Blog

Amazon Appstore FAOTD: Pipe Puzzle

Posted by on Jul 3, 2015

Pipe Puzzle is the FAOTD on Amazon Appstore.

Read More

Games

DRIFT SPIRITS Review

Posted by on Jul 3, 2015

Drifting on (and by) tap.

Read More

Productivity

SmartNews Review

Posted by on Jul 2, 2015

SmartNews: news. Simplified.

Read More

App Rundown

DRIFT SPIRITS Review

Posted by on Jul 3, 2015

Drifting on (and by) tap.

Read More

Recent Posts

Amazon Appstore FAOTD: Pipe Puzzle

Amazon Appstore FAOTD: Pipe Puzzle

Jul 3, 2015

Today’s free app on the Amazon Appstore is Pipe Puzzle – Premium.

Product Features
100 levels
Intuitive gameplay
Hint system
HD graphics
Product Description
New addictive puzzle. Use your imagination and arrange the puzzle pipes and elbows to create a perfect piping connection between two points.

Find out how much fun could be delivered by the…pipes !

The game is usually $0.99.

DRIFT SPIRITS Review

DRIFT SPIRITS Review

Jul 3, 2015

DRIFT SPIRITS seems to be the type of game that could allow one to live life on the edge. Digitally.

At its core, it’s a 1v1 drag racing game with an emphasis on drifting. Competitors go toe-to-toe on curved race track that are all but built to encourage oversteering, and the idea is to level up and get rewards to improve one’s car and progress as far as possible.

The game opens up easily enough, with an AI-driven tutorial that is primarily hands-on. One gets to pick a a car, and get lessons in how to control the car. The controls are virtual, and a bit surprising, in that there is no steering to be had (despite the virtual steering wheel to the bottom right); the control set has more to do with timing… at least at first. To explain, revving the car up takes a degree of precision to get the best jump off, and the drifting procedure involves looking for the right target point to tap the steering wheel to activate the skill. The same sense of timing is required to “release” the car. Doing it too early and just a bit too late throws off a progress, and as these are relatively short races, mistakes can be costly.

ds3

Performance yields game cash payouts as well as performance points; the former can be used to improve vehicles and accumulate valuables, while the latter helps with the aforementioned leveling. Additionally, winning races allows for one to gain pieces dropped by the opponent, which can help with improvements and/or boosts. One example is nitro; using this tool at the right time can be the difference between a win and a loss.

It’s a fairly logical game that gets straight to the point and manages to hold the interest past the initial stage. It gets harder, obviously, with boss meetings and budding rivalries. The dialogue loses something in translation, and it does feel formulaic in parts, but it works as a time-waster, especially in story mode.

SmartNews Review

SmartNews Review

Jul 2, 2015

In a perpetually fast-paced world, there is always a place for easy-to-use news apps. Enter SmartNews, an app from Japanese developers that already has quite the positive reputation on Google Play.

Upon first inspection, the app looks clean. It opens up into the main page, and one gets to see the white background and splashes of color upon that in the tabs at the top. It is set in blog form, with text summaries bordered by a relevant pictures. It a serious look, but easy on the eyes, and easy to appreciate from a visual perspective.

The tabs (channels) underscore a major part of the functionality by providing easy access to color-coded news categories: Entertainment, Lifestyle, Sports and such, with a “Top” Channel — representing overall top news — occupying the leftmost section. One can scroll down to browse new articles, or swipe from side to side to access new channels. Tapping on any one story leads to the corresponding full article from the hosting website; there is also a “Smart View” option that can be selected, which provides a cleaner, less-frilled version of a website. Together, the navigation elements are fairly intuitive and especially smooth.

sn3

Now, as noted, what SmartNews looks to do, obviously, is provide news effectively. By default, on the surface, it seems to accomplish just that. News stories are relevant, and properly filed, allowing for one to get a good dose of leading headlines. The sources run the gamut: CBS, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, RE/COOL, The Guardian, Business Insider and much, much more. The channels one has can be tweaked in setting, and it is also possible to add sources.

One cool tool is a pop-up service that provides reports for the user at times during the day: morning, afternoon and evening. The app can be paired to external services like Facebook, Evernote and Twitter. Another thing which is pretty interesting for Android users is the Google Now functionality; this allows stories to appear in one’s Now feed. (this feature is dependent on Google’s card functionality roll-out).

It’s tough to be a news utility of repute in Google’s world, and SmartNews has managed that. It’s a great app that is easy to use, and in today’s world, that is gold.

Cross DJ Gets Colors and More in New Update

Cross DJ Gets Colors and More in New Update

Jul 2, 2015

Cross DJ, the incredibly engaging DJ application from Mixvibes, is receiving a pretty serious update.

What’s New
COLORS
• Change each deck’s color: blue, orange, red, yellow, green, purple, pink
• 49 combinations
PORTRAIT MODE
• Display a single player
• Big controls
DESIGN
• New music library
• Beatmatcher is back
• Main view: new key display, pitch sliders & sampler button
• If an FX, loop, EQ or sample is active, its tab button gets colored
• Full screen view
PERFORMANCE
• 2x faster track decoding
• Consumes less battery
+ Pioneer DDJ-WeGO3 support

Cross DJ is available for $4.99 on Google Play. There is a free version available as well.

Amazon Appstore FAOTD: Kids Paint

Amazon Appstore FAOTD: Kids Paint

Jul 2, 2015

Today’s Amazon Appstore free app is Kids Paint, a painting program for children.

Kids Paint is a fun multi-touch painting program for kids. Whether you’re a big kid or a little kid, this app allows you to create colorful drawings, paintings, and doodles on your Android device.

Surprise Creations
Kids Paint features randomized colors and brush sizes making for truly unique creations that will even surprise the artist themselves. Start by choosing your background color (including gradients) using your trackball or the menu choices. Try a black background for dramatic results. Then simply tap with two fingers to draw lines. Have fun watching the brush sizes and colors change as your creation takes shape.

Messless and Magical
With Kids Paint, there is no need for messy clean-up or wastepaper baskets overflowing with crumpled drafts. If you make a mistake, you can easily undo step-by-step by pressing the back button of your phone or tablet. If you want to start over altogether, just shake your device and your entire drawing magically disappears.

Photo Fun
You can also draw directly over photos in Kids Paint. Take a picture with your phone’s camera and import the image directly to the app using the Search button. Now is the time to find out how you look with a thick green mustache or goofy rabbit ears. Share your creations with friends and family or save them to the album. Kids of all ages will have hours of fun painting, drawing, and doodling with Kids Paint.

The app is usually priced at $0.99.

Mind Snares: Alice’s Journey Launches on Google Play and Amazon Appstore

Mind Snares: Alice’s Journey Launches on Google Play and Amazon Appstore

Jul 2, 2015

G5 and Artifex Mundi are bringing a new game to Android users. This one is a hidden object mystery game called Mind Snares: Alice’s Journey.

Overcome your biggest fears in this heart-pounding adventure!
Alice Dahl is bogged down in her day-to-day routine, stuck in a dead-end office job but unable to leave due to personal fears. One day, while rushing to a client meeting in the rain, her car careens out of control and crashes. When Alice awakens, she finds herself in a hospital … or so she thinks. Help Alice defeat her inner demons, escape the mysterious place that lies between life and death and find her way back home in this incredible hidden object puzzle adventure! Conquer a mysterious Shadow and help Alice capture the opportunity, perhaps her last, to achieve a happy life.
TRY IT FREE, THEN UNLOCK THE FULL ADVENTURE FROM WITHIN THE GAME!
● 80 spine-tingling levels to master
● 21 exciting mini-games to play
● 17 encouraging achievements to earn
● Eight fabulous characters to meet
● Five magnificent dream worlds to explore
● Three play modes – casual, advanced, expert
● Amazing graphics and dramatic storyline
● Google Play game services support

As noted, it is available on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore; it’s free with in-app purchases. Check out the trailer below:

Prison Break: Lockdown Review

Prison Break: Lockdown Review

Jul 2, 2015

Prison Break: Lockdown is an interesting game that manages to be a mystery, a hidden object game and probably more… simultaneously. It takes a fairly popular theme — escape — and build upon it to create a leveled game.

The game incorporates a lot of research elements; the player gets a scene, and has to investigate for objects to interact with. Interacting comes in different forms…some objects provide clues to solve other puzzles; several can be collected and even combined to solve riddles. To see if an area has a clickable item, one must click specific areas on the screen to see if one if those areas can be enlarged.

Using the generalized concepts, one gets to match wits with the developer in a sequence of connected brain teasers with the end goal being to get out if the cell. Surreptitiously, that is. The game is broken down into levels, in that a prison cell is basically a standalone section, and escaping opens up a subsequent room, and so on.

pbl2

The game obviously leans heavily on the graphics. There are a bunch of stills, and mostly reflect stereotypical prison scenes, from contraband to pinups to shiv materials. The close-ups are well defined, with an enviable use of virtual lighting and visual perspective. It comes together rather nicely for the most part, and doesn’t require one to suspend logic too much to enjoy.

If one had to nitpick, it would probably be about the puzzles, which sometimes feel formulaic. At times, it seems as though clicking randomly through is just as productive as logically constructing an escape sequence.

Still, it’s a have that manages to be interesting without being infuriating, and it must be noted that the ad-based free version helps one to feel great about supporting the premium build.

All in all, it’s easy to like, and should be lauded for reawakening the Macgyver in us all.

AlphaBetty Saga Makes its Way to the Amazon Appstore

AlphaBetty Saga Makes its Way to the Amazon Appstore

Jul 2, 2015

Hit word game AlphaBetty Saga is expanding its horizons by becoming more available: it is now out on the Amazon Appstore.

AlphaBetty – a fun, new word game from the makers of Candy Crush Saga and Farm Heroes Saga – King’s first, social, mobile word game!

Challenge your skills in a brand new, free word game that will take you on a rip-roaring adventure to the far-flung corners of the mouse world! Join Professor Alpha, Betty and their loyal friend Barney as they embark on an epic quest to collect new words and complete the Encyclopedia of Everything!

Journey to exotic lands in this top new word game and puzzle your way through over 100 cheesetastic levels of letter-linking fun!

Collect special characters on your travels to help you along the way, but watch out for those mousetraps and creeping vines!

Play on your own or take on your friends to see who can get the highest score in the best game to ever ignite your word skills!

Let the adventure begin!

AlphaBetty Saga is completely free to play, but some in-game items such as extra moves or lives will require payment.

We had an opportunity to review the game recently, and liked it; it is available for free (with in-app purchases).

ab2

[Our Review]

Gosin Car Mount Hardware Review

Gosin Car Mount Hardware Review

Jul 2, 2015

When it’s all said and done, I prefer accessories that help my mobile devices to be, well, more mobile. Let them roam… do what they are made to do.

One of the first draws to getting a smartphone way back when was the ability to derive GPS voice navigation with the help of software. Having readily available directions on hand is invaluable. So is being safe, so getting a helper piece to hold one’s phone securely — handsfree — is not only smart, it’s legally prudent.

And so we get the Gosin 360° Rotating Car Mount-Air Vent Universal Smartphone Holder.

It’s a mouthful, and the review package Gosin sent us shows why. It is relatively sizable, and comes in two pieces: a portion that ends in a suction piece, and the device holder. On the retail package, diagrams help one get it together, the one piece snaps into the other, and with that, it becomes a unique, multi-jointed unit. All together, it is pretty heavy-duty, but not too heavy, and is constructed with mostly black, hard plastic. Officially, it is under 10 ounces and is 6 x 4.9 x 3.7 inches. Plus, it does not weigh very much as it weighs 9.6 ounces

gosin3

It has several buttons set in which control bending and angling, such that when it is attached to the windshield with the suction control mechanism, it is possible to tweak the whole unit very precisely — and this is not an understatement. It can literally be moved around for the perfect fit/angle. With a little bit of usage, it is possible to place and release device one-handed.

In some aspects, it does feel a bit busy. The physical functionality of the unit also means that it has quite a few moving parts: nuts, buttons, ratchets and more. It also bis a bit bigger in profile than other items of of similar function, which can be an issue on sleeker cars because of the incline of the windshield. Some of the button usage might not feel intuitive at first, but to be fair, it does get easier to use with practice.

Still, it’s a pretty useful solution; it does what it sets out to do safely, and even more importantly, does it effectively. The potential for one-handed usage is invaluable, and the price (under $14.99 via Amazon) is to die for.

The Gosin 360° Rotating Car Mount Air Vent Universal Smartphone Holder has a $4 off coupon code. Applying the Code PM52CCP9 at checkout the price will $4 cheaper than its current price and Free Shipping w/ $35+ Purchase or Free 2-Day Shipping w/ Amazon Prime.

Amazon Appstore FAOTD: Knock-Knock

Amazon Appstore FAOTD: Knock-Knock

Jul 1, 2015

Today’s free app from Amazon is a horror game called Knock-Knock.

Three generations of Lodgers have occupied the cabin, but lately, the walls seem to undulate, skittering unknowns shift in the darkness, and an unruly growl seeps from the attic. Are they hallucinations pecking at the insomnia-afflicted Lodger, or the gnarled remnants of a darker secret?

The last rays of dusk fade, and the dreadful things come out to play.

Survive the night while maintaining the dilapidated cabin and preventing the threadbare sanity of the Lodger from unraveling completely. Hide from the grotesque intruders peering from the gloom and seek out the key to ending the Lodger’s ordeal.

The game is usually priced at $3.99

Get Digital Version of Kid Rock’s Born Free Album for $0.99

Get Digital Version of Kid Rock’s Born Free Album for $0.99

Jun 30, 2015

…yep, that’s right.

Google Play is offering Born Free by Kid Rock for $0.99.

Born Free is American artist Kid Rock’s eighth studio album. It released on November 16, 2010 with the title track being its lead single. The album is a rock and roll collaboration produced by Rick Rubin featuring several high profile artists such as, T.I., Sheryl Crow, and Bob Seger. This is Kid Rock’s first album not to feature a Parental Advisory sticker. It is also described as a country music album. Kid Rock described it as “very organic blues-based rock and roll”. Cable network TBS used the title track, “Born Free”, for its coverage of the 2010 Major League Baseball postseason. It was announced on June 16, 2011 that Born Free was certified Platinum by the RIAA for shipments in excess of one million copies. This gives Kid Rock his sixth Platinum album certification in the US. A Michigan only promotion was released with the album. It was a 4 song EP called “Racing Father Time”.
Description provided by Wikipedia under Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY-SA 4.0

The album boasts 13 tracks, and is available now.

[via Slickdeals]

Arkon Travel Tablet Stand Hardware Review

Arkon Travel Tablet Stand Hardware Review

Jun 30, 2015

Easy does it.

Yep, that is my moto when it comes to accessories for electronics. You can the coolest high falutin’ helpers, but in the end, it just seem like the best accessories are easy to handle, move and implement. Why have a piece that is more complex than the smartdevice it is supposed to support?

The Arkon Tablet Stand is one that seems to fit this bill… at least, on the surface.

The retail unit Arkon sent us was simply packaged, and contained the unit for review and documentation. It possesses a unique design; at first glance, with the unit folded, one might be forgiven for not being impressed. At rest, it looks like a somewhat irregular piece of plastic. Closer inspection shows that it is actually made of three joiined pieces — arms, if you will — that can be pulled apart from an axis. The axis is intricately constructed, such that the arms move somewhat independently of each other, but are still able to form a shape. Two matching form the base, and the third arm, which is padded and jointed, becomes an adjustable support. It is simple, yes, but the way it is conceived allows it to be pretty sturdy in action.

ark2

A strong point for this solution is the overall efficacy. because of it’s adjustable nature, it can be used with several devices of different sized in either orientation. The back support can be adjusted, and this allows the viewing angle to be tweaked, which can be invaluable; the base arms have grooves, which help with stability.

The uses are too many to list. It was used to create a “monitor” to type up this review. It can be used to take in media, videochat, or everyday browsing. It just works.

Obviously, the portability is a big benefit. Because it can be folded up, it easily fits in one’s go bag, or even pocket. I was even able to tuck it into a tablet sleeve with the tablet.

All the moving parts give me pause; the arms are a bit stiff, and the ratcheting system could be a point of weakness down the line. This is conjecture on my part, so I am willing to give the whole piece the benefit of the doubt.

For now, it’s on my favorites list.

Traitor – Valkyrie Plan Review

Traitor – Valkyrie Plan Review

Jun 30, 2015

In recent times, a bit more attention has been to the plots against Hitler. There were quite a few, with varying degrees of failure as it were, but one of the ones that came especially close was also the last serious attempt; The July 20th plot is almost overshadowed by the coup attempt it prematurely spawned. Code-named Valkyrie, the plot called for the implementation of an emergency protocol that would, in essence, use reserve troops meant to resist a putsch to actually carry it out.

Valkyrie — the game — gently borrows from the true story, and creates a first person experience that pulls in other elements seemingly fill it out.

Visually, the game does not disappoint; the developer conveys a lot through the way pretend light is used. The changing scenery works well, and attention is paid to the little things, like shadows and sight perspective. The animations are relatively smppth, and while some secondary characters feel a bit stilted, the overall presentation is easy on the eyes.

As hinted at earlier, the game is in first player, and the player takes on the persona Colonel Claus (we have to assume this is based on the actual leader of the July 20 Plot, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg); like the real life model, our virtual hero is hurt in Africa, and upon returning to Germany, becomes certain that Hitler must be toppled.

trait3

In this game, he decides to become a hitman.

The game teaches one how to play the game actively, and incorporates virtual buttons to tap and general area to use gesture entry. The opening tutorial shows one the basics, including movement, weapon use, interaction and more. As one goes on, other game concepts become more apparent, a big one being stealth. There is also come other things to think about like wearing the right uniform for the occasion, and even avoiding the dreaded gestapo.

So, in many respects, it’s a stealth/action thriller. Strategy does pay a big part, as one does need to figure out what to do when. It picks up fast, and the individual missions tie in together. It’s a cool going.

The control mechanism does seem busy, and the different sequences can be a bother. The dialogue boxes can use some polish too. In the end though, it’s all about the positives, and in this one, they (like the free demo) definitely outweigh the bad. Easily. In real life, Valkyrie failed. This game allows us to re-imagining it.

That’s reason enough to give it a try.

No Gravity (Fire TV) Review

No Gravity (Fire TV) Review

Jun 29, 2015

There is no such thing as too many games. There is definitely nothing like too many games for Fire TV.

No Gravity gives us the potential to get what we want.

It looks and sounds like an old-school arcade shooter, and that’s clearly on purpose; it transports one back to the game rooms of way back when, with half-burned out fluorescent bulbs and cheap carpets pockmarked with patches of spilled soda. It is presented in abbreviated rear-top view fashion, such that the player feels perched just off the tail end of the spaceship. The adventure takes place in space, of course, and the 3D renderings of the ship and other objects is pretty vivid. The coloration is fairly appropriate, with deliberate splotches of explosive color and smooth animations.

The gameplay is straight-up space shooter fare. It is set into missions, and the basic idea, as set forth in the hands-on tutorial, it take care of business and move on. Taking care of business does entail learning the basics of flying, and one learns how to maneuver and fire weapons, skills needed to get far in the game. Eventually, “real” missions open up, and the real action begins; there’s stuff like protecting space stations from a meteor strike. Using the sighting mechanism and directional controls, the idea is to get to the destructive rocks quickly by obliterating them with the supplied weapons. The gameplay concepts expand on from there with tougher (and eventually more cunning) targets.

ng2

The game is a bit plodding at the beginning, but does pick up greatly down the line, with tougher missions and even boss-like experiences. There is a greater emphasis on skill and strategy, and finishing successfully is not as easy as originally inferred.

When it’s all said and done, No Gravity is an interesting game, fun by most standards, and greatly enhanced by the Fire TV compatibility. It really pops on the big screen, and is almost ruined for a post-Fire TV “regular device trial. All in all, it does well it does well, and even manages to surprise a bit down the line.

Biolith Lite Review

Biolith Lite Review

Jun 29, 2015

Biolith is simple.

And when we say simple, we do mean just that; the game is easier to play than to explain. The playing area is a 3-D board made up of smaller sections or tiles that are laid out 8×8. Close to the center, there is a small, paper cicada; it can move along the tiles, one tile at a time, and this becomes of use in the game.

One the outer tiles, there are “enemies” which look a bit like chess pieces, except that they are uniformly shaped and are of different colors: red, blue, green, yellow, purple and black. They close in on the poor cicada, and are able to slide a tile each based on an hourglass that continually runs and restarts. These pieces collectively move (mostly), and look to destroy the cicada by touch. The game AI controls these, and they do seem to possess a degree of cunning that increases further into the game.

To avoid these, the cicada can use the aforementioned ability to move in an effort to elude the enemies. This is tempered by one issue: by default, the Cicada moves very slowly. When a tile is tapped to make it move to another tile, it has to turn and such to move; the end result is that if there is an opponent in an adjacent tile (the red zone, so to speak), there might not be enough time to get away.

bio3

The most potent weapon for most might be the dual orbs which “hang” from up top. These orbs randomly change color, and can be used to blast an enemy of the same color. So, if the orbs flash black, a black piece can be tapped, and the orb fires a laser to destroy it. In this, the game boils down to mini-defense caper, with the action involving quick taps and even a bit of strategy; some pieces leave an extra life. Does one try to get to that tile to pick it up, or does one concentrate on the encroaching enemy. Does one give up a life (which destroys close-by pieces) or take a chance hoping for a fortuitous color change from the shooting orb?

If one is able to finish one wave, a faster, smarter one replaces it. Skill points are awarded, and these can be used to upgrade attributes and bonuses.

Simple does it, really. The artwork is sufficient, and the sound works. The game is somewhat addictive, and would be more so when the full version makes its way out.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book The Color Purple on Sale on Google Play and Amazon

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book The Color Purple on Sale on Google Play and Amazon

Jun 29, 2015

Fans of Alice Walker’s iconic book The Color Purple can pick up a copy of the electronic version for only $0.09 on Google Play Books and Amazon.

Yes, you read right: 9 cents.

Celie has grown up in rural Georgia, navigating a childhood of ceaseless abuse. Not only is she poor and despised by the society around her, she’s badly treated by her family. As a teenager she begins writing letters directly to God in an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear. Her letters span twenty years and record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment through the guiding light of a few strong women and her own implacable will to find harmony with herself and her home.

The Color Purple’s deeply inspirational narrative, coupled with Walker’s prodigious talent as a stylist and storyteller, have made the novel a contemporary classic of American letters.

The e-book features a new introduction written by the author to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the book as well as an illustrated biography of the author.

For those that are interested, Google Play Books also has The Color Purple Collection (three novels: The Color Purple, The Temple of My Familiar, and Possessing the Secret of Joy) on sale as well, for the astounding price of only 0.17.

There’s no telling how long the sale will last, do get in while the gettin’ is good.

[Source: Google Play Books and Amazon via Slickdeals.net]