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Gold Rush Sim 1849 Receives Silver-Themed Expansion Pack

Posted by on Sep 18, 2014

1849 gets new expansion pack.

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Games

Super Monkey Ball Bounce Review

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014

Super Monkey Ball Bounce has a lot of problems, and being a cash cow is just one of them.

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Productivity

Agenday Smart Calendar Review

Posted by on Sep 18, 2014

Agenday Smart Calendar does what is says.

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App Rundown

Agenday Smart Calendar Review

Posted by on Sep 18, 2014

Agenday Smart Calendar does what is says.

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Recent Posts

Google+ Hangouts Updated with More Usability Features

Google+ Hangouts Updated with More Usability Features

Sep 10, 2014

Google+ Hangouts, Google’s multi-functional mobile messaging utility, has just received a decently sized update.

According to the Play Store changelog, new features in the new build include:

● Customize ringtones for each of your Hangouts
● Block SMS messages from specific phone numbers
● Restore contacts that you have previously hidden
● Layout support for right-to-left languages

Additionally, according to an earlier report from Android Central, it seems as though Google is rolling out a server-side change that allows Google Voice SMS to be routed and managed from within Hangouts. This hearkens to the expected merging of Voice into Hangouts.

It’s also pertinent to note that Google Voice has an update available.

Hangouts is available on the Play Store for free.

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[Source: Google Play and Android Central]

Mint.com Gets Update, Offers Free Credit Scores

Mint.com Gets Update, Offers Free Credit Scores

Sep 10, 2014

Mint.com Personal Finance, Intuit’s award-winning app that allows consumers to budget and track finances on the go, has just received an update.

Most notably, the new build brings the ability to see free credit scores to phone users.

Per the Google Play change log, the new stuff officially includes:

Credit Score (Phone only)
· See your credit score as part of your complete financial picture in Mint
· Truly free – no credit card required!
· Free credit report summary – understand your score and learn what actions you can take to improve it
· Quick activation – see your free credit score in 2 minutes or less!

This is in addition to the core feature set, which includes online syncing, access to online bank accounts, threshold notifications, visual graphing tools, bill reminders, payoff forecasting and more.

Mint.com (along with this update) is available for free on the Play Store.

Vaavud Mjolnir Wind Meter Hardware Review

Vaavud Mjolnir Wind Meter Hardware Review

Sep 10, 2014

Say what you want, but I believe measuring the elements is a manly pursuit. As such, at the risk of stroking my ego, I just had to check out the Kickstarted Vaavud Mjolnir Wind Meter.

The review piece itself comes in decent packaging; the wind meter itself is surprisingly light, almost scarily so. The exterior is mostly plastic, so if one was looking for something of similar heft to Thor’s Hammer, this might be a shock. The review piece fits in the palm, and made me think of Mickey Mouse’s hat, what with the red top unit with cups that logically rotates about the axis. The bottom base unit is black, and tapers into a 3.5 mm male audio pin. Altogether, the pieces are loose, but not badly constructed, and I did like the labeled carry pouch that came with the packaging. For reference, it also comes in green and white.

To use the meter, the companion app Vaavud Wind Meter needs to be installed from the Play Store and running. With the wind meter intuitively inserted in the audio jack of the device running the companion software, the user needs to tap “start” in the app, and then the hold the device above his/her head to catch the winds in the cups. During this time, the app uses a progress bar to note the progress of the data collection; when it stops, the information can be consumed in graph and numerical form. The sequence can then be repeated if wanted.

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The app itself has different segments; the first (as described) measures the wind. The second is a visual map, and the third is a listing of historical readings. To access the latter, it is necessary to register an account with Vaavud.

I found the whole system to be a fun diversion, but there were a few times it was quite useful: radio-control helicopter flying, kites, even while measuring gusts of wind on the soccer pitch. The system boasts the ability to read 2 – 20 m/s (up to 48 m/s on some Android phones) with a precision of +/- 4%. I was not able to scientifically measure that, but my informal testing did rack up similar readings at the same time.

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My biggest gripe is that it does not work on all android devices (it requires the device to have a magnetic field sensor,and a compatible one at that). The plastic build did give me some pause, too, but to be fair, the lack of electronics in the hardware was actually a good thing in my book. Overall, it works well, is a great science lesson on its own, and can be used both for leisure and otherwise.

The Mjolnir Wind Meter is available for $40 via the Vaavud website.

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.

Amazon Instant Video Comes To Android Devices

Amazon Instant Video Comes To Android Devices

Sep 9, 2014

In a move that has been expected for at least a few weeks, Amazon has just made its Amazon Instant Video service available to compatible Android devices, via an update to the Amazon app.

For Amazon Prime customers with non-Amazon devices, this is big news, as the services was formerly restricted to devices in Amazon’s ecosystem and iOS devices. Now, folks with compatible devices with access to the Amazon AppStore can get the necessary add-on to make the video content available on their Android-powered devices.

This move has been hinted at earlier. In July, reports noted an Amazon executive stating an Android release was “imminent.” The move seemingly indicates a tiny shift in Amazon’s mobile strategy.

To get the app, one has to download/update (and be signed into) the Amazon app; accessing a video will prompt the download of the Prime Instant Video app (which seems to be only available in the Amazon AppStore). Now, with internet connectivity, streaming is possible on phones and tablets.

As with a lot of things Amazon, the service is restricted by geography; it is available in USA, and some parts of Europe.

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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.

Huawei Reveals New Gadgets at IFA 2014

Huawei Reveals New Gadgets at IFA 2014

Sep 8, 2014

We are not sure if its fair to still refer to Huawei as an up-and-coming Android OEM anymore; as our our review of the Ascend Mate2 indicates, it feels like the China-based manufacturer feels quite comfortable on the world stage.

Last week, at IFA, Huawei showed up and showed out, officially revealing a few new devices on the way.

First is the 6-inch, finger print-equipped Ascend Mate7. Excerpts from the press release:

Huawei today launched Ascend Mate7 at Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) 2014, featuring a big 6-inch screen with FHD display for enhanced entertainment viewing, a slimmer 7.9mm body for increased comfort, a more powerful octa-core chipset for superior performance, and a longer-lasting 4100 mAh battery. With new single-touch fingerprint technology and EMUI 3.0, Ascend Mate7 dials up the mobile experience to make it easier for users to live life to the fullest. Ascend Mate7 is the latest big-screen smartphone from Huawei as it showcased its big ambitions as the number three smartphone vendor in the world.

Boasting octa-core architecture, Ascend Mate7 has an intelligent Huawei Kirin 925 processor made up of four large A15 1.8 GHz and four small A7 1.3 GHz chipsets which are activated in different configurations depending on the power needs of a specific app or function so the smartphone can be smarter with power management. Ascend Mate7 saves up to 50% of the battery by automatically using smaller A7 cores to power standard apps that consumers use at least 80% of the time, and kicking in the larger A15 during high-performance use such as gaming. The processor will also automatically activate additional cores when it detects that 85% to 95% of a single core’s processing capability is being used.

A rare find for smartphones of this size, Ascend Mate7 is made up of more than 95% metal and features an interior structure made of a strong aluminum alloy for superior heat reduction. At only 7.9mm slim and weighing 185g, it has an ergonomically curved back for easier operation with just one hand and an ultra-narrow 2.9mm bezel that delivers a compelling screen-to-body ratio of 83%. Ascend Mate7 comes in three chic colors, moonlight silver, obsidian black and amber gold.

Also unveiled was the Ascend G7. The following are excerpts from the official press release:

Ascend G7 is a handset that can elevate anyone’s style. At 7.6mm slim and weighing 165g, Ascend G7 is made using the world’s leading Nano Molding Technology (NMT) to create a premium metallic unibody design and sleek frame for a richer texture and smoother touch. The 5.5-inch 1280 x 720 HD display fits with ease and comfort into one hand while the defining 0.8mm thin line on the chassis between the front and rear of the handset reflects balance and elegance. Ascend G7 is available in classic metallic colors including moonlight silver, space gray, and horizon gold.

Ascend G7 runs on Qualcomm’s powerful quad-core 1.2 GHz processor and a robust 3000 mAh Li-Polymer battery. Featuring Huawei’s proprietary power-saving technology that provides three power saving modes – normal, smart, and ultra power saving – Ascend G7 enables 1.2 days of heavy usage and the ability to operate for an additional 24 hours on just 10% battery power. Huawei Ascend G7 is 4G LTE-enabled to make connectivity faster and more reliable than ever before. Movies can be downloaded in minutes and work files uploaded in seconds with speeds of up to 150 Mbps.

Revel in the high-quality photos captured with Huawei Ascend G7. With a 13MP rear-facing camera boasting a 28mm wide-angle BSI lens, and a 5MP front-facing camera with an 88-degree wide-angle lens, panoramic photo horizons can be broadened both vertically and horizontally. By double clicking the down volume button, a photo can be captured in only one second. Ascend G7 provides enhanced photo editing capabilities including manual focus to adjust photos that are out of focus, and independent light measurement features for photos taken in poor lighting. The impressive camera also offers facial-enhancement capabilities while filming in video mode.

[Source: Huawei Press Release]

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.

G5′s Red Crow Mysteries Goes Free for Limited Time

G5′s Red Crow Mysteries Goes Free for Limited Time

Sep 8, 2014

G5, the prolific Android game developer, is putting the full version of its game Red Crow Mysteries on sale for a limited time.

From the press informational:

In Red Crow Mysteries: Legion, your ability to see other worlds makes you the only person who can win the eternal battle between good and evil. Explore dark and eerie locations to find clues, search for special items and solve tricky puzzles. Pass the ultimate test to prove that you are the only one able to defeat the impending threat and preserve the world as we know it.

G5 continues to be a cross-platform powerhouse, with titles even making their way to Windows Phone; it continues to put out a variety of new titles as well. It’s willingness to offer titles for free is definitely welcome by fans of its games.

Red Crow Mysteries will be free from September 8th to September 14th 2014 on the Play Store and Amazon AppStore; it is regularly priced at $4.99.

The game’s trailer is below.

[Source: G5 Press Release]

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.

Game of Thrones Ascent Review

Game of Thrones Ascent Review

Sep 5, 2014

Finally, Game of Thrones Ascent is released on Android devices. But will the trip through Westeros be worth your time? Let’s find out.

One of the coolest aspects of the Xbox 360 game Fable 3 is that players could make a string of decisions at the end of their adventure. Maybe it wasn’t the best solution for that game at that very moment, but the ability to decide what is best for yourself or others is a concept in video games I very much enjoy and appreciate. The Android game Game of Thrones Ascent starts with a couple challenges waiting to be tackled by choosing the option one prefers. A very strong start of the game.

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Actually, a great deal of Game of Thrones Ascent’s gameplay is about making decisions on behalf of others. Sometimes there are only two choices to choose from and sometimes there are three, but there is always room for asking for more information or making an immediate decision (either fair or harsh), each with his own benefits en consequences. It’s nice and easygoing gameplay that suits a touch screen device very well, but the player must find reading a pleasure… you’ll do a lot of it.

As one makes one’s way through the story, the character the player has created keeps on evolving into something the player wants it to be. It feels that way too, with the choices it provides in, for example, titles of background. The other major gameplay part is building up a keep from scratch and maintain it while being attacked; the main goal of the game is to be the biggest name in Westeros. That, along with some other names and stories, is the only things the game inherits from the books.

That last point really makes the game feel welcome, because it is strong enough to stand on its own two feet, so to speak. With Game of Thrones: Ascent it is your turn to compete with the other houses in Westeros, instead of being the spectator of the impressive books or TV show. This game is not only good enough for Game of Throne fans, it is a fantastic strategic semi-action RPG for genre fans. Really one which is worth your time, building your house from the ground up.

TYLT Energi S5 Sliding Power Case

TYLT Energi S5 Sliding Power Case

Sep 5, 2014

Okay… we love TYLT. Duh.

But would we like its Energi S5 Sliding Power Case compelling? Let’s see.

The review unit TYLT sent us is a two-piece combo affair; it’s made up of a hard plastic protective case, and the battery sleeve too (the box also contains a USB cable). The sleeve is mostly black, hard plastic, with cutouts for the S5 rear camera and speaker grille. There’s also an “on” button on the back under the company logo. There’s also a charging port at the bottom, and a male input micro-USB port on the inside of the sleeve.

The protective case is a bit more intricate in design, with grey accents on the edges (it also comes in blue). The edges are designed to raise off he screen, which is useful for when the device is ace down. All the necessary cut-outs are available: charge/sync, infra-red, audio aux cable, camera, and speaker grille. The wake button and volume rocker on the sides are protected by designated overlay that allows them to work naturally.

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The former allows the device to fit perfectly into the latter. After getting the device enveloped in the case — and it is a tight fit — it’s time to side the cased phone into the charging sleeve. In theory, it looks easy, and involves opening the charging flap on the S5 and moving the case along the inside of the sleeve till the aforementioned charging piece fits snugly into the S5′s charging port. In practice, however, the designed snugged fit is a double-edged sword, and it takes some careful finagling to get the two pieces matched up.

Together, there is noticeable heft and girth added; it’s not transformed into a rick, but if one’s hobb is to gaze at the one’s device (hey, don’t judge), one might be somewhat discomfited. The device is well protected though, and in that regard, one might forgive the partial loss of slightness.

As the consummate portable charger, the power case mostly delivers. he review unit arrived with a full charge, and when the on button is engaged, the device is actively charged in a safe matter, even when being used. I was able to use all other functions of the device, and the standby power is admirable, as is the ability to charge the S5 fully from the initial charge.

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My biggest gripe is the smoothness of assembly (and taking the units back apart). in my perfect world, the Energi Case would be a portable, on call accessory. In other words, the sleeve would reside in my gear box until it was needed, and then, taken off when the phone is reasonably topped off. In my testing, taking the cased device off the phone isn’t easy; maybe my nervousness with regards to busted charging ports is to blame, but because of the design, I didn’t have an easy go of pulling the case off the device. This means, with regards to what i wanted to do, the case feels semi-permanent.

All in all, it’s a great product mostly restricted by its specific target. I’d like to see the concept on more devices, but for the S5 owner who wants power on the go, there are not a lot of better options.

Facebook Becomes First App Not Designed by Google to Notch One Billion Downloads

Facebook Becomes First App Not Designed by Google to Notch One Billion Downloads

Sep 4, 2014

Yes, you are allowed to think this really isn’t surprising news… but, don’t cry for the Facebook app just yet. The house that the Z-Man built is going strong.

Very, very strong, especially on Android.

Facebook has become the first non-Google application in the Play Store that has been installed one billion times. That’s a cool nine (9) zeroes.

According to Android Police, Facebook isn’t only breaking non-Google download records, it is also beating some notable Google apps themselves: we’re talking about heavy hitters like Chrome, Search and hangouts. According to the same article, Youtube, Gmail, maps and Play Services had all reached the billion-install threshold prior.

Of course, with some of the controversy that Facebook has had to deal with recently with regards to its mobile app, this will be good news, in that it seems its Android app is still a popular option.

[Source: Android Police]

Tiny Tower Vegas Review

Tiny Tower Vegas Review

Sep 4, 2014

Tiny Tower Vegas might have a different name but it feels very similar to the first Tiny Tower. In the original Tiny Tower the player slowly built a huge tower with dozens of floors. Each floor could be either a business or a residential floor.

Residential floors held the tower’s population and businesses made the player money. Staffing each business with employees with matching skills boosted profits and restocking floors and selling items worked on a familiar freemium basis.

Screenshot_2014-09-03-19-31-42Tiny Tower Vegas is pretty much the same gameplay, except with a cool Vegas theme, added minigames and other tweaks. Some floors, like slot machines, feature neat minigames that can be played to earn a large amount of extra bux. This is a great feature. The games are fun and the player wins often. TTV is very generous indeed with its bux to the point where they barely even feel like premium currency. Besides the coins and bux from the first game, a new currency, “chips” makes an appearance. These are mostly used to play casino games, although players get free spins now and then as well.

Other than that TTV is still Tiny Tower. The core gameplay is very similar and just as addictive and satisfying.

Tiny Tower Vegas has a few changes that fans might not be happy with. It costs money now to place bitizens in jobs. High skilled bitizens cost 1000 coins or more to place, which is just as annoying as it sounds. At the start of the game much time is spent just waiting for cash to tick up to place bitizens in useful businesses. This is not fun and was not the case in the original and slows down money gain. Floors earn a lot of coins though so it’s easy enough to make this money back rather fast.

Screenshot_2014-09-03-18-03-46New floors also cost an insane amount of coins. In the original game it took quite a while before building floors became expensive. In Tiny Tower Vegas floor three costs 10,000 coins, rather than the 1,350 it cost in the original game. Floor eight costs 48,000 and these costs balloon very quickly until it takes days to build new floors, which will happen sooner rather than later.

The game also has a lot of ways to drain the player’s bux to balance out how much it hands over. For example, floor upgrades which are required so floors don’t run out of stock in minutes get over 200 bux very quickly.

It is also just as annoying as ever to place bitizens in hotel floors. Unless the player ponies up bux, the only way is with the inching, creeping slow elevator. Still, the game supplies plenty of bux so this isn’t really a problem.

Tiny Tower Vegas, with its high floor costs and irritating money sinks isn’t quite as good as its predecessor. While the new casino games are fun and the game certainly looks and sounds good it still pales somewhat to the excellent original. Worth a look though.


Sumico – The Numbers Game Review

Sumico – The Numbers Game Review

Sep 4, 2014

Who would’ve thought that solving math challenges would be so much fun? In my book, that can only be when the game’s design is top notch and with Sumico, from the Dutch developer Ludomotion, that is just the case.

In Sumico, players will face some harsh math problems. That sounds utterly dull, but bear with me here. The game’s design is really flawless. At it’s core, it is solving math, yes. But this game offers clever use of the renowned Candy Crush design. Players need to solve those problems at a grid full of hexagons. On these hexagons are numbers displayed. Players need to combine them with hexagons showing typical math signs, like the plus and minus, etcetera. By holding the first number, swiping and combining it with a math sign on to another number, a sum is made and the answer shows up on screen. With the answer, it is possible to make a new sum.

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The coolest thing about this game, is that players can use as many tiles as they would like to use to come up with an answer for the to be solved problem (displayed at the left corner on screen). To more hexagon one uses, the greater the reward will be. Answer tiles will have extra benefit bonusses, like a multiplayer of just some extra points. Those will be add up to the score the player makes while solving a math problem, making him earn more points. And, just like any other Candy Crush-esque mobile game: the higher to score, the more stars one will get; with three stars at its maximum. After that, it is possible to compare high scores with friends.

What makes this game so challenging, is that when players use a math sign, it dissapears form the grid. And sometimes, it will not get replaced with a new one. So that means that players must think ahead of what to do, within the smallest numbers of swipes, but with the best possible outcome. It is a balance between going for some easy one star victories (which feels good) and going for the true golden three star masterpieces (which feels awesome). But I must say: it is unclear to me when I get three stars or why I just got one; so I hope this will be fixed. Also: it wasn’t always clear to me when or why I got a particulair bonus; they just came to be.

At the end, Sumico is a clever and fun game to play. However, it fails to communicate directly to the player when and why some things happen on screen; as a player, I just took them for granted. But it felt I wasn’t in totall control of my own score and that actually bugged me. But like I sad: the game design of Sumico is genius and solving math problems wasn’t fun untill Sumico came around.