ActiveReplay is trying to provide "action sports" enthusiasts with the kind of data collection most runners and bikers have been making use of for years already. Their answer to the problem? A (almost fully-funded) Kickstarter campaign for Trace.
Think of Trace as a kind of advanced pedometer. It's packed with all kinds of sensors that allow it to track complex movements such as a snowboarder catching air off a jump or surfer taking sharp turns in the water. The tiny device simply snaps on to a mount that can be installed on a skateboard, surfboard, snowboard, or skis. Then you just go out and do your thing while it collects all the data. Once you're finished, just open up one of the three free apps for Skate, Surf, or Snow and all the information from your session will be displayed automatically. It even shares that info online so you can compare your own speed, height, and so on with other users from around the world.
As of now, Trace is well over two-thirds of the way to reaching its $150,000 goal with 9 days remaining. If you're into any (or all) of these action sports, or if you know someone who is, it might not be a bad idea to stop by ActiveReplay's Kickstarter page and contribute.
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 2.0 inches diameter, 0.86 inches tall
- 7 hour rechargeable battery
- Mounts to any hard surface
- Durable, Shockproof, Waterproof
- Ridiculously adhesive
- Exports GPX data
Developer: Vivid Games Price: FREE
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating: Gameplay Rating: Playtime Rating: Replay Value Rating:
Everyone has probably been fascinated by neon at some point in his or her life. There’s just something about the seemingly impossibly vibrant colors twisting and turning through a series of tubes to form all manner of images that’s quite pleasing to the eye. While I imagine creating real neon signage isn’t all that glamorous, creating fake neon signage in a virtual environment through Neon Blitz is quite glamorous indeed.
Neon Blitz is fundamentally a line-tracing game. Each component of a given neon puzzle has a distinct beginning, indicated by a star. It’s up to the player to drag that star across its assigned track and complete a specific piece of neon, then do the same to the others as quickly and accurately as possible. Consecutive successes without any screw-ups build combos and make the neon glow brighter, while dragging too far off track or failing to complete a given piece restarts the combo counter. I’d say it’s best to take it slow and steady but each puzzle jumps right into the next as soon as it’s finished, and there’s a session timer that’s always counting down to Game Over. Temporary boosts can be activated before starting a game using stars earned through play, but they’re no substitute for actual skill.
While Neon Blitz is obviously a fairly straightforward and simple game, that simplicity is what makes it hard to put down. Each session is randomized so it’s rare to encounter the same puzzle all that often, and there’s always the allure of trying to best the previous run. And of course it all looks wonderful in a Technicolor Dream sort of way. Especially when a big combo is in progress.
The only real downside to all the glamour of Neon Blitz is that it never really leads anywhere. All the daily challenges and special bonus game rules are great and everything, but completing them merely earns more stars that are simply used to purchase temporary power-ups. Nothing is really unlocked and there’s no real progression aside from high scores, and a multitude of unlockables is something many iOS gamers have started to grow accustomed to.
It’s a great simple game to kill time, but it’s not the kind of thing I could picture most iOS users draining their batteries over. Although it is fun, and sometimes people just want to have fun without a bunch of thinking or rules to hinder their enjoyment. In which case they should look to Neon Blitz.
[caption id="attachment_15283" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Minigore = Mini content"]
[/caption]Minigore, a dual-stick survival shooter, has finally been released onto the App Store after weeks of intense hype and anticipation. So what was all the hype about? Honestly, I don't know. Compared with its survival shooter kin, iDracula (App Info), Minigore is as shallow as a puddle. It has one map, two weapons, four enemy types, and two health points. It definitely has a unique art style going for it, but beyond that, not too much. There seems to be some sort of story, and while it is never even touched on, there will apparently be Pocket God-style episodic updates. I'm sorry, but I don't like this approach unless it's done with a complete game. Minigore is clearly not a complete game, and I'm tired of getting incomplete games with promises of updates that aren't always fulfilled. There seems to be a bit of a logjam cycle going on with apps nowadays - developers won't add to their apps unless they do well in the App Store, but consumers don't want to pay for an incomplete app. But hey, it worked for Pocket God (App Info); it went from being a boring, mindless, stupid time waster to a... boring, mindless, stupid time waster. But seriously, Minigore is not a bad game, just an average one that without a bevy of substantial updates is undeserving of the immense hype that preceding it.
Freeverse joins ngmoco's Plus+ network
As I touched on last week, there is an emerging social game network competition on the App Store. And, as I loosely predicted (thank you, thank you), ngmoco's Plus+ network has taken the lead. Freeverse, who may not be my favorite developer but is certainly among the most popular and has a large volume of games, has announced that they will be implementing the Plus+ network in their upcoming action space trader Warpgate, their incredibly popular Flick Fishing (App Info), and presumably more upcoming games. Having two of the premiere App Store developers certainly bolsters Plus+, and could induce a chain reaction of developers braking for Plus+. At this point, OpenFeint may be implemented in more games, but that catalog is very scattered, not all of those games are exactly quality controlled, and some apps were clearly not made for OpenFeint (have you ever tried to go into a Pocket God chat room?). I'm definitely putting my money on Plus+ for now.
From the developer of Trace - Gomi submitted
Bovine Dragon has finally submitted their new game, Gomi, to the App Store. Gomi appears to be a platforming game in which you, as a Gomi, replace the pollution in the world with trees and other natural things. The artwork is certainly unique, and the gameplay looks good, but perhaps the most impressive thing about Gomi is the staggering amount of content. Gomi will have over 140 stages, each lasting several minutes, spread across 8 worlds, with a boss battle for each world that unlocks a new ability. There are also 8 unique mini-games, hundreds of achievements, hundreds of playable Gomis, a complete soundtrack of 17 songs, and online scoreboards for everything. Wow, talk about a complete game! The developer estimates that playing through each stage once, without trying to unlock any achievements
or playing any mini-games, will take over 12 hours. The price for a game of this size? Reportedly just $1.99 upon release. This looks to be an incredible value and if the production values and unique gameplay of Trace (App Info) were any indication, Gomi should be an incredible game.
This week's sign of the apocalypse
[caption id="attachment_15285" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Locating sex offenders will be rendered pointless when the ENTIRE WORLD IS DESTROYED!"]
Offender Locator (App Info), an app that locates nearby sex offenders, is currently sitting at #4 overall in the App Store. First of all, are people really that paranoid? And second, if you do find an offender in your area, what are you going to do? Move away? Complain to your neighborhood police patrol? Set up barricades? No, you are just going to be more worried than you were before.
App of the week
So normally, I would list more than one app of the week, but this week, there is basically only one app deserving of the honor, only one game I have been playing all week:
[/caption]I have to admit, after seeing SIIG appear on the App Store, I was skeptical. After all, how fun can a remake of Space Invaders be? It might be fun, but for $4.99? I figured they just slapped some neon backgrounds on the old tried and true gameplay. Well, after reading the 148apps review, I decided to buy the game, and, happily, I was utterly, completely, and unequivocally wrong. TAITO brings a shining example of how to remake retro games for the App Store. The graphics are fantastic, the action is frantic and heart-pounding, the music is techno bliss, and the controls are perfect. The evolution concept and implementation is fantastic, with unlockables aplenty. And on top of all of this, there is the ridiculously awesome ability to generate completely original levels based on your iPod music. I really need some good songs for this mode, so if anyone has any suggestions, post away! This isn't just a great App Store shooter, this is a great shooter period. Probably in my top three iPhone games ever, and at $4.99, if you've ever enjoyed a shooter, you owe it to yourself to buy this game.
Wow, they actually let me write a second Monday Morning App HQ. Hopefully everyone is enjoying the column, and feel free to post feedback.