Endless Frontier is an action-packed incremental game for the mobile

Endless Frontier is an action-packed incremental game for the mobile

Feb 23, 2017

Idle doesn’t have to mean lazy. Case-in-point – Ekkorr’s Endless Frontier. Released in 2016, it takes incremental gaming back to its RPG roots, with a fantasy setting and an action-packed battle between good and evil.

One millennium ago, a hero called Erin has vowed to defeat the Prince of Darkness and his hordes. But Erin’s too weak, and is beaten. Thankfully this is a fantasy world, where respawning is as normal as blowing your nose – so Erin comes back from the dead, returns to the frontline and tries again.

You’re responsible for a band of fighters fulfilling Erin’s quest, making their way passed waves of enemies’ one stage at a time. This being an idle game, you don’t actually have to get involved in the on-screen dust-up. Instead, your job is to manage the resources as they pour in, spending them on upgrades and unlocking new units in order to progress beyond the more difficult stages.

There are 1,500 stages in total, so don’t expect to speed run your way to glory. The reward in Endless Frontier comes from getting that little bit further each time you work your way up from stage one.

Drawing heavily from the world of MMORPGs, you can join and create guilds, playing co-operatively or competing with rival guilds. There’s a solo PvP arena mode as well, if you fancy taking on some of your fellow players. Not many idle games include that level of extra gameplay.

EF_GuildWar

If Endless Frontier sounds like your kind of idle game, you can download it from Google Play and the App Store.

This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partner’s.

Evernote Gets an Update

Evernote Gets an Update

Feb 21, 2017

Collaborative note-taking application Evernote is releasing a new build that looks to be even more useful to its users.

Sharing functionality is the major talking point of this update (per Google Play):

WHAT’S NEW

We know sharing your work is important, so we’ve made some improvements.
Now, it’s easier to
* Send notes with other apps
* Share a link to a note that people can open even if they don’t have an account
* Invite others to collaborate
* See who else can access your content
The Shared section has gotten even better–filter the list of shared content to spend less time searching. Just enter a word from the title of the note or notebook or the name of who shared with you. Voilà!

Evernote remains free (with optional paid tiers) on Google Play.

House of Marley Liberate XLBT Wireless Headphones Hardware Review

House of Marley Liberate XLBT Wireless Headphones Hardware Review

Feb 21, 2017

House of Marley. That Marley.

The legendary name is beginning to develop a bit of a following in the audiophile sphere. What’s not to like? Great construction, wireless options and beautiful sound.

Our wishlist is demanding.

This is what the new-ish Liberate XLBT Bluetooth Headphones have to live up to.

The review package HOM sent us reflected the piece in its retail housing; in the box, there is the headphones themselves, audio cable (hint, hint) and a nifty fabric carrying bag.

The headphones are a solid fit in hand, but not hefty. The band is framed in metal, but with soft leather on the interior; the insides of the cups are framed similarly. Said cups are attached to the frames by a jointed assembly held together by screws, and there are fabric and wooden accents sprinkled throughout.

The one cup houses the controls — power, volume, skip, pair/phone — as well as audio input and microphone. On the other, there is input for micro-USB charging.

lib3

Trying the set on revealed a more-or-less comfortable pair; the band is wide, and also has a sliding mechanism for adjustments. The unit can also fold up, making it easier to put it in the carrying bag.

Pairing it to an audio bluetooth source is intuitive; as soon as we got that, we were able to test the sound quality. Like other HOM pairs, the sound is crisp, even at reasonable distance. In fact, we were notable to ascertain much of a difference between the wired (yes, it can do that) output and wireless output.

It also worked well as the answering end of a phone.

One big gripe for me is the construction. After a fortnight of consistent use, I found that the screws which secure the ear cup to the frame were loosened; sure enough, they fell out completely shortly thereafter, leaving the cup to dangle uselessly from the main band by only cable.

Replacing them seems to delay the inevitable, as it happened again.

This issue (which seems to be a design flaw) mars what is otherwise one of the best sounding, comfortable headphones we have looked at. We’ll update with HOM’s response to this; hopefully, we received a bum review unit.

Gravity Duck Islands Review

Gravity Duck Islands Review

Feb 21, 2017

It’s a rough and tumble world, and plenty of mobile games that mimic it. Battling, strategy… heck, even simulated “reality” games. Pick your poison, eh?

Still, there are times when we all wanna just be like the Commodores on a weekend day… this one just about gets you hummin’.

At first rip, Gravity Duck Islands looks and feels like your regular platformer. The cavernous pathways, gaps to jump and the the like allow it feel familiar out the gate; the core idea, presented in leveled fashion, is to avoid all the potential stoppers and get from the entrance door to the stage-ending exit.

The obstacles start out being relatively easy, and start getting harder by type and manifestation: endless gullies, good old lethal spikes, animals and more. To navigate his, first, we have a the ubiquitous jump button; there is also movement buttons that allow you to control the left/right movement of our protagonist duck. Running with the jump button creates a leap and all that hood stuff.

But the main gimmick in this game is the gravity button. This allows the player to literally simulate the reversal of gravity — the ground becomes the ceiling and vice versa. Now, it’s a fine tool from the get-go, as it becomes apparent from the first level that it is impossible to move on without looking to switch perspective and path to a fixed piece of play area.

gdi3

And the challenge then becomes timing jumps, gravity swaps and avoiding obstacles, while collecting collectibles and moving on. As you move on in the game, you will discover that our traveling duck does have a few more tricks up it’s wing feathers, like the ability o engorge itself with air like a balloon, and a funky teleporting skill.

It comes together fairly nicely, and overall, it’s a relatively enjoyable experience. premium, one-time pricing with no ads is the cherry on top.

Fire Emblem Heroes Review

Fire Emblem Heroes Review

Feb 20, 2017

Nintendo are under some serious scrutiny with their foray into the mobile game scene. Most other publishers can fart out a Flappy Bird clone and no one would think twice but this is Nintendo. Ninty. The House of Mario. Big N. They have standards and a reputation to keep (and a new console to launch) so it’s important that they do things right.

Miitomo aside and ignoring Pokemon GO (which they didn’t make), Fire Emblem Heroes is Nintendo’s first ‘proper’ game to launch on Android (Super Mario Run, where are you?). I’m pleased to say that it’s a success in many, many regards yet it also shows a naivety towards the mobile gaming scene in how it handles IAPs.

Before I get too ahead of myself, let’s explain what Fire Emblem Heroes is. Well, it’s a turn-based strategy game based on the hugely popular Fire Emblem series. Never heard of Fire Emblem? Well, that’s on you – because it is hugely popular. Honest.

The scenario is pure fantasy, dragons and magic fare. Fire Emblem games often boil down to wizards and kings becoming evil or fighting evil or wanting to be rulers of evil. So the story’s not important in the Fire Emblem world, what is important is the mechanic of how you build up an array of characters to go into battle with.

You see, the Fire Emblem games are filled with hundreds of unique characters and the thing that makes Fire Emblem stand out is that these characters can die. Die, die. As in the ‘this character got killed and we know you spent 20 hours leveling her up but she’s dead’ kind of die.

Pretty savage.

Now, Fire Emblem Heroes does away with the ‘proper dead’ mechanic but it is full of the titular heroes and more heroes are being added through updates. Not only has the Fire Emblem’s death mechanic been softened but so has everything else. Console Fire Emblem games can have sprawling battle maps and have you take a large number of units into battle.unnamed-2

Fire Emblem Heroes strips all of this back and has you take only 4 characters into the fight, with the battlefield being a single screen map. This works really well though, as it means that battles are over within a couple of minutes. The combat also has a fairly simple ‘rock-paper-scissors’ strength and weakness system involving spears, swords and axes. It’s straightforward but it’s fast-paced and really enjoyable.

What’s a bit of a let down is the IAPs and the rest of the systems that exist outside of battles. The issue is that there’s shard, crystals, feathers, orbs, dueling swords and a stamina bar to keep track of. It’s more convoluted than it needs to be and it makes levelling up your character more of a pain than it needs to be.

The IAPs need to be called out in particular as they are such a miss it’s unbelievable. Essentially, the only thing you can buy in this game is ‘orbs’. These orbs are used to summon new heroes and they’re the key to getting your favourite characters from previous Fire Emblem games into your party. It takes 5 orbs to summon a character and it costs £1.99 for 3 orbs. 3 orbs are practically worthless. They can’t be used for anything good, so it means that, at a minimum, you’re going to spend £4 just to get a new character, at random.

When you take into consideration the chances of getting a good character (4 stars or better) are 43%. This is an absolutely shocking value proposition, so it’s handy that the game dishes out tons of orbs for completing missions. Which then leaves you wondering just how Nintendo plan on making money off this thing? Who’s buying these orbs?

Obviously someone is – with reports that the game’s already made over $5 million since launch. Still, that’s a topic for another time. This is a review and I’ve got to say I’m impressed with the game. It’s bitesize fighting with just enough tactical challenge.


Noreve Leather Cover Hardware Review

Noreve Leather Cover Hardware Review

Feb 20, 2017

Having been around mobile electronics as long as I have, I’ve seen it all. Almost.

I remember the first device I dropped: My Palm Tungsten T5. My clumsiness saw it drop to the floor; wrapped in a leather all-round portfolio case, it survived the drop, only taking a nick at the top of the stylus storage.

The case did its job.

I’ve seen the devices get thinner and sleeker, and it isn’t too hard to find pictures of device catastrophes. One thing I’ve learned is good protective accessories are valuable.

There will always be those iconic brands that stick with me. I was getting into the handheld computing game back when the Treo was the sexiest thing around.

Back then, Noreve was a major player. Protection that looks good? Sign us up. We were quite willing to see what the premium is up to now; we asked to Noreve to surprise us, and they sent over Leather Cover Rear Shell for the Samsung S7 edge.

case3

Now, if you know the device in question, you know it is a unique device to outfit; the curved edges mean typical cases can interfere with its functionality. The leather cover is crafted specifically for the device, from leather, and fits on the rear of the device. The cutouts are deliberate, such that all ports and buttons are easily accessible. It snaps on and off easily enough, and just be sure, we tried out the camera: no interference.

It has a firm feel, and we could not find any gaps. In practice, it does not add a lot of girth to the device,which is great.

The one drawback? The case is a bit too thick to allow for wireless charging; we tried hard with the four wireless chargers we had on hand.

Still, it’s a fine example of craftsmanship, and one of the better cases we tried.

No surprise, really; Noreve has been doing this for a while.

Raft Survival Review

Raft Survival Review

Feb 20, 2017

Survival is the name of the game in Raft Survival.

The game starts with a bit of dramatic flair; you, the player, comes to on a raft. In the middle of endless ocean, no less. The entire world is taken in in first person perspective. The way the distance blends into fog is well done, and the water and wooden floating structure play the role of central characters rather amiably.

The game doesn’t do much by way of introductory pointers, but a lot of it is intuitive. A lot of debris (wood, grass, metal (yes, metal) and barrels float by; in your inventory, there is a hook. The beginning idea is to use the hook to drag in the floating materials. Why, you ask? To craft other valuable tools, of course.

The barrels are the great catches, as they carry a lot of goodies. When enough stuff is procured, when can ten make stuff like fishing rods, water purifiers, axes, and more to make one’s lonesomeness a bit more palatable.

The idea is to build, stay alive and avoid the gruesome-looking shark. Staying in the water too long is deadly, as is, say, not replenishing the drinkable water quickly enough. With a bit gumption, the goal is buid an ocean house with walls, windows and even floors, and to eat and drink. And thwart the shark.

It is is an interesting idea, and comes together relatively well — ocean survival, in essence.

raft3

To be fair, there are plenty of games with this general concept, and with good reason: it’s a fun, waterborne survival adventure. Still, this particular one has some interesting quirks that hold it back a bit.

There are some graphical occurrences that defy the laws of physics, and there are other visuals that twist the imagination somewhat. Then, there are a few glitches, like not being able to switch tools, or a particular one not working as intended.

My biggest whine is the absence of of a tutorial. Now, I actually don’t mind exploring games on my own, and this one certainly lends itself to that, but I think it would be helpful to have one in this particular game. The trailer (below) is okay but hardly sufficient.

And then… those ads, sir. A premium ad-free unlock would be dearly welcome.

All in all, it still manages to be a fun diversion. It’s a simple crafting adventure, and doesn’t try to be too much more — to its credit.

War Wings Review

War Wings Review

Feb 20, 2017

When it comes to action games, few genres beat the trusty aerial shoot-em ups. In any case, we still want to be wowed, so Sixjoy’s new game War Wings does have a lot to live up to.

Yep, it’s a slick affair from a visual, uh, point of view; the presentation is well done, with a great use of color. The animations really bring the game to life, and the accompanying sound is excellent.

To start out, you get to pick from a, well, lowly rated plane; the game then takes you in on a hands-on tutorial. This tutorial is helpful with regards to using the controls (the game allows the player to pick tilt, virtual buttons or external bluetooth controller). After that, it leads you on a couple of game-like missions.

Beyond the training, the actual gameplay comes in three more flavors: multiplayer, season and a challenge mode. For the most part, the action boils down to a lot of dogfighting; in the multiplayer, one gets to play with other players in teams set via the game servers. It takes a while to get used to stuff, but it comes together well. Trying to shoot while being shot at is pretty fun.

One thing that makes the game enjoyable is the inclusion of different play modes; with this, you can become as involved as you like. Wanna quick shot? Here. Season action? Check. Training? Oh yeah. The game can be very involved, so it’s a good idea to serve up different servings of playable action.

ww3

Another aspect I like is the control mechanism. The default is quite intuitive, and gives the game a degree of realism despite the simplicity. As noted, the action can be controlled in several ways, and the gamepad support is especially fantastic.

The upgrade aspect feels a bit busy, but again, it does help with the realism.

The IAPs weren’t too invasive; we were able to get plenty of play without spending real money. However, we did take advantage of some free goodies, and yes, the game does pick up a good deal with them.

Island Delta Arrives on Google Play

Island Delta Arrives on Google Play

Feb 17, 2017

And now we get a new one under the Noodlecake banner, courtesy of Finnish developer Mantisbite: Island Delta.

The game hearkens to the good old old shooters like Portal, though at the look at the visuals makes one look forward to the assumed whimsical nature.

Island Delta is an exciting action filled adventure game where you wield a powerful anti-gravity weapon to defeat dangerous enemies, solve puzzles and overcome hazardous traps. Explore this retro-futuristic world with heroes, Zoe and Baxter, as you set out on a daring rescue mission and face the evil Doctor Gunderson and his mechanical minions.

Per the presser, Island Delta does not currently support gamepads; the developer doesn’t completely shut the door, as it notes that the game might gain such support in the future.

Price? $2.99, with no ads or IAPs.

Check out the trailer below.

[via Island Delta Press Page]

Galaga Wars Adds PAC-MAN Ship via Update

Galaga Wars Adds PAC-MAN Ship via Update

Feb 17, 2017

If you’re human, you should like space shooters… and as such, you’ll like Galaga Wars.

Enough said.

Now, our nifty arcade look-back is getting an update, and a cool one indeed. Headlining the new build is a new, unlockable ship: PAC-MAN… yep, that Pac-Man.

It seems like Galaga Wars gets even old school-ier.

Per the update:

With this update, you can now hunt the elusive Maple enemy. This special alien appears in sectors, and when killed, drops precious Credits. You can use these Credits to unlock the Pac-Man ship!

We certainly enjoyed our formal spin with the game; this update makes it even better.

The game remains free (with in-game purchases) on Google Play.

galaga1

[Our Galaga Wars Review]

Tapatalk Gets an Update

Tapatalk Gets an Update

Feb 16, 2017

Tapatalk – 100,000+ Forums application is a popular app that internet forum readers rely on. Now, the prominent application is getting an update that is available now.

The current build brings some fixes with regards to forum functionality.

Per Google Play:

WHAT’S NEW

version 6.4.6
-Fixed Unread not working properly.
-Fixed Some tabs not being displayed in the forum home screens.

Tapatalk remains free (with in-app) purchases on Google Play.

Music Artist Discovery App TuneGO Arrives on Android

Music Artist Discovery App TuneGO Arrives on Android

Feb 16, 2017

It’s a crowded music scene, and for folks with talent and a dream, it can be exceptionally hard to be discovered.

TuneGO, a service that allows for independent artists to reach and connect with fans and industry, in now looking to recreate the service on mobile devices with the launch of its Android application.

The app promises music industry access and the ability so share music and video in unlimited fashion. It also allows users to explore and discover trending music, and to discover and interact with folks on all sides of the music industry.

TuneGO chief John Kohl alks about giving artists an advantage. “TuneGO delivers tools to artists to help them advance their careers,” he says. “The path to success in the music industry is a long and winding road, but our platform offers an edge to artists to help them get discovered – both by fans as well as by the music industry as a whole.”

The app is free on the Play Store.