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Lisa Caplan

Contributing Writer | 148Apps

Lisa Caplan has been reviewing apps and games on the best iOS review sites for several years. Located in a balmy Montreal suburb, Lisa has a background in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and an Advanced Degree in Creative Writing and Lit. An old-school gamer, she has had an Apple computer by her side since 1979. Lisa delights in her nine-year-old son, whose mastery of tech has long surpassed hers and when not reviewing, Lisa does freelance copy editing and technical writing.

Connect with Lisa:
Game Center: Lisa AppTudes
Twitter: @apptudes

Fruit Blast Mania Review

By Lisa Caplan on April 10th, 2013
Fruit Mania Blast: think Collapse! with mice!
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The Orchestra Review

By Lisa Caplan on April 10th, 2013
The Orchestra takes classical music lovers of all ages on a multi-media back stage tour like no other.
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Curved - Text that Curves Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lisa Caplan on April 10th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CURVACEOUS
Curved lets users play with fonts, but is also a solid photo editor with a playful twist.
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BBC Earth Wonders Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lisa Caplan on April 10th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: BEAUTIFUL MESS
This image- and video-dense, detail-light app from the BBC showcases a planet full of natural splendor, but the interface lacks the artistry of the pictures.
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Garfield's Trivia Party Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lisa Caplan on March 29th, 2013
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: GARFIELD GRUBS
This multiplayer trivia game based on the Garfield comic strip might be amusing for a minute, but hyper-aggressive monetization makes playing any longer a tedious affair.
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iStart Spanish ~ Mirai Language Systems Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lisa Caplan on March 29th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: SMART SPANISH
iStart Spanish is an easy entry for beginners looking to pick up the basics of a new language.
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Chuck the Bot (Pro) Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lisa Caplan on March 26th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: CHUCK IT
Chuck the Bot blends elements of several popular puzzle games into a package for kids, but those old enough to understand are likely too old to find the game challenging.
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Pavlov Dog Monitor Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Lisa Caplan on March 20th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: WOOF?
Pavlov Dog Monitor makes conditioning an iPad to canine affair. No bells required.
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Word Soup Review

Posted by Lisa Caplan on March 20th, 2013

Developer: Fuzzy Bug Interactive

Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar


Word Soup, the popular UK coin-op word game, has landed on the App Store and while it isn’t glitzy, it is one of the most compelling anagram puzzle games I’ve played.

What makes Word Soup so much fun is that the board is huge. Nine columns and 12 rows of letters fill the playing field. Like Scrabble, difficult-to-place letters like Q's and Z's have the highest point value while R’s, S’s and vowels aren’t worth much. Like Boggle, players form words by connecting one letter to any of the eight adjacent letters, then connecting the next until a word is formed. With a grid this size it’s possible to make words of 15, even 20 letters.

The game has three modes. In Relaxed Game and Brain Game there is no timer. Players can spend as long as they like looking for the best possible word and keeping an eye on what letters will fall away in W.E.L.D.E.R. fashion when the word is accepted. In Relaxed the goal is just to get a high score on a single board. A bonus is awarded for clearing the whole board. Timed Game is a blitz affair that otherwise follows the same rules.

Brain Game - my favorite mode - is level-based. Here the trick is to make the longest words possible before hitting the round's target score. Longer words earn players more letters to fill in empty spaces at the start of each new level. The goal is to continue earning enough new tiles to reach the next target score. When players run out of letters the game ends.

There are no power-ups, but there is a limited-use shuffle button and developers Fuzzy Bug Interactive added a special for-mobile touch: at any time, players can tilt their device to move letters in rows with empty spaces to the left or right. It’s very useful for aligning those Q’s with U’s.

I’m hoping they don’t add a store -a game with no in-app purchases is refreshing. An asynchronous multiplayer mode is something I could definitely get into, however. Also, it may be nit-picking, but it's annoying that after every game players are returned to the home screen. A faster replay option would be great for those of us who tend to play a tad compulsively.

Word Soup doesn’t revolutionize word gaming, but for those who love flexing their verbal muscles, it’s a great pick-up.

Cling! Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lisa Caplan on March 13th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: CLINGING FUN
The unusual mechanics set Cling! apart from other puzzle-platformers
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Adobe Photoshop Touch for phone Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Lisa Caplan on March 6th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: POWERFUL BUT LIMITED
Photoshop Touch for phone gives serious photographers on-the-go editing solutions in a cramped but powerful package
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Musaic Box HD Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Lisa Caplan on March 4th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: MUSICAL PUZZLING
Music and spacial puzzling merge in a light symphony of creative gaming.
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Pogo Connect Bluetooth 4.0 Stylus for iPad Review

Posted by Lisa Caplan on February 22nd, 2013

The iPad’s form has been seducing digital artists and those who love to doodle since its launch. It’s also the ideal size for taking hand-written notes. There are dozens of apps that create rich drawing or writing environments, but until recently input devices have been limited. Fingers just won’t do when precision is needed so artists and copious note takers usually rely on capacitive styluses which simulate the feeling of a pen, but are limited by the touchscreen interface. They aren’t sensitive to pressure, they offer no control over line thickness, and holding one comfortably tends to leave palm marks on the virtual page. Ten One Design offers one solution with their Bluetooth 4.0 Pogo Connect stylus. It doesn’t get everything right, but it’s a solid start in a promising direction.

At 5.1" (130mm) with a price tag of $80, the Pogo Connect sports a stylish silver barrel with a rubber tip at one end and decorative cap at the other. There is a single button on the side and a LED light. It uses one AAA battery and because it’s Bluetooth 4.0 that battery will last a long time. A little wider than a regular stylus, the pen lacks heft, but it fits comfortably in the hand and has good balance. The tip is the same thick dark rubber that one finds on traditional styluses and is magnetic for easy replacement. Ten One promises new tip designs in the future.

Pogo Connect doesn’t pair with the iPad in the usual way a Bluetooth device would. To assist in getting everything set up correctly, users can download the free Pogo Connect app to link the stylus and then each of the 19 compatible apps - up from the original 13 - goes its own way. Some apps like Procreate just find the pen, while others like Noteshelf require users to poke around in the settings. It's easy.

Because the stylus uses Bluetooth 4.0 it is only compatible with 3rd and 4th gen iPads and the iPad mini. Ten One offers iPad 2 owners a less-than-elegant work-around: there is a Pogo Bridge app that connects to the iPhone 4S or 5 and then sends the signal to the iPad 2, but at present only one app - Procreate - has incorporated the feature.

One of the more glaring flaws when I first tested the Connect back in December was that it didn’t prevent palm marks, but recent updates have improved that functionality. How well it works seems to depend more upon the app than the stylus.

And what about pressure sensitivity? That’s the key selling point, but it’s very hit or miss. Some apps respond to pressure by varying line thickness, others opacity, and none respond to a light touch despite claims that the proprietary Crescendo Sensor technology requires “0 grams of activation force.” That said, the Connect outperforms captive models. It's not transformative, but with the right app and practice, sketching feels more holistic.

There are a couple of neat features worth mentioning: the Pogo Connect app has a pen locator, the button on the stylus works as an undo command, and the LED light indicates the active ink color. Still, while somewhat more intuitive than capitative models, the Pogo Connect needs a lot of tweaking before it warrants the hefty price tag, much less turns the iPad into a device that can compete with a dedicated graphics tablet.

A full list of compatible apps can be found here on the Ten One Design site.

WordTag Review

By Lisa Caplan on November 9th, 2012
WordTag is an online multiplayer word game where players guess words with words.
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Verbosity Review

By Lisa Caplan on October 28th, 2012
Verbosity is groovy new anagrams game with a retro vibe.
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