We've covered the sleek and stylish word puzzler SpellTower in the past, and now the game is back on the radar again with a huge new update -- the first in quite some time -- arriving on February 9.
Tag: SpellTower »
We've covered the sleek and stylish word puzzler SpellTower in the past, and now the game is back on the radar again with a huge new update -- the first in quite some time -- arriving on February 9.
If you’re not sick of cookies yet (if that’s even a thing), you might want to try out Word Cookies!, a delicious word game that has you picking words out of trays of freshly baked cookies. It’s a good challenge, but also surprisingly relaxing. If you love word games, you can’t do wrong by trying. Or maybe you’re already a tried and true Word Cookies! veteran ready to branch out into something new. Word games are not uncommon on the app store, so we’ve narrowed down five of the best to help you get your fix.
When I was growing up, my friends' parents never really got gaming. Some might have appreciated that their kids loved playing games, and would still buy them the relevant equipment, but they never really understood why it excited us so much. I happened to be part of a, then, very select group. I had parents who figured it out perfectly. My Dad was never any good at playing any games but he enjoyed talking about them because he was forever fascinated by the progression of technology. It was my Mum, however, that turned into a major rival. In the good sense, of course.
As a kid, we would have battles to beat each other's Tetris scores. We'd compete at games of Columns too, meeting up to work together to progress through Bubble Bobble (we never did beat it).
One of the most important things I believe I've ever been given is a set of parents that were constantly supportive and encouraging of what I set out to achieve. That's continued right up until today.
With my father sadly no longer with us, my relationship with my mother is even stronger than it was before. Having pursued a potentially risky path of freelance writing, she's always been there fully supportive. Whether it be by accepting that money is a little tight this month, or by making sure I've got a sandwich by my side while I struggle to meet a tight deadline. Of course, I do the same for her, but Sunday isn't about me, it's about her!
Crucially, she's quite the solo gamer and tech enthusiast now. In recent years, she spent a few hundred hours playing through Dragon Quest VIII on the Playstation 2. Something that I'm rather proud of telling other gamers. More relevantly for readers of 148apps, perhaps, she's unlocked and at least two-starred every single level of Angry Birds imaginable, and I don't mean just standard Angry Birds. I'm talking standard, Space, Star Wars, Seasons and Rio. She's a machine when it comes to flicking birds towards pigs.
We've got the one iPad between us which luckily isn't too much of an issue, although it never stops either of us flocking to the Apple Store together to gaze at the new specimens. Sure, we both know that the iPad 2 is a very fine device in its own right but that doesn't stop either of us eyeing up the size of the iPad Mini or pondering just how much faster the iPad 4 might seem. She's got her own iPhone now too, having been given my "old" iPhone 4. It's the perfect tool for her to play SpellTower while on the move, her language skills being far superior to mine.
She hasn't quite delved into the apps world as much yet. She reckons it's because she's too busy. I reckon it's because there's always "just one more" level of Angry Birds to conquer.
I'm an extremely lucky person to have not only such a supportive mother, but one that is just as excited as me about new technology, gadgets and the wonders of the App Store.
Happy Mother's Day, Mum. :) [And from all of us at 148Apps, too, Jen's mum! --Ed.]
We Are Your App Authority
Every week, the 148Apps reviewers sort through the latest apps, 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.
Photoshop Touch for phone (yes phone, not iPhone) is essentially the same app as Photoshop Touch for iPad, which Adobe released last year. Optimized for the iPhone 4S and 5, the same features are present, but the UI has been redesigned for the smaller screen. The app works well, but the small screen size is limiting, even for those of us with small fingers. Still, for Photoshop devotes, the integration of Adobe’s Creative Cloud makes it easy(ish) to start a project on one device and finish it later on another or import it – layers intact – to Photoshop proper on a PC. --Lisa Kaplan
Console and PC/Mac gamers might recall the franchise, Mini Ninjas, the loveable if slightly too simplistic adventure game geared towards the younger end of the market. Unlike its older sibling, the iOS version doesn’t offer anywhere near as much exploration, instead focusing on a very popular genre: the endless runner. Players control Hiro, as he runs from left to right in his bid to rescue animals and survive as long as possible. Obstacles such as boulders and explosive barrels must be jumped over, while enemy ninjas must be taken out with a well timed tap of the attack button. A choice of two control methods are available, the default method involves tapping on the left hand side of the screen in order to jump, while the right hand side initiates an attack. It doesn’t feel quite as natural as it should, so I’d recommend switching to the other form which involves tapping anywhere to jump and a specific button to attack. --Jennifer Allen
Just when it seems like it’s time to give up on a repetitive mobile gaming template, a game like Shadow Escaper comes along and makes up for the next months’ worth of uninspired clones. It’s not a reinvention of the endless runner by any means. However, it is such a beautiful, well-executed take on the genre that players will remember why it keeps sticking around. At the beginning of the Shadow Escaper players pick a creature of the night, either a boy werewolf or girl demon, and then have to guide them through daytime chases from fascist angels and other heavenly beings. Using the silky smooth controls, they’ll seamlessly go from sliding under gates to jumping over falling barrels to running down twisting town roads to even gliding over bodies of water thanks to the occasional power-ups. Players are also encouraged to gather energy during each run because once the sun goes down the characters change into their powerful night forms and unleash whatever energy they have back at the enemy. --Jordan Minor
Since I’ve been playing games for the majority of my life on consoles, I’m fairly awkward and clumsy when it comes to playing them on a computer. Well, it’s mostly the action games. I just can’t adjust to the controls. This is why I never managed to play Capsized when it first came out. I tried, believe me I did, but the keyboard controls were too much for me. On the iPad, though? Much better. Even if it’s a little “floaty.” Stranded on a mysterious alien world, a lone space explorer must locate his surviving crew mates and survive long enough to get back home. Easier said than done when a decent portion of the planet is either carnivorous. Capsized+ takes all the exploration and combat of the original and reworks it to fit on the iPad. The virtual controls are similar to most twin-stick shooters with a few exceptions, so it shouldn’t take players long to acclimate to the new interface. Then they can use commendations earned through play to upgrade their arsenal, their jetpack’s fuel tank, or even unlock new suit designs. --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:
I Need My Monster is an interactive storybook app based on the children’s book of the same name, now also including a few extras such as a memory-styled matching game and a “Simon” styled mini-game. I know this title well, as I Need My Monster is a story that is often read out loud at our local library’s story time, and when borrowing this book, the pages are worn from being enjoyed by many children. --Amy Solomon
Sofia the First: Story Theatre is a delightful, interactive app based on the children’s animated series on Disney Junior. We are not familiar with Sofia the First in our home so I did not have any expectations about this book. I am happy to say that I am very pleasantly surprised with what this app has to offer. The plot of this story is both very traditional but also has a modern sensibility to it as this tale opens up with Sofia’s mom marrying into a royal family. In this blended family, at first Sofia feels very out of place by becoming newly royal as well as not being treated very well by her new siblings – especially her step-sister. --Amy Solomon
Wildlife Jigsaw Puzzles 123 – Fun Learning Puzzle Game For Kids is a new puzzle app from GiggleUp, a wonderful developer with a hearty library of apps including a very nice selection of puzzle applications.
Wildlife Jigsaw Puzzles 123 is a delightful collection of seven scenes with themes such as Jungle Friends, Forest Critters, Desert Folks or Snow Buddies. --Amy Solomon
Wordsplosion from (Concrete Software) is a word guessing game that taxes the patience, gets fingernails bitten and raises blood pressure. In a good way. It was a pulse-racing game of pick five with a limited amount of tries set against a clock. To win, I had to take the opening hint (I got the first letter) and figure out the remaining four. A wrong guess or a time out counted as a try, so it kind of made sense to guess valid words with the hope of picking up a few more right letters. The correct letters were set aside even if I guessed a word that had them in the wrong position; to explain, if the correct word was “BURST” and I guessed “BRAWN” instead, the “R” was retained in a hold space above the guessing grid. In this way, it was possible to narrow down the alphabet and create a word scramble of sorts. I also got hints, and success yielded more hints. --Tre Lawrence
Platformers may be one of the oldest and simplest forms of video games; so it makes sense that they are the most widely auditioned game type on KickStarter. Even more common are the pixel art varieties because of their ease of production and popular appearance. What we have here for today’s KickStarter Spotlight is something that does not deviate too far from the formula, and yet still manages to impress. The project’s name is Another Castle, and the Mario references and similarities do not end there. The overarching plot of the game involves an intrepid, accidental explorer in a quest for some randomly chosen artifact; be it his girlfriend or a flaming sword. The game is very self-aware and makes it part of the story that it blatantly sends the player from castle to castle because, of course, the item is always “in another castle”. --Joseph Bertolini
[img id="sc03-180x300.png"]Zach Gage’s SpellTower is a game that is a long time coming to Android; released initially in 2011 (and winner of the 2011 Best App Ever award for word games, with a 2012 runner-up finish), two years later it’s now available for Android devices. The goal is to spell words on the board by connecting a line between letters that are adjacent horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Forming a word eliminate the tiles on the board, the important thing being that the tiles will fall when a match is made. Thus, the game becomes not just about forming words, but about the interplay of the tiles as well. Thus, the game is more than just a word game, it’s a puzzle game as well. The game reportedly had its genesis in that the creators of another game, Puzzlejuice, described the game to Zach Gage and he made his interpretation of it, despite not being a fan of word games. --Carter Dotson
Were you one of the lucky people to pick up a shiny new iPad Mini? Wondering what gaming delights are worth buying for it? There's a whole bunch. You're going to have an awesome time discovering them. To start you off, though, we've rounded up our four favorite titles that should give you a great idea of just how many hours of quality gaming can be had on the iPad Mini.
It's a personal favorite of mine mostly because it's so darn addictive. Fieldrunners 2 is the creme de la creme of tower defense gaming, offering just enough challenge to keep you playing while still always feeling inviting. This is thanks to its wide selection of difficulty levels, mission types and a trickling of new towers and power-ups that can be unlocked throughout. There's hours of fun to be had. It looks stunning, too.
Be warned, SpellTower is going to cut into your productivity levels. That five minute session will turn into hours, easily. Players simply swipe words together with extra points gained for using bonus tiles and creating long words. It's a simple Boggle style idea but one that's perfectly implemented. Five different game modes, including local multiplayer, will hook you in for a long time to come.
Bumpy Road is an adorably, charming endless runner style game. Players must clear the path and keep the road bumping along in order to keep an ageing couple safe on their journey down memory lane. The further you play, the more you discover things about the couple and their family. It's that sweet and delightfully heart warming.
Real Racing 2 HD
Consistently on the cutting edge of iOS technology, Firemint's Real Racing 2 HD demonstrates the power of your iPad Mini while also offering a great racing game. No other game has surpassed it in terms of its extensive career mode, impressive visuals and use of licensed cars. And? If you have an Apple TV, you can zap the gaming up to the big screen in your living room. There's multiplayer functionality available, too, to seal the deal.
This week at 148Apps.com, we checked out stunning cool new multiplayer features in two fan-favorite games: Infinity Blade 2 and SpellTower. Carter Dotson had this to say about IB2's new features: "Infinity Blade 2‘s first major content update has finally dropped on the App Store, bringing its new ClashMob feature to the game. The ClashMob challenges are asynchronous multiplayer events where everyone who participates contributes toward some collective goal."
And Jennifer Allen writes that, "SpellTower has just got even better with a major new update coming to the app. The big update is the addition of Debate Mode, multiplayer support via bluetooth providing a Rush-style battle of word skills amongst players."
The fun continued at GiggleApps.com with Amy Solomon's review of the odd Dynastid Beetle. She writes, "Dynastid Beetle is a fun and educational interactive app for children. To those living in the United States, an application dedicated to learning about a beetle may seem like an odd choice, so it is worth noting that dynastid Beetles are commonly kept as pets within Asian households. Versions of this app are available for both iPad as well as iPhone. This interactive app contains five sections – each dedicated to teaching a specific aspect about the lives of dynastic beetles."
Want to know more about one of the more original apps for kids on the App Store? Read Solomon's full review on GiggleApps.
Finally, on AndroidRundown.com, Carter Dotson introduced MMO Dark Legends for Chrome and Android, and had this to say about the game for iOS: "The game is available now on Google Play for Android, and from the Chrome Web Store. The iOS version is expected to release after a two-week exclusivity period with Google, but player accounts will transfer between platforms by logging into the same account; it currently works between the Chrome and Android versions, just as it worked with Pocket Legends and Star Legends."
Since its release in November, SpellTower alone has been responsible for my iPad needing regular recharges. It's one of the most addictive word games out there, understandably winning in our Best App Ever Awards at the end of last year.
SpellTower has just got even better with a major new update coming to the app. The big update is the addition of Debate Mode, multiplayer support via bluetooth providing a Rush-style battle of word skills amongst players.
That's not all though with subtle improvements such as retina support for the new iPad, color options to make it easier to play in the dark, the ability to tweet best words scored and, ideal for me, reduced battery consumption.
If somehow SpellTower has passed you by and you're a Word Game fan, you owe it to yourself to check it out immediately. It's out now. Don't blame me if free time vanishes somewhere thanks to it.
You're the best around! No one's ever gonna keep you down!
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In what was another fantastic year in the world of iOS apps & games, we are here to bring you the fifty titles that we, the staff of 148Apps, thought were the best of the year. Here are the gaming titles 16 - 25 in our Best Games of 2011:
25. SpellTower: Zach Gage's second iOS release is another smash, as SpellTower proved to be a fun take on the ever-popular word game genre. It comes with some special restrictions to force more creative word usage, and the requirement to make words out of nearby tiles, managing the tile stack as well as trying to form words causes the game to have a deeper dynamic than many word games have.
24. Hard Lines: I did not know it was possible for lines that are only one pixel wide to have character, but these lines shout out constant witticisms while they try to make them crash into each other. A variety of modes are featured throughout this Tron lightcycles and Snake hybrid, along with the ability to compete against friends' high scores. Nothing like a good old high score battle to get the blood pumping, and to develop a little bit of hatred between friends that keeps the relationship strong!
23. Mega Mall Story: Kairosoft put out a ton of their simulation games on iOS this year; any one of them probably deserved to be in this slot, but Mega Mall Story gets the nod by taking elements from tower-building titles, with that signature Kairosoft charm to make it an experience that 148Apps writer Rob Rich is on record as saying that it made him squee. He said he squeed on the inside, but I leave it to our audience to judge the accuracy of the claim themselves.
22. Mission Europa Collector's Edition: iOS games typically shoot for a smaller focus than the other systems do, going for short-term, repeatable experiences. Mission Europa throws that out the window, bringing an original, and expansive first-person shooter with RPG elements to the platform. In the vein of such titles like System Shock (and its more well-known modern spiritual successor BioShock), this iOS original is proud to be big in a small world.
21. Sonic CD - 2 years ago, a Sonic fan named Christian Whitehead pitched Sega on an idea for an iOS port of Sonic CD using a custom engine he designed for bringing retro games to new platforms. Two years later, the results are about as perfect as they could have possibly been, as the game has been redone in perfect fashion, with new tweaks and extras, including the ability to listen to either the American or Japanese soundtrack. It's about as perfect as it could possibly be, and one can only hope that more Sonic games are brought to iOS in similar fashion.
20. The Blocks Cometh: This game really grew on me after a while, once the initial control issues were resolved. The climbing gameplay with action elements really shines through - like Mega Man in the middle of a Tetris stack. The update later in the year adding a new Game Boy-inspired mode, new Arcade and Casual modes, along with a landscape control option helped seal this among one of the best titles of the year.
19. Junk Jack: The most important game of 2011 may be Minecraft; it showed how one indie studio could make a million-seller without any traditional publisher support. Its open-world crafting gameplay was also brought to iOS, but it was alternative interpretations on the platform that may have been stronger overall. Junk Jack brings its own pixel art style to the table with 2D gameplay, but with all the resource harvesting, crafting, and survival intact.
18. Anomaly Warzone Earth: I'm surprised, frankly, that more games like this haven't been made yet, by which I mean tower offense, controlling the invaders among the winding paths and entrenched turrets that are usually the player's job to lay down. The game wisely tweaks the concept enough to let it feel like it has its own strategy and planning that is truly unique to this kind of game. It would be hard to imagine that any other interpretation of tower offense would fare much better.
17. The Last Rocket: Shaun Inman, artist of the number one game in the "Sky is Falling" genre, The Incident, developed this little puzzle-platformer that was downright charming. Controlling an anthropomorphic rocket trying to escape from a factory, the levels were often challenging but required thought to complete properly. The 16-bit-esque design aesthetic only added to the game's charm.
16. Army of Darkness Defense: Here's a dirty little secret: I don't watch a lot of movies. Whenever a friend asks me if I've seen a certain movie, the answer is usually a resounding no. I haven't seen the Evil Dead trilogy at all. That didn't stop me from enjoying this game, which was a castle defense game mixed with side-scrolling action. The simple controls were perfect for mobile, the gameplay laid its hooks into me. I played it for hours on a plane ride in to Chicago, continuing to fight off the Deadite hordes with my boomstick. I was so compelled to write the review for the game that I actually wrote it on my phone while on a commuter train! Is that not motivation?
Come back on Wednesday to see the titles we ranked 15-6.