Amazon Appstore Hosts “Spooktacular” Sale via Halloween Shop

Amazon Appstore Hosts “Spooktacular” Sale via Halloween Shop

Oct 24, 2014

Amazon is making it easier for folks to get into the Halloween spirit with its Halloween Shop, a bunch of discounts on premium titles an in-app content.

Per the press release:

This week, the Amazon Appstore ‘Halloween Shop’ is offering a flurry of premium and in-app purchase discounts. For a limited time, customers can find select Cartoon Network titles like Card Wars – Adventure Time for up to 75% off, Grand Theft Auto titles for up to 40% off and République for just $1.99. Customers can also enjoy in-app purchase discounts on select Walking Dead titles, along with Halloween-themed updates and even more in-app treats on titles like Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, Farmville 2: Country Escape, Bingo Blitz and more. From poltergeists terrorizing Quahog residents to ghosts inhabiting haunted houses, the Appstore is the best place for apps and games this Halloween.

If you find ghouls, ghosts and things that bump in the night a little too scary, don’t worry, Appstore has something for you as well. Available today and exclusively on Fire phone, Fire tablets and Android devices, Appstore has new levels for Cut the Rope: Time Travel HD and numerous other discounts on top titles for kids including Dr. Panda’s Airport and Toca Hair Salon 2.

A list of the included content it here.

République Review

République Review

Oct 24, 2014

We’ve been wanting this one for a while.

And now that Republique is on Android, we can breathe a sigh of relief. We can stop giving Camouflaj and Darkwind Media the side eye. And we can taste of the goodness that this title unabashedly brings.

The gameplay comes in two modes: Story, which allows players to experience the story and explore environments, and Normal, which is the standard experience. Going the normal route allows one to pick an episode, and we’re off.

The opening sequence is interestingly tricky, and ominously transports the player to the persona of a person receiving communicating with a mysterious person named Hope. The dialogue helps bring the player up to speed, and we also get a feel for the gesture controls while finding out the negative nature of Hope’s dwelling. Prizrak are to be avoided, and this is where the stealth maneuvering comes into play. The elements come together, with visual cues and collectible items. The hacking concept works, giving multiple views that can assist with advancement, and helpers are cloaked in pieces that work into the gameplay.

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As pointed out, stealth actions are key; as such, carelessness leads to failure, which manifests in being “caught” and returned to a secure room.

Simply put, the graphics are well done. From the opening sequence, one gets a sense that a lot of attentions was paid to the idea of the graphics helping to carry the storyline along. Fear and desperation almost literally are baked into the pixels, and the net effect of the animations as purveyed through the unique camera views is an experience best played to really be enjoyed. The darkness is palpable, but the little things are represented very well.

Where the game excels is the ability to drag one in. Before long, the quest to avoid “recalibration” almost becomes tangible; Hope’s saga becomes our own. What really resonates are the underlying themes of totalitarianism and surveillance, and these issues weigh heavily on the minds of people today.

It’s a well-crafted caper, with subtle salutes to Orwellian topics. The season pass opion is a plus, and I like idea of easter eggs and commentary from the directors show how much the developer looks to engage the audience.

Which is just dandy, by the way, because resistance is sweet, but sticking to the man is always so much fun.

République Arrives on Android

République Arrives on Android

Oct 23, 2014

Some games are worth waiting for.

Yeah, okay. We want République NOW!

The venerable, well regarded stealth action thriller is finally on Android courtesy of Camouflaj and Darkwind Media, and it brings all the goodness iOS users have enjoyed exclusively till now.

It tells the tale of futuristic totalitarianism, and in this, it feels scarily relevant today. Using a unique view mode, the user is compelled to help our heroine, Hope, to escape a secure facility. Influences from classics like 1984 are clearly seen in the storyline.

Developed over five years by industry veterans (Metal Gear Solid, Halo, F.E.A.R.), RÉPUBLIQUE is a thrilling and topical stealth-action game that explores the perils of government surveillance in the Internet Age.

You receive a call from Hope, a woman trapped inside a mysterious totalitarian state. By hacking into the nation’s elaborate surveillance network and taking control, you guide Hope through a web of danger and deception across five thrilling episodes.

Have we said we’re excited?

We will be publishing our review based on a full pre-release version shortly; we also had the great opportunity to talk to Camouflaj chief Ryan Payton and Darkwind Media head Matthew Mikuszewski. The interview was a blast, and we look to get that out soon too.

République is available on the Play Store for $2.99 (with additional in-app purchasing). It’s also available on the Amazon Appstore for $1.99.

Quadropus Rampage Gets Major Update

Quadropus Rampage Gets Major Update

Oct 22, 2014

Quadropus Rampage, the game about the raging cephalopod we all know and love, is getting a pretty hefty update.

The new update brings new upgrade tracks, new game modes, “punchier” combat, better special effects, two masteries and much more.

We had an opportunity to review Quadropus Rampage last year, and came away with the impression that it’s well worth a look. It’s available for free (with optional in-app purchasing) on the Play Store.

TYLT Cases Go On Sale For Limited Time

TYLT Cases Go On Sale For Limited Time

Oct 22, 2014

TYLT is a company we have come to love; its designs generally straddle the thin line between creative and functional very comfortably.

Now, TYLT is offering up its cases for $10 for a limited time. Generally, these cases retail from $35 through $50.

The sale does not include power cases; it includes free shipping within the continental USA; it’s the prefect time to get a case for one’s Galaxy S5, Note 3, S4, iOS devices and more.

We’ve had the opportunity to review TYLT products in the past, and mostly liked the usability and design aesthetic.

The sale will continue through October 30th, so get it while you can.

e-CAL Calendar Review

e-CAL Calendar Review

Oct 22, 2014

When it comes to business, knowing where to be when trumps just about everything else; if mobility is the goal, even a greater emphasis need be put on functionality. On the go, and using a smartdevice as a calendaring hub, one must have a reliable utility.

And if the app looks good, even better, right? With that endgame in mind, checking out the former iOS exclusive e-CAL Calendar isn’t too hard of a proposition.

Off the bat, the first thing that jumps out is the freshness of the design. Google’s's newfangled material design is clearly on display, and is reflected in the terse layout and clean typography, as well as the splotches of green. It is a sharp look overall, and the presentation of the data works well. On the main page, the grid month apexes the individual calendar entries; the three lined menu rests to the top left, and gives us some ready insight into the app’s functionality.ecal1

The calendar is easy to work, with the material design add button at the bottom right. Tapping on that leads to the event entry form, which allows for specific reminders and such to be added. When a specific day is tapped on the calendar, events for that day are listed below. As expected, it syncs with the Google-based calendars installed on the host device.

The menu allows for one to navigate to tasks, and manage them. The app arranges them simply by “all,” “todo” and “done” categories. The tasks can be synced o Google Tasks, and it’s a plus that tasks due dates show up in the calendar. Adding tasks is easy, and as with calendar events, tasks for any given day are shown at the bottom when that day is tapped.

The in-app store has a lot of extras, a few available for free with signing up for an e-CAL account, and others that can be unlocked for cash. There are a lot of choices: religious calendars, weather, sports… even stock exchanges.

All in all, it’s a vibrant option. I think the user interface menu could use more visual options, but do like the built-in beta community, and the optional Event Planner companion app. For a glimpse of material design and a free, functional calendar option, one almost can’t go wrong with e-CAL.

Pixel People Lands On Android

Pixel People Lands On Android

Oct 21, 2014

Chillingo is no stranger to Android game publishing, and has just dropped a new on the Play Store called Pixel People.

From the press release:

Welcome to the world of Utopia where YOU create the city and the residents.

Greet new clones at the arrival center, then find them a place in your new world. Splice the genes of your residents and combine their skills to create new Pixel People to join your thriving city.

You’ll have your hands full as the mayor of Utopia with over 280 Pixel People waiting to be discovered and more than 100 buildings to fill your futuristic city with. Time to get splicing!

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

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Nokia’s HERE Comes To More Android Devices

Nokia’s HERE Comes To More Android Devices

Oct 21, 2014

We noted the arrival of Nokia’s HERE mapping application on Samsung Galaxy devices a short while ago; now, the program is being made available to even more devices.

Now, HERE Maps is available for all compatible device, Samsung Galaxy or not, via the beta download page.

When one downloads the beta apk and installs it on a compatible device, the app opens and presents one with the option of signing in “the old fashioned way” or using a Facebook account. The former asks for name, date of birth and password, and then welcomes one to the app.

The app is particularly vibrant, and showcases the features that made it a hit on Windows Phone, chief of which is arguably full offline functionality. Another interesting feature is the Glympse integration. With this, folks can share locations with friends without any extra apps needing to be installed. It also boasts traffic and public transportation info for select cities, and the web management component is definitely a plus.

It should be noted it is still in beta; as such, feedback is actively requested.

As noted, the app is available via the beta download page.

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[Source: HERE Blog via TNW]

The Maze Runner Review

The Maze Runner Review

Oct 21, 2014

Admittedly, the runner game category is a bit stacked. Since Temple Run, we have seen a steady number of development houses use the tried and true genre to encase game offerings. And why not? It’s an intuitive game type, with a bit of twitch elements usually tossed in, and varied environments to help frame the gameplay. familiarity can be an advantage in mobile gaming.

With The Maze Runner, we get the trifecta of running games: decent graphics, leveled gameplay and a current-ish book/movie tie-in.

Backstory? It’s based on the movie that is based on the book (that all have the same name). Young people and dystopia are all the rage nowadays, but kids killing kids isn’t at the core of this adventure; an actual maze with teenage runners is. The basic premise is that there is a maze, and the teens run to find a way out, careful to avoid the deadly “Grievers” that inhabit the maze.

The gameplay will look familiar to anyone who has dabbled into runners; the basics are present: three lanes, withmaze1 obstacles that come into play. Gestures control the runner, as is usual in these type of games; swiping left or right causes the runner to dart right or left on a straightway, and to cut in the the direction of the swipe when the straightway ends. Swiping up causes the ever-forward moving runner to jump up, and a downwards swipe causes the runner to slide for a brief spell.

After the basics, the gameplay boils down to making it through the maze segment successfully in the allotted time. Some nice elements are tossed in, as noted, it’s leveled, and there are a few tricks up the games sleeve; first, the collectibles; a set of puzzle pieces need to be collected to successfully pass a stage and unlock the next part of the maze. There are gold coins and boosts hat can be collected; the former allows one to purchase stuff in the in-app store, while the latter help with directly with completion of the runs.

The game is ostensibly free, and makes no bones about requesting cash for the more of the suaver characters. The gold coins can be used to improve attributes too.

Familiarity is good, but The Maze Runner might suffer from being a tad bit too comfortable. It feels as if it doesn’t want to change the genre too much, and is comfortable as such. It does work with or without the surrounding story, and is a decent time-waster.

Bing Rewards App Comes to Android

Bing Rewards App Comes to Android

Oct 20, 2014

Microsoft is bringing Bing rewards management capabilities to Android devices via its Bing Rewards app. The app is only available to US residents at the moment.

Bing Rewards is an incentive program that awards a limited amount of daily points for people that use Bing as their search engine of choice. These points can be redeemed for gift cards from some major retailers and internet shops like Amazon and Starbucks. For folks who are tempted to give Bing a chance over (gasp!) Google Search, this program might help with the decision to dip their toes in Bing’s pool.

The app allows users to earn credits, redeem them for awards, track arrival of rewards. It also allows for users to check their reward level, and how many credits are needed to get to the next level.

As noted, the app is available for US residents only; it can be downloaded from the Play Sore for free.

[Source: Androidcentral]

My App Addiction: Slickdeals

My App Addiction: Slickdeals

Oct 20, 2014

I love technology, but even more than technology, I love a good deal. I don’t mind paying top dollar for something that I really need, but I admit I get a rush when I find something worth getting at full cost slashed to a lower price point.

In other words, Slickdeals and I were meant to be.

The well-known deals website is a veritable source of awesome . Making it to the “front page” is no easy feat, but getting the fiery “hot deal” icon is a true honor that befits one who has just set off a run on products that online stores can’t keep up with… the so-called “Slickdeals Effect.”

Being five minutes late can cost you. That’s why the official app is such a crucial tool in the arsenal of the savvy web connected shopper.

Using Android’s push notification system, the app allows SDers to pick and choose what they want to be notified about. Reminders — the ability to get a reminder about a deal that can’t be acted upon immediately while sitting in that budget meeting — are easily set, and the interface is clean and intuitive. I especially like the way frontpage and hot deals are visually presented; the notification system simply works, and it is possible to share deals by services installed on the app, which can be useful for folks who like to notify friends and family of deals… after they have already procured one of said item for themselves, of course. Forums can be accessed, and deal alerts can be set up.

Unlike the full website, the official app requires an account to be used, which might be somewhat of a bummer, but is somewhat understandable.

For the deal-conscious, the mobility quotient alone is worth it. I gotta go… Amazon is giving away free coins for Android app purchases.

Slickdeals told me so.

The Science of Voice Recognition: Video of the Day

The Science of Voice Recognition: Video of the Day

Oct 18, 2014

I believe in the concept of anchor apps: apps that make the prospect of switching platforms unpalatable. These apps are the apps mobile OS makers count on to help propagate their respective OSes. Get some good anchor apps to get new folks hooked on your ecosystem, and sky’s the limit.

In fact, I theorize that having a few mobile anchor apps like Maps, Gmail and Search is what gave fledgling Android OS a fighting chance while it gained users and the developers needed to create the vibrant app ecosystem needed to keep those users satisfied… and encourage friends and families to do the same.

On Android, I do have a few anchor apps. One that stands out is Google Now. The voice assistant is an excellence tool I rely on heavily (with the help of Tasker and treated plugins). I’d be loathe to do without the cards, information and tie-in with other Google services.

In the video below, we get see a Google-created documentary about the science behind voice technology.

[Source: Google Youtube via Engadget]