Games

Beatdown! Review

Posted by on Apr 23, 2015

A new title will an old-school feel.

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Productivity

Google Handwriting Input Review

Posted by on Apr 20, 2015

A handwriting tool from Google.

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App Rundown

Beatdown! Review

Posted by on Apr 23, 2015

A new title will an old-school feel.

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Recent Posts

Forsaken World Mobile is Coming to Android Soon Courtesy of Fedeen Games

Forsaken World Mobile is Coming to Android Soon Courtesy of Fedeen Games

Apr 14, 2015

Forsaken World Mobile, an MMORPG from Fedeen Games, is on its way to Android.

In Forsaken World Mobile, players will be able to interact with the massive open world as one of five dynamic classes. Stand tall and strong, shielding your allies as a Warrior, or strike from the shadows as a stealthy Assassin. Feed on the life force of your enemies as a Kindred, blast your foes with elemental spells as a Mage, or put your healing talents to work for the good of your team as a Cleric.

Once you’ve selected your class, you’ll have the entire fully 3D landscape of Forsaken World, built using the same graphics engine as the PC games,literally at your fingertips. Team up with your friends to raid massive dungeons and take on epic bosses for tons of awesome loot, or destroy them in heart-stopping PVP battles! Outfit your character with eye-catching accessories as you traverse the land on your choice of exotic mount!

We got a trailer below:

Apocalypse Runner Review

Apocalypse Runner Review

Apr 14, 2015

Running away from danger is a fundamental human right, and in many ways, Apocalypse Runner, a 2D atmospheric runner, promotes this right. For the good of all.

Looks-wise, it’s a simple affair, with subtle darkness as the general motif. Even in the simple graphics, the developer is able to convey lightheartedness, and it works.

The gameplay is simple here; our protagonist runner is lollygagging along his way, when a sudden gaggle of evidently spooked birds gives him the only warning of an imminent danger. Hot on the heels of the birds is what can charitably be described as an uncontrolled tsunami. Running right-ward is the the only way to survive, and the ultimate goal is to avoid being swept away by the tidal wave.

The running area has gaps created by “natural” growths, creating holes that need to be jumped across to continue moving; this is probably the main element. The developer does a good job of tweaking it within that paradigm; as a run continues, the running area becomes a bit more treacherous, forcing the player to have to jump up to reach a cliff, or down. Such variations can wreak havoc on timing. Then, there are the secondary obstacles, like the well-known rotating blades and even rocks. Running into one of these pretty much ends the run. There are goodies to collect too, though focusing too hard on the gems can be foolhardy. Enough gems can open up powerups.

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Jumping is effected by tapping anywhere on the screen; double tapping creates a double jump. These have to be harnessed well, because an errant jump can have unpredictable (and non-optimal) results. As distance is accumulated, the obstacles start to come quick and often, and then the game starts to get a twitch-reaction feel. The quick pace is a great touch.

There isn’t a ton of variation, but it should be commended for taking an easy road and looking to do it well. It’s an enjoyable romp with a clear premium implementation that, well, works.

WordPress for Android Gets an Update

WordPress for Android Gets an Update

Apr 14, 2015

WordPress has been updated again, this time to version 3.9.

Version 3.9 brings:

With WordPress for Android, v. 3.9, you can add media to your posts and pages more quickly and easily, change the app’s language with the new language picker found under Settings, and enable two factor authentication (2FA). No need for nasty old app specific passwords anymore — they’re sooooo WP for Android v. 3.8!

WordPress remains free on the Play Store.

There’s Still Time to Get in on Handy Games $0.15 Birthday Sale

There’s Still Time to Get in on Handy Games $0.15 Birthday Sale

Apr 14, 2015

Handy Games is giving everyone a reason to enjoy its upcoming 15th birthday with a mammoth “15 for 15 cents” promotion that is going now.

Simply put, the development house is putting 15 of its premium games on sale for 15 cents each for a limited time. The titles include Aces of the Luftwaffe, Ninja Hero Cats, Guns ‘n’ Glory WW2 and a bunch more.

The games are available on Google Play; get in on this while it’s hot!

[Source: Handy Games Blogpost]

NBA 2K15 Gets Update

NBA 2K15 Gets Update

Apr 14, 2015

When we reviewed NBA 2K15 earlier this year, there wasn’t a whole lot we didn’t like; being the nitpickers that we are, we did whine about some missing pieces like a Season Mode.

With it’s latest update, the developer has fixed that omission and more. The new build brings new modes and better controls. Hello, Double Tap for an alley oop!

What’s new in version 1.0.0.58
Season mode added
Blacktop mode added
Alley-Oop control added (double tap Pass)
Initiate ‘Post Up’ by double tapping Dribble while in the post with the ball
Intense D button added to Quick Game
Sprinting no longer causes fatigue
Fatigue increased in other areas to compensate
Turbo button removed (can be initiated by holding far left/right with D Stick)
The placement of some controls has been changed. You can change back to the Original controls under Options > Controller Type in the Pause Menu

The game is available exclusively on the Amazon Appstore for $7.99.

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The Quicklock Padlock Hardware Review

The Quicklock Padlock Hardware Review

Apr 13, 2015

We all love the connected home? What about a connected lock to start it all off?

How about the Quicklock Padlock?

The review package contained USB-cable, documentation, and NFC card and the lock itself; there’s no missing the lock, in that it looks like, well, a lock. The review unit is mostly blue and grey, with the metal shackle being the latter. The body is in the shape of a small cylinder, with a recessed charging port on the backside, and a bluetooth button/LED on the front.

The manufacturer also provided us companion Android software — in beta — that serves as the control bridge for the hardware. The app is simple, presented a business-like grey, and when it is initiated, it turns on the host device’s Bluetooth radio and searches for a lock. On the hardware side, one has to press the aforementioned button on the front of the device to initiate pairing. When the lock is found, the app requests a password (in our case, provided by the manufacturer). As soon as the connection and password is verified, a simple control screen appears, allowing the user to unlock, or set the unit to auto unlock. The app allows one to manage multiple locks, as well as edit the name and auto lock time.

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The unit also allows for NFC control; I was able to pair to the provided NFC card. It works as advertised, if a bit laggier than the app. The manufacturer offers a bunch of NFC accessories (like a ring) on its website.

It’s all pretty seamless, and fairly intuitive.

But then, the wireless connectivity that makes the solution attractive brings to mind some interesting questions. The first one has to do with complete power drain; if the unit drains out, it can be operated, but must be charged with, say, a portable charger (and the cable has to be just right too to fit); as such, I felt more comfortable topping it off frequently, which isn’t optimal. Another quirk is that button at the front. Prior to operating, it has to be pressed each time, meaning one would have to physically make contact with the lock every single time. Not life-ending by any means, but this did curb my dreams of sending my kids to the shed out back white I sip on a Pepsi watching Dancing with the Stars. The NFC functionality helps in this regard, as one can match a few to it, but that does put a damper on true access control.

I wasn’t able to view access control, but for an item still being designed, it’a pretty interesting piece. With some polishing, the whole thing can be a killer combo. It it something I’d use?

Absolutely.

Razor Crazy Cart: U Drift Review

Razor Crazy Cart: U Drift Review

Apr 13, 2015

In real life, racing in carts on the streets is probably not the best idea. Tempting, but foolish.

Cool. That’s why we have games like Razor Crazy Cart: U Drift.

If one is familiar with infinite runners, this game will feel right as pie. Based on the real life riding toy it derives its name from, this incorporates the almost standard three lane system, and, as to be expected, the main element has to with the numerous obstacles one has to avoid so as to travel as far as possible. In this game, the traveler is decked out in a cart, and it does cool things like drifting when manipulated at the right time.

Further to the travel way, it starts out fairly straight, but curves do appear over time, and more raz2intricate bends appear as progress is made. Early on, the pacing is manageable, but again, as progress is made, the game goes faster. To avoid obstacles — stuff like cones and tire stacks — the player uses swipes to make the cart go left or right on the fly, as well as a special spin move that deflects small obstacles.

There are a bunch of things to collect as well. Most obvious are red coins. Then there are powerups like coin magnets and shields that can enhance a run. Of course, there is an opportunity cost to collecting these goodies, as they are generally placed in such a way that tests the players reflexes. As with just about everything else, this element ratchets up the longer one races, such that it becomes a challenging, arcade-like experience that requires twitch responses to do well in.

When it’s all said and done, the came is easy to understand and enjoy. It brings in a familiar real life object and ties into a fun game with universal elements and a simple upgrade and leaderboard system.

Can’t go wrong with that.

Amazon Prime Music Stations Come to Android

Amazon Prime Music Stations Come to Android

Apr 9, 2015

Amazon is bringing its Prime Music Stations to Android.

Now, Prime members get another perk — the ability to access internet radio in an ad-free manner.

There are hundreds of Prime Stations—customers just need to find a genre or artist they like and hit play to hear a continuous stream of music that can also be paused, replayed, or skipped without any restriction. As customers listen and give songs a thumbs up or thumbs down each station will adapt to their music tastes.

As already noted, the service is free for Prime subscribers.

Feedly Gets Update

Feedly Gets Update

Apr 9, 2015

Popular news collation app Feedly is getting an update.

Per the Google Play page, the new update has a few goodies:

New in 26.0.5
[FIXED] Cut and paste issue in the explore plane
[FIXED] Broken link in the google news feeds
[FIXED] Edge swipe to open left navigation panel and right explore panel

Feedly is available for free on Google Play.

Ingress Gets Quick Update

Ingress Gets Quick Update

Apr 9, 2015

Ingress continues to get refined, and is getting another update.

The new update brings a Community Resource Tab and bug fixes.

Ingress remains free on the Play Store.

[Source: Google Play]

Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! 3 Gets Release Date and Trailer

Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! 3 Gets Release Date and Trailer

Apr 9, 2015

Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! 3 is almost here, and to celebrate its upcoming release, we have a trailer to show.

Spun off from the Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! gamebooks of the 1980s, Sorcery! 3 is a narrative game with a massively branching, choice-driven storyline. With the city of Kharé at your back and the sacred Crown of Kings driving you forward, this penultimate chapter provides the most challenge yet as you attempt to cross the cruel, cursed wasteland of Kakhabad.

With rations dwindling and seven deadly serpents stalking you around the desert, only the most resourceful adventurers will survive. And with no set path to follow and time rippling like a flag on the wind, this adventure could lead you in circles or a thousand years into the past.

The game is the third part of the series; the original two are available on the Play Store.

The game is due out on Google Play on April 23rd, 2015, and will cost $4.99.

Kenu Airframe+ Hardware Review

Kenu Airframe+ Hardware Review

Apr 9, 2015

My mobile mantra is “simplicity is best.” Essentially, to be as productive as possible, I look to find solutions that are simple and effective. There are plenty of tools that are overly involved, or simply too much solution for a gentle problem. There are also complex solutions that go way beyond a simple use scenario. Technologically speaking, there can be too much of good thing.

As I have gotten older, I have started looking for the easy accessories… stuff that enhances the use of my mobile devices, is just as portable and — this one is a biggie — handily affordable.

Here’s to hoping that the Kenu Airframe+ Portable Car Mount hits on all three points.

The unit Kenu sent us highlights the Airframe+ in all its retail glory: simple packaging with an emphasis on the product itself. As noted, this is a car mount, and it is rated for larger phones and phablets of up to 6″ and is basically a more extensible version of the original Airframe, which worked with slightly smaller devices. The retail packaging also contains diagrammed documentation. We got the black one, but there is also a white version.

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In hand, the Airframe+ is strikingly light, and also pretty compact at 2.7 x 1.9 x 0.98 inches and under an ounce in weight. The exterior fels like a combination of synthetic materials, and there is also some metal: specifically zinc alloy and stainless steel. It looks a bit like a simple c-clamp without the screw part; instead, it hs a pyramidal part that sits on the back.

The small frame is a bit deceiving, because at first glance one might not catch the expandable grip. The one end can be pulled to create more area, and it naturally retracts to provide a tight fit. It all comes together quite intuitively, and works well. I tried it with both a Samsung Galaxy S5 and a note, and it come together nicely.

It promises o attach to all car vents, and certainly did on the ones I tried it on. It simply snaps into place, at which point one can insert and remove devices quite easily. As an added benefit, one can use a card to prop the Airframe+ as a standalone device stand.

Pretty nifty.

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of vent holders for obvious reasons, but I do like the construction of the unit, and the extra usage. At $20.29 (via Amazon), it is quite affordable.

So, it seems the Airframe+ is able to hold it own in the functionality challenge.

GTArcade has brought League of Angels to mobile on iOS and Android

GTArcade has brought League of Angels to mobile on iOS and Android

Apr 9, 2015

GTArcade has brought its extremely popular Facebook MMORPG, League of Angels, to mobile on iOS and Android.

League of Angels – Fire Raiders includes all of the features that you grew to love in the Facebook version, like collecting and customizing heroes and angels to bring into battle in PvE and PvP modes like cross-server arena battles, team dungeons, and mini games but this time it’s all on your iOS or Android device.

Heroes and angels must be trained, levelled up, and equipped with the best gear (which can be enhanced further by socketing gems) if they are to survive the tougher battles ahead.

You’ll pick a team of your favourite heroes and slot them in the best battle formation for the battle ahead. You may have to change up your strategy often because what works well in one battle may be ineffective in another.

League of Angels – Fire Raiders is played entirely online and you can use the live chat to talk to thousands of fellow players and make some new friends, or enemies.

League of Angels – Fire Raiders has just officially launched and to celebrate, GTArcade is planning on hosting a variety of in-game events and giveaways. If you’d like to learn more, visit the official site for more information or ‘like’ it on Facebook to receive the latest news and special free gifts as soon as they’re announced.

League of Angels – Fire Raiders is out now in the App Store [download] and Google Play [download].

This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partners.

Alien Invaders Review: A Chromecast Experience

Alien Invaders Review: A Chromecast Experience

Apr 9, 2015

Ah… aliens, shooting and TV. No arcades here, just Alien Invaders.

Off the bat, the game is made for Chromecast, Google’s multipurpose casting dongle that opens up Android to more generalized modes of consumption. To be honest, the game offerings are thin, and that isn’t too hard to understand.

The game is fairly useless without the dongle, as opening the game requests that the user connected to a local Chromecast; after the connection is made, one can get into it by “joining the game” on the big screen. On the device, one will find three spacecraft symbols, which serve as controls.

At first blush, the game looks a lot like the classic arcade game Missile Command, and plays a lot like it too. There are waves of enemy craft at the “top” of the screen, all in direct conflict with the protagonist ship at the forefront. The wave of aliens move side to side, and, less gradually, forward a step, reducing the distance between them and the player’s ship. The player’s ship can be controlled by the aforementioned virtual icons on the screen; the outer ones initiate perpetual movement in the corresponding direction (until arrested by the playing area), while the middle one controls shooting at the enemy craft. Thus, the dual objective is to avoid fire and to destroy the enemy ships.

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To increase the challenge, as soon as one level is cleared, a new, better populated one replaces it. In this way, the gameplay gets tougher, as there are more ships to destroy as well as more gunfire to avoid. Another aspect is the scoring mechanism, which taxes the player for missing the target. Thus, to get the highest score possible, it makes sense to avoid the urge to strafe continually.

It’s a simplistic game, but that is as much a blessing as it is a curse, as it is easy to get into. I like the simple leaderboards as well. Control-wise, it is possible to slide off the controls at times, so I had to glance down every so often, but such is the challenge of using devices that have fewer hardware buttons. I still think the controls can be improved upon greatly.

In the end it is a fun take on a classic style of game, and the Chromecast functionality is a plus. It is so easy to chase high scores, and that helps the game shine.

Sky Wings Review

Sky Wings Review

Apr 8, 2015

Flying games never get old, and that is only one reason we just had to give Sky Wings a try.

It’s a 2D game, with cheery colors and smooth animations. The developer makes it look engaging, with a bit of the whimsical added in for effect.

The gameplay boils down to an endless flying adventure. The protagonist plane travels from left to right, and the idea is to travel as far as possible without crashing. The trick is in not crashing obviously, as there are quite a lot of obstacles aimed at preventing long travels. The control mechanism defines progress and success. A gesture swipe up slides the plane into a higher lane, and the a swipe down pulls the plane down. Both actions happen in conjunction with the perpetual forward movement.

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The obstacles are interesting and varied; you get “natural” outgrowtch like hills and cliffs which appear very quickly. They are fairly random, and every now and then, one finds caverns and single travel lanes to travel through. Making matters even more challenging is the fact that there are gold coins that line the airspace; these provide temptation and opportunity costs that can be exhilarating and dangerous at the same time. The obstacles get a bit more creative with distance too: planes traveling in the opposite direction, rain clouds, and more. There are also powerups that help to counter the dangers, like coin magnets, coin doublers and more.

The developer includes some nice elements which further the arcade feel, as evidenced by the in-app store, from which upgrades can be obtained with collected gold; the upgrades help extend the powerups. The game also incorporates missions which can be skipped. Real money can be used, but doesn’t feel necessary.

It comes together quite well. A tinge of the monotonous, maybe, but it works well in small morsels anyway.

WorldCard Mobile Phone Kit Hardware Review

WorldCard Mobile Phone Kit Hardware Review

Apr 8, 2015

Another day, another business card. A hassle? I can be, but a college professor told me that getting business cards is a good thing. As such, PenPower’s WorldCard Mobile Phone Kit, which purports to give users the opportunity to digitize business cards, has to be great.

Right?

I’d seen pictures of the piece prior to receiving the review package that PenPower sent us, but I still admit to being surprised upon physically handling it. It comes in a nice, polished metal finish; it looks like a device dock with an extended piece behind it. Said piece folds out into a smaller dock of sorts for business cards. It feels nicely machined, with deliberate stylings and gentle curves, such that there are no real sharp edges. it is mostly grey with black and light gold accents, and the moving pars are smooth in action. The whole unit manages to be stately without being overly pretentious.

Officially, it comes in at 2.6 x 3.2 x 5.2 inches and weighs 7.76 ounces.

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The hardware — which, as hinted at, holds a phone upright such that it can take a picture of a card propped behind it — is just a portion of the solution. In many ways, the hardware complements the companion WorldCard Mobile Lite software, which controls the capture process. Once installed on a device, the app can be invoked and used to pull in data, which it then interprets using built-in OCR technology. The app has more functionality; it can sync with the phonebook, allowing all contacts to become a part of the app. In this, the app acts like a second contact repository, with the ability to act on the data right from within the app.

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Frankly, I was surprised at how effective the solution is in real life. The issue of dealing with business cards has been around since PDA days, and this is the first one I’ve cottoned to; the potential for one-touch processing of data is quite attractive.

My biggest gripe has to do with documentation. The manufacturer/distributor doesn’t include much, and the companion software feels just as bereft. The hardware and software work decently well together, and it would be nice to see it all explained formally. The app is also a bit clunky; again, this probably boils down to the need for better how-tos. I still feel as if here is some functionality that I am not using to the fullest. Also, if I were to nitpick, I would have liked some design attention paid to charging while in soft use.

In the end, though, the added use, design and concept are almost too good to ignore. I like the look of the piece, and at $59.99 (on Amazon), it doesn’t have an unbearable entry point. At the end of the day, the question becomes whether one would rather have it or not.

My answer is fairly clear.