Latest Articles, Reviews, and Promos

Review: Transformers G1 - Awakening

Posted by App-reciation Reviews on February 28, 2010 , under | comments (6)



Category: Games
Price: $ 4.99
Requirements: iPhone or iPod touch, OS 2.2.1 or later
Version: 1.1

What's good: Here's a question for you. What happens when you take the basic structure and play of Front Mission, combine it with the accessibility of Advance Wars, and mix in a whole lot of Autobot? Quite simple really, you get Transformers G1 – Awakening. While a turn based strategy role playing game might not be the most obvious choice for a game taking its cues from the classic eighties cartoon show of the same name, Glu Mobile has done a good job transferring the world of Optimus Prime and Megatron to the small screen with this title. Capturing the visual style and ever so camp atmosphere of the series, TG1A practically oozes with fondness for its source material. Bumblebee is scrappy, Soundwave is sinister and Optimus is the hero you always imagined he was as a child. There's an overall feeling of high quality from what is essentially a cheap to produce license based title and it's great to see a developer take the high road for once.

Mechanically, this is standard SRPG stuff (albeit with a high level of polish), the player takes their turn to position squad members, make necessary actions – such as transforming for mobility, repairing to regain health or initiating combat – the round ends and it's the enemies turn to do the same. Victory comes from defeating all the bad guys on the battlefield or capturing enough of the game's main resource, Energon. Play is fluid and fairly fast, thanks to a very intuitive control scheme and slick in-game loads.

There are several modes on offer which ultimately boil down to you doing the same as the main course of this mechanical meal, the story mode, which while pretty standard Transformers stuff, is just enough to provide a decent framework within which to base a variety of missions and objectives across a number of landscapes.

There's no disguising it then, these robots are well worth your money and fans of the series should pick this up without hesitation.

Suggestions for improvement: The game makes a lot of assumptions about the player, so don't expect it to teach you even the most basic of strategy tactics, nor particularly fill you in on exactly who Grimlock is. The front end is also exceptionally slow to navigate and initial load times can become irritating though, again, once you're in a game this issue is non-existant.

Breakdown:
Graphics - 5/5 Creativity - 3/5 Gameplay - 4/5 Controls - 4/5
App-reciation - 4/5



This article was written by Peter Willington, a freelance video games critic from the UK. Apart from writing for App-reciation Reviews on a part-time basis, Peter is currently a contributing editor for MidlifeGamer.net and runs inretrospectpodcast.com.

Review: Emily's Girl Talk

Posted by App-reciation Reviews on February 27, 2010 , under | comments (0)



Category: Games
Seller:
W3 Innovations, LLC
Price: $ 0.99
Requirements: iPhone or iPod touch, OS 2.2.1 or later
Version: 1.0.1

What's good: Girls, remember those long-ago school days when you'd sit at your desk and, during idle class moments, daydream about your crush and doodle on your notebooks? Passing mischievous notes to friends was inevitably part of that routine, and so were games like MASH and Love Game. We're not entirely sure if kids of this generation still play such simplistic things (as gadgets like the Nintendo DS and PS3 are increasingly getting touted everywhere), but for most of us who grew up around cute and inventive paper-and-pen games, Broken Thumbs Apps' recently released Emily's Girl Talk is sure to evoke plenty of happy childhood recollections. Although the app doesn't have fancy graphics or complex animations, what it has instead is a clean and charming front that will appeal to its intended audience as they flick through Emily's journal and choose one of four games to play. There is, of course, MASH, where you can either manually enter your preferences or use Emily's picks in each of the five spaces for crushes, cars, jobs, cities, wedding dress colors, and number of children. After that, you pick a lucky number and the automated fortune teller comes up with a short description of your future life. Similarly, a second game called Lemon uses the same framework but with different categories (boys' and girls' names, body parts, cities, and things you can do with a lemon) to squeeze out hilarious and random sayings like 'Sophia will bake Matthew's abdomen in Mazatlan,' which is bound to tide over dull moments and keep everyone entertained. Meanwhile, if you ever wanted to know an answer to a question, Cootie Catcher will give you one in a flash. Simply fill out the question box, pick numbers and colors in a virtual folded paper animation that opens and closes to reveal new choices, and wait for your results. If you're lucky, you'll get an 'outlook good' or 'it is decidedly so' but if not, well, you can always try again. Finally, a fourth offering - Love Game - tells you your compatibility with your crush with you merely having to enter both names. As far as we could tell the results are entirely random, but it's still fun to giggle over a good score and dream of what might happen. All your game results are logged in a journal so you can flick through those meaningful pages anytime and even share them with friends via Facebook or Twitter. So, if you're ever feeling nostalgic for years gone past, this is a fun and hassle-free app that's perfect for reliving fond memories.

Suggestions for improvement: We do think this app has good potential, but feel that even with four games included, there isn't really much to do. More interactivity and features would be great. We also think that cutting short the rather long selection process as well as different and more upbeat music tracks would improve the experience.

Breakdown:
Graphics - 4/5 Creativity - 3.5/5 Gameplay - 3/5 Controls - 4.5/5
App-reciation - 3.75/5

Learn more about Emily's Girl Talk

Click to buy this application


Side note: To celebrate the release of Emily's Girl Talk, everyone's invited to enter a contest to become a sticker inside the game, by (i) posting a screenshot of their favorite story from Emily's Girl Talk on the Broken Thumbs Apps Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/brokenthumbsapps, (ii) tweeting it to @EmilysGirlTalk on Twitter or (iii) emailing it to Contests@BrokenThumbsApps.com by April 1st.

Press Release: Astro Ranch

Posted by App-reciation Reviews on , under | comments (0)



Astro Ranch - The Farming Game That's Out of This World!

Tag Games launches innovative, and highly anticipated,

iPhone space farming sim


DUNDEE, UK & SAN FRANCISCO, CA USA – 28th February 2010

Mobile and handheld games publisher/developer Tag Games, is pleased to announce the launch of their innovative, and highly anticipated, iPhone space farming sim Astro Ranch. The out of this world iPhone game available in the App Store today, promises a game experience like no other, mashing up resource management with RPG, mini-game elements and is built with the Scoreloop social infrastructure.

The adventure begins as Sindy and Max, the intrepid Starlight twins, blast off from earth for an adventure beyond the stars. Disaster is close at hand however, for as the twins fight for control of the rocket, irreparable damage is done to the control system. Now the rocket is on a collision course with a strange alien planet and only one escape pod remains…

After surviving the crash landing you find yourself alone… or so you thought! The crater in which you’ve landed is occupied by a variety of aliens, some more friendly than others. The only option is to follow through on your prime directive and set up a ranch!



A large variety of alien crops, animals and tools are available to help you build the ranch of your dreams. Watch the stock market daily to ensure you get the best price and as you gain experience purchase the many upgrades that are available to help productivity. If farming gets you down then the locals will provide you with a variety of odd jobs, or you could kick back and enjoy a spot of fishing or gold panning down at the river.

Astro Ranch has a host of social features powered by Scoreloop that allow you to share your game experience with others. You can send letters, gifts and galactic chips to friends; compare ranch values and boast of your achievements on Facebook!

Paul Farley Managing Director of Tag Games comments “At last the iPhone has a farming game to be proud of! Astro Ranch takes the genre to a whole new level with a captivating alien world brought to life in glorious 3D, and a mix of game-play styles to appeal to all types of players.” he continues… “Astro Ranch has had our entire studio and our beta testers hooked for months. We hope that iPhone game players enjoy playing it just as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it!”

He is also said to have been overheard to cry “yee haa space cowboy!!!” but this is currently unsubstantiated.

Marc Grumpier CEO of Scoreloop added “Astro Ranch belongs into a new category of games that were designed from the ground up with social interaction in mind. Astro Ranch is awesome because it integrates these social features seamlessly into the game rather than forcing players into a far off external platform. This direct and seamless integration of social features is what Scoreloop is designed for. Simply because it delivers the best end-user and brand experience.



More about Astro Ranch:

  • The best space farming game in the galaxy… ever!
  • Amazing alien world bought to life with awesome 3D graphics.
  • Ranch management and quest based game-play.
  • Wide variety of alien crops, animals, characters, tools and upgrades.
  • Awesome fishing, gold panning and tree shaking mini-games.
  • Social features allow you to connect and compete with friends
  • Customise your game with downloadable clothes and d├ęcor (additional cost)


Astro Ranch is available now from the App Store at a special limited time launch price of $2.99 / £1.79 / Euro 2.39.

In addition the first 50,000 downloads will also include a free golden Mayor statue.

App store link: http://itunes.apple.com/app/id349922130?mt=8


“This might just be the best iPhone game yet…” Gizmodo

“Already looks like it could be the iPhone killer game!” TouchArcade

“I had a great time visiting Astro Ranch, and came away extremely impressed with what Tag have achieved on the platform.” 4.5 out of 5 TouchGen.com

“We think Astro Ranch could be a biggie…” Pocket Gamer



About Tag Games

Tag Games is an independent game developer/publisher based in Dundee, Scotland. Tag has quickly established itself as a leader in the creation of games for mobile and handheld digital download platforms. We have earned critical acclaim and commercial success with a number of titles including our recent top 10 iPhone hit Car Jack Streets. We have extensive experience of game development for the most important mobile platforms including iPhone, Android, PSP minis, DSi Ware, Blackberry, J2ME and BREW.

Tag’s reputation for flexibility, innovation and delivery is second to none, successfully balancing the creation of original IP alongside development of licensed and commission titles. Tag Games partners include Endemol, Namco Bandai, Virgin Atlantic, Connect2Media, I-play, Big Fish Games and Wildfire Studios.


About Scoreloop

Scoreloop lets players share their gaming experiences with friends. The company provides infrastructure, implementation services and enhanced end user experiences for game publishers to enable mobile social gaming. The team’s background is in developing and deploying high-volume, secure server architectures. Scoreloop’s social gaming technologies build community and drive game discovery. Scoreloop is venture funded and has a presence in the US, Europe and Asia. To find out more about Scoreloop visit www.scoreloop.com and follow us on Twitter or Facebook: Scoreloop.

Press Release: Mystic Emporium

Posted by App-reciation Reviews on , under | comments (0)



99Games brings Merscom’s hit game

Mystic Emporium for iPhone


A captivating time management game that urges players to take over a magic shop and turn it into a thriving business


New Udupi, India, Feb 27, 2010: 99Games, leading developer and publisher of iPhone and iPod touch games, today announced the release of Mystic Emporium for iPhone. The game follows the adventure of Lilly, an enchanting young witch, as she takes over Mystic Emporium to fulfill her life-long dream of running her own magic shop. Merscom had released the Windows and Mac versions of this game in May last year, which was a huge hit. The iPhone version of the game has several tweaks in the game play as well as major user interface enhancements to suit the platform. Mystic Emporium marks the entry of 99Games into the popular genre of Time Management games.

In Mystic Emporium, the players are given charge of a magic shop. They must brew potions for all the magical creatures that visit the shop and sell artifacts to run the emporium. As the game progresses, the number of customers will increase and the players will have to make sure that they satisfy the customers to achieve their goal.



Key Features include:

  • 24 levels of game play along with a Match-3 mini game that the players can play to unlock different kinds of charms.
  • Upgrades of different value that can be purchased to improve the shop as well as make the task easier.
  • Several trophies can be earned as rewards on achieving predefined goals and 12 unique magic items can be unlocked for use and sale.
  • 7 different kinds of customers to be managed, each with a varying level of patience.

Mystic Emporium was the most successful time management game we ever did,’ said Lloyd Melnick, Chief Customer Officer at Merscom, “and we are really happy to partner with a company of 99Games quality to bring this great gameplay to the iPhone.”

Mystic Emporium is a fantastic game and will serve as a unique addition to the category of time management games on the App Store”, said Anila Andrade of 99Games. “The game is sure to cast its spell on gamers who love time management games and are looking for something new”, she added.



The game is now available on the App Store for $ 3.99.

App Store Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mystic-emporium/id356828783?mt=8

YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4FApl4XCRs

More details about the game can be found on the 99Games website:

http://www.99games.in/mysticemporium.html


The other titles developed by 99Games for the iPhone and iPod touch include Create A Mall, Chess Elite, Christmas Sudoku, WordsWorth and Wordulous.



About Merscom

Merscom is a global publisher of mass market social media, computer and video games that distributes games through multiple channels, multiple platforms and multiple revenue models. Merscom's channels include social media networks such as Facebook, MySpace, vKontakte, and Bebo, online sale through major portals worldwide, retail distribution in the US and Europe, and games on Microsoft® Xbox Live® Arcade. Merscom produces entertaining products for gamers of all ages and guarantees all customers a great experience. For more information, visit www.merscom.com.



About 99Games

99Games is a leading developer and publisher of games for the iPhone and iPod touch. With a series of successful titles under its belt, the company is focused on bringing out some memorable old games that will enthrall gamers all over the world and a gazillion other new casual games to keep the players totally gripped.

Visit http://www.99games.in for more details.


Copyright © 2010, 99Games Online Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved.


Review: Panzer Panic

Posted by App-reciation Reviews on February 26, 2010 , under | comments (0)



Category: Games
Seller:
HandyGames
Price: $ 1.99
Requirements: iPhone or iPod touch, OS 3.1 or later
Version: 1.1

What's good: The aesthetic concept of two teams of hand drawn tanks, firing red and blue globules of ink at one another across graph paper, is utterly inspired and visually striking with every turn of the turret. The game feels resonant of both hazy maths classes spent avoiding doing any real work and, on a mechanical level, of seminal strategy shooter Cannon Fodder. Split into just single and multiplayer Panzer Panic isn't exactly what you'd call 'brimming' with content, but then it never claims to be such a title either and never feels like it's trying too hard to reach past its demographic, nor its platform.

The game runs silky smooth, boots incredibly quickly and utilises the touch screen to its fullest. With simple drags, flicks and multiple touch movements you'll be zipping about this inky world with the greatest of ease, taking strategic positions, fending off enemies and collecting crates containing power ups and extra tanks. You'll need all the assistance you can get though, the game ramps up the difficulty pretty quick, it's a very instant challenge for a very 'instant' kind of game. In two player, the title turns into a turn based strategy of sorts, with players given a certain amount of energy shared between movement and attack. This particular element is ok for a quick game on the bus, but nothing special.

Sonically PP is good, though sparse, and for us that's fine, we'd rather be listening to our own tracks and podcasts anyway. Likewise additional features are non-existant, there's no online high score tracking, no Twitter output, no multiplayer beyond local but none of that matters because the product doesn't need it. Handy Games know their job is to make a great game for an iPhone audience and we're pleased to say they have. At under two bucks it's a no brainer.

Suggestions for improvement: The game never quite takes the structure of the piece far enough. We desperately wanted scenarios other than surviving wave after wave of enemy tanks, as there's absolutely the potential for the developer to make a great, fully featured RTS out of this. In addition, the camera can be a little tight to the action at times making spotting the precise location of approaching Panzers difficult. Multiplayer defintely needs finer tweaking if it's to become anything other than a tacked on novelty.

Breakdown:
Graphics - 5/5 Creativity - 5/5 Gameplay - 3/5 Controls - 4/5
App-reciation - 4/5



This article was written by Peter Willington, a freelance video games critic from the UK. Apart from writing for App-reciation Reviews on a part-time basis, Peter is currently a contributing editor for MidlifeGamer.net and runs inretrospectpodcast.com.

Review: Thumpies

Posted by App-reciation Reviews on , under , | comments (1)



Category: Games
Seller:
Big Blue Bubble Inc.
Price: $ 2.99
Requirements: iPhone or iPod touch, OS 3.1 or later
Version: 1.0

What's good: Are you tired of rhythm games that make use of the same old tap tap concept, with little change in visuals and art style? Well, thanks to Big Blue Bubble's truly innovative creative team, a new and very original music game has just thumped onto the AppStore and, we think, easily bests similar apps. Introducing Thumpies, an enchanting and excellentlly conceptualized aural and visual delight that's wrapped in a beautiful and mysterious woodland theme. In this game, you will work with a series of odd-ball characters that are essentially furry little round creatures with slightly creepy faces to make original music right from the palm of your hand. The gameplay mechanic is actually very simple, basically involving tapping at mushroom pads on the screen at the exact moment that a Thumpie falls from the sky to land on one. By doing so, you are sounding out notes that complete part of the track, and as each segment is successfully executed (which is done by filling the meter at the top of the screen), it will loop in the background while you aim to reproduce yet another layer in the soundtrack. As you get further along the game more Thumpies will come and bounce around at a time, each following its own musical pattern that, as we mentioned earlier, contributes to the whole score. Employ your rhythm and coordination skills to hit the notes perfectly each time, all while trying to catch fluttering butterflies that will allow you to unlock more bizzare Thumpie characters to enjoy. With every finished level, you also unlock richer and more complex soundtracks that will take not just one, but two (or even more fingers if you can spare them) to get through. Everything - from the unique and thoroughly challenging gameplay to the somewhat eerie yet magical elements rendered in rich and colorful graphics, to smooth and intuitive controls as well as wonderful sounds that enhance and solidify the feel of the game - ties up together perfectly to make for an engrossing and magical experience perfect for young and old alike. Both casual and hardcore players, too, will find that the three difficulty levels (per stage) make for challenging yet manageable gameplay for all types of gamers. If you want a different kind of music experience, don't look any further than this app - it was definitely built to be admired and enjoyed.

Suggestions for improvement: Online leaderboards would be great to share scores and unlock achievements.
We'd also love to be able to play back the soundtracks we've completed without having to replay the game - the songs are so unique that we feel it is a necessity to add this feature in the next update.

Breakdown:
Graphics - 5/5 Creativity - 4.75/5 Gameplay - 5/5 Controls - 5/5
App-reciation - 5/5

Learn more about Thumpies

Click to buy this application

Promo: Accura Battery Monitor App Giveaway

Posted by App-reciation Reviews on , under | comments (0)



There are so many battery monitoring apps out on iTunes these days and it's getting pretty tough to pick the best one, although we think that with a whole host of features including usage time details and health display, over seventy gorgeous themes, built-in battery health calibration, and charge alerts, our long-time favorite still tops the list. The good news is, you can grab this $ 2.99 app for free! We have the following codes to give away:

10 CODES -- Accura Battery Monitor | Review Link | iTunes Link



Please refer to the standard App-reciation Reviews Twitter contest rules below to get started:

- Follow @fireverse and @byte01 on Twitter and wait for updates.
- RT contest tweets. The more you retweet, the better your chances are of winning. By doing this, you're also helping us spread the word - and we love you for it!
- Contest winners are usually picked in three ways: by randomizer, by number of retweets, or by order of retweet (i.e. first people to retweet get copies of apps).
- There's usually a period of time in which contests are held, 24 hours per 2 giveaway apps being the norm. All retweets during this period count as valid entries.
- All relevant information are included with tweets by @fireverse, but if you have any questions, you can e-mail us or post a comment here.



Thank you to Byte01 Software Solutions for sponsoring this awesome giveaway, and thank you to everyone who participates. Please don't forget to write an iTunes review if you win - your efforts will be greatly appreciated!

Press Release: Spin Puzzle

Posted by App-reciation Reviews on , under | comments (0)




Get a fresh spin on Jigsaw apps with Spin Puzzle by Seremeres Games


Seremeres Games Launches its First Title “Spin Puzzle” for iPhone and iPod Touch



February 15th, 2010, London, ON - Seremeres Games is proud to announce the release of its frst game Spin Puzzle on the iPhone and iPod Touch platforms. A new take on the jigsaw puzzle game, Spin Puzzle offers a great user experience and unique art. Spin Puzzle is being made available at an introductory rate of just $0.99 to celebrate the inaugural launch of the company.


"We noticed that jigsaw puzzles tended to suffer from a series of problems on mobile devices and we thought we could come up with a solution" said Serena Samborski, CEO of Seremeres Games and designer of Spin Puzzle. "While the iPhone's higher resolution and large screen offer much better graphical area, the issue of control and clutter really interfere with gameplay with more traditional approaches on mobile platforms. Our cardinal dynamics system not only eliminated these problems, but also increase the diffculty and replayability of the standard jigsaw."



Replayability is encouraged in Spin Puzzle through the use of randomized starts for the puzzles on each load as well as having varying diffculty levels of unlockable trophies to earn while playing the games 25 puzzles. Control is simple with an intuitive touch control system of tap and drag to rotate and move pieces respectively. Simple interfaces keep load times and navigation quick for great on the go play. All the puzzle art is from works by Seremeres CEO and Spin Puzzle creator Serena Samborski, showcasing a range of anime art styles.


While Spin Puzzle is the frst Seremeres Games release the company has 4 other projects currently in production, looking to launch later this year. Optimistic about the future Serena remarked "We're thrilled to finally have a product out the door, but there's no rest for us. We've got a huge slate of developments to work on and a lot of plans for the company. It's great to have our foot in the door though, thanks to the accessibility of the App Store we can get started sooner rather than later."


Spin Puzzle is available now in the App Store for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad at http://itunes.com/apps/spinpuzzle.


For more information on Spin Puzzle check out http://spinpuzzle.com.



Respectware

Seremeres Games takes creative rights seriously and respect artists and authors. Spin Puzzle contains no copyright or trademark infringments, no images or text appear in this game without their creator's or owner's permission.

News: Plants vs. Zombies Shoots To Top of App Charts

Posted by App-reciation Reviews on February 25, 2010 , under | comments (6)




PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies™ Is the Top-Grossing iPhone Launch Ever


More Than 300,000 Units Sold in First Nine Days; Joins Bejeweled® 2

as App Store Record-Breaker



DUBLIN, Ireland – February 25, 2010 — PopCap Games, maker of some of the world’s most popular video games, today announced that the iPhone and iPod touch adaptation of its award-winning game Plants vs. Zombies™ sold more than 300,000 units in its first nine days of availability, setting a new record for App Store launches. Plants vs. Zombies shot to number one in the units sold and "top grossing" App Store charts within 24 hours of its launch and remained there until yesterday. At a retail price point of US$2.99, Plants vs. Zombies for iPhone/touch has already grossed more than US$1 million.


PopCap also revealed that its flagship Bejeweled® 2 is now the first paid app to reach 3 million units on the App Store. Bejeweled 2 has consistently been in the top 10 of the App Store’s Top Grossing list. With the success of Plants vs. Zombies, PopCap now boasts 3 games (including Bejeweled and Peggle™) that have reached #1 on the App Store among a crowded field of more than 150,000 apps. The company’s other iPhone games, Bookworm™ and Chuzzle™, are consistently in the top 100 on the App Store.


Originally launched on the PC and Mac in May of 2009 to universal critical acclaim, Plants vs. Zombies has been expertly adapted for iPhone and iPod touch. Consumers who have purchased the iPhone adaptation agree, with more than 95% giving the game five out of five stars in the App Store's rating system - making it the highest-rated product in the App Store. Plants vs. Zombies is proving to be a global phenomenon on the App Store, reaching the #1 position on the sales charts in more than 20 countries worldwide including Canada, China, Russia, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, and Norway. Within one day of the game's launch, it joined Bejeweled 2 as one of the top five highest-grossing iPhone apps of the week.


“Plants vs. Zombies is our latest major franchise to make the jump to iPhone, and from the early customer and critical feedback it appears to be a great adaptation of the game,” said Andrew Stein, director of mobile business development at PopCap. “There's always a concern when bringing a computer game to a mobile, pocket-sized device that something will get lost in the process, but in this case the overwhelming consensus is that Plants vs. Zombies is even more fun on the smaller touch screen!"



About PopCap


PopCap Games (www.popcap.com) is the leading multi-platform provider of fun, easy-to-learn, captivating video games that appeal to everyone from age 6 to 106. Based in Seattle, Washington, PopCap was founded in 2000 and has a worldwide staff of over 260 people in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Vancouver, B.C., Dublin, and Shanghai. Its games have been downloaded more than 1 billion times by consumers worldwide, and its flagship title, Bejeweled, has sold more than 50 million units across all platforms. Constantly acclaimed by consumers and critics, PopCap’s games are played on the Web, social platforms, desktop computers, myriad mobile devices (cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, Pocket PCs, iPod, iPhone and more), popular game consoles (such as Xbox and DS), and in-flight entertainment systems. PopCap is the only “casual games” developer with leading market share across all major sales channels, including social, Web portals, retail stores, mobile phones, MP3 players, and game devices.