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.
Clumsy Ninja is a casual “Tamagotchi-style” game starring an inept ninja and a humorous physics engine. The game has players train their ninja with the hope that, one day, they will no longer be clumsy. Between the rather impressive physics, fun challenges, and relatively innocuous free-to-play design, Clumsy Ninja is actually a pretty fun game. To play Clumsy Ninja, players can touch the environment or their ninja to interact with it. There are also a couple of menus that allow players to take on challenges for experience points and add new items to their training grounds. Almost everything a player does yields experience points, but the fastest way to move up the ninja ranks is to complete challenges – which can vary anywhere from punching bag training sessions to flinging the ninja on top of a roof. –Campbell Bird
The original Touchgrind was one of the first games on the App Store that truly used multitouch controls to their potentital. Since then, so many games have continued to just use virtual controls, not truly taking advantage of their platform. However, Illusion Labs is back to show these sucka MCs just what’s up with the wonderful Touchgrind Skate 2. The game has been reborn in 2013 as something more like the Tony Hawk Pro Skater games in that players skate around a various skatepark-y environments chaining together tricks like spins, flips, and edge grinds. There’s a lengthy tutorial that has players seeing how to pull off the various maneuvers, with the ability to go back and re-watch and try individual sections in case more practice is necessary. Once in the actual game players can play a 100 second mode where they try to get the most points in that time limit, or a best line mode where a chain of tricks in a short time period can be attempted with the goal being to get the highest-scoring line. This mode is endless, with players able to keep playing until they get a score they’re satisfied with. –Carter Dotson
Lords of Waterdeep is a Dungeons & Dragons-themed board game that has found its way onto iOS. Unlike other D&D adventures, players do not create characters and live out their fantasy lives in the land of Forgotten Realms. Instead, players take control of one of the masked lords of Waterdeep and manipulate warriors, rogues, and wizards to do their bidding for them. The result is an extremely well-designed, well-executed, and awesomely-themed worker placement game for 2 to 5 players. For the uninitiated, a worker placement board game is one in which the main action involves placing tokens – representing workers – on strategic locations on the game board. Placing a worker yields some sort of material gain, while (typically) also preventing opponents from accessing the same resources. In Lords of Waterdeep, the primary resources are money and adventurers (priest, warrior, rogue, and wizard); and these resources are gathered in order to complete quests. Upon completing quests players receive victory points, and the player with the most victory points at the end of eight rounds is declared the winner. –Campbell Bird
Oceanhorn, the Zelda-style action-RPG from Cornfox & Bros., has been anticipated for a while; but I came upon a game that falls short of the hype and its inspirations. Now, a high-quality 3D Zelda-style game just hasn’t been attempted much on mobile. And getting Nobuo Uematsu, composer for many of the Final Fantasy games to do the music? Unheard of! This is a game with a heady pedigree, and the ambition is rather apparent: it’s a beautiful-looking game. Play this on a retina iPad if possible: it chugged a bit on the new Retina Mini at times, but it looks absolutely immaculate. Whether it be in a dark dungeon, in a sunny town, or sailing on the high seas, this is a visual feast. And the orchestral soundtrack sets an appropriately epic mood. On the surface,Oceanhorn lives up to the hype. –Carter Dotson
Arriving at the perfect time in the Holiday Season, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is an utterly beguiling book app. It tells the classic tale of the same name, following Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they discover the meaning of Thanksgiving. It’s easily a great read to share with the rest of the family. The app is laid out in a very family friendly format. An easy to understand tutorial ensures that young and old will know how to navigate through the app, mostly through a matter of swiping to the side. Occasionally, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving reacts a little strangely, potentially down to the increasingly dated iPad 2′s loading times, but it’s mostly a smooth process. –Jennifer Allen
BeBop Blox is a cute and charming puzzle app for toddlers that adults will enjoy as well. BeBop Blox is a brightly-colored and musical puzzle app with Tangram elements that young children – through the use of stacking blocks – can use to create playful shapes including a train, boat, camel, or whale as well as other fun animal shapes. Gameplay is simple as children are guided in their building with the use of block templates which one fills. I admire that, although there is a moment where the more complex design can be seen. Building begins from the bottom up, allowing children to slowly add pieces – exercises that later may help them construct their favorite designs with their own building blocks. –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:
May 2D platformers never die. Long live Random Heroes. As far as platforms go, this one has the basics down: adjusted left to right running, with baddies and leveled platforms to get to. Our hero is outfitted with a gun, but the gun does not perpetually shoot; the a button nestled to the right only shoots when pressed. Just to the left of this button is the jump button, and the bottom left of the screen has two directional buttons. –Tre Lawrence
In Zombitsu, we get a running game, a ninja sword and zombies. Our ninja (Hiro) is outfitted with a sword to begin, and runs slicing up undead villagers and avoiding hazards that creep up along the way to stop progress. The view is an abbreviated top-down and behind angle, and this is affected by some game actions for brief moments. The zombies are all over, roaming on the sides of the running area and even directly in front. The base zombies are remarkably spry; there was a time or two I thought one was out of range only to have it knock me down behind some serious closing speed. –Tre Lawrence
Kunundrum is a fancy puzzle game with neon graphics. Its gameplay reminds of classic Sokoban, but the rules are different. To be fair, there’s no way to describe them, without sounding like an accountant on his weekly report, so bear with me. The players are tasked to deliver several differently-colored shiny dots to their respective slots. The dots can be swiped across the field vertically and horizontally, and only stop when they hit a wall. If a dot is launched over its slot, it will skip over it, unless there’s a wall, or some other object in the way. Thus, the player needs to arrange the dots in such a way, that they would stop exactly over their slot. The fields are greatly different and contain lots of unique tiles. Some of these tiles change the direction that the orb is going, others act as switches for collapsible walls, and others teleport the sphere to another part of the level. The levels are numerous, so there are plenty of easy, mediocre and completely insane difficulties available. Three stars are awarded if the player manages to complete the level with the least possible number of moves. –Tony Kuzmin
And finally, this week Pocket Gamer went hands-on with the first official licensed iOS controller, reviewed Touchgrind Skate 2 and Shivah, highlighted the 17 best iOS and 10 best Android games of the week, picked out the hardest games on mobile, and helped you avoid scam apps on Google Play. All that and more, here.
Posted by Rob Rich on November 8th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Good Grief! The Peanuts gang is back this holiday season with a brand new interactive and remastered 40th Anniversary edition of their classic adventure.
This digital book offers three different modes for readers to enjoy: Autoplay, Read to Me, and Read to Myself. Complete with dialogue, music, and sound effects from the original animated special from 1973. Heck, the story itself is even narrated by Linus van Pelt himself, Stephen Shea! On top of that, every page is interactive in some way and incorporates touch, tilt, or slide functions to pull you into the story.
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.”
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.”
+ 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.”
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.
Thanksgiving is very nearly upon us. What better way to keep the kids happy than by giving them the opportunity to smash up food, while also learning of the benefits of moderation? That’s precisely what Smash Your Food offers all year round, and with a new Thanksgiving focused pack, too!
Working in collaboration with certified nutritionist, Marta DeWulf, the app lets kids mess around with their virtual food, in order to see how much sugar, salt and oil there is in their favorite foods. Alongside that, the app teaches them why they should eat tasty treats in moderation rather than to excess.
We had a word with Marta about exactly how she came up with the idea behind the educational app.
“While teaching nutrition in the classroom, I noticed that kids had a hard time grasping the concept of how much sugar are in common foods. When I asked ‘How many cubes of sugar are in one can of cola?’ They didn’t know. Then when I told them that there are eight, that didn’t seem like a lot to them. Once I was able to show them the actual amounts and compare it [to] their allowance for a day, they started to understand what is a lot and what … it means to them.”
As she explained, by teaching them such things, “…their answers became more realisti I knew we needed to literally show kids what is in the foods they are eating. I was inspired to create games and tool that kids and families could use to help have a better understanding of their current food choices and learn alternatives of these high calories foods …[thereby] helping them live healthier lifestyle.”
Don’t worry, Thanksgiving fans, Marta did offer us some great tips on how to eat a little healthier this holiday season. Namely, to “use low fat cream” where possible, “cut the amount of sugar in half”, when baking. Also, and this is the hardest one, try to portion your plate out and don’t fall for the “eyes are bigger than your stomach” issue. Marta makes “a dish of roasted vegetables, pumpkin soup and peaches topped with a delicious chestnut puree,” for her Thanksgiving meal which sounds pretty tasty to me!
For those looking to learn more, Smash Your Food is available now for free. It’s pretty insightful, but make sure you still enjoy that tasty dinner this Thursday!
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.”
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.”
+ 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.”
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.
Cooking a roast is quite a skill to master. Getting the timing is just right. How long does the beef need to be beautifully rare? Or how about that huge turkey? How long does that need to be cooked safely and deliciously? Thanksgiving may be behind us but Christmas and its delightful food is just ahead. Why not use an app like Is It Ready Yet? to help keep an eye on when things are cooked.
Is It Ready Yet? is simple to use. Choose from a selection of 23 different meat choices encompassing beef, pork and poultry then select the weight of the food. Is It Ready Yet? then suggests what temperature to cook it at plus how long it’ll take. Both of these figures are viewable in either Imperial or Metric units.
With a built in cooking timer that runs in the background, Is It Ready Yet? keeps things running smoothly. Just what anyone needs at this busy cooking time of the year!
This week at 148Apps.com was all about the US celebration of Thanksgiving, and the inevitable retail aftermath known as Black Friday. Rather than fight the crowds, 148Apps founder Jeff Scott put together a comprehensive Black Friday app sale list that continues to grow, and grow and grow. Scott says, “App sales are nothing new, but the biggest of the year is here, and we’ll be tracking the best of the sale apps right here. Expect lots of updates over the weekend.”
Jeff Scott also invited faithful 148Apps.biz readers to attend the upcoming AppNation III conference, saying, “Want to attend AppNation III? 148Apps network readers can get a 30% discount on the registration fee by using code 148APPS on the registration page.”
Meanwhile, at AndroidRundown, site editor Rob LeFebvre celebrated the release of Disney interactive’s Where’s My Water? for the Android platform. LeFebvre writes, “Android has been part of the plan since the development of Where’s My Water? for the iPhone crowd. In fact, the game was originally developed with C++, to make it easier to port to Android. The challenge, he said, is making sure the game is the same high quality experience across the myriad devices represented by Google’s hip operating system.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-09-22 :: Category: Games
Finally, on our parent-friendly GiggleApps site, Amy Solomon reviewed Don’t Let The Pigeon Run This App! Solomon writes, “I love these books. Pigeon can be cheeky, and my son has used pigeons’s one-liners, such as offering to “Give you five bucks” himself to try to stay up late. For this reason, some parents may feel that this pigeon is a bad influence on children, but I love the idea of my son practicing his ability to say “no” to this scheming pigeon as I want him to be prepared to stand his ground later in life when he is confronted by peer pressure, and I want him to recognize when he is being manipulated.”
As a Brit, I’m rather envious of those in the US celebrating Thanksgiving this week. I’m a big fan of family gatherings, time off work and eating plenty of tasty food as any sane person would be. One other big Thanksgiving tradition is that of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
This year marks the 85th Anniversary of the Parade and it also marks the introduction of the offiical app.
MyCityWay’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a free app set to enhance spectators’ experiences of the Parade. It offers information such as the participants of the parade, the Line of March, the parade route, inflation event locations and the history behind it.
There’s also a comprehensive guide to new York City bundled with the app that includes dining locations and reviews, popular and nearby coffee shops and Wi-Fi spots as well as a subway map and other useful information such as nearby restrooms.
On the day, there’ll be traffic cameras viewable in real time to check out what’s going on plus a way of tracking various Cheerleading, Dance Troupes and Marching Bands.
The official Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is out now and it’s free to download.
Rubicon have kept their ears open and made a number of changes to Combat Monsters based on the feedback received from fans. The new update provides users with a revamped user interface, a new skeleton monster, asynchronous multiplayer, and new matchmaking that keeps the multiplayer battles fair with no need to pay to win.