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Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy Adds New Aircraft and More Multi-Player Action

Posted by Lisa Caplan on April 26th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FLY WITH ME :: Read Review »

One of three non-Apple apps, and the only game, showcased at the unveiling of the 3rd generation iPad, NAMCO BANDAI’s Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy impresses hard-core and more casual gamers with incredible console-quality graphics and intense aerial action. Last week the first update was rolled out, packed with goodies for fans and reasons to entice new players to pick up this sleek air combat title.

We raved about the multiplayer options when we first reviewed Air Supremacy and now it’s been expanded to 10 online players up from eight. There are also three new playable planes and 17 new achievements. There are head-to-head matches against friends via Game Center and a rematch option for online multiplayer games. If one owns an earlier title in the franchise, Sky Gamblers: Rise of Glory, one new aircraft is unlocked with this update, along with some minor enhancements and bug fixes.

The game has been wowing users and critics alike, not only with console-like visuals but with amazing gameplay and lots of small touches that make this one of the most immersive experiences on iPhone or iPad. If one’s looking to the future of iOS gaming it's definitely the time to take Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy for a test flight.

MotionX Sleep gets a Bunch of Tweaks in a New Update

Posted by Rob Rich on April 23rd, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: STEP LIVELY :: Read Review »

SPECIAL GIVEAWAY: Want your own copy of MotionX Sleep? The developers have given us a link that will send you a unique code to redeem for a FREE copy of the app. Simply click right here to enter. Offer available to US iTunes account holders only.

When I first took a look at MotionX Sleep, I was fairly impressed with all the sleep-monitoring app’s handy functionality. However, that was then. Now MotionX has added a laundry list of new features and tweaks, making it even more formidable in the world of iOS lifestyle software.

Along with a bunch of minor optimizations, a number of features have been directly improved thanks to customer feedback. MotionX Sleep now offers an “audible placement test” to make finding the best spot for the special pillow alarm much easier. The alarm itself has also had an interface tweak, making it easier to set. Sleep history and other statistics can be viewed in one, seven, or thirty-day summaries to give users better detail on their sleep habits. This info can also be shared on Facebook and Twitter as an effective way of convincing our mothers that we are, indeed, getting enough rest.

The Smart Sleep Cycle Alarm has also been improved by way of allowing users to adjust their wake-up window, including new sounds, and adding an optional vibration. Finally, the interface has been adjusted to make certain features easier to customize. The 24/7 Daily Step Counter can be turned on or off from the main menu, and undesired sleep recordings can be deleted straight out of the sleep log.

It’s the little improvements like these that go a long way. While MotionX Sleep was a worthwhile investment for health-conscious iOS users before, it’s even more useful now.

Plants vs. Zombies FINALLY Gets Zen Garden! Oh, and Some Other Stuff is Being Added, too

Posted by Rob Rich on April 19th, 2012

It’s been a long time coming. At least, it probably seems like a long time to all those disgruntled iOS users. Anyway, at long last, Plants vs. Zombies has gotten a major update that includes a number of features that many have been missing (i.e. taking issue with their absence). Read on for the nitty-gritty.

More mini-games are being added to the already robust list, including the Zombiquarium, Portal Combat and Beghouled Twist. Anyone unfamiliar with these mini-titles should know that they’re all interesting and fun in their own ways. Especially Beghouled Twist, with its hybrid of classic zombie-on-plant carnage and match-three puzzles. Of course, Portal Combat is interesting, too. The addition of reality-bending gateways that let plants fire across multiple rows (careful that the zombies don't use them to get closer!) make for some cool overkill moments.

A new puzzle game has also been included in addition to I, Zombie (which itself has received an Endless Mode). Vase Breaker is now a particular favorite of mine as it takes the random “card” distribution used in many other extra modes and hides it underneath a grid of unmarked vases. Some may contain plants, some may contain zombies. Players have to play conservatively and smart if they’re going to have any chance of making it to the end. And yes dear iPad users, at long last the Zen Garden has also been included. Raising oddball plants like our PC counterparts is finally, blessedly, an option.

It’s not all mini-games, however. Popcap has also included support for several languages (Spanish, French, etc), as well as some new items in Crazy Dave’s shop and the expected Game Center achievements. Take note: some of the extra stuff such as bonus I, Zombie levels and the like are gated behind purchases via in-game coins. These coins are earned fairly regularly through simply playing the various modes so it’s not a big problem, but players should know that they won’t be able to jump right in to all the new stuff immediately. Worst case scenario; they get to sample the first level of a given mode or game type, then spend a few rounds of doing whatever to earn enough cash to unlock more stages.

Once this update goes live tomorrow (4/19), the iOS version of Plants vs. Zombies will finally be comparable to its PC counterpart. Both for the iPhone and the iPad. Rejoice, fellow iOS users! Rejoice and stop all the bellyaching!


Asian Audio-based Micro-blogging Service, Bubbly, Goes Global

Posted by Kevin Stout on April 18th, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Bubbly, a popular micro-blogging service in Asia, is now a global service and was released in the U.S. App Store on April 11th. Unlike Twitter and its 140 character limit, Bubbly users have the option of posting audio or text updates. The service includes “like” and commenting features similar to Facebook.

Voice posts are the driving feature of Bubbly. Users are encouraged to use the audio option when posting to convey the emotion and feeling behind what they’d like to say. I’ve grown particularly accustomed to the fact that sarcasm and irony aren’t always apparent in a text-only platform. Something like Bubbly remedies that confusion.

The service has a strange in-app purchase option. To unlock access to celebrity Bubbly-ers (Bubblers?...Bubbly users), users must pay $2.99 as an in-app purchase. I’m not sure any other service has ever done something like this. I’m trying to imagine Twitter being free, but needing to pay for popular users.

Bubbly has reached 16 million users (1 million just in the last month). On average, users post three times per day and 75% of that content are audio posts. Bubbly is a free service (except for the in-app purchase for premium user access) and the app is available to download for free.

This Week at 148Apps: April 9-13

Posted by Chris Kirby on April 16th, 2012

This week at 148Apps.com, we checked out stunning cool new multiplayer features in two fan-favorite games: Infinity Blade 2 and SpellTower. Carter Dotson had this to say about IB2's new features: "Infinity Blade 2‘s first major content update has finally dropped on the App Store, bringing its new ClashMob feature to the game. The ClashMob challenges are asynchronous multiplayer events where everyone who participates contributes toward some collective goal."

And Jennifer Allen writes that, "SpellTower has just got even better with a major new update coming to the app. The big update is the addition of Debate Mode, multiplayer support via bluetooth providing a Rush-style battle of word skills amongst players."

Read more about Infinity Blade 2 here and about SpellTower here.

The fun continued at GiggleApps.com with Amy Solomon's review of the odd Dynastid Beetle. She writes, "Dynastid Beetle is a fun and educational interactive app for children. To those living in the United States, an application dedicated to learning about a beetle may seem like an odd choice, so it is worth noting that dynastid Beetles are commonly kept as pets within Asian households. Versions of this app are available for both iPad as well as iPhone. This interactive app contains five sections – each dedicated to teaching a specific aspect about the lives of dynastic beetles."

Want to know more about one of the more original apps for kids on the App Store? Read Solomon's full review on GiggleApps.

Finally, on AndroidRundown.com, Carter Dotson introduced MMO Dark Legends for Chrome and Android, and had this to say about the game for iOS: "The game is available now on Google Play for Android, and from the Chrome Web Store. The iOS version is expected to release after a two-week exclusivity period with Google, but player accounts will transfer between platforms by logging into the same account; it currently works between the Chrome and Android versions, just as it worked with Pocket Legends and Star Legends."

Read the full story on AndroidRundown.

And we're out...Keep up to date with everything related to news, reviews and contests by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook. See you next weekend.

And on the Second Day, He Infested - Pocket God Update 44 is Now

Posted by Rob Rich on April 4th, 2012

2012 is still in full-swing and the Earth is still in one piece (more or less), so Bolt Creative is unleashing another catastrophe on an unsuspecting group of pygmies. Okay realistically they're probably anything but "unsuspecting," seeing as horrific tragedy is more common in their lives than breathing. Still, a new update has gone live and it involves nasty buzzing things. Those are always lovely.

Pocket God Episode 44: The Perfect Swarm unlocks a new door in the Apocalypse Island temple. An ominous door (okay, okay, they're all ominous). A door leading to the lair of the Locust Queen. Inside, players can feed pygmies to the rather robust monarch or press out swarms of baby bugs to play with. Literally. This locust swarm can be directly controlled in order to smother, devour or even mutate the poor little fellas as much as anyone could want. But of course there's more to it. As per usual there's also a new skin pack, this time with an uber-nerd theme. I have to say, there.s something alluring about changing the moon into a twenty-sided die or switching the sand sculpture for an arcade cabinet. And even that's not the end of it. In a similarly expectant fashion, Pocket God Comics is getting its fifteenth issue titled Gem Cell Research. Hilarity no doubt ensues.

These new updates are live now. Feel free to open up the App Store app and start downloading. Or stop resisting and buy them already. There's also that.

The Dark Meadow Gets New Content and New Free-to-Play Version, "The Pact"

Posted by Carter Dotson on March 30th, 2012

Phosphor Games' visually-stunning, Unreal Engine-powered game The Dark Meadow has gotten a new free-to-play version, Dark Meadow: The Pact. This is the same game as the full Dark Meadow released last October, but now designed to be free-to-play, with gold and Sun coins available for in-app purchase, that can be spent on equipment, health kits, and bombs. Originally, the full version of the game was going to just transition from its current $5.99 price to free-to-play, but there was user backlash to this move. However, the plan was apparently for those who had purchased the game to get the Premium pack of items, which disables ads, grants 5 health kits, 13 bombs, 15,000 gold, 150 Sun coins, and disables ads for free. Now, the two versions are split, with the Premium pack gifted to those who buy the $5.99 standalone version, though the free version also offers this pack as a $5.99 in-app purchase.

However, a new business model is not all that comes with the game. There are new levels and a new boss to fight, new weapons to use, a map to help explore the world, and new "Fast Travel" warps so players don't have to restart from the beginning of the game. Plus, it's now compatible with the iPad Retina Display. The 1.1 update with these new features and The Pact version are both available now.

Chillingo Releases Free Version of Parking Mania, and New Level Pack for Ninja Throw

Posted by Carter Dotson on January 10th, 2012

It may be a new year, but Chillingo isn't forgetting about their previous releases, as they have announced an update for one of their games, and a new free version for another.

Parking Mania now has free versions for iPhone/iPod touch and iPad. These are full versions of Parking Mania, where the goal is to park cars in tricky and tight spaces. Parking Mania Free features ads that can be removed, purchasable level packs, and a golden car that will allow players to not fail when they reach their last life. However, even with all these purchasable items, the game still comes with 60 levels of intense parking action! It's more fun than actual parking is.

The world's favorite game involving tossing ninjas throwing shurikens at targets, Ninja Throw, has been updated with a new level pack, Master of the Dojo, containing 15 new levels. The game is also on sale for $0.99 for both the iPhone/iPod touch version, and universal iPad version. I'm no genius, but the latter sounds like the smart money option.

Street Fighter IV Volt Updates With Tournament Mode

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on January 2nd, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: STATIC SHOCK :: Read Review »

Capcom confirms today that a new update for Street Fighter IV: Volt is available now on the App Store. In this new update, they've added Tournament Mode. As the name so cleverly implies, Tournament mode allows players to rank up alone or with friends via repeated wins in match play over WiFi. There is also an online community connected in the game, with leaderboards, tournament events, individual and team rankings and pages, as well as post-match analyses, allowing players to share recorded matches.

Volt is the same core game as the previous Street Fighter IV, with the addition of a multiplayer. Players fight on a 2D plane with some extra 3D camera work, working their way up to harder and harder opponents as they win more and more matches. The update addresses our original concern about pushing out "new" games instead of updating them. Looks like someone at Capcom is listening, yeah?

For more details on the game, head over to Capcom-Unity at http://www.capcom-unity.com/. The updated app is live and in the App Store now.

Ash Gets New Custom Artwork, a Few Tweaks, and a Price Drop

Posted by Rob Rich on December 19th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Ash was one of the first RPGs I downloaded when I was a new initiate to the wonders of iOS gaming. I recall being thoroughly impressed by the quality. Well, that quality just got a boost. The original game was released with graphics licensed from RPG Maker, but SRRN Games has replaced all of it with totally original artwork. The new style shares a few basic similarities with the older one, but overall it's a huge visual change. Especially the character portraits.

Another less obvious but still notable change has to do with the random encounters. One of the game's initial shortcomings was that there were just so freaking many of them it kind of made getting from point A to point B a pain. This has been rebalanced, so now random encounters are a bit less frequent. They'll still happen, and they're still essential to not being caught in a boss battle with one's pants down, but the decrease will go a long way to making the game more accessible and overall more fun.

Last and most important, Ash is getting an 80% prince drop for the holidays. What was once a great RPG that could be had for $4.99 is now a great RPG made slightly greater and available for a buck. One dollar. $0.99. I'd gladly recommend this game to any RPG fans at $5, but $1? That's, like, "don't even think about it just buy it" pricing. So yeah; don't even think about it, just buy it.

Whale Trail Executes a PIVOT 180°™ in New Update

Posted by Carter Dotson on December 16th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: WHALE OF A GAME :: Read Review »

When Whale Trail was released last month, ustwo's mills made a big point about how the game needed to sell about 300,000 copies in order to be a financial success. The game has so far only sold 130,000 copies; a number that a lot of indie devs would kill for, but for the greater ambitions of ustwo, it clearly falls well short, given the game's lengthy development time and high budget. The game reached the top 25 on the iPhone and the top 15 on the iPad while featured as the iPhone/iPod touch game of the week worldwide, but has been declining down the charts ever since. So, in an attempt to revitalize the game, ustwo are executing what they call a "PIVOT 180°™" to try and revitalize sales.

The new update to the game adds 32 new levels which transform the game from just an endless runner into one with level-based challenges as well. The new levels challenge players to try and navigate set levels, collecting blubbles along the way. Reaching certain point scores nets more stars (true false fact: it is now possible to earn more stars in iOS games than it there are stars in the universe), which helps unlock future levels. Those who are too lazy to perform well to unlock those levels, or who want to help mills and the rest of the folks at ustwo come closer to profitability, can pay $0.99 or local equivalent to unlock them all at once.

Of course, the same endless mode is still in there, so those who like their games to never end never have to. This release is obviously another risk taken toward profitability, but ustwo are hoping that between this PIVOT 180°™ and the in-development Android version, Willow the Whale can go from succailure to just plain success. The update is now available on the App Store.

Pocket God Gets (Another) Juicy Update - Now With iOS 5 Support

Posted by Rob Rich on October 13th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: A GOD AMONG APPS :: Read Review »

Know what's great about Pocket God? Aside from the malicious glee one gets from snuffing out helpless cartoon characters repeatedly, I mean. It's that the game has been receiving a ridiculous amount of support since it's release. Just over 40 Episodes have been released thus far, and Bolt Creative doesn't look like they plan to slow down any time soon.

Yes, I said "over" 40. The newest Episode, "I Sting the Body Electric" has just gone live. This update adds a coral reef to the Ocean Floor area, complete with jellyfish to torment those loveable, languishing pygmies. It also includes a purchasable "Underwater World" skin pack that changes the Pocket God island's boulder into a puffer fish and the volcano into a whale. Oh, and there's something about iOS 5 feature support or something. I wasn't really paying attention.

I'm kidding! Just kidding! Don't hurt me!

The new update allows players to make use of two iOS 5 thingies: First, there's the Asynchronous Turn-Based Gaming that will let them square off against friends and complete strangers in the Battle of the Gods mini-game. Second is the iCloud Storage, which will save progress whenever a level in the battle arena is completed or a new challenge is unlocked. Then they can continue their game with no data loss on any of their other iOS devices.

I suppose there's no time like the present to dive back in to the pygmy slaughter. Pocket God is, and has been, available on the App Store (iOS 5 support and all) right now for a buck. But really, who doesn't own it by now?

TouchyBooks 2.0 Update Adds Ratings, Autoplay and More

Posted by Rob Rich on August 10th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Genera Games is definitely on to something with TouchyBooks. It's a clever little app that more-or-less digitizes the experience found in most "board books," letting young readers (or lookers, really) tap all over the screen to generate sounds and movement. If I were a kid, my parents would never let me hold an iPhone, but if they did this would be a great alternative to a typical bedtime story.

As great as the app may be, this new 2.0 update sweetens the deal immensely. Among the plethora of additions that aren't all detailed, including a revamped design and a search feature (wow, it must have been rough without that one), are a couple of ideas that are just as smart as the app itself. First, all of the books (full copies, not free samples) can be rated by users. The Amazon-like five star rating system may seem obvious now, but it makes searching through the store a bit less of a hassle. Secondly, there's the autoplay option. Wow. I mean, the whole narration/interaction thing is smart, but adding the choice to automatically read through a title is borderline brilliant. It's perfect for kids that are old enough to "read" along, but aren't quite ready to start poking at things.

Were I a parent, I'd be all over TouchyBooks. This is an awesome app for kids that are just starting to tip a toe into the waters of literacy, as well as a solid tool for helping more advanced "learning-to" readers. Anyone even vaguely familiar with browsing the App Store will find navigation a breeze, and the titles in this limited (but still fairly substantial) library are priced very respectably. Parents, check this one out ASAP.

Cave Details DEATHSMILES Update & More

Posted by Rob Rich on August 5th, 2011

This morning I got to sit-in on a streaming presentation by Cave World as they announced the particulars of their pending DEATHSMILES update. Options have been added, settings have been tweaked and lots of extra content has been tossed in that should keep the fans quite happy for a while. And they announced another game or something.

The update will include two new special features: First, players can unlock new costumes for Princess Tiara in iPhone Mode (eight plus her default, it looks like) by fulfilling "special conditions" such as clearing Normal Mode. The second addition is a jigsaw puzzle, similar to the one found in Mushihimesama BUG PANIC. Players can unlock pieces as they play and pick up equipment in-game and eventually put the whole thing together. What this accomplishes, aside from looking spiffy, wasn't talked about, but it's yet another carrot to keep players interested so it's hardly a bad thing. As is the "hidden" BGM that can be unlocked by using some "special technique."

In addition, special DLC weapons will be available for purchase. One of the DLC weapons, the "Golden Horn," was shown off and looked to be somewhat of a screen-clearing powerhouse. None of these weapons (ranging in price from $2.99 - $3.99) will be required for achievements or unlocking content, but Cave fans probably won't be able to resist using guns from Dodonpachi Ressurection in their game.

Last on the list of additions is a number of unspecified bug fixes and screen adjustment options. Now players will be able to shift the screen to the left or right in order to keep finger obscuring to a minimum, and the display can be reoriented (FINALLY) to accommodate those of us who hate holding our iPhones the wrong way. Oh come on, it's totally awkward with the Home button on the left. Admit it.

But updates to their newest shooter aren't the only thing they had in store. Cave World producer Masa King, clad in a French maid uniform (seriously), showed off a trailer for their upcoming social sim game: Castle Creator. Castle Creator lets players create their own castle town in feudal Japan, register their location and "skirmish" with other players when their town is big enough. There's no specific date yet, but it is in production and should be out later this year.

Mention of a Mushihimesama BUG PANIC soundtrack CD release (featuring 24 tracks) was also made, but I think the bigger announcement was Espgaluda II HD. It was a last-minute thing, and aside from a very brief demo virtually no information was given, but iPad owners should still be getting plenty excited. It looks gorgeous.

DEATHSMILES owners can look forward to the update sometime within the next day or so.

Huge Multiplayer Updates and New Game Releases

Posted by Kevin Stout on May 19th, 2011

Today is a day of major updates and new releases. Three of the major updates deal with multiplayer functionality and features. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit updated yesterday with its Autolog feature. According to the Need for Speed blog,

Through Autolog, you’ll be able to track your career progress, Personal Best times and how they compare against your friends, check out all your captured game photos, brag about your latest accomplishments, and jump directly into challenges recommended by Autolog’s comparison engine based on your friends' gameplay.

Popular board game ported to iOS, Carcassonne, updated to allow online multiplayer through Game Center. Carcassonne also added more achievements, a score sharing option, and made overall improvements to the app itself.

The update I’m the most excited about is the massive Infinity Blade update. The Chair Entertainment Group has added the “Arena” to Infinity Blade, allowing multiplayer challenges with friends through Game Center. In addition, the game now has a survival mode, new items, and new achievements.

If these major updates aren’t enough to overwhelm those serious gamers out there, a slew of interesting games have been released.

Square Enix and Chaos Ring fans will jump for joy because a new Chaos Rings game has been released today, Chaos Rings Omega. The new game uses new characters and a new storyline that is said to span 10,000 years!

Casey’s Contrapations involve creating Rube Goldberg-ish machines so that Casey can get his toys back. Friends can share the puzzle solutions with each other over Game Center and can even create their own contraptions for their friends to solve! It's also an Editor's Choice recipient on 148Apps!

Bumpy Road is an interesting game where the player guides a moving car by modifying its surrounding environment (like the ground). The game looks great for kids but I’ll probably be caught playing it shortly!

TNA Wrestling iMPACT is a professional wrestling game, obviously. It includes wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, has a wrestler creation mode, career mode, and multiplayer through Game Center.

iQuarterback 2 is a target practice game football game. The player controls are quarterback trying to hit various moving targets in different environments (apparently some as weird as an air hockey table). Game Center provides high scores and achievements.

Candy Train is an old PopCap game finally ported to iOS. The player controls a train while attempting to fix hilarious messed up tracks to reach pieces of candy. While it looks like another great for kids, this seems like a fast-paced game and fun for adults as well.

Orions 2: The Deckmasters is a sequel to original fantasy card game Orions: Legend of wizards. The new game includes more cards and characters and seems to have a ton of visually stimulating animations for attacks.

And finally, Storm in a Teacup is a puzzle platformer where the character flies across various levels in a magical teacup. Despite the ridiculous premise and name, it looks like a cute and well-made game.

So pick a new game, update the older ones, and have great time playing with friends online today!