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2K is Celebrating Spring With Some Pretty Big Discounts on Some Even Bigger Games

Posted by Rob Rich on March 25th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: BELLATOR IN MACHINA :: Read Review »

Today might not be the first day of spring - although you would think it's still the middle of winter with the snow we've been getting in NYC - but 2K is still celebrating the changing of the seasons with a pretty impressive sale.

There aren't all that many price drops to go around, but I think the quality makes up for the lack in quantity. Or just XCOM. Just XCOM being on sale is enoguh. The rest is gravy.

Here's what you can get, and for how much:

Does anything on that list tickle your fancy? Personally I'd jump on XCOM if I didn't already own it (like three times over).

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Now Available for Half-Price

Posted by Carter Dotson on April 29th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: VIGILO CONFIDO :: Read Review »

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the beefy turn-based strategy game brought to mobile from its initial PC and console release with just about everything intact, is on sale now for $9.99. This is cheaper than the game's current price on Steam ($29.99), so it's a real comparative bargain. As well, the Android launch clocked in $9.99 without any indicators that it was a sale price, so this may be a permanent price drop for the game, and quite possibly one of the best values on mobile.

If you need to know more about XCOM: Enemy Unknown, our 148Apps Goes Deep series of articles on the game is well worth catching up on.

Pricing Games on the App Store - Premium isn't Dead, Freemium is Here to Stay, and it's Everybody's Fault

Posted by Rob Rich on February 25th, 2014

Ah, the Great App Store Pricing Debate. For years people have been arguing over the cost of mobile games. What constitutes “too much?” Where’s the line when it comes to free-to-play monetization techniques? Should developers have deep discounts and temporary giveaways? Should consumers simply expect everything to go on sale and wait accordingly?

The recent Dungeon Keeper debacle is a good example of this. Gamers and critics alike have railed against it for using various monetization techniques and associating itself with the classic PC strategy series, and many point to it as an unpleasant indication of where the video game industry (especially mobile) is headed. It’s an issue that’s almost as complicated as the initial Freemium vs. Premium debate; so let’s take a closer look at everything and try to make sense of it all.

2K Drops the Price on Six of its Titles in Celebration of the Chinese New Year, Limited Time Deal Only

Posted by Andrew Stevens on January 31st, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: VIGILO CONFIDO :: Read Review »

2K is celebrating the Chinese New year by reducing the price for 6 of its mobile titles for a limited time only. Users can now pick up Civilization Revolution, NHL 2K11, and Sid Meier's Pirates! for $1.99, 2K Drive for $0.99, NBA 2K14 for $3.99, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown for $9.99. Now go enjoy some alien eliminating, hard checking, three point shooting discounted mobile games!

148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up - The Most Distinct Apps and Games of the Year

Posted by Lucy Ingram on January 1st, 2014

Every year, with thousands more apps and games being released on the App Store, it becomes increasingly difficult to single-out just which are the crème de la crème of this ever-growing iOS market - and more specifically, which of them truly set a higher standard in terms of innovation, uniqueness, and individuality. Be it a game designed for the iPhone or iPad, anything developed and released on the iOS market in this day and age has to have that special something to grab our interest and retain it for months to come. In no particular order, here are a selection of the most notable games and apps of 2013 that raised the bar in one way or another.


Morphopolis - Quite possibly one of the most visually stunning games I’ve seen all year, Morphopolis' astounding presentation and imaginative world designs are what truly sets this hidden object puzzle game apart from those of a similar style. The beautiful hand-drawn watercolor hues bring every aspect of the game's artwork to life, while the folksy ambient soundtrack sets a beautiful and warm tone to suit the mellow and relaxing pace. What is so immensely likeable about the puzzles in Morphopolis is that each of them is original, unique, stylish, and distinctive in nature, with every single one utilizing the environment in some manner to build upon the atmosphere.

Ridiculous Fishing - Ridiculous Fishing is a game that without a doubt deserves everything it’s achieved this year as it’s nothing short of spectacular. Yes, it’s a fishing game. Agreed, it’s ludicrously silly, simple, and every part as ridiculous as it sounds, but it’s also beautiful in every way. Alongside it’s fantastic art style and fluid control system, this is the kind of game that is suitable for anyone.

148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up - High Quality iOS Ports

Posted by Rob Rich on December 26th, 2013

As 2013 starts to wind down, people naturally begin to reflect. That and anticipate 2014, but that’s another set of words entirely. Anyway, as I began to think back on the year one major theme kept popping into my head: the increased power of mobile hardware and the way it’s been used to create some truly impressive adaptations of games from other platforms.

What’s really blown me away about all this is just how faithful these ports have been. In some cases concessions had to be made with the UI or the graphical details, but a good many of these games are nigh indistinguishable from their console/PC counterparts. Heck, some of them actually fare better than the originals!

So with this in mind, we present you with our list of notable iOS ports from 2013 (and maybe a few that came out earlier because they’re just that awesome).

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

It’s hard to kick-off a list like this without XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Simply hearing that one of 2012’s best strategy games was bound for iOS was exciting enough. However, this was no rush-job or some bare-bones freemium cash grab. Firaxis somehow managed to shrink the game down with only a few extremely minor changes (i.e. slightly less detailed visuals, fewer maps overall, and fewer soldier customization options). The flip-side to that is the inclusion of touch controls that were a perfect fit for the gameplay.

148Apps 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide for Gamers

Posted by Rob Rich on December 12th, 2013

The week is almost over, and the holidays are that much closer, but those gifts won't find/buy/wrap/give themselves now will they? Thankfully there are people like us putting together handy-dandy holiday shopping guides for you! Whether you’re looking for new hardware and accessories, or just something a bit less impersonal than an iTunes gift card, we’ve got you covered.

Other 148Apps Holiday Gift Guides: for [Heath Nuts] [Socializers] [Creative Types] [Power Users]

Today’s guide centers around iOS gamers. These are the folks who love their portable games and spend most of their morning commute matching pieces of candy or fighting immortal titans. If you’d like to make the gamer(s) in your life have an overall more pleasant and convenient gaming experience, or simply get them some really cool stuff to play, check out our list below for some ideas.

MOGA Ace Power Gamepad

The MOGA Ace Power Gamepad ($99 - iPhone/iPod Touch) has several distinct advantages over the other controllers in this list: it’s collapsible so it’s easy to carry while still acting as an extension of the iOS device, it’s the first official MFi gamepad for iOS devices, it uses dual analog sticks in addition to buttons and a D-pad, and it comes with its own battery that will help to extend the amount of time iOS gamers can play things while away from home - or at least a charger. The noticeable downsides are that it’s rather heavy thanks to the internal battery, and it doesn’t support portrait orientation. [Our Review]

While you're considering the MOGA Ace Power Gamepad, you should probably also think about software to go with it. I'd recommend Oceanhorn ($8.99 - Universal), Dead Trigger 2 (Free - Universal), and Silverfish ($1.99 - iPhone) since all three are not only good games in their own right but also confirmed to be compatible. I'm sure there are plenty of other games out there that will work with it as well, but if you're trying to put some sort of package together it would probably be best to stick with what you know will work.


There’s also the option to mix things up and use and iOS device as the controller for something else, rather than attaching a physical controller to it - hence the MOTO TC Rally ($99 - iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch). This is more than just a RC car with an iOS controller: the free app used to control it adds quite a few gaming elements to the physical racing. Users can race their friends and cause virtual damage -that actually affects performance- through special impact sensors, use power-ups, customize their car’s performance and more.

LEGO Mindstorms EV3

The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kit ($349 - iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) is another great option for those looking to venture a little off the beaten path. I mean it lets users basically build whatever the want, then control it with their iPhone or iPad. How cool is that? It's got the universal LEGO appeal, the remote control angle, and taps into those creative juices for potentially limitless amounts of fun. [Our Review]

iKit NuCharge Battery Case for iPhone 5

The iKit NuCharge Battery Case ($89 - iPhone) is certainly something to consider for the iPhone 5 or 5s gamers in your life. The lightweight case doesn't block any ports, and it allows users to recharge their phone on the go. Perfect for lengthy trips or holiday visits with relatives where someone (not naming any names here) inevitably forgets to bring their charging cable. [Our Review]

What games go best with a phone-charging battery case? Battery hogs. There are a fair number of them out there and they can usually be picked out by their super-pretty graphics. A couple of great-looking (and just plain great) games you might want to consider are Warhammer Quest ($4.99 - Universal) and, of course, Infinity Blade III ($6.99 - Universal). However, XCOM: Enemy Unknown ($19.99 - Universal) is by far the biggest battery-muncher and would definitely benefit from something like the iKit NuCharge case.

Mophie Juice Pack Pro

The Mophie Juice Pack Pro ($129 - iPhone) may not be the most elegant-looking case, but what it lacks in style it makes up for in functionality. This is one very durable charging case that will keep batteries going longer and protect the phone from minor splash, dust, and more serious impact hazards. It's a good fit for camping trips or gamers who are particularly brutal with their devices. [Our Review]

The Mophie Juice Pack is another charging case, sure, but it's also quite durable. So it should be able to stand up to a little punishment when you toss your phone across the room after a particularly rough game of Tilt to Live 2 ($2.99 - Universal) or Pivvot ($2.99 - Universal), and will let World War II turn-based airplane strategy buffs like our own Andrew Stevens keep playing Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies ($4.99 - Universal) through just about any harsh weather conditions.

Ultimate Ears Mini Boom

Doubtless we all know at least one audiophile, and the Ultimate Ears Mini Boom speaker ($99 - iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) is definitely something to consider for them. It's easy to connect to any device via bluetooth, is durable, a good size for travel, and produces some impressive sounds even by itself. It's a great way to enhance anyone's iOS gaming experience. [Our Review]

Of course if you're looking to get some nice speakers, you may want a game or two to go with it that put the enhanced sound to good use. I'd recommend The Last Door - Chapter 2: Memories ($1.99 - iPad) for those who love a good scare as it's a ridiculously creepy game without any audio enhancement whatsoever, so you can imagine what some high-quality speakers will do to it. Home ($2.99 - Universal) is another excellent choice for the same reason. LEGO Lord of the Rings ($4.99 - Universal) is another good option because, come on, who doesn't want to hear that epic score and the official movie dialogue on something more substantial than their iPhone/iPad speaker?

Feel free to peruse our Editor’s Choice selections for more top-rated game ideas.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (and Enemy Within) - Tips, Tricks, Strategies, and Cheats For Beginner Commanders

Posted by Rob Rich on November 17th, 2013

Update: 11/13/2014
Since they're technically the same game, I've added tips for Enemy Within to our pre-existing guide for Enemy Unknown. All of the Enemy Within tips can be found towards the bottom of each category, and are denoted with a bullet point. You can also check out our Enemy Within review right here.

The X-Com series, particularly the earlier games, are notoriously unforgiving. Although while XCOM: Enemy Unknown has been modernized, and is therefore more player friendly, it’s no slouch either. In fact, even on the Normal difficulty there’s a good chance you’re going to get creamed if you try to breeze through it. But all is not lost. If you find that you’re losing soldiers at an alarming rate or keep getting the project disbanded because a bunch of countries freak out and leave, we've got a few tips you might want to consider.

Planning Tips

Facilities are essential. Your manufacturing and research abilities, as well as your satellites, all require the proper facilities to operate. Completing a terror mission to earn five engineers could be a waste if you don’t have enough workshop space to use them. And that could lead to falling perilously behind in the early game arms race.

Research, research, research. Don't neglect your scientists! The technologies they can uncover after studying alien corpses and weaponry are essential to giving your soldiers a fighting chance. By the same token, don't be afraid to take aliens alive. Assuming you can do so with relative safety. It allows you to recover their weapons intact, which can then be equipped on your soldiers or sold for a tidy profit.

Don't ignore the Council. You might prefer to spend your money and resources on better armor and weapons, but if you don't get a few satellites in orbit and ignore the Council's requests you stand to lose immense amounts of funding. Plus you can flat out lose if too many countries abandon the project.

Check your stores often. Sometimes you'll acquire items you don't need for research or manufacturing, and these can be sold off in bulk for a decent price. The same goes for alien tech and specimens you've fully researched. So long as it isn't Ellerium or alien alloys there's a good chance you won't need it for the long haul.

Build smart. Most facilities belong to one of a few different categories, such as energy production or satellite use. Whenever two facilities belonging to the same category are next to each other either horizontally or vertically (i.e. uplink next to an uplink, etc) they both get a bonus. This is a very good thing.

Pay attention to your upgrades. You won’t necessarily have the chance to develop all of them, but many of the projects you can produce at the Forge (once it’s available) can make a huge difference.

Consider holding off on major tasks. Despite all the open-endedness Enemy Unknown’s story does progress linearly. Every so often an urgent mission or task will appear, and once it’s completed the next phase of the story begins. While the alien forces will get more and more difficult to deal with over time, regardless of where you are in the story, there are benefits to keeping the plot in check. Namely it gives you the opportunity to research better equipment and gather more resources before the endgame.

  • Don't rush to build a Cybernetics Lab or a Genetics Lab right away. I know it'll be tempting to try out all those shiny new toys as soon as possible, but it will take you a while to collect enough Meld (the new alien substance you'll use to enhance your soldiers) for either one to be useful. You're better off focusing on keeping your squads well-equipped at the start - you can always build either (or both) structures later.

  • Both cybernetic and genetic augmentations take time, so plan accordingly. No matter if you're turning your soldiers into hulking death machines or enabling them to leap several stories into the air, you'll need to wait a few days - in addition to the upfront money and Meld costs, of course. You'll want to pace yourself so you don't end up with half (or more) of your best soldiers stuck in surgery or whatever when the aliens start a new terror campaign.

  • MECs don't use equipment. If you do ever turn a soldier into a MEC trooper, know that they won't be able to use any of their old equipment. If you plan to augment one or two of your soldiers and they happen to be using nice armor or weapons, you can pass them along to the others and save a few million bucks on production costs.

    Soldier Tips

    Pay close attention to soldiers' skills. Plan accordingly. Try to select skills that compliment each other, such as the heavy's Holo-Targeting (accuracy bonus to all squad members when firing on an enemy) and the sniper's Squad Sight (can target any enemy that other soldiers see, no matter the distance, so long as there's a clear path to the target).

    Consider having two or more of each elite class. It can take some effort but will be worth it. It enables you to create various soldiers with skills that are ideal for a variety of situations; such as a sniper that specializes in large, outdoor environments or an assault soldier ideal for cramped locations.

    Upgrade the barracks. Don’t forget about the Officer Training School. Many of the upgrades you can acquire can be a huge help throughout the game; especially the ones that increase the squad size. Check in every so often as more options become available as your soldiers gain higher ranks.

    Don't ignore the support class. Having a medic on the team can mean the difference between a favorite soldier spending a few days in the infirmary or getting their own epitaph. Plus their smoke grenades can really help out in a pinch.

    Sidearms can be your best friend. Pistols may not seem all that great at first, but they can mean the difference between life and death; especially plasma pistols. Make sure to give your most powerful handguns to your snipers as they can’t move and fire their rifle in the same turn unless they learn a specific perk. Otherwise, if you intend to move them at all, make sure they have rockin’ pistols. And make the effort to manufacture the pistol upgrades when you can, too. I’ve had my snipers take down enemies from quite a distance during their reaction shots using only a pistol on several occasions.

    You wanna live? Get a S.H.I.V. The S.H.I.V. is a small robotic vehicle, not unlike a human-sized tank. They’re no replacement for a battle-hardened soldier but with enough research and development they can be quite devastating. Plus they’re the perfect expendable solution to filling an injured soldier’s spot on the squad during a mission.

    Use the right armor. You might think it’s clever to put every single soldier in your squad into the most durable armor you can find, but it’s more likely to hinder them. For example, snipers shouldn’t be on the front lines, and therefore could benefit a lot more from armors that may not be super-tough but can help them reach the high ground easier.

  • Award medals to your soldiers as soon as you get them. Medals another of the new additions in Enemy Within, and you can use them to give your favorite soldiers a slight boost to various skills or attributes. Each medal can be assigned one of two permanent buffs (in other words, once you pick a medal's effect you won't be able to change it), so you'll also want to think about what will be best for the long haul rather than what might be handy in the moment.

  • No matter how cool it sounds, don't turn everybody into cyber soldiers. Sure MEC troopers are a force to be reckoned with, but they aren't as adaptable as regular or genetically modified soldiers. One or two MECs will probably be enough. And MEC suits are interchangeable, so even if you lose a cybernetic soldier you can still pass their rig onto someone else.

  • Autopsies lead to more modifications. As with the rest of your technology, the more types of aliens you autopsy the more gene and cyber mods you unlock. If you want to really dig into either of these new sub classes, make sure you don't dawdle when it comes to cutting those bodies open.

  • The Foundry can be a MEC trooper's best friend. In addition to a few new projects that benefit regular soldiers (such as giving everyone the ability to carry two items), there are quite a few that are specifically tailored for MEC troops. Things like improved armor durability and movement. Make sure you check these projects out if you're serious about cybernetics.

  • Converted MEC troopers keep their ranks. This is important because, just like regular soldiers, higher ranks means more skills. If you convert a high-ranking soldier into a MEC trooper, you'll be able to access the same number of skills from the MEC skill tree. It gives you a bit of a head-start, as it were.

  • Both cyber and gene mods are irreversible. The game makes sure to tell you this, but it bears repeating: once you modify a soldier, you cannot go back. On a similar note, MEC troopers can never be genetically modified or vise-versa.

    Combat Tips

    Cars can, and will, explode. It seems obvious but I can't stress the importance of keeping an eye out for burning vehicles enough. Cars and trucks do provide decent cover, but once they catch fire it's only a matter of time until they blow. And you don't want your soldiers near them when that happens. So take a moment to see if the vehicle you plan to move to, or are currently hiding behind, is a ticking time bomb before you make a move.

    Don't take unnecessary risks. It's often better to miss out on alien tech than to lose a skilled soldier. Take it slow and don't spread out too much. If a soldier encounters an alien squad and no one can reach them within a turn or two, they could be in serious trouble. Splitting up into groups of two or three is usually the best way to go. At least until your soldiers reach the higher ranks.

    Head for the high ground. Everyone, soldiers and aliens alike, benefits from a higher elevation. The higher up you are, the better your accuracy and the worse your enemy’s is. It’s not worth taking unnecessary risks to get to the top of a building or anything like that, but if you have the chance to take a higher vantage point then do it.

    Never, ever, ever, ever, blindly rush in to a room. It doesn't matter if it's a UFO, base, regular mission, or terror site. It's a sure-fire way to get vaporized. Approach with caution instead. Get at least two soldiers into good positions, preferably with one next to a door or window, and go into Overwatch. Then carefully open the door or peek in on your next turn.

    Approach all newly encountered alien species with extreme caution. At least until you know what they're capable of, and especially if you’re new to X-Com. What looks like a pushover could quite possibly decimate your entire squad if given enough of an opportunity. Just assume every new life form you encounter is the most dangerous creature you’re ever going to face and you should be all right.

    Take ‘em alive. It’s not always feasible, or worth the risk, but when you can you should try to capture an alien or two alive. Not only can their interrogation lead to new research opportunities, you’ll be able to recover their weapons intact which could save you a fortune in engineering costs.

    Push forward at the beginning of your turn, not the end. When you move ahead into unknown territory you always run the risk of encountering a squad of aliens. Believe me, it’s much better to discover them after only moving one or two soldiers than all of them. It leaves the entire squad incredibly vulnerable, especially in the later levels.

    Keep Chryssalids as far away as possible at all times. You’ll typically see these spider-like aliens during terror missions but they can (and will) appear elsewhere. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. Trust me.

    Surprise attacks are possible. While the aliens are definitely at an advantage most of the time, they aren’t omnipotent. Use this to lure them into a trap on occasion. If your soldiers can’t see them, they can’t see your soldiers, so it’s possible to set a few up in key locations and use one of your own as a decoy to draw them into range.

    Don’t underestimate Sectoids. Sectoids are the most “normal” of Enemy Unknown’s, and possibly the most common. However, while they aren’t particularly durable they can use their telepathic abilities to strengthen their comrades. However, if you kill a Sectoid while its mind is merged with another alien both will die. Keep that in mind.

  • Pick augmentations that suit a soldier's class. Most of the genetic modifications you can research are useful in a variety of situations, but some are far more tailored to certain types of solders than others. For example, giving your sniper the ability to jump super-high will make it much easier for them to reach the high ground in a hurry. The modification that prevents poison and strangling is also great for snipers as they tend to hang back in combat, which leaves them susceptible to the new Seeker enemies (think robotic flying stealth squids). Similarly, it's most beneficial to give your scouts (typically Assault or Support classes) mods that allow them to 'sense' enemies that are still hidden.

  • MEC troopers are not invincible. Oh sure they're more durable than regular soldiers but they're also bigger targets and they can't use cover. Until you've got a high-ranking soldier using a second or third tier MEC suit, you'll want to avoid using them as walking, talking shields.

  • Try to use two MEC troopers, one with each kind of secondary weapon. The flamethrower can be monstrously effective against Chryssalids, especially when they group up, but it has a very limited number of uses during a mission and the lack of range makes it a poor choice against targets with guns. Foundry upgrades can make it more formidable, though. Conversely, the pneumatic fist (I don't care what it's actually called, that's what I've dubbed it) has absolutely no range. However, it can one-shot most small enemies and may even knock them several feet through a wall. It can also be a very effective (and cool looking) way to finish off larger enemies like Berserkers and the new Mechtoid.

  • Play around with new types of equipment when you can. Enemy Within also sports a number of new secondary items for your soldiers to carry into battle such as grenades that can stun your enemies temporarily and special ammo that deals significant amounts of damage but isn't useful over long distances. There's no reason you shouldn't try most (or all) of these new toys out - especially once all of your soldiers can carry two items apiece.

  • Do NOT investigate the fishing village. Trust me.

    The Most Important Thing

    Be prepared to lose. A lot. Newcomers, especially. XCom is a fair game, but it's also fairly unforgiving. A few wrong decisions early on could create a ripple effect that totally undermines your progress later (see previous tips about selling gear and tending to the Council). Depending on the difficulty and options selected you could also lose a beloved soldier in a flash thanks to one silly mistake. Avoiding these situations is incredibly difficult, but learning from them doesn't have to be.

    If you’ve got your own tips and strategies you’d like to recommend feel free to chime in below. With the odds stacked so firmly against us, We'll need whatever help we can get.

  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown Has Finally Been Updated With Multiplayer, Plus a Price Drop!

    Posted by Rob Rich on October 10th, 2013
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: VIGILO CONFIDO :: Read Review »

    I think it's safe to assume that most iOS strategy gamers rather enjoyed XCOM: Enemy Unknown when it was released back in June. I know we certainly did. But the struggle for Earth's survival isn't over just yet, and now even more operatives can join in the fight.

    XCOM: Enemy Unknown has, at long last, received its much-touted multiplayer update. Now you can create your own custom squad made up of humans, aliens, or a mix of both, then take on friends and strangers alike in asynchronous multiplayer through Game Center. Don't already have the game on your iOS device? Well it's also on sale for $9.99 (down from $19.99), so this is about as good an opportunity as you're going to get!

    XCOM: Enemy Unknown Receives First Big Update, Adds Second Wave

    Posted by Rob Rich on August 2nd, 2013
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: VIGILO CONFIDO :: Read Review »

    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.

    Get to it, Commander!

    2K Games' Mobile Summer Sale is in Full Swing

    Posted by Rob Rich on August 1st, 2013

    Nothing says summer like a sale! Okay, I suppose beaches, barbeques, convertibles, swimsuits, and ice cream say summer as well. Still, it's sale time!

    2K Games is kicking their summer celebration off with a big sale on several well-known titles, including XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Check out the full list below.

    - Civilization Revolution - $.99 (reduced from $2.99)
    - NHL 2K11 - $.99 (reduced from $3.99)
    - Sid Meier’s Pirates! - $.99 (reduced from $2.99)
    - Borderlands Legends - $.99 (reduced from $4.99)
    - NBA 2K13 – $2.99 (reduced from $7.99)
    - XCOM: Enemy Unknown – $14.99 (reduced from $19.99)

    Favorite Four: Surprisingly Solid Console Ports

    Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 19th, 2013

    When the App Store first launched, five years ago, many of us were merely pleased to see any kind of game on there. It hadn't really occurred to anyone just what could really be done here. After all, so many years of Snake clones and earlier mobile versions of Gameloft titles, only go so far. 5 years later, we now know that some very impressive titles from the console and PC gaming catalogue can be converted across, and with some impressive results. Here's a look at our favorite four surprising console ports.

    XCOM: Enemy Unknown
    Arguably the most impressive port yet, the recently released XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a truly stunning game. Besides being one of the finest Turn Based Strategy games in years, its conversion is second to none. Touch screen controls are perfectly implemented here, and no compromises have needed to be taken. Those used to $0.99 purchases might feel it's a trifle expensive at $19.99, but there are a ridiculous number of hours of enjoyment to be had here.

    Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
    A delightful surprise for many, when it leapt onto the App Store, this classic BioWare RPG still stands tall today. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic won't hold its players' hands, potentially confusing newer games, but it's worth figuring out. It offers an exceptional story based gaming experience, the kind of which is rarely seen. The controls might not be perfect here, but it's forgivable thanks to being such a brilliant game.

    Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
    Rockstar Games has done a fine job of converting some of its titles to iOS. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is the pinnacle, thus far. The strongest and most popular of GTA titles, it looks stunning on iOS as well as offers some appropriate controls to ensure everything feels smooth and well focused here. Most importantly, it's an ideal example of a title no one would have really expected to see five years ago.

    Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD
    It might not have the graphical prowess of the other entries here, but Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD was quite the delightful surprise when it made its way to iOS in its full entirety. Capcom has released many great console ports to iOS, but this one just about fought off the Street Fighter series for top spot. The series is like little else out there, requiring players to take the role of an attorney, as they explore crime scenes and use evidence appropriately throughout the court case. The adaptation is stunning, and a worthy example of how DS games can be translated to iOS.

    5 Years and Counting - The App Store Then and Now

    Posted by Rob Rich on July 12th, 2013

    Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That's a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it's not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple's new smartphone.

    On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.

    2008 - The Beginning of the Beginning

    The App Store's first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.

    Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn't make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn't as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.

    At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that "mobile" didn't have to equal "mediocre." Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.

    2009 - Moving Right Along

    The following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple's digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.

    Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean "an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms." And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.

    So many of the App Store's most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers' minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples' free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.

    Five Years Of The App Store: Jen's Favorites & Highlights

    Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 9th, 2013

    Being asked to sum up the past five years of the App Store, on a personal level, is tough. Partly, because I have the memory of a goldfish, but also because so much has happened in those few years. How do you highlight what's so great about a device and service that you can't imagine being without? My iPhone and the App Store, by proxy, has been immensely important to me in this time. It's given me so much information, enjoyment and even been a great outlet in times of need. Here's a feeble attempt at trying to sum up how vital it's all been for me.


    Launch day: Despite the goldfish analogy, I do remember when the App Store first launched. I'd had an iPhone for a couple of months previously and had dabbled in jailbreaking, but didn't feel too comfortable with it. The day the App Store started was genuinely exciting stuff. It's hard to believe, for those newer to the Store, but it was possible to browse from start to finish, thanks to there being a mere 500 apps available. I did that, regularly, until it got to a point where there were just too many titles to look at. Like with any launch day event, these apps didn't show off everything the technology could do, but they did offer a glimpse of a thrilling future.

    Flight Control: Excluding a dabble with the no longer with us, Bejeweled 2, Flight Control was my first great iOS love. It showed me how great the touch controls of the iPhone could be, and how quickly one could gain satisfaction from a phone game. My past experiences with mobile gaming had been fun, but lacking that certain something that made me think it could rival handheld consoles. Flight Control changed that, for me, and I loved spending ages battling to improve my high score. Not that I was any good at it, though!

    Exploration: I like apps that enhance my life, and I've used many in the past. Star Chart sticks in my mind, however, thanks to it enabling me to learn more about an area. While at the summit of an ancient ridge, Cefn Bryn, I could load up Star Chart and work out exactly what stars were above me and where. It was pretty magical.


    A career path: It's a pretty significant one, but if it wasn't for the App Store, I wouldn't be writing this. In fact, I'm not entirely sure what I'd be doing, given throughout my freelance career thus far, the App Store and iOS have played a very big role. It's changed my life for the better. It's been nearly three years since I wrote my first review for 148apps, Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter, and I'm immensely grateful for how far I, and the site, have come.

    The indie uprising: I always passively appreciated the efforts of indie developers, before the advent of the App Store, but my love for them has definitely grown. Perhaps more excitingly, I feel enabled to give it a go myself at some point. While I haven't yet found the time spare to really pursue it, Xcode, Stencyl and Gamesalad are waiting for me, reminding me that the era of the bedroom coder has returned. That's got to be a good thing for creativity, right?

    Beloved Apps and Missed Titles

    Favorites: I've struggled to narrow the list down. Really struggled. The memories of one Saturday morning avidly playing Game Dev Story in bed, before realising it's practically lunchtime are particularly strong. Much the same as my hundreds of hours spent with Fairway Solitaire are fond, if tarnished by the time it inexplicably lost all my data and progress. Or how about the time I demonstrated the power of the iPad to my mother with the double whammy of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and XCOM: Enemy Unknown? The former being one of my favorite games of all time.

    Out of them all, though, a select bunch are used nearly every day. I take photos each day to track my life and have some fond memories to look back on, so Instagram is a must have for me. I like to back up such things, as well as my social networking sharing, so Momento is always at the forefront of my recently used apps. As a writer, iA Writer completes the selection, thanks to its cloud syncing ensuring I can always write up a quick idea, no matter where I am. New Star Soccer remains the key game that I regularly find myself returning to, living my fantasy as a world class soccer player.

    Apps I miss: There are a couple of apps I miss, though. Puzzle Quest being one such title, given my love of the Match-3 genre and the fact I've played it to death on all other formats. Similarly, I adored Big Blue Bubble's use of the Fighting Fantasy license, although at least Tin Man Games is doing a brilliant job of taking over that mantle.

    It's been a fun five years, and given how far the App Store has come in that time, I'm excited to see what the next five years will bring. It's looking like a pretty rosy future to me!

    XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s Body Count Favors Humans

    Posted by Rob Rich on June 26th, 2013
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: VIGILO CONFIDO :: Read Review »

    XCOM: Enemy Unknown has been out on iOS for less than a week, but that didn’t stop it from making a bit of a splash on the App Store. So far it’s taken the number 3 spot for paid iPad apps and number 4 for top-grossing iPad apps, as well as being named Editor’s Choice by Apple on the App Store for the week. It’s a designation that we here at 148Apps wholeheartedly agree with.

    During these past few days, the Council has been keeping tabs on all of XCOM’s operations. And in that time they’ve recorded the loss of 143,900 soldiers. Almost 150 thousand lives lost so far, and that’s not counting civilian casualties. However, they’ve also discovered that there have been 1,775,322 x-rays taken down in the process. That roughly averages out to one operative lost for every twelve aliens. While it’s unfortunate that so many have had to sacrifice themselves for the sake of humanity there’s some consolation in knowing that we’re still coming out ahead. There’s definitely a light at the end of the tunnel, but we could all stand to do a little better.

    It’s true that only time will tell who will come out on top, but my money is on us. It kind of has to be. But we must all remember not to get too carried away, either. The battle for mankind’s survival is important but there can also be consequences to spending too much time worrying about Sectoids and Mutons, and not enough about work and stuff. It’s all being documented in a new video series - “XCOM: Enemy Unknown Consequences,” the first of which can be seen below.

    Just remember, we can and will win this war, but only if all of our operatives play it safe.