Posts Tagged weekly rundown

Spring Into Our 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.

Unpossible

 
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Unpossible is another fantastic minimalist arcade survival game in the vein of Super Hexagon and Pivvot, this one adding in the wrinkle of being in first-person. Essentially, the game is the same as any other arcade survival game: don’t hit the obstacles. Simple as that. The obstacles and the way they’re laid out is anything but simple, though. There’s three difficulty modes: Simplicity, Futile, and Ultra. Simplicity starts out very easy, and it can be a bit disheartening at first for the player looking for a challenging experience because it’s fairly easy. However, things really jump up at Futile, where getting the requisite 60 seconds to unlock the next game mode is very difficult. And Ultra difficulty is, in fact, ultra-hard. –Carter Dotson

Hitman GO

 
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Hitman GO is one of the odder big-name games that I can remember in recent memory. It takes the core tenets of Hitman, and turns it into a strategic board game. It’s a unique choice with a unique presentation to match, and while it’s certainly odd at first, it comes together beautifully. This is an intelligently-designed, wonderful experience. This is a turn-based affair, where players control Agent 47 along circuit-like boards where he can move one node at a time. He must make it to the exit without being spotted by the enemies on the board, who all move after he does, so they have an advantage, though each enemy has predictable behaviors. Thus, it’s about using their patterns and the limited tools available, like noise makers and disguises, to avoid and even take out the various enemies. –Carter Dotson

Livescribe 3 Smartpen

 
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The Livescribe 3 is a Bluetooth enabled pen with a little infrared camera in the front that tracks what is written and stores that as a sort of digital ink. That ink can then be dictated to an iPad/iPhone with the free Livescribe+ app and a Bluetooth enabled iOS device. What results is nothing short of amazing. Once the writing/drawing/doodle/whatever that has been written on the special notebook and has been transferred to the iOS device, then the real magic starts. Whole pages or just sections can be emailed, transferred to Evernote, turned into calendar events or reminders, etc. And if the handwriting is legible (i.e. better then mine), any written words will also be converted to text for easy searching and emailing. –Jeff Scott

Trials Frontier

 
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At last, the Trials series hits mobile with Trials Frontier, now available worldwide after its Canadian soft launch! Unfortunately, it’s free-to-play. I don’t say this in the way that some people automatically despair about games going free-to-play. No, after playing Trials Frontier, I think the way that its business model affects the game diminishes what is otherwise a great experience at its core. Developed by RedLynx, creators of the Trials series and of the similar MotoHeroz, this is a level-based stunt biking game. Players ride their motorbike through a level, trying to avoid hazards and navigate the tricky terrain in order to make it to the end in one piece while performing flips along the way because they’re cool. It’s a game that requires patience, as many levels will require restarting from checkpoints (which are thankfully frequent) to make it through – but greater rewards come to those who complete levels faster and in fewer restarts. –Carter Dotson

Runtastic PRO

 
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It’s probably safe to say that Runtastic PRO is the Swiss Army Knife of running apps. It goes one better too, by being more than just for running – covering all manners of different movements from cycling to skiing. As a general one stop shop kind of app, Runtastic PRO has it covered. Runtastic PRO is immediately pretty quick to set up. A clearly laid out screen is there, ready for the beginning of a run or cycle. It’s easily adjusted too, with holding a finger to a number opening up a choice of values. Duration, pace, speed, distance, average pace and speed, as well as elevation and maximum speed can all be given focus here. Heart rate can also be tracked with the relevant equipment to hook up to the app. A map or music player can complete the selection. –Jennifer Allen

Dinosaur Train A to Z

 
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As parents of Dino-loving children know, there is a nice selection of books and apps that are dedicated to the combining of dinosaurs and the alphabet – typically including 26 dinosaurs and allowing one to correlate with each letter. Dinosaur Train A to Z is an app of this style, introducing children to many interesting facts about these prehistoric creatures. As the name may imply, this app is based on the hit PBS TV show, Dinosaur Train. Fans of the show will find the highlighted text and included narration familiar and inviting – something I appreciate as I honestly don’t enjoy trying to pronounce the long names that many dinosaurs possess. –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

Trial of Bones

 
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Man, skeletons are stupid. The undead kind, not the good kind that is just calmly resting inside of our bodies. I mean, animating a skeleton should be about the most difficult thing in magical world, because there’s absolutely no way they could move on their own – and yet, walking skeletons are the most basic enemy a hero can ever meet. Trial of Bones takes it to the next level by making skeletons the sole enemies. Sturdy and dangerous enemies, at that. I don’t want my life to be ended by a pile of calcium – give me real monsters! Bearing that in mind, Trial of Bones is actually quite good, although it severely lacks content. There’s a short prologue that I frankly can’t remember by now, but the problem at hand is that the main hero is trying to get through a dungeon that is filled with skeletons with the help of his awesome sword, as well as the objects he finds on the way. –Tony Kuzmin

Fly Catbug Fly!

 
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This is a game about a cat. Not just any cat – it’s a game about a flying insect cat that collects flying trash. Fly Catbug Fly is a bit close to Flappy Bird, but it’s closer to the old helicopter game that Flappy Bird was ripped off from. Catbug (of Bravest Warriors fame) flies through the never-ending corridor, bordered by solid matter on top and bottom, and has to evade it, as well as some small “islands” in the middle, while collecting trash. The trash consists of truly random items, ranging from old bottles to what to my twisted mind looked suspiciously like dirty toys, to leprechauns. There are portals scattered around the levels, which take the trash from Catbug, and give some cash in return. After picking enough trash, a hyper mode of sorts kicks in and you lose. At least that’s what happen to me all the time. –Tony Kuzmin

Sonic Racing Transformer

 
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When it comes to kart racing, Sonic is the man. And the hedgehog. Whatever… Sonic is the consummate console competitor, and he and his friends have done well on mobile devices too. Sonic Racing Transformed is yet another opportunity for us all to see how fast our blue bandit has come on Android OS. It is an intense game, and definitely not for the spec faint of heart. There are two modes off the bat, Single player and multi player, with the single optioning into the advertised new World Tour. There is also the Weekly Challenge, which allows players to compete for streaks and prizes. –Tre Lawrence

Expert App Reviewers

 

So little time and so very many apps. What’s a poor iOS devotee 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.

Power Grounds

 
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Power Grounds is probably best described as a minimalistic take on a Roguelike, to the point that it’s more like a puzzle game than anything else. I’d stick to calling it just a puzzle game, but alas, Power Grounds was borne out of something called the Seven Day Roguelike (7DRL) Challenge. The constraints on the creation of Power Grounds are very apparent (hence why I insist it’s more like a puzzle), but they result in a game that has such a laser-like focus on what it is supposed to be that it succeeds in being a very simple but very satisfying experience. Power Grounds takes some of the basic tenants of Roguelikes (randomization, permanent death, turn-based movement) and applies it onto a largely monochromatic grid. Players take control of a stick-wielding hero that is tasked with progressing through six rooms of enemies and obstacles – without dying – to beat the game. To do this successfully, players have to develop a strategy of movement as well as a strategy for unlocking the game’s power-ups. –Campbell Bird

Wind-Up Knight 2

 
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Wind-Up Knight 2, Robot Invader’s sequel to the game that put them on the map, is an auto-running platformer where players must jump, attack, roll, and use their shield to take out enemies and avoid hazards. This is not an endless runner, this is a platforming game where movement is automatic, and it’s freemium (with IAP to unlock the full game) versus an endless runner with consumable IAP so players should go in expecting something quite different from everything else that’s out there. The items that can be bought with the game’s coins (which can be bought with IAP as well) do provide help, but they’re not squarely necessary at all. –Carter Dotson

Breakfinity

 
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Offering that “just one more go” mentality, BREAKFINITY is a brick busting game in the vein of Arkanoid but with a difference. That difference being that it’s effectively endless. It’s a nice twist on the usual format. After all, how often does one ever complete an Arkanoid-style game, anyhow? Usually, it’s a classic example of enjoying the journey rather than seeking out the destination. Each level of BREAKFINITY is relatively quick to complete, mostly because the objective isn’t to clear all the bricks. Instead, it’s to create a gap and hit the top wall of the screen in order to progress to the next stage. Once that happens, the level changes around but the format stays the same. –Jennifer Allen

TapPainter

 
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Once upon a time, those who wanted to see whether a new color suited a particular room in the house were restricted to using paint samplers on their wall and being confined to having to redecorate at some point very soon to hide such things. That day has passed – kind of – with apps like TapPainter emerging to make the process much simpler. Admittedly, nothing is going to quite beat the tactile process of painting things on the actual wall, but TapPainter does a decent job of demonstrating what can be achieved. All the user needs to do is either import or take a photo directly of the room before getting to work. This is where, in the case of my rather lackluster iPad 2 camera, things get fuzzy. I found it a much smoother process to take a photo with my iPhone 5 before importing it that way, but mileage is going to vary here depending on what iPad users have. –Jennifer Allen

Space Pack from Mophie

 
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We’ve looked at other devices that allow for the expansion of available storage on iOS devices, but none have done so in such a elegant and portable way as the Mophie Space Pack. On the surface, the Space Pack looks like any other Mophie battery case. But on the inside are additional smarts and storage to keep up to 32GB of media. This is facilitated by a special app from Mophie called Space. –Jeff Scott

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

Golfy Bird

 
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Okay, I admit it. I really didn’t want to have a go at Golfy Bird. I mean, it is from Noodlecake, yes, which is almost always a positive. Still, it sounds suspiciously like The App That Was Pulled that we deign not mention by name. Frankly, the clones that popped up were somewhat depressing, and I even winced at real birds for a spell. I was wrong. Golfy Bird is its own person, and it’s somebody that might be very easy to like, and even fall in love with. –Tre Lawrence

Mikey Hooks

 
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Mark my words… There might be a zillion RPGs, and countless board games, and twice as many hidden objects games… no matter the time frame, or the medium of gaming, there will always be a place for arcade action gaming. Always. Mikey Hooks, which comes to us via platform heavyweight Noodlecake Studios and BeaverTap Games, is just one of those games, and I admit that I had pretty much decided to like it at first glance. –Tre Lawrence

SideSwype

 
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Nice to meet you, SideSwype. The playing area is a 5×5 grid, with space for 25 squares of different colors. if filled all the way. The sparse white background is a great counterpoint that highlights the coloring of the squares, and the smooth animations are just what we’d expect from a game that uses gestures as the main form of movement and problem-solving. –Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer cautiously checked out Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile, took a stab at a Clash of Clans clan war, spent some ker-azy money in Crazy Taxi: City Rush, put together an epic guide to FTL, and checked out some games at Birmingham-based expo, Rezzed. It’s all right here.

Your App Experts

 

Need to know the latest and greatest apps each and every week? Look no further than 148Apps. Our reviewers comb through the vast numbers of 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.

Solstice Arena

 
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League of Legends may not have invented the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) genre, but it certainly had a hand in popularizing it. It’s actually become so popular that there have been more than a few attempts at recreating such an experience on iOS. And I have to admit that while Solstice Arena has a few snags, it’s probably the best mobile iteration I’ve played yet. The basic gist of a MOBA is that two teams of players beef over turf until one has wiped out the others’ base. What makes things a little different than every other team-based multiplayer game out there is that the characters feel more like MMORPG classes than anything; each with specific skills that are meant to pair well with other characters’ and each with their own role to play. In Solstice Arena, players must take down the other team’s towers in order to weaken defenses, while simultaneously battling other player characters who are trying to do the same to them. There’s no major penalty for death except for waiting to respawn, although it’s a good opportunity to spend gold on better gear for the match. –Rob Rich

Avengers Alliance

 
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For several months now I’ve been seeing little Facebook updates about friends and their Avengers Alliance progress. I had about gotten to the point where I was going to see what all the fuss was about when I found out it was coming to iOS, so naturally I decided to check out the more portable version instead. The Earth is in danger (again) from some sort of enigmatic presence. Also super villains. As a new S.H.I.E.L.D. recruit, players must team up with a host of notable Marvel heroes as they try to thwart nefarious plots and figure out just what in the heck is going on. The majority of these missions involve turn-based battles with various baddies, but it’s also possible to send characters off on side missions (over a set period of real time, of course) for extra cash and experience. Players can also train their heroes when they’ve acquired enough experience in order to access new abilities that can make a huge difference in a fight. –Rob Rich

Rando

 
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“You have no friends.” This is a tagline for Rando, a photo-sharing app from ustwo. Initially the statement seems hostile, but it reveals the philosophy behind this app: it’s anti-social. It’s not about status or appearance, like Instagram, the service that this app stands in marked contrast to. It’s all about sharing photos to someone, or no one in particular. See, how Rando works is that it lets users take a circular photo, and then launch it into the universe. It’s saved to the camera roll, but there’s no way to share that photo to any social networks from within the app itself. Later on, a push notification may be received that will say that someone in a certain spot will have received one of the user’s Randos, but that’s it. This is about sharing to just one person. One random person out there in the universe. They might like the photo, they might not, the photographer won’t know at all. –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. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 

Helping Me and Dad, and Just Grandpa and Me

 
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Helping My Dad – Little Critter and Just Grandpa and Me – Little Critter are charming apps adapted from the storybooks of the same name, now developed by Oceanhouse Media – great choices for Father’s Day. In these tales, Little Critter tries hard to be helpful to his loved ones although he is unaware of the mess he makes in the wake of his helpfulness. In Helping My Dad, Little Critter tries his best to take care of his father, creating more work for him along the way as kids are known to do, such as waking him up early on dad’s day off or making breakfast, causing terrible disarray in the kitchen. –Amy Solomon

Sago Mini Forest Flyer

 
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Sago Mini Forest Flyer is a delightful, universal app from Sago Sago, a new developer to be aware of as it is a combination of talents from both Toca Boca as well as the creative minds who developed zinc Roe’s Tickle Tap Apps. As some readers may know, the Tickle Tap Apps are a series of apps that were my son’s first experience with applications, now having been re-developed into new apps. Sago Mini Forest Flyer is a new variation of the earlier app, Field Flyer. Sago Mini Forest Flyer maintains much of what we have enjoyed from Field Flyer as well as adding new elements to have fun with as well. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Block Story

 
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Block Story is a quest-based adventure in the same vein as Minecraft that puts an adjusted spin on survival style gaming. Gameplay starts straight away: a mini-tutorial greets you with basics of the action. Players learn movement, collection of items, hunting and the procurement of sustenance, and more. The options give a good idea of what to expect; players get to name a new “world” and “world seed” and select from three modes: Story, Creative and Hardcore. Then you can pick or create a character and push on. –Tre Lawrence

Uno & Friends

 
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UNO & Friends is a re-polished take on the classic shedding-type card game that tosses in some interesting new features and multiplayer functionality. The standard gameplay applies. Play commences against three other players, each player being dealt seven shuffled and random cards from a deck of four colors (yellow, green, blue and red). The rest of the cards, face down for surprise chance effect, make up the deck and the topmost deck card is turned over and becomes the starter card. The first player then places a card that matches the color or rank of the starter card; each succeeding player then takes a turn in clockwise fashion, also trying to play a card that matches the last card played. If a player does not have a card to play can take it from the bank; if it is playable, it has to be played immediately. The first player to play all his/her cards wins. –Tre Lawrence

Tilt Arena

 
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Tilt Arena is a classic type of game for a modern type of gamer. If the game brings back memories if the iconic arcade shooter Geometry Wars, don’t feel alarmed; that’s a good thing, and the developer isn’t ashamed of the potential mental connection. The gameplay is fairly simple; the goal is to stay alive. It’s set up in a rectangular grid, with the player in control of a white trapezoid spacecraft. Armed with perpetually shooting guns, I had to avoid the randomly appearing enemy spacecraft that were oh so eager to exhibit their contact-based lethality. Darting around and dodging them helped to a small degree, but directing the guns at them destroys them and earns valuable points. –Tre Lawrence

This Week at 148Apps, December 26-30

Happy New Year to all of our readers! We had a great end to 2011 across all of the 148Apps sites. At our flagship 148Apps.com site, writers Rob LeFebvre and Carter Dotson posted a series of articles counting down the “Favorite 50″ apps and games of 2011. The lists cover every genre and type imaginable, but if you want to cut to the quick, take a look at the top five apps or the top five games. Whether you agree or disagree with our decisions, we feel sure you’ll discover a few new apps along the way.

Over at GiggleApps, writer Amy Solomon continued her mission to review the best new apps for children by reviewing Kids Food Adventure. Solomon writes, “Kids Food Adventure is a very nice universal app that is geared towards encouraging children to try new foods.

The foods included in the application can be searched by season, as one can look at a calendar where each month of the year has seven foods that are in season, and I like how one can pre-select an area of the world – be it North America or Europe – to make the food selections offered, which are accurate in terms of seasonal availability.”

Read the full review on GiggleApps.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-09-22 :: Category: Education

Finally, on AndroidRundown, Carter Dotson commented on why Android phones currently have OnLive, while iOS users are still out in the cold. Dotson says, “So, here we are, two weeks later, and OnLive is still only on Android. It was announced to be released for iOS along with the Android version, but no real reason has been given as to the delay of the iOS version, beyond that Apple is still examining it for approval.
Without firsthand knowledge of the process, I can only assume that Apple is not likely to approve it because it will not fit their policies. See, OnLive’s client is all cloud-based; even the interface and menus to choose games are streamed from their servers. This also means that buying new games comes from operations occuring on their servers.”

Read Carter Dotson’s full commentary on AndroidRundown.

So here’s to a fantastic 2012 for everyone. We’ll stay with you throughout the year, covering all of the latest iOS news, reviews, sales and more. If you want to stay on top of all the happening, plus get plugged into giveaways, follow us on our Twitter and our Facebook streams. Happy New Year!

This Week at 148Apps: August 15-19

This week at 148Apps.com, Jeff Scott took a look at the new Dexim iBlueK iPad2 Keyboard Folio Case, saying, “I must admit that I was a little disappointed overall by the iBlueK. Partially because of the 6+ month wait. While it’s a competent keyboard and a good case, it now just feels behind. The 6 months in production, after announcing it at CES, now makes it feel a bit dated. While it was innovative in January, it just feels bulky and a generation behind. Other manufacturers, led by Apple and the Smart Cover, have gone for more sleek and thin cases.”

Read the full review at 148Apps.com.

Meanwhile, at sister site GiggleApps, Amy Solomon reviewed part game-turned iPhone app Spot It: Dobble. Amy writes, “This app has made me very curious about the related party game, something I will be on the lookout for when my son shows interest and aptitude for this application. Like books, I find value in both the classic presentation of a game like this as well as its application counterpart. Although far into the future, I see myself buying this card game as a standard gift in grade school if my son allows this. I highly recommend this app!”

Read the full review at GiggleApps.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-06-17 :: Category: Games

Android Rundown featured an article this week on Talkbox Voice Messenger, an app that allows sharing of small voice recordings between Android and iOS users. Writer Carter Dotson says, “By holding down on the push to talk button, the user’s voice is recorded and then immediately sent to the other user in the conversation. They can then send messages back, and users can listen to the messages. The app can either play back through the loudspeaker or phone speaker by holding the phone up to the ear. Users can send more than just their voices to their friends and other TalkBox users, as they can also geotag their messages and include pictures. It’s kind of like the best walkie-talkie ever.”

Read more about Talkbox Voice Messenger on Android Rundown.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-01-18 :: Category: Social Networking

Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Rob LeFebvre shared a quick overview of AppBlade, a new service for devs wishing to test their apps. Rob writes, “Typically, companies trying to deploy applications, for the iPhone especially, have to use a number of complex steps to move developed applications from the developer to testers or other enterprise users. The process can be confusing and involves many steps. AppBlade hopes to help manage this complexity from one simple, easy to use centralized location.”

Read the full article on 148Apps.biz.

That’s it for this week. Be sure to stop by our 148Apps lists for updates on the latest releases and more, and don’t forget to check out our Twitter and Facebook streams too! See you next week.

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