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Byte Master Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on June 17th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: TECHY THREES
Byte Master might seem like a Threes! clone, but there's more going on underneath its surface.
Read The Full Review »

4 Games We Really Want to See on the Apple Watch

Posted by Jennifer Allen on April 2nd, 2015

So, the Apple Watch launch is very nearly upon us, presumably changing our lives in ways that we can only imagine, much like the iPhone before it. Failing that, hopefully it’ll be a cool and useful watch to own. We thought we’d take a look at four of the games we’d love to see make their way to the device, bearing in mind the limitations that its size might offer.

Presenting the International Mobile Gaming Awards Winners!

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 5th, 2015

11th Annual International Mobile Gaming Awards ceremony, hosted by actress Allison Haislip, gathered mobile game developers and publishers from around the world. They chose 13 winners out of the 93 nominations. British studio USTWO won the the Grand Prix for their innovative puzzler, Monument Valley. The rest of the winners were:

- Jury's Honorable Mention: Threes by Sirvo, United States
- People's Choice Award: Vainglory by Super Evil Megacorp, United States
- Guilty Pleasure: 2048 by Gabriele Cirulli, Italy
- Best Quickplay Game: Crossy Road by Hipster Whale, Australia
- Best Meaningful Play: Papers, Please by Lucas Pope, United Kingdom
- Excellence in Storytelling: 80 days by inkle, United Kingdom
- Best Multiplayer Game: Soccer Physics by Otto-Ville Ojala, Finland
- Excellence in Gameplay: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment, United States
- Best Technical Achievement: Vainglory by Super Evil Megacorp, United States
- Excellence in Audio, Visual, Art & Design Award: Tengami by Nyamyam, United Kingdom
- Best Upcoming Games: Prune by Joel McDonald, United States
- Excellence in Innovation: Bounden by Game Oven, Netherlands

"This year's winning games reflect the tremendous wealth of exceptional talent at work in this $20bn mobile games industry."says Maarten Noyons, founder of the IMGA.

Game of the Year 2014 - 148Apps Staff Picks

Posted by Rob Rich on December 18th, 2014

The end of 2014 is almost here, which can only mean one thing.

Okay it can mean a lot of things, but in this specific context it means Game of the Year lists!

Which is why the 148Apps staff have all picked their favorites from the past year. And why we've put them all into one handy list for you all to enjoy. It's a nice list, too. Lots of variety and even a few free downloads that are worth checking out. So give it a look, and if you agree (or even if you disagree) please chime in below!

Puzzle to the Center of the Earth

Puzzle to the Center of the Earth feels like a breath of fresh air compared to most everything else I played this year. It's a fair free-to-play puzzle game that encourages and rewards patience in all of the best ways and none of the bad. It's also a platformer that requires forethought and strategy rather than reflexes.

Unlike other mobile games like it, Puzzle to the Center of the Earth is not pushing players to make huge combos or speed-run through levels. Instead they can take their time planning out the best courses through a cave, much like an actual spelunker might (albeit with the power to carve out paths by magically matching blocks). It's a super well made game that isn't scared to have players get lost in its levels for a good while, which makes it unique as a puzzle game. For a mobile title, it strikes a fantastic balance of being engrossing, replayable, rewarding, and light enough for playing on the go, all of which lend to it being my favorite mobile game of 2014. - [Campbell Bird]

Hitman GO

When I heard that an original Hitman game would be coming to iOS, like plenty of other people I couldn't wait to cheese wire a guy to death while disguised as a security guard before popping another target in the face with my silenced pistol, all while waiting for a bus. When Hitman GO was released, many were initially disappointed to find that wasn't the case. However, after playing what is a deceptively simple and infectious game of strategy for a short time, many (including myself) were hooked.

Hitman GO looks like the board game you wish your family would play at Christmas (put away the Cluedo box, grandma) with its sheen and minimalistic graphics that just ooze class akin to the suit Agent 47 is known for. Combine that with accessible gameplay that calls for multiple play-throughs thanks to the variety of challenges available, forcing players to tackle levels in different ways, and you have a winner in Hitman GO. It's a game that should be on everyone's hit list - [Lee Hamelet]

Threes! is Currently on Sale in Honor of Being Named the App Store's Game of the Year

Posted by Ellis Spice on December 11th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: THREE OUT OF THREE :: Read Review »

We've reached that time of the year where every man, woman, and corporate entity decides on their favorite games of the previous twelve months. Apple is no exception to this, and this week they named Threes from Sirvo LLC as their iPhone game of the year. To celebrate this honor, the developer has announced that the game is now on sale, with the price having had a very appropriate 33.3 recurring % sliced off.

In other words, Threes is available now for $1.99, down from its usual price of $2.99.

Lost Viking Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 10th, 2014
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: RAGNAROK MEETS THREES!
This puzzle game mixes the gameplay of games like Threes! with roguelike elements.
Read The Full Review »

Swipe & Slash Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Thomas on September 9th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: DUNGEON MATCH
Oh, nevermind. Just another Threes! clone. What? Y-you mean Swipe & Slash is actually a fun RPG-lite dungeon hack using Threes! as a combat engine? Oh, well why didn't you say so?
Read The Full Review »

Threes! Update Cuts Load Times, Adds Landscape Mode, and Goes On Sale

Posted by Ellis Spice on June 3rd, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: THREE OUT OF THREE :: Read Review »

An update has arrived for the popular puzzle game Threes, which, according to the developers, should make the game "a better app."

The game is now more optimized, meaning that performance and load times should be better - more so on lower-end devices. Players can now also delete their game progress as well as play the game in landscape mode, if they so wish. In addition to this, the game is now available in 14 languages including German, Spanish, Korean and Russian.

To celebrate this update, the developers have put on a sale sticking with the three theme, knocking 33% off of the price, meaning that the game is currently $1.99.

Threes is available on the App Store now for $1.99, down from the usual price of $2.99.

Who Wore it Best? Threes! vs. 2048

Posted by Jordan Minor on May 5th, 2014

Who Wore it Best? takes on its most puzzlingly high-profile case of cloning yet again with Threes! vs. 2048.

SideSwype Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on April 15th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: ON YOUR SIDE
SideSwype is a puzzler that takes inspiration from Threes, but becomes its own incredibly fun game.
Read The Full Review »

Flappy Bird and Threes are Addictive Viral Hits for the Same Reasons

Posted by Carter Dotson on February 24th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: THREE OUT OF THREE :: Read Review »

After Flappy Bird’s surprise success and stunning departure, it seems like a million developers want to make the next Flappy Bird; that next smash viral hit. But too many have taken it literally by making their own Flappy-style games. To make a fun viral hit, it requires many factors to come together perfectly – and not necessarily flapping. Threes is that next Flappy Bird because it nails many of those same factors that make it an effective and successful game.

While Threes comes from Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend, developers far more established than Flappy Bird’s Dong Nguyen was, their game still succeeded in large part in spite of traditional ways of being successful. Threes didn’t have a big marketing campaign, and had a non-prominent feature by Apple. Despite this, the game has peaked in the paid games list at number one on iPhone and number two on iPad, having been sticky in the top five for the past two and a half weeks since its launch. It lost its top rank temporarily on iPhone with the release of Card Wars – Adventure Time, but regained it a few days later. Point is, it’s done enormously well despite it not having much in its favor marketing-wise.

Now, whether or not one considers Flappy Bird to be a ‘good’ game, it was a major hit because it was effective at what it did, and Threes is effective in much the same ways.

Both games are very hard to do exceptionally well at. Flappy Bird has punishing physics and little margin for error. Threes is a much more strategic game: there are a lot of systems in place with the cards all moving simultaneously that require a lot of practice – and a lot of patience – in order to master how they work, just like Flappy Bird’s physics.

Yet, despite the challenge these games present, they’re still exceptionally easy to play. Flappy Bird just requires one tap, and makes it easy to restart. Threes just requires swipes, and its addition-based rules are simple enough to glean once learned.

It’s that classic combination of “easy to learn, difficult to master” that makes them tick. As well, there’s just enough chaos involved in the design to make players feel like they have a shot. All it takes is a good card draw in Threes, or a set of pipes that’s manageable in Flappy Bird, and it’s one step closer to a high score. It’s that mix of “out of control” plus “I know I should be doing better” that makes both games so addictively fun.

But plenty of games can get that mix right. What makes them popular? Part of it is the personality: Flappy Bird‘s used a charming semi-flightless bird protagonist and art styles like the obstacle pipes that resembled retro gaming that were endearing in a specific way. Threes’ characters with their voices forge an emotional connection to the player, and it makes them more than just score objects. As well, it’s an accomplishment to unlock higher card values and new characters.

Also, scoring highly in each game feels like a milestone. Flappy Bird‘s scores are a rather literal representation of progress. Threes’ scores are effectively a bit fudged due to their four-or-five-digit nature, but they still represent a clear indicator of progress. Someone gets a higher score because they created more valuable cards. They did better, there was no fudging why they did better. All it takes is to look at the final board of a player to see how well they did and why they did better. This makes it so that players know just what they need to do in general to get better scores. This makes them very shareable.

And the ease of sharing in each game was a key factor in its virality too. Flappy Bird had a tweet button that was frequently used to share scores before it was removed. Still, it offers easy access to Game Center leaderboards, where friends’ scores can be seen. Threes not only tweets out scores, but it also tweets out the image that sums up the score, what the maximum card was, and the final board. It succinctly shows just what happened. And each high score and each tweet is a call to arms – it temps those with the game to try to beat it. And then they share their successes. And all this talk inevitably snags in more people to play, and it just takes off from there because the games are so effective at getting their hooks into the players.

It’s that mix of effectiveness and emotional connection that has made each game become so popular on their own scales. So while Threes might not involve flapping, it is inextricably linked to Flappy Bird regardless.

This Week at 148Apps: February 3-7, 2014

Posted by Chris Kirby on February 8th, 2014

Your Source For The Latest App Reviews

Every single week, the 148Apps reviewers search through the 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.


Threes, from Puzzlejuice creator Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend, artist of Ridiculous Fishing and Hundreds, is the first great mobile game of 2014. The goal of Threes is to match together tiles on a four-by-four board by sliding them around. 1 and 2 tiles can be matched together to make 3 tiles, a pair of 3 tiles can be matched together to make 6s, 6s make 12s, 12s make 24s, and so on. Each tile starting with the 3s has a point value that is three times as much as the previous tile, so the game rewards making larger numbers. --Carter Dotson

Toast Time

In Toast Time, players are in control of TERRY (Toast-Ejecting Recoil and Reload sYstem): an English toaster with an arsenal of bread-built projectiles. And, if they choose, a monocle and dapper hat. The bad guys are alien-like blobs determined to steal time by descending on TERRY’s clock in droves. Players tap where they want to shoot, and the bread bullets start flying. An added little twist has TERRY caroming off the ground and bouncing around the screen with each shot. Timing the shots with TERRY’s maneuvers can be the key to passing a level. Especially on levels like “Rabid Fan Base” or “Fannying Around.” Just saying. --Stacy Barnes

LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters

Presumably aimed at the younger market, LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters initially seems quite fun. It’s a shoot-em-up set across 18 different stages, each taken from important battles within Star Wars history, and looks like it would be ideal for twitchy gamers. Turning repetitive all too soon though, and proving really quite dull, it’s not so great after all. Immediately easy to learn, LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters lends itself well to touch screen play. With the player in control of the direction of the aircraft and its weaponry, with it propelling forward automatically, it’s a one or two-finger kind of game. Holding one finger to the screen not only aids in moving the ship around but also in firing at the enemies. Hold two fingers down and a special attack is unleashed, wiping out a large number of them at once. --Jennifer Allen


Looking simple yet offering all the features that one could need, Orderly is a very handy To-Do list app. It fits into the stylings of iOS 7, retaining a clean interface throughout. Even better, it should help organize one’s life a little easier. The app starts out offering a fairly extensive tutorial. At first it might seem a little intimidating, which is fairly far from the truth. Orderly is intuitive enough; with regular iOS users sure to be able to understand what goes where. Using a choice of buttons or gestures, it’s simple to set up a variety of different reminders and notes. Rather than restricting users to one line of content, it’s possible to create lists within lists, proving particularly handy for a combination of similarly themed tasks. --Jennifer Allen

Marvel Run Jump Smash!

As a huge fan of superhero games and the world of Marvel, I jumped at the chance to try out Marvel Run Jump Smash!. Disappointment came all too quickly. It’s an Endless Runner in the vein of Jetpack Joyride and one that doesn’t really give players a sense of progression by any means. Players are initially given the choice of controlling either Nick Fury or Maria Hill, with more characters available to play as things tick along within the game. Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man, and The Hulk are there for the grabbing, assuming one catches their shield shaped icon to switch out to them. --Jennifer Allen

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:


Arcade Ball

Arcade Ball takes the humble game of Skee Ball to the digital age. Arcade Ball is a pretty standard game of Skee Ball. Players bowl balls down a lane aiming at targets with different point values. Landing the ball in a cup awards that amount of points and the more points that are scored the more tickets are earned after the game. These tickets can be exchanged for prizes. Tokens can also be earned that power a few special moves like bowling three balls at once. --Allan Curtis

Circle Stop

It’s pretty difficult to come up with a game concept simpler than Circle Stop. There is a dot, “rolling” around in a circle in the middle of the screen. Other small dots of various colors are spawned on this circle, and the player needs to touch the screen just when the main dot’s trajectory overlaps with other dots, to get some points. Then the colored dots are removed, and the others are spawned, while the “player” dot keeps rolling and rolling, until the player three mistakes, tapping while the dot is not over anything. Then the game ends and the player gets a score and there’s nothing else. --Tony Kuzmin

Grandpa and the Zombies

Zombies mess with everybody. Why not the elderly? In Grandpa and the Zombies, we get to see what happens when a cranky, indefatigable wheelchair-bound gentleman named Willy decides not to be pushed around – or consumed – by the actively undead. Thankfully, the developer dispenses with convoluted backstory in setting up this saga. Via cutscenes, we get the most basic of zombie apocalypse stories: gramps wakes up in the hospital, with no memory but a sturdy cast. With zombies closing in, he commandeers a wheelchair and rolls rapidly to safety. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer looked into dodgy Dungeon Keeper ratings, found 11 games better than Flappy Bird (it wasn't hard), reviewed Threes and Final Fantasy VI, picked the best iOS and Android games of January, and told EA to keep its greasy mitts off Theme Hospital. All that, and loads more, here.

Threes Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on February 6th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: THREE OUT OF THREE
Threes is a puzzle game with absurd amounts of charm.
Read The Full Review »

148Apps Live: Demystifying the Upcoming Threes with Creators Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend

Posted by Carter Dotson on February 4th, 2014

148Apps aims to bring you the most interesting iOS games and talks with the most interesting developers, all streamed live on our Twitch channel. This is 148Apps Live!

Threes is kind of a hard game to explain in words, and it’s even harder to explain why it’s a game worth playing in words. However, with its pedigree - from creators Asher Vollmer (Puzzlejuice) and Greg Wohlwend (Solipskier, Hundreds, Ridiculous Fishing) - and some pre-release hype thanks to an a mention as IGF honorable mention, and just general ‘buzz’ around the game from those in the indie community and in the know, it looks promising. But for those who aren’t in the know, just why Threes is so anticipated is still a mystery.

Until now.

Greg and Asher got on the 148Apps Twitch channel to discuss the game, how the idea and design evolved over time, and just where the game’s great voices (unfortunately not heard on the video due to a bug) came from. Plus, they give plenty of great tips and help on the way to setting a new high score.

Watch the entire archived broadcast:

[twitchrecorded 500583630,148Apps]

As well, watch the highlight of the high score run from the video:

[twitchhighlight 3664663,148Apps]

Follow us on Twitch to find out when we go live next! Threes releases on iOS on Thursday, February 6th.