Here we are, on the cusp of iOS 7’s official release. No, the early beta doesn’t count. Now that Apple’s latest mobile OS is almost upon us, the senior staff at 148Apps decided it was a good time to discuss what we’ve been looking forward to the most. With a little speculative wishful-thinking thrown in for good measure, of course.
Jen Allen is most interested in the new Multitasking feature. The ease with which we’ll all be able to close out apps is certainly welcome, but it’s the intelligent tracking that she’s really excited about. “[the fact that] it knows when I use apps most frequently will be great,” she says, “as I’m a creature of habit.”
For the unfamiliar, that means iOS 7 will anticipate when you prefer to use your apps and can update them before you even open them. Like to check Twitter every evening at around the same time? Load it up and your feed will already be up-to-date.
It’s the Control Center that’s been on Carter Dotson’s mind the most. “I love the quick settings panel. It’s long overdue!” he says, “Especially since turning Bluetooth off and on is such a hassle on iOS.”
Imagine being able to access all the simple but incredibly useful features you usually have to dig through menus to find. Well, that’s what the new Control Center in iOS 7 does. By swiping up from any screen – Any screen. Even the lock screen – users can turn Airplane mode on or off, fiddle with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, lock the screen’s orientation, access the flashlight, camera, and more. They totally had me at Airplane mode.
My own (Rob Rich) interests are fairly in-line with Jen’s and Carter’s. I’m super-excited about Control Center, and while I’m not quite as psyched for Multitasking I can certainly imagine how useful it will be. I’m also really looking forward to the Safari update, which will hide most of the extraneous interface elements until they’re needed. I’m also looking forward to the swipe navigation and the smoother Reading List browsing. Heck, even the consolidated tab view has me excited (I’m a tab browser by nature). I only hope they finally increase the tab limit for the iPhone.
Pretty much all of us are looking forward to the improvements to Find My Phone as well. And hoping we never have to use them! Still, giving users the ability to create a custom message that will display on the lock screen, even after a remote erase, brings some peace of mind. As does being able to reactivate the phone so easily (input your Apple ID and password and you’re done) if it’s returned or found. Generally being unable to do *anything* to the phone without the use of your Apple ID and password is nice, really.
I also very much like the idea behind AirDrop. We snap a lot of cat photos at home and being able to share them so easily will be a major boon. Now nothing will stop me from bombarding my wife with adorable kitties while she’s at work! Now I just need Maps to be relevant again and I’ll be all set.
We’ve saved the best for last, though. And because this list is alphabetical by last name. So, what is Jeff Scott’s most anticipated iOS 7 feature? “iOS 8.”
Nah, just kidding. He’s looking forward to the Control Center as much as the rest of us. Also “some parts of the refreshed design, game controllers, and increased security through the iCloud required login when wiping a device.”
And what is he hoping against hope for? Lots of stuff. “I want the AMOLED screen that only lights up needed pixels,” he says, “I want the 44MP camera on the Nokia 1040, multi-user stuff, greater customization options, and widgets. I want developers to be able to trick out a few, simple things, like notifications. I want iCloud to be the end-all cloud service for all of my digital needs, and the iCloud price needs to drop through the floor. But we already know none of that is coming.”
So tell us, what are you all most looking forward to? Is there anything you aren’t sure of that you’d like to see make it into iOS 7? Anything you’d prefer to see left out? Chime in below and tell us your thoughts!
Posted by Rob Rich on August 6th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Get ready, Springfield: Krusty the Clown is back, and he’s reopening his theme park.
The new Krustyland update for The Simpsons: Tapped Out adds even more content for players to unlock and tasks for them to complete. The park is theirs to rebuild as they see fit, so long as they’re okay with not getting paid (because Krusty is cheap). They can attract new customers by raising the new Krust-O-Meter, hire mascots like Itchy & Scratchy to entertain them all, build more than 40 different amusement park rides like the Tooth Chipper, and take on a whole host of new quests.
The Simpsons: Tapped Out Krustyland update is live and awaiting your remodeling skills right now.
Posted by Rob Rich on August 5th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Oh my Glob! It’s finally happened: Legends of Ooo – Adventure Time (no longer “Big Hollow Princess”) has received a new episode titled “The Library of Doom.” Lumpy Space Princess’ secrets have been stolen, and it’s up to Finn and Jake to recover them in an all new adventure featuring new original voicework for BMO, Finn, Jake, Flame Princess, and LSP. This is exciting news, especially since the only real problem people had with the original release was its length.
It’s made all the more exciting when you consider that “The Library of Doom” is currently free for a limited time. That’s right, if you already own Legends of Ooo and have beaten it to the Nightosphere and back, you can get your hands on the latest installment for free. If you don’t already own it, it’s $0.99. Stop stalling.
Posted by Rob Rich on August 2nd, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
One of Playdek’s most popular iOS card games, Summoner Wars, is going through a few changes this Monday (8/5).
The most immediately noticeable difference will be the price; or rather the inclusion of one. Playdek is removing the freemium model and making the base game $0.99, with online play available right out of the box, so to speak. A “Lore” menu is also being added so that players can look up background and strategy information, and a new AI opponent is being included for those more interested in solo play.
The expansion will be available through an in-app purchase of $2.99 and includes two new armies: the Benders (pyromancers) and the Mountain Vargath (goatmen). The former focuses on controlling the actions of their rivals, while the latter is all about brute strength.
Both factions and new base game features will be available on Monday.
Posted by Rob Rich on August 2nd, 2013 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
The sea devils are running amok in Kingdom Rush Frontiers‘ latest (and free) update, titled Rising Tides. Players can look forward to dominating three new maps, fending off six new enemy types, and calling upon two new heroes: Karkinos the Crab Man general and Kutsao the monk.
Ironhide Game Studios’ latest batch of content is available right now, ye land-lubber!
Posted by Rob Rich on August 2nd, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
2K Games just released an update to XCOM: Enemy Unknown that addresses a few issues and adds even more replayability to the already very replayable campaign. In addition to the expected minor bug fixes, improved touch controls, and better use of system memor, they’ve also included a new option called Second Wave that allows players to adjust the following:
Damage Roulette: Weapons have a wider range of damage. New Economy: Randomized council member funding. Not Created Equally: Rookies will have random starting stats. Hidden Potential: As a soldier is promoted, stats increase randomly. Red Fog: Combat wounds will degrade the soldier’s mission stats. Absolutely Critical: A flanking shot guarantees a critical hit. The Greater Good: Psionics can only be learned from interrogating a psionic alien. Marathon: The game takes considerably longer to complete. Results Driven: A country offers less funding as its panic level increases. High Stakes: Random rewards for stopping alien abductions. Diminishing Returns: Increased cost of satellite construction. More Than Human: The psionic gift is extremely rare.
Posted by Rob LeFebvre on November 27th, 2012 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Rdio, one of my favorite streaming music services, has just updated its iOS app with a new interface, the ability to sync music across devices and apps, and–excitingly–a second screen feature that lets you control other Rdio apps (like the one on your computer, for example) from your iOS device. So cool!
Discover your next favorite song with Rdio, a service for streaming unlimited music—on-demand and ad-free—on your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. With over 18 million songs available and more added every week, you can immediately listen to popular hits, new releases and old favorites. When you’re in the mood to hear something new, follow friends, artists and tastemakers and let their favorites find their way to your ears. Build a playlist—solo or in collaboration with friends—then sync everything to your device for offline listening.
It’s Halloween Night tomorrow, and of course it’s time for the little ones to head outside and trick or treat, as well as time for the rest of us to celebrate some scary fun of our own. What better way to gear up for an evening full of apple bobbing, costume wearing, or several other activities of horror-themed debauchery than to grab a few Halloween-flavored games?
To help, we’ve pulled together a list, with the help of the kind folks over at Touch Arcade and Pocket Gamer, of spooky sales, awfully-free apps, and spooktacularly updated apps and games for your viewing and downloading pleasure. Don’t blame us, though, if you binge on too many apps and end up feeling nauseous. Consider yourself warned.
Last week, Apple announced the iPhone 5, much to the surprise of everyone I’m sure (that’s sarcasm). The new phone has some pretty nifty features, but not everyone will be waiting in line for days in order to get their hands on one. Those of us who don’t want to trade-up just yet still have a way to scratch that “new Apple gadget” itch, however: iOS 6. This new iOS will be compatible with most older devices, including the iPhone 3GS (Yay!) and above, the fourth generation iPod Touch and up, and the iPad 2 and later. So while I might not be able to get my hands on a 5 just yet, I can still feel special when my phone starts to do new and exciting things!
iOS 6 – Plenty of changes to some old favorites
Before we get in to all the major changes and new features I want to take a moment to go over some of the smaller tweaks to the apps many iOS users can’t live without. The camera has gotten a bit more attention this time around. Users can take panoramic photos now with their iPhone 4S/5 and iPod Touch 4th/5th generation, up to 240 degrees both horizontally and vertically. They have simply to sweep the camera along using a predefined motion and the device and software takes care of the rest. Then, said photos and everything else on the camera roll can be shown off to friends quickly and easily with the Photo app. Video chatting with friends and family via FaceTime has also gotten much simpler now that the app can work over a cellular network and Wi-Fi is no longer required–provided the carrier allows for that sort of thing, naturally.
Even the Notification Center has been revamped with Twitter or Facebook posting allowed directly from the notifications window and the option to quiet those irritating 3am notices, thanks to the new Do Not Disturb feature (more on that later). Last, but certainly not least to the accident prone, Find My Phone has been updated to include a Lost Mode which allows users to remotely lock their misplaced phone with a 4-digit code and display contact information for honest folks to use in order to return the lost device. This goes hand-in-hand with Find My Friends, an app that uses GPS to keep track of friends and family, even going so far as to issue alerts when certain individuals have left or reached specific destinations. It sounds weird, but think of it in terms of the kids leaving school and getting home. Pretty nifty, I know, but this is just the beginning.
iTunes, App Store, iBookstore – Refurbishing the storefronts
iTunes, the App Store, and the iBookstore are also getting adjustments by way of some slightly revamped storefronts, Facebook integration (“like” items in the store or view items that friends like), and a new preview feature that automatically keeps track of any apps/music/books that you browse through. You can view this list from within any of the three stores–and across any of their iOS devices thanks to iCloud–and make purchases from it directly.
Remember how ChAIR promised continuous and free updates to Infinity Blade II? Well that’s still very much a thing. The gorgeous App Store juggernaut has just received yet another significant content update and includes all of the requisite stuff we’ve come to expect (i.e. more of practically everything), as well as a couple of surprises.
The Skycages update is adding 30+ new items to the game. This includes weapons, armor, rings, and so on. New achievements, enemies, and some special new Clashmob content is also available. However, there are two major aspects that really make the “+1” version number enticing: it adds even more story elements that finally bring this particular chapter of the saga to a close, and – perhaps even more exciting – there’s a new weapon type to learn and master. No, not a new sword, a new type of weapon. The “Solar Transport Energy Blades” is a class of weapon entirely separate from the sword/shield, dual blades, or two-handed weapon and allows players to “harness the power of the sun.”
As though all of this weren’t enough, seeing as I’ve barely scratched the surface of the first update, Infinity Blade II is also getting a celebratory price cut. So the six people who haven’t gotten their hands on it yet can do so now for a paltry $2.99. Then maybe we can figure out just what the heck Skycages are together.
Marco Arment, the developer of Instapaper, noticed a curious thing last night – Instapaper was crashing on launch after an update from the App Store.
“Last night, within minutes of Apple approving the Instapaper 4.2.3 update,” he said on his blog, “I was deluged by support email and Twitter messages from customers saying that it crashed immediately on launch, even with a clean install.”
Even though Apple had reviewed the update, and it must have worked for them, every clean installed copy Arment downloaded and installed exhibited this behavior. Instapaper wasn’t the only app, either.
Here’s what he says is typical of such behavior:
Characterizations of this issue:
The app crashes immediately on launch, every time, even after a delete and reinstall as long as the corrupt file is being served by the App Store.
It doesn’t even show the Default.png before crashing. Just a split-second of a partial fade to black, then back to Springboard.
It may only affect customers in some regions.
If updating from iTunes, some customers might get a dialog citing error 8324 or 8326.
Mac apps might show this dialog:
“[App] is damaged and can’t be opened. Delete [App] and download it again from the App Store.”
The console might show: AppleFairplayTextCrypterSession::fairplayOpen() failed, error -42110
Obviously, this is a fairly serious issue, and – according to Arment – has already been fixed by Apple. If you have similar issues with some updated apps today, Ament says, “The only fix for people with bad copies, once good copies are being served again by the App Store, is to delete and reinstall the app.”
In addition, he warns app developers against releasing non-critical app updated for the next couple of days to be sure the issue is resolved.
Bejewled Blitz, PopCap’s incredibly popular timed variant of the classic match-three game Bejewled made its way from Facebook into the App Store late last year. The game broke iOS ground, being the first universal iteration of the archetypal puzzle and is integrated into the new Bejewled and Bejewled HD, which are similar to the PC/Mac game Bejewled 3. Now PopCap has given the iOS version a Facebook-style makeover that allows gamers to play without Facebook friends or linking their accounts.
This new “universal” mode in version 1.2 now has Game Center integration with worldwide leader boards. More importantly to fans, the iOS version now also has all the Facebook special perks like daily spins, rare gems, the ability to get multiple bonuses, and stats for as long as you keep playing. There will even be weekly tournaments against PopCap’s iconic characters as well as lots of in-app purchases in place of Facebook credits.
The Bejewled franchise has sold more than 50 million units so far, and this iOS fermium version should only help with what must already be an impressive bottom line.
Lots of people have grown up on Worms, and plenty have come to love the little invertebrates thanks to their multiple re-releases on virtually every existing platform, but something’s been missing from Worms 2: Armageddon this whole time. It’s meant to be a multiplayer game through and through, but while the wealth of options has been nice (Bluetooth, Local Hotseat, WiFi) there was still one element needed to make it perfect for mobile – iOS or otherwise – gaming. Good thing Team17 is awesome.
Worms 2: Armageddon now features asynchronous multiplayer. Allow me to reiterate: Worms 2: Armageddon now features asynchronous multiplayer. This means that anyone anywhere can start, continue, or finish a game whenever they have a spare moment. No need to sit around waiting for the other person to make their move. No more forfeiting a game because someone has to walk the dog. Players can simply take their turn, then move on to something else. Perhaps another game of Worms.
The update is live now, so anyone who already owns it can jump on the App Store and start the download. Then enjoy up to 16 simultaneous games to be played at their leisure. Everyone else can download it for $0.99 and start priming those Holy Hand Grenades.
As E3 gets underway, expect lots of new games and major updates to existing ones. One of the first in the latter category is to the hugely popular create-any-object puzzle and sandbox game Scribblenauts Remix.
Earlier today, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment launched version 2.0 which comse with what they describe as a “free playable “God” Avatar”. There is now also a World Pass extension pack which hosts worlds six, seven and eight, making up a total of 30 new puzzles. The extension pack is available as an in-app purchase for $.99, but if you already bought the furst extension pack these new worlds are included as a free upgrade.
Another new IAP, “Mystical Creatures” gives players nine unique avatars to choose from including Baba Yaga, Kappa and Doppelgänger. You can take on these mysterious identities instead of always playing as Maxwell. You can now also gift the app directly from inside the game, instead of going through the App Store.
I’m unclear on what, exactly, the new avatars do, besides add a cosmetic change, but the World Pass will add a lot of replay value. If you’ve updated and upgraded already, let us know what you think of the new features in the comments.
Spotify, one of the most popular on-demand social music services, updated their iOS app last week. There were a lot of fixes and a few tweaks, but the biggest news is that the app now uses push notifications.
Spotify is a great way to listen to almost any artist, song, or album you can think of, but one of the primary functions of the main desktop app is the social connectivity. You can follow friends from Facebook, subscribe to their playlists, and even send them music. Now the app is focusing its attention on this aspect by notifying users when a new friend joins, when a playlist you subscribe to has been altered or when someone signs up to listen to your mix.
Also added, a new user guide helps newcomers explore some of Spotify’s features as they translate to iOS, Retina display interface and album art, and better offline synching,
All these changes are welcome, but what’s still missing is Spotify’s genre and user-created radio stations, and their integrated third-party music discovery apps, things we hope to see in future updates.
The End of Days draws nearer. But rather than dwell on the inevitable destruction of the world, the Pygmies have been given a bit of a reprieve. Bolt Creative’s newest update to their sandbox of death involves a Pygmies-only dance club. Being Pocket God it should come as no surprise that the club comes with its own set of unique perils. It’s not called Dance Dance Execution for nothing.
Players can pull a balloon down from the ceiling and give it to a pygmy who will promptly suck out the helium and start to ramble a-la David After Dentist. Silly as that might be, the real fun can be found on the dance floor. Dragging a pygmy onto it will begin a Dance Dance Revolution-style mini-game in which the proper arrows must be matched or a massive disco ball will drop down and crush the little semi-naked rug cutter.
An all-new Dance Pack (available for $0.99) rounds out the new stuff, and includes more dance moves for the pygmies. Dropping one of them into the hanging go-go cage will get them boogying to a number of tunes, including the Pocket God theme. Pocket God Episode 45: Dance Dance Execution is live and available to download right now. So Macarena on over to the App Store and get to it.
Fans of Disney Mobile’s hit game Where’s My Water – both the free and paid version – have a lot to be happy about. Disney just added iCloud support for cross-device game synching, and lots of new levels.
In the paid version of the game, 20 Lost Levels – free version classics – have been added to their own chapter, and Disney announced its intention of updating these regularly. And, if fans have purchased Cranky’s Story, a distinct game mode available throughin-app purchase only, the story wraps up in this update than with an additional 20 levels, making a total of 80 for the extra $1.99.
Players who have the free version of the game haven’t been left out either. A new chapter entitled “Days of Summer” is out with 12 new levels that aren’t in the paid version. These introduce a new gameplay element where players control the water levels on the beach where they meet Swampy tanning. And, as an added bonus, if one gets three ducks on all 12, five Swampy’s Pick levels from the paid version unlock.
Disney is being very clever here, giving players a reason to get both the free and paid versions, and adding quality content to exiting IAPs. Let us know what you think of both updated versions in the comments.
Taptu, the self-proclaimed DJ of news aggregators, offers a blend of RSS feeds and social network feeds into what they call a social news stream. The already a popular iPhone and iPad app just had a major overhaul with the release of version 2.1.
The biggest change is to the interface; the app now displays articles as stacks of cards arranged by category. The introduction of search streams that allow users to turn any keyword into its own news feed is also very cool.
In addition, users no longer need a Taptu account to have cross-device account syncing. Logging in with Google, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn will do the trick instead. There is now support for Spanish, French and German and Readability integration – a particularly nice touch.
The only trouble seems to be with the apparent Retina display support for the 3rd generation iPad. While Taptu claims it’s fully upgraded, users report it’s anything but. Everything looks fine on 4th generation iPhones and the iPad 2, but on the newest Apple tablets the text is apparently blurry and hard to read. The developers seem dedicated to the long-term success of the cross-platform service, however, so we hope and expect this will be remedied in an update soon.
It was a banner week for hit game updates last week and EA and Firemint were in the thick of it with version 1.1.0 of their cat and mouse puzzler SPY Mouse and SPY Mouse HD.
Intrepid Agent Squeak has uncovered a new volcano world. And this new world isn’t just more of the same with a new background. Along with 11 new levels and three new goals come new evil Jungle Cats who throw poison darts. There are also new obstacles like lava pits and fireballs and new power-ups to help complete the challenges.
Also look for Digger the Dog’s new shop where players can load up on power ups, and while Origins, Electronic Arts cross-platform gaming network is still prominent, there is more Game Center integration as well, with achievements now where most iOS gamers tend to look.
This path tracing brainteaser continues to shine as one of the best on iOS so if one already owns it, be sure to update and if not, now’s the time to pick SPY Mouse up.
One of three non-Apple apps, and the only game, showcased at the unveiling of the 3rd generation iPad, NAMCO BANDAI’s Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy impresses hard-core and more casual gamers with incredible console-quality graphics and intense aerial action. Last week the first update was rolled out, packed with goodies for fans and reasons to entice new players to pick up this sleek air combat title.
We raved about the multiplayer options when we first reviewedAir Supremacy and now it’s been expanded to 10 online players up from eight. There are also three new playable planes and 17 new achievements. There are head-to-head matches against friends via Game Center and a rematch option for online multiplayer games. If one owns an earlier title in the franchise, Sky Gamblers: Rise of Glory, one new aircraft is unlocked with this update, along with some minor enhancements and bug fixes.
The game has been wowing users and critics alike, not only with console-like visuals but with amazing gameplay and lots of small touches that make this one of the most immersive experiences on iPhone or iPad. If one’s looking to the future of iOS gaming it’s definitely the time to take Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy for a test flight.
SPECIAL GIVEAWAY: Want your own copy of MotionX Sleep? The developers have given us a link that will send you a unique code to redeem for a FREE copy of the app. Simply click right here to enter. Offer available to US iTunes account holders only.
When I first took a look at MotionX Sleep, I was fairly impressed with all the sleep-monitoring app’s handy functionality. However, that was then. Now MotionX has added a laundry list of new features and tweaks, making it even more formidable in the world of iOS lifestyle software.
Along with a bunch of minor optimizations, a number of features have been directly improved thanks to customer feedback. MotionX Sleep now offers an “audible placement test” to make finding the best spot for the special pillow alarm much easier. The alarm itself has also had an interface tweak, making it easier to set. Sleep history and other statistics can be viewed in one, seven, or thirty-day summaries to give users better detail on their sleep habits. This info can also be shared on Facebook and Twitter as an effective way of convincing our mothers that we are, indeed, getting enough rest.
The Smart Sleep Cycle Alarm has also been improved by way of allowing users to adjust their wake-up window, including new sounds, and adding an optional vibration. Finally, the interface has been adjusted to make certain features easier to customize. The 24/7 Daily Step Counter can be turned on or off from the main menu, and undesired sleep recordings can be deleted straight out of the sleep log.
It’s the little improvements like these that go a long way. While MotionX Sleep was a worthwhile investment for health-conscious iOS users before, it’s even more useful now.
It’s been a long time coming. At least, it probably seems like a long time to all those disgruntled iOS users. Anyway, at long last, Plants vs. Zombies has gotten a major update that includes a number of features that many have been missing (i.e. taking issue with their absence). Read on for the nitty-gritty.
More mini-games are being added to the already robust list, including the Zombiquarium, Portal Combat and Beghouled Twist. Anyone unfamiliar with these mini-titles should know that they’re all interesting and fun in their own ways. Especially Beghouled Twist, with its hybrid of classic zombie-on-plant carnage and match-three puzzles. Of course, Portal Combat is interesting, too. The addition of reality-bending gateways that let plants fire across multiple rows (careful that the zombies don’t use them to get closer!) make for some cool overkill moments.
A new puzzle game has also been included in addition to I, Zombie (which itself has received an Endless Mode). Vase Breaker is now a particular favorite of mine as it takes the random “card” distribution used in many other extra modes and hides it underneath a grid of unmarked vases. Some may contain plants, some may contain zombies. Players have to play conservatively and smart if they’re going to have any chance of making it to the end. And yes dear iPad users, at long last the Zen Garden has also been included. Raising oddball plants like our PC counterparts is finally, blessedly, an option.
It’s not all mini-games, however. Popcap has also included support for several languages (Spanish, French, etc), as well as some new items in Crazy Dave’s shop and the expected Game Center achievements. Take note: some of the extra stuff such as bonus I, Zombie levels and the like are gated behind purchases via in-game coins. These coins are earned fairly regularly through simply playing the various modes so it’s not a big problem, but players should know that they won’t be able to jump right in to all the new stuff immediately. Worst case scenario; they get to sample the first level of a given mode or game type, then spend a few rounds of doing whatever to earn enough cash to unlock more stages.
Once this update goes live tomorrow (4/19), the iOS version of Plants vs. Zombies will finally be comparable to its PC counterpart. Both for the iPhone and the iPad. Rejoice, fellow iOS users! Rejoice and stop all the bellyaching!
Bubbly, a popular micro-blogging service in Asia, is now a global service and was released in the U.S. App Store on April 11th. Unlike Twitter and its 140 character limit, Bubbly users have the option of posting audio or text updates. The service includes “like” and commenting features similar to Facebook.
Voice posts are the driving feature of Bubbly. Users are encouraged to use the audio option when posting to convey the emotion and feeling behind what they’d like to say. I’ve grown particularly accustomed to the fact that sarcasm and irony aren’t always apparent in a text-only platform. Something like Bubbly remedies that confusion.
The service has a strange in-app purchase option. To unlock access to celebrity Bubbly-ers (Bubblers?…Bubbly users), users must pay $2.99 as an in-app purchase. I’m not sure any other service has ever done something like this. I’m trying to imagine Twitter being free, but needing to pay for popular users.
Bubbly has reached 16 million users (1 million just in the last month). On average, users post three times per day and 75% of that content are audio posts. Bubbly is a free service (except for the in-app purchase for premium user access) and the app is available to download for free.
This week at 148Apps.com, we checked out stunning cool new multiplayer features in two fan-favorite games: Infinity Blade 2 and SpellTower. Carter Dotson had this to say about IB2’s new features: “Infinity Blade 2‘s first major content update has finally dropped on the App Store, bringing its new ClashMob feature to the game. The ClashMob challenges are asynchronous multiplayer events where everyone who participates contributes toward some collective goal.”
And Jennifer Allen writes that, “SpellTower has just got even better with a major new update coming to the app. The big update is the addition of Debate Mode, multiplayer support via bluetooth providing a Rush-style battle of word skills amongst players.”
Read more about Infinity Blade 2here and about SpellTowerhere.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-11-17 :: Category: Games
The fun continued at GiggleApps.com with Amy Solomon’s review of the odd Dynastid Beetle. She writes, “Dynastid Beetle is a fun and educational interactive app for children. To those living in the United States, an application dedicated to learning about a beetle may seem like an odd choice, so it is worth noting that dynastid Beetles are commonly kept as pets within Asian households. Versions of this app are available for both iPad as well as iPhone. This interactive app contains five sections – each dedicated to teaching a specific aspect about the lives of dynastic beetles.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-03-08 :: Category: Education
Finally, on AndroidRundown.com, Carter Dotson introduced MMO Dark Legends for Chrome and Android, and had this to say about the game for iOS: “The game is available now on Google Play for Android, and from the Chrome Web Store. The iOS version is expected to release after a two-week exclusivity period with Google, but player accounts will transfer between platforms by logging into the same account; it currently works between the Chrome and Android versions, just as it worked with Pocket Legends and Star Legends.”
2012 is still in full-swing and the Earth is still in one piece (more or less), so Bolt Creative is unleashing another catastrophe on an unsuspecting group of pygmies. Okay realistically they’re probably anything but “unsuspecting,” seeing as horrific tragedy is more common in their lives than breathing. Still, a new update has gone live and it involves nasty buzzing things. Those are always lovely.
Pocket God Episode 44: The Perfect Swarm unlocks a new door in the Apocalypse Island temple. An ominous door (okay, okay, they’re all ominous). A door leading to the lair of the Locust Queen. Inside, players can feed pygmies to the rather robust monarch or press out swarms of baby bugs to play with. Literally. This locust swarm can be directly controlled in order to smother, devour or even mutate the poor little fellas as much as anyone could want. But of course there’s more to it. As per usual there’s also a new skin pack, this time with an uber-nerd theme. I have to say, there.s something alluring about changing the moon into a twenty-sided die or switching the sand sculpture for an arcade cabinet. And even that’s not the end of it. In a similarly expectant fashion, Pocket God Comics is getting its fifteenth issue titled Gem Cell Research. Hilarity no doubt ensues.
These new updates are live now. Feel free to open up the App Store app and start downloading. Or stop resisting and buy them already. There’s also that.
Phosphor Games’ visually-stunning, Unreal Engine-powered game The Dark Meadow has gotten a new free-to-play version, Dark Meadow: The Pact. This is the same game as the full Dark Meadow released last October, but now designed to be free-to-play, with gold and Sun coins available for in-app purchase, that can be spent on equipment, health kits, and bombs. Originally, the full version of the game was going to just transition from its current $5.99 price to free-to-play, but there was user backlash to this move. However, the plan was apparently for those who had purchased the game to get the Premium pack of items, which disables ads, grants 5 health kits, 13 bombs, 15,000 gold, 150 Sun coins, and disables ads for free. Now, the two versions are split, with the Premium pack gifted to those who buy the $5.99 standalone version, though the free version also offers this pack as a $5.99 in-app purchase.
However, a new business model is not all that comes with the game. There are new levels and a new boss to fight, new weapons to use, a map to help explore the world, and new “Fast Travel” warps so players don’t have to restart from the beginning of the game. Plus, it’s now compatible with the iPad Retina Display. The 1.1 update with these new features and The Pact version are both available now.
It may be a new year, but Chillingo isn’t forgetting about their previous releases, as they have announced an update for one of their games, and a new free version for another.
Parking Mania now has free versions for iPhone/iPod touch and iPad. These are full versions of Parking Mania, where the goal is to park cars in tricky and tight spaces. Parking Mania Free features ads that can be removed, purchasable level packs, and a golden car that will allow players to not fail when they reach their last life. However, even with all these purchasable items, the game still comes with 60 levels of intense parking action! It’s more fun than actual parking is.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-01-09 :: Category: Games
The world’s favorite game involving tossing ninjas throwing shurikens at targets, Ninja Throw, has been updated with a new level pack, Master of the Dojo, containing 15 new levels. The game is also on sale for $0.99 for both the iPhone/iPod touch version, and universal iPad version. I’m no genius, but the latter sounds like the smart money option.
Capcom confirms today that a new update for Street Fighter IV: Volt is available now on the App Store. In this new update, they’ve added Tournament Mode. As the name so cleverly implies, Tournament mode allows players to rank up alone or with friends via repeated wins in match play over WiFi. There is also an online community connected in the game, with leaderboards, tournament events, individual and team rankings and pages, as well as post-match analyses, allowing players to share recorded matches.
Volt is the same core game as the previous Street Fighter IV, with the addition of a multiplayer. Players fight on a 2D plane with some extra 3D camera work, working their way up to harder and harder opponents as they win more and more matches. The update addresses our original concern about pushing out “new” games instead of updating them. Looks like someone at Capcom is listening, yeah?
Ash was one of the first RPGs I downloaded when I was a new initiate to the wonders of iOS gaming. I recall being thoroughly impressed by the quality. Well, that quality just got a boost. The original game was released with graphics licensed from RPG Maker, but SRRN Games has replaced all of it with totally original artwork. The new style shares a few basic similarities with the older one, but overall it’s a huge visual change. Especially the character portraits.
Another less obvious but still notable change has to do with the random encounters. One of the game’s initial shortcomings was that there were just so freaking many of them it kind of made getting from point A to point B a pain. This has been rebalanced, so now random encounters are a bit less frequent. They’ll still happen, and they’re still essential to not being caught in a boss battle with one’s pants down, but the decrease will go a long way to making the game more accessible and overall more fun.
Last and most important, Ash is getting an 80% prince drop for the holidays. What was once a great RPG that could be had for $4.99 is now a great RPG made slightly greater and available for a buck. One dollar. $0.99. I’d gladly recommend this game to any RPG fans at $5, but $1? That’s, like, “don’t even think about it just buy it” pricing. So yeah; don’t even think about it, just buy it.
When Whale Trail was released last month, ustwo’s mills made a big point about how the game needed to sell about 300,000 copies in order to be a financial success. The game has so far only sold 130,000 copies; a number that a lot of indie devs would kill for, but for the greater ambitions of ustwo, it clearly falls well short, given the game’s lengthy development time and high budget. The game reached the top 25 on the iPhone and the top 15 on the iPad while featured as the iPhone/iPod touch game of the week worldwide, but has been declining down the charts ever since. So, in an attempt to revitalize the game, ustwo are executing what they call a “PIVOT 180°™” to try and revitalize sales.
The new update to the game adds 32 new levels which transform the game from just an endless runner into one with level-based challenges as well. The new levels challenge players to try and navigate set levels, collecting blubbles along the way. Reaching certain point scores nets more stars (true false fact: it is now possible to earn more stars in iOS games than it there are stars in the universe), which helps unlock future levels. Those who are too lazy to perform well to unlock those levels, or who want to help mills and the rest of the folks at ustwo come closer to profitability, can pay $0.99 or local equivalent to unlock them all at once.
Of course, the same endless mode is still in there, so those who like their games to never end never have to. This release is obviously another risk taken toward profitability, but ustwo are hoping that between this PIVOT 180°™ and the in-development Android version, Willow the Whale can go from succailure to just plain success. The update is now available on the App Store.