Blog

Mmm Fingers Launches on Google Play

Posted by on Nov 27, 2014

Mmm Fingers launches on Android.

Read More

Games

RETRY Review

Posted by on Nov 28, 2014

RETRY: The name says it all.

Read More

Productivity

e-CAL Calendar Review

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014

A look at Android calendar replacement application.

Read More

App Rundown

RETRY Review

Posted by on Nov 28, 2014

RETRY: The name says it all.

Read More

Recent Posts

Battlestation: First Contact Review

Battlestation: First Contact Review

Nov 19, 2014

Battlestation: First Contact Is an interesting mix of RTS and tower defence.

As commander of a large space station the player simply needs to survive by any means possible while wiping out the enemy. Gun turrets can be built in a number of slots on the station. These range from fast firing anti fighter lasers to slower heavy missile launchers for pounding the snot out of big ships. Having a good balance of weapons to combat different threats is as important here as it is in any tower defence.

Screenshot_2014-11-14-08-15-18As well as towers however the player can also construct Hangars. Once built these spit out fighter in a steady steam, providing mobile defence that can be sent to attack the enemy or cover the station as necessary. Fighter squadrons can be individually ordered about and while they cannot be moved directly, the player always feels like they have firm control over their pilots.

A shuttle bay can also be built that allows marines to be sent in troop carriers to opposing enemy ships to take them over and steal them from the enemy. Lastly, Earth can be contacted for reinforcements to bring in the big guns. This doesn’t come cheap however.

Screenshot_2014-11-14-08-37-08Of course all this fancy gear costs credits which are gained by destroying enemies and tapping on salvage. Marines and pilots are also a finite resource, so flippantly throwing away fighters or troops in futile combat will swiftly lead to disaster.

Battlestation: First Contact offers quite a few tactical options. Everything the player builds or uses can be customized like any good RTS. Turrents can have their targeting priority changed, while fighters can be more or less aggressive or dock with the station for upgrades. Shields can also be tweaked to either have more capacity or recharge faster. All of this makes a big difference depending on the situation.

Battlestation is a rougetype. This means when the player dies that saved game is deleted and they must start all over again from wave 1. It is very easy to lose it all very fast in Battlestation: First Contact if a tactical blunder is made. This makes the game tense but it is very aggravating being blown up after twenty minutes of gameplay. This is not helped by the repeated dialogue each game. Battlestation barely has a story to speak of and it is irritating to click though dry dialogue.

Battlestation: First Contact looks nice and minimalist. Its bright, simple graphics give it an inviting TRON like look with chaotic battles that are fun to watch. The sound is well done as well. A pumping techno track accompanies the action. The “pew pew pew” of combat gets the job done in a retro way, but a few more sounds would have been nice.

Battlestation: First Contact offers its first episode for free while additional episodes cost $3.50. If you’re good enough to reach the end of the first episode the later ones will likely be a good buy.

Battlestation: First Contact is a slick well-made game with a great meshing of styles its exciting tactical combat and fresh graphics make it a winner, even if it can be just a little too brutal sometimes.


Microsoft Office Mobile for Android Gets Update, Adds Dropbox Functionality

Microsoft Office Mobile for Android Gets Update, Adds Dropbox Functionality

Nov 19, 2014

As previously hinted, Microsoft Office Mobile, the official companion application for Android devices, is getting an update — and a welcome update it should be.

The latest build brings Dropbox functionality to the mobile office suite. Now, MS Office Mobile users can add and manipulate documents in the popular cloud service option.

The move seems to underscore Microsoft’s commitment to providing services to folks irrespective of supporting tools individuals use; Dropbox competes with MS’s own SkyDrive cloud service, but seems be willing to add Dropbox compatibility as another feature.

The update is rolling out now, and the app remains free on the Play Store.

Evernote Gets New Build that Refines Recent Updates

Evernote Gets New Build that Refines Recent Updates

Nov 19, 2014

Evernote has been hard at work.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why it’s been such an effective note utility for so many people for so long. Recent updates have added long-awaited features like business card support, as well as the new, interesting work chat collaboration tool.

The latest update streamlines these two features: work chat adds in block support, and the business card scanning now works with onboard contact apps.

It should be noted that business card scanning is a premium feature; the app is available for free (with optional in-app purchasing) on the Play Store.

Duck Destroyer Launches on Android Courtesy of Chillingo

Duck Destroyer Launches on Android Courtesy of Chillingo

Nov 18, 2014

New game Duck Destroyer is now on Android courtesy of Chillingo.

The game takes a fox’s search for dinner and transforms it into a cutscene-driven arcade-type shooter

When hunger strikes, grab a shotgun and put some dinner on the table. Look down the sights and put those sharpshooting skills to the test as you blast flocks of ducks out of the sky.

From slingshots to rail guns, dynamite to robots – there’s nothing this duck destroyer won’t use to get his paws on a delicious meal. Load up on power-ups in the store and come out guns blazing!

A simple errand to fetch dinner takes this fox on an adventure that’s out of this world! Chart his incredible journey as he’s plucked from his humble home and thrown into the Arctic and beyond in fully-animated cut-scenes.

Duck Destroyer is available for free (with in-app purchasing) on the Play Store.

Civilization Revolution 2 Review

Civilization Revolution 2 Review

Nov 18, 2014

The original Civilization Revolution was a flawed game with a bad interface and rather lopsided battles. It was saved mostly by its multiplayer and the fact that it was civ on mobile. Now Civilization Revolution 2 is upon us. Does it fix any of the original’s problems?

Screenshot_2014-11-15-01-54-22Civilization Revolution 2 like the other games in the series tasks the player with taking a civilization like Russia or the Aztecs though history and building them up from a few scattered hunter gather types to a wondrous civilization of the future, either crushing all rivals or simply proving their superiority to such a degree that the entire world falls under their control.

To do this the player creates cities and armies and researches new technology to unlock new buildings or units that can be used to defeat rivals or push the borders of your empire outwards with your cultural might, eventually simply absorbing other cultures under your enlightened rule.

Compared to its PC brethren, Civilization Revolution 2 loses a lot of depth. Terrain improvements are gone as is any real diplomacy. Enemy civs are kind of stupid and often don’t seem to research much of anything or keep up with technology. The complete lack of any multiplayer features further exacerbates the shortcomings of the AI.

The interface, while simple isn’t terribly intuitive. There is no world map, which can make it difficult to work out just who owns what. The diplomacy screen doesn’t even tell you who you’re at war with! Civilization Revolution 2 feels very dumbed down. There are some positive interface elements however, like the way the player can set a destination for a unit and it will move each turn. The Civilopedia works well too and is an interesting read.

Screenshot_2014-11-15-01-25-06Civilization also presents an air of immaturity. World leaders are clichéd, wildly gesturing oddballs, spies look like superheroes, the dialogue is often very silly and it is hard to take Civilization Revolution 2 seriously as a strategic game when it insists on unfunny jokes and animations. Sure other games like Great Little War Game and Romans in My Carpet! are less than serious as well, but CR2 seems to err on the side of annoying and silly, rather than amusing.

An old problem with Civ is its random battles. Civilization Revolution 2 is no exception Watch as catapults get mysteriously killed off by half dead archer units and warriors run up and kill defending archers. The civilization games are famous for this kind of idiotic combat and the fact that’s it still hasn’t been fixed after two decades is a bit ridiculous. It was about the time one enemy archer unit in a city defeated a catapult, two legion armies (six units) a unit of my own archers and two units of knights one after the other that I wondered how the game was released in this state.

Civilization Revolution 2 at least looks pretty nice. Bright 3d graphics add some flair, although they may be too cartoony to some compared to the original CRs more restrained graphics. The sound is nicely done as well with some good musical stings and solid combat and movement sounds.

Civilization Revolution 2 is a mixed bag of shoddy battle mechanics and missing features. It might be fun for casual fans of strategy, but the vast amount of better games on Android, like Ravenmark or Great little War Game dim its appeal a bit.


Planetary Guard: Defender Review

Planetary Guard: Defender Review

Nov 17, 2014

Today, humanity has successfully landed a probe on a comet, after years of rigorous testing on Donald Trump’s massive ego, so it’s fitting that I’d review a game about defending the futuristic space stations, situated on various asteroids and the like. Planetary Guard: Defender pits the player against the hordes of presumably alien ships that are attacking the bases around the universe, with a single hover-tank. The gameplay is similar to top-down arena shooters, only in this case, the “arena” isn’t some patch of grass or dirt, but an orbit around a planetoid that the player has to defend from several waves of enemies. The rest is all the same. Each wave has a certain amount of enemies that need to be killed, before they kill the player and/or the station that he defends. When they die, the enemies drop coins and power-ups. Power-ups give the player better shooting power, and the coins are spent between the missions on upgrades. Each mission also has three objectives, granting a star for completing each one. The more stars the player has, the more advanced levels he can unlock. It’s even possible to skip a couple of levels and go straight for the hardest one, if you’re confident.

The upgrade system in Planetary Guard: Defender features several hulls, weapons, shields, and special items. Each one can be upgraded to gain better characteristics. Naturally, Planetary Guard Defender 3the most powerfull of them require a special resource that can be bought with real-world money. They are also earned after the missions, but in very small amounts. Speaking of which, Planetary Guard: Defender is pleasantly devoid of most of the free-to-play irritations, not counting the fullscreen ads at the end of each level. There’s no energy, so you can play and replay every level for as much as you like. There’s no obvious paywall, at least not in the first couple of hours of gameplay that I’ve seen, and the grinding isn’t getting on the nerves.

Wrapping up, Planetary Guard: Defender is a fun shooter for the fans of rapid old-school sci-fi action, set in a pretty 3D, courtesy of Unity engine. It takes a while to get comfortable with, but it’s worth it, in my opinion.

GoSmart Stylus Hardware Review

GoSmart Stylus Hardware Review

Nov 17, 2014

It’s cool to rock styli again.

But beyond cool, can it be useful? Accurate? How about affordable?

Could the GoSmart 200 Stylus bring all these traits to the table?

The review unit GoSmart sent us looked nice in the silver finish; it also sport a black cover, such that it looks like a dual-colored pen. The finish on the silver has just a hint of polish, but not too much, lest one mistake it for tween writing instrument. It feels quite comfortable in hand, and altogether, it looks and feels professional, at home on the lapel of a doctor or in the jeans of a brash venture capitalist. For kicks, it is possible to get this unit with red, white or blue covers.

If one does mistake this for an executive pen, he or she might be excused if the top is on. Removing said top reveals the intricate nib, a metallic, coiled affair that opens into a round end piece that makes the actual contact with the screen. The coil allows for an allowance of give, and angles the flat circle for a “natural” motion on the screen. It’s a bit atypical when looked at the first time, but I’d be lying if I did not find it at least a little cute and intriguing.

gosmart3

But in this game, looks aren’t everything, and we were quite eager to try out on a host of touchscreen devices. It lived up to its promise when we put it through the paces as the main means of input. On our Samsung Note 4, the GoSmart Stylus proved to be a surprisingly worthy alternative to the stock unit. When oriented correctly, it mimicked a finger quite capably. It works on gesture keyboards, and even did okay as a handwriting tool.

I have to admit the unique nib gives me pause, especially with regards to long-term durability. Also, before use, I found it prudent to ensure the end was angled right, as the input is off when the end isn’t flat on the screen. To be fair, there are replacement pieces for the former concern, and with regards to the second, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the unit.

I haven’t yet made the permanent shift to styli as my primary mode of smartdevice interaction, but tools like the GoSmart Stylus make it easy to incorporate it into my workflow. At $19.99, it’s easy to give it a shot.

Racing Randy Review

Racing Randy Review

Nov 17, 2014

Racing Randy is a new endless runner featuring a long eared pilot and his doomed attempts to peacefully fly his airplane. Will the fur fly?

Racing Randy lacks any surprises for avid fans of endless runners. Players fly their plane along a course, avoiding hazards along the way. Hazards include electrified barriers, stationary clouds and flying missiles, among others. The sky is inexplicably filled with gold coins just waiting for an enterprising lope eared pilot to snatch them up. These coins can be spent on a small collection of disposable items. Unlike most runners, there are no permanent upgrades or buffs here to work on. Items instead are all one shot deal that destroy incoming hazards or speed up the player’s movement.

Screenshot_2014-11-13-11-16-53The problem with this system is that it is quite boring. The game isn’t all that interesting to begin with. It moves quite slowly and there is nothing in the game mobile gamers haven’t seen done many, many times before. The lack of interesting upgrades or gameplay quirks really hurt Racing Randy’s long term potential as well. This is compared to a game like Jetpack Joyride where there is endless fun in combining items and the fun vehicles. The only vehicle RR has is a very expensive alternate plane. Randy just has little to it.

Racing Randy’s presentation doesn’t do it any favors. Sporting rather plain sprites and little animation to speak of, the game looks very poor even compared to games several years old, such as Jetpack Joyride or even Temple Run. Compared to the visual feast many runners dish up Racing Randy doesn’t provide much to look at.

Screenshot_2014-11-13-11-18-31The sound is poor as well. There are only about two sound effects in the game: one for collecting coins and one for hitting obstacles. The music is very repetitive.

A final nail in Randy’s coffin is that it features a lot of video ads. Whenever a new game begins a 20 second video ad buffers away.

Racing Randy is an uninteresting and poorly presented runner with nasty ads and there are simply far too many better examples of the genre to warrant spending any time playing it.

Dragon Quest Review

Dragon Quest Review

Nov 14, 2014

If you’re in to old school RPGs and you haven’t played the first Dragon Quest, then you’re in for a treat.

Ah, the first Dragon Quest. Although I did not played it when I was young, I did manage to pick the game up later on. And as a RPG lover (especially turn-based ones), I loved what I saw and played. Now I that game is out on Android (for a very cheap price, I might add), I is time for everyone to relieve one of the classic and leading RPGs of all time. Well, if you’ve got the time, that is.

dragon-quest1

Because Dragon Quest is one of those first classical Japanese role-playing games. It provided players with countless hours of fun turn-based battles in a massive world to explore, while living the story the game’s developer told through hundreds lines of text. When the game first came out on the Nintendo Entertainment System, it was a first of its kind and later on became the fundamental base for one of the most loved RPG series ever.

This Android version contains everything what made the first game in the series so great. It has that typical storytelling of some youngsters that need to save the world, it has the classic turn-based gameplay where you could put a lot of strategy into and it has that feeling of a great adventure to experience. So the fundamentals are all there; how do does standards live up to today’s standards?

Well, you need to really want to spend time in the world of Dragon Quest. Granted being one of the best RPGs of all time, doesn’t mean it won’t feel like a chore to play. Sometimes you don’t know where to go or you need to grind some levels in order to move on, so it is really a matter of choices.

Just know what you’re getting yourself into, that is the advice I want to give to the newcomers or gamers who’ve never played the first entry in Dragon Quest. But if you’re up for the task, you won’t be disappointed – not even by the choice of digital controls.

Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Hardware Review

Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Hardware Review

Nov 14, 2014

I really, really wanna get down to the nitty-gritty with this one: what’s up with the Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Earpiece?

Yes… it’s sleek, as the retail unit Jabra sent us shows: different shades of grey with orange accents, gently-sized at 2.57 x 0.61 x 0.95 inches and 0.28 ounces. Coverable micro-USB port, bluetooth 4.0, NFC and A2DP support, plus retail packaging that also contains micro-USB, earhooks and eargels. There is a dedicated button for Google Now, as well as an answer/redial button incorporated towards the rear and LED. Pairing it with a device is easy and intuitive after the requisite pre-charge.

It looks sleek, and has a smaller profile than the Jabra Style, which we looked at a short while back.

I try not to exaggerate, but fitting the device in my ear allowed me to completely understand Tim Curry’s obnoxious Psych character Nigel St Nigel when he stated, “I feel like an angel baby swaddled in a cocoon of cloud candy.

Yes, this unit feels that good in ear.

jabra4

The construction of the ear gel allows for the already lightweight piece to feel, dare I say, natural. To be clear, this is easily the most comfortable unit I have ever tried. I’m one of those old school guys that strenuously avoids using bluetooth earpieces anywhere outside of the house or when driving, but the Stealth had me breaking my own cardinal rule, as I forgot it was on.

Seriously.

When you think about it, this shouldn’t surprise me; I always buy Jabra ear gels to use even with bluetooth earpieces from other manufacturers, so seeing Jabra seemingly perfect the delicate balance between structured fit and comfort should be somewhat expected. It works well in either ear, and I’m able to slip it on with one hand quite easily.

The ear gel also funnels noise beautifully. Noise cancellation tends to be a catchphrase nowadays, but with this unit, it does well, even when used in noisy environments (like soccer fields and restaurants). Calls and music sound rich, and callers actually noted the clarity on their ends.

The companion Jabra Assist app allows for unit geo-tagging, battery monitoring and onboard tutorials.

The ear gel, as it is, is also the center of my biggest gripe. It doesn’t adhere to the main body as well as I would like. Thus, my beloved ear gel does pop off in my pocket and even in my coaching bag. For this reason, I would have to use it with a dedicated pouch, but I might be a bit more persnickety than most. The Google Now button didn’t work the way I had hoped either.

Frankly, that specific drawback would not prevent me from enjoying the $99.99 Jabra Stealth (via Jabra), and I do suspect it has ruined me for other units. Just as well though; it’s all about having my ear feel like an angel baby.

TeleNav Scout GPS Gets Update, Adds Chat Functionality

TeleNav Scout GPS Gets Update, Adds Chat Functionality

Nov 13, 2014

Scout, the voice navigation utility from industry heavyweight TeleNav, is getting a pretty nice update.

Most notably, the update brings interesting collaboration tools; now, it is possible to chat with friends and family from within the app. Thus, meetups and more are easily arranged.

Chats can be initiated via the devices address book.

The user interface has been retooled somewhat. Now, upon opening the app, a “Me” icon is shown. In this, the app ties in even further to the username associated with the signed-in account. At the bottom, there are virtual buttons for Home, Chat, Meet Up and Me. the “Me” portion now houses the account and settings information. Here, one can download maps and such.

All in all, at first glance, the app feels cleaner and more streamlined. The changelog states the app is easier to navigate, and that certainly seems like it is the case.

We had an opportunity to review Scout a while back, and we mostly loved it. We look forward to checking out the new build more formally.

Scout is available for free (with optional in-app purchases) on the Play Store.

Evernote Gets Update That Adds Business Card Scanning Support

Evernote Gets Update That Adds Business Card Scanning Support

Nov 13, 2014

Evernote has just received a new update.

The changelog notes some changes, notably improvements to the newly introduced workchat feature. Additionally, there is now the oft-requested business card scanning support and bug fixes.

The business card scanning feature is a premium feature; linking Evernote to one’s LinkedIn accound does give one a year’s worth of premium service.

Evernote remains free (with optional in-app purchasing) on the Play Store.

Boogey Boy Review

Boogey Boy Review

Nov 13, 2014

Boogey Boy is an interesting middle ground between the classic platformers and infinite runners. Okay, it’s more of a runner, but it does match all of the staples of a platformer game, along with a price tag of two dollars. I’m not sure if there’s a lot of people willing to purchase an infinite runner when there’s quite a lot of them for free, but regardless, Boogey Boy is pretty fun.

The intro shows a boy and his sister, sleeping in a room that’s probably situated on an Indian cemetery for serial killers, judging by the amount of its creepiness infestation. The sister gets kidnapped by a boogie-man, and a boy has to rescue her by collecting batteries for a flash-light that can destroy nightmares. But while he does it, he has to escape said nightmares, as they aren’t shy of preemptive devouring. The boy can perform jumps, long jumps, and double-jumps, which will come in handy in the multi-layered Boogey Boy 4nightmare world. The hero needs to avoid meeting any enemy face-to-face as they will slow him down, letting the advancing nightmare catch up to him. However, he can jump on certain enemies to destroy them, and collect power-ups that give him a temporary boost that can be activated with a special button at any time (along with a cool activation sequence). The goal is to collect three batteries in story mode, or simply last as long as possible in arcade mode.

Overall, Boogey Boy is just a great endless runner. It has cool style and its levels are a lot more dense with stuff than other runners. It doesn’t have any pay-to-win elements, although it doesn’t have any kind of in-game store either, which makes it a bit aimless. It’s a fine game overall, but it’s still a runner. The gameplay is always the same and isn’t that unique, the story is insignificant, and the mechanics are few. I think that it’ll be a lot of fun for the people who like the mechanics of endless runners, but are tired of the free-to-play clutter. I know I am.

Story-Driven RPG The Shadow Sun Coming to Android Soon

Story-Driven RPG The Shadow Sun Coming to Android Soon

Nov 12, 2014

Ossian Studios is bringing The Shadow Sun, a story-driven RPG with a western facade, to Android devices soon.

The game is currently only available for iOS devices.

Excerpts from the press release:

Ossian Studios Inc., founded by former BioWare producer and developer of top-quality role-playing games (RPGs), announced today that The Shadow Sun is coming soon to Android devices. Rendered in full 3D graphics using the Unity engine, The Shadow Sun offers a deep, single-player role-playing experience with more than 10 hours of gameplay through a gripping, dark fantasy story with different outcomes based on the choices you make, and intense visceral combat against the many wicked creatures of Shar.

“With The Shadow Sun, our goal was to make a high quality RPG for mobile devices in the spirit of the classics from PC and console, and we are thrilled to bring the game to Android gamers,” said Alan Miranda, CEO of Ossian Studios. “In The Shadow Sun, players create their own personalized character with unique abilities for a gameplay experience that is customizable, engaging, and filled with endless possibilities.”

Taking place in the vast city of Shar, The Shadow Sun brings the ultimate western action RPG to Android. Surrounded by desolate deserts, players will explore the ancient city held within the grip of a mysterious plague. With more than 10 hours of gameplay, players will journey through 70 unique areas and uncover 200 different items, ancient treasures, and hidden secrets to help them prepare for combat against deadly enemies across the city. Gamers can customize their character, adopt a faithful dog, and ally with companions to adventure alongside in this epic tale with multiple quest solving options and more than 30 attacks, spells, and skills to choose from. Rendered in full 3D graphics using the Unity engine, The Shadow Sun offers a deep, single-player role-playing experience unseen in the mobile gaming space.

We’re looking forward to more details.

[Source: Ossian Press Release]

Flipboard Receives Update

Flipboard Receives Update

Nov 12, 2014

Flipboard, the cross-platform magazine app that is a staple for many smartphone users, is getting an update on the Android side.

According to the app detail page, the update formally brings:

• Go to the tile tab to see everything you’re following. Now you can filter to see topics, people, or connected social accounts.
• Pull down to refresh all your tiles.
• Bug fixes and performance improvements.

We loved Flipboard when we reviewed it way back when; it remains free on the Play Store.

Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge Sews Up Firm Release Date

Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge Sews Up Firm Release Date

Nov 12, 2014

We’ve been eagerly waiting on One Man Left’s latest game Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge, and now, we have learned that the game will be released on November 17th.

What’s Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge?
It’s a Tilt to Live like no other: a collection of brutal tilt obstacle courses! Take control of an unlimited supply of expendable arrow-people, destroying a ton of them on your quest to reach the finish line. Tackle three super-challenging gauntlets in any order you want, using our famously responsive Tilt to Live controls. Do you have what it takes to unlock the final boss gauntlet, and at last confront the infamous Dot King? If not, maybe try it on easy mode.

– Responsive tilt controls, calibrated your way.
– Easy, Medium, and Hard modes: choose the length of your health bar
– Challenging gameplay: experience the full spectrum of human emotion
– Three gauntlets to conquer in whichever order you like!
– Traps and enemies are shuffled for a fresh experience every retry.
– Reach the finish line to take on an endless Bonus Round.
– Show off your best pointonium haul on our Game Center leaderboards.
– Challenging achievements dare you to master each gauntlet’s traps.
– Unlock the final boss gauntlet to throw down with the Dot King himself.

gauntlet