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Showstopper Basketball Review

Posted by Marquice Johnson on May 30th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: Mobage, Inc.
Price: Free
Version: 1.01
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating: starhalfstarblankstarblankstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starhalfstarblankstarblankstarblankstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar


I’ve haven’t played many sports titles on iOS with good reason; like fighting games, the gameplay is all dependent on latency. For developer Mobage, Inc., the solution for translating fast-paced hoops to the non-buttoned platform is to remove the ability to play basketball all together. Instead, we are left with a situational analysis app, an almost coaching approach, where every player action is dictated by the statistical probability of its outcome. From passing to shooting to playing defense, each action is a timed decision where players must choose the best course of action to score a bucket.

The way Showstopper sets up this grand experiment is placing a 5-member squad against an opposing team in league play; the catch is that I didn't actually play but rather governed the team of stars. After the opening tip, it is up to me to decide the actions of the team ,as every two seconds the players pause and I am given five seconds to decide whether to dish the rock or shoot the pill. This may seem to be a lengthy process but as each game takes less than three minutes to complete, I am hungered, like looking for seconds on Thanksgiving with none to be found. Upon loading the first match-up, my first thought is, “this is different." However, by the tenth league game, I'm sure that I'm not enjoying the basketball portion nearly as much as the collectible card game (CCG) component.

Did I utter basketball and CCG in the same sentence? That I did. How Mobage came to the conclusion to unite the two is well beyond me but what I do know is that it feels compelling enough to stick with (even if basketball gameplay is non-existent). At the conclusion of every match-up, the standouts from my team level up and continue to gain xp that translates into new abilities on the court. So, instead of continually shooting jump shots right under the basket, new window options of “layup” or “dunk” appear at my coaching disposal. Customizations are also the rave, as new gear equates to in-game attribute bonuses. With the gamut of CCG depth for such a simplistic sport, I could not help but imagine what could have been if this type of CCG were layered onto a different genre.

Is Showstopper Basketball a great sporting experience with excellent b-ball gameplay? Absolutely not. Is it worth a glance to imagine what cool CCG and sports could possibly become on iOS? Absolutely.

Real Basketball Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on April 9th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: I WISH
As great as Real Basketball plays, one can only perform free throws so many times before they start to get a bit dull.
Read The Full Review »

GDC 2013: Football Heroes Combines Tecmo Bowl, NFL Blitz and...World of Warcraft?!

Posted by Carter Dotson on April 4th, 2013

Football Heroes, Kickstarted a year ago, is coming to fruition. Michael Marzola, one of the game's developers, showed off an early build of the game with non-final art, but this title already shows promise. It's inspired by classic arcade football games such as Tecmo Bowl, with a dash of the brutality of NFL Blitz, and World of Warcraft. Wait, what? That's because the players on a team can be endlessly customized, with skill trees to help make them play better and avoid more tackles. The game has a long way to go still, but expect to play this one during NFL season.

[vine bjxIaDhO9Au]

Slamjet Stadium Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 18th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FRANTICALLY FUN
Combine Air Hockey sensibilities with a futuristic backdrop and there's an excitable and fast arcade sports game within.
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Applauze Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Angela LaFollette on March 12th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PARTY LIKE A ROCKSTAR
Instead of staying indoors tonight, user Applauze and its beautiful interface to find a local free or paid event and then purchase tickets directly within the app.
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Alistair Aitcheson gets Physical with Slamjet Stadium

Posted by Rob Rich on March 5th, 2013

Greedy Bankers Vs. The World was only the beginning for Alistair Aitcheson. Now we have Slamjet Stadium to satisfy our same-screen multiplayer desires. Think football re-imagined by a bunch of aliens who were trying to piece the rules together a couple hundred years from now and you'll have the basic gist of it.

Where exactly did you pull Slamjet Stadium's inspiration from? Not just the wacky-looking gameplay; I'm talking about the physical roughhousing, too. Super-intense family game nights as a young boy perhaps?

Haha, I don't know really! I'm generally a fairly calm and friendly guy. I was never into rough-housing at all when I was a kid! I am very competitive though, as my friends know - I'll always be looking for a way to mess up my rivals in any game.

So I wanted to experiment more with this kind of game design. The original prototype for Slamjet Stadium came out of a big batch of experimental multiplayer games I did over the summer and tested out in the pub.

Often you'll find yourself scoring by spotting a really awesome shot or powerup, so paying attention to the board is really important. Hand-grabbing is certainly a useful tactic, but it's only one way of doing things. That makes play really dynamic. One moment it could be best to play rough, the next moment you might need to think fast, or play accurately.

While we're on the subject of the multiplayer, how are you going to influence players to stop being polite?

People tend to jostle as much or as little as they feel comfortable with, and surprisingly that's usually quite a lot! There's typically a "eureka" moment when one player realizes they can get in the way of their friend, or use their opponent's characters instead of their own. The physicality often grows from there!

So I've put messages in the loading screens suggesting ways you can "cheat." The game's advising you to play foul, so it must be okay! That eureka moment has to inspire creative play, so it's important that players know that the game isn't degenerating into chaos.

Would you mind going into a few specifics? Stuff like general gameplay, number of teams, differences between teams (if any), etc.

Each player gets two characters on a team, and the rules are fairly simple. You grab a character with your finger, pull back to charge their engines, and let go to send them flying across the screen. You want to hit the ball into your opponent's goal, and the first to score five points wins the match.

There are also various power-ups and stage hazards that appear: rage power to smash up your opponents' characters, freeze power that traps them in ice, multiball release, powerful gusts of wind.

My favorite activates "Last Man Standing" mode, where traps come in from the side of the screen, and it's up to you to avoid them (or throw your opponents into them); a point is awarded to the survivor!

There are nine different arenas in the game, with different effects and hazards. As for the teams, there are six to choose from and each has different physical properties: shape, weight, boost power and grip.

Are there going to be multiple game modes? Might we be able to look forward to something similar in a future update?

Right now it's split into Multiplayer and Solo Play. In solo, you take on a gauntlet of computer-controlled opponents over three leagues of increasing difficulty. Beating each one unlocks an extra multiplayer stage, and you can compete via GameCenter over your fastest completion times.

In Multiplayer it's very much a quickmatch format: you choose your teams and arenas, and can have a rematch or pick new teams after someone wins. I'll probably add some extra variations and setups in updates; I guess it depends on what players want to see after the initial launch. My focus was on getting players into the action as fast as possible.

All the elbow-slamming, wrist-grabbing, butt-nudging madness of Slamjet Stadium can be unleashed upon your iPad on March 14th for $2.99.

BBC Sport Released

Posted by Jeff Scott on February 6th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

BBC has released an iPhone app specifically targeted to the UK sports lover. In other words, Football fans. In my quick look it's well done, and generally snappy version of their mobile site. Though it does seem to lack features that you would expect like the ability to add favorite teams. (or favourite teams if you prefer)

Death Golf Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Blake Grundman on January 16th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SLIGHTLY SHANKED
Who knew that a sport that requires players to carry a stick could actually be so deadly? Find out if this shot is down the middle of the fairway or a bit more askew of center.
Read The Full Review »

SportsPage Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By David Rabinowitz on November 29th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: SPORTS NEWS
Use SportsPage to create a custom sports themed news feed that tracks teams, locations, and sports.
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Real Boxing Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on November 15th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: A KNOCKOUT
Real Boxing offers a console quality boxing experience. It plays as great as it looks.
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New App: High Limit Sports - Like Betting with Friends

Posted by Jeff Scott on October 26th, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

High Limit Sports is a free to play social game all based on sports betting. I liken it to a Betting with Friends type game. The game allows you to bet on NFL, College Football, MLB, NBA, NHL, College Basketball and they are adding more sports regularly.

New App: Manage Your World Series Dream Team With MLB: Full Deck

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on October 25th, 2012

You might know GREE from iOS games like Monster Quest and Crime City. Today, the Tokyo-based company released its first major sports game, MLB Full Deck, a fantasy baseball game that uses over 650 officially licensed Major League Baseball player profiles to fill out your dream team roster.

· Officially licensed by MLB.com and MLBPA
· Create an unbeatable team with 650 real MLB players
· Match up against friends for rewards In PVP mode
· Play Season Mode against all 30 MLB rosters
· Compete against your favorite teams from the National League or American League
· Make crucial game-winning decisions
· Train players and ramp up their stats
· Get team boosts based on current MLB stats

Topps HUDDLE Review

Posted by Blake Grundman on October 24th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: The Topps Company
Price: Free
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Playtime Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar


Spending a lazy Sunday afternoon plastered to the couch with an adult beverage in hand, while enjoying America's favorite pigskin pastime has become a critical strand in the fabric of our culture. Along with the sport itself, fantasy football is quickly becoming just as ingrained in the day-to-day lives of fanatics everywhere. What if there were a way that fans could meld the world of fantasy sports and social media together? The trading card company Topps has stepped in with their new hybrid application Topps HUDDLE to fill this critical void.

It is hard to define what exactly HUDDLE is as a piece of software. Is it a game? Could it be a social networking tool? Might it even be considered a research source for fantasy football owners? Ultimately, the aim is for this to be a fan's one-stop shop for football statistics, fantasy information, and up to the minute briefs on the biggest names in the National Football League.

The game portion of HUDDLE consists of initially acquiring "packs" of players, like in trading card packs, which makes complete sense given Topps' brand history. Each player in the pack is assessed with a plus or minus points value at the end of each week. These cumulative totals are used to compare against friends via Facebook, contact lists, or just strangers met at random. There is also a sit vs. start mechanic, where only seven active players can be selected per week. True to the freemium design model, additional packs of players can be purchased to further build out a roster.

While the game portion of the application is solid enough, where it will shine for fantasy owners is in the news section. Many of the daily ins and outs of the season will be constantly updated, including such juicy tidbits as injury updates, statistical analysis, and suggestions for budding players on the rise. For those that are fans of twitter banter, there is even an option to keep in touch with NFL standouts via their personal twitter profiles, all of which are seamlessly accessible from within the software.

Players also have the ability to trash talk, message amongst themselves and even swap players between rosters on Facebook. It pretty much goes without saying that there is a little bit of something for every NFL fan.

Trying to explain to someone what Topps HUDDLE actually is proves to be a rather tricky proposition. Though it attempts to fulfill the needs of several different types of fan, the lack of focus and direction ultimately renders the application/game a somewhat confusing amalgam of stats and social media. Fortunately the free cost makes the barrier to entry minimal, leaving it far more appealing to the masses. If given the chance, Topps HUDDLE could prove to be a strong mid-season replacement for your stat tracker of choice.


BMX Jam Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on October 11th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: TRICKSY
BMX Jam is a fast paced and eventful bike racing game with trick moves galore and some outlandish obstacles to avoid.
Read The Full Review »

SportStream Review

Posted by Carter Dotson on October 5th, 2012

Developer: SportStream Inc.
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.3
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

iOS Integration Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Re-use Value Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar


The beauty of this age of sports with social media is that we can connect with friends, celebrating our teams together. Who are we kidding, sports is a black hole of despair: everyone loses eventually and sadness fills our souls like darkness upon the earth as the sun sets.

Other than that, sports is great!

SportStream has an interesting way of approaching the sports app and social media. Users start by logging in with Facebook or Twitter, then selecting their favorite teams, which offers some selections based on likely choices. I’m not sure how the discovery algorithm works, but the app gave me the San Antonio Spurs, Texas Rangers, and Houston Rockets as suggested teams to follow. Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. It is possible to add teams manually as well. Then, users search for the games they want to follow, and can receive alerts about scores. As well, game scores, stats, even TV information is available for games. A social feed of relevant Twitter accounts is available for each game including official team accounts and analysts that can be favorited, retweeted, and replied to. I’ve already used the app to call out a beat writer on something stupid they said, because that’s the beauty of Twitter: we’re all on equal footing.

It’s possible to check-in to games, as much as one can check-in to a virtual construct than a physical location. Thankfully, it’s at least limited to checking-in on the day of the game, and it is used to also create a chat room between those who have checked-in. It serves a useful secondary purpose. It’s possible to get people to join in with the app via Facebook, Twitter, and email, and to post about the game with suggested hashtags and links where necessary.

The app supports logging in with Facebook or Twitter through the iOS native logins. Frankly, I’m impressed: too many apps have been not supporting iOS-native social networks. It is infuriating to say the least. So kudos to SportStream for taking some initiative on this.

Whether SportStream is making a comment on college football realignment or just using outdated info, it’s humorous to see the Texas A&M Aggies back in the Big 12 in the app. We kicked you and your creepy all-male cheerleaders out, now stay out! As a side note for those who don’t follow college football: The Big 12 has 10 teams and the Big 10 has 12 teams. Don’t try to make sense of it; college football never does.

What I think SportStream really succeeds at is that while social interaction is a core part of the app, it never forgets about the games. It works as a scoreboard app, along with being a way to sample the opinions floating out there on social media. Come gameday, this could prove to be extremely useful as a second-screen app.

It's also available for iPhone as a separate download, also free.