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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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]

New York, New York…

New York, New York…

Jun 29, 2015

I might be giving up my reputation as a mover and shaker here, but New York City frazzles me. The Big Apple is busy, crowded, and literally never sleeps. Since moving away, I don’t necessarily miss the bright lights, but I can’t help but feeling a small sense of homecoming on the occasions that I return.

Walking own 34th, I did enjoy the sights, some of them old, some new. In the knick-knack shops that carry a lot of the keepsakes visitors treasure, one gets to see the same mini-statuettes, t-shirts, bedazzled hats and I LOVE NY paraphernalia that are as much a part of the experience as the landmarks. One thing that stood out was the sheer amount of mobile technology that is front and center in these stores. Even in the tight spaces, there is serious shelf space allocated to phones, cameras, selfie sticks, headphones… even drones. One hates to window shop, but it really cannot be helped; it’s a tech feen’s paradise.

I remember riding subways way back when. It was an impersonal affair, with the occasional appearance of a tape-laden Walkman. Now, it is still just as impersonal, but I was fascinated by how much of tech melting spot a single carverse could be. New Yorkers, as always, are not that enthralled with only the big brands. Beats headphones and iPhones were all over the place, but so where other brands. And yes, Android definitely has mindshare, with several devices from different manufacturers. When the Wall Street crowd hit the train, the technology pieces on display were pretty impressive. Just about everybody had a smartdevice of some kind, and a set of headphones to match. Power players in business suits rocking fitness bands.

The WTC Memorial was a whirlwind of activity, with a seemingly endless sea of people sharing in honoring those whose loss united the world. It was a somber moment, and touching those names is something one won’t soon forget. It was the one place that we saw the most selfie sticks, but they were probably used here rarely.

It’s a different world, and it is helped along, observed and recorded with personal gizmos most of us take for granted.

New York… technology melting pot.

Google Play Free App of the Week: Dr Panda & Toto’s Treehouse

Google Play Free App of the Week: Dr Panda & Toto’s Treehouse

Jun 29, 2015

This week, the family-themed free app of the week is Dr Panda & Toto’s Treehouse from Dr Panda Ltd. It is a creative collection of mini-games and creative adventures that should keep the young ones entertained for quite some time.

As an additional plus, the game has no in-app purchases.

Hi! I’m Toto the Turtle! I’ve just hatched and would love a friend to play with and take care of me! Can you help me?

I live in a big treehouse all by myself, and I need you to help me make food, wash up, and of course play together! I may be small, but I love to play! We can play basketball, or go on the tire swing, or even blow big bubbles! When we’re hungry, there’s a nice kitchen where we can make sandwiches or even big ice cream cones! All that playing is tiring, though, so I’m glad I have a comfy bed to sleep in! Will you help take care of me and play with me?

Key Features:
• Play all sorts of games with Toto, from bubbles to basketball! Toto will emote and react to everything you do to let you know how he feels!
• Cook lots of different dishes for Toto: make sandwiches, ice cream sundaes and more!
• Use a map to explore all 4 rooms in Toto’s tree house!
• Play however you want! No time limits or strict rules!
• No in-app purchases or third party ads

The game is usually priced at $3.99; to redeem your free copy, click on THIS LINK, and then click on the green Free App of the Week tab, which should lead directly to the free offering.

Enjoy!

[via Google Play]

MONOPOLY Dash for Chromecast Review

MONOPOLY Dash for Chromecast Review

Jun 28, 2015

We love Chromecast.

There really isn’t a reason to be bashful. Still, we’d be lying if we didn’t wish for more Chromecast-based games. there are a few, but Google Play can definitely use more.

Enter MONOPOLY Dash… the merge of the iconic game and Google’s streaming gadget.

Now, it deviates quite a bit from traditional Monopoly. The board retains the general form, with the same color-coded properties plus railroads and utilities along with luck cards and tax spots, jail, etc. all in their proper places. After that, we get a different playing mechanism. In this one, getting properties of the same color is still key, but there is less of an emphasis on property names, as there is almost no need. When playing as a single player against the game AI, the property cards are randomly dealt evenly to the 4 players, and the turns go in clockwise manner, and the general idea is to guess what the other players have so as to appropriate those cards, so that one get get all the cards in a color group.

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To explain further, after the cards are dealt, one might find that they possess two light blue properties (for the Monopoly aficionados, that could correspond to any two of Oriental, Vermont and Connecticut Avenues). The idea would be to get the missing light blue card as quickly as possible to complete the set. To do this, one selects another of the players and guesses which one has it. If the guess is wrong, the next player goes; if the guess is correct the player would, in this case, complete the set, and earn one-time cash payments for the hotels that are automatically built on the owned properties.

From this, the entire game concept sprouts; there is some strategizing to be done: watching guesses to glean who has what cards, mentally chronicling the amount of cards left so as to maximize guessing probability, and so on. It isn’t monopoly, but has enough of it in its DNA to make it familiar. Jail and chance cards make an appearance. When all the sets have been matched, the player with the highest dollar value in total wins, which points to the underlying theme which is the same for “real” Monopoly: sometimes, going for the highest value properties makes the most sense.

As a Chromecast dependent game, the streaming aspect is probably the most favorable. Multiplayer via TV is a nice feature, and the bright coloration translates well. One the one hand, I think a non-Chromecast option would be nice, but it is hard to complain about about dongle-based options.

Orbit Jumper Review

Orbit Jumper Review

Jun 27, 2015

The older I get, the more I tend to value simple endeavors, especially with regards to handheld gaming. You know, get a game my son and I can enjoy, without a lengthy tutorial, and battle it out one after the other. Orbit Jumper is another one of those games that is almost easier to play to explain. It is played in portrait orientation, going “upwards” in endless fashion, and incorporates an endless number of circular, 2D orbits that are arranged much like interlocking gears. The orbits are represented as white circles.

A rock rotates along the bottom-most orbit, on the outside, by default. The basic idea is to move upwards by making the rock jump to the next orbit at the perfect time — when the orbits are touching. Doing so late causes an run-ending collision, while doing so early causes the rock to jump on the inside of the orbit (itself dangerous if not corrected oj2quickly). Every orbit jumped scores a point, and as noted previously, the higher one goes, the better.

To add to the pressure of orbit jumping, a dangerous cloud emanates as soon as the rock moves to a new orbit. If it expands all the way to the orbit circumference, it ends the run. As such, one cannot stand pat rotating in place; in essence, there is a time limit to get to the next orbit. So, patience can he helpful, but tarrying can end a glorious run. For such a simple game, seeing elements like twitch reactions, hand-to-eye coordination and dexterous fingers is quite becoming. The low-frills environment works very well.

The visuals really help the game along. It’s a high-gloss affair, with white primaries backed by interchangeable pastel backgrounds. Within such a simple came, customization options must be lauded. The animations are crisp, and the whole experience adds to the game’s allure.

The easy-going nature that defines Orbit Jumper is a double-edged sword; the game is infinitely easy to pick up and go, but at the same time, there might be just a hint of monotony. There is not too much deviation from the standard concept, and that might give some players pause.

Still, if “simple” is the goal, this one achieves. It’s a fantastic timewaster, and probably more. It is engaging without taxing the brain too hard, and because of that, is perfect in any number of scenarios.

Gotta run. My son just beat my high score.

Crescent Moon Hit Games Neon Shadow and Mines of Mars Now Free on Google Play

Crescent Moon Hit Games Neon Shadow and Mines of Mars Now Free on Google Play

Jun 26, 2015

Crescent Moon Games is making two of its hit titles for free; starting today, folks can pick up Neon Shadow and Mines of Mars for free.

Citing the difficult economics of developing upfront premium games, the developer has also put into place a process to ensure people who purchased the game previously can still enjoy an ad-free experience. To take advantage of this offer, the developer requests that purchasers contact it.

Neon Shadow is a retro-ish firt-person shooter game that has a multiplayer component; we has an opportunity to review it a while back.

Mines of Mars is a mining/discovery adventure with RPG elements that we had the privilege of formally looking at last year.

As noted earlier, both games are available for free right now on Google Play

[Our Neon Shadow Review][Our Mines of Mars Review]

Join Wargaming on Twitch to Receive Giveaways in Celebration of World of Tanks Blitz’ First Anniversary

Join Wargaming on Twitch to Receive Giveaways in Celebration of World of Tanks Blitz’ First Anniversary

Jun 26, 2015

World of Tanks Blitz launched this very day last year and Wargaming is giving away a free tank to all players as a gift to celebrate.

A Twitch livestream will be held today during which viewers will receive giveaways. For a chance at even more prizes you can join in on the daily challenges.

World of Tanks Blitz launched on iOS and Android on June 26th last year and is the mobile version of the PC tank battling simulator, World of Tanks.

You’ll fight against opposing players in nippy light tanks, well-rounded medium tanks, and deadly heavy tanks that are all based on real-life tanks.

The controls may have been simplified for the mobile version – you can play World of Tanks Blitz using only two thumbs – but all the depth of the PC original remains.

You can carry all of your in-game progress and achievements onto multiple devices even on different platforms as well as play against players on both iOS and Android simultaneously with cross-platform play.

World of Tanks Blitz is out right now in the App Store [download] and Google Play [download].

This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partners.

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