2K Mobile Games Sale Begins Today

2kmobile sale

Get ready for some impulse purchases. 2K Mobile is discounting many of its top games beginning today with the sale price available through August 5. Titles such as NBA 2K13, Civilization Revolution and Sid Meier’s Pirates! are all getting some heavy price slashes.

The sale is only for iOS titles. The following is the complete list – links will take you to their download site on the App Store:

 

Editorial: iOS 7 Good for Some, Terrible for Others

iPhone5-3up-Pyramid_iOS7_PRINT copyApple’s  iOS 7 was the revolutionary overhaul that had been rumored for months. Gone is the stitched leather, faux notepad and other elements of the now infamous skeuomorphism. Apple has redesigned iOS to be minimalist with pastel colors and translucent effects.

For developers the changes to iOS are largely positive. Full multi-tasking capabilities and 1,500 new APIs will give plenty of ways to strengthen applications. The App Store got some tweaks to better highlight different apps, including offering suggestions based on the user’s location.

The visual overhaul, however, feels rather elementary. While the excessive mimicking of real-life objects was getting out of hand, some of the new icons are equally unappealing. The pastels combined with the translucent smudges feels almost child-like. Where Windows Phone is overly modern and Android too utilitarian, iOS now looks like one’s first smartphone operating system. And the idea of live information on the home screen, even a working clock, seems like a dream worth surrendering. [Read more…]

Sonic the Hedgehog Launches on Android

Sonic 1_Screenshot 1The 16-bit masterpiece that stole many hours of my childhood is now on Android. Sonic the Hedgehog can be had for $2.99 on Google Play; it is still available for that same price on the App Store.

The classic has been remastered for mobile devices, complete with 60 frames per second graphics. The memorable characters are there, as the gameplay is virtually the same with touch controls rethought for mobile devices.

Given the game’s excellent reception it furthers the mystery as to why Nintendo has not jumped on board with a mobile edition of its popular games. Super Mario Brothers would likely garner millions of downloads, as Sonic has done rather well on iOS with multiple four- and five-star ratings from users. [Read more…]

Gmail for iOS adds YouTube, Google Maps Links

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Google’s subversion of iOS continues. Today the company pushed out an update to it iOS Gmail app that will open links to YouTube videos and maps in those respective Google-built apps. This circumvents the default method in iOS, where links open in Safari.

Google previously had included the choice to open links in Chrome. While these options are turned on by default, they can be disabled. This would return one to the standard behavior of opening a link in Apple’s Safari browser.

This move comes after Google added its Google Now service to the company’s search app. It is another indication that while the Mountain View company would love to have everyone using Android, it knows that it has a large base of its users want to access its services on the iPhone and iPad.

Another minor addition is rather convenient. If you are signed in to multiple Gmail accounts, you can now just sign out of one instead of being forced to sign out of all of them at once.  [Read more…]

Google Now Comes to iOS

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Google Now has been added to the Google search app for iPhone and iPad.

By enabling Google Now, you can get current weather, sports team updates, traffic recommendations, public transit information and calendar reminders. The feature has been available for some time on Android devices running Jelly Bean.

After downloading the update from the App Store you will receive a tutorial on how Google Now works. Then you have the option to enable it or continue with the app as it previously worked.

While the implementation is good, it shows the difference between having it locked inside of an app on iOS as opposed to its operating system integration found on Android. For example, on an Android device the notification center will prompt you to a new score from a favorite team once a game has begun.

Blogsy is Superior Blogging App for iPad

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For many, blogging from the iPad is a great alternative to doing so from a computer. Some love the iPad’s singular focus on writing by keeping you dedicated inside of one application at a time. Also, the tablet’s portability and all-day battery life make it very tempting to leave behind a laptop.

However, others find trying to perform this kind of productivity stifling. Writing any long-form content from a virtual keyboard and pulling together links from the web can feel laborious from an iPad.

I have tended to lean closer to the latter camp. Given that I can type 85 words per minute on a real keyboard and how good blogging requires adding a substantial number of links I have felt trying to do so regularly from am iPad would be stifling (of course a Bluetooth keyboard would mitigate some of this).

So for this review I challenged myself to compose the entire post within Blogsy – even using the iPad onscreen keyboard. In all it was a pretty good experience based on how powerful and extendable Blogsy is. Most impressive is the number of blogging platforms supported: WordPress, Joomla, Blogger, TypePad, Tumblr and several others are present. [Read more…]

Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution for iPad Review

civilization-iPadFor those looking for a game with more depth and strategy check out Sid Meier’s Civilization for the iPad. A product of 2k games, the traditional PC game is smartly recreated for the iPad interface. It offers an excellent array of strategy combined with the immediacy of a touch-friendly tablet game.

The goal is to take one’s tiny village and transform it into a mighty empire. The path to accomplishing this is a slow one, requiring skillful decision making and smart allocation of resources.

Single-player mode presents several options for beginning a game – either play through some prescribed scenarios or start a new empire from the beginning of civilization. The game allows one to choose a specific leader, such as Abraham Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth I, or Napoleon Bonaparte (the Queen appears to be wearing an outfit a bit more revealing than what was likely acceptable in her era).

Much of the game centers on the discovery of technologies. You will often be presented with where to focus your energy; discoveries begin with relatively simple matters like fire before moving on to the more complex. [Read more…]

Feedly Cures Google Reader Blues

wpid-Screenshot_2013-03-17-22-46-51.pngAfter spending some time using Feedly I began to think all the weeping and gnashing of teeth over Google Reader was overblown. Feedly is a robust, cross-platform RSS tool that all Google Reader nomads should consider as their new home.

In fact, the developers have smartly included some guidelines for customizing Feedly to look and act much like Reader. This is because Feedly has enough flexibility to give a Flipboard-like magazine experience or the utilitarian look of a traditional RSS reader.

While some have argued that RSS is past its utility, for many it still has an important function. For example, I subscribe to several product feeds from Google, Apple, Microsoft and others that aren’t designed for an imaginative layout. Such posts are short and designed for quick updates.

Power users will also want to learn Feedly’s keyboard shortcuts, which will help transition to zipping through a large number of sources.

Feedly looks great in the browser and has apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle. While Reeder and Press are both excellent apps and will likely recover from Google’s decision, Feedly has an inherent advantage with its cross-platform appeal and free price tag (the browser version has occasional advertising.) [Read more…]

Google Reader Shutdown Sends Developers Scrambling

Google-Reader

Google’s announcement that it was nixing Google Reader will not only disrupt those who use the service to read their feeds. Many of the most popular news reading apps like Reeder and Press use Google Reader to pull in their data. It makes it simple for users to quickly log in with one’s Google account credentials and see a list of all of one’s RSS feeds.

Developers were quick to react Wednesday, pledging to continue on despite what was disappointing news.

Jay Ohms, developer of the Press app for Android, said his team already is working on a solution.

“We’re as surprised as everyone to hear about the death of Google Reader,” he said. “We’ve put a ton of work into Press and will do everything we can to keep it alive and an app that people love. We’ll be looking over all our syncing options over the coming weeks, but our plan is to absolutely carry Press into the post-Google Reader world.”
[Read more…]

Haiku Deck Builds Image-Friendly Presentations

20130309-150350.jpgHaiku Deck is an iPad-native presentation application designed to mesmerize an audience with eye-popping images. It has several advantages for those looking for a simple, straightforward way to build a powerful slide show.

In many ways it is the anti-PowerPoint. It gets the excessive number of tweaks and design decisions out of the way, allowing the user to focus primarily on the text and images for each presentation (they are called decks in Haiku-speak). It also is share-friendly: with just one tap users can share through a social network, e-mail, posting to a blog or placing it in .ppt format. (Below is a quick deck I created on the subject of hyperbole).

Haiku Deck has several themes, such as origami or cinematic, to give each presentation an original flavor. Along with those stock themes are eleven premium options available for $1.99 each. After using the application for a while it may make sense to increase the available features for a couple of dollars. For those who start building several decks some extra flexibility might be welcome. [Read more…]

Doceri Desktop Empowers iPad-Using Teachers

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As more school districts begin deploying the iPad to teachers and students it has created a small industry focused on how to best engage one’s class.

Doceri has become one of my favorite applications for doing this. Its strength relies on its good set of whiteboard-style tools combined with the flexibility to connect remotely through a computer. This solution is ideal for those who can not connect wirelessly to a projector or have a school network that blocks AirPlay.

While an interactive whiteboard is a powerful tool, the flexibility of being able to walk around the room is equally beneficial. It can create a more compelling classroom presence for monitoring behavior and engaging more directly with students.

Beyond the connection solution is the strong set of tools for enhancing lessons or other presentations. You can annotate over the desktop and use the iPad as a mouse to control a Windows or Mac computer. [Read more…]

Plants vs. Zombies for iOS is Free (For Now)

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Considering that this is probably a temporary promotion, be sure to grab Plants vs. Zombies for free on your iOS device. This is one of the original strong games that debuted when the iPad launched. I spent a considerable amount of time loitering at my local Best Buy playing the game before deciding to purchase my own iPad.

For anyone unfamiliar with the game, players must use a variety of plant life to defend against an invasion of (mostly) slow zombies. The strategy involves upgrading plants and weaponry as the zombies become faster and more adept at dodging the defenses. [Read more…]

Gesundheit HD is Must-Have Game for iPad

How is it that I just discovered Gesundheit? It recently scored the Free App of the Week promotion in the App Store, being one of the best to get that tag.  The bottom line: get Gesundheit. You will never think of snot the same way again.

You play as a pig who must strategically blow his mucus in order to lure large, snot-eating monsters toward their doom. The hilarious concept combines with mind-bending gameplay to create an addicting experience. After I scored Gesundheit HD it easily ate up several hours of time.  [Read more…]

Paper Galaxy is Kid-Friendly Gaming

Paper Galaxy is a solid kids’ game that can also serve as a good challenge for pondering the laws of physics. Players take charge of the moon, which must make its way through the galaxy in order to reunite with Earth.

The moon’s journey is accomplished through using the gravitational pull of the planets. To help, the planets and moon all have faces and personality to create a lively gaming experience.

While it appears the younger set is the core audience, there is definitely enough content here to make it enjoyable for anybody.  [Read more…]

Noble Nutlings is Quirky Fun

Noble Nutlings carries the subtle influence of Angry Birds into its clever use of physics and zany characters. The game puts players in control of a a group of legless squirrels piloting bath tubs and other unusual modes of transportation. Noble Nutlings is the work of Boomlagoon, a new gaming studio created by three former Rovio developers.

Players must tilt their iOS device (sorry Android gamers) to zip the squirrels through a variety of obstacles and airborne adventures. Noble Nutlings succeeds by offering customization and original characters in a very playable game.  [Read more…]

The Weather Channel for iPad Adds ‘Test’ Message

The Weather Channel for iPad received an interesting addition to its app icon today. Version 3.5  installed several new features and bug fixes, yet it also added the word “Test” to the app icon.

The rest of the app appears to function as normal. The update promised additional Flu information, a better news section and visual improvements. However, it nixes the visual weather background, citing the need for “performance improvements.”

[Read more…]

Duo Gamer Controller Review

If a new iPad was under your tree, you may have wondered if some of those first-person shooters could be better served with a controller.

Fortunately, the answer is “yes.” Fresh off of a discount, the Duo Gamer controller offers a well-built controller for navigating through Modern Combat or other games created by Gameloft.

Many of the initial reviews balked at its original price of $79.99, which was entirely too high. Gameloft appears to have heard this concern, recently dropping the price almost in half to $39.99.

Outside of feeling a little bulky with its awkward shape, the Gameloft DUO Controller is a great tool. It includes a stand that, while also a little large, does a good job at propping up the screen so it is at eye level.

[Read more…]

Super Dragon Review: Kid-Friendly Fun

For those looking for a solid game to hold the attention of a child or child-like adult, give a glance to Super Dragon. It includes many of the elements that work very well in mobile games; physics-based play, gestures, a fun character, and lots of gimmicky noises and zany gameplay.

The aim is to get Super Dragon’s teeth back. Do this by launching him into the air through a Jenga-like collection of obstacles. By blasting through the refrigerators, washing machines, and other items Super Dragon can get his chompers to fall harmlessly back to earth and into his mouth.

The challenge accelerates given the larger number of obstacles that separate Super Dragon from his teeth. If not careful, they will knock him senseless, ending the game. There are a number of protective devices, such as an umbrella or helment, which players can acquire in order to protect the happy dragon. [Read more…]

Orc Vengeance Update Improves Controls

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One of the best games of the year has a significant new improvement to its control scheme. Orc: Vengeance, my favorite game to hit iOS in 2012, now has a virtual control stick and on-screen button layout that greatly improves the gaming experience. I found one can quickly attack enemies and maneuver through the game with much greater ease.

I find it more natural to play with the joystick, as the previous method of tapping where you wanted to go to become a little tiring over time. The new controls are positions so one can easily hold the iPad with two hands, much like a game controller. [Read more…]

Twitter, Instagram Battle Over Filters

What began as a cool, share-able feature that brought everyone together has now become the key component in a mobile war: photo filters.

The battle accelerated yesterday when Twitter rolled out its own filters to its native Android and iOS apps. Those on Twitter will get Vignette, Black & White, Warm, Cool, Vintage, Cinematic, Happy and Gritty. Instagram also added the new filter, Willow, in its iOS and Android updates yesterday.

This changes comes just one day after Instagram dropped support for viewing images in the Twitter stream. To see the Instagram picture of someone you follow on Twitter, it now requires clicking a link and exiting the Twitter app. Previously, the image would appear on a “card” directly in that user’s stream. [Read more…]