Cartoon Network Superstar Soccer: Goal!!! Review

Cartoon Network Superstar Soccer: Goal!!! Review

Dec 31, 2016

For as advanced as sports games have become, with realistic physics and visuals that make you think you’re watching a live game, it’s nice now and then to kick back with some arcade action. In fact, the most complicated thing about Cartoon Network Superstar Soccer: Goal!!! is trying to remember its name.

If you’ve played arcade style soccer games before, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect. Dribbling with the ball is as simple as running without it, tackling for the ball doesn’t require timing like in the real world and long range efforts hit the back of the net with frightening frequency. The World of Gumball’s Darwin is a better striker of the ball than Cristiano Ronaldo, it seems.unnamed-6

The action on the pitch is fast-paced and easy to grasp. You have three outfield players on each team with one of your players being a ‘superstar’. A superstar is capable of a special move once their meter is filled up and these special moves are simple to activate, requiring nothing more than the press of a button. Controls in general are simple, with a button for shooting, passing and dribbling being all you need. Holding down these buttons result in ‘bigger’ versions of each action, such as a shot with more power or a pass that travels further. The only difference between each player is the fact that the superstars have their own unique moves, with everything else largely being equal.

These superstars are taken from all manner of Cartoon Network shows, from Uncle Grandpa, Adventure Time to Regular Show. Odds are that you’ll find someone from one of your favorite shows but odds are that you’ll need to spend time unlocking them first. You can unlock characters by simply playing your way through matches and earning coins as you do. Coins are used to unlock characters as well as unlock equipable items, like hats and glasses, that let you customize your characters.

This is a bit of a problem, because whilst playing the game itself is fun, if a little basic, there’s really not much built around playing each match. There’s no real season mode or story mode to speak of. You can play a series of 4 matches, which the game will call a cup and that’s about it. You can also play online, which seems to work pretty well over 4G and using my home’s terrible wifi connection.

Other than that, there’s not really all that much else to say. The presentation is pretty great, with characters managing to look great in the game’s pared down 3D style, along with plenty of audio taken straight from the shows. The controls of the game are pretty tight and work well, considering they’re on-screen buttons, and the arcade action is bound to please most. There’s just nothing that’s particularly outstanding or memorable about this well made yet fairly simplistic arcade soccer game.

Stilo Stylus Hardware Review

Stilo Stylus Hardware Review

Dec 24, 2016

It’s true, we live in a touch-happy world. I do know this one bloke who believed that fingers would never supplant the glorious innovation known as a stylus. I…I mean… “he” was wrong, but, hey, I wouldn’t call it a comeback, because styli never really left.

Here’s to you, Note series and iPad Pro. Well done. Very well done.

There are some occasions when a stylus can be an elegant, effective means of smartdevice navigation and/or usage, and Stilo 2A looks to be a contender in that space.

As epitomized by the review piece we received, it’s a sleek item, with an even heft and a black finish. At the “writing” end, there is a cover, and popping this off reveals the fine 1.99 mm nib. At the other end is a ridge for the cap to be stored while the pen is in use (kind of like how markers use), and there is a very subdued “on” button on the body. Stats-wise, it is 6.7 x 1.9 x 0.6 inches, and one can also get it in white, rose and gold.

The review package also includes a battery; this is installed through the back, which has a screw-on cover.

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When the battery is installed, it can be turned on by pressing the aforementioned button (this opens up the electrical signal to the tip); with cap off, we’re ready to go. In our testing, it worked very much like a pen, though it is a tad wider along the barrel than most ballpoints. It is still easy to hold, and feels good in hand; the unit works well to replicate taps and even gestures, and worked with every Android device we tested it on. The precision can be adjusted via the tip, and the battery didn’t conk out in the fortnight we tested it (we didn’t find a way to have a reading on battery). When not in use, the unit turns itself off.

Now, the interesting usage came when we used it with a recommended app that we tried before: MyScript. This is a replacement keyboard that we looked at a while back, and have used with other styli. As a handwriting utility, it is the perfect test bed for a precision stylus such as this. The Stilo 2A acquitted itself reasonably with it.

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We had to try drawing as well.

Once one gets used to the bore, handling the unit becomes easier. There was a teeny bit of lag with the drawing app we used, but not nearly so much as do make it uncomfortable to use. It truly feels like writing on a touchscreen. With regards to taping and dragging, it is very effective.

It’s probably different from the standard stylus most folks are use to, but its overall functionality helps it to possibly supplant options with thicker tips. It can be used as well as one’s finger, and probably better in some use cases.

Won’t call it a comeback… moreso a valid reminder of what can be better.

Can be.

Dawn of Titans Review

Dawn of Titans Review

Dec 24, 2016

Dawn of Titans has been making quite a stir of late; it’s only right that we took it for a spin.

We do get some fantasy back story: long, long ago, large behemoth beings called Titans roamed the earth, and helped protect it. Then, one of the Titans decided to, well, consolidate all that power. Yep, Almarand did what folks who are stronger than everyone else do: he took on the other Titans.

Korthan, the noble king of the Titans, took it upon himself to stop Almarand, and sacrificed himself to do so. As a result of that defeat, all Titans disappeared from the world.

Until now. Looks like the Titans are back.

The action opens via tutorial; here, we begin to see the lush fictional world that makes up Dawn of Titans. Aerial kingdoms, huge castles, medieval-type soldiers and more. The game employs deliberate animations, and the in-battle audio gets intense.

The game also incorporates a very hands-on tutorial. This guides the player along and through the games’s complex gameplay via visual highlighting and pop-up screens. The main goal? Gain stuff by force, and repel efforts by others to get yours.

Simple, no?

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It’s a pretty engaging saga which starts out with the player under siege from a powerful rival; at this time, you also find out from trusted advisors that Titans are not a myth; they are here, and hey, can be used to repel and beat the enemy. There is a process to select troops, train them and such. And there is battling. A lot of battling and raiding.

The battles are were strategy is of a premium. Having well trained, varied troops is great, but nothing beats a good plan. At first (with the help of the tutorial, fighting is a matter of mapping out troops and winning a war of attrition; secondarily to that, it is necessary to have the materials to train them with and move high enough XP-wise to unlock better troops and perks. Even when numerically outnumbered, it is possible to win a PvP battle via superior tactics.

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There are a lot of elements, and they are all interconnected. To, say, upgrade one’s base, there are pre-requisites that must be met. In this way, one grows somewhat evenly. As one goes on, other elements get opened up, like alliances, and the need to protect ones accumulated lands. Titans can be collected, and XP and VP are important measurements.

It is a pretty interesting game, with a lot of depth, and one that is hard to explain adequately in a review. For folks looking for quick sagas, this might not be great; it demands a good deal of involvement to be successful.

I sense a how-to coming up…

BRAVEN 105 Active Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

BRAVEN 105 Active Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Dec 24, 2016

The Braven 105 Active Bluetooth Speaker is small. It’s meant to be though.

Ah, so let’s see if good things can come in small packages…

We received the orange unit to test (pardon… “sunset” per Braven parlance, with six more colors to pick from); it is indeed small, and quite portable, coming in at 3.8 x 3.8 x 1.3 inches and weighing 7 ounces. The entire surface supports its waterproof promise, with three rubber buttons on the circumference. It actually takes a little bit of doing to reach the rubber-sealed section that houses the micro-USB port, audio-jack and reset hole. This whole area is tidily hidden by the removable mounting plate attached to the unit by an elastic strap.

The retail box also has a micro-USB cable, mounting accessories and documentation; the unit boasts a rechargeable 800 mAh lithium ion battery, 8 hours play time and certified water resistance.

And how does it work in real life? Charging is an intuitive process, using a power source to the micro-USB slot via cable. Pairing is easy too, using the power button. It works as expected, in wireless fashion, to output audio from the Android devices we connected it to. The audio quality is surprisingly vibrant, especially when one considers its size. We didn’t quite get the advertised 8 hours of playback in testing, but it easily surpassed 6.

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Portability is one aspect that allows this piece to shine. It’s great for bike rides, and works well as a miniature boom box.

My biggest whine is related to the back panel. The efficacy of the solution makes sense, but it is not that easy to make it to the back innards of the unit.

What it might lose in ease of access, it mostly makes up in portability and functionality. It’s size lends its potential use in any number of scenarios: with laptop, phone, heck…. as an Amazon Echo Dot output speaker… it works, and works well.

Fidelity-wise, it probably wouldn’t make a serious audiophile bow, but it does hold its own in its niche category.

Word Cookies Review

Word Cookies Review

Dec 23, 2016

Word Cookies might get you hungry — even subliminally — in more ways than one.

At its core, it is a straightforward word game. The visual representation highlights this, with a baking motif (plus optional Christmas theme) interspersed with dark patterns and light fonts — all set in portrait orientation.

The gameplay itself is easy to glean from the beginning, there is a jumble of letters on the screen, topped by a number of block sots for formed words. The idea is to fill up all the word slots using wc3words created from the jumble.

Now, the words are created by using finger gestures to spell out the words from the letters available. The player can gesture swipe in any direction, and hopefully will create a word that fits into one of the word slots.

A good word created a green link, and a bad or unaccepted ones leave a red trail.

One all the word slots are filled, the level is finished, and a new level is unlocked. A successful run can nets points and gold coin, and the latter can be used to purchase hints if you get stumped. There is also a reshuffle option.

As one goes on, the challenge does get harder and harder, but there isn’t a rush, so you can take a lot of time trying combinations out. Be warned though, some real words can be red herrings.

It’s a bit of a sleeper hit, in that it seemingly sneaks up on you and steals your heart. It’s so easy going though; if there is one feature I’d love to see, it would be a timer option through all the levels; I think this would add an extra layer of challenge to folks who would enjoy the scramble.

All in all, it is quite enjoyable, and the self-contained nature makes it easy to get into — stay into it.

Smashy Road: Arena Review — Gladiator Battle, Cuby-Style

Smashy Road: Arena Review — Gladiator Battle, Cuby-Style

Dec 22, 2016

Simply put, it ain’t hard to like Smashy Road: Arena.

The cubism is glorious. The game incorporates plenty of color through varying backgrounds. It is an interesting presentation, and action reflects well in landscape. Altogether, it’s a great media touch.

The game depends a lot on the controls. You get to control a car that mostly moves forward, and two broad buttons to swerve the car either left or right are on the screen. learning to use them in conjunction is quite important.

The gameplay comes in two major flavors; the one gives the game its signature name, and pits you, the player, against a few other random players in a multiplayer arena experience. The idea? use the aforementioned controls to guide the car past obstacles and away from hazards in a timed race to get as much collectible goodies as possible. XP is also up for grabs, as well as leaderboard respect.

There is also a single player experience… gameplay is similar… avoid hazards, pick up the goodies, and try to keep the vehicle upright. In addition, one has to avoid The Man.

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Yep, 5-0, and these guys roll deep; they have no compunction when it comes to ramming vehicles and the like, and they look to “arrest” the player’s car by boxing it in or wrecking it. Getting away from them can be hazardous, as they don’t mind seeing a quarry take a run-ending dive into a prohibitive body of water.

The game cash can be used to get better stuff, and can be supplemented by gift boxes and watching ads. Real cash can also be used.

Smashy Road: Arena’s true charm is that it really is an impossible game that manages to be addictive without being infuriating. The built-in themes are enjoyable diversions, and the relative unpredictability makes it a new-ish experience just about every time the game is played. the two game modes balance each other well, and the online multiplayer is great for bragging rights.

Welcome to the Arena.

Rocketbook Wave Connected Notebook Review

Rocketbook Wave Connected Notebook Review

Dec 22, 2016

For every unfortunate,unfunded concept, there is a realized dream that joins innovation to entrepreneurship. Kickstarted project Rocketbook is a perfect example… on paper.

Rocketbook melds few concepts together. In part, these concepts are, well, sexy. The item looks to be, at first glance, traditional means of taking notes; indeed, the core piece is a notepad. Then, it looks to provide extra, timely functionality by utilizing cloud connectivity via a companion app hosted on a smartdevice.

Finally, the Rocketbook has a final trick up its sleeve, one which involves microwave heat and the promise of reusability. More on that later…

The review package we received contained the Wave notebook, and a black FriXion erasable pen. The notebook “standard” sizing (8.5 in x 9.5 inches) contains 80 pages of dot-grid paper (there is also a smaller “executive” option). Each page has icons and QR codes to help with identification and storage.

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The next piece is the Rocketbook app; this app allows users to digitize the pages using the device’s camera, and to send them to email addresses and services.

Now, when it comes to reusing the notepad the system employs an interesting trick involving a mug of water and a microwave. Yes, you place the notebook in the microwave, place a mug on the notebook in just right spot and nuke it for a few minutes each on both sides.

It is definitely interesting, and it actually works. I admit to being a bit skeptical, but after less than two minutes (including flip) I had, in essence, a fresh notebook.

Sadly, it wasn’t enough time to make a pipin’ hot cup of tea. Impressive.

If I could, I’d love a more professional-looking notebook as an option, but to be fair, I wonder how, say, a leatherclad notebook would stand up to microwaving. I do love that there are two notebook sizes available, and the green factor here is invaluable.

Altogether, the 3-piece system manages to jump over gimmicky and truly be a useful tool, at $27.00 for the a notebook and pen, it doesn’t necessarily break the bank, either.

Archery King Review — Own the Range

Archery King Review — Own the Range

Dec 22, 2016

It seems that archery games are popping up everywhere, and probably with good reason. Archery — the real, physical kind — is definitely a fun experience, pitting concentration against the elements and physics.

The virtual kind lends itself to the same, somewhat, and it makes sens that Android development stalwart Miniclip has thrown its hat into the ring with Archery King.

It is definitely a brightly-rendered game; the many environments are done relatively well, and the use of perspective is especially striking, as one should expect from a game of this type. The equipment is tightly done, and the animations are fairly smooth.

When it comes to gameplay, we get a few different modes, some in multiplayer and others in single ak3player against AI. More specifically, there is Classic (multiplayer), Rush (multiplayer), Challenge (single), Time Race (single) and a Mini Game section. Checking it out in Classic mode seemed like a plan.

It is fairly easy to understand. The game shows the player have to shoot, which involves gesturing to use the sights, and then adjusting to get as close to the bullseye as possible. Releasing shoots the arrow.

Now, in the perfect conditions, the arrow flies straight, and hits the center (or very close) for a 10. The game incorporates a degree of physics though, so one has to contend with stuff like wind, so getting a high score every time isn’t as easy as it may seem.

But back to Classic gameplay… when the control mechanics are understood, one gets to go against another player that is randomly chosen. There are different entry tiers (using virtual cash); generally speaking, more cash yields higher payouts. At this point, it is a shooting contest between the two players, and best of three rounds wins the jackpot, plus some XP. There is a time limit to shoot, and tie-breakers when the tallies are even after three.

As one plays on, competition gets tougher. One can pick up better gear as they become available.

Rush Mode is a race, and Challenge is a lone. leveled adventure with interesting challenges.

The multiplayer aspect is fun; the ability to choose players (as in local multiplayer, especially) would be nice. It is possible to earn coins by watching ads, but premium stuff requires extra cash.

All in all, it is a nice diversion mostly. It works well free, and the Facebook connectivity option will appeal to some folks.

Discounted Games! Check Out Premium Games Available for Cheap

Discounted Games! Check Out Premium Games Available for Cheap

Dec 21, 2016

Seems like a couple of games are available to be procured for relatively cheap.

These are some great ones… top-tier games ranging from 50 cents to $2:

True Skate is available for $0.50.

Geometry Dash is available for $0.75

Riptide GP: Renegade is available for $0.99

Goat Simulator: GoatZ is available for $0.99

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is available for $0.99

Kingdom Rush: Origins is available for $0.99

Kingdom Rush: Frontiers is available for $0.99

Bloons TD 5 is available for $0.99

Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies is available for $1.99.

No telling when these will go back to their regular prices, so get it while the gettin’ is good.

[via Slickdeals]

Instagram Tweaks Stories Feature

Instagram Tweaks Stories Feature

Dec 21, 2016

Instagram remains the preeminent image-based social network; it recently added the “Stories” feature, and is now making this specific feature even better rounded.

The latest build adds stickers and more.

Per Google Play:

We have new features for Instagram Stories!
• Stickers: No matter where you are or what you’re up to, add context to your story with stickers.
• Holiday Fun: Make your story more festive with holiday stickers.
• Hands-Free Video: A new option in the format picker lets you record a video without having to press and hold.
• Text Enhancements: Add as much text as you’d like to a photo or video.

Instagram remains free on Google Play.

WorldNeverland Gets Released on Android

WorldNeverland Gets Released on Android

Dec 20, 2016

Android has a new game — courtesy of althi Inc — called WorldNeverland – Elnea Kingdom.

This one is a kingdom simulator with a complex social system. Per the press release:

A player first visits this kingdom as a traveler, then gradually integrates into a society and may eventually become a resident.

One can get a promotion if one excels in work or fighting.

Or fancy a family? One can find love and why not have children! The game is then carried on by the descendants over many generations so that one can enjoy a long-term play.

Questing, battling, collecting items, loving……the drama is totally up to you.

Farm or go hunting and cook good meals with what you get, or just soak in a hot spa and indulge in a quiet moment. It is also absolutely fine to spend your life doing nothing special!

The game is free; in-app purchases are extra.

Get Ready: Amazon Digital Day is Coming!

Get Ready: Amazon Digital Day is Coming!

Dec 20, 2016

Amazon looks to be taking seasonal discounts past Christmas with its upcoming Amazon Digital Day.

On December 30th, the behemoth e-tailer is unveiling a host of digital content — available at discounts of up to 50%.

What will be available? We hear more 1,000 digital pieces, including applications, music, movies, software, video games and electronic books.

Amazon was kind enough to send over a fairly extensive sneak peek:

Pass the Popcorn – Movies, TV and music favorites at up to 50% or more off
§ Up to 50% off hundreds of the year’s top movies and TV shows

§ Top Albums for $5 from various artists including Gunslinger by Garth Brooks

§ Save 50% off annual subscription for UFC FIGHT PASS
§ 50% off Annual Plex Pass (savings of $19.99)
§ Receive $10 towards an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, the new on-demand full catalog streaming service – Only new subscribers are eligible for this deal

Dollar Deals – Favorites for under $1
§ Popular kids apps including Sesame Workshop, Dr. Panda and Toca Boca titles all discounted to $0.99
§ Popular Digital Comics series such as Runaways Vol. 1: Pride and Joy (List price $8.79)

Best of 2016 – Top rated items at great prices
§ Up to 75% off eBooks from top 2016 Kindle Authors including James Patterson, Michael Connelly, and Nicholas Sparks
§ 95% off OfficeSuite Premium Subscription (regular price $19.99)
§ $10 off your first three rides with Lyft ($30 value)

Family Time – Great deals for the whole family
§ 33% off subscription to Amazon Rapids – a new app that offers a playful approach to children’s reading (introductory monthly price $1.99 per month)

Game On – Get your game on at prices you’ll love
§ New and existing player discounts and exclusive IAP item for Game of War and Mobile Strike
§ Enjoy 33% off popular console games including Titanfall 2 and FIFA 17
§ Up to 80% off on hundreds of video game titles such as Saints Row IV and Fallout 4
§ 200% extra coin bonus in House of Fun Slots and other great casino game deals
§ Up to 83% off life points in The Sims Freeplay & 60% off New Year’s buildings in SimCity BuildIt

50% off or More – Twice the entertainment, half the price
§ First month free and 50% off next 5 months subscription of Daily Burn exercise channel on Fire TV ($37 savings)
§ Marvel Collections Sale: Up to 75% off more than 300 graphic novels – Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Dr. Strange Vol.1 and more.

Sounds like an interesting selection.

Amazon Appstore Director Aaron Rubenson talks about Digital Day’s usefulness. “Amazon Digital Day is designed to help customers find great digital content from videos and music to games and apps,” he says. “Whether you received a new device this holiday, or just want to update content on your current devices, Amazon Digital Day is one of the best times of the year to shop for must-have digital content.”

As noted, December 30th is the day. In true Amazon fashion, there will be some early specials starting on December 24th, but the bulk of the goodies will be available on the 30th.

Additionally, customers can visit the Digital Day link to sign up for updates.

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