Posts Tagged this week at 148apps

App-tastic!

 

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.

CLARC

 
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It’s the classic love story. Boy meets Girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy tries to get Girl back. But did I mention the Boy is a downtrodden maintenance robot and the Girl is pastel pink nuclear missile? I guess maybe ‘classic’ would be stretching it a bit. Things are not going well in the deep recesses of this dilapidated Martian factory. F.A.T.H.E.R., the supercomputer in charge, has disappeared, leaving the worker robots confused and without direction. Lacking anything better to do in the interim, some enterprising bot discovers that consuming diesel fuel gets them quite tipsy. The result? NON-STOP ROBOT PARTY! –Rob Thomas

FTL: Faster Than Light

 
FTL: Faster Than Light

A year and a half after its critically-acclaimed PC/Mac release, FTL: Faster Than Light makes the jump to iPad. However, this isn’t an inferior late-to-the-party port. Subset Games has just released a free update for the original, dubbed FTL Advanced Edition, that gives players a slew of new options. Why does this matter? Well, the iPad port also has all of those new tweaks under the hood. And what a package it is. A bit of backstory. FTL is a strange hybrid of a thing: one part RTS, one part sim, two parts Roguelike, all white-knuckle frustration. Players control the crew of a Federation ship trying to deliver a vital data payload to their home sector. As they jump from sector to sector, a fleet of Rebel ships dogs their heels, sweeping across the galaxy like a swarm of locusts. Along the way, players will have to fight hostile ships, respond to random events, and generally scrounge for supplies to keep themselves operational long enough to get home. –Rob Thomas

Fairway Solitaire Blast

 
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One of the iOS games I often find myself returning to is Fairway Solitaire, an addictive card game based around golf solitaire. It’s been a mainstay on my iPhone since launch so the prospect of a new title in the series, Fairway Solitaire Blast, got me pretty excited. This new installment is more freemium-focused, more reminiscent of King’s selection of titles, and currently lacks a certain amount of the ‘wow’ factor. Working on a level-by-level basis with a structure very similar to the mighty Candy Crush Saga et al, Fairway Solitaire Blast leads players down a path of increasingly tricky challenges. At first, players simply progress by clearing all the cards across three holes of each course (or level), but as they move through these stages other requirements emerge. Clearing 10 face cards in a row might be one such challenge, while others might require the player to clear 10 cards, each alternating in color, in order to progress. –Jennifer Allen

Monument Valley

 
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Monument Valley – ustwo’s puzzling adventure game where players must twist and turn an Escherian world to discover its secrets, able to tell protagonist Princess Ida where to go and with various levers and twisting points that they can manipulate – can be approached and analyzed in two ways. One is purely as an experience. The other is as a game. As a game, Monument Valley is really quite short: it’s 75 to 90 minutes long across 10 levels that pose few threats to players. There’s maybe one puzzle in the entire game that made me really confused. Those who can’t comprehend the Escher-esque levels and designs, (that perspective can mess with one’s head) will probably have a hard time with the game. Those who have an eye for it will likely breeze through it. There’s not much in the way of replay value as there’s no time being kept for a level, which is a shame as it would be a fantastic way to promote coming back. As well, if there are any secrets they’re really, really well-hidden, which is a shame because this kind of game would promote hiding things. Its clear Fez inspiration sure had plenty of secrets of its own, so why not this too? The story isn’t really engaging – it’s ethereal and always felt out of touch to me, except for one moment that focuses on emotion rather than narrative. It’s not a perfect game. –Carter Dotson

Boom Beach

 
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The follow up to Clash of Clans, Boom Beach is guaranteed to be quite the success. While it maintains many similarities to its alliterative predecessor, it also improves upon the format. While Boom Beach still won’t sway its cynics (yes, it does like one to spend money), it’ll still entertain many. As before, players are given a home base to defend and build upon. Attacks from enemies will be on a daily basis, so it’s fortunate that there are plenty of defensive capabilities to install – such as sniper bases, mortars, and the trusty mine. The latter adds a strategic element to the game, allowing one to place them in whatever order they wish, hopefully taking out the enemy before they get too close to one’s base. Defense isn’t all that’s required of the player, with conquering (or liberating as this game like to sometimes call it) other bases just as important. –Jennifer Allen

Kapu Forest

 
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Having reviewed many apps for children and families, I am on a special lookout for applications that I find truly beautiful to look at – making them desirable choices to share with young children who may be getting very limited screen time. Kapu Forest, with versions for both iPad as well as iPhone, is such an application that will delight the youngest app users as well as their families. At first glance, adults will be quite pleased with a rich palette of blues, greens, and browns, as well as a thoughtful use of sophisticated jazz music that real keeps in mind the needs of the adults who will most likely be spending time sharing apps alongside their young children. There is a non-specific vintage quality to the look of this app that I find utterly appealing, making it stand out among a sea of other applications. –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:

AndroidRundown

Expedition Platformer

 
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Expedition Platformer surprised me. It’s a retro-looking 2D platform game with an arcade feel that tells the story of Bogee, a budding anthropology expert on an expedition to different environments. The game scenery clearly looks to be framed by this narrative, and does a good job of creating a somewhat pixelated jungle environment. There are platforms that make up the playing area at different heights, and green is the predominant coloration in the early level. The controls are fairly flexible, with a movable direction-cum-jump-cum-dodge button, and a “shoot” button to dispense bananas. –Tre Lawrence

Mesh

 
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Mesh looks like a neon drenched coin muncher game of old, but is it worth playing? Mesh is all about tapping accurately. Formations of blocks rain down the board interspersed with bombs. The idea is to tap the blocks without hitting the bombs, which ends the game. Missing too many blocks also ends the game. As the player survives longer, the formations get much tougher with many blocks surrounding bombs and it becomes tough fast. A robust combo system rewards players for tapping blocks quickly and without missing taps .Since the game scrolls blocks down quite slowly it’s a good idea to let the screen fill with blocks before starting a combo so the player can’t just tap as quickly as possible. This adds a nice risk dimension to gamepay. –Allan Curtis

Beyond Space

 
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Space cowboys take heed: Beyond Space is here. The gameplay is quite engaging. The tutorial is a mission in and of itself, replete with instruction and back and forth dialogue. It shows the basics of flying, dogfighting and more. Controlling the space fighter is a matter of using one of the options provided: tilt or virtual joystick. There is a frontal radar system, and spot buttons for shooting and afterburnrs to the right of the screen. There is also gesture-based controls for evasive and tactical maneuvering like rolling and U-turns, and vitality meters at the top left. The tutorial goes on to show how to bring all these parts together, and I found it to be a pretty fun affair. Finishing the tutorial by successfully completing the tasks given leads the main missions. –Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week our comrades at Pocket Gamer took a look at the best games of March, reviewed FTL and Monument Valley, went hands-on with Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and tried to trick everybody into believing something implausible for reasons of tradition. And it’s all right here.

Expert App Reviewers

 

So little time and so very many apps. What’s a poor iPhone/iPad lover 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.

Disco Zoo

 
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NimbleBit teams up with Milkbag Games – featuring Matt Rix of Trainyard fame, and Owen Goss – for Disco Zoo, a simulation game about building a zoo where disco parties can be triggered. It’s one of those “exactly what it says on the tin” games, and it should amuse fans of NimbleBit’s simulations even as it takes a slightly different approach. The crux of the game is to rescue animals from the wild to bring in to the zoo, which helps attract people, thus making money for the player, until they fall asleep and must be awoken. The player can use bux to start disco parties, which awaken all the animals and get them dancing and raising double money for the disco’s timeframe. –Carter Dotson

Beyond Space

 
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Beyond Space is like a great summer blockbuster. It’s fast-paced, crowd-pleasing, and has production values so spectacularly high they practically ooze out of the screen. Experiences like these always have their share of problems if one thinks about them too hard, but it’s hard to deny just how entertaining they are. The game starts off with a bang as a lavish, pre-rendered cutscene introduces players to a universe of intergalactic spaceship armadas, pirates, and mysterious aliens. Players take control of Max Walker; a mercenary pilot who becomes increasingly embroiled in a “galaxy-spanning conflict.” Between its frequent cutscenes and full voice-acting, the game actually seems to care about its narrative. But the “Top Gun in space” tale is so cheesy and clichéd players will keep their thumb on the skip button during repeat playthroughs, which are highly encouraged since the game only lasts about two hours. –Jordan Minor

Kahuna

 
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Kahuna has finally made a transition to the electronic realm courtesy of a new universal iOS app. There could not be a more apt game to make this translation, as Kahuna plays quickly while still providing a strategic challenge. The premise is equally simple. Each player (rival South Pacific magicians or some such thematic mumbo jumbo) is attempting to place bridges between a set of South Pacific islands. When a player controls the majority of the pathways to an island, that player controls the island and scores a point. Bridges are placed by playing a card with the island’s name on it; players then choose which path from the island they wish to occupy. Players can also remove opponents’ bridges by playing the two cards that represent two connected islands. It’s all the stuff of abstract strategy with a thin veneer of a theme, but the mechanics work so well it’s easy to forgive any quibbles with the theme. After three rounds, the player with the highest score wins the game. –Chris Kirby

FlapThulhu: Flappy Madness

 
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There are oh so many Flappy Bird clones now that the game has been pulled from the App Store. Seriously, between those looking to make a quick buck and those paying homage through Flappy Jam and the like, there’s so many ways to flap, it’s insane. Well, not insane enough yet, now that Madgarden has combined flapping with the master of insanity, the Deep One, the eldritch abomination to end all eldritch abominations, Cthulhu. This is FlapThulhu, and it’s the last flappy game anyone will ever need. –Carter Dotson

Qwirkle

 
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Board games are a pretty good usage of all of the strengths of mobile devices; a nice, portable, light weight device with a touch screen in which anyone can do almost anything. That anything, of course, includes gaming. Board games are especially great for mobile devices because they are something that one can play at their own pace, doesn’t require one’s immediate attention, and is overall a casual and fun experience. Mindware, a company who produces educational toys and games aimed at children, is probably best known for their board game Qwirkle, which is now available on iOS. Qwirkle is an amalgamation of Scrabble, Uno, and Dominoes. The point of this game is to match like shapes and/or colors onto a playing surface. The more of a like shape or color players have in a given row, the more points they score. A row of 6 is scored as a Qwirkle, and no more blocks can be placed in that row. It’s very easy to pick up, and while aimed at kids, it’s really fun for all ages. –Mike Deneen

UHR-Warlords

 
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The iPad may not be suited for every type of game there is, but two genres that benefit immensely from its expansive touch display are board games and turn-based strategy games. It’s no surprise then that UHR-Warlords, a turn-based strategy board game, excels on the device. Of course the deep, robust, and challenging gameplay helps too. UHR-Warlords‘ tale of rival demonic armies in a dark and gritty fantasy world should make fans of pewter figurines feel right at home. It’s little more than an obligatory pretext for the epic clashes to come, but the 12 battles spread across two campaigns are so satisfying players will want even more excuses to fight. Each skirmish plays like a cross between a Fire Emblem-esque strategy game and chess. The goal is to drain the other player’s life force by killing their monsters, or destroying their valuable strongholds at the opposite side of the board. –Jordan Minor

Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer

 
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Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer, in one word, is a delight. Developed by Sago Sago – the dream team combined with the talents from Tickle Tap Apps and Toca Boca – this app is as highly engaging as it is colorful; children can go on an adventure with Fins, their new fish friend, as they explore his aquatic home. This new Sago Sago app brings back memories of my son as a younger boy, as Tickle Tap Apps were the first downloads I made, getting me interested in the potential for children’s iPhone and now iPad applications and the worlds they can create, appreciating this as a much less passive experience than watching television or videos produced for babies. I am excited to see a new Sago Sago title that, to me, seems lovingly updated from original application Finding Fins with a few important changes I am really fond of. Now one swims together with Fins instead of seeking him out as he hid behind objects such as rocks or sea weed. I am also enjoying being able to use a drag of a finger to move Fins around the screen instead of tilting the iPhone to navigate as seen in this previous app – wonderful updates that make this app utterly intuitive for the youngest app users. –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:

AndroidRundown

PasswordBox

 
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Two interesting things occurred while working on this review. One was highlighted during a commercial. A couple were working on creating an online account, and were having some difficulty coming up with a strong enough password they could remember. Yep, it advertised a password utility. On network TV. The second thing was an interesting article I read while researching an unrelated article. The Adobe security breach reveals that the only password more widely used than “password” is “123456.”
What’s clear is this: password management needs to be taken very seriously. PasswordBox looks to be just the tool we need. –Tre Lawrence

Planet Descent

 
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Most people wish they were doing something extraordinary, such as running Google, being an Ice Cream taste tester, or piloting a space ship. Sadly, most of us will only be able to act out these dreams through some sort of simulation or game, which is where Planet Descent comes in. In this title, you pilot a space ship around a 2D playing area, dodging asteroids while collecting minerals for fun and profit. This game inhabits a similar approach to the PC game Lunar Flight, except Planet Descent, as previously mentioned, is 2D rather than 3D. Planet Descent is also quite a bit easier, lacking a lot of the realism or complicated controls used on similar type games. That’s not to say that this mobile title isn’t challenging, but you certainly won’t need years of NASA training to get it either. –Mike Deneen

Roid Rage

 
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If you peruse around the Google Play app store, you see there is a race to fill the void left by the departure of Flappy Bird. Most of these clones coming out are the exact same thing, just with slightly altered graphics, some of them actually try to change some things. But then, from minds only St. Louis, MO could produce, comes a game with a slightly similar idea, but way better, called Roid Rage. Roid Rage isn’t some game about Jose Canseco or Sammy Sosa. Rather, it’s a game about the extreme rage you the player will suffer while guiding your spaceship through a massive asteroid collection, while collecting puddles of “Juices” throughout space. Your ship appears to be a one man vessel without weapons, but can turn like no other and doesn’t have a break pedal. You could try to throw the word “endless” on this game, but the better description would be the Atari classic Asteroids on super serum. –Mike Deneen

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer was checking out new gadgets at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and still found time to review new games like Out There, Card City Nights, Disco Zoo, and Calculords, played soft-launched games Fates Forever and Supernauts, and picked 8 perfect games that Nintendo could bring to mobile. See it all at Pocket Gamer.

Shiny Happy App Reviews

 

The App Store can be a daunting place. What to try? What to buy? How do you know? Thank goodness the review team at 148Apps is here to save the day. 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.

Chunky Comic Reader

 
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In the year 2014, Comic Books couldn’t be any more popular than they have been at any point in history. No longer is Batman being blamed for ADHD or Deadpool tantalizing children to crime. Heck, people don’t even point a finger at Rick Grimes for any violent public acts. At the same time, we’ve also been blessed with new ways to read our beloved illustrated stories; such as computers, phones, and tablets. 20 some years ago people would get teased for reading Amazing Spider-Man at school, but now that same person looks like a rockstar. Especially with the new tech. A popular way to read electronic comics has been using PDF, CBR, or CBZ files, which are offered through a variety of different publications for purchase and are DRM free. Obviously, readers will want to view their new comics on a device that feels natural to read them on, not on a laptop or desktop. So here to save the day, giving users the best reading experience for the iPad, is Chunky Comic Reader! –Mike Deneen

Dungeon Keeper

 
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I’m sure the fact that I haven’t given this game a score Captain James Hook could count to on his bad hand will earn me a fair bit of scorn, but hear me out. While Dungeon Keeper isn’t the same game that’s been a permanent fixture on my Top 10 list for years, it is a decent freemium title that happens to incorporate the theme from one of my favorite games. And honestly, that ain’t half bad. This Dungeon Keeper follows a structure similar to the often-imitated Clash of Clans. Players assume the role of the Keeper and immediately begin ordering their imps to hollow out areas to use for various rooms. Every room, trap, and door takes up a specific amount of space that needs to be cleared out in advance, but once they’re built players are free to move them around as they please – so long as they can fit. They can also use their dungeon heart to summon more minions, with different rooms allowing for different creatures. –Rob Rich

Rocket Robo

 
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Making a console quality game for mobile isn’t as easy as just porting over some PS2 game with snazzier graphics and bolted-on touch controls. It means making a game with the same level of care given to the gameplay and presentation as a big, AAA release that still makes sense being on mobile. Need an example of what that means? Just check out the fantastic Rocket ROBO. When his elderly creator needs more stars to power their galactic lighthouse, Rocket Robo journeys out into the storybook cosmos to find some. It’s the perfect set-up for Rocket ROBO‘s delightfully whimsical acoustic guitar sci-fi sensibilities. While later stages take place in more traditional interstellar environments, as well as an upcoming candy planet, players will start their 2.5D platforming adventure in a world made up entirely of arts and crafts. The aptly named Material World features woven patchwork walls, bouncy sponge platforms, and button pig enemies all made gloriously textured and tangible by the impressive 3D engine. While it’s maybe not quite on the same level as the similarly stylish Kirby’s Epic Yarn or LittleBigPlanet, creator Aaron McElligott’s background as a console gaming environmental artist shines through in the splendid visuals. –Jordan Minor

Road of Kings

 
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The current American political climate suffers from a bad combination of money and politics. However, this isn’t entirely unique to the 21st century as money has almost always equaled and guaranteed power. In Dancing Sorcerer’s latest title, Road of Kings, the goal is to accumulate 500 gold pieces within a 100 days to prove who’s be the best candidate to be King of the people. Political commentary aside, Road to Kings is a neat experience. It plays like a 4-hex board game, where players move their dude (Sorry ladies, only comes as a guy) around the board with random events taking place; anything from encountering an enemy to finding out the main character got lost in the hills due to his poor navigation skills. Movement on the board, as well as events, are very much dictated by the terrain on any particular space, be it good or bad. But at the end of the day, Road of Kings feels a lot like a single player board game minus dice rolling or dropping $70 on a boxed version. –Mike Deneen

INKredible

 
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Sometimes, whether it’s for aesthetic reasons or for the sake of practicality, it’s just plain better to write rather than type some kind of content. That’s where INKredible comes in. It makes it attractive and simple to write on the iPad, providing a great distraction-free experience. The app offers a blank canvas with a choice of paper-based background, thereby allowing users to get on with whatever they want to write or draw. It particularly lends itself to note taking and when one wants to join together text and hand-drawn diagrams or sketches. –Jennifer Allen

The Animal Alphabet Singers

 
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The Animal Alphabet Singers, as the name may imply, is an app for babies and toddlers that helps them learn the alphabet as well as animals associated with these letters. This app includes sections that allow children to explore the alphabet in many ways. One section of this app, also named The Animal Alphabet Singers includes a group of 26 animals – each of which can each be tapped to hear the corresponding letter to be sung, with the letter also being highlighted below for a nice effect. Do tap on a letter as well because doing so will trigger singing from the related animal. –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:

AndroidRundown

TowerMadness 2

 
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TowerMadness 2 is perhaps not the most innovative tower defense game of all-time, but it’s a solid effort. Really, standard open-field tower defense rules apply: there’s towers with different ranges and effects, they can be upgraded to do more damage, or sold if not part of a good strategy any more. Success is based on whether players kept the aliens from getting in and taking too many sheep through a star system, with Invasion Mode, where waves come in faster, offering a fourth star. Players can also send in waves faster themselves to get faster times for the leaderboards. –Carter Dotson

Akasha

 
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Akasha is a new mobile exclusive MMORG. Does it tip Order and Chaos from its pedestal? Akasha isn’t the most user friendly game. After a class choice between fighter, archer or mage and a very brief series of tutorial text boxes in a small font the game basically leaves the player to their own devices. Akasha uses a instance based system much like Guild Wars. To fight monsters or party up with other adventurers the player must begin an instance which can be thought of as a mini quest. –Allan Curtis

Dawn of the Plow

 
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Some games hand out points like they’re going out of style. Dawn of the Plow is not one of those games. This arcade game will test players with challenging conditions and a difficult-to-control vehicle, all in the hopes that they can maybe last long enough to do well before being fired. Controlling a snow plow on a snowy day where car drivers need to get to nondescript places, players must try to keep their paths clear. Snow will accumulate that the cars can drive over, but eventually they become impassable piles which take time to plow. The longer a car is stopped, the unhappier it gets and the lower the approval meter gets. If that empties, it’s game over and the player is fired. Of course, that probably won’t happen much. What will happen is that players will hit cars, which is instant game over. Or the cars will get trapped and buried under snow, which is also game over. Not making things easier is that driving a large truck around, especially on snow, is not easy. Thankfully, players have a horn to help manage traffic, and can collect powerups like a salt blaster to clear up snow instantly. –Carter Dotson

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviewed Dungeon Keeper, looked at how FPS developers have approached mobile, picked the best iOS and Android games of the week, and unveiled a slim line PS Vita. Read all it about it right here.

Another Week of Expert App Reviews

 

At 148Apps, we help you sort through the great ocean of apps to find the ones we think you’ll like and the ones you’ll need. Our top picks become Editor’s Choice, our stamp of approval for apps with that little extra something special. 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.

In Fear I Trust

 
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I’m always a little skeptical when it comes to horror games, especially those in the survival horror sub-genre. That said, In Fear I Trust was one of those games that certainly caught my eye – not just for its outstanding visuals, but because it looked and sounded highly intriguing. A man finds himself waking up in a creepy abandoned facility deep in the heart of Soviet Russia. He can’t remember who he is or how he got there, just that something rather unsettling has been going on. Designed with the Unreal Engine for iOS, the game delivers an imaginative story over a number of episodes. And fortunately, the first two are filled with enough content to indulge oneself in until the release of the later episodes. –Lucy Ingram

Redd

 
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I have to admit, until recently I never really ventured into the world of Reddit. I’m not a huge fan of the site interface, and for some reason it never really occurred to me to seek out an app for my phone. This has possibly all changed with the introduction of Redd; a Reddit client made especially for those who want to avoid the clutter and chaos of the main website. And one that is perfect for those who, like me, just want to use the dip-in/dip-out approach. The remarkably clean and simple looking interface is the first thing one will notice as they load the app. A sea of whitespace highlighted with a touch of red – it’s easy on the eyes, and a breeze to navigate. The typeface is fairly easy to read despite its light and thin demeanor, and its ability to filter the posts from the tabs at the bottom make it practically effortless to handle. –Lucy Ingram

Baldur’s Gate II

 
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It is impossible to reflect back on the annals of RPG history without hitting on the classic Baldur’s Gate franchise. Fourteen years after the release of Baldur’s Gate II, Overhaul Games have stepped in and given the second iteration in the series a fresh coat of paint. Can an iOS port of such a beloved title ever live up to the expectations of the nostalgic PC gaming audience? The answer to that question is not as straightforward as one might assume. –Blake Grundman

Scribe

 
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Scribe is a new utility for the iPhone that gives users the ability to copy data snippets from their Mac to their iOS device without the need for a Wi-Fi connection. It uses the Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) profile supported by most of Apple’s current-generation devices and Mac systems to send small snippets of text, URLs, and small photos over the air to one’s iOS clipboard. Using Scribe for the iPhone is as simple as making sure the Bluetooth setting is activated. This can be achieved by heading to Settings > Bluetooth > On. Users will then need the Scribe menu bar client. This is sold separately and available on the Mac App Store for $2.99. They will also need to ensure that they have a supported Mac. Scribe currently supports the Macbook Air (2011 or newer), Macbook Pro (2012 or newer), iMac (Late 2012 or newer), Mac Mini (2011 or newer), Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer), iPhone 4S or newer), iPad (3rd generation or newer), iPad Mini (all generations) and iPod Touch (5th generation or newer).

Snowball Shootout

 
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Recently over winter break I discovered that one of our truly favorite developers, Busythings, had developed a new app for iPad named Snowball Shootout. Downloading this app was an absolute no-brainer as a free application, but I soon forgot that I had added this to our device. It was my son who discovered it, instantly understanding that this was a new game from one of his favorite developers as their style is utterly recognizable, even from the small thumbnail image seen on the iPad. Snowball Shootout has quickly become a new favorite game of my boy’s, as he has reached a new low in asking me to leave the iPad in his bed so he can play this new game immediately upon waking – a request I denied. There is a lot going on that my son really enjoys with this game, incorporating some elements seen in Angry Birds such as a sling shot that needs to be manned, here used to shoot snowballs at the blob-like Pink Men that are seen hiding in trees or popping out of igloos. Controls are simple as one controls both the strength and angle of each shots with the drag of a finger allowing snowballs to be lined up in an exact manner, which I prefer to “pullback and pray” gameplay of Angry Birds. –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:

AndroidRundown

Little Galaxy

 
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Little Galaxy is a story of hope. It’s about dreams, resourcefulness… and moon boots. It tells the tale of a scientist who believes that sky isn’t a limit in his quest to jump from celestial body to celestial body. And the game developers, smitten with the inspirational story but unable to help improve the moon boots, do the next best thing: they create this game. Thankfully. –Tre Lawrence

Galaxy Factions

 
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Galaxy Factions takes the CoC clone genre to space. With lotsa lasers and guns does it have an edge over its sword sporting brethren? Galaxy Factions sets the player up with a command center, a transport ship and little else. As is common with this genre, Galaxy Factions is all about constructing a base, mining resources and taking the fight to pirates and rival mining bases in single player or to other players in multiplayer. –Allan Curtis

Monopoly Bingo

 
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Ever since getting their hands on the Monopoly license, EA has punched out a good number of Monopoly licensed games on the mobile platform. Games like Monopoly Slots and Monopoly Hotels take the iconic board game and expand upon it or mash it up with other styles of games. As cool as that might sound, it isn’t all its cracked up to be sometimes. In the case of these titles, more often than not, they come off as cheap marketing gimmicks, using the popular Monopoly name to garner more players and possibly more money. Monopoly Bingo, of course, is yet another one of those games, feeling more like a desperate attempt to push an otherwise freemium Bingo game, than putting out a quality product. EA has been so hot and cold this year with their free to play lineups; FIFA 14 and Plants vs Zombies 2 knocking it out of the park, while other titles floundering. Monopoly Bingo attempts to spin the age old game of Bingo with one of Hasbro’s most popular board games, hoping to create something new and interesting. However, this attempt faltered short, instead creating a Bingo game with achievements, leveling and a backdrop that is supposedly based around Monopoly. –Mike Deneen

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviewed Atomic Fusion and Hopeless, picked the best Roguelikes on the App Store, wrote a huge guide for Hoplite, reported on the Very Big Indie Pitch in London, and chose the best iOS and Android games of the week. It’s all right here!

Your App Review Source

 

Each and every week the review team at 148Apps sorts through the latest releases, finding the best of the best for you. Take a look at what we’ve reviewed this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.

Shadow Blade

 
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The trial platformer, akin to Super Meat Boy on PC or League of Evil on mobile, is a genre that often requires patience and precision. Thanks in large part to its touchscreen-friendly controls, Shadow Blade rocks the house. Players control a ninja who must get past enemies and traps; pulling off acrobatic jumps and deadly attacks to fell those who would dare stop this shadowy warrior. The ninja can double-jump, dash in the air, execute stealth kills from behind enemies or in the air, and just slice the opposition until they’re no longer a threat. –Carter Dotson

Farm Heroes Saga

 
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Regardless of whether it’s actually any good, the mobile release of Farm Heroes Saga was always going to be a big deal. Made by King, the makers of Candy Crush Saga and numerous other Saga games, it doesn’t really have to do a lot to be immediately very popular. Fortunately, King doesn’t appear to have rested on its laurels, with Farm Heroes Saga proving one of the better Match-3 games out there. It’s a very familiar format so those who weren’t keen on Candy Crush Saga aren’t going to be swayed here. It’s a format that works though, and works well. Akin to Zookeeper, players work their way through each level by matching together relevant quotas of crops. Early stages might simply involve matching 5 green smiling crops and 10 strawberries, but this is just the game easing one in gently. Soon enough, things turn much more challenging and also much more satisfying. –Jennifer Allen

Rail Racing

 
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Slot car racing is a pastime that many of us will have enjoyed as children. Offering a more tactile experience than any game could have provided, fond memories are easy to come by when it comes to creating one’s own race track before trying to negotiate it safely and successfully. Rail Racing can’t quite capture that magical spirit, lacking the tactile edge, but it’s still a great form of racing game with a twist. Players must outrace the competition across 50 imaginatively themed stages, gaining up to three stars to gauge success. It’s a simple concept but one that’s fun and easy to lose time to. Each race only takes a couple of minutes to complete, making it ideal for a mobile format. Stages are designed according to various locations that such races would take place; such as a child’s bedroom, the backyard, and even a dusty attic. It’s a neat touch, although ultimately many of the tracks are a little samey. –Jennifer Allen

Eternity Warriors 3

 
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Eternity Warriors 3 is an easy to like game. It’s pretty shallow, offering a Diablo-style experience with a wafer-thin storyline, but much like the allure of MMOs it’s oddly easy to lose time to this action RPG. The game mostly consists of going from A to B, completing simple quests, collecting experience, and returning to the central hub of the game to upgrade equipment and buy new skills. It’s a concept that’s been done many times before, but that’s because it’s an often beguiling mix. Players start out with the choice of taking control of a warrior or monk, with a mage unlocked much later on in the game. Each class offers different advantages and disadvantages, and it shows – providing a slightly different experience each time. –Jennifer Allen

Cook, Serve, Delicious

 
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Finally, iOS users are able to scratch that itch to get their hands dirty and serve up a smile in strategy restaurant sim Cook, Serve, Delicious. Right off the bat it’s easy to see that this is an outstanding port of a game originally released on PC – a game that has been creating some buzz for some time. Heating up the restaurant simulation genre to a sizzling degree, Cook, Serve, Delicious is one wonderfully addictive game that had me hooked the second I picked it up. For first-timers here, there’s a lot to learn, but it didn’t take long before I was juggling orders and taking out trash, trying to appease the masses of customers who expect the crème de la crème. –Lucy Ingram

Lost Toys

 
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Unique, challenging, haunting. I’m not sure how else to describe Lost Toys. This 3D puzzler opens new doors in the app world. Its breathtakingly simple, yet elegant graphics, accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful piano score, immediately seduce your senses. This game is all about being lost – lost in solitude, lost in concentration, lost in a world of restoring beauty and color to the darkness. The gray, blurry background only intensifies the experience of bringing the toys back to life. This “gothic masterpiece” is not just a game; it’s an emotional journey. The creators want each person to follow their own path to unearthing the mysteries of this puzzled world. –Stacy Barnes

Three Little Pigs. The Story

 
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Three Little Pigs. The Story is a very nice re-telling of the classic story of the same name, illustrated with marvelous and witty stop-motion claymation that I greatly enjoy. I am very fond of this re-telling – a very nice adaptation of the original Joseph Jacobs version of this tale, involving the clever way the third little pig seeks revenge from the wolf for the loss of his two other siblings who lost both house and life to this creature. The deaths of these pigs are off-screen of course, mentioned but not dwelled on – a nice take on this classic story as I have seen many versions of this tale ranging from the sanitized choice of having the brother pigs run for protection to the brick house to a more threatening pig experience that may not be best for the youngest users. This app does however include the extended version of this traditional tale bringing the pig and wolf to the fair and beyond, moments often left out of many versions of this story. –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:

AndroidRundown

Overlive

 
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Overlive casts the player as one of the few survivors of an almost total zombie apocalypse. Hiding out in a ruined apartment Overlive is all about striking out randomly, finding better weapons and supplies and ultimately finding a way out of the ruined city, while maybe discovering what’s really happening on the way. The star of Overlive is its story, the game is text based and there are loads of great moments and surprises, such as the extremely graphic ways violence is described and the depictions of the sheer desolation of a zombie apocalypse. Whenever it’s eating icecream while a dead family is in the next room, to holding a sobbing woman as she slowly bleeds to death, the game is riddled with passages that won’t be forgotten for a long time. Overlive’s sense of humour and self-awareness makes it very fun to read. Indeed it is as much like gamebook as a true RPG. –Allan Curtis

Amoebattle

 
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Amoebattle is, perhaps, the first original mobile real-time strategy that can be called that without any stretch. Most of the real-time strategies are either too simple or too flawed, and the ones that are working, are mirror copies of older titles. Amoebattle manages to be neither. And it manages to do so without ridiculous production values. –Tony Kuzmin

And finally, this week the guys at Pocket Gamer picked out the best detective games and the best games without IAPs, reviewed new apps likes Shadow Blade, Baldur’s Gate II, and Lost Yeti, and turned an Android device into a portable Dreamcast. See it all right here.

Happy Holidays from 148Apps!

 

Christmas has passed, and it’s time to look forward to a new year. Take a look at what we’ve reviewed this week, as well as our end-of-year lists, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.

Fragment

 
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Photography apps have allowed iOS users to create beautiful pictures without any editing knowledge, and the abundance of photography apps in the App Store is evidence that more and more users are looking for the next best photography app for their collection. There are plenty that come with filters, borders, and templates, but there are few apps that can take a picture and do something completely different. Fragment is a different photography app in the sense that it isn’t like all the others. Instead of doctoring up a photograph, this app turns it into a piece of prismatic art and takes iPhoneography to the next level. The range of creativity that it offers is what makes it so appealing. –Angela LaFollette

MovieCat 2 – The Movie Trivia Game Sequel

 
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Any game that involves cats dressed up and reenacting various scenes from movies wins my vote. The incredibly entertaining MovieCat! was a huge success and created some exciting buzz back in 2010, and now it’s time for MovieCat 2 – The Movie Trivia Gaming Sequel. In 2012, the original game won the 148Apps Best App Ever Award in the Trivia Gaming category, so naturally it has a lot to live up to. Nonetheless, MovieCat! fans can breathe easy, for MovieCat 2 is every bit as highly amusing and enjoyable as its predecessor in every way. Featuring over 1000 all new text and visual puzzles about almost every movie one can possibly think of, this is a game for cat lovers and trivia fans alike. The game is largely similar to its purrfectly exciting older brother, but fans of the previous will be able to get their thinking caps on and flex those brain cells for brand new original puzzles Rhyme Time, Prop Art, Classics and Details, Details. –Lucy Ingram

148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up: Favorite Underappreciated Games

 
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It’s easy to list off the best games of 2013, and often such lists contain a lot of crosstalk between different publications. So this year, instead of just giving off another similar list of the best games of the year, our staff has decided to talk about their favorite games of the year that might not have been the best sellers or the most popular. In no particular order, this is our list of some of our favorite under-appreciated games of 2013. –Carter Dotson

148Apps wrAPP-Up: Documenting Your Year With iOS Photography Apps

 
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For the past two years I’ve been recording my life with photographs. Every day, I’ve taken a photograph with my iPhone before sharing it via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For the most part it’s fun to do, for a multitude of reasons. It enables me to share my life with friends and family that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. It sparks conversations about whatever happened that day. More importantly, it means that at the end of the year I can look back at what I did and savour those memories. It’s pretty much a photo diary in that case. Of course, some days it can be tricky. Not every day of the year can be fascinating, meaning that sometimes I have to get creative. And yes, sometimes I succumb to the ease in which I can snap a photo of my pets or my freshly cooked meal. It’s a cliche, but it’s surprising how many people enjoy looking at food even despite all the cynicism. –Jennifer Allen

148Apps 2013 wrAPP-up: Why Core Gaming Had a Great Year on Mobile

 
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It’s easy to look at mobile and see it as a wasteland for content; particularly with all the casual, free-to-play games, and especially the ones that seem to de-emphasize actual gameplay in favor of stronger monetization. That’s only if you’re not paying attention. Serious, core games – some even free-to-play – had a great year on iOS. –Carter Dotson

148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up: The Year’s Best Apps and Games

 
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Whoever said perfection is overrated obviously never got a five-star review on 148Apps. It doesn’t happen often. Just take a quick look through our reviews and you’ll see lots of well-deserving Editor’s Choice winners, but most only reach four-and-a-half stars. In fact, in all of 2013 there have only been ten five-star reviews. Take a look at some of what we considered the best of the best this year. –Chris Kirby

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

Knightmare Tower

 
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Knightmare Tower takes the endless runner genre and tips it on its head, literally. Good idea? Knightmare Tower has the barest vestiges of story. One day a knight hears about a famous tower full of monsters. Imagining the fame that could be heaped upon him, the intrepid knight sets off with his wooden sword and cheap armor to fight a horde of monsters. This story is told though a charming introductory cutscene. –Allan Curtis

Blocky Roads

 
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Never thought I’d have a chance to see a trend in development, but here we are. Minecraft is such a popular game with such a distinct graphic design that it has already spawned a whole generation of games that look exactly like it. Blocky Roads has gameplay that is nothing like Minecraft, or parts of it, but it looks exactly like Minecraft. It may actually not be based on Minecraft itself, but on any of its successors in graphics. The whole world, including the car and the designated driver, is built of blocks, and if you’re still not sick of the whole block thing, is looking really fine, with crisp graphics and cartoony, sharp textures. –Tony Kuzmin

Your Source For The Latest App Reviews

 

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.

Dropchord

 
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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

Knightmare Tower

 
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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

rymdkapsel

 
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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

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:

GiggleApps

 

Pango Playground

 
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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

 
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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

AndroidRundown

Color Zen

 
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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

Drisk

 
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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

Space Beats

 
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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

 

Celebrating the App Store’s 5th Anniversary

 

App Store Insiders

First up, check out the over 20 interviews that Jeff Scott (with a little help from Carter Dotson) did with the App Store’s best and brightest, like this one from Tapulous co-founder, Mike Lee:

Mike Lee148Apps: If you have one single success within the App Store you’d like to highlight, what would it be?

Mike Lee: I’m really excited about the work the New Lemurs are doing. I’ve been trying to blend technology and altruism both on and off the App Store since before it was a thing, with everything from the Club Thievey fundraising drive that linked Mac developers with the Madagascar Fauna Group to the Obama ’08 app to Appsterdam and on into Lemurs Chemistry.

What distinguishes my work now from what I was doing 5 years ago is this: while I’m still focused on providing great products and experiences to people, that has stopped being the end in and of itself. Now I am much more concerned with spreading good memes. My abilities as an App Maker, and my ability to be an example of what kind of apps we should make and what kind of App Makers we should be, have switched seats.

My current obsession is the idea that games would not be a waste of time if they were made based on science. By replacing the arbitrary game mechanics with rules from nature, you end up with games that happen to be educational as a side-effect, instead of trying to gamify education. Lemurs Chemistry is the embodiment of that idea, and it’s the best game I’ve ever produced.

Be sure to read all of the interviews, chock full of insight and info, right here on 148Apps.

Looking Back

It was a special week across the 148Apps network of sites, as we celebrated the App Store’s 5th anniversary with a wealth of original content from our team of reviewers. Take a look at some of their picks for the best apps from the past five years.

Fairway Solitaire

 
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In all my time playing iOS games, I’ve never been quite so tempted to buy an in-app purchase as I was while playing Fairway Solitaire. This isn’t because there’s so little content bundled with the free version (there’s enough) but because it’s so addictive that I didn’t want to stop playing. For a game that’s essentially a twist on card game solitaire, this is praise indeed. As the name suggests, Fairway Solitaire is a version of Golf Solitaire, a classic variation on the card game that everyone knows and loves. The difference here is that rather than create suits such as in regular Solitaire, the player must score runs by clearing the card deck using the least amount of moves. Once the pile of cards run out, the par is determined and the player moves onto the next hole. At the end of the course, a star rating out of three is offered as a way of encouraging players to master the stage. –Jennifer Allen

Rage of Bahamut

 
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Rage of Bahamut wasn’t quite what I was expecting. It definitely involves collecting cards and battling other players, but it’s more akin to a browser game than what most would consider a “proper” iOS title. Whether or not this is a bad thing depends a lot on personal preference, but anyone willing to look past the clunky interface just might find themselves having a great time. At its core, Rage of Bahamut is all about gathering cards in order to complete quests (or battle other players) in order to get better cards, etc. But that’s just the basics. Quests can be completed in order to acquire treasure, more cards, cash, and experience for whichever card has been designated the Leader. It’s all used as expected (i.e. buying car packs, building a stronger deck, etc), really. –Rob Rich

Disc Drivin’

 
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Disc Drivin’ is a game whose immediate goal might not be apparent; the easiest way to explain the game is that it is like Mario Kart crossed with Words With Friends. You and your opponents take turns sliding your disc across the tracks, replete with tricky turns, turbo boosts, and powerup icons. The Words with Friends-esque element comes from the turn-based gameplay; when you take your turn, your opponent then takes theirs, and so on until someone completes 3 laps and wins the race. The game supports up to 8 players in either hotseat or local wifi multiplayer, and up to 4 people online, with push notifications notifying you when it is your turn. There’s a reason why I describe this as being similar to Words With Friends in particular, and it is because Disc Drivin’ is just as addictive and viral as that game was around its popularity peak. If you start up one game, you’ll quickly find yourself wanting to start up more and more, and anxiously waiting for your opponents to make their moves so you can play some more. The physics engine with the discs adds to the fun, as wacky things can happen when you hit ramps, bombs or other discs; there is plenty that can happen when discs go flying to cause you to shout for joy or shriek in error. You never know what you’ll see next. That, and just the whole addictive and surprisingly fast-paced nature of the asynchronous multiplayer, is what makes this one a gem. –Carter Dotson

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. GiggleApps writer Amy Solomon served up her App Store favorites during this week’s fifth anniversary festivities:

GiggleApps

 

Toca Tea Party

 
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Toca Tea Party is a wonderfully creative app from one of my new favorite developers, Toca Boca. This app creates a lovely interactive tea party environment which has become a huge hit with our entire family. This is a wonderful iPad app which simulates a tea party for three, be it a child and two adults, a child and two dolls or stuffed animals, or three toys with the help of little hands. This app has been enjoyed in our house in every conceivable way and I can say that my husband, son, and I all love this application. –Amy Solomon

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

 
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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore is a very special interactive storybook for iPad that is perfectly realized in every way. Strong words, I know, but this app is simply wonderful, poetic and beautiful experience for all ages. Based on the short film of the same name, this ebook has interwoven interactions and other animated visuals that are simply striking for use of imagery that will stay with the reader for a very long time. It is hard really to write this review as I would encourage readers to experience this themselves, as I don’t think my words here will do this app justice. The story is said to be inspired by hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, and the Wizard of Oz equally, and is about a man who is currently writing a book about his life. One day, his world gets turned upside down but is fortunate to later find a library filled with books with flying abilities that need a caregiver. In reality, this app is really about so much more. My son, at 3.5 years, still takes things on face value, and for him, this story book is about the love of reading and the warm embrace books deserve as the protagonist takes care of these flying books as if they are living, breathing things. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Smash Spin Rage

 
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Beautiful, drop dead gorgeous 3D graphics. Relatively easy controls. Frankly who cares about backstory?
Smash Spin Rage is a game that brings mythical elements to 21st century handheld gaming. It brings to bear murder, the supernatural and an unquenchable desire for revenge. I mostly like the graphics in this one. The colors avidly bring to life the spooky ambiance of the location, with natural light combining and contrasting with shadows at the same time. The animations are smooth, and the supernatural effects worked well. From the opening cutscene to the battles all the way to the creativity of the belligerents, the game looks good. –Tre Lawrence

Ultimate Stick Fight

 
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So many of us cut our gaming teeth on scrolling beat em ups. You know, those games like Fighting Force that gave us the opportunity to graphically beat up hordes of violent thugs. There was usually the simplest of backstory, plenty of swinging limbs and even a weapon or two to procure. Ultimate Stick Fight is in that same glorious vein. Jumps, kicks, punches and tons of people to practice them on. And stick figures. Part of what sets this game apart is the look; instead of regular-looking characters, we get souped up, colorful stick people. Interestingly enough, the developer does well with colorization, and is able to imbibe a good deal of character into the thin guys. The movements and animations were fairly life-like, but kept the whimsical nature that we expect in characters of this genre. When matched with the numerous, creatively diverse backgrounds, it makes a pretty compelling 2D visual feast. –Tre Lawrence

Leaping Legend

 
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Leaping Legend is an arcade-style infinite climbing/running game. The virtual world is decidedly medieval, with the jittery characters and animations presented in 8-bit retro glory. As noted, all the elements come together to create a game with an arcade feel. The animations are fairly utilitarian, and do the job without being too flashy. If creating a remarkable ode to the past is the goal, I think the developer mostly succeeds admirably. In this one, the higher up one goes the better. Trying to free the fair-haired maiden at the “top” is the goal, and to accomplish this, our protagonist has two parallel walls to run up, as well as the ability to leap from one wall to the other on the quest to the top. This ability to leap is invaluable, as along the way, there are all sorts of run-ending obstacles, ranging from scary looking rotating blades to barrels and plenty of dropping debris. –Tre Lawrence

We Do Reviews

Every week, the experts here at 148Apps take on the hundreds of apps released weekly and take the time to sort through them, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. Isn’t that spectacular? A few lucky ones become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Here are a few excerpted notable reviews from this past Valentine’s Day week; for all of them, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Versu is an ambitious first step into what could be an immensely compelling new medium of literature. It is well worth the download if for no other reason than to get in on the ground floor of what could genuinely be something special down the road. –Blake Grundman

FREE!
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2013-02-14 :: Category: Books

At its core, Rock Runners is simply about level completion, but there are many other goals built in to the game to add replay value and challenge. Each level in Rock Runners has three additional goals built into it, with most of them concerning completion time, gem collection proficiency, and the ability to avoid damaging obstacles. –Campbell Bird

$0.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-02-14 :: Category: Games

Continuing the trend that its predecessor set, Cordy 2 is a rather glorious platformer. While many of its ideas will remind players of great platformers gone by, especially the Sonic the Hedgehog series, none of it really matters when there’s so much fun to be had. –Jennifer Allen

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-02-07 :: Category: Games

Every now and then a game comes along that offers a real breath of fresh air: something truly unique. JOOL is that game. It’s a 2D arcade platformer with basic controls, but puts forth a very unique style. Whether starting with the good bird or his evil alter ego, players will need to use both characters to survive the infinite level design in order to earn the highest possible score. –Michael Carattini

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-02-07 :: Category: Games

…Ease of use is what makes Qwiki stand out so significantly. It’s actually fun to use as well as view the creations, much like Instagram. Filtering and basic editing completes the package, making Qwiki a very tempting proposition for those who want to show off a form of photo slideshow to their friends and family. –Jennifer Allen

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2013-02-07 :: Category: Photography

Roar Rampage is loud, full of things to smash, and has a giant dinosaur wearing boxing gloves. With controls that improve on the Flash original and the ability to smash the Eiffel Tower, what’s not to love about Roar Rampage? –Carter Dotson

$0.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-02-07 :: Category: Games

Other 148Apps Network Sites

Partner sites GiggleApps and Android Rundown publish some of the best reviews and news on the ‘net about kids apps and Android apps, respectively. Be sure to head over to each site to read them fully. For now, though, check out some of the great content they served up this past week.

GiggleApps

Endless Alphabet is a charming and surprisingly sophisticated letters app for iPad that teaches words in a wonderfully unique way for a letters app. From the opening of this application, it is easy to tell that it is something special with the cast of colorful and creative monster characters parading across the screen, playing different instruments in ways that are quite captivating. –Amy Solomon

$6.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-01-24 :: Category: Education

The Adventures of Captain Underpants is a cheeky story about two friends who love to pull pranks at school as well as writing comic books, especially The Adventures of Captain Underpants, about a super hero who actually flies around in his underwear. Things become complicated for the boys when they are caught pulling pranks at their school by their principal, who blackmails them until they are able to hypnotize their principal, yet things take a turn for the worse as the principal takes on the persona of Captain Underpants. –Amy Solomon

$4.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2013-01-17 :: Category: Books

Snow Queen by the developers at Timecode is a very nice adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story of the same name – a lengthy tale traditionally told over seven stories. I am impressed by how this app also is broken into seven stories to create a thorough version of this classic story – nice to see as many times the Snow Queen is abridged, and oftentimes without the back story of how the magic mirror, which makes all things beautiful look ugly, is produced here by a goblin. It is this mirror, when broken, also negatively affects the people who get imbedded by these shards, making them see and feel as though everything around them is ugly as well. –Amy Solomon

$2.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-12-12 :: Category: Books

Android Rundown

Friday Free App Rundown – When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to wake up on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. There was an awesome lineup back then. In this week’s Free App Rundown we are going to talk about games based on Saturday morning cartoons. While there are paid games out there like The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man, the games in this list are free. Let’s take a look. –Trevor Dobrygoski

Pokemon TV App Now Available, Gotta Watch ‘Em All – The world’s favorite way to collect and fight exotic monsters, Pokemon, is still Nintendo-exclusive as far as the actual games go. But with The Pokemon Company International, the company rsponsible for licensing the franchise, being only affiliated with Nintendo, they are free to release some content to other platforms. In this case, this includes episodes of the long-running TV show, which can now be watched in the Pokemon TV App. Selected episodes from each “Region” that comprises each new generation of the game can be watched. The original Red & Blue games are Kanto region, for those wondering. Those are the ones with Misty and Brock. Go be nostalgic, children of the late 90’s and early 2000’s! –Carter Dotson

Ice Road Truckers is an infinite driving game that pitted ever-increasingly treacherous roads against mental reaction and physical dexterity. My job? Keep the big rig moving. Avoid obstacles. Collect coins. One button on the left or right pulled the truck in either direction, and tapping both buttons at the same time caused a boost of speed that revved the truck up, and was perfect for the ramps that appeared on either side of the world. There were also rock formations and huge trees that did their part to increase difficulty in the game. –Tre Lawrence

Looks like 2013 might be the year of the renegade robot. Zombies and menacing pizza will always be in our hearts, but robots are in. Stop The Robot is a cleverly-imagined tower defense game that pits roughneck kids against robots attempting to breach their backyard lawn fences. I started out at the bottom of the totem pole. There were three levels of difficulty, easy (Iron), medium (Steel) and hard (Titanium). Iron was opened by default, and I started off as Frank, The Slingshot King. Armed with my wooden weapom, I aimed and fired upon oncoming robots that were intent upon destroying the fence I was protecting. It started off easily enough, and, predictably got tougher, with more marching robots in spread-out clusters. –Tre Lawrence

I wasnt really sure what to expect when I downloaded Ant Raid. I thought it might be another bug smasher game. There is a little of that in there, but there is also some other strategies needed to beat the levels. The overall plot of the game is to keep the ant’s home save from the other insects. The insects have been infected and are pretty much zombies. Okay, that right there grabbed my attention. –Trevor Dobrygoski

This week at 148Apps.com all eyes were still pointed at Firemint’s upcoming Real Racing 3. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, “Sister site Pocket Gamer editor Richard Brown discovered that Real Racing 3 is showing up in Game Center. The good news is that means it’s been approved by Apple and it can’t be long before the release now. While it’s not out yet, this does bring up something interesting. Something I noticed in the Game Center achievements lends a little to the accuracy of rumors and theories I’ve been hearing that Real Racing 3 will be released as a free to play game.

Last week we took you through a three part series about the history of the App Store icon, Real Racing. Rob Rich covered the history and design of the first two games in the series. He also covered time-shifted multiplayer and other new features expected in Real Racing 3. An excellent series and well worth a read. One thing we didn’t cover is how the game will be monetized as it has yet to be announced. That monetization method is likely to have huge implications on how the game is received by the fans of the series.”

Want more? Read more at 148Apps.

GiggleApps.com writer Amy Solomon contributed a review of Whack A Bone: “Whack A Bone is a wonderful app for iPad that is truly an educational delight, teaching about the anatomy of bones found in the human body.

Nicely sectioned into groups, users will learn about the bones that make up one’s core, such as cranium, sternum or vertebrae which is grouped here into three different categories – cervical, thoracic and lumbar, as well as the arm and leg bones, each consisting of its own section as well.

To play this pirate-themed anatomy game, place the bones from the different sections back to their rightful places inside a skeleton with the direction of a talking parrot whose attitude kids will find witty and fun.”

Read all about Whack A Bone at GiggleApps.

$2.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-11-27 :: Category: Education

And what week would be complete without a KickStarter Spotlight on AndroidRundown.com. This week, writer Joseph Bertolini focuses on Freedom Planet: “It has been a while since we have really taken an in depth look to one of the fields in which KickStarter has benefited the most; indie game developers. As most everyone knows, indie game sales have exploded over the last few years; bolstered by better distribution methods like Steam and a more willing Sony and Microsoft. It goes without saying that a strong indie market is one of the most important factors to a great gaming industry. Recognizing this, our choice for this week’s KickStarter Spotlight is Freedom Planet, a game that will harken strongly back to the days when Sonic and MegaMan were dominating the console market.”

Follow up on this Kickstarter Spotlight on AndroidRundown.

Another week down, but another one right around the corner! Keep track of the latest happenings by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. You’ll be glad you did! See you next week.

This Week at 148Apps: December 10-14

This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre examined why mobile games just don’t seem to have as much depth as their console brethren. He says, “Should gamers expect the same experience on mobile devices as on console? Probably not–but that may be changing. Michael de Graaf, the producer for the mobile version of Need for Speed Most Wanted, feels that the difference between console and mobile is narrowing. “At the moment, consoles still have an edge when it comes to raw power but that gap is narrowing,” he told us, “and we’ve seen possibilities continue to expand on mobile. The current quality of screens we are seeing and new form factors are increasing the quality and diversity of experiences that gamers can now have on a mobile device.”

Nick Rish, vice president of mobile publishing for EA, believes that comparing the two is futile. “There is something very immersive about holding a device 10 inches from your face,” he said, “putting on headphones and enjoying a game like Need for Speed Most Wanted while on your lunch break … It’s tough to say one platform provides a better consumer experience than the other; gaming is in the eye of the beholder.”

“Mobile gaming grew from very basic flash games we all’ve been playing on web browsers,” said Przemek Marszal, art director at 11 bit studios, the developer behind the Anomaly Warzone series. But that’s changing, he said, noting that even a hard-core indie developer like John Carmac sees the potential of iOS gaming.

Read the full post at 148Apps.

Over at GiggleApps.com, writer Amy Solomon got back to nature with her review of Scholastic First Discovery: The Forest: “Scholastic First Discovery: The Forest for iPhone is an impressive adaptation of the printed non-fiction title “In the Forest” A First Discovery Look and Learn Book from Scholastic. A version of this app is also available for iPad.

The Forest is an impressive application about nature, with wonderfully bright colors and robust details on each page bringing the sights of forests to devices. Instead of text that one would read, this app consists of very good narration that leads children through interactive exercises that will teach them a lot about the forests of North America.

Six chapters are included that cover a lot of ground, such as learning about both deciduous and coniferous trees, tapping leaves or branches to learn about the trees they belong to, also allowing children to drag these realistic bits of foliage around the screen.”

Read Amy’s full review at GiggleApps.

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-10-26 :: Category: Education

Last up, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson was happy to announce that one of our favorite games, Punch Quest, is coming to Android: “Android, get ready to start punching. Punch Quest is coming to Android very soon. The culprit? Noodlecake Games, who have made a habit (or a business model) out of releasing and supporting iOS-to-Android ports. Punch Quest combines and endless runner with beat ’em up gameplay, as players run through a dungeon, punching and uppercutting the foes they come across. Coins can be earned to be spent on new skills, power ups, and hats. Sweet, sweet hats.”

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-25 :: Category: Games

Read the full story on AndroidRundown.

And we’ve cleared yet another week in 2012. Join us next weekend for another recap of the latest and greatest news from the week that was – and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest info on the hottest apps. Now go get the rest of your holiday shopping done!

This Week at 148Apps: November 5-9

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.”

Think you might ask Santa for this? Check out Rob’s full review at 148Apps.

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.”

Learn more about the poles in Amy’s review on GiggleApps.

$5.99
+ 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.”

Want more info? Read all about it at 148Apps.biz.

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.

This Week at 148Apps: August 13-17

This week at 148Apps.com, we brought another amazing app into the Editor’s Choice fold. This is what Kalle MacDonald had to say about Horn: “As a fan of both the Legend of Zelda series on Nintendo consoles and the Infinity Blade franchise on iOS, I welcomed HORN with open arms. Believe it or not it delivers on both counts.

HORN is hard to explain. In essence it is an action-adventure game, but the details make it so much more than that. When inn the “adventuring” portions of the story, the game is played in a third-person perspective and the titular Horn is controlled by tapping where the player wants him to go. To go along with this, there are action portions of the game. These portions are played similarly to Infinity Blade, with a swipe to attack, and various ways to evade the enemies.”

Want to know more? Of course you do. Read the full review at 148Apps.

FREE!
$6.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-08-16 :: Category: Games

Over at GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon gave us an art lesson in her review of PlayArt: “PlayART by Tapook is an interesting art app allowing children and adults to create their own images using the details found within famous works of art. Five artists are covered, specifically Van Gogh, Monet, Klee, Cezanne and Rousseau allowing children to be exposed to different styles of art, also learning about these artists from watching short videos and exploring a museum of these artists’ original paintings.”

Read more at GiggleApps.com.

$3.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-06-27 :: Category: Education

And finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson contributed a piece about elblabs: “German studio elblabs is launching a new ad network, GameAdTrading. What elblabs is claiming that their network can do better than other networks is simple: adaptability to many different platforms.

This adaptability is largely because GameAdTrading is currently available as a plugin for Unity, the engine that’s primarily designed for 3D games, but often finds use simply as a cross-platform engine. For example, Cthulhu Saves the World, a 16-bit-inspired RPG that has pretty much nothing three-dimensional about it at all, was ported from XNA to Unity for the mobile versions. The ability to publish to iOS, Android, and PC/Mac makes it an attractive option for even simulation games that aren’t as graphically-demanding. elblabs is also taking requests via email for other engines, including Flash.”

Read more about this move to cross-platform advertising on 148Apps.biz.

And…..we’re done for this week. But that’s the great thing – one week ends, and another’s just right around the corner. Join us on Facebook and Twitter to get the news, reviews and contests you want, right when you want them, from app experts. Until next weekend, go plunge the depths of Horn.

This Week at 148Apps: August 5-9

This week at 148Apps.com, we gave the Editor’s Choice award to Organ Trail: Director’s Cut. Reviewer Rob Rich had this to say about the game: “There’s something timeless about The Oregon Trail. Gearing up and heading west across the country in order to settle in some promising new territory, braving all manner of hardships and diseases along the way, it’s a game that just about everyone loves. Wait a second, the “E” is missing. It’s not Oregon Trail? It’s actually Organ Trail? Well I don’t see what the big difference-OHMYGOD ZOMBIES!!!

Organ Trail: Director’s Cut is a throwback to the classic era of computer gaming. Back when we had to load these things using floppy disks, and in-game sounds consisted entirely of varying forms of *BOOP*. Much like its pioneer era inspiration, the game tasks players with preparing for a cross-country road trip and naming party members after friends in order to make them feel bad when they inevitably die in horrible ways. Only this time it’s during a modern zombie apocalypse, and instead of hunting for food and fording rivers they’ll be scrounging for meager supplies while fending off the walking dead and creeping through zombie hordes.”

Want more of this Editor’s Choice review? Find it at 148Apps.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-08-09 :: Category: Games

Everything was about back to school at GiggleApps.com, where reviewer Amy Solomon had this to say about Murky Reef 1st-2nd Grade Reading, Science and Math: “Parents will appreciate how this app incorporates the Common Core standards for Grades 1 and 2 while keeping children engaged and entertained, especially as children prepare for school to start again soon and need to begin to get back to the business of focusing on school work.

Murky Reef is a collection of 22 interactive games which teach a great deal about the animals of the coral reef as well as include math, logic and language exercises.”

Dive into Murky Reef at GiggleApps.

$4.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-09-30 :: Category: Education

Finally, on 148Apps.biz, Carter Dotson reported on the rise of the app developer middle class, saying, “While there’s often much pessimism among developers as far as the challenges of money making on mobile apps goes, analytics firm Flurry’s latest report discusses how the revenue among mobile apps is being distributed. With it, there’s evidence that an app developer ‘middle class’ is forming, as with more revenue being spent on mobile apps, developers do not need to reach the kind of high ranks that they did in the past to make the same kind of revenue. As well, the ‘long tail’ of revenue is getting longer.”

Want more of this report? Head to 148Apps.biz.

Another week down, but a new one is just around the corner. Join us on Facebook or Twitter to get the jump on the latest news, reviews and contests. Until then, get back to class.

This Week at 148Apps: July 16-20

This week at 148Apps.com, we geared up for the London Olympics with a Favorite Five list of summer games apps. Site editor Rob LeFebvre writes, “With the 2012 Summer Olympics headed to London starting July 27th, it’s night time we took a look at some great apps to use to watch and keep track of the happenings in the UK this year. Today, we’ll take a gander at five useful apps that will help you do just that.”

Read the full list at 148Apps.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-05-14 :: Category: Sports

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-07-12 :: Category: Sports

Over at GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon took a closer look at This Book Is About To Explode. She writes, “This Book Is About To Explode is an interesting interactive storybook with fun puzzle elements that children and their adults will enjoy. This fun sci-fi story centers around Tiki-Zin3, a robot whose job is to search for alien life – ironic because mischievous aliens, in the interest of making their existence known, explode bombs which send Tiki-Zin3 to different locations out into space. Although this character expresses displeasure about being blown to different locations, I am glad to see that the enjoyment children experience from pressing the button to explore the scenes from this book is not a set-up to be terribly sadistic as Tiki-Zin3 makes comments such as not having the time to take a vacation within the place he has just landed, keeping this story light and fun without making children feel too bad for causing these explosions.”

Read more of Amy’s review at GiggleApps.

FREE!
Released: 2012-05-19 :: Category: Books

Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson reported on AppBot. Dotson says, “Filter Squad has launched a service to help developers keep track of user reviews, called AppBot. Based off of an internal project that has been expanded and released to the public, this can help developers keep track of the popular opinion on their apps.

AppBot sends a daily digest of the latest user reviews for a developer’s app, allowing them to get a feeling for what their users are saying on a regular basis. For example, if a new version of iOS launches, and 1-star reviews are saying that the app is crashing, then the developer has a point of entry to troubleshoot. Or, common complaints or request made in reviews can be more easily tracked in this daily digest format.”

Read more about this new service at 148Apps.biz.

And that just about wraps up this past week! Join us on Twitter and Facebook to keep track of the latest app news as it happens, plus get in on contests, giveaways, promos and more. See you next week!

This Week at 148Apps: June 2-6

This week at 148Apps.com was all about the red, white, and blue as we celebrated the 4th of July. Writer Lisa Caplan contributed to the festivities with her list of Favorite Four apps for Independence Day. She writes, “It’s July 4th, so we hope most Americans are out celebrating and reading this on an iPhone or iPad or between activities. But if you are still looking for apps to help make the day even better, we’ve rounded up four of our favorties that commemorate everything from US History to the traditional BBQ for you here.”

See Lisa’s complete list at 148Apps.com.

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-07-12 :: Category:

$0.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-06-22 :: Category: Education

GiggleApps stayed on a vacation theme with its review of Miny Moe Car. Reviewer Amy Solomon says, “Miny Moe Car is a charming and fun simulated driving app that toddlers and children in preschool will enjoy. I have always been a fan of this type of toy, both as an arcade game as well as a simple children’s plaything. I remember when my son was just a year old, I bought him the most realistic driver I could find – a toy he still enjoys today. A search on iTunes will find a few applications of this type that mostly show a POV from the driver’s seat of a car or other vehicle. This is also the case for this application which does a really nice job of recreating the driving experience for toddlers.”

Read Amy’s complete review on GiggleApps.com.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-05-09 :: Category: Education

And finally at 148Apps.biz, Carter Dotson reported on a new study revealing the iPad as the number one gaming platform. Dotson writes, “Tablets and phones are vastly different devices. This seems obvious, but in reality, they really aren’t: the difference between the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2 is basically different sized screens. However, the way that users, especially gamers, use the two devices is still dramatically different, according to PlayFirst, via Pocket Gamer. Tablet users are playing more games than phone users are, and they’re spending more on games.”

Read the full report at 148Apps.biz.

That’s the end of this week’s happenings, but there’s always more news, reviews and contests headed your way across the 148Apps network. Just follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to keep track of all the goings-on. Until next week, enjoy the fireworks!

This Week at 148Apps: June 25-29

This week at 148Apps.com, we celebrated the unbelievable 40th birthday of Atari. Writer Lisa Caplan says, “It’s a tiny bit depressing that many of us here are older than Atari. Still as OG’s (original geeks) most of us equate the name with our and their glory years of gaming. Recently the former giant has been reinventing itself, having previously released their VCS catalog and a few arcade hits in a Greatest Hits package for iOS, and with more recent forays into the App Store like Circus Atari and Centipedes Origins. They are also winding up a contest for indie developers who took their original, maybe the original video game, PONG and remade it for iOS. The finalists have been announced and can be found here. The company turns 40 today and much of the recent flurry of activity is to celebrate the occasion.”

Read more about the legacy of Atari at 148Apps.com.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-04-07 :: Category: Games

GiggleApps.com stayed topical this week with a review of Avengers Origins: Hulk. Amy Solomon writes, “Avengers Origins: Hulk is a new universal interactive storybook apple ication that introduces the classic Marvel character, the Hulk, to children. I really enjoy this re-telling of such a classic story, narrated by Stan Lee who does an outstanding job as one would expect. I enjoy how this story unfolds, especially for children who may be new to this character as this app opens up with a thoughtful introduction, walking readers through Bruce Banner’s difficult childhood, becoming a scientist and the details of the faithful day that Banner becomes mistakenly affected by gamma radiation, developing the uncontrollable ability to turn into the Hulk when he is angered.”

Read more about the Green Goliath’s kiddie adventures at GiggleApps.com.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-14 :: Category: Books

Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson reports that, “A new report by Localytics shows that more users are sticking with their apps, and iOS users are more likely to stick with apps than Android users are. Where in 2010, 26% of users would open up an app once, and the same percentage would use it 11+ times, now only 22% launch an app just once, and 31% will use it 11+ times. This may show that users over time are either starting to find apps that they would show an interest in using long-term, or app quality is starting to increase. The long-term trend will be interesting to see: will users continue to come back to their apps? Or is this a temporary blip?”

Read more about this new research at 148Apps.biz.

And thus ends another exciting week across the 148Apps network. Join our conversation on Facebook or Twitter to learn more about contests, promos, sales and more. See you next week, true believer!

This Week at 148Apps: June 4-8

This week, 148Apps was all about Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2012. Take, for instance, Carter Dotson’s report on new Xbox 360 features that may allow iOS integration: “At Microsoft’s E3 press conference, they revealed an interesting new feature that will integrate smartphones and tablets to the Xbox 360. Called SmartGlass, this is designed to operate a second screen during games, movies, and TV shows. This means that hypothetically, a game could display a map on the tablet screen, or even integrate interactive game elements like maps and play-calling in sports games.

Read more about this latest innovation at 148Apps.com.

Our kids-centric site, GiggleApps, reviewed Give A Day HD, which, as reviewer Amy Solomon states, “is a thoughtful children’s book app that helps create discussions between children and their adults about the world bigger than their families, as this app brings the topic of less fortunate children to the attention of young readers. This app is also available as an app for iPhone as well and is also part of the PlayTales Reader application.”

Read Amy’s complete review at GiggleApps.com.

$1.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-03-26 :: Category: Books

And finally, 148Apps.biz covered the big news that Google acquired iPad app QuickOffice. Writer Kevin Stout states, “Quickoffice, the mobile document editing software (that particularly handles documents from the Microsoft Office suite well), has been acquired by Google. Announced on Google’s official blog, Google plans to intergrate Quickoffice‘s technology in to their own Apps product suite.”

Read Kevin’s full post at 148Apps.biz.

Our week that was is now did and done. If you’d like to keep up with the latest reviews, news and contests, all you have to do is click the links to follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook. That wasn’t so hard, was it? I didn’t think so. See you next weekend, fellow chupacabras!

This week at 148Apps.com, we celebrated the coming Memorial Day holiday with a closer look and an ever-growing list of apps on sale. Site editor Rob LeFebvre writes, “So, it’s that time of year again! BBQs, lawn chairs, beer, and the ability to finally wear shorts with sandals without fear of frostbite. Tan those legs and check out all the huge sales that are going on across the App Store below. We’ll try and keep it updated as we go this weekend, so be sure to let us know of any good sales on iOS apps…”

Read the full list at 148Apps.com.

$4.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-04-12 :: Category: Games

At GiggleApps, writer Amy Solomon reviewed The First Million-Teach Your Child to Read. Solomon says, “The First Million is a lovely universal “mix and match” book application that adults and children will find interesting as well as intuitive as here, as the pages of this book are split into three sections – each being able to be flipped back and forth to create new and intriguing illustrations and word combinations. Unlike other “mix and match” books where one can look for the corresponding thirds of the same image to make a match, this app is completely open-ended with no right or wrong matches to be made, giving children free range to produce any and all combinations they may fancy.”

Read Amy’s full review on GiggleApps.com.

$0.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-21 :: Category: Education

Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Kevin Stout reported on Disney’s push into Angry Birds territory. Stout writes, “Intensely popular Disney game, Where’s My Water?, will be receiving its first line of merchandise based on the game. The physics-based puzzler by Disney has been popular on both iOS and Android. Fans of the popular game can now buy all kinds of merchandise featuring the story’s character, Swampy the Alligator.”

Read more about Swampy’s foray into stores at 148Apps.biz.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-09-22 :: Category: Games

That’s it for us – and we’re one week closer to summer! Remember to follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get all of the latest updates all during the week. See you next time, Marvel Zombies!

This Week at 148Apps: May 7-11

This week at 148Apps.com, writer Lisa Caplan helped all of us out by providing her Favorite Four apps for Mother’s Day. Caplan says, “Mother’s Day means so many different things to so many different people that it’s hard to create a list of just four apps for the occasion. There are great gifts to purchase right from iTunes and the App Store, and tons of apps to help you find the right present. But we decided to keep the focus on free or inexpensive apps that will make moms feel special this Sunday and leave them with more than a memory to treasure all year long.”

See the full list of suggestions at 148Apps.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-01-20 :: Category: Utilities

And what’s Mother’s Day without children? GiggleApps appeals to the younger crowd with a review of Color Dots. Reviewer Amy Solomon writes, “Color Dots is a bright and fun universal application that the youngest of app users will enjoy. Color Dots is very simple and is geared towards babies and toddlers as colored dots are popped with a tap of a finger as they move around the screen.”

Read Amy’s full review on GiggleApps.com.

148Apps.biz reporter Kevin Stout writes about the latest research into American app spending habits: “International market research firm Newzoo has just released a report concerning mobile gaming in the U.S. The report claims that the amount of American mobile gamers has risen by over 25 million gamers in the last year and the number of paying players has gone up to 36% of all mobile gamers.”

Read more about this research on 148Apps.biz.

And that’s the week that was! Join us here next week for another quick recap, but until then make sure you check out our Twitter and Facebook feeds for the latest news, reviews and contests. Now go see Dark Shadows and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Bienvenidos! This week at 148Apps.com we started our Cinco de Mayo celebrations early with a special “Favorite Four” apps review from Kevin Stout. Along with several foodie apps, Stout writes, “It can’t hurt to brush up on the history of Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo: The Battle of Puebla provides users with a detailed video on both the Battle of Puebla, the military victory that led to the traditional celebration on May 5th, and the history of the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. The videos include accompanying text for users impatient users that want to read ahead. The app also includes two games, a quiz and a paint game, that can be unlocked for an in-app purchase of $0.99. But the app is free and so are both videos.”

Read about all of Kevin’s picks at 148Apps.com.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-06-28 :: Category: Education

Amy Solomon, over at GiggleApps, writes in her review of Bean Bag Kids Present Pinocchio that, “This app, as the name implies, is a retelling of the classic story of Pinocchio, about a puppet carved from wood by a lonely wood carver who wishes that one day this puppet could become a real boy. Here each actor is played by a bean bag dressed in costume as this application is styled as a live performance that one is watching, complete with red velvet curtain and other theatre details. The adaptation of this story is very nicely done, including the use of excellent narration, as is the choice to underline the text as the words are being spoken – a very nice touch that will aid young readers in following along as these words are being read.”

Read all of Amy’s review at GiggleApps.com.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-28 :: Category: Games

Finally, 148Apps.biz site founder Jeff Scott writes about the latest project from OpenFeint founder Jason Citron, saying, “Jason Citron, founder of Aurora Feint / Open Feint, which sold to Japan based social games company GREE recently for $104M, just announced his new mobile games-based startup, Phoenix Guild.

Phoenix Guild will be focused on creating multiplayer games in a post-PC world. Think MMOs on your iPhone and iPad. He plans on focusing on games that would appeal to core gamers. Sounds like just what we need in a world that has nearly reached the saturation point with variations on Farmville.”

Read more about Phoenix Guild on 148Apps.biz.

The week may have ended, but there’s more content to come from 148Apps. Just follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to keep track of the latest news, reviews and contests. Until next week, keep your Avengers assembling!

This Week at 148Apps: March 19-23

This week at 148Apps.com, writer Jennifer Allen launched her review of Angry Birds Space, saying, “There’s a temptation to declare that Angry Birds Space is more of the same. That wouldn’t be a bad thing by any means. While there’s no doubt that marketing has played a big role in its success, Angry Birds is still one of the best casual gaming experiences out there. It benefits greatly from that “just one more go” mentality and a lot can be achieved in a short amount of time. Angry Birds Space ups the ante in that respect by introducing a sufficient number of new features to ensure that it’s not just more of the same, while still retaining the original game’s charm.”

Read the full review at 148Apps.com.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-03-22 :: Category: Games

Amy Solomon, at GiggleApps.com, also wrote about birds this week, but these took the form of her review of Draw and Tell HD by Duck Duck Moose. Solomon writes, “Draw and Tell HD – by Duck Duck Moose is a creative and fun art app that allows young artists to record personal narration to their finished pieces, including a multitude of art supplies to work with. Both iPad as well as iPhone versions are available.

Children have a choice of expressing themselves by choosing a blank page to begin their art work or choosing a coloring page to work on. Another wonderful function of this app is the ability to choose a photo from the device’s camera roll to use as a background as well.

Read more from Solomon’s review on GiggleApps.

$1.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-02-29 :: Category: Education

Finally, 148Apps.biz featured a report by Kevin Stout about the astonishing growth of iOS and Android activations in China. Stout writes, “China has recently become the leader in new iOS and Android device adoption (phones and tablets). It’s also finished the year in 2nd for application sessions, only behind the U.S. Specifically, China’s app session growth between last year and this year is 1126%. That’s nearly double the closest country (Argentina).”

Read the full report on 148Apps.biz.

And that’s the week that was. Join us next week for a full recap of the activities across the 148apps-verse. Until then, keep track of our latest contests, news items and reviews by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. See ya!

This Week at 148Apps: March 12-16

It’s hardly a surprise that this week at 148Apps.com was dominated by all things related to Apple’s new iPad. Carter Dotson put together a great list of ten Retina Display-ready iPad games, saying, “Just bought a new iPad? Congratulations. Sure, tweets may come in clearer than ever, and videos at 1080p quality, but what’s the real way to show off that beautiful new 2048×1536 screen? With games, of course! And how about some online games to take advantage of the LTE option available? Yes, please! Here’s ten titles that show off just how crisp the new iPad’s Retina Display looks.”

Read more about Carter’s ten picks on 148Apps.

$6.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-12-01 :: Category: Games

Meanwhile, GiggleApps.com writer Amy Solomon did a little pattern recognition in her review of Line Up. She writes, “Line Up is a wonderful interactive educational app that teaches about patterns in ways children and their adults will be smitten by.

I really enjoy this app – a great application to be aware of because parents have their choice of apps dedicated to pattern awareness within iTunes. I have enjoyed a few of these apps with my son, but a favorite of mine is definitely Line Up, from the developers at Busythings, a company that should not be overlooked.”

Read the full review at GiggleApps.

$0.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-01-31 :: Category: Education

Finally, intrepid 148Apps.biz writer Brad Hilderbrand reported on a recent study regarding smart phone screens. Hilderbrand writes, “A recent survey from Strategy Analytics claims that when it comes to smartphones, bigger really is better. According to the report 90 percent of smartphone owners wish their device had a bigger screen.”

Find out more on 148Apps.biz.

Thus ends another vibrant week in the life of all things iOS. But fret not! There’s always more right around the corner. Keep track of the latest news, reviews and contests by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook. That is all. You may now return to your Retina Displays.

This week at 148Apps.com, we checked out the long-awaited release of Readability, via a quick overview and full review from Lisa Caplan. Caplan writes, “The app provides the same service and merges seamlessly with the web versions. Users open to a blank page with just a menu. Filling the app is the the reader’s job. Users can search the web or enter an URL manually. The app pulls the article, pretties it up, and places a lead-in on the home screen.

I found it faster to just surf on my Mac adding articles that appealed as I found them, but how one fills the app is a small matter. What Readability does with the content is the cool bit. I tested the universal build on an iPad and it works wonderfully in both orientations. In landscape the articles fill the main pane and a well-designed and unobtrusive sidebar has the menu. In portrait the sidebar is a tiny top bar.”

Read our full review on 148Apps.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-01 :: Category: News

Meanwhile, our sister site Giggleapps.com dug deep into the garden of apps and came up with a review of The Giant Turnip: A Kidztory Classic Animated Interactive Storybook. Reviewer Amy Solomon says, “As always, the look of this app is delightful, with wonderful colors and textures and fun use of music incorporated into a style utterly recognizable as a Kidztory storybook. I appreciate the warm browns and green shades seen in the land where the turnip is planted, along with the noticeable brush strokes for a lovely effect. Possibly more so than other apps from this series, nothing is flat-looking within this app as every animal or other detail has its own imperfect texture that layered together on the page really brings a richness to this story that adults may enjoy even more than their children.”

Read the full review on Giggleapps.com.

$0.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-12-12 :: Category: Books

Finally, 148Apps.biz updated GameSpy’s progress on its GameSpy Open platform. Brad Hilderbrand writes, “Today GameSpy announced that there are over 600 titles in development for its year-old GameSpy Open platform. The stable of upcoming titles includes games like Warm Gun, Skullgirls and more, with a total of 1200 developers hard at work on new projects.”

Read more on 148Apps.biz.

The old week is done. Bring on the new week, with the promise of the iPad 3 just around the corner. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to keep abreast of the latest reviews, news items and contests right when they happen. See you next week!

This Week at 148Apps, September 12-16

This week at 148Apps.com, iOS helped all of us come just a little closer to cutting the omnipresent power of our cable companies, as TNT, TBS and NBC released full-length versions of many of their shows via iOS apps. Rob LeFebvre writes, “While (the TNT and TBS apps) may not be as earth shattering as the news from NBC, you can bet that we are witnessing a new paradigm in television viewing. Apparently, being able to create and control their own portal to their own television content has these companies, and no doubt others to soon follow suit, creating the cable-cord-free future we have all wanted from the outset. While the TNT and TBS offerings still require at least a financial link to cable television companies, the NBC announcement leaves no doubt that TV as we know it is changing forever.”

Read more about the future of premium TV content on 148Apps.com.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-06-21 :: Category: Entertainment

FREE!
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-04-08 :: Category: Entertainment

FREE!
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-09-08 :: Category: Entertainment

FREE!
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-09-08 :: Category: Entertainment

Over at our sister site GiggleApps, reviewer Amy Solomon took a closer look at Arthur and Charles Present Create & Play, a collection of virtual toys for children. Solomon states, “Four sections are offered in this app, my personal favorite being Face Creator, where the player builds wonderfully whimsical cartoon faces from the 178 parts offered arranged into such categories that go beyond the obvious hair/eyes/nose/mouth choices including eyewear, headwear and extras. According to the developers, over 400 billion different characters can be created and after playing with the plethora of options offered, I believe it.”

Read about the rest of the toys in this new collection at GiggleApps.

$0.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-08-09 :: Category: Games

And finally, AndroidRundown stalwart writer Carter Dotson reported on what it takes to transition a top-grossing iOS game to the Android platform. Dotson says, “Tap Zoo has been one of the biggest successes on iOS that hasn’t really been talked about. In the past year since its release, the game has been on the top 10 of the iOS App Store’s Top Grossing charts for 48 of those 52 weeks. Now, the game is making the big jump to other platforms, and first on the list of non-iOS platforms? Android, of course! As one could probably infer, this means that Tap Zoo is now on Android!”

Read more about the transition at AndroidRundown.com.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-09-04 :: Category: Games

And with that, we end our weekly wrap-up. But fear not; there’s always all sorts of new content appearing across all of the 148Apps network of sites. Keep track of all the latest happenings (and participate in a giveaway and contest or two) by following us on Twitter and Facebook. See you next week!

This Week at 148Apps: August 22-26

This week, August 22-26, Starbucks introduced a new promotion that features free app downloads for its ka-jillion coffee drinking-customers, similar to the company’s method of distributing free song downloads. 148Apps writer Carter Dotson notes, “What will be interesting to see the effect this has on apps offered in the promotion; Shazam Encore has jumped up to #6 in the App Store recently, which may be due to this feature. This could be due to each redeemed copy going toward the app’s sales, or it could be because the promotion is working exactly how it’s intended; by giving the app away for free, people are talking about it and recommending it, causing other people to pay for it.”

Read Carter’s full article on 148Apps.com.

Also, we celebrated the at-last launch of Peggle for the iPad. This PopCap gem has been a long-time coming, but writer Lisa Caplan assures it’s worth the wait: “This is classic Peggle, and for fans wondering if it’s worth buying the title one more time, the short answer is yes. If, by some chance, this is a first encounter of a Peggle kind, stop reading and start downloading.”

Read all of Lisa’s review on 148Apps.com.

$0.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-08-25 :: Category: Games

Meanwhile, the kid-friendly folks at GiggleApps reviewed Sticker Factory, an app that, as writer Amy Solomon says, “is a great choice for grade school and up, and I would not be at all surprised if kids this age do much better at this game than I, as is the case in many speed-based games that I come across.”

Read more about Sticker Factory on GiggleApps.

$2.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-07-05 :: Category: Games

Finally, make sure you stop by and peruse our ever-changing map of apps on our 148Apps Lists page. Whether you’re interested in finding out the latest releases, or just keeping your finger on the most-popular charts, it’s all accessible through one handy page.

That’s it for this week! Until next time, make sure you check in with us on Facebook or via Twitter. There are always giveaways galore going out on both sites.

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148Apps - iPhone app reviews and news. The best gosh darn iPhone app site this side of Mars.
http://148apps.com :: @148Apps

Android Rundown - Android news and reviews. Where you get the rundown on Android apps and hardware.
http://AndroidRundown.com :: @AndroidRundown

Best App Ever - Yearly Mobile App Achievement Awards.
http://bestappever.com :: @BestAppEver

Pocket Gamer - Mobile game reviews, news, and features.
http://PocketGamer.co.uk :: @PocketGamer

Pocket Gamer.biz - Mobile games industry news, opinion, and analysis.
http://PocketGamer.biz :: @pgbiz

AppSpy - iOS game news and video reviews.
http://appspy.com :: @appspy