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Zabuza Labs Releases Save Trees Game on Android

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014

Save Trees Game reminds us that tree conservation is serious business.

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Games

Freaking Math Review

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014

Freaking Math: More like Freaking Meth

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Productivity

Notepad+ Review

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014

A note-taking app that shows apps can be simple AND functional.

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App Rundown

Freaking Math Review

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014

Freaking Math: More like Freaking Meth

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Recent Posts

Arkon Mobile Grip 2 Mount Hardware Review

Arkon Mobile Grip 2 Mount Hardware Review

Aug 11, 2014

I “discovered” smartphone-based GPS a while back; the ability to have mobile, ad-hoc voice directions, albeit reliant on cellular signal, was invaluable, and since I was frequently on the road headed to new locations, it became one of the most important features on my device. I have never had to rely on a standalone unit, and even when not driving, mobile GPS has been a lifesaver more than once.

Driving with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a phone isn’t especially safe or effective though, so — cue the “accessorize the ultimate accessory” music — we get to see potentially multidisciplinary tools like the Arkon Deluxe Mini Windshield/Dashboard Sticky Suction Mount (MG279) become prime players.

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We received the review unit in simple, mostly clear packaging that shows of the components: Mobile Grip 2 Universal Smartphone Holder, an optional Sticky Mounting piece, the swivel adjustment ring, an adhesive disk along with diagrammed paperwork. The core piece is made of hard plastic, with a spring mechanism at the bottom. It feels well crafted, is fairly durable and the diagrams show how easy it is to assemble.

In practice, the mount works well enough on smooth interiors and glass/windshields. The device holder portion provides a good grip, and the adjustable nature allows for a host of devices to be used with it; it can comfortably hold devices that are up to 3.6″ wide, which means it can even handle some of the more popular phablets. Shaking it vigorously did not dislodge the devices. The suction part works as most do, by pressing on the activating button to create a vacuum seal that works quite well. With some practice, I was able to manipulate the unit with one hand, which is a bonus.

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The mounting plate allows for the suction cup to be used on other surfaces; I let it cure for 48 hours to be safe, though it only asks for 24. The bond created is quite strong, and it pairs with the suction cup seamlessly. the swivel adjustment ring is a smart piece that helps tighten the angles, and the rotation of the holder is quite useful and well-thought out. The holder can also be used with standard tripods.

A longer (maybe adjustable?) neck could probably make it more effective, but to be fair, Arkon’s penchant for using common components across several solutions and the 2-yr warranty make this specific tool hard to pass up. I suspect a lot of folks would see the price ($19.99 via the Arkon website) and become even more enamored of this effective piece of kit that can be used on the road… and elsewhere.

Flywheel, the Taxi Booking and Payment App, Adds Airport Ride Booking

Flywheel, the Taxi Booking and Payment App, Adds Airport Ride Booking

Aug 11, 2014

Flywheel is a well known app that makes travel easy by allowing users to both book taxi rides and pay for them using their smartphone. It also provides real time data on your taxi’s location so you can gauge how long it will be until it arrives at your location and what your ride is doing. Now Flywheel makes traveling even easier by providing advance booking when hitching a ride to an airport.

Airports included in the app are San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Jose International Airport (SJC) and Oakland International Airport (OAK). By the time you read this Seattle will also be supported and support for the City of Angels will be introduced some time this month.

Save yourself a headache and book your ride with Flywheel to avoid late taxis and payment charges!

Topia Review

Topia Review

Aug 11, 2014

There aren’t much god games out there – not on pc, consoles or phones. So Topia is very much welcome, promising all kinds of cool stuff. But does it deliver on the promise?

Topia was a game I was very excited for. I love god games where I’m able to create land, water, life and flora. The ability to oversee life itself – and making it grow or die with just one tap on the screen – is an idea that really appealed to me as a gamer. I was thinking of ways to play the same game over and over again. This time without water, that time without threes and another time without land. Or with just docile animals, that really don’t do anything but eating leaves.

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At first sight, Topia promised me this kind of gameplay, with many features to experiment with. But, as one might have guessed, it did not live up to my expectations. Expectations I got after reading the description of the game and after firing the game up for the first time. There are supposed to be a thousand creatures to play with, complete with a natural ecosystem and a food chain. Three straight up lies if I think about it. I did not find any of it in the game.

Well, in some there is. There could be a thousand creatures. By choosing one of the six (!) animals and by tapping on screen, holding your finger on it and dragging it across the screen, there will be hundreds maybe thousands of creatures popping up. But those are all the same – the eat the same thing (sometimes each other), walk around aimlessly after eating everything they wanted to eat and then just drown themselves in the water or just die. Die in vain. And just disappear.

The only ecosystem there is, is the one that when there isn’t any water, the threes and animals die. The only food chain there is, is the one where bigger / faster animals eat the smaller / slower ones. There isn’t any other variation on the formula and there isn’t anything to do after I molded the ground like I wanted and putting threes and animals where I wanted. There are no goals and the game is to narrow to create your own goals. Frankly, there isn’t anything to do over here.

So after all that, I got excited over nothing. Really nothing at all. I wanted to have a god simulation game where I could mold flora and fauna the way I saw fit – instead, I got a narrow game experience which I cannot recommened to anyone.

Master of Craft Review

Master of Craft Review

Aug 8, 2014

Master of Craft looks to be an engaging game that merges key gaming genres in a tidy package.

At its core, it’s all about simulating an economy of crafting. Off the bat, the busy animation of the game easily draws one in, with bright colors and vivid landscapes. If the developer’s goal is to please people that are iffy about the game at the start, it is mostly successful. The rustic vibe combines well with the whimsical representations, and the overall visual feel is that it is playful and serious at the same time.

Our main protagonist is a youngster looking to master the art of creating delightful objects of destruction. As in most crafting games, raw materials are a huge portion of the game, and to excel, one has to guide this apprentice to an enviable career.

The game elements are well-intertwined and mostly logical. It starts off small; out champion has limited resources that can be used to create relatively simplistic weapons that must be sold to pull in some money. As the game progresses, and a bigger war-chest is achieved, better objects can be produced and more money procured. In this, the trade system mimics real world economics. Patience and hard work are related. Further on, interacting with adventurers (characters that can accumulate advanced materials that are used to make more diverse weapons) becomes necessary.mc1

One unique part of the trade scenarios is the ability to set prices. Again, the developer does a decent job of making it feel sensible by allowing players compare and set prices. his affects gameplay in a host of ways. Also, the progression of weapons and the indirect fighting to pick up ingredients is a nice diversion. these can be affected by specials. Ingredients can be mixed and matched, and equipping armies makes a cameo.

If there were a game that induces in-app purchases, it’s this one; at some junctures, monotony makes the included ability of expediting via real cash mighty attractive. Still, for an engaging, logical simulation game, one really can’t go wrong with Master of Craft.

Real Boxing Throws Update Haymaker

Real Boxing Throws Update Haymaker

Aug 8, 2014

I didn’t think very much of Real Boxing back when I reviewed it but EA have at least pledged to improve the game’s rather unbalanced bouts with a new combo system added in their most recent update. The new combo feature allows players to chain up to nine hits in a row during matches, which may or may not improve the game’s poor take on boxing. A new social feature known as Social Planet also makes an appearance, although details on this are rather light. Lastly a daily spin feature similar to that found in other freemuiem games allows players to win in-game currency among other things. Fans of Real Boxing will doubtlessly enjoy the new update.

Suits and Swords Review

Suits and Swords Review

Aug 8, 2014

Suits and Swords is much like Blackjack version of the venerable and well received Sword and Poker. While a good ideas does a simpler game like Blackjack have the legs to support an RPG?

Suits and Swords has a rather amusing story. The majority of things and characters in the story are named after card related things. The main character is called Black Jack, he’s a solider or Battle Jack and the villain is an evil disembodied head named Joker. He’s pretty serious.

Screenshot_2014-08-07-23-47-32The coolest thing about Suits and Swords is the off the wall game concept. Just like Sword and Poker, this is one of those games that likely wouldn’t have been made if it wasn’t for the open door policy of the Playstore.

Suits and Swords features an overall map where the player moves between stages and buys new items and spells from the store. Each stage spot on the map is a battle.

Screenshot_2014-08-08-00-09-27Combat, as you might expect is mostly random. Both the player and their opponent draw a hand and the player selects to hit or stay. Magic can also be used to increase or decrease their hand, which feels a lot like cheating. The opponent then reveals their hand and hits or stays. The winner gets to attack and cause damage.

The combat isn’t bad, but it just isn’t as compelling as poker and the AI seems to get good hands almost all the time. Standing on 19 might be a pretty good idea in real Blackjack, but it’s a bad idea in this game. The AI will almost always get 20 or 21, which feels very unfair. The magic element to the game also feels a bit cheap. Magic can be purchased in the store and of course in-app purchases are just waiting to load the player up with magic.

Equipment also plays a role in the game, but it just increases defence or attack and there are no interesting effects like increasing the chance a certain suit will appear or the like. New equipment is unlocked often but it is extremely expensive to buy, pushing the player towards in app purchases.

Suits and Swords doesn’t look that great. Poor quality Flash-like graphics don’t do the game any favours and animations are extremely basic. The sound isn’t particularly great either. The music has no feeling and the sound is very generic. The game also has an obnoxious animated ad on screen between levels.

Suits and Swords is a passable game, but its lacklustre presentation, cheap feeling gameplay and ads aren’t very compelling. It relies too heavily on in app purchases and just doesn’t really have enough depth to hold the player’s interest.


Super Heavy Sword Review

Super Heavy Sword Review

Aug 8, 2014

Super Heavy Sword is a classically styled platformer, which aren’t all that common on the Playstore. Monster Robot Studios have freely admitted that the game is a homage to the astonishingly successful Mario games. Indeed the game feels like a mix of Mario 64 and the original Super Mario Bros. With the big N’s reluctance to bring the overalled plumber to Android, can Super Heavy Sword full the gap?

Screenshot_2014-08-04-09-30-46Super Heavy Sword opens with a scene of Pike, the Hero and Lucinda the princess. A bunch of enemies roll in and amazingly don’t kidnap Lucinda but rather begin destroying to land,. Now it’s down to a lone warrior and his girlfriend to stab them all and restore peace.

Super Heavy Sword is a pretty traditional platformer, literally Mario with a sword. Rather than jumping on turtle backs and throwing fireballs the player uses a sword to chop up goblins and monsters. collecting powerups can make this sword longer and yes, heavier for better enemy slicing. There are gaps to leap over, coins to collect and enemies to kill or avoid. Some direction is added by the medallion system. To proceed to later levels and ultimately finish the game, a series of medallions must be collected.

Screenshot_2014-08-06-09-03-00Just like Mario 64’s Stars, medallions are gained from completing various tasks. Selecting different medallions from the pre-level screen changes the actual level layout however, something that never happened in Mario 64. For example, the medallion for grabbing 7 blue coins adds coins and blocks that were not in the level for earlier medallions. This is a good feature and gives levels plenty of replay value. It makes the game more engaging that basic running and jumping. Between levels there also mini levels, like boss fights (based on the Hammer Brothers) and coin collecting competitions.

Super Heavy Sword is a little rough around the edges however. The game has a rather low framerate and the animation is very basic, particularly for enemies. A major annoyance is that the game restarts whenever it is minimized or the device enters sleep mode which is aggravating since levels are at least a few minutes long and often longer and having to restart if the device times out or a call is received can be frustrating.

The game looks nice though with warm looking pixel graphics with plenty of personalty. It certainly emulates Mario closely, right down to the pre-level screen showing the medallions to be collected and. The sound is also very similar to Mario. Pike even yahoos when he is selected and much of the music and fanfares are very familiar to gamers.

Super Heavy Sword gets challenging fast and it is always an enjoyable game so platformer fans are likely to stick with it for a long time.

Super Heavy Sword is fun stuff and has really cute graphics. It is a nice change from cutesy non swordy platformers and anyone who misses having Mario on their mobile phone should pick it up.


Crowdfunding Spotlight: Sense

Crowdfunding Spotlight: Sense

Aug 8, 2014

As an American I feel that it seems that we are sometimes destined to not get enough sleep. We wake up early for work and then spend all day chugging coffee only to quickly try and fall asleep so we can start it all over again tomorrow. There are plenty of apps for smartphones that allow the user to keep a record of their sleeping habits, and I have tried a handful of them myself. One of the biggest problems with these is that the phone has to physically be on the bed with you, and because it is constantly recording data is should also be charging. Sometimes these two things are not very convenient, and it puts the impetus on the user to set everything up before going to bed which, from my personal experience, is the area where I tended to fall short the most.

Enter the Sense. A beautiful, spherical device that sits on the bedside table and analyzes sleep not just through motion, but through ambient light, sound, and temperature. The Sense knows the perfect environment for sleep and will display what factor was most likely responsible for a poor nights sleep. This will allow for corrections to be made which should improve sleep quality.

The Sense comes in three parts, there is the base station that houses the brains as well as almost all of the sensors in the system. The actual motion sensor comes in a clip that discretely attaches to the user’s pillow and constantly communicates to the base station during the evening. The final piece of the puzzle is the smartphone app that is almost a given now days, and this displays a myriad of information for consumption by the user to digest. Featured prominently is a number that is the score for that night’s sleep measured out of 100. The app looks great, and it truly seems to be a joy to use.

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My favorite feature is the smart alarm that times the user’s natural sleep cycles and knows the right time to sound the alarm. Simply put in a range of acceptable alarm times and the Sense will know, based on that night’s sleep pattern, when the sleeper is at their shallowest cycle; aka. when they will wake up easiest.

As always, the biggest selling point will be the price; will the Sense be cheap enough that somebody would justify splurging for it or getting it as a quick birthday or holiday gift? With the pre-order price set to $120 this is sitting right on that line. Maybe for a big Christmas gift or college graduation present, but the Sense is definitely not something most people would buy on the spur of the moment. All that aside, however, this is a great product and I can see it really taking off and becoming a massive hit in the tech community; especially those of us who work for a living.

Kickstarter for Project 13 Reaching Completion

Kickstarter for Project 13 Reaching Completion

Aug 8, 2014

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Subject 13 is an upcoming adventure game from Microids, featuring a thrilling story, courtesy of Paul Cuisset, and beautiful visuals, courtesy of Unity engine. The game has already reached its starting goal and will be funded on the 8th of August. So, if you want to chip in and help it reach new milestone, or just want to check it out, head here: Project 13 on Kickstarter.

1941 Frozen Front Review

1941 Frozen Front Review

Aug 6, 2014

When looking at the 1941 Frozen Front page on Google Play you may notice a few 5/5 ratings in the game’s description that aren’t actually attributed to anyone. They aren’t real. This sets the tone for Frozen Front, which looks like a strategy game, but actually is anything but.

Screenshot_2014-07-29-07-15-24The coolest thing about 1941 Frozen Front is that it allows the player to play as Germany, instead of the umpteenth game about the Allies in WW2. The game covers the invasion of Russia by the Germans and the player will use tanks, Stormtroopers and halftracks among others to wipe out the Russians.

1941 Frozen Front has all the trappings of a strategy game. The game is turn based and uses a familiar hex system for movement. Combat uses a rock paper scissors system where heavy tanks beat light tanks, which beat infantry. Anti-tank infantry counter tanks to an extent. Forests provide cover from attacks and units run out of ammo and fuel unless they are resupplied regularly.

Screenshot_2014-07-29-06-55-03Other than that though, 1941 Frozen Front is less a strategy game and more a slugfest. There is just little to the game’s combat except rushing in units until they or the enemy are blown up and then doing it again and again until one side wins. The enemy gains reinforcements quite quickly and there is just not enough of a difference between units to use effective tactics. Anti-tank infantry for example still die from a few tank attacks and take multiple shots to destroy even the weakest tanks.

Jarringly, the game includes a freemium resource, gold which is required to do just about anything in game. The player needs gold to buy new units or repair existing units. A small amount of supplies for repairing units is provided for free, but this is never enough to finish a mission easily and every unit that is destroyed must be replaced with gold. Gold trickles in very slowly from supply camps the player can capture, but this is never enough to win the battle.

A huge black mark against the game is its reliance on ads. A huge banner ad dominates the top of the screen at all times during gameplay, making it difficult to enjoy the game. Often during gameplay a pop up obscures a portion of the screen, asking the player to watch a video for gold. This happens every few minutes and cannot be dismissed. It removes any atmosphere the game might have had by reminding the player that it’s a game.

1941 Frozen Front looks pretty good. Tanks and infantry are drawn well and the environments look nice enough. It is difficult to appreciate the graphics with the continual ads blocking the view however.

1941 Frozen Front has a lot of levels and online multiplayer but the game just isn’t any fun to play and its reliance on in app purchases makes it less like playing a game and more like pay to win.

1941 Frozen Front is less STG44 and more Luger and should be avoided.


Rocki Wi-fi Music System Hardware Review

Rocki Wi-fi Music System Hardware Review

Aug 6, 2014

First, I am a Kickstarter feen. There’s something infinitely sexy about crowd-sourced projects; the whole concept of sharing a dream with investors who believe enough in said dream to back it financially is one of the best aspects of new age entrepreneurship one can find today. I admit to spending more time than I should browsing through projects.

Items like Rocki Wi-fi Music System allow for us to see Kickstarter at its best.

Some background: Rocki is a small, pocketable gadget that allows music users to stream music from smartphone-borne apps via common wi-fi. The project went up with a goal of $50,000 to fund; by the time the backing period ended, it had racked up more than four times that amount in pledges. Now, in Kickstarter terms, that’s mighty impressive, especially when one considers that even a few of the higher pledge tiers received plenty of support. As such, we were more than a little eager to check out the finished product, and the company obliged us with an opportunity to formally look at this item.

Yes. There are way more horrible ways to spend a weekend. Or two.

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The small review box packed a good deal of goodies that hint at just how effective the gadget intends to be: audio to speaker (red and white) cable, male-to-male coaxial cable, flat micro-USB cable, AC adapter, paraphernalia and, of course, the Rocki itself. The green unit is curiously shaped, being faintly polyhedric with antiprismatic stylings and quite palmable. The light green piece is mostly green rubbery plastic, with a hard black base. The on-button is set with the micro-USB and audio ports, and there is a small reset hole on the black underside. On the topside, the device logo is proudly stamped. It packs a rechargeable 900mAh battery and officially stands at 3.9 x 2 x 0.7 inches and 2.1 ounces.

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What Rocki looks to do is provide a wireless alternative to bluetooth streaming; its tool of choice is common wi-fi. Thus, the unit can be paired to a wi-fi enabled source via Android app, and, when physically connected to a pair of speakers with the one of the included audio cables, the audio is transmitted to the speakers… much like a bluetooth puck. Setting it up is easy enough in theory, but after downloading, it did take me a couple of tries to get stuff working, after which it all came together. The fidelity is nice overall, with no noticeable delay.

Now, one benefit of using this over bluetooth is that since it uses wi-fi, there is less of a theoretical concern with regards to range and/or obstacles; as long as the source phone or tablet and the Rocki are connected to wi-fi and the app is installed, a user is set. It allows the music source to remain with the user, and even allows different units to be alternated from within the same app, and music from multiple sources can be added to a playlist. Additionally, I like that the companion app also works as a self-contained music player, with built-in compatibility with Last.fm and SoundCloud.

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I like the concept behind the app; I think the multiple use ability is a great feature, as is the ability to use with computers. It doesn’t handle every type of music, and the use of wi-fi is a sword that cuts both ways. Still, it’s a piece that is good to have.

The Rocki Wi-Fi Music System can be had in a host of colors (pink, purple, red, black, yellow and green) via Amazon for $49.00.

The Island: Castaway 2 Goes Free For Limited Time Courtesy of G5

G5 is putting The island: Castaway 2 on the free rack for a limited time. Per the informational from G5:

In The Island: Castaway 2 you will be playing as Yati, an orphan who has been brought up by the whole island’s tribe. Haunted by hallucinations, Yati has to decide what to make of his life… So get ready to embark on an unbelievable adventure that will change the life of the island’s tribe!

Explore the large, picturesque island and learn to fish, catch multipedes, shoot the leap-quicks and boars, garden and harvest, cook, make arrows, cut trees and even practice sorcery! Decipher tricky riddles to become a New Man of the tribe. Create potions and always be mindful about your protection while you are exploring the dangerous Marshy Woods and the mysterious Ancestors Woods. Keep a sharp eye to be able to complete the Rarities Collections and help the weird scientist, Professor Langst. Meet all the inhabitants of the island, discover the tribe’s many secrets and see who will be the new Island Keeper. By solving tons of challenging quests, you’ll eventually be able to find out why the tribe left their village and what the Sanctuary originally looked like – before the big mystery was revealed!

The Island: Castaway 2 will feel familiar to the fans of the first adventure in the series, and offer newcomers to the game just as much fun and absorbing entertainment. Some improvements will also make your game more enjoyable right from the start. Now, by tapping a star on the map (that represents a hero you want to talk to) and Yati will run directly to the destination. There are numerous animals you can hunt, but some of them will “hunt” you and take your energy. If you lose too much energy, you will faint and lose a few items from your bag. But soon you will learn to prepare potions that make you stronger, faster, protect you from threats and even instantly teleport you across the island.

Key Features:
- A huge, colorful island to explore
- Over 300 intriguing quests to complete
- 16 original and engaging characters
- 28 rarities to collect for Professor Langst
- 11 unique recipes to master
- Dozens of vegetables, herbs and fruits to grow
- Fascinating storyline and stunning artwork

The game will be free until August 10 on the Play Store.

Huawei Ascend Mate2 Hardware Review

Huawei Ascend Mate2 Hardware Review

Aug 5, 2014

If one has never bothered learning how to pronounce “Huawei” before, be warned: its Ascend Mate2 smartphone might have you looking it up.

The review unit we received is stark white (black is an option); with regards to in-hand size, it is on the phablet side of the spectrum at 6.3 x 3.3 x 0.37 inches. Huawei makes use of the bezel, too; thankfully it doesn’t overpower the device. The white is broken by silver-colored trim and insignia, most of which frames the device. The tough plastic material that makes up the frame is reasonably resistant to everyday dings, and the Gorilla Glass screen did not succumb to simple scratch attempts. Also in the box is paperwork, USB cable and AC charger.

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The front camera is nestled to the right and the rear camera sits in familiar territory centralized towards the top, with the flash/camera directly below, and speaker grills lower down towards the bottom. The left side is bereft of controls, while the right houses the volume rocker and the power button. The standard audio jack sits at the top to the right, while the micro-USB charging port is on the bottom. The 3900 mAh battery isn’t user replaceable, and the SD card receptacle — which allows for extra space up to 32GB — resides underneath the back cover. Under the hood, it incorporates the quad-core Qualcomm MSM8928 Quadcore 1.6GHz chip.

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It feels heavier than some devices of the same size, but not uncomfortably so, weighing in at a tad over 7 ounces. It feels fairly comfortable in hand, and simple touches like the aforementioned positioning of the power button increase usability in one-handed situations.

The actual screen size sans bezel is 6.1, so the screen begs to be used for content and such. While the 1280x720p screen is pretty vivid, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that it could be so much more. Hi-res games look good enough, but when compared to high end competitors, The Ascend Mate 2′s humble roots show.

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The rear camera? Well, it was a pleasant surprise. It works great in lighted situations, and even with dim lights, it works admirably. The bundled image software is easy enough to manipulate as well. The built-in speaker is surprisingly nice on its own, and when connected to speakers via wires or bluetooth, this 13MP unit does quite well. It does video at 30 fps/1080p; the front camera a 5MP piece.

Per software, after the stock Android 4.3 and access to the main Google suite, there isn’t a whole lot of extras… thankfully. Notably, the device has a few different ways to set up the home screen visually, which is a nice touch. Other sundries, like music player and gallery, are clean and easy to handle. I did like the profiles and themes, as they give a user a way further customize usage and appearance. All in all, the bloatware is kept under control, and Huawei’s Emotion UI doesn’t fall into the common trap of Android UIs trying to do too much.

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With regards to call quality; links are relatively seamless, and inbound and outbound audio is clean. It’s equipped to handle 4G data, but we did not test that portion. One area this device did show its stuff is the battery life. I thought it does well, both in action and while at rest. As an added bonus, the battery supports reverse charging, which is definitely useful in a pinch.

Purists might gripe about the lack of specifics like wireless charging and NFC, but frankly, at this price point, it’s tough to complain. All in all, it is an admirable package, and at the very least, lets folks know that the semblance of luxury can be had in a tidy, well-designed package.

Shadow Fight 2 Review

Shadow Fight 2 Review

Aug 5, 2014

Great, like the world needed another example of why free-to-play model ruins civilization. Shadow Fight 2 is a sequel to a game I had no idea existed, but I don’t feel bad about it, as it seems to be a Facebook game, and who cares about those? I don’t know the differences between them, but there’s probably no reason for fans of the original to dislike this sequel. Anyway.

Shadow Fight 2 tells a story of a ninja who mistakenly opens a crypt that unleashes demons upon this world and reduces him to a shadow. There are no shadowy techninques in the game, so it’s basically an excuse to not draw any actual character models – weird, considering there’s a bazillion of character portraits in game, but not a bit of texture or color on the combatants. The player needs to fight through the demons to get to their master warriors, and then defeat them, all in one-on-one fighting encounters. And it’s exactly as difficult as it sounds. I’ve had a hard time even getting to the second part, as it require beating a crapload of really tough enemies. To skip the details, it requires several hours fighting to improve the hero enough and get equipment good enough to take on the first level boss and unlock the ranged weaponry.

And that’s not even considering the energy bar – yes, Shadow Fight 2 has the blasted energy bar that allows starting about 6 fights in a row, before making the player wait for it Shadow Fight 2 2to refill. Or making him spend the precious gems, of course. The same old song. Since the game requires lots and lots of grinding, even if you don’t count the fights you lost, there’s going to be a lot of waiting. What’s even more enraging is that Shadow Fight 2 is damn good! It’s an honest-to-god fighting game with combos, fast-paced action, lots of weaponry, and opponents who you just KNOW are cheating bastards. There are also ranged weapons, and magic – magic! The game would be close to perfect if it wasn’t for endless grinding and frustration when you need gold but can’t get it, as you lose almost every fight and can’t restart it for the next 6 minutes.

In general, Shadow Fight 2 is must-try for fighting fans. If you can get past the energy hogwash, it’s definitely one of the best fighting games on Android. Also, that soundtrack is dope as hell.

Mucho Party Review

Mucho Party Review

Aug 4, 2014

Ever wondered how WarioWare of something like it could look like on a Android device? Look no more: enter Mucho Party.

Mucho Party is a gaming app full of ridiculously funny games. When I fired up the app for the first time, it asked me to make a smiling face, a sad face and a normal face (when possible, of course). It then made three pictures of my three different faces. While I didn’t know what to expect of the photo’s, I curiously started one of the twenty mini games and found myself laughing on the first site of seeing my own face in game. I laughed when I won, and drew a sad face when I lost.

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Although this idea is certainly not new in any way, it is executed like it should be. Seeing your own face constantly didn’t disturb me as the player of one of the mini games. In fact, it helped enjoying the game much more. Especially in multiplayer, where up to eight friends can join in on the fun, with there own expressive faces and pictures. Even the object around the photo can be chosen and colored in the way it suits your style. It’s so simple, and yet so effective.

Mucho Party offers four different modes, a random mini game function and the ability to just select a game from the grid and play it at once. Two of those modes offer gameplay for a two player multiplayer game, where one could either battle a friend or battle the computer controlled oppenent. The same goes for the multiplayer games suitable for three players or more. The computer controlled opponents can even be set to easy, medium and hard.

Being colorful and all, providing in single- and multiplayer matches and giving players some crazy mini games (like smashing some nails in to wood with a hammer, collecting your own spouse as a duck or playing football with cars) it has a distintive WarioWare feeling to it. It only lacks more games and the ability to play all those games right after each other, getting more challenging as the game goes on. Although the doesn’t really need it to be fun to play.

Mucho Party is one of those surprisingly fun to play apps, with its collection of crazy and original mini games, colorful and cheerful esthetics and cool features like three of your own expressions in-game. It has some solid multiplayer features, offering games for up to eight players – who can al make pictures of their own faces and enjoy the game the same as the main player.

Word Monsters Review

Word Monsters Review

Aug 4, 2014

Word games always have been a great fit for mobile. Simple and fun and good on small screens their bite size gameplay words great for the modern gamer on the go. Word Monsters is a deliciously biscuity new word game

Screenshot_2014-07-28-05-24-23Word Monsters is more about speed than any tricky gameplay. The player is presented with a pile of letter cookies and a theme, say girls names or things found around the house. The idea is to find words fitting in with that theme. Once found, dragging over the word removes it and the letter above fall down and create new words. The gird is very small and each game has a forty second time limit. The key to the big points is moving quickly. Once all the words are found the player is scored which mostly boils down to how fast they were, is awarded a few coins and the other player takes their turn if they haven’t already.

New themes for words can be purchased with in game coins. Coins are gained very slowly, but most of the themes aren’t too expensive and the game is lots of fun and never pushes the player to purchase anything.

Screenshot_2014-07-28-20-01-00Cookies are the game’s premium currency and they are used to cheat during gameplay. They can be used to provide a hint, slow the timer and so on. Some monster items and themes require coins as well but it never feels like the player must purchase them. Coins are handed out rarely during a minigame on the title screen and as a prize for winning weekly leagues.

Word Monsters has a few quirks. The game wants you to pick words in a certain order, even if that might not be obvious. Eating words in the wrong order leaves random letters over at the end, making it impossible to finish. The game also notifies you that players have quit after a game when they obviously haven’t. This is likely a minor bug.

Word Monsters has a super cute cookie based presentation which works very well. The titular monsters dance and wave as they laugh and giggle. The player can dress them up and customize their features, although most of these cost coins. The music is super catchy as well, especially the tick tocking theme when actually playing a game. Word Monsters feels warm and inviting.

Word Monsters has a pretty robust league system for a game that’s looks like it is made for kids. Beating players in a league kicks the player up to a higher league while losing moves them down. There are cookie and coins rewards for doing well in a league as well. With no pesky energy system anyone who enjoys Word Monsters will find no shortage of tougher opponents.

Word Monsters is good stuff. It is impossible not to be charmed by its graphics. The price of some themes may annoy and the rather jarring leftover letters mechanic is questionable, but there’s plenty of wordy fun for puzzle heads here.