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This Week At 148Apps: February 11 - 15, 2013

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on February 17th, 2013


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

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

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

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

...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

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

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

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

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

Android Rundown

[img id="140x140xTransformers-Memory-Game-3-banner-140x140.jpg.pagespeed.ic.8Kb0yJHfs1.jpg"]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

[img id="140x140xPokemonTV-140x140.png.pagespeed.ic.WL20b7A_oB.png"]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

[img id="300x168xirt1-300x168.jpg.pagespeed.ic.TSeTZArS4V.jpg"]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

[img id="300x187xstop1-300x187.jpg.pagespeed.ic.dz_GI7Q5VM.jpg"]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

[img id="ant-raid-5-300x187.png"]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

Versu Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad only
By Blake Grundman on February 14th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: LITERARY LIBERATION
It is about time someone brought the interactive novel back to life. Linden Lab may have something special on their hands.
Read The Full Review »

Versu Hopes to Redefine Interactive Storytelling

Posted by Blake Grundman on February 12th, 2013
iPad App - Designed for iPad only
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: LITERARY LIBERATION :: Read Review »

Remember grade school recess, trolling the library, looking for interesting new books to read? Who needed all of that pesky social interaction when literature was the only friend that a kid could ever want? A bastion of that glorious reading joy was the widely consumed Choose Your Own Adventure series. Nothing could better engage the creativity of a youth’s inquisitive mind while simultaneously boosting their reading comprehension and decision-making skills. All these years later, Linden Lab is attempting to put an interactive spin on the genre with the introduction of their upcoming digital fiction platform, Versu.

Despite drawing a heavy influence from the popular book series, Versu prides itself on being far from a standard, “Choose Your Own Adventure,” experience. While there are plenty of similarities between the two forms of media, the interactive nature of Versu renders it a far more flexible storytelling medium than its print-shackled counterpart. The scripted interactions available in the narrative change every single playthrough, thanks to an AI system that reacts to the player/reader’s decisions in real-time. Additionally, if there are multiple non-playable characters in a given scene, their dialog options and reactions will also play off of each other, creating a far more realistic group dynamic.

Overall, the storytelling mechanics of the application are fairly straightforward. There are a series of actions that can be pursued at any given point, which will in turn effect how other characters feel about the player controlled avatar. Both dialog options and other physical actions are then triggered as a result of each decision. It is amazing to see how differently stories can play out, especially when replayed while controlling a completely different character in the scene. In another interesting touch, there are certain narratives where a diverse variety of characters are available to use as both NPCs and the reader controlled avatar. The selection of a separate cast can even influence how a given plot will play out.

As was previously alluded to, this is not just a collection of three interactive stories, but rather an entirely new literature platform. Versu has a store available at launch with an additional story that can be purchased, as well as the promise of many more to come. Even more exciting is Linden Lab’s announcement that they will eventually release authoring tools to the general public. It is going to be fascinating to see how other authors can put Versu’s unique toolset to work for their storytelling purposes. Be sure to keep an eye out for its launch, later this week.

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