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Timberman May Just be the Next Flappy Bird – and it’s on Android

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014

Timberman is the next big hit casual arcade game in the vein of Flappy Bird. Tap on the left and right sides of the screen to chop down an impossibly-tall tree, making sure...

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Games

Falldown! Deluxe Review

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014

Falldown! Deluxe: Have a ball!

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Productivity

Note Anytime Review

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014

This app for handwriting makes syncing notes to the cloud and editing them on multiple platforms easy. It's just the cloud syncing that's a pain.

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App Rundown

Falldown! Deluxe Review

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014

Falldown! Deluxe: Have a ball!

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RBI Baseball 14 Review

RBI Baseball 14 Review

Jul 18, 2014

After two straight days of no baseball whatsoever, you may finally be ready to accept it back into your life. And between the many games, you may find yourself wanting to play a game. Well, RBI Baseball 14, the MLB-published revival of the classic series, is finally on Android.

This is old-school baseball, for better or worse.

Seriously, this game isn’t just RBI Baseball in name only, it replicates the original game to a T. Pitchers can throw fastballs, mid-speed breaking balls, and knuckleballs that move erratically and slowly. Hitters can move around the box to try and hit the myriad pitches coming their way with just swing and bunt commands. Each team has 4 pitchers, with the starter tiring midway through the game. David Price relieving Alex Cobb a day after he started? Dr. James Andrews shrieked in horror. This game eschews realism, and any real gameplay advances of the past couple decades or so, in the name of replicating this classic.

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And perhaps there are issues with the game being so retro that it doesn’t quite stand up to 2014′s baseball games. That’s not a huge problem. What RBI Baseball 14 gets right that other games fail at is making sure there’s an actual core game of baseball there to be played. MLB Perfect Inning seemed to be so obsessed with its card mechanic that it failed to emphasize its actually-strong core game. RBI Baseball 14 is for better or for worse, all about that baseball game.

Now, if you don’t have tolerance for the deliberately un-advanced gameplay and unrealism, especially if you don’t remember the original RBI games, then this may not be for you. There’s that whole wildly-off pitcher management thing. And their pitches are absurd too. The body types are all a bit ridiculous. And overly skinny for everyone. There’s no multiplayer, which hurts tremendously because this is most fun against others. And the pace of games are way too slow for a mobile session, and games don’t resume from where they left off if you quit. Why?

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Really. RBI Baseball 14 is perhaps best left to those who can handle the unrealism of the RBI gameplay, whether it be because of love for the original series, a love of arcade sports, or because there’s just not a lot much better out there.

Making Space Forest Dilemma Fun To Play Was More Important Than Giving It Great Graphics

Making Space Forest Dilemma Fun To Play Was More Important Than Giving It Great Graphics

Jul 18, 2014

Space Forest Dilemma is a very simple game to understand, but don’t let it fool you. The game is tough as nails, but never unfair. That is, among other things, the result of focused gameplay, rather than polished graphics.

Newborn developer Papaquark just released their first, fast paced puzzle game on Android devices, called Space Forest Dilemma. In Space Forest Dilemma the objective is, according to the developers of course, very simple. Just do not collide. On screen there is a grid and on that grid, there are different obstacles and objects – all with their own different movement patterns. To succeed in the game, players need to memorize all those patterns and have to plan ahead of those patterns so they can move all the moveable blocks right after one another.

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Space Forest Dilemma is being praised all over the place. But how did the team of only two guys, Michael and Andreas, come up with the idea? Michael, one of the co-founders, explains. “The idea was originally hatched a couple of years ago during a period of long train rides. Inspired by Rube Goldberg Machines, the basic concept was invented and eventually discarded, since it didn’t play well with a mouse on pc.” This was before everyone had a smartphone with touchscreen. “Last summer we made a prototype on a smartphone and with new touch controls the old idea actually turned into something that was challenging and fun to play.”

If players do not pay attention, the game can be very challenging – perhaps to challenging. But that was a deliberate decision. Both co-founders love old school games and games where one need to think ahead and plan their next move. “This basically includes everything from old school puzzlers like Tetris, to strategy games like the original UFO: Enemy Unknown, to classic adventure games like Grim Fandango. The kind of games that make you feel smart when you get it right, you know.” So based on that – and our own play sessions – the game is hard, but never unfair.

To me, the game has a rough-kinda look and feel – there isn’t much variation on screen and the colors don’t seem to complement each other. Like it is still a beta or early in development or something like that. “It’s a bit of a mix really”, Andreas explains to me. “None of us is a wizard when it comes to graphics, and also we kinda like (or at least we don´t mind) the slightly rough do it yourself style.” They spent a lot more time on testing different game mechanics, making levels and stuff to make sure the game was fun to play, than they did on the graphics.

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“We had an idea to get help with polishing things up, but in the end we decided to do everything ourselves as a learning experiment. We finally ended up with a style that we felt was fairly unique, a good fit with the gameplay and that we could handle with our limited graphic skills. Hopefully we’ll get better and better at graphics too, not necessarily to make it more polished, but to be able to create the right style and feel that we want for our next game.” In that light, it was a good decision to gave the graphics less attention – it helped the developers to get the best out of the gameplay.

Since this is Papaquarks first release, I expected that the team of two guys had to overcome big obstacles to get where they are now. “The hardest part was probably coming up with a name for our studio”, Andreas says with a big smile on his face. “No, but seriously, this is the first game we have ever completed so just finishing and being able to publish it felt like a huge accomplishment for us. Completing a game was simply a lot more work than we had anticipated and we ran into a lot of obstacles. Being our first game though, we kinda expected to make mistakes along the way.”

The technical problems they experienced were like learning experiences for them, which helped with the motivation. “Thankfully we’ve known each other for a long time so we’re not afraid to speak out when we think something’s not that great. We’re also pretty good at knowing when to push each other or when to give each other a break.” Another thing that can only help the final product, which players can download now from the Google Play Store. “Our goal has been to create a game that’s both unique and fun and we believe we have done just that.” Download it here.

Hopeless: Football Cup Review

Hopeless: Football Cup Review

Jul 18, 2014

In Hopeless: Football Cup, players get to experience a different kind of football videogame. If I have to put a game next to it that closely resembles it, it should be Orange Pixel’s Tapkick Football. In the good and the bad way.

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Hopeless: Football Cup is a game where players need to tap on the touch screen, in order to make the blob on-screen head the ball away. If they don’t, the ball will simply demolish the little bugger and than it is game over for the player. It is a hard concept, similiar to games like Flappy Bird; players just need to keep on tapping at the right moment to succeed in the game. Hopeless: Football Cup perhaps stands even more closely to Orange Pixel’s Tapkick Football, a game that featured the studio’s own vision on the simple tap mechanic of Flappy Bird.

And like Tapkick Football, Hopeless: Football Cup has only one mode. This could be enough if the game would be as simple als Tapkick, where players can only choose different country’s. Those country’s teams had no effect on gameplay and just changes the color scheme of the players. Hopeless does things a bit different. Players need to get high scores to earn money and with that hard earned cash, they can buy extra stuff to make life more comfortable for those sad looking, little blob fellows. But sadly, this game isn’t that much fun to earn that money to make life more comfortable – in fact, the gameplay is a bit dumb if you ask me, being a bit to unpredictable in terms of tapping that ball away because of the inaccurate animation of the blob.

But the game does look very nice. It has some awesome graphics going for it and the sound effects really puts stuff in perspective. The blob isn’t there by free will and the people around him are throwing balls at him to hurt him or something. It is pretty scary if you think about it… Anyway, although it is yet another take on the simple tap mechanic, it doesn’t come much far because of, in my opinion, a bit to unpredictable gameplay in combination with inaccurate controls.

Dungeon Gems Review

Dungeon Gems Review

Jul 17, 2014

Dungeon Gems is an arcade game where the player needs to clear out a bunch of dungeons with the help of some gems. Pretty self-explanatory, I think. Dungeon Gems has a very simple gameplay, but at the same time – a bit too many mechanics. The player has a roster of hero cards that he can improve, equip in his active squad, and manage in other ways. These heroes have different abilities and are all divided into five elements, dealing additional or reduced damage to other elements. They interact in the rock-paper-scissors fashion: water “beats” fire, fire beats wood and wood beats water. Light and Darkness are apart and counter each other. The dungeons’ denizens also belong to these elements, so half of the battle is won by choosing correct heroes for the dungeon.

The battles themselves depend on the player’s luck as much as on his cunning. There is an area, filled with the titular gems. The player needs to connect the gems of similar color Dungeon Gems 2– or, if he has some bonus points, of different colors – and bash the enemies with his heroes. The battles are strictly turn-based, so there’s no hurry to choose the gems or heroes’ special abilities. There are three battles in each dungeon, the last one being the boss. After beating the dungeon, the player gets gold to upgrade his heroes, and several hero cards added to his roster.

Generally, Dungeon Gems is fine, although I don’t understand the need for the free-to-play arcades such as this to be so complex. I mean, most of the mechanics in Dungeon Gems aren’t directly related to the process of completing the game, and just add a layer of managing on top, mostly just confusing the starting players. Which wouldn’t be bad, if the core game would consist of more than just swiping the finger across some gems and activate abilities every once in a while. I mean, it’s still enough to fill a game, but I’d rather have the developers make a more nuanced core game, rather than adding a bunch of hero properties and trade mechanics you probably won’t even remember. Anyway, Dungeon Gems turned out alright, free-to-play irritations notwithstanding, even if it gets kinda lost in other card-based arcades, filling the Play Store these days.

STM Harbour 2 Case Hardware Review

STM Harbour 2 Case Hardware Review

Jul 17, 2014

STM, as a company, is probably best known for its laptop bags; we had the privilege of reviewing its Trust Messenger Bag quite recently. In fact, STM has quite a few smart device case and covering offerings in its arsenal, and we got a formal look at the STM Harbour 2 Case for the current HTC One (M8). Like it or not, STM has a reputation to uphold, so I was more than a bit curious about this accessory.

The review unit provided highlights the red piece we received (it also comes in black and charcoal); the red finishing pops through the clear product packaging. Removing the box reveals more: the reddish hue and grey accents and linings and the seemingly precise cutouts. The otherwise solid piece does have an interesting bit of flexibility built alongside a grey band; along this strip, the unit could be lightly bended and manipulated; this allows for docking and can even serve as a pseudo-stand. It feels solid, but not overly rigid, and the hard plastic (polycarbonate and TPU) comes across as well-formed. On paper, the case is 5.7 x 2.8 x 0.4 inches. It is barely bigger than the M8 when standing beside it, and that is somewhat reassuring for folks who are reasonably concerned with added girth.

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The unit snaps into place with a reassuring, subdued snap, and the first thing that really stands out is the fit. It does merge with the phone and feels with seamless; I didn’t get any creaking or unnatural gaps. The bottom ports have an open space in lieu of separate holes, and the power button, volume rocker are catered to. At the back, the dual cameras each have cutouts (which means the flashlight is also unencumbered), and there is also spacing for audio. The edges are mostly well covered, but there isn’t much of a lip for when the cased M8 is face down.

There isn’t too much added bulk, and the stand functionality does come in handy in portrait, even though it is isn’t as smooth of a solution as an incorporated kickstand. It does provide a degree of protection in pocket too, and the case still allows for wireless charging via add-ons. The SD card on the M8 is covered, but the IR blaster works flawlessly.

The case is a good option in a relatively crowded sub-section, and it more or less holds its own.

The STM Harbour 2 Case is available for $27.12 via Amazon.

Virus Jiggling Fever Review

Virus Jiggling Fever Review

Jul 17, 2014

Don’t be mislead by the graphics or screenshots from this game. Old gamers, pay attention; this is a retro trip back to the eightes.

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Virus Jiggling Fever is a very retro styled game on so many levels. In the game, players need to shoot a special bullet from te tower on the left side of the screen to the colored viruses on the right side of the screen. Those bullets have different kind of colors as well: green ones shoots a green virus and red ones shoots a red virus. When the players hits a virus, or the wall, the ceiling or floor, the bullet bounces back to the player – forcing them to use their shield to once again bounce the bullet back at one of the viruses, depending of the color of the bullet at that moment.

It may sound a bit complicated at first, but when one is playing the game everything speaks for itself, really. And that is, of course, a good thing. What is also a good thing, is the way the game is played. The character isn’t very flexibel, meaning he can only go up or down the ladder of the tower. But in this game, that is al it needs. It kinda reminded me of those old Game & Watch games from the eightes, where characters had pre-drawn sprites and could only move accordingly. It feels the same way to, so that are some massive points in terms of the retro feeling of the game.

But that is not the only thing the game does to reminds us of past video games. The graphics are Game Boy Color like, with minimal animations and bright colors. And the sounds and music – oh man, that music – it has written Game Boy all over it. And if I think about it, Virus Jiggling Fever could very well be a Game Boy Color game, with al the basics and aesthetics at the right place. Only in the wrong time. Nowadays, game producers can do so much more with graphics and gameplay, and a retro – no, just call it old fashioned in a good way – game like this, feels refreshing at some level.

But is the game any fun? That answer is undoubtetly yes. The controls may be a bit different; slow and not responsive at all, if you will. But thanks to the overall old fashioned feeling the game radiates, it is forgiven. Fever Jiggling Fever reminds me of the days of the Game & Watch and the Game Boy Color and, man, those were the days.

Disney Bola Soccer Review

Disney Bola Soccer Review

Jul 17, 2014

Sadly, the World Cup is over, and while I’ll miss the hilarious tweets from our editor (like this one), make no mistake: Football NEVER ends. Disney clearly understands this, hence a game like Disney Bola Soccer.

The game is about as simple as one could expect a simulation to be; it is fairly easy to get it going and getting started. The play area is laid out somewhat as one would expect a soccer game to, with an expansive, shifting top-down view. The game presents the players somewhat whimsically, but there is a judicious use of color that helps frame the gameplay.bola1

Basic in-game movements and actions are effected by gestures and taps. Tapping a player highlights said player. Gesture dragging allows the player to dribble without the ball, and longpressing creates a shot, and tapping a player without the ball gets the ball passed to that player. The play comes together well, and kudos to the developer or using realistic formations and off ball runs; the game clock is an abbreviated 90 minute affair. As games are won, one’s team has an opportunity to move up leagues, and face tougher opponents.

Winning games is pretty much the end goal; there is a cash payout for victories, and this cash can be used to upgrade player attributes. I did like how this particular piece works. It’s simple and straight to the point, and mostly feels logical, and can be performed in between games.

Some of the movements are a bit stilted, and in the easiest mode, the sequences can be somewhat simplistic. Some elements that could add to the gameplay, like replays, are not present, and not every scenario in soccer is represented. Still, it works well to bring soccer alive in a fairly realistic, mobile package.

Four more years? Not so long, potentially, with this one.

Uppercup Football Review

Uppercup Football Review

Jul 16, 2014

With the World Cup fever having come and gone, there’s a massive pile of soccer/football games to consider. But I sincerely believe that I have found the best one. Ever.

Imagine this: you are playing a soccer game in which the soccer players run through big puddles. They slip and slide across the field, barely missing the small mountains and mines on the play field. Meanwhile, the other team, consisting of players with horse heads, kicks againts the ball that is just bouncing around the field – wait, what? It’s a football? No, this cannot be a normal soccer game. This one is crazy and right of the start, I can say this is the best soccer game I have ever played.

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This game is called Uppercup Football. In this footie, matches like described above are very common. Players do not directly control the players. Normally, I would find this sort of controls very stupid, but in this game’s case I don’t. The effect and position of the ball is very unpredictable. Players only need to press one button to shoot or tackle. By holding the button a bit longer, the shot or attack becomes more powerfull, creating super fun situations during gameplay.

The way the ball moves through the field and how the soccer players are controlled, kind of reminded me of the LEGO football building sets. A bit static, but thanks to the uncertainty of where the ball is going when a shot is fired, it becomes very dynamic. There isn’t a shot where the player is sure the ball will go to and that results in the kind of gameplay I like very much: chaotic, but always fun. And it doesn’t even take time to get used to this control scheme.

The basics of the game is very well done as well and borrows some elements from popular games. There is the famous three star rating system players can go for, for example. In Uppercup Football, players do not play complete matches, but instead furfill certain objectives. When you finish those goals (pun intended) in time, then that specific level is done. Because the game uses divided content like this, it makes it very much playable as a mobile game – because small games are finished quick.

But above all, Uppercup Football really emits fun. The game is so colorfull, has some awesome animations en de music, although it is only one single track, is simply marvelous en keeps on playing in one’s head. At the end of the day, I can only say this is the best soccer game I have ever played, and I have played a lot. I can recommend Uppercup to anyone out there – wether they are fan of soccer or not, this game delivers on fun. So, go play it.

Miccus Pool Party SPX9 Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Miccus Pool Party SPX9 Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Jul 16, 2014

Summertime is all about the outdoors, grills and pools. Why should the fun stop there? That is what the Miccus SPX9 Bluetooth Speaker asks out loud.

The review box Miccus sent us came with the speaker itself, a male-to-male 3.5mm coaxial cable, USB charging cable, wall adapter, user paperwork and a net carrying bag. The unit itself is mostly grey and black, and is formed in hard plastic, with dual, soft-feeling speaker grills on the front face with an LED indicator along. The top part houses the controls, with an on/phone answering button, back, play/pause and forward buttons, mic and volume toggles. The back piece is molded into a simple handle, and there is a flap that sp1hides opening for the coaxial cable, USB charging connection and micro-USB cable. All in all, it is solid without looking too straitlaced, and looks well fused together.

Pairing the device will be intuitive to anyone that has paired a bluetooth device; it’s a matter of activating the bluetooth source, and turning the speaker on by holding the on button for a few seconds, which puts the speaker into pairing mode. The device then uses beeps to help guide pairing.

The sound quality is admirable. there is a bit of lost sharpness at higher decibels, but the music is mostly clear and far from muddy. The added wired functionality is a boon to, as it makes the speaker available to a wider array of sources. It can be used to answer phones too via speakerphone.

Two elements also make this accessory stand out a bit more: the splash proof nature and the portable charging functionality. The SPX9 is advertised as pool safe, and the finishing and rubber protection underscore this. My admittedly cautious water testing didn’t cause the unit to miss a beat. I especially like being able to plug in a mobile device into the speaker for emergency juice.

Pound for pound, the biggest barrier might be the pricing; at $99.00 (via the Miccus site), it’s in for a lot of competition, even with the extras. Still, for a device that won’t shy away from the occasional wetting, it’s a decent offering.

99 Bricks: Wizard Academy Review

99 Bricks: Wizard Academy Review

Jul 16, 2014

If there is one well known concept in the video game industry, then it’s Tetris. That game knowns dozens of iterations and has proven to be worth to many different publishers and developers out there. After all those years and versions, one might think that Tetris isn’t suitable any more to base a new game on – but the very least is true. Enter 99 Bricks: Wizard Academy.

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In 99 Bricks: Wizard Academy players take on the role of a sorceress apprentice. The student must get familiar with the art of stacking blocks and raise that knowledge to an art form. De blocks come failing out of the sky and have different shapes – and here is the point we should stop comparing it to Tetris. The biggest difference between that game and 99 Bricks, is that in 99 Bricks, players should keep on building and building on top of there creations, where in Tetris one should destroy their own accomplishment. The game isn’t over when the screen is full of blocks, players can build until a couple of blocks have fallen off. When that happens, a crazy roof appears out of thin air, which needs to be placed on top of the awesome tower that has just been build.

WeirdBeard, a game developer from Amsterdam, has also implemented gravity as a gameplay component. Not just because of the falling blocks, of course. But when some blocks a stacked just a bit on the edge of an other block, it might fall. This also means that blocks might be squinted on one’s tower, instead of really straight next to the other one. At that point, players must think ahead and keep in mind that, when building upon those skew blocks, one might need some extra space to keep the tower steady. This is where the game really shines for me. Because when I was at this point, it was always my own fault.

When players are building their towers, they collect coins. With those coins, they can unlock different things. For example, one could buy a new robe for the wizard or some extra lives or magic. With magic, players can do different things: zapping away the falling block, which spares a life. Or make it gold, to get some extra cash. The blocks can even be made of solid bricks, so they won’t fall down anymore. Sometimes, I encountered that the lighting zapped away the wrong block for me and that is really the only downside to this game – mainly because this is a physics based puzzle game where control means everything. And zapping blocks is, apparently, something I didn’t had complete control over.

But the rest of the controls a marvelous. By tapping ones, players turn the blocks around. By swiping left or the right, the blocks will go that corresponding way. And by swiping downwards, they will go down much faster. It can’t go wrong, in my experience. And this, combined with the extremely addictive nature of the game and the quirckly looks, makes 99 Bricks: Wizards Academy are very well made and fun game to play.

Ruzzle Adventure, Now on Android!

Ruzzle Adventure, Now on Android!

Jul 15, 2014

The hit word game Ruzzle Adventure has finally made its way to Android. MAG Interactive’s game where words must be formed quickly from small grids of tiles before the rising water sinks you. Social features allow you to compete with friends for high scores on individual levels with leaderboards available. The game is available now on Google Play.

Skyline Skaters Review

Skyline Skaters Review

Jul 15, 2014

Endless runners make for the perfect mobile games. A combination of accessibility and addictiveness make the genre ideal for gamers on the go. Skyline Skaters Rio is the latest game to take advantage of the portability of an endless runner, even integrating the World Cup into the game’s Brazil setting.

Rio is an update to Skyline Skaters that takes players to the favelas of Brazil. The Skyline Skaters version of the favelas ignores the dark side and presents a bright, vivid picture of the city. With the World Cup in town, the setting is full of color and full of life. Players will see nods to the soccer tournament as they skate on rooftops, noticing soccer balls bouncing, mascots jumping, and soccer-themed power-ups throughout levels. However, the soccer integration is merely a gimmick to capitalize on the popularity of the World Cup as it has no affect on gameplay.

The object of the game is guide your skateboarder through the rooftops, jumping across buildings and collecting coins along the way. The old saying “skateboarding is not a crime” is apparently invalid in Brazil, as a police helicopter gives chase to players. Hit a cone or other obstacle and you will allow the chopper to catch up.

Gamers also have to deal with several obstacles along the way, including flying missiles, floating obstructions and rails. To make dealing with these easier, players can obtain power-ups located throughout levels. Power-ups, which include a rainbow that bridges rooftops and a score multiplier, temporarily give players a boost that makes racking up high scores easier. The best power-up is the rocket, which allows players to sit back momentarily and watch their character fly through the sky and collect coins.

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There are also letters in levels players can collect to unlock a special bonus round. Spelling words such as “SPEED” or “SKATE” will take players to an area full of easy-to-collect coins.

Skyline Skaters is as simple as it gets when it comes to controls. A tap on the screen will cause your character to jump and a double tap results in a double jump. It is all very accessible and inviting.

With the Rio update comes a new soccer-themed Brazilian skater, but obtaining him can be a grind. Unless players are willing to shell out some real-world cash to purchase the character (or any other additional character in the game, for that matter), they will have to spend some serious time skating through Rio collecting coins.

Players who do not wish to deal with microtransactions will find it difficult to collect extras, upgrade their skateboards, or level up their characters past the early stages, which quickly reduces the game to a repetitive chore.

Skyline Skaters Rio is a colorful update to a solid endless runner. However, the fun of the game wears off unless users are willing to pay real world money to unlock new characters and upgrades. Without conducting microtransactions, the game becomes a repetitive quest to collect coins, and Android users will find themselves uninstalling the app.

Evolution: Battle for Utopia Review

Evolution: Battle for Utopia Review

Jul 15, 2014

Evolution: Battle For Utopia is an interesting mix of small scale combat, exploration and base building. Is it a gaming utopia?

The combat portion of Evolution: Battle for Utopia is actually very robust. Attacking is handed automatically and the player can select a target. After every few shots the player must reload and this can be sped up with a well-timed tap Often one enemy will have a crosshair over them and attacking these targets will dish out more damage. Human enemies shoot back and glow red when they are about to allowing the player a second to duck behind a shield with a swipe before the lead starts flying. Incoming grenades also need to be tapped on to avoid them detonating in the player’s midst. There is a lot to do during combat and the mechanic for picking targets and taking cover make it feel like a real gunfight, which is impressive. Picking targets is important as some enemies are far more powerful in melee and must be dropped fast while human soldiers need to be taken out one by one to cut down on the number of people shooting.

Screenshot_2014-07-15-07-35-24Beside combat, there is a map based mode where dialogue and exploration take place. This is well done. Base building is done in typical freemium style with timers a plenty and many buildings to construct and tech to research. The graphics are noticeably poorer than the combat here and buildings are just dull, static blocks. The base building isn’t very satisfying and there are very few building types. This is in stark contrast to the cool combat segments. The game does have an interesting story which helps push it along.

Screenshot_2014-07-13-07-43-39Of course, as is common with mobile gaming, freemium comes along to ruin any fun the game might have had. The game’s difficulty shoots up extremely quickly after the first few missions and resource generation is a slow, plodding affair that requires logging in constantly to tap on buildings. Combat goes from fun and doable to tough and failing a battle once locks that battle away for 20 hours. Twenty hours. Missions can only be attempted if the player has sufficiently long range helicopters to reach them and this generally means that failing 1 or 2 battles can prevent the player from playing the game at all for the better part of a day. The tragic part is that if this was a premium game without paywalls it would be absolutely worth playing. The gameplay is satisfying and unique.

Multiplayer is a bit of a joke as well. Pay to win is the rule in Evolution: Battle for Utopia. The matchmaking system seems flawed as well; every multiplayer battle I ran into was against much higher level opposition.

Evolution: Battle For Utopia looks great, sounds great and has a lot of varied gameplay styles. As a whole it is very in depth for a mobile game. Unfortunately, some terrible freemium features and some very long timers really go a long way towards killing the game.


Turn any Android Device into an AirPlay Receiver with Reflector

Turn any Android Device into an AirPlay Receiver with Reflector

Jul 14, 2014

Have you ever wanted to use your Android device as an AirPlay receiver? That’s what Squirrels has done with Reflector – now available on Android. If you have an iOS device or a computer using Squirrels’ AirParrot, just launch Reflector and your Android device should show up as an AirPlay receiver. Now you can use your phone, tablet, or even TV-connected device, to view your iOS device, Mac, or computer running AirParrot, anywhere. Pretty cool. The app is available now on Google Play.

No Brakes Review

No Brakes Review

Jul 14, 2014

No Brakes is a racing game with a twist.

The developer should be commended for simplicity; the gameplay rolls intuitively and needs little by the way of tutorials. The 2D rendering of the raceway works with the top-down view, and the color scheme does tweak the senses a bit. It’s a car racing game, but the unique element is that this is a self-contained race against time, and a, well, speed trial is at stake.

The car is a simple, smiley box that moves along the mostly windy game roads. It is controlled by two buttons, oneno1 that maneuvers it left and one right; otherwise, the car moves forward perpetually. Thus, keeping a finger on the left button will keep the car turning in a forward manner, even as far as going in the opposite direction and beyond, unless it comes in contact with the sides of the road. In other words, getting the car to go generally means using the left and right controls to continually correct and re-correct the path along the road without touching the sides of the raceway. Oh yeah… there aren’t any brakes.

The race areas are generally windy, but not too difficult; one isn’t penalized for going in any direction, because speed is the name of the game. The longer the car travels without going out of bounds, the higher its top speed gets. It’s this top speed that serves as the main bragging rights, so in essence, as the game goes on (and the longer one lasts), the faster the vehicle goes, which leads to higher high scores.

As noted earlier, it’s the simplicity which sets this game apart. I liked the simple touches, such as the changing background visuals when benchmarks or touched. The music oscillated between cheery and borderline annoying for me, and i also think the game could use some more play modes.

For a game that gets straight to the gameplay and encourages quick retries, this game is tough to beat, and is at the very least a very enjoyable time waster.

Antec Bluetooth Headphone Hardware Review

Antec Bluetooth Headphone Hardware Review

Jul 14, 2014

The push to going wireless is alive and well, and Antec seems to be quite willing to take on the challenge, especially with its a.m.p Wireless Headphones

The review box which was provided to us showed the attention paid to product packaging. The product comes with the headphones, micro-USB cord, wall plug-in pins, 3.55 mm male-to-male audio cable, a carrying case with carabiner and paperwork.

The contoured black frame is mostly wrapped in somewhat glossy hard plastic with bendable ends that fold inside, a feature one almost expects in over-ear headphones to encourage compactness and portability. The cans are covered by soft, perforated material, and there is metal on the insides of the unit. The topmost inner part also has foam padding, and the cans are jointed, which allows them to rotate somewhat on a connecting axis. The right side has a micro-USB charging port, as well as a 3.55 mm port for wired sound feed. Also nestled on the right side are the track controls, volume rocker, LED light and power button. On the head, it is quite comfortable, and the innate flexibility of the set works well in real life, even when at rest around the neck, which it can do at 6.4 ounces.

pulsefi

Charging didn’t take too long, and pairing it via the Bluetooth 3.0 chip to an audio source is easy and intuitive; it’s a simple matter of tapping and holding the power button till the LED alternates rapidly between red and blue, and finding the headphones and linking from the source device. It worked well with all types of audio, and the clarity was quite impressive. The bass output isn’t as sharp with some songs, but overall, it was loud enough in the ear. It streams close to the advertised 32 feet distance.

It also works with wire via the removable audio cable. This gives the set even more functionality. The “call”button, which is smoothly incorporated to the right end, is a nice touch. The call quality can be a bit jagged though.

All in all, while the exterior part of the device is prone to smudging, and the joints make me wonder about how it will hold up in the long term, I still think it is a decent value overall.

The Antec AMP Pulse Bluetooth Wireless Headphones is available for $79.99 via Amazon.com.