Every week, the 148Apps reviewers comb through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we've been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
Fantasy based card games are very much an acquired taste. Some have been drawn to the genre since grade school, while others join later in life, but one thing remains the same: Magic the Gathering is by far the most popular example of the genre. On the heels of last year’s Magic 2013, it would only make sense for Wizards of the Coast to follow up their smash hit, for a new year. Can Magic 2014 manage to meet the same bar of excellence raised by the original installment, or is this essentially a glorified re-skin? Fans of last year’s Magic installment have a very similar experience awaiting them when opening Magic 2014. Most of the game’s core interface has remained fairly unchanged, but it really was never broken to begin with, so there was no need for a fix. Newcomers and veterans alike will find more than enough card based shenanigans to keep them busy for countless rounds. --Blake Grundman
The App Store is loaded with many apps that scan documents, but most of them seem to take an eternity to process files. Additionally, they aren’t always accurate. I’ve scanned business cards and manuals, only to go back and enter additional information in manually. There’s a new app that promises users that they will no longer have to wait and it boasts that it can produce PDF documents from any photo at a very high speed and at the highest image enhancement quality. It’s easy to get started with JetScanner as a quick start guide helps users learn the ropes. There are two ways to create documents. Users can either tap the camera icon or tap the album icon. Once a document is created, users can make adjustments by tapping on the wizard icon to adjust the smart crop or edit additional processing options like adjusting color, making the image black and white or quickly reverting back to the original. Additionally, users can tap the information button in the upper right corner to change the paper size of the PDF. --Angela LaFollette
Cling Thing starts off with some great, but little, moments. They feel fleeting. However, then another great little moment appears and another and another. Eventually, these seemingly small yet neat tricks cling together to form a superb whole. In Cling Thing, players guide wacky Madballs-esque creatures to the end of each stage by using their slimy, stretchy, sticky tendrils to move around. The action resembles World of Goo but with just one ball to manage instead of dozens. Those two games also share a similar creative drive to get the most out of their deceptively simple yet deep mechanics. Early levels are pretty straightforward where all the creatures have to do is slime-swing to the end of the stage Spider-Man style. However, later stages introduce doors that need keys, blocks that need moving, wheels that need to be spun, and underwater areas with new physics that need new approaches. --Jordan Minor
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If you are looking for the best reviews of kids' apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:
Talking ABC… is a delightful alphabet app which includes charming and impressive claymation animals that will engage adults and children alike. I do love this kind of animation, so I was eager to see the claymation included within, and I can say that these bright and quirky animal creatures do not disappoint, as an estimated 770 pounds of clay was used to create the animals and letters – impressive to say the least. As one may expect, there is a main section of this app which includes 26 letters, each with its own corresponding animal seen to the left of the screen. --Amy Solomon
Pango Imaginary Car is an app that allows children to create cars and other vehicles by combining various parts together. I enjoy this app. It is a concept that is not exactly unique, yet this is an app that is of very high quality and utterly appealing. The first thing one will notice when opening this app is color. A bright, sophisticated lime-green color makes up the background of the center screen where one builds his creation, dragging vehicle elements from the tabs seen left of the page. Eight tabs are included, with details that will create the body of the car, such as the front ends of a few differently shaped cars, trucks and a train as well as basic shapes that can be used to create a larger vehicle as well. --Amy Solomon
Most endless runners inspired by Temple Run take the standard behind-the-back perspective. Sure, Pitfall had a more dynamic camera angle, but that’s the exception. Cubed Rally Redline steps things up and does it from an isometric perspective, similar to developer Jared Bailey’s original version of Cubed Rally Racer that Android gamers sadly don’t have. However, where the game also differs from most 3D endless runners is in the number of lanes: there’s five to deal with here. Good luck. --Carter Dotson
Bombcats Special Edition is Radiangames’ entry into the casual physics-puzzler genre after an assortment of action-oriented titles and block-based puzzle games, and it stands out as a fun and addictive title. The gameplay can be best described as a hybrid between Angry Birds and iBlast Moki. The goal is to free all the bombkittens from their electric cages by launching the bombcats around the levels, eventually using their ability to “tele-splode” (so they don’t actually die) to free them from the cages. However, there’s a fuse on the bombcats, so getting them from point A to point B in a timely fashion is key! --Carter Dotson
Spelling Monster is a gift from heaven to parents with kids in the early school years. it incorporates several learning tools and exercises into the gameplay, which is wrapped in the pleasing veneer of an Android game. The main menu breaks the game into an adjustable word list and a bunch of mini games. The word list allows for the addition of just about any words, which is great for accounting for, say, vocabulary or multiple kids of different abilities using the app. The game list had five different games: Letter Pop, Missing Letter, Letter Catch, Word Traffic and Word Jumble. --Tre Lawrence
Carter and Dave Castelnuovo of Bolt Creative discuss the mobile gaming industry. We discuss the different directions that Pocket God has gone in, game pricing including the freemium model, and the state of indie development on 'traditional' gaming consoles like the 3DS and PSP.
World of Goo on iOS is about to come full circle. After initially being announced for the iPhone/iPod touch, then released for the iPad, is now finally coming back full circle, as 2D Boy has confirmed that the iPhone/iPod touch version has been submitted to the App Store. In an interesting twist, owners of the current HD version won't have to pay again to get the iPhone/iPod touch version - the iPad version is getting updated to a universal app, so you can just re-download the game on your iPhone/iPod touch for no extra charge. It's not immediately clear if the game will be just one universal app, or if there will be 2 separate apps: the iPhone/iPod touch version and a universal version that supports the iPad natively. If it's the latter, it's something that I have advocated before on The Portable Podcast - if developers want to charge separately for an iPad version, then making it universal would be the fairest choice, so that multiple iOS device owners don't have to choose between an app that works on all their devices, or one optimized for their iPad. No matter the route 2D Boy takes, it's one that is ultimately beneficial for consumers, and I applaud them for that. World of Goo for iPhone/iPod touch will support 3rd generation (iPhone 3GS and iPod touch 3G 32GB/64GB models) and up models, and will be on sale for $0.99 for 24 hours, before going up to $2.99.
The developers of World of Goo recently posted a really in depth article that not only reveals its sales record for the first month, but also lays out an in depth overview of their experience with the App Store and the iOS platform. The game has sold an impressive 125,000 copies. That is quite an achievement considering it only sold 68,000 Wii copies and 97,000 PC copies during its best months on each of those platforms. This makes the iPad version of the multiplatform game the fastest selling version.
The article also presents some interesting facts about their pricing scheme, promotion campaign, and how they tailored their development process to better suit iPad gamers. Overall, the game received fairly high praises (check out our review here), but interestingly enough, a few low App Store scores complaining about difficulty prompted the developers to add a prominent level skip button. They also joke about adding in app purchases for the auto-completing of levels, but hopefully that stays a joke.
Not only is the information presented in the article entertaining, it is also educational for aspiring young app developers. 2D Boy even posted a myriad of charts and graphs to back-up their claims, and to provide readers with some visual examples of their progress. With such a great start for World of Goo, we can only hope 2D boy continues to share the love for the iOS platform.
PC and Wii gamers have been enjoying the goo flinging puzzler for quite a while, but World of Goo is still in its infancy on the iPad. The game features physics based construction puzzles and gorgeous 2D graphics. Its gameplay is also perfectly suited for the large touchscreen provided by the iPad. World of Goo oozes charm and deserves a look if you haven't tried it yet.
I have longed for World of Goo for the iPhone and then the iPad for literally years now. Hard to believe it's been that long. The model of the game has just seemed perfect for a touch interface. Having played through the game three times on three different platforms (Wii, PC, Mac), I just wanted more. My PC is packed up. It's loaded down with so much anti-virus software it can hardly be used anymore. My Wii has, like most Wii consoles, an inch of dust on top of it. And my Mac, well when I sit down at my Mac I see I have 1,000 unanswered emails. Makes me feel too guilty to play World of Goo anymore. I want it on my new cool device of choice, the iPad!
Well that day has finally come. 2DBoy were kind enough to send us a final build of the World of Goo for the iPad. And I'm in heaven. I had to stop playing long enough to finish this preview, but after this is done, I'm right back to it.
World of Goo for the iPad is the full game that you know and love. But what about if you've been living under a rock. What is the game about? Well, it's a physics based puzzle game. One where you build structures out of these interconnected goo balls.
You start out not really knowing what the story is. You are just presented with a silhouetted world, the World of Goo. On the first level of Chapter 1 you are presented with a simple structure and a few goo balls roaming around. Your task is to help these goo balls escape via a vacuum tube at the top of the screen. To do this, you need to build a structure by dragging these balls, making connecting points, and thereby building structures that the free roaming goo balls can travel on.
Sounds harder to understand than it really is. It's pretty easy to get a handle on once you have played a couple levels. Take a look at the following video and it will all make sense.
Seems simple enough, right? The difficulty does ramp up considerably. And alone the multiple chapters and levels you'll encounter new types of goo balls. Some float, some are rubbery. All produce new challenges.
For a little background on the game, take a look at this promo video produced by the filmmakers behind Indie Game: The Movie, an in production movie about indie game developers.
World of Goo has something so many games are missing, personality, finish. It's a great game, and it's great to finally have it on the iPad. World of Goo in all it's gooey glory releases on December 16th for the iPad at $9.99.
World of Goo could be considered the poster child for the Indie game movement. The game caused a bit of a wave in the game industry at a time when copy protection was getting insane and prices even more insane. It was a fully formed, professionally developed game released for just $20 without any copy protection whatsoever - and it became a hit.
If you are unfamiliar with the game, it's a physics builder / puzzle game where the goal is to use the cute bouncy Goo balls to build a structure to allow them to escape. It's elegant, well designed, and very engrossing. So engrossing that I've now bought 4 different copies of World of Goo and played through it on 3 different platforms. Yeah, it's that good.
But World of Goo is no spring chicken. It's been around for a few years now, yet it seems as though the iPad is a perfect fir for it. Touch makes a perfect control mechanism to control the Goo balls and the platform is large enough now that not having World of Goo available just seemed wrong. As early as late last year, the developers of 2DBoy had told us they were working in it. We find out today that it's finally been completed and submitted to Apple for approval. We should have it really soon now.
Take a look here at a couple of the first screen shots of the game from the 2DBoy blog.