pinball action all in the same game. The ball shoots from table to table making you play longer than what you may have initially intended!
This is a cutely drawn game, and although it isn't as addictive as other games out there, the uniqueness factor coupled with game music that you won't be able to get enough of, make it a winner. The price really seals the deal folks!
This is exactly space invaders as you remember. Many of us played the first time round (*koff*). The charm about it is that it is actually by the original folks who brought it to us in 1978. Would have been nice if they gave us the same prices! The game essentially is a small space ship along the bottom, that has to shoot at the space invaders shooting and coming down towards you.
Melody Match is a new twist on the classic card-matching game using—you guessed it—sound clips instead of flash cards. Some of the melodies are real treats for the ear, and the game uses a variety of themes, ranging from snippets of Bach and Mozart to upbeat Brazilian tunes to traditional songs like Yankee Doodle.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted February 18th, 2009 by Christine Morris Our Rating: :: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
This application is a singing book designed to entertain a young child. However, it is much more than that. It has multiple languages, instruments and recording support, turning it into a great educational tool.
I am eager to let readers know about Oceanhouse Media’s annual app sale in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday from Wednesday, February 25 through Monday, March 9. During this time, five of their best-selling Seuss stories will be on sale for $0.99 each, and there will be discounts for other classic Dr. Seuss titles as […]
Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf Complete is now available. It’s a combination of all the previous releases in the series where you get all four acts (Blood on the Snow, Forest Hunt, The Shianti Halls, and Dawn over V’taag) of the gamebook saga for one price. Relive the story of Kai Lord of Sommerlund as he […]