Blog

Disney’s Club Penguin Releases Android App

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014

Club Penguin whirls onto Android.

Read More

Games

Star Wars Galactic Defence Review

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014

Star Wars Galactic Defence: This isn't the game you're looking for.

Read More

Productivity

MailWise Email for Exchange & Hotmail + Review

Posted by on Dec 4, 2014

A look at MailWise Email for Exchange & Hotmail +.

Read More

App Rundown

Star Wars Galactic Defence Review

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014

Star Wars Galactic Defence: This isn't the game you're looking for.

Read More

Recent Posts

Disney’s Club Penguin Releases Android App

Disney’s Club Penguin Releases Android App

Dec 19, 2014

Disney Interactive has released an Android app for its virtual world for kids Club Penguin.

The new app looks to bring the best of Club Penguin — games, exploration, social interaction and more — to kids in a mobile, safe manner. Kids can play games to earn virtual money, take part in parties that refresh every month, explore the entire virtual island, and adopt “puffles” amongst other activities.

Additionally, there is a premium tier that can be accessed via in-app purchase. This “membership” tier allows for extended features, like extra personalization and customization abilities.

It is pertinent to note that to mark the new release, Disney is offering a complimentary gifting month of membership (for friends) to folks that purchase a month.

One month of membership runs for $7.99, three months cost $19.99, and six months costs $39.99.

The app (sans membership) is free on the Play Store.

[Source: Disney Interactive Press Release]

Yahoo App Update Brings News and More to US Users

Yahoo App Update Brings News and More to US Users

Dec 19, 2014

Yahoo continues to improve on its mobile offerings, and its latest update to Yahoo for Android, underscores this.

The new version allows US-based users to get local news right from the app. According to the Tumblr post outlining the changes, users can get local news based on the areas they are currently in.

The new build also brings gestures in the in the manifestation of side-swiping as a means of navigation. Now users can move in a quicker fashion from one story or category to another.

Commenting has also been added to the latest build, allowing users of the app to engage with the stories and other users.

Yahoo! notes that this feature is the result of user feedback, so it definitely should be very well received.

The new app continues to be free, and is available on the Play Store.

[Source: Yahoo! Blogpost]

AR Health Series: Pear Sports System Hardware Review

AR Health Series: Pear Sports System Hardware Review

Dec 19, 2014

Being fit is gently moving on from being a pastime to being a habit of successful people. Of course, as the need to be healthy becomes more pervasive, it is natural to see more and more tools that have a mobile component. It makes sense… smartphones are the ubiquitous pocket companions.

The Pear System looks to bridge this gap, first by being a veritable heart rate measuring tool, and then by wirelessly connecting data via one’s Android device.

The review package Pear send to us highlights the system; the review packet contains the Pearl heart rate monitor, a chest strap, headphones and a carrying pouch. Most of th pieces are bathed or accented in bright blue. The HRM unit is diminutive, with the company logo tastefully stamped on the front. The back has two press-in buttons and the battery cover. The strap is black, with the press-in receptacles, and is adjustable and stretchy. The headphones look simple, but have interesting buds, and there is a button on the right ear. Finally, the carry pouch is light and zippered.

Setup is fairly easy; it involves getting the strap, and attaching the heart rate monitor onto it. The HRM has a bluetooth module, and this can be paired with Android devices via the associated Pear app. When working well, the headphones become an invaluable piece: they are quite comfortable, and transmit data over whatever sounds (like music) are going on the holding device. All together, it is a great idea; the strap is worn on the chest, headphones to ears, and the app records time of workouts, distance and calories.

pear1

In practice, I thought the HRM unit worked well, mostly in step with other measurement tools. For runners, it’s nice that the app interfaces with partner apps like MapMyFitness and MyFitnessPal.

My gripes center around said app. Subsequent pairings were finicky, and I did catch crashes periodically.. Also, the app serves as a conduit to procure better plans and coaching, there are not a lot of free ones. I do like the in-ear stats, and the web portal.

When it’s all said and done, I honestly feel the Pear System is a decent option, and at $80 (per Amazon), the combination is not too pricey. I think it’s best value is for the fitness adherent willing to invest in the advanced tools that the system provides.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Released on Android at Last!

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Released on Android at Last!

Dec 19, 2014

GTA: Chinatown Wars, a 2009 game about a disgraced low-ranking Yakuza’s adventures in a top down version of Liberty city has finally been released on Android 5 years later. With its tight controls, good plot ad general GTA like insanity it is still a great buy. This version of GTA also arrives with external controller support and widescreen support for joypad toting gamers.

Pick it up on the Google Play store for $5 and expect a review of this old but fun game soon.

Star Wars Galactic Defence Review

Star Wars Galactic Defence Review

Dec 19, 2014

Star Wars Galactic Defence is a pretty basic tower defence game. Enemies of different types run along lanes in each level. The player must build a series of towers to prevent the m enemies reaching a certain area . After each level the player receives a rank depending on how many enemies they managed to stop. Player can also select 1-3 heroes for each level. These heroes can be freely controlled.

Screenshot_2014-12-16-12-41-55Sar Wars Galactic Defence doesn’t stray far from this formula and indeed lacks fairly basic tower defence features, like an upgrade system or hero skills. The only hint of progression in the game is new towers that are unlocked at certain levels.

Galactic Defence doesn’t just encourage players to replay previous levels, it requires it. Every level after the first is so difficult that it is nigh on impossible to repeat earlier levels to gain money and hero experience. Enemies simply flood in and getting three stars is difficult indeed. This is the polar opposite of fun and is compounded by the fact that to unlock later levels the player must acquire a certain amount of stars.

The game also features numerous one time buffs and abilities like aerial bombardments that chew up large amount of in game currency and are all but required to beat levels with a three star rating. This is designed solely to drain player money.

Screenshot_2014-12-16-12-53-25It sure doesn’t help that Galactic Defence apparently has no idea how certain things in Star Wars work. I have watched exactly one movie in the series and even I know that rebel pilots, as in the guys in orange flight suits that fly X-Wings tend to, you know fly spacecraft? Not in Galactic Defence. You’ll see these unarmoured men die in droves alongside other rebel trooper fodder. They are also much stronger than rebel troops, taking many more shots to die which is strange.

Also, it is just plain weird seeing rebel troopers forget about shooting and enter melee with Stormtroopers. It takes Darth Vader 4 or 5 lightsaber attacks to kill a single rebel. Turbolaser towers have about a 20 foot range rather than the anti-spaceship level range they had in the movies. Speeder Bikes dawdle along at a walking pace. The game just makes no sense.

The controls in Galactic Defence are needlessly bad. Moving your hero around is frustrating as they tend to simply ignore enemies near them, allowing them to escape and the whole system feels imprecise. Both building and upgrading towers involves tapping on tiny icons and the lack of icons for off screen enemies or other events is annoying.

Galactic Defenc
e looks nice, everything looks as it should but the game environments are boring and all look the same. Still, it is sharp and colourful.

The sound is a mixed bad. A lack of speech and dull combat sounds don’t add any atmosphere Imperial lasers sound completely wrong and towers don’t sound like they should. At least the music sounds good, although there are far too few tracks.

Star War: Galactic Defence is a dull regressive tower defence game with zero innovation. It would receive no attention whatsoever if it wasn’t for its license. It is poorly designed, embraces pay to win and gets the basics of Star Wars lore wrong. It is best avoided.


Total Domination – Reborn Arrives on Android

Total Domination – Reborn Arrives on Android

Dec 19, 2014

Plarium is back again — this time with new game Total Domination – Reborn, which is out now on Android. The game is a welcome Android standalone port of the Total Domination series.

The game is an MMO strategy game that brings designed warfare to handheld gameplay.

Per the press release, features include:

· Building Forces – Study technologies, stockpile weapons, and unlock powerful colonies, while building forces from over 30 Infantry, Armor Corps, Artillery, and Air Force units. Strengthen your troops and protect your sectors from invasions.

· Developing Strategy and Teamwork – A flexible and strategy-based format allows users to play according to their style – gamers can go it alone, or form alliances and clans with other sectors. Extra resources are earned by raiding other communities or by trading with other players.

· Immersive Storylines – A classic interface is familiar to long-time gamers, plus global in-game storyline developments introduce non-player opponents and new ways to work with or betray fellow commanders.

· Continually Enhanced Experience – Frequent updates ensure the game stays fresh by offering new units, buildings, technologies, and defensive improvements for players.

Plarium Marketing Chief Gabi Shalel wants fans to appreciate the game. “Total Domination – Reborn has been designed with its own unique functionalities to offer the best mobile gameplay experience possible,” he says. “Long term fans of the game series and new players alike will appreciate the completely re-imagined interface design, new artwork, and a streamlined set of features.”

The game is available for free (with optional in-app purchasing) on the Play Store.

RunKeeper Gets Update, Adds Support for Sony Smartwatch 3 and More

RunKeeper Gets Update, Adds Support for Sony Smartwatch 3 and More

Dec 19, 2014

Fitness and running application RunKeeper is getting an update, and this new build looks to make it tie in with newer tools.

According to the app information page, the new update adds in formal support for Sony Smartwatch 3. Thus, SS3 owners need not take their smartphones on runs, as internal GPS keeps track of distance and the information is synced to the app later on.

The new update also add in support support for SMS Audio BioSport Earbuds; the app page notes that the built-in optical sensor continuously measures one’s heart rate while one listens to music during your a workout.

RunKeeper remains free (with optional in-app purchases) on the Play Store.

Evernote Tacks On Some Nice Premium Features in Latest Update

Evernote Tacks On Some Nice Premium Features in Latest Update

Dec 18, 2014

Evernote, the preeminent cloud-supported cross-platform note-taking application, is getting an update, and it’s an update that should make subscribers to its premium service quite happy.

Premium feature: Context
– Context surfaces notes, people, and articles related to what you’re working on.
– Evernote Premium subscribers get free, relevant content from sources such as The Wall Street Journal.
– Evernote does not share your account information with Context sources.
Business card scanning improvements
– Glare and card edge detection
– Ability to set default notebook
Miscellaneous improvements
Bug fixes

Evernote is free to use, and offers a suite of premium features via in-app purchase.

Google Opinion Rewards Gets Material Design Update

Google Opinion Rewards Gets Material Design Update

Dec 18, 2014

Google Opinion Rewards, the survey answering app from Google that rewards users with Google Play cash for answering surveys, is getting an update.

The update brings Material Design to the app.

Google Opinion Rewards remains free on the Play Store.

Brothers in Arms 3 Now on Google Play

Brothers in Arms 3 Now on Google Play

Dec 18, 2014

Gameloft has finally released the long-awaited Brothers in Arms 3.

The game is free to play (with optional in-app options).

The internationally acclaimed WW2 franchise returns with blood-pumping shooting action, spectacular killcams, and lots of amazing experimental weapons. Become Sergeant Wright and experience a dramatic, life-changing journey in the aftermath of the Normandy invasion.
Lead your band of highly trained brothers on the frontline and use their special abilities in the heat of the battle. Upgrade your weapons, improve your soldiers’ skills and fight against the enemy army!

Check out the trailer here:

Point & Click Series AR-K Comes to Android

Point & Click Series AR-K Comes to Android

Dec 17, 2014

AR-K is now on Android courtesy of Gato Salvaje.

The game comes in two parts; an introductory, completely free Part 1 and further immersive, premium-priced Part 2.

From the press release:

AR-K comes to mobile platforms to create a classic adventure game experience that can be played on the go or on the couch. The game’s sleek 3D graphics pair with familiar point-and-click 2D navigation for a 2.5D experience that adventure fans can quickly pick up and play. The core appeal of AR-K lies in its attention-grabbing writing and challenging puzzles that create an intriguing world of mystery, humor, and suspense. The game’s story and dialog have been re-vamped by noted comic book writer Greg Rucka, gameplay puzzles have been refined with optional highlights to help identify important objects, and the game’s graphics have been optimized to shine on today’s high-powered mobile devices.

“AR-K brings classic adventure gaming to iOS and Android with mystery, humor, and romance—all wrapped in a modern 3D graphical presentation,” said Fernando Prieto, Managing Director of Gato Salvaje. “We have dedicated ourselves to create a compelling episodic adventure for fans of the genre to enjoy!”

In AR-K, players take on the role of former cop turned journalist Alicia as she struggles to solve the mystery of why she was framed for a theft, what happened in a hazy one-night stand with a mysterious stranger, and what is the secret of the powerful and unearthly Golden Sphere that has appeared in her life. All characters are fully voiced and Alicia is brought to life through the voice talents of Ash Sroka, widely known for her role as Tali Zorah in the Mass Effect Trilogy.

AR-K’s episodic story will be told over four chapters, with the remaining two chapters scheduled to arrive in 2015. Although each chapter builds upon the previous events, they can also be enjoyed individually as complete adventures with approximately four hours of gameplay each.

As noted, AR-K I is completely free, and AR-K II is priced at $2.99. Both are available on the Play Store.

Montowers 2 Review

Montowers 2 Review

Dec 17, 2014

Before moving on, it has to be said that Montowers 2 is really little more than a semi-automatic game about looking at cute girls with few clothes and in sexy positions. Whenever its goblin girls on their knees licking daggers or spell slinging wizards showing off their panties, Montowers 2 is not a game for kids. Lacking much real gameplay, most of the fun of the game is seeing what sexy or strange monsters will turn up next. If this kind of thing bothers you, avoid Montowers 2.

Screenshot_2014-12-14-09-30-58Montowers 2 is a sort of mix between a card battler and a collection RPG. The player begins by harvesting a few gems from a “field” which is simply a menu option with things to tap on. These gems are ingredients used to summon monsters. Despite their name, these after often not so monstrous and range from dwarven warriors to a large selection of various girls bereft of clothes.

The player then uses these warriors to fight their way up a tower, which is simply a series of battles. Each battle is more difficult than the last and a boss waits at the top of each tower. Finishing a tower unlocks the next one. There are also daily towers that change each day to finish and “raids” which are battles that involve multiple players to take part in.

Combat in Montowers 2 is very simple and mostly automatic. The only input the player has is to tap at the right time to stop a slider. Stopping it at the right time allows the player’s team to attack first and adds bonus damage depending on how close to the centre it is stopped. Battles don’t have anything in the way of strategy and are simply slugfests of the player’s team vs the enemy one.

The crux of Montowers 2 is buffing up your team of monsters to defeat harder opponents. New monsters can be created from gems and monster coins gained during battle or from events can be used on monsters to train them. Monsters can also be evolved into stronger forms using rarer items. This isn’t really different from any other game of this type. What makes it fun is seeing what kooky monster design will appear next.

Screenshot_2014-12-14-09-35-55Montowers 2‘s art looks really excellent. The art for monsters and enemies is top notch and as said above is overtly sexual, which may or may not be a good thing depending on the player. The game doesn’t have much in the way of animation however and battle is a boring affair with coloured flashes and not much else.

The sound however is pretty basic; some rather nondescript music hums away in the background and combat sounds are limited to generic thudding sounds.

Montowers 2 isn’t much of a game, but it does have very nice graphics and plenty of cute girls if you like that sort of thing. Players looking for actual gameplay should look elsewhere however.

The Secret Society Gets Winter Update

The Secret Society Gets Winter Update

Dec 17, 2014

G5 and MyTona are giving hidden mystery title The Secret Society a winter-themed update.

Per the press release:

G5 Entertainment and MyTona are happy to bring a winter wonderland to The Secret Society® – Hidden Mystery with 1.12 update for Google Play, Kindle Fire and Fire Phone today. Download for free the latest version of The Secret Society and add a dash of joy to your favorite hidden object adventure right away – winter holiday decorations and a new charming avatar are included.

The 1.12 version brings with it two new locations that are awaiting your keen eye, 100 additional quests that are ready to challenge your inquisitive mind, and 16 new collections, ready to offer tons of specials for you. Magic will start when you gather enough Christmas ornaments, dancing elves, gingerbreads and candles – the Winter Street will be unlocked for your intense exploration. When you find Santa’s amulet, rest assured that new scenes will open faster and easier for you. Daily check-ins to the game, in addition to your regular bonuses, will give you holiday bonuses, like Christmas puddings, punches, candy canes and gingerbread houses! It’s too awesome to put it off any longer. Go check The Secret Society 1.12 now!

What’s New in Version 1.12:

Happy Holidays to all Secret Keepers!

Holiday magic is around the corner. Update your favorite hidden object adventure game to continue the endless adventures and prepare yourself for special gifts and wondrous surprises!

PYRAMID OF WONDER – collect 500 snowflakes to get this unique award that will give you loads of special items such as holiday balls, carrots, Cupid’s Arrows, pumpkins and more!
NEW LOCATIONS – plunge into the fascinating “Excavations” and “Winter Street” locations
NEW QUESTS – 100 new quests will keep you engaged for weeks!
NEW COLLECTIONS – 16 new collections, can you fill them all?
HOLIDAY TALISMAN – complete all holiday quests and the unique holiday talisman will increase your energy restoration!
NEW AVATAR – get a unique holiday avatar to make your game even more festive

The game is free (with in-app purchases) on the Play Store and Amazon Appstore.

[Source: G5 Press Release]

Bored Anita Comes to Android

Bored Anita Comes to Android

Dec 17, 2014

Bored Anita is the newest game from Taffimai, and it recently became available on Google Play.

Anita has a big problem: she does not know how to pass the time! All of her toys are at home, and all the amusements her friends have to offer seem so boring… The successful children’s writer Lodovica Cima is the author of this story written for younger readers who will love its circular nature. This tale can be used to learn how to count along with Anita and to introduce one of the most important themes for children: friendship. The bonus feature: the extremely colourful illustrations by Silvia Baroncelli, the winner of the Città del Sole Award 2013 and designer of the famous calendar for 2014. In addition, it has fun sounds, involving music, and simple, intuitive interactions, and voiceovers in four different languages!

Bored Anita is available for $4.98 on the Play Store.

Call of Duty: Heroes Review

Call of Duty: Heroes Review

Dec 16, 2014

Call of Duty: Heroes, despite its action game roots has more in common with Clash of Clans than with Modern Combat. Does the mammoth license of CoD make it a good game?

After an initial battle, like other city builder games, the player is put in charge of constructing a base from the ground up including resource buildings, troop training facilities and base defence. This proceeds slowly. After a few resource buildings are ticking over the player can begin to crank out an army. These range from average rifle wielding grunts to..other slightly different soldiers such as RPG ones.

Screenshot_2014-12-11-04-15-53Besides training troops and rushing them en mass, players can take control of well-known characters from the Call of Duty games. Good old Captain Price returns for yet another tour and Soap, Walcroft and other famous CoD guys make an appearance. There is no story or narrative to Heroes though and heroes are simply stronger than average units that can be manually controlled which makes them very useful compared to your more lemming like grunts. It’s possible to do things like deploy the hero first and have him surgically pick off buildings or call in support abilities to remove defences before any of your other troops are even deployed. This is a totally different style of gameplay to other games of this type.

Each hero also has a special ability which helps differentiate Call of Duty: Heroes from the legions of games just like it on Android. Capt Price for example can summon a chopper with a door gunner for a brief HMG barrage. The player gets to control the HMG’S aim and this unexpected meshing of gameplays types is welcome to say the least and is very useful for taking out defences or just picking off key buildings.

Screenshot_2014-12-11-06-49-39Call of Duty: Heroes features longer than average timers. Resource buildings in particular are very bad for this as they require upgrading several times before they even begin to become useful and this takes half an hour each time. Stationary guns likewise take half an hour for every one of them. Most of the game consists of tapping on things and waiting incredibly long periods of time. It is a testament to Activison’s skill though that this somehow ends up being fun when it is not forcing you to wait and wait.

Call of Duty: Heroes looks pretty slick as benefits its pedigree. Modern era troops are well detailed and buildings animate and look nice. Especially cool are the huge mecha that plod out to upgrade your buildings. The sound is well done as well with all the rattle gunpowder and atmospheric base sounds you’d expect. The music feels very much like a CoD game as well.

Call of Duty: Heroes is surprisingly good, if not anything too amazing and far superior to most games of its type. Despite the ever annoying stink of freemium it’s a game worth checking out for those who want something a bit more tactical than other CoC type games.


Intuit’s Financial Management App Mint.com Gets Update

Intuit’s Financial Management App Mint.com Gets Update

Dec 16, 2014

Mint.com, the personal finance management app from financial powerhouse Intuit, is getting an update.

The update brings in several new tweaks and refinements. The app startup time is improved, as well as the data refresh speed. There is a “fresh new feel” to the app, and there is a new floating action button to help with the speedy creation manual transactions.

And of course, there is the standard batch of bug fixes.

Mint.com excels at being the Android version of the personal finance web portal; with it, users can keep abreast of their accounts across a large swathe of financial institutions that Mint.com can access. It also works as a ledger for and between said accounts, allowing users to balance the books as one would do on a traditional checkbook. Of course, the sync with the web portal is quite useful.

The app also features budgeting utilities, account alerts, bill reminders and more.

Mint.com is available for free on the Play Store.

[Source: Google Play App Page]