Agenday Smart Calendar Review

Agenday Smart Calendar Review

Sep 18, 2014

Making everyday business activities easier is a worthy goal that definitely earns developers a spot in heaven. With Agenday Smart Calendar, PGi might have a chance to go up yonder.

The use interface is appropriately businesslike, with the default soft hues and flashes of orange. The welcome screen is tastefully crafted, with weather, date and meetings that are planned for the current day. The date bar is scrollable, and there is a calendar button nestled to the top right, along with the familiar Android-standard three-button menu access. Tapping on a specific part of the weather information leads to Weather Underground, from which more specific weather information can be procured. Altogether, the UI feels clean and intuitive, and avoids the pitfall of being too cluttered.age1

Tapping on the menu button gives an idea of the app’s functionality as a scheduling and conferencing hub. The app automatically pulls in the emails already attached to the hosting device, and tapping “Schedule Meeting” out of the app menu suggests adding a conference service. If this is selected, the user is led to a menu where conference call info can be added. Then, Agenday calls up the installed calendars on the device (and if there is more than one with the appropriate permissions, it allows the user to pick the preferred one). In the main menu, there is also the option to “Meet Now” which allows one to set up a call now.

As already noted, the app stands out by streamlining conference calls. It works with services like GoToMeeting and Linc on the fly, allowing for one-touch dialing and connection to pre-configured conference calls. Additionally, I found it calls up navigation utilities from within the app for drive-to locations.

The extras help make the app standout. For the business professional on the go, integration with LinkedIn and Salesforce should be very welcome. It interfaces with the installed contacts/people utility too, so a lot of actions can be performed from the app. The widget is also a nice touch.

When it’s all said and done, Agenday makes its name by doing more, and doing more simply. Being free makes if feel even more of a steal.

Super Monkey Ball Bounce Review

Super Monkey Ball Bounce Review

Sep 17, 2014

Super Monkey Ball Bounce has a lot of problems, and being a cash cow is just one of them. It is a shame to see what Sega has done to the once beloved series of challenging games.

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When you love Peggle or games like Peggle, you will clearly enjoy Super Monkey Ball Bounce. That game doesn’t just take inspiration from Peggle, it rips it off completely. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing; one can better steal something good, than make up something bad. It is all in the details; and with details, I mean stuff like themes, power ups and level design. And that’s the part Super Monkey Ball Bounce doesn’t fail to be enjoyed by gamers. Because the base is pretty good.

But the other problems – oh my God. This game has some pretty annoying performance issues. Not only did my LG Nexus 5 (which is a more than decent phone to play new Android games on, I might add) get pretty hot, like, all the time, it also showed some irritating slow down, frame drops and left me with an overall impression of lazy development. These kind of issues are fixable, even before launching a game. Or maybe it is just to heavy for Android phones nowadays, I don’t know.

Being a free to play title, I can assure you that you will be bothered with making in-app purchases. Although they might not be that annoying and present at first – the further you’ll come, the more the games will ask you to pay for something. You can get special coins to play on after losing all of your balls, get some new outfits for the gang or monkeys, and so on. And this makes the app stutter even more. Damn, that is so annoying. Sega, please fix this, because, you know what…

I actually like to play this game.

I am willing to sit through those irritating ads in moments the game asks me to pay up some dollars. I am willing to forgive the publisher for turning one of the best franchises on GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox around in to a casual experience. And I am willing to accept that I like this game, despite those things. So when the performance issues are gone, I can actually recommend this game. But for now, when you download it, you’ll have to be patient.

Once Upon a Runner Review

Once Upon a Runner Review

Sep 16, 2014

Honestly, I expect quite a bit from running titles. Give me cool graphics. Give me action.

Give me Once Upon a Runner?

I was sucked in somewhat by the artwork. It’s handcrafted, and the dark looks mostly underscore the developer’s design motif. The graphics highlight the basic left to right running action that is almost ubiquitous with regards to runners, and the animations are smooth. The 2D presentation is different from the top-down view that is favored by a lot of developers in this genre, but it works well.

The gameplay isn’t one to lollygag; it gets right to it. There are two modes (story and endless); after the all too short tutorial, which highlights the virtual control mechanism, the game gets going with “real” running. Our once1heroine can jump over obstacles like boulders and ditches, while conversely she can slide under baddies like branches and birds the appear along the runway. What I think makes the game a bit different than the norm is rate at which the obstacles appear right off the bat; it gets really busy very quickly. Additionally, there are plenty of goodies and boosts to pick up as well: extra lives, timed invulnerability and more. There is a rechargeable ball of fire that can be used to destroy some obstacles, and there is only a set number of hits our runner can take before succumbing to clumsiness.

The game sports six levels, and even finds a way to incorporate bosses and varying difficulty levels. The end result is a leveled, scored survival quest which cleverly includes some elements of twitch reactions to keep the game fun. Gems can be acquired to gain assets from the in-app store, and this can be supplemented with real cash.

I wasn’t a fan of the control layout; the way the slide and jump buttons are stacked tends to make me either glance away from the action to the controls, or simply mishit controls periodically. On the other hand, I like the quick action sets, and the addition of secondary characters to the gameplay.

All in all, it’s a fun game, and no doubt should end up on the “favorite” list of many a mobile gamer.

On A Loop Review

On A Loop Review

Sep 15, 2014

On A Loop is one of those game I did not know what to expect from, but quickly turned into one of my favorite games on Android. Man, this game is clever.

This is one of the most clever puzzle games I have ever played. And looking at my app history and my score on the puzzle genre my Google+ profile, I realised that I have been playing a lot of puzzle games on my Android phones. On A Loop has a very simple gameplay mechanice that forces players into thinking a billion steps ahead of their move, calculating every possible outcome there is on the action he is about to take. Well, sounds a bit dramatic, but that is how I felt.

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In On A Loop, players get tasked with making sure the black object, shaped in basic forms like a triangle, block or circle, becomes white. To do so, they must press and hold the object on screen, keeping an eye on the little black bar that has to make a number of circles to complete the players goal. But beware: when that little black bar touches anything, like objects that are hanging still or moving or even other black bars, the almost white shape will turn black again.

That means that players will need to start over with a new strategy in mind, because, clearly, the previous one did not succeed. One can argue that holding the shape and letting it go randomly can lead to a victory, but that’s bullocks. If something like that happens, that player must be very lucky in life and I would recommend buying a lottery ticket in order to cash in on that luck. Because let me tell you: in order to finish this game, you do need to plan ahead.

That means players’ll have to decide the correct speed that black bar will need in order to complete his rounds, while not touching anything. It is really addictive and the mechanic is genius. The only downside to me is that when I put my finger on screen, I could not always see that bar, so sometimes I’d had to let go to see what would happen. And than it always ends up bad. So yeah, if one is looking for a challenging, yet very relaxing puzzle game, go and download On A Loop. It’s well worth your time.

Appointment With F.E.A.R Review

Appointment With F.E.A.R Review

Sep 12, 2014

Appointment With F.E.A.R casts the player as a hero with powers of their choosing out to stop an evil meeting of the minds as the criminal organization known as F.E.A.R meet in three days to hatch an evil plot to take over the world.

Screenshot_2014-09-03-01-06-00Players begin by picking their powers. What powers they have affects the story great deal. They may be able to fire energy blast from their hands or simply be a Batman like gadget genius with no actual superpowers besides being clever, among others.

A few of these feel a bit half-baked though. The engineer type doesn’t really get enough chances to use his gadgets and the mind reader doesn’t get to really read minds, more just use their physic skills to hurl objects at enemies and so on.

Screenshot_2014-09-09-12-51-31After creating their character the player embarks on a long, interesting adventure in Titan City. Picking the right way to react to events, what to prioritize and the correct dialogue responses to uncover clues are essential to success. The game has a strict time limit of the three days until the meeting. If the player hasn’t found clues as to where the F.E.A.R meeting is by then the game is lost. There are many red herrings and wastes of the time player can fall foul of and sometimes the most sensible choices may not be the right ones.

Appointment With F.E.A.R uses a similar battle system to other Fighting Fantasy books, but the mechanics are quite different. During combat the player can pick between easy, normal and hard to land attacks which do increasing amounts of damage. The chances of landing an attack are random, just leak the dice rolls in the gamebooks of yore, but these dice rolls are hidden from the player.

Finishing combat quickly is often required to get the best outcome of a situation, so unleashing risky attacks is sometimes important. The game doesn’t have too many battles however compared to other FF books. It tends to be more dialogue based.

Appointment With F.E.A.R is an enjoyable story and brain power is required to make headway though the game. It is also packed with humor, like the ability to ignore a crime scene in order to purchase a custard tart or finishing coffee before checking out in progress crimes.

The game has some annoying glitches however. More than once I had an issue with the game simply blanking out when I tried to start it or text becoming black on a black background and being impossible to read. Both times this could only be fixed by reinstalling the game which is not an ideal solution.

Appointment With F.E.A.R doesn’t read much like a Fighting Fantasy story. While an enjoyable read with plenty of silly dialogue like any campy superhero story, it is a complete departure from Livingstone’s earlier books and this may not sit well with some players. Hero names are very silly as well. I laughed when a suggested name for my heroic energy blast firing heroine was Velcro Pants.

Appointment With F.E.A.R tells a good, funny story and is an enjoyable game. While it may be a little frustrating sometimes working out where to go and what to do the general air of ridiculousness and fun really make it an inviting game.


Help Me Fly Review

Help Me Fly Review

Sep 11, 2014

There is no shortage of puzzle games in all of the app stores, including the Google Play Store. But finding that must play puzzle game, might be a challenge. Don’t look any further, because we’ve found one.

Puzzle games and app stores: it’s like a combination made in heaven. And why wouldn’t it be? Most of those puzzle games are easy to understand, offer a great challenge and have some pretty user-friendly interfaces for us to enjoy. A good puzzle game has all of the above mentioned elements and I’m glad to say that the game Help Me Fly vg fits right in to the description of a good puzzle game. It even has some solid looking graphics that are easy on the eyes.

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In Help me Fly, the goal is to make a little red airplane fly again. The premisse of the story is that the pilot of that plane need to lift off. But without power, it has no chance of doing so. Now it is up to the player to make the plane fly again. And how does he do that? By making sure the plane gets some juice again. Players need to hook up the stranded airplane to a nearby battery with some funny looking blocks that conduct the electricity to the flying machine.

By placing a red block next the battery, the block turns green – meaning that the electricity is running right through it. When the players connects another block to the green one, the other one turns green also. Now, when all blocks are green and connect the battery to the plane, the plane can lift off. Goal completed, right? Nope. There is also the task to light up all the stars in a puzzle. It’s a bit odd when you look at the… story… but it does offer a great layer of challenge.

And that is where Help me Fly really shines. It never is to hard to make to plane fly again, but when players want to go for the maximum score – and that is something I also want to do – they need to be on there end game to prove themself to the game. Because right from the start, the game throws mind boggling challenges at you. Combine that with the great looking and colorful graphics, a great interface and controls, and Help me Fly is one of those golden puzzle games.

Angry Birds Stella Review

Angry Birds Stella Review

Sep 11, 2014

The new Angry Birds Stella game just came and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to give the birds a swing again. Only this time, we’re swinging female birds with more tactics at their disposal.

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With every new Angry Birds installment I always ask myself: what did Rovio do this time to not make me think this game is just like the one before? The gravity mechanic in Angry Birds Space was a first for me, thinking the developer actually did something to improve the basics of the game. And now, I’ve got the same feeling. Angry Birds Stella is, to be very direct, a new Angry Birds game that builds upon the basics of the core of the franchise and really offers something new.

Then again, it isn’t that drastic of a difference, of course. Because we’re still sling-shotting birds across the screen in order to get rid of those nasty little green pigs, but this time around, players get a different move set all together to play with. The different kind of female birds all have their own unique ability to experiment with and, while the controls are almost the same, it really does offer some unique gameplay mechanics for the series. Nothing really ground breaking, but it works.

Angry Birds Stella offers a story as well. At first I was like: why does this game have a story. But then I understood: it offered the developer some room for improvement in terms of boss fights. Well, not really boss fights, but levels that are more challenging than the levels before, but not as hard as the levels after it. It really fits with the story, whether I think the game needs it or not. If one can clear those levels with just one, flying, female bird, they are true Angry Birds masters.

And the game offers more stuff. Players can get one of those Telepods and with these things, they can unlock the other characters (but just by playing the game, you can do that too). And there is even stuff to collect besides the proven three star rating. Overall, Angry Birds Stella genuinely feels more balanced than any other Angry Birds title out there and it definitly feels like the developer put a lot of effort into making this game. Angry Birds Stella is a fun experience which many of us can enjoy.

Abs Trainer Review

Abs Trainer Review

Sep 10, 2014

Smartphone users look to get the most out of their phones because they are always on the go. Many of these people are so busy, it’s hard to find time to go to the gym. Abs Trainer, a new app in a workout series created by Backbenchers Lab, uses the portability of a phone to provide quick ab exercises that users can perform from the comfort of their own home.

Abs Trainer doesn’t require a hefty knowledge of working out–it provides simple workouts anyone can achieve without having to pay expensive gym membership fees. If you know how to do a sit-up, you should have no problem understanding the many exercises showcased in the app.

Abs-Trainer-4The user interface is straightforward and easy to use. To get started, users simply select which section of the abdominals to work out. The app directs users to three sections broken down into the upper abs, lower abs, and obliques. Lower ab workouts are typically less strenuous and complicated, but users should integrate a mix of routines from all three categories, especially if they are working towards six-pack abs.

Choosing a category will lead users to another menu, this time displaying different ab exercises that focus on the selected abdominal section. The app is extremely helpful because most of the featured exercises can be done without any gym equipment. Exercises such as leg lifts, planks, and mountain climbers can provide an intense workout that is easy to achieve and requires nothing aside from your body.

However, there are some workouts featured in the app in which fitness machines are required. Some of these exercises are a bit more complex, especially for users who are just beginning the journey of getting in shape.

After selecting a particular workout, users are shown a very brief video clip that explains how to perform the exercise. In fact, the clips are more like a gif than a video. The length of each clip works as both a benefit and a disadvantage for the app, varying by the complexity of the workout the clip is displaying.

Shorter, simple exercises are easy to replicate by watching the videos, and users will find themselves able to pull off a handful of routines in no time. However, that is not the case with all featured workouts. More complicated moves–such as exercises that require users to alternate sides–are not shown in their entirety. Users who lack any previous knowledge of the exercise will still be uninformed after exploring the app, which is the exact opposite of what Abs Trainer is trying to achieve.

The app somewhat offsets this by breaking down each exercise with step-by-step instructions. These processes might be confusing if taken alone, but pairing written instructions with how to videos helps clear up any doubt.

Overall, Abs Trainer is a solid app for Android users who are looking to start a workout routine without paying expensive gym fees. The app not only equips users with a database of exercises to workout their abdominals, but it also gives them the knowledge necessary to train the areas of their body they feel need the most work.

SkyHeroes Review

SkyHeroes Review

Sep 9, 2014

SkyHeroes is one of those games for me of what I did not know to expect from. It looks really colorful and has lots of menus to tap through and therefore, it should have lots of depth to its gameplay, right?

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When I first came across SkyHeroes, I was pleasantly surprised. The game is really cheerful, has a lot of colors and even the soundtrack made me happy. The almost kiddie look of the game is in stark contrast with its own gameplay. SkyHeroes isn’t a game for people who like to enjoy casual games, and really asks a lot of the player. The gameplay is really fast and players should keep their attention at all times at the screen to not die an inconvenient death… because that will happen, eventually.

But how is that possible? The game looks so cheerful and look at all those colors! Yes, don’t be fooled by its charms and looks, because they are, in fact, deceiving. Underneath all the colors and smileys and even pets there is an honest but hard side scrolling shooter that will offer a great challenge. It is more common to just die at the level boss then to defeat it, but I found myself always enjoying the game, never to be bothered with the fact I wasn’t good enough.

Beneath all that is a system based on in-game and real life money where one can upgrade the chosen hero, buy stuff from the store, get additional bonuses for a level or feed the pet; all with the collected coins or bought gems. Those gems and even the coins can be bought in the store, but frankly, and thank God for that, it is not completely necessary to invest your own money to get the best out of this game. It is possible for some cool stuff, but it is not pay-to-win.

Swing Copters Review

Swing Copters Review

Sep 8, 2014

After Dong Nguyen has put his feelings of guilt and regrets aside, he started to develop ‘the next Flappy Bird’. Is Swing Copters as good (or bad, depends on your point of view) as Flappy Bird?

Dong Nguyen’s next game is Swing Copters. Just like Nguyen’s last game, Flappy Bird, it is a game with the most simple control scheme there is: by tapping on the screen, the copter dude will fly left or right, depending on its position. The goal for the player is to come as far as possible, of course, but to do so, players must embrace the simple controls and concept as it were their lives. Because one needs to be very patient playing this game; Swing Copters gets on your nerves real fast.

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Flappy Bird had two gimmicks. One: the flying Cheep Cheep look-a-like from Mario that would only go up when one taps the screen. Two: the hit boxes were just awful. Unfair and plain awful. The goal was to jump between green Mushroom Kingdom pipes. In Swing Copters, the base remains the same. This time around, players need to navigate the bud on screen through construction support beams, while avoiding the hammers of death. All while being irritated with the controls.

The controls aren’t that awful, actually. Unlike Flappy Bird, one might consider this more of a game where players can get good at. The mechanic here is that the copter goes right or left when the player doesn’t tap the screen. When he does, the copter turns around immediatly. This means that, when players wait a bit, the copter gets some momemtum going, something one need to keep in mind when tapping the screen again. It is a matter of life and death in Swing Copters.

But because of the awful hit detection, it doesn’t really matter how good one gets with the concept, the struggle, the controls or the momentum. It just isn’t fun anymore. We’ve played to many Flappy Bird like games already and the momemtum mechanic isn’t even new. It makes one wonder why Nguyen even bothered to produce this abomanation of a video game, because of its lack of a fun factor. Just don’t play this game. Don’t even download it. Maybe Nguyen will stop making games.

Ice Cream Nomsters Review

Ice Cream Nomsters Review

Sep 8, 2014

Ice Cream Nomsters is a new game from the Dutch studio Firedroid Games. It is a game where players need to deliver ice cream. Also: the success of this game will decide the fate of the studio.

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Firedroid Games, known for games like Kings can Fly and Barrr HD, released their newest title: Ice Cream Nomsters. This is an hectic time management game where players need to bring ice cream around a town full of monster houses. The goal for each time one plays is to bring around as much ice cream as possible in the truck, before the timer (the temperature meter) runs out (reaches one hundred degrees celsius). Later on in the game, players face challenges like road blocks.

The idea of the game is one that came from a couple of other ideas. One of those ideas was to make a game with a control scheme where players needed to drag a route for a car – at first, this was meant to be a race game, but the idea to deliver something (that something later became ice cream) was much more appealing for the young and struggling game developers. Why are they struggling? If this game fails, the studio will cease to exist. That would be a shame.

Therefore, they’re putting everything they have in to Ice Cream Nomsters and we can honestly say, the quality and the amount of fun the game gives is, is quite high. The game’s art style is comparable with other Firedroid Games, but has a face on his own. And the gameplay, although not very original, has a distinct feeling about it within the chosen context. Those house are scary – in a cute and funny way. And the music has a very happen tune about it, it is a delight to listen to.

The ice cream one delivers brings money in the pocket of the player and with that money, players can buy upgrades for the trucks and cooling system and even a funny hat. What I didn’t like is that I had to collect experience points to unlock a level (that being so is okay, but), I also had to pay up some in-game money to unlock it even more (before that, the level isn’t playable). But besides that, this game is well made and fun to play – and you won’t have to spend a dime to do so. Get it now.

Yahoo Aviate Launcher Review

Yahoo Aviate Launcher Review

Sep 5, 2014

The ability to customize is one of Android’s biggest virtues.and third-party launchers are a big part of the experience. Thing is, there are a lot of launchers on the scene; as such, new options by the Yahoo acquisition Aviate have to do quite a bit to stand out.

Upon starting the app, one gets the “Simplify your phone” mantra, an invitation that is hard to ignore. There is a video intro and tapping on the blue “start” button opens up a three-page promo portion which eventually leads to the set-up, and after selecting Aviate as the permanent launcher, its ready to go.

The main page is a simple screen, made up mostly of wallpaper, top area and a bottom dock with five app icons; the apps represented thus can be manipulated by tapping and holding, and widgets can be added to this screen via the standard Android long-press method. There are other “home” screens as well. At the top right is an icon that loads the app drawer.yahoo1

To the left of the first screen, there is an interesting data screen that highlights basics like weather, calendar events and news; as with the first, widgets can be added to this sliding screen. To the right of the first screen, there is a page with categorized apps.

Then, there are slide-outs to the far right and far left; the left side has “spaces,” which is the functional heart of the app. Spaces are simply a descriptive term for these unique screens that offer smart information based on location and action. This specific slide enables easy access to the spaces, as well as app settings. to the right, is an alphabetized listing of apps.

Everything works together well, and it is seamless within Android OS. There are some clunky aspects (the method of changing icons on the middle/main screen bottom dock comes to mind); the way it incorporates widgets in the framework does overcome a lot of ills.

For a free, well-backed option, Aviate is tough to ignore, if even just for the option of the occasional switch-up.