iPhone, iPad Games, Apps, Reviews, News Thu, 30 Jul 2015 08:09:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rock(s) Rider Review – Fun and Challenging Racing Game on Two Wheels Mon, 20 Aug 2012 17:00:50 +0000 Read More]]> Rocks Rider review_5

While car racing games dominate the App Store racing market there are those that prefer 2 wheeled transport and for those people there’s a new ride in town in the form of Rock(s) Rider, a new universal game that’s available in the App Store right now.

Rock(s) Rider is a trials based motorcycle game where your opponents are both a variety of obstacles and the clock and is based in a DaftPunk style warehouse full of ramps, jumps, loops and fireworks, yes fireworks!

If you’ve played Bike Baron before then you’ll have the basic idea of what you are in for here, however while Bike Baron is cartoon style arcade game, Rock(s) Racer is more of a simulator, with a few bells and whistles added for good measure.

Rocks Rider review

The graphics look great, from the line-drawn design on the I game navigation to the industrial graphics of the levels themselves you aren’t going to be disappointed and the pleasure is matched in the audio department too where a pumping soundtrack and great sounding audio effects create an environment which you’ll want to keep coming back to.

Despite the claustrophobic confines of the warehouse each level is packed with action and controlling your two wheeled chariot over and through these obstacles is fun, challenging and at times frustrating.

These frustrations come from some of the level designs which can often leave your motorcycle trapped in a position that it can’t get out of. Sure you can go back to your last check point but the fact that you can even get stuck is, as I mentioned before, frustrating.

That frustration aside the game is a lot of fun, the controls are accurate and have multiple configurations so that you can choose between virtual buttons and touch controls but a combination of them both too, add to that the ability to control the sensitivity of them means that you have no excuse to control your bike with skill and accuracy!

Rocks Rider review_4

And the bike responds well to these controls to and after a few rides you should be able to get the bike to do pretty much as you please. Of course that may sound like the challenge to the game is over at that point, you’d be wrong though as the real challenge comes not only from control the bike but from anticipating the tracks, collecting the relevant objects and finding the hidden objects too.

All of this takes place across 24 progressively difficult levels, bonus levels and additional levels promised at a later stage too, as you progress you will unlock features for your bike and character as well as a 3 wheeled bike that you can use on the bonus levels. Once you think you’ve mastered the various tracks though you’ll find yourself racing side by side with the bosses who are out to prevent you taking their crown.

Leaderboards and 40 achievements are provided via GameCenter integration which provide additional challenge to the game and while it’s a Universal app there is no synchronization of your progress between devices.

Rock(s) Rider, despite its frustrations, is a fun and challenging game, if you like you racing action on two wheels then this could be $2.99 well spent.

[rating: 4/5]

What we like

What to know

]]> 0 London 2012 – The Olympics on Your iPhone and iPad Tue, 24 Jul 2012 17:41:08 +0000 Read More]]>

The London 2012 Olympics are under one week away now and if you’re not able to take the time off of work and sit down to watch 1,000’s of hours worth of sport spread over the two weeks then you may want to look into some of the iPhone and iPad offerings that are available to you to consume the games while you are out and about.

London 2012: Official Results App for the Olympics and Paralympics Games (Free)

First up is the official results app which is a free app for both the iPhone and iPad which will enable you to keep track all the events as they happen.

The schedule page promises to keep you up to date with what’s happening and when including what’s coming up next. If you have a specific sport that you want to follow you can to and even set yourself reminders to be alerted before they start.

Full medal stats will be available here too and you can view the overall count, individuals and by specific sports. Also included is an extensive athlete database where you can view your favorite athletes, although if you are a fan of some of the smaller countries their teams are not currently updated, hopefully this will get updated. [App Store]

London 2012: Official Mobile Game (Free/$2.99)

If you are more interested in competing, virtually, in some of the games yourself then the Official Mobile game may be for you. There are two versions of the the game a free version that allows you to progress using in-app purchase of a paid version where stars and stamina are pre-included, although you may still need to purchase more.

9 events are covered and as with many games of this type a combination of repeated tapping and timing is required to succeed in all of the events. You build up your athletes stats across 6 different categories and these in turn help improve your athletes results.

The game is fun and has its own built social aspect so that you can compare your best results with your friends, however it doesn’t use GameCenter so you’ll have to find and add your friends again.

The London 2012 Offical Mobile Game can be a little sluggish at times and the use of stamina will prevent you from playing the game as much as you would like, unless you are willing to purchase more via in-app purchase. [App Store]

London 2012: Official Join In App for the Olympics and Paralympic Games (Free)

If you are one of the lucky ones that will be attending the London 2012 games then the London 2012: Official Join In App for the Olympics and Paralympic Games app for the iPhone and iPad is a companion app for you.

This app will show you what is going on and where and not only includes the sports but also other events that are taking place in each area for when you aren’t watching the sports.

There is a lot of information in this app including information of travelling, safety, tickets and much more. If you’re going to be in and around London for the 2012 Olympics then this is a must have app. [App Store]

2012 Team USA Road to the London Olympics (Free)

For our readers that want to follow Team USA you have an app just for you. 2012 Team USA Road to the London Olympics for the iPhone and iPad is the one stop shop for everything you need to know about your athletes.

With a frequently updated news stream you’ll always be up to date with what’s going on in all the sports that Team USA are taking part in helping you to keep you patriotic fever at a maximum level at all times.

The app is a little sluggish due to the frequent refreshing of data but the benefit of that is that it’s always up to date. You have access to the Team USA shop and in-depth biographies of all the athletes. [App Store]

NBC Olympics & NBC Olympics Live Extra (Free)

Talking of the USA, if you are in the USA then NBC and their family of TV stations will be televising the London 2012 Olympics and they have a couple of apps for you to consume their coverage.

NBC Olympics is a app for everything about the olympics and including news, videos, photos, athletes and sports with a USA focus. There’s no live coverage in this app though, for live coverage you need to use the separate NBC Olympics Live Extra app.

The NBC Olympics Live Extra app allows you to watch the the events as they happen providing that you have cable or satellite at your home which includes the NBC family of channels.

Only time will tell how well the the app works when the live events start but one of the great looking features is the ability to set reminders to the live events so that you won’t miss out on them wherever you are especially as the video will stream over the cellular network but will obviously use a lot of data! [App Store]

BBC Olympics (Free)

For those of you in the UK you can download the BBC app which will include up to 24 live video streams of all the events as well as news, live text updates and details on all the sports.

The app is beautifully presented but at this moment is only available for the iPhone and not the iPad which considering that it includes live video streams is a little disappointing.

No separate TV subscription is required for this app but you will need to be based in the UK to watch the live streaming. [App Store]

SportsStars – Athletes to Watch for London 2012 ($0.99)

If you want to enjoy the London 2012 Olympics along with the sports stars themselves then SportsStars is the app for you as it contains all of the social savvy athletes who are active of Facebook or Twitter.

As well as direct links to their social pages you can also view current news on each specific athlete and view the timetables for their events so that you know when to tune in to watch them. However, with around only 40 of the athletes being included in the app there’s no guarantee that your favorite athlete is going to be included. [App Store]

Reuters Olympics London 2012

There are many iconic moments that happen in global events and the full impact of these moments can’t always be fully appreciated in video. However, photojournalists continue capture beautiful moments which can speak a 1000 words.

The Reuters Olympics London 2012 app collates these pictures into a single application for the iPad which groups these photographs by day and event and is visually stunning.

The pictures also have additional information alongside them and can also be shared via your social networks. [App Store]


It’s no surprise that there are multiple ways to get involved with the London 2012 Olympics and with this handful of iPhone and iPad apps you are never going to be too far away from the action.

Image Credit

]]> 3 Amazing Alex Review – Rovio Keeps the Winning Formula with Amazing Alex Tue, 17 Jul 2012 14:40:22 +0000 Read More]]>

When your catalog consists of some of the biggest, most popular and dominating titles in mobile gaming you could be forgiven for resting on your laurels and continue to milk that money cow. That’s not the case for Rovio Entertainment Ltd., the makers of the Angry Birds series who have released Amazing Alex for iPhone and iPad into the App Store.

Amazing Alex uses previously successfully implemented techniques, it’s a physics based puzzle game with usually 3 star per level rating system for each level, and as those features have worked before there’s no reason why they shouldn’t work again…..right?

Amazing Alex Review

Alex is a young boy with a taste for creativity and problem solving and in the style of toppling a chain of dominoes, only on a much larger scale, you are challenged to help Alex produce a daisy chain of events to clear each level.

The initial levels get you started on how you play the game, even showing you where you should place the range of objects that you are given to utilize on each level, and because of this you may be fooled into thinking that Amazing Alex is going to be a simple game that you can rush through in a matter of minutes.

However, that is soon to be shown as a wrong assumption to make as when the placement guides disappear the levels immediately get more complex and as you continue to the Classroom, Backyard, Bedroom and finally onto the Treehouse the levels become more and more challenging, especially, if like me, you want to get three stars on each level.

Amazing Alex iPhone

There are over 30 objects at your disposal across the levels and as these become unlocked they are also made available to build your own levels which has the potential of adding an endless number of levels for you to play with.

Creating your own levels is very easy. You have all of the objects that you’ve unlocked and can place them anywhere on the screen with guidelines for legal and illegal placement. The final step is to place the 3 stars on the screen which act as the measure for other players to complete the level.

The ease of both creating your own levels, sharing them online and then downloading other players levels is amazing. The only issue I have with the custom levels is that there is no rank of them, either via voting or just the number of downloads to help you find the best custom levels available.

Amazing Alex iPad

As you might expect from Rovio the whole game looks polished, cute and engaging. Something else that Rovio seem keen to do is keep their iPhone and iPad versions of their apps separate rather than universal. Why they do this, especially considering that there are no differences between the two versions is beyond me. Needless to say if you want Amazing Alex on both your iPhone and iPad you’ll need to pay twice and play it twice as there is no synchronisation of your progress between the two versions.

Of course Rovio promise multiple free updates to add more levels and based on their previous history there should be quite a lot of them! Quite what they plan to do with the GameCenter integration with no leaderboards and only one achievement remains to be seen.

[rating: 4/5]

What we like

What to know

]]> 1 Asphalt 7: Heat Is to Arcade Racing what Real Racing is to Sim Racing Tue, 26 Jun 2012 16:28:56 +0000 Read More]]>

On rare occasions I will tell you to go and grab a game immediately and then come back and read this review…….this is one of those occasions and to be honest what do you have to lose when all you’ll be spending is 99 cents on a universal app that will work on both your iPhone and iPad should you be lucky enough to have both.

You may be thinking, especially if you already have Asphalt 6, why should I even spend more money on the next version of Gamelofts arcade racer and the simple answer is this, it’s Bigger, Better, Faster and there’s more of it, so much in fact this review may only scratch the surface of all the features that are packed into this racing game.

If you have played any of Gamelofts games before then you will know what to expect when it comes to sound and graphics, and in Asphalt7 Heat they continue to lead the way a rainbow of electric lights that illuminate 15 different tracks from all around the world and with a pumping soundtrack the game is a dream to both see and hear.

There are four control options to choose from so you are bound to find one that suits your driving preferences, from using the accelerometer, on screen steering wheel or the screen itself the controls work very well, and you can also choose from auto or manual acceleration depending on your preference.

The quality of the controls are highlighted due to the fact that you can jump straight into Quick Play mode and start winning races immediately. Quick Race is just the beginning though, as the Career, Online and Multiplayer modes are where the real value comes in.

The Career Mode is spread over 13 cups each with 4 different races and these include normal races, elimination, knockdown, paint job and king of the hill which all offer slightly different variations on driving as fast as you can around the streets of the world.

As you work your way through the career mode you’ll have the ability to unlock and upgrade a great range of licensed cars, from a Mini Cooper S to the Shelby GT 500, from a BMW Z4 to the Lamborghini Countach and everything in between. There are 60 cars in total so there should be something for everyone.

The cars handle as well as you would expect for an arcade racer, the game relies heavily on drifting but this is relatively easy to control, early on at least, only when you start to unlock the bigger, faster cars does it get a little trickier, by the time you unlock them though you’ll be well practised, right?

Of course you don’t have to work through the game and earn your racing stripes to unlock all the flash cars, instead you can purchase your in game dollars by spending your hard earned dollars via in-app purchase but it’s well balanced, meaning that if you are willing to put the time in you can achieve your rewards without the need of spending above and beyond the original $1 outlay.

The online options are really where the game comes to life and it does this in two ways. First up is the online multi-player where you can race against your friends, and enemies, in any combination of race types and locations. The online mode works well, the games come thick and fast and there is relatively little slow down, it adds a whole new dimension to the gameplay that will keep you playing Asphalt 7 for a long time to come, or at least until Asphalt 8 comes out!

If you don’t want to want to race against people online in real time you can choose the weekly event that makes up the Asphalt Academy and see how far up the world rankings you can get.

With the game being a universal app it’s good to see that your progress can be transferred between devices. Asphalt Tracker allows you to transfer your progress between devices using either Facebook, or Gameloft’s own servers and while this isn’t quite as seamless as iCloud syncing would be it works and prevents you having to play the game twice across all of your devices.

Asphalt Tracker also enables you to send offline challenges to your friends via Gameloft which just adds more depth to an already deep game and that’s before mentioning the goals are Gameloft’s equivalent of GameCenter Achievements.

After all this eulogizing you’d think that perhaps I didn’t have anything bad to say about the game, that’s not the case. Asphalt 7’s all about social gaming and this takes the form of Facebook integration, the problem with this is though that between races and for every earned goal you are prompted to confirm whether or not you want to publicize the achievement and if you don’t want to bombard your Facebook newsfeed with your progress it can get a little frustrating.

If you’ve got this far and have not been simultaneously downloading Asphalt 7 on your iOS device you have permission to do so now!

[rating: 5/5]

What we like

What to know

]]> 2 Apple Inc. (AAPL) in Talks to Bring WatchESPN App to Apple TV? Thu, 17 May 2012 16:13:30 +0000 Read More]]>

On Tuesday, a report from Bloomberg suggested that Apple Inc. (AAPL) and parent company of ESPN, Disney, were in talks to bring the popular WatchESPN app to the Apple TV. The report mentioned a statement from ESPN executive Sean Bratches that the deal wasn’t imminent and is currently being hashed out between the two companies.

If AAPL were given the go ahead to bring the app over to the Apple TV, subscribers of select cable networks or subscribers of ESPN would be able to stream live games through the app. The WatchESPN app is currently available in Apple’s App Store and can be streamed on the iPad and iPhone as well as on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console. Bratches, the executive interviewed by Bloomberg also cleared up the negotiations between Apple and ESPN and explained the benefits of such a deal.

We’re a platform-agnostic company. To the extent that in the future there’s an opportunity with Apple to authenticate through the pay-TV food chain as we’re doing with Microsoft, that’s something we’ll participate in.

This wouldn’t be the first application pertaining to accessing live streaming sports on the Apple TV but would be one of the first major collaborations between the two companies. Currently, the Apple TV allows users to access NHL Gamecenter, and NBA League Pass.

If Apple strikes this deal with ESPN and brings the WatchESPN app over to the Apple TV, the company will likely be setting up for its rumored television set, which may incorporate an App Store of some sort, personal assistant Siri, as well as integrated features from the current Apple TV.

{via AppleInsider}

]]> 2 Madcoaster Review – A Fast Paced Roller Coaster Ride Wed, 02 May 2012 13:44:44 +0000 Read More]]>

Madcoaster Review

If you are one of the millions of players who downloaded and lost hours of their lives playing Jetpack Joyride then I may have a new game to break that addiction.

Madcoaster from App Store dominators Chillingo is a new universal game where you control a roller coaster train on a never ending journey through multiple lands in order to collect as many coins and travel as far as you can with all your lives intact.

The game has a great cartoon look to it and the multiple lands look great as you speed through them. The game starts with just a few ‘themes’ enabled which you travel through for 1,000 meters at a time. Should you complete 1,000 meters you will continue on through another ‘theme’ until you run out of lives.

The themes are based on different events and locations, so one moment you may find yourself zooming past panda’s in a Japanese themed environment and the next past pumpkins in a Halloween inspired theme. Additional themes can also be unlocked via in app purchase or by reaching 10,000 meters in the game. The in-app purchases are nicely positioned meaning that you don’t have to keep on buying them.

Your roller coaster carts have no speed control but things get pretty crazy straight out of the traps and you’ll need fast fingers as you leap gaps, loop the loop, and move up and down tracks.

As you fly along the rails you can pick up coins and smash though a variety of animals, the only thing that can kill you is falling off the track though, in fact smashing through the animals that are standing on the tracks or hitting birds that are flying past the tracks earn you rewards rather than hinder you.

All these things contribute to the variety of objectives that are set for you on each run and clearing these objectives will provide upgraded carts for you to ride. Not that these carts have any additional features, instead they just look different to prior carts, it would be nice to have power ups to make your cart faster or jump higher.

The game has that addictive quality that makes you want to try one more time to beat your current high-score or complete one more of the 30 achievements that are available via Chillingo’s social gaming network Crystal, or the GameCenter integration.

Madcoaster is a Universal app and is available from the App Store for just 99c so grab it while you can.

[rating: 4/5]
What we like:

What to know:

]]> 0 Best Games of 2011 for iPhone and iPad Sat, 07 Jan 2012 16:07:27 +0000 Read More]]> 2011 seems like a distant memory already but we shouldn’t forget that it gave us some of the best iPhone, iPad and universal games that we’ve seen. It’s been difficult to narrow the list down to just 10 but after reviewing which of the games are still on my iPhone and iPad and which I’m still playing I was able to bring it down to the following 10.

# 10 Mini Motor Racing

I love my racing games and Mini Motor Racing came as a great addition to my iPhone. A top down racer with you a 5 opponents racing around beautiful looking and designed tracks makes for a lot of fun, frantic action.

There’s a great career mode, local multi-player and the ability to upgrade you car to challenge with the most fast and aggressive of opponents. Additional value is add by the GameCenter integration which consists of 16 achievements and leader-boards for all 22 tracks.

Mini Motor Racing can be grabbed from the App Store for just $1.99.

# 9 Tiny Tower

Tiny Tower by NimbleBit is the ultimate in addictive simulation game where you become the owner, manager and contractor of a tiny tower where you aim is to make it huge. Huge that is in the sense of the number of floors as it’s your task to build level after level of residential, commercial and retail stores.

The game uses a freemium model where the initial purchase is free and you can speed up your progress via in game purchase. That being said though in all the time I played it I never ended up spending an additional dime.

If you haven’t given Tiny Tower a try yet I urge you to do so although be prepared to not see your family and friends for a while as your addiction takes hold!

# 8 DrawRace 2

Another racing game makes it to my top 10 and this time with a whole new control system ideally suited to the touch screen of the iDevice. DrawRace 2 is another top down racer but this time instead of controlling your vehicle with an accelerator and a steering wheel you draw the path you wish your vehicle to take. It takes a bit to get used to but the satisfaction of getting around a sharp hairpin at full speed and in first place never gets tiring.

There are a range of vehicles all with differently handling and skills that can be unlocked as you progress and the tracks look wonderful too. If you are looking for a racing game with something a little different look no further than DrawRace 2, available in the App Store for just 99c for a limited time.

# 7 Moogies

This one finds it’s way into the Top 10 mainly thanks to my daughter who is addicted to the fun game aimed at the younger age market.

The 9 Moogies are a variety of brightly colored farmyard animals that live in a barn. Each one can be clicked on and you will enter their weird and wonderful world. From a horse on a treadmill, a vacuuming cow and an experimenting mouse the animals are all kept pretty busy. The animals and their surroundings can also all be interacted with and along with the great sounds and music the game can keep a child entertained for as long as you’ll let them play with it.

The great thing about it for us adults is the fact that it’s not annoying, in fact I will quite happily find myself humming along to the music all day long at times! The Moogies is a universal app which is available in the App Store now for just 99 cents.

# 6 dream:scape

This audio and visual delight of a game takes you on a mysterious adventure where you are to solve a range of puzzles to to uncover the truth about your characters life.

You unravel the dark mystery as you wander around the rural location that is beautifully rendered on both the iPhone and iPad. The controls are intuitive and as you play the game you’ll find yourself engrossed in the excellent story telling.

While a little short in length it’s an experience not to be missed. dream:scape is available in the App Store for $2.99 and is a universal app.

# 5 W.E.L.D.E.R.

There have been plenty of new and worthy word games released for iDevices this year and for many people W.E.L.D.E.R. possibly flew under the radar, it most certainly shouldn’t though.

W.E.L.D.E.R. is played on a 8 x 8 grid of letters and the aim is to make as many words as possible while swapping as few tiles as you can. While swapping adjacent tiles is the main way to move them you can unlock the ability to jump, reverse and group tiles. These additional options are limited though and are earned by scoring points.

I thought I would miss the fact that there is no mulit-player option but the challenge to clear each level by completing the required number of words with the given number of moves makes you want to not socialize anyway!

W.E.L.D.E.R. is another universal app and is available in the App Store for $1.99.

# 4 Bike Baron

More racing in my top 10 games of 2011 only this time it of the two wheel variety and instead of racing around a track against other opponents this time you are racing against yourself along a crazy motorcycle assault course.

The controls are simple yet effective and your success is measured on each track on three conditions consisting mainly of beating a set time, collecting all the coins and completing the course.
There are 70 different tracks to complete, either riding as the Bike Baron or as a gorilla! But in addition to these pre-built tracks Bike Baron comes with a track editor that not only allows you to build tracks to race yourself but allows you to share them with your friends and the Bike Baron community.

At just 99c Bike Baron is available in the App Store now as a universal application.

# 3 Angry Birds Rio

The Angry Birds juggernaut continued in 2011 not only with the original Angry Birds and it’s follow up in Angry Birds Seasons but also with the release of it’s movie tie-in 3rd game Angy Birds Rio.

The saying goes that “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and Rovio have certainly achieved that with Angry Birds Rio and with 6 episodes, 180 levels and 90 pieces of fruit to find there is plenty to keep you busy including a new bird that appears occasionally and which is not available in the other Angry Birds games.

If you are looking for a game to while away the hours then Angry Birds Rio will certainly achieve that with the even more charm, fun and entertainment as the two previous incarnations.

Purchasing Angry Birds Rio for just 99c from the App Store could be one of the best dollars you’ve ever spent.

# 2 Jetpack Joyride

When this game fell into my lap to review I was completely taken by surprise. All you need is one finger and fast reactions to enjoy this game as you power your jetpack wearing character along the never-ending level.

As you attempt to travel as far as you can you must avoid death by navigating around a variety of both static and moving lasers as well as rockets which aim to stop your progress. While the ultimate purpose of the game is to get as far as you can before you crash and burn the mini-objectives that you care challenged to complete on each and every turn keep things interesting as you always have something to achieve.

As you play you will also earn coins that you can then spend on power-ups, new cloths and a range of different jetpacks.

The balance of this game is in that sweet spot that just keeps you coming back for more and as a universal app it’s which is currently FREE in the App Store Jetpack Joyride is a must for every iPhone/iPad owner.

# 1 Grand Theft Auto 3

The irony of a game that was originally released in 2001 making the number 1 spot for 2011 is not lost on me, however the release of Grand Theft Auto 3 in it’s full form onto an iPhone is an amazing feat in itself.

The fact that it’s been done so well providing a huge open world environment of gorgeous sprawling city streets and a storyline which takes murder, revenge, violence and criminality to a whole new level Grand Theft Auto 3 has not been off of my device since it was downloaded and installed.

It loads fast, plays fast and is quick to jump in and out off which considering its a huge game is a great achievement.

While this may be the most expensive game in my top 10 it easily provides the best value for money and will provide hours and hours violent enjoyment! Get is from the App Store today and you won’t be disappointed.

]]> 6 Don’t Run With a Plasma Sword Review: Fun game that lacks a little polish Fri, 23 Dec 2011 19:30:19 +0000 Read More]]>

[rating: 3.5/5]

Don’t Run With a Plasma Sword Review: I loved Mirrors Edge, it was one of the first games that I brought for my iPad and I played it almost non-stop, sliding, jumping, swinging and rolling through the scrolling levels it worked great. Well, if you’ve played Mirrors Edge you be right at home here, minus the cutting edge graphics!

Your Plasma Sword is your only defense against an invasion of intergalactic creatures, well, that and your swift feet that will see you running, jumping and sliding through the levels.

You’ll find yourself running and leaping from left to right as you attempt to avoid traps, pitfalls, meteors and other items that will be detrimental to your health and as you progress through the levels and things get faster you will need quick reactions to prevent a premature end to your adventures.

With running being taken care of automatically your only concern is with the jump, slide and attack buttons which are on the left and right hand side of the screen. These buttons work well but sometimes, especially on later levels, it is possible to miss them in the frantic action.

For added value there are two game modes. The main story mode see’s you making your way through multiple levels of action and end of level bosses and while this is fun I prefer the endless mode where you are tasked with achieving various milestones to earn XP which you can then use to unlock levels, upgrade abilities and change your plasma sword.

The game graphics and sound are ok, but could certainly be improved on and are rather lackluster, however, what it lacks in polish it makes up for in humor with seemingly a million and one things that you shouldn’t do with a plasma sword.

To add to the two game modes there are 30+ achievements and Leaderboards via the OpenFeint and GameCenter integration that add to the hours of fun that you can have while not running with a plasma sword!

What we like:

What to know:


Dont Run With a Plasma Sword-1 Dont Run With a Plasma Sword-4 Dont Run With a Plasma Sword-2 Dont Run With a Plasma Sword-5 Dont Run With a Plasma Sword-3 ]]> 0 Apple’s iTunes Now Highlights “Game Center” Compatible Apps Sun, 26 Sep 2010 15:36:52 +0000 Read More]]> Game Center Apps

Apple has added some more information to the way it labels games in the iTunes App Store. Prior to the latest update, people wanting to find games that work with Game Center, Apple’s new social network for gaming, would have to scan the app’s text description, or look in a dedicated Game Center section on the App Store.

It seems that Apple is serious about establishing Game Center as the de-facto standard for social gaming on iOS devices, as apps are now clearly labelled with a Game Center icon in their iTunes entries. Making this yet another badge that devs need to chase to keep up with their competition.

Are you playing more Game Center enabled games now? Or does it make little difference to you which game you buy? Have your say in the comments…

[9to5Mac] ]]> 3 Apple features Game Center Enabled Games on App Store Thu, 09 Sep 2010 16:45:20 +0000 Read More]]> Game Center Games

Yesterday Apple released iOS 4.1 update which fixed the annoying slow performance bug for iPhone 3G users and proximity sensor bug for iPhone 4 users.

iOS 4.1 also added the new Game Center which enables you to connect with your friends, challenge them and play multiplayer games. In order to increase the replay value of a game, developers often integrate the ability to upload highscores to the leaderboard and sharing via social media.

Apple’s Game Center was expected to be released with iOS version 4.0 but was delayed due to some issues, one would have expected that Apple decided to spend some more time in adding more features but it turns out that Game Center is still very limited.

There is no doubt that we’ll see many developers integrating Game Center in their existing and upcoming games. Popular iPhone game developers and publishers have already expressed their interest in adopting Game Center and it would be interesting to see this new ecosystem grow further.

Apple recently updated the App Store and featured some of the popular games which now take advantage of Game Center:

Real Racing ($4.99)

Zen Bound 2 Universal ($2.99)

Cannon Challenge 2 ($2.99)

PAC-MAN ($4.99)

Nanosaur ($3.99)

Worldly Wings ($1.99)

Flight Control ($0.99)

FarmVille by Zynga (FREE)

Fieldrunners ($2.99)

Megaplex Madness – Now Playing ($2.99)

Cocoto Magic Circus ($2.99)

Cro-Mag Rally ($2.99)

GraalOnline Classic+ ($1.99)

Isaac newton’s Gravity ($2.99)

Enigmo 2 ($2.99)

WordsWorth ($1.99)

Adrenaline Golf Online ($2.99)

Touchgrind ($4.99)

If you discover any new games with Game Center integration then please include the name and link to the App Store in the comments section below. You may also include your Game Center username (add “TouchReviews”) in order to let others add you as friend.

]]> 1 Apple Readies Game Center Launch for iOS 4 Thu, 12 Aug 2010 19:39:54 +0000 Read More]]> Apple’s Game Center has been kicking around in iOS 4 Betas with limited functionality available to developers for a while now. But no clear timescale has been given by Apple as to when they plan to launch the service for all to use. And to be fair, developers are still a little confused themselves as to what exactly the plan is for Game Center moving forward.

In the last 24 hours Apple has eased the situation to some degree, and 9TO5Mac reports that it has told developers that they should now find the functionality in their developer account to allow them to setup the necessary metadata for Game Center leaderboards and achievements.

It seems likely that any Apple event in September will probably have some Game Center news making part of the announcements.

Do we need another social gaming network for the iPhone? Which ones do you currently use? Let us know in the comments…

]]> 4 News roundup on all things ‘Apple, iPad and Touch’ Mon, 12 Apr 2010 21:17:36 +0000 Read More]]> Last week we skipped the Weekly round up, simply because there was so much going on in the world of iPhone’s and iPad’s and Apple generally. Did you miss it?

What is interesting today as I review the last week is that a lot of the headlines are the same, or at least similar.

The iPhone has been hacked again. But this time it’s iPhone OS 4.0 that’s the victim. The iPad has been launched in the US and that also has been hacked. If you remember it was hacked before it was actually released!

AdMob advertising is now set to turn very firmly towards Android, but not for the reasons that AdMob intended. Most likely now because people developing for the iPhone have iAd from Apple to look forward to.

The iPad is selling well, and as we predicted Apple are having problems keeping the supply lines stocked.
Also Apple has upset a few people with changes to it’s Developer Contract… and caused a few ripples with some of it’s OS 4.0 features…

And the iPad review I think is the best of all at the end of this article.

iPhone hacked again!

As you all know Apple pushed out a Developer Preview of iPhone OS 4.0 on Thursday. It was hacked within hours. It’s clear that the hack was using an existing flaw in the OS, and it’s likely that this flaw will be plugged before the official release. However, the jailbreak method has not been made public yet just in case Apple don’t plug the hole and it can be used for a more significant OS update.

iPad hacked

We reported the week before last that “legendary” hacker Geohot had cryptically announced on his Twitter feed, and also on his blog, that he had potentially hacked the iPad. Since the iPad’s public debut this has been confirmed. Although again, it is not public yet. Other hackers have taken this and run with it, and we have seen videos and images of Cydia (an app that provides an alternative App Store to Apple’s) running on the iPad also.

iAd excites some iPhone Developers

As part of iPhone OS 4.0 Apple has introduced iAd. It’s an in-app advertising system which is native to iPhone OS. And is scheduled to be launched as part of iPhone OS 4.0 in the summer. Because it’s designed by Apple for iPhone OS the generally quality of the integration into iPhone apps promises to be more seamless than offerings like AdMob. And also more ambitious; offering videos which can be watched while your currently running app pauses, if you choose.

I would also guess that advertisers will be more thoroughly vetted than AdMob’s, and as such overall developers and customers can expect slightly higher quality ads. This may result in slightly better revenue for developers too. Whilst developers are still getting 60% of the revenue generated from Apple for ads their apps serve up. The same as from AdMob. I think we’re going to see more premium ads running through a system which Apple holds the reigns of. Expect a lot of developers to jump ship when this comes along, and AdMob to become more dependant on Android and jail-broken iPhones for business.

iPad selling like hot cakes

The iPad has indeed been selling in the 100’s of thousands. We were up to half a million units less than a week after launch when Steve Jobs was able to announce that figure on stage at the iPhone OS 4.0 event. Steve also confirmed that they were having problems keeping the supply line stocked and were working on that.

Apple causes Adobe, Unity and a few others some consternation

The iPhone OS 4.0 developer preview was made available for download right after the “sneak-peek” event last Thursday. In order to get it you had to agree to a new Developer contract. The key part of that developer contract was a clause (Clause 3.3.1) which now restricts what tools you can use to produce iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad apps.

Taken literally it means that things like Adobe’s upcoming tool in CS5 which can produce native iPhone apps from Flash apps is now not allowed to be used to produce products for sale through the iPhone App Store. Technically it also means that hugely successful and popular middleware developer tools like MonoTouch and Unity cannot be used either.

There has been a lot of hot debate in the last few days about how all this will pan out. Adobe have even started talking to government agencies in the US saying that this move by Apple will damage their business model. It’s all got rather ugly.
Steve Jobs has even taken to answering a few emails on the subject. With this to say :

We’ve been there before, and intermediate layers between the platform and the developer ultimately produces sub-standard apps and hinders the progress of the platform.

The bottom line in all this is Apple don’t want Flash on iDevices. There are varying views on why. But from my point of view it’s simply that Flash offers a layer of abstraction away from Apple’s OS that makes the overall experience on iPhones a resource hog, and not something Apple want’s to endorse. There is also some truth to the argument that Flash apps don’t play well with a touch interface as it stands right now. That’s a fault of Flash and not the iPhone OS.

Obviously Unity and other’s are concerned as this rule technically hits them too. I wouldn’t worry about that too much though. Unity and MonoTouch are incredibly successful and I am sure Apple will work with them to find a way they can co-exist on the iPhone OS platform.

This new rule is all about Apple keeping control of it’s eco-system and then administering a level of quality from a clearly defined set of rules which gives them authority over what is allowed on their devices. And it’s all about quality. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Apple also sent some ripples through Social Gaming this week too

Also in iPhone OS 4.0 is the exciting and mysterious Game Center. Some people were concerned that this Apple driven Social Network for gaming, with some very similar features to those networks offered by OpenFeint, Ngmoco and Scoreloop (and also some similarities to XBox Live’s gaming network) would be a death blow for existing iPhone and iPod Touch social networks. This is not the case at all. We have spoken to all those existing networks this week and all have said unreservedly that they welcome Apple’s move, look forward to working with them, and augmenting what Apple offer where necessary, including offering cross platform networking to Android and other networks… So panic over there. 😉

Apple (AAPL) shares just keep on rising:

As of today’s roundup Apple’s shares are at another all time high of $241 each. This is no doubt off the back of all the iPhone OS 4.0 announcements, and iPad sales success. But it’s rumoured that this week Apple will also launch updated portable computers too… It’s certainly a super busy time for the elves in the various Apple workshops around the world!

If you haven’t read it yet, pop over to Ars Technica for their in depth iPad review: The best iPad review so far. If you haven’t; got an iPad, and haven’t read a review yet.

This is the one to drool over : []

Let us know your thoughts below. Did we miss anything?

]]> 1 iPhone OS 4.0 Initial analysis and Developers perspective Fri, 09 Apr 2010 19:38:14 +0000 Read More]]> The next major iteration of Apple’s strongest facet in it’s increasing domination of the mobile marketplace is upon us, in the form of iPhone OS 4.0

Of course this is just a “sneak peak” of an OS which Apple promises boasts more than 100 new user features, and over 1500 new APIs for developers…

Let’s take a look at the seven main features of the announcement. Most of this is from my perspective as a developer and industry watcher. Obviously some of the features are pretty self explanatory and don’t really fall under my purview. For those I’ll give you my personal reaction and thoughts as an iPhone OS user.

I am playing with iPhone OS 4.0 on my iPod right now. It’s a bit buggy, and obviously until I or someone else writes apps that take advantage of some of these new features (like “multitasking”) I can only speculate about what is in the public domain, and what is blatantly obvious.

If you want to try out iPhone OS 4.0 be aware that it is not 100% stable yet. Nor is it feature complete either. You will need to pay $99 to Apple and register as a developer, and it’s not that easy to downgrade reliably once you’ve upgraded your device. Not in my experience so far anyway. This should be something you should be particularly careful about if you are putting it on your day to day iPhone. You have been warned.

Also remember that these are the “7 Tentpoles” of the new OS. By that I assume that Apple mean that, apart from minor usability changes, all the 100+ features and 1500+ APIs that Apple tout will fall broadly under these categories as the OS matures towards it’s Gold Master release.


Everyone was excited about the possibility of this. But I had my apprehensions. We will have to see how it all pans out. One thing we now know for sure is that only devices from the third generation upwards will support multitasking. i.e. iPhone 3GS, iPod 3G and the iPad.

Apple are explaining that away with a glib statement about “hardware capabilities”. Translated this means that basically they are saying that the 3G iPhone, 2G iPod Touch and original iPhone do not have a powerful enough processor, or enough RAM. Whilst those comments are reasonable, they don’t convey the whole truth.

To put that in perspective think back a few years to the oldest machine you had with multitasking and how powerful it’s processor was, and how capacious it’s RAM was, when compared to any iPhone of any generation.

I’ll let the marinade in your mind for a while. Answers on a postcard, or in the comments please.

Apple wants to sell more devices, and this is a good way to drive upgrades. Steve Jobs said as much himself in the iPhone OS 4.0 presentation when he let slip that “if this drives sales” then that would be a bonus from his point of view.
The other issue some may have with iPhone OS 4.0 “multitasking” is that it’s not really multitasking as we understand it. It’s a very neat technical solution for running multiple apps on a mobile device. But it’s effectively a way that apps are put to sleep, and then their core can then respond to certain callbacks that a developer registers with the iPhone OS. At the moment this is focussed on Music Playback, Location Awareness, and other common iPhone app requirements. What it does not allow us to do is have two or more apps running full bore on our devices. With the possible exception of the “Lengthy Task” feature of multitasking, which I will have to investigate further. So in effect a better name for iPhone multitasking would be “hot-switching” with notifications for “active but paused” apps.

That in itself begs the question again, “Why did Apple restrict it to newer devices”. Even the original iPhone can run music in the background without degrading app performance. One of the new feature’s primary boasts, alongside location based services. We already had that level of “multi-tasking” to some measurable degree, on the iPhone out of the box, with earlier OS incarnations: We can play music from iTunes, while we are playing games, and take calls while running other apps today. All Apple has really done is expose this existing functionality to all apps, albeit with some new bells and whistles.

Some bloggers are saying the reason earlier devices won’t support multi-tasking is down to limited memory. Those of us that have had more than one page open in Mobile Safari on an iPad know that when we switch between things the iPad can get short on memory with it’s 256MB. Anyone had Mobile Safari “forget” what we were doing on one page when we swapped to another yet? Currently the iPad has double the memory of the original iPhone, and the same as the 3G iPod Touch and 3GS iPhone. So Apple will need to address this with some kind of caching or paging on those devices anyway. Why not do it across the board?

All in all iPhone “multitasking” is nice, but it’s not multitasking as people who use Android and Palm know it. And certainly not desktop style multitasking. That is not necessarily a bad thing on mobile devices with memory and power management challenges, because of ever more complex apps and Operating System features. So all in all a good call, but nonetheless frustrating and inconsistent.

Having said that all that, the way it is implemented, will make for a better user experience overall, which is what Apple is all about. It not being available on earlier iDevices was to be expected to be honest. But I think Apple is being disingenuous about the reasons why. That’s what niggles me.

To Summarise : Apple are already going to have to do some clever memory management on more recent iDevices, as I have just explained. Scott Forstall a;sp said as much when pushed at the presentation on memory and multitasking. So why not on earlier iPhones and iPods?

To drive sales and simplify OS development for Apple! They are the simple reasons.


This is something that a lot of people have been hoping for. Our devices are becoming increasingly cluttered with each of our own subsections of the gazillions of apps available to us from the App Store. And app management has become a bit of a drag. Not to mention some of us have simply run out of effective space in the current Springboard implementation. From a developers perspective there is not a lot I can say other than it does what it says on the box. And it is a welcome addition to the OS. Although why it got such high billing in the announcement I am not sure. Perhaps because Apple realised it was a problem which needed addressing publically, and a headline grabber at the same time.

Enhanced Mail

Mail has been long overdue for an overhaul on the iPhone and iPod Touch. People whipped themselves into a frenzy when the iPad was launched, and even emailed Steve Jobs begging for a Unified Email inbox across all iDevices. He replied affirmatively. They got their wish. I suspect that Steve already had it on his todo list anyway.

I don’t use Mail on my iPhone much. Most of the time I use IMAP enabled accounts, and use it for quick checks, and firing off short replies to urgent emails. So I would work around many of the limitations that the app has by limiting how much I use it.

But features such as being able to organise messages by threads and open emails in third party apps. i.e. The apps I make. Well, that’s a very welcome addition too. And I do plan to use mail more comprehensively on my iPad so all this is welcome news.

iBooks for iPhone

Again, not much I can add here to the announcement. It’s certainly something that many people, myself included, expected. I for one have been considering writing my own book on the iPad (partially as an experiment), and then trying my hand at getting it published in the iBookStore. Knowing that I now have 50 million iPhones and 35 million iPod Touches making a total of 85 million out there as a market, ontop of the half a million or so (and counting) iPads in the wild, certainly makes that idea more appealing.

I also use my iPhone for most of my reading when travelling so this is good news for me personally on that front too. There are certainly some competent eBook readers for the iPhone and iPod already out there. But it’s nice to have an iTunes like eco-system, and Apples software to do my reading on. The main attraction for me there is the ability to read sample pages before I buy.


iPhone OS 4.0 will bring a number of enhancements relevant to Enterprise users. They include increased data protection, mobile device management, wireless app distribution, multiple Exchange accounts, Exchange Server 2010 support and SSL VPN support. Ooo.. Feeling a bit sleepy there.

For those that are interested in that kind of thing (yawn, sorry!) Apple have it covered here : []

I suppose the Wireless App Distribution of in-house apps is quite cool when allied with Mobile Device Management. But do be aware that Apple are not allowing anyone to distribute paid for commercial apps outside of the App Store with this.

Almost dropped off to sleep again there.

Onwards and upwards.

Game Center

This is the most surprising and confusing announcement of the entire iPhone OS 4.0 event.

It certainly shows, finally, that Apple is taking gaming on it’s various mobile devices pretty seriously. Not something Apple have been known for in the past. Cue light applause for Apple.

It’s also unclear exactly how Apple will provide services like matchmaking and leader-boards to developers. Nothing was discussed at the presentation, which leads me to believe that certain aspects of Game Center are still in flux. Will there still be room for SDK developers like GameSpy in all this? Networking perhaps building off the back of existing parts of the SDK for multiplayer gaming? Certainly hope so. But only time will tell.

I think that Game Center will only succeed if Apple can get Ngmoco, Scoreloop and OpenFeint on board as community members. Fragmentation is bad for Apple, and bad for existing Social Gaming Network providers. I presume there are negotiations going on behind the scenes now, frankly. Apple would not have announced this if they didn’t have some plan going forward.

Scott Forstall also himself said that ideally everyone would come together under one roof. I wonder what concessions Apple will have to make, and how willing the existing networks will be to work with them?

The generally fairly positive feedback coming out of the likes of Ngmoco and OpenFeint lead me to believe that negotiations are fairly well advanced already. Scoreloop seems a little more bullish in articles I have read. But these articles are speculative. I wonder where they are at?


I idly wondered aloud earlier in the week if this would be the only announcement at the iPhone OS 4.0 event. I was of course wrong. But it was certainly the one that Steve was most excited about. The audience didn’t seem to share his enthusiasm though. Perhaps we all feel a little jaded with advertising these days!

What is appealing about this addition to the SDK is that devs. can put their advertising revenue, and their app revenue, under one roof with Apple. But more importantly than that the way that ads are displayed is tightly woven into the iPhone SDK. I have to admit to being enthused about that from a purely academic stand point. I am not a huge fan of ads in any medium.

The integration into the SDK means that working with ads will be even more seamless than it already is when using modules like AdMob, and that we can display movies and other rich media as part of the ad experience for users.
What I would like to see is the possibility of sponsorship in apps. For example, say in a skateboarding or racing game to have images or movies pasted onto billboards along the road or racetrack. If this came to fruition then I would see adds as contributing to the in game experience without detracting form it with immersion breaking popups.

I also think that if Apple are the gatekeeper to what is advertised on iPhones, iPods and iPads then we can expect higher overall revenues as advertisers will pay more, and we’ll also potentially get a higher quality of advertiser and consequently advert content.

What concerns me is that some developers may go mad with this, seeing it as an easy and more legitimate revenue stream now it has tacit Apple endorsement. I hope I am wrong. And I hope that we don’t see ads in paid apps. That would be bad.

One thing I can say for absolutely certain. If I do any work on apps with ads I will be dropping AdMob and moving to iAds. I wonder how many other iPhone Devs are thinking the same thing, and how worried AdMob are?

Well that’s my initial thoughts on the iPhone OS 4.0 sneak peak.

I’ll try to come back with more specifics on each facet of the “7 Tentpoles” as I learn more, In the meantime feel free to give us your views, and feelings, good or bad, on what iPhone OS 4.0 means for you, in the comments.

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