Spider-Man Unlimited Review

Spider-Man Unlimited Review

May 30, 2015

Spider-Man has been called many things by evil villains and adoring fans — web-slinger, wall-crawler and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The Marvel superhero lives up to his nicknames in the Spidey-fronted runner for Android, Spider-Man Unlimited.

Spider-Man Unlimited has all the elements of the typical endless runner, but it uses the source material to put a fresh perspective on an overdone genre. Developed by Gameloft, the title features animated cutscenes that nod to Spider-Man’s comic book history and varied gameplay that takes advantage of the hero’s unique abilities.

The game’s plot revolves around Spider-Man and his infamous group of nemeses, the Sinister Six. Nick Fury, Black Cat and some of Spider-Man’s friends make appearances in comic book-style scenes to give Spider-Man’s actions some context. Ultimately, the game is centered around chasing down individual members of the Sinister Six and defeating them. To do that, Spider-Man must call on his arachnid counterparts from other dimensions, including Mangaverse Spider-Man and Secret Wars Spider-Man.
Spider-Man Unlimited

This dimensional dynamic is unessential to the game’s plot — the story will be the same regardless of which Spider-Man you use — but it adds new elements to Spider-Man Unlimited. Comic book collectors will find a special appeal in trying to unlock Spider-Men from every dimension, and the character variety is visually appealing for players.

Anyone familiar with Subway Surfers or Temple Run will be able to pick up and play Spider-Man Unlimited easily. Gameplay involves swiping through the rooftops of New York, Oscorp, S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters and other familiar locations. In addition to locational obstacles, Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and members of the Sinister Six will create new burdens along your path. As is standard for any runner, there are various collectibles and power-ups to grab as you move through levels. However, there are more interesting portions of gameplay that involve Spider-Man’s special abilities.

The web-slinger will need to sling his web to cross rooftops throughout New York and the wall-crawler will be able to scale buildings in mid-level gameplay sections that require players to physically tilt their screen left or right to move Spidey. At first, this sudden change of gameplay can be difficult to get used to, but these additional elements are a nice change of pace to the otherwise tired endless runner genre.

While making purchases is not completely necessary to experience Spider-Man Unlimited, some of the game’s levels require players to recruit new Spider-Men or level up their current characters. This is where the game encourages players to shell out real-world money. Players can choose to compete in live events or random runs in order to earn in-game currency, but that pays off at rates lower than even J. Jonah Jameson would offer. Those who are unwilling to pay cash will find themselves playing the waiting game as they attempt to level up their Spider-Man corps.

There are some smart moments in Spider-Man Unlimited where gameplay varies, but the fact that it is just another runner for mobile devices can’t be overlooked. However, fans of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man will enjoy using Spidey’s abilities and hearing his sarcastic quibs.

Stick Squad 3 – Modern Shooter Review

Stick Squad 3 – Modern Shooter Review

May 18, 2015

At one point in the Internet’s short history, stick figures ruled the World Wide Web. Animated videos showed stick figures performing many activities, most of which involved brutal violence. While stick figures aren’t so popular anymore across the Internet, they have experienced a revival of sorts on mobile games. From playing golf to running endlessly, stick figures seem to be leading active lives.

Stick Squad 3 – Modern Shooter brings takes stick figures back to their violent Internet roots. A squad of sticks must snipe and shoot their way through secret agent-style missions that take place in the U.S. and Spain. Gameplay is bland, but the game manages to capture the humorous spirit of the early Internet stick figures.

Players probably won’t be expecting any production value from a game centered around stick figures, but there is some surprising storytelling involved. Animated cutscenes give players some convoluted context to missions and provide some funny moments, but the dialogue seems like it was written for 13-year-old boys. Voice acting is comically bad, and it’s hard to tell if that was done on purpose. There are also some glitchy moments when mouths move long after the dialogue has completed or is it just not in sync with the words.

Right out of the gate, it is obvious this game was made for the same people who still enjoy the Internet’s brutal animated stick figure videos. It is somewhere between niche and parody, but it could be quite off-putting to those who don’t fall into that niche.

Stick Squad 3 - Modern Shooter

Gameplay is obviously inspired by games such as Call of Duty and Sniper Elite. Most missions involve sniping specific targets. Players will see the level through a sniper scope, and will have to find and eliminate those targets. This is very simple on early levels, but players will receive more complicated instructions as they progress through the game. For instance, in one early mission, players will have to take out a target but make it appear as an accident by shooting a propane tank on a barbecue grill. In another level that has players carrying a pistol rather than a sniper, the target must be shot without actually killing him.

In addition to instructions becoming more complex, levels also expand and targets get further away. Players will have to find enemy patterns and attempt to view the whole map before taking action, which can be frustrating without the ability to get a complete map view.

Players earn in-game currency by completing missions and performing tasks, which can be used to upgrade weaponry. However, this seems to have little impact during gameplay. Weapons mostly handle the same, and levels can be completed without upgrading firearms.

Gameplay is functional, but it is not very challenging or rewarding. Missions can easily be completed through trial and error, and killing off helpless stick figures just doesn’t provide a sense of accomplishment. Maybe it’s because they’re stick figures, maybe because they can’t fight back, or maybe it’s because the attempt at a plot doesn’t make players feel like they’re really fighting bad guys, something seems eerie about shooting enemies in the head.

Stick Squad 3 – Modern Shooter is mostly just shooting for the sake of shooting, and it is not fun even as a mindless timewaster.

Fast & Furious: Legacy Review

Fast & Furious: Legacy Review

Apr 29, 2015

On the heels of the release of Furious 7, the Fast and Furious franchise has achieved a new level of success. With that huge success comes an onslaught of multimedia and licensed products, including video games. In conjunction with Microsoft, a Forza Horizon 2 and Fast & Furious crossover game released for Xbox One, but these days most film franchises opt for games in the mobile space. That is how Fast & Furious: Legacy was born.

Fast & Furious: Legacy is a mobile title based on the action-street racing movie series. The license is used to the fullest — players will meet some of the characters from the movie and race, drag and draft their way through the same locations seen in the films.

The first thing that sticks out about the game is its impressive console-quality graphics. Vehicles look almost as nice as their real-life counterparts, but there is a cartoonish video game art style that makes cars feel somewhat like Hot Wheels. What’s more eye-popping is the living environments in which races take place. The streets of LA, Miami, Rio and Tokyo are alive, with realistic obstacles and objects scattered across levels. The bright lights and scenery stand out and make cities pop. These locations are the true stars of the game. Unfortunately, this attention to detail causes long load times.

Fast & Furious: LegacyGameplay is a mix of elements that involve using the device’s touchscreen, and it is a mixed bag. You probably didn’t expect a Fast & Furious game to play the same way as an endless runner, but it does. As cars race across streets, players must swipe to change lanes and avoid other vehicles, road blocks and obstacles. But there are other types of events as well. Drag races utilize quick-time event-like gameplay as players wait to time their launch and gear shifts perfectly. Drifting is done in a similar fashion. This formula is unique for a racing game, but it simply doesn’t work, and Fast & Furious: Legacy ultimately lacks the intensity of a classic racer.

Exploring the menus can be frustrating. There is somewhat of a tutorial at the beginning of the game, but leading players by showing them where to click is not the same as explaining the menu system. Players can upgrade and change vehicles, but there is just too much going on in the menu screens. You get the sense that the game was built to be so much more, but had to be scaled down for mobile devices. Still, it tried to incorporate this depth into the game, and it becomes too infuriating all too fast.

Fast & Furious: Legacy is certainly impressive to look at, but that’s about as good as it gets. Gameplay is uninspiring, and it fails to live up to its namesake. Difficulty ramps up as players progress through the game, but swiping cars across the screen is neither fast nor furious. Unless you are only interested in some car eye candy, skip Fast & Furious: Legacy for a more traditional racing experience.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 Review

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 Review

Apr 27, 2015

The best way to view Tap Sports Baseball 2015 is to focus on what it is rather than what it isn’t. It isn’t quite a baseball sim, but it is much more than an arcade experience. If you’re the small market Tampa Bay Rays, this game likely isn’t for you, but you don’t have to set up an in-game payroll as large as the Los Angeles Dodgers to be successful.

Tap Sports Baseball follows the EA Sports Ultimate Team model. Rather than taking over an MLB franchise, gamers start off with a group of not-so-good to decent players (Nick Swisher was the best player I was given to start with). By playing games, users earn in-game cash and gold, which can then be used to acquire new players or upgrade team attributes such as Hitting Coach and Throwing Arm. This is a compelling way to sidestep the official MLB license, as real player likenesses appear in the game, but teams, logos and stadiums do not.

Gameplay revolves around the offensive side of the ball. In fact, while there are some strategy aspects when it comes to pitching, gamers only control players when they come to bat. Controls are as simple as humanly possible; simply tap the screen to swing. Users will occasionally be asked if they want to steal a base, bunt or swing away, but everything can be accomplished with only one finger. This fast-paced approach allows players to finish nine-inning games in only a few minutes.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015Navigating the menus is an important part of Tap Sports Baseball, and with no tutorial and little direction, figuring your way around can be confusing at first. It becomes easy enough a few games in, but it is not the most innovative use of screen space. Players can access tournaments and league games, which are quicker, more rewarding ways to experience the game. Random matches are handled differently, as opposing teams take turns whenever they’re ready in a fashion similar to Words with Friends.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 is a free to play title, but it also supports the pay-to-win model. Users who pump in real-world cash to buy in-game items will rise to the top quickly. However, players will rarely find themselves overmatched. After completing 20 to 30 games, users should have enough in-game currency to assemble a competitive team. It is just a matter of balancing acquiring new players and leveling up the squad’s attributes.

Despite the game’s robust menu system, it is lacking in roster management. Users can drop players in and out of the starting lineup, but there is no way to adjust batting orders. Additionally, picking up new players is mostly a game of chance. Pay for a draft pick and a slot machine-style wheel lands on the player which you will acquire. There is a daily crop of free agents which players can hand select to add to their team, but they are often not well known and priced too high.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 is not quite a championship contender, but it is a wild card winner. This is exactly what you’d expect from a mobile baseball game. It’s easy to pick up and play, and there’s enough depth to keep players interested throughout the season.

ZigZag Review

ZigZag Review

Mar 25, 2015

ZigZag epitomizes the mobile trend of taking classic gameplay and modernizing it with more pleasing aesthetics. On both fronts, ZigZag is to the extreme — the gameplay formula dates back to carnival challenges before video games existed, while the simplistic, square look is a modern artist’s delight. Combined, it makes for a frustratingly fun experience that is an artful time waster.

The game is as simplistic as possible — players will only need to tap the screen to change the direction of the ball. With no tutorial or instructions, it can be tough to jump right in. However, it is not difficult to tell what the objective is — move a ball along an appropriately zigzagging path.

Like Mario Kart‘s infamous Rainbow Road, players must proceed carefully, as one false move or failed action will lead the ball off the course nearly instantly, but there’s no coming back in ZigZag. Instead, players will have to start all over in hopes of getting further. It is much like a well-known carnival game in which players must use a steering wheel to direct a ball down a path in order to win a prize.

ZigZag Gameplay

The path is randomly generated and will be different with each attempt. To add flair, it changes colors, but this can also make navigating the ball more difficult. As the path zig and zags quicker, it can be tough to maintain perspective as the main path blends in with the base. Part of what makes ZigZag unique is how the brain perceives the winding path. At times, it can look like an eternally sloping stairway to nowhere, but if the brain sees it from a three-dimensional view, it is just a square sidewalk. Of course, this doesn’t change gameplay, but depending upon the player, the way it the path is perceived could make racking up a high score easier.

Simplicity and minimalism is a constant theme throughout ZigZag, and not just with the visuals. Unfortunately, that means there is little objective outside of beating your own high score. There is a shop in which players can purchase different colored balls for 100 currency each, but putting them to use does nothing to impact fundamental gameplay.

Connecting to a Play Games account will allow players to establish a leaderboard and unlock achievements. However, the mere five achievements are not nearly enough to catch the attention of even the most meticulous achievement hunters, especially considering the ease in which players can earn all five achievements. ZigZag is aware of its depth issues, but they ultimately don’t matter.

The game was not created to give players a complex experience, but rather embrace the simplicty of mobile gaming. And it achieves its goals gallantly. Anybody can pick up and play ZigZag within a matter of seconds, and that inspires old school social gaming as friends try to best each other. There is no doubt that a few added achievements and more varied unlockables would make ZigZag a better game, but even without the extra incentive to continue playing, ZigZag is visually appealing and addictive.

Bolla 7 Review

Bolla 7 Review

Mar 20, 2015

Bolla 7 is the type of game that should play perfectly on mobile devices. It’s easy for any type of gamer to play, fast-paced, and intense. However, the game fails in execution because it lacks one fundamental element of video games — the ability to win.

Immediately after booting up the game, Bolla 7 conjures up memories of classic PC games of yesteryear. Dots scattered across the game board will take older players back to the days of passing the time in Minesweeper, and the color-matching gameplay is about as classic a concept as gaming itself.

Players must touch on colored circles and move them around the game board’s tiles. The object is to match these dots by color in order to eliminate them and clear the board before time runs out. But this is easier said than done. Players are inevitably forced to move dots around when there are no matches, and that wasted move will unleash a scattering of more new dots on the board.

This can be incredibly frustrating as users attempt to strategize moves and set themselves up for success when more than a single move is needed. After moving a non-matching dot to set up a second move, a new dot will often appear on a tile between the two matching dots to spoil gamers’ plans. The clock winding down adds an additional layer of frustration as players scramble to find matches before time is up. Games can be played with a time limit of one or five minutes, or with no limit at all.

Bolla 7

However, regardless of whether you play with a time limit or not, the game is impossible to actually beat, and that is the downfall of Bolla 7. The simple, yet punishing gameplay system works for a mobile game, but the inability to actually win removes the sense of satisfaction that keeps players coming back.

The game is not divided into levels, and the difficulty will be at its maximum at the moment players install it. This means it’s difficult to master, but players will quickly be turned off by the fact they don’t feel they can master it at all. Clearing the board is impossible, as players will assuredly run into multiple instances of having no matches. Instead, users fight to best their high score, but there is little acknowledgement even when they do. With no levels, challenges or achievements, Bolla 7 quickly leaves its players in the cold.

Another disappointing aspect of Bolla 7 is its sound, or lack thereof. Players will hear the satisfying sound effect when they move matching dots together, but it feels like something is missing. Soothing background music that speeds up as players near their time limit would fit perfectly into the game, but instead there is no music at all.

The concept of Bolla 7 is not groundbreaking, but it should be the type of game that finds success on the Google Play Store. Instead, it feels like an unfinished products. With little incentive to continue playing, users will find themselves uninstalling Bolla 7 from their collection not long after installing it in the first place.

Feed the Cat Review

Feed the Cat Review

Feb 16, 2015

When cats aren’t busy playing the keyboard, flying on rainbows across the sky and generally being cute for the Internet, they have to eat. At least that’s what the game Feed the Cat suggests.

Feed the Cat turns the concept of feeding the cuddly creatures into a puzzling affair in its most literal sense — players must solve puzzles by swiping food across levels and into hungry cats’ mouths. The concept is simple and adorable, but the execution fails as the game’s levels are about as challenging as actually feeding a cat in real life.

In each level, players have two or three hungry kittens spread across the game board waiting to be fed. Available food items, which equal the amount of cats on the level, are put in precarious spots on the board. The objective couldn’t be more clear even if it wasn’t the game’s title — players must swipe the food through the level to the cats and feed them. Of course, feeding these cats isn’t as easy as its name implies.

Feed the Cat

Various complexities stand in the way between cats and their feed. The game board is also filled with endless pitfalls, and levels are designed in a maze-like pattern to cut off small portions of the board. Swiping up, down, left or right will not just move a single food item, but instead will move them all in the selected direction. This means players will have to carefully map out two or three moves before making one, otherwise they will end up falling victim to some of the game’s traps.

Unfortunately, puzzles offer little challenge, at least not until getting deep into the game. After failing levels once or twice using a trial and error method, it is rather simple to feed all the kittens. Players won’t feel a crucial need to think critically or develop a strategy until reaching level 70, or even beyond. A little outside the (litter) box thinking and a few more obvious moves will help players complete challenges with ease, which is actually disappointing for a puzzle game.

The presentation of Feed the Cat is befitting of its genre. The cartoon caricatures of kittens are adorable, and the food looks so cute players will feel bad feeding fishes to cats. Aside from that, however, the design is boring and uncreative. Pitfalls placed throughout levels lead to an endless space, which makes no sense given the subject matter. For a game of this type, players expect to see colorful, interesting levels, but instead, level design uses bland, repetitive earthy tones. In fact, levels are barely distinguishable from each other, and there are no zones or worlds that switch up the style.

Feed the Cat has a simple concept, but is full of untapped potential. The game’s puzzles inspire creativity, but that is about the only part of the game that shows any signs of imagination. Challenges are easy to overcome, and combined with the lack of zones to progress through, players feel no sense of satisfaction when solving puzzles. Overall, Feed the Cat is much more Grumpy Cat than Nyan Cat.

The Princess Bride Game Review

The Princess Bride Game Review

Feb 16, 2015

It’s been 28 years since the release of The Princess Bride, but it’s never too late for a video game adaptation for mobile devices. Ask any twenty- or thirty-something adult if they’ve seen the movie, and the response will almost assuredly be one of the film’s many famous lines. In fact, the cult classic might be more popular today than ever, but your name doesn’t have to be Inigo Montoya for you to enjoy The Princess Bride game.

The Princess Bride isn’t a game as much as it is a collection of mini-games. There are four different games to play, each based on one of the movie’s more tense scenes. However, only one level will be unlocked at the outset of the game. Players can unlock new mini-games by performing well and completing relatively simple tasks on each level.

Games take place at some of the movie’s most memorable scenes, so players will be visiting waters infested by shrieking eels and climbing the Cliffs of Insanity. Of course, there are also man-to-man battles with Inigo Montoya and a giant.

Each mini-game uses different tried-and-true mobile gameplay. It all starts by fighting off shrieking eels as they attempt to gobble up the princess. Waves of eel species must be stopped before they reach the princess by tapping on their heads. Then, players will visit the Cliffs of Insanity, avoiding superpowered seagulls and falling rock as they climb toward the top by using the phone’s motion sensors. In a Fruit Ninja-style affair, gamers will need to swipe away swords in an epic battle with Montoya. A final battle with the giant awaits players who make it this far, and they will need to swipe left, right and up to outsmart the brute.

The Princess Bride

The game’s most impressive features are its graphics and sound. All of the movie’s main characters are recreated with a beautiful cartoon art style, and authentic sound clips are used appropriately. Completing objectives rewards gamers with more images and soundbites from the film, a shining example of old meets new. The lack of innovativeness is a hindrance when it comes to gameplay, but the obvious nods to the movie are exactly what the game needs.

Currently, The Princess Bride game is an Amazon App Store exclusive, meaning you will have to bypass the Play Store and download the Amazon App Store in order to access the game. This will obviously make it less excessible to the average Android user, but those who really want to play The Princess Bride game won’t have a problem finding it. However, there is no getting around the $3.99 price tag.

The sum is a hefty price to pay for a game with little replay value, even with the promise of free content updates to come. The price leaves little doubt that players are paying for the movie license, which makes sense considering the only people who should be willing to pay that price for the game are diehard fans of the film. While fans of The Princess Bride will certainly enjoy revisiting the movie in a new way, those who have not seen the film can find similar titles available without spending a dime.

Holiday Gift Guide: The Android Workaholic

Holiday Gift Guide: The Android Workaholic

Dec 5, 2014

Mobile devices have quickly evolved into major business, especially for those who actually use them to conduct business. Better technology and more productivity apps have found a home on Android devices, but getting real work done can still be a chore without the right tools. These Android accessories will satisfy the person on your list who just can’t stop working.

ZAGG Universal Bluetooth Keyboard

Android’s built-in keyboard has received steady improvement since the OS first released, but it is still not nearly as efficient as a classic keyboard. The sleek-designed ZAGG Universal Bluetooth keyboard makes typing on tablets and smartphones enjoyable. The ergonomic design makes the keyboard comfortable and natural for all users. While the keyboard is portable, it is not too small where it ruins the typing experience.

The ZAGG keyboard is priced at $69.99 and can be purchased through the company’s official website. It comes packed with a protective case for carrying and storing the keyboard, which also doubles as a stand for any tablet or smartphone.

GoSmart 200 Stylus

A nice pen has always been a classic gift for a bussinessperson. With touchscreen technology abound, a pen can be replaced by a stylus. In addition to avoiding leaving fingerprint smudges and touching a germ-filled device’s screen, using a stylus offers more precision, especially for hardcore users. The GoSmart 200 stylus can easily be mistaken for an executive pen, but it is effective on touchscreen devices.

At only $19.95, the GoSmart 200 stylus represents a serious value. Use it as stocking stuffer and watch as the Android user on your list never uses fingers again. Read our review of the stylus here.

LG G Watch R

The one thing workaholics want more of is time — and who has enough time to actually pull out their phone when a new call or message is coming through? The LG G Watch R smartwatch allows users to save time and keep their focus on the business at hand. The watch connects to an Android phone and displays alerts such as messages, calls, emails and weather directly on the watch’s face. But the G Watch R’s best feature is its design. Unlike other smartwatches, the device looks like a high quality watch when alerts are not being displayed.

Priced at $299, the LG G Watch R is the perfect gift for the Android user who has been extra nice this year. It can be purchased via the Google Play Store and many retail outlets.

SanDisk 128GB MicroSD Card

Between downloading PDFs, creating reports, and updating documents, stock Android devices simply are not equipped with enough memory. Power users will quickly blow through space with music, photos, and apps alone. The SanDisk 128GB MicroSD card is the ultimate solution. The extra memory slides into the Android device’s microSD slot — a luxury that iPhone users do not have — and adds backup to the phone’s own internal memory.

The memory card offers all the storage space an Android user could possibly need at only $119.99. If that is too pricey, choose a smaller amount of memory for a cheaper price.

Holiday Gift Guide: The Music Lover

Holiday Gift Guide: The Music Lover

Dec 2, 2014

Perhaps the most frustrating person to find gifts for is the music lover. Ideas like headphones and speakers are obvious, but it can be difficult to sift through the numerous options to find the perfect gift. If the Android users on your holiday gift list can’t stop the music, these gift ideas will turn them into DJs in no time.

Photive BTH3 Bluetooth Headphones

There’s nothing more annoying than wires. The Photive BTH3 Bluetooth headphones ditch the wire and connects to your device via Bluetooth. Buttons at each earcup means users will be able adjust volume and change tracks without taking out their Android device, and the 12-hour battery life means the headphones will last through hundreds of jams.

Although the Photive BTH3 headphones aren’t quite up to par with top-of-the-line headsets from Bose and Audio Technica, the sound quality is quite satisfying and the price is surprisingly affordable. The headphones, which also include a built-in mic for phone calls and a travel case for storage, is regularly priced at $120, but can easily be found for as low as $49.99 on Amazon.

Sonos Play Speakers

Sonos offers a series of wireless speakers perfect for any music lover’s home. No matter how much room you have in your home, there is a Sonos Play speaker that will find a great spot. The Sonos Play series offers a set of speakers, including the Play:1, Play:3, Play:5 and Playbar. Prices on the speakers range from $199 for the Play:1 to $699 for the Playbar, which is also a great complement to a TV.

The speakers offer top-notch sound that fills up the whole home, and design is sleek enough to leave the speakers on display on shelves or tables. An app allows users to control what plays through the speakers from any room in the house right on their tablet or smartphone. The Sonos speakers are available at Best Buy and Target locations.

Turtle Shell 2.0 Bluetooth Speaker

In-home speakers are great, but the true music lover wants to listen to tunes on the go. Unfortunately, finding a quality speaker rugged enough to survive the outdoors is no simple task. Most portable speakers are not built to withstand the elements and are quickly ruined by water or sand. Enter the Turtle Shell.

The Turtle Shell 2.0 Bluetooth speaker can be taken anywhere from the backyard patio to the beach. The shockproof speaker is designed for use in all conditions. The Turtle Shell delivers quality sound in all directions, even after several trips to the beach or desert. It is available in multiple colors for $129.99 through the Outdoor Technology website.

Google Play Music Subscription

What’s a fancy new speaker worth if you don’t have any music to play? A Google Play Music All Access subscription is the gift that keeps on giving for the Android music buff. At $9.99 per month, Google Play Music All Access gives Android users access to a library that is virtually unlimited. Users can search through a huge collection of music that includes almost every song imaginable and stream tracks through any Android device or online.

Purchasing this gift for the Android user on you list may prove difficult without access to the person’s Android device. Alternatively, you can purchase a Google Play gift card that can be used to purchase several months worth of the subscription.

Holiday Gift Guide: The Android Gamer

Holiday Gift Guide: The Android Gamer

Nov 27, 2014

Trying to find a gift for the Android gamer is no easy task. There is a myriad of options when it comes to accessories, and many of them can be considered useless. Our holiday gift guide will help you find the perfect gift for an Android gamer, whether you are looking for a more expensive gift or a stocking stuffer that won’t break the bank.

Nexus Player

Android gamers typically love the portability of mobile devices, but even the large screen of a tablet doesn’t compare to playing games on a TV. Of course, gamers can turn to full gaming consoles, but buying a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One requires a significant financial investment, especially when factoring in the cost of games. Google is attempting to fill the void this holiday season with the Nexus Player.

The sleek device plugs into a TV via HDMI and allows users to access Google Play apps on their TV. This is great for streaming video, but it also represents an affordable gaming option at only $99. Not all Google Play apps and games are currently available through the Player, but there is already a solid selection of games, and the collection will only continue to grow. Add the Bluetooth gamepad for $39.99. It will also work with any other devices. The Nexus Player and gamepad are currently available through the Google Play store.

MOGA Mobile Gaming System

The MOGA mobile gaming system has long been a favorite among Android gamers, and it is the perfect gift for users who love playing games on their smartphone. Holding the phone and using touchscreen controls is not comfortable, especially during longer play sessions. The MOGA controller solves this problem. The portable Bluetooth controller is equipped with a pop-out center that acts as a stand for smartphones. Devices up to 3.2 inches wide can snap into the port, making it a great option for on-the-go gaming.

Tablet users will also be able to use the controller without the stand via Bluetooth. While the controller has a list price of $29.99, it can often be purchased for much cheaper on Amazon. If the Android gamer on your list has been extra nice this year, spend a few more bucks for the MOGA Hero Power.

Antec LifeBar 10 Portable Charger

The Android gamer’s worst nightmare: not being able to play games because the device is dead or dying. The Antec LifeBar 10 portable charger is a solution that fits inside your pocket. The sleek handheld charger is equipped with two USB ports and one micro-USB slot, and is capable of charging any mobile device.

Android gamers on the go will appreciate the charger’s ability to hold a charge over several days, making it hassle-free power. It also has a built-in flashlight, allowing users to find their device even in the darkest times. Check out our review of the Antec LifeBar 10 here.

Nyko DualShock 4 Smart Clip

The Nyko DualShock 4 smart clip is the perfect stocking stuffer for hardcore gamers. If the gamer on your list already owns a PlayStation 4, this is a great complement. It clips onto the DualShock 4 controller and has a stand that will hold most smartphones.

While the smart clip is designed for use with the PlayStation app or PS4 Remote Play, more active Android users will find a way to make the controller work with Android games. The smart clip is available on the Nyko website for only $9.99.

Mobie360 Review

Mobie360 Review

Oct 7, 2014

The Mobie360 app can best be described as a home screen replacement. But the team behind the app demands more of a smartphone’s home. Rather than a clutter of apps, widgets and pictures, the Mobie 360 version of a home screen is a central hub of information for your smartphone, and it makes users’ lives easier and cellphones more functional.

Most Android users don’t find anything wrong with Samsung’s TouchWiz, stock Android or whatever is packed on their phones, but Mobie 360 reveals the true potential of the home screen. However, the first thing users will notice is its not-so-sleek look. Mobie 360 is all about functionality, and that is apparent by its outdated appearance.

mobie360_3Users can change the background, but it won’t affect the overly bold look of the notification bar-like buttons aligning the top of the screen. Widgets can be placed on the Mobie 360 home screen. However, they don’t retain all the customization as they do on Android’s home tiles, a major compenent of Android’s appeal. This is especially frustrating when trying to set up Google widgets such as Google Now and Google Calendar.

While Mobie 360 allows users to tinker with the appearance of their home screen, its real goal is to make it easier for Android users to find the apps that matter most to them. The custom home screen is made up of tiles, but instead of a mere hodgepodge of apps and widgets, tiles are divided into categories such as work and home. Mostly populating that area is an app wheel, which can be set to include apps you most use at each designated location. This experience can be customized, but Mobie 360 is smart enough to provide easy access to the phone’s most used apps.

A floating Mobie icon — which is a cute creature named Mobie — hovers over apps indicating it has a message to relay. Holding down on the app icon will pull up Mobie’s notification, which will give users tips on phone usage (i.e. Twitter is using too much of your data consumption).

Where the app is really useful is in its stat tracking. Mobie 360 makes it easier to save battery and keep track of how your phone is draining power. A single tile on the home screen is filled with information regarding the device, including how many more hours your phone will last without being charged, how much data you have used this month, and how secure your phone is.

This is an extremely useful tool for phone power users and Mobie 360 presents it in a way that is easy to understand. It also provides tips to resolve issues, such as deleting apps that are sucking up too much energy.

Mobie 360’s design will not appeal to everyone, but the app will still provide suggestions to users who refuse to change their home screen. Before you go to bed at night, the app will ask you if you want to enter bedtime mode to eliminate overnight distractions. After you arrive home from a long day out, Mobie 360 will suggest you turn on WiFi to conserve power. All of this is done through notifications that pop up on screen.

The Mobie 360 app can be used in many ways, and all Android users will find it useful. The app is a must have for power users who are constantly struggling with app usage and battery life.