TouchMyApps » Educational http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:31:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.4 Geotap in Review – Educational Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/25/geotap-in-review-educational-fun/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/25/geotap-in-review-educational-fun/#comments Tue, 26 May 2009 00:40:49 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=11451 I’m actually a big fan of mini games and quick pickup-and-play games; ones that don’t take much time and effort and can entertain me for short spurts while I feel bored, e.g. daily commute, waiting at a restaurant, etc… Hence I don’t particularly enjoy games that require me to spend lots of time passing levels … Read more]]>

geotap1I’m actually a big fan of mini games and quick pickup-and-play games; ones that don’t take much time and effort and can entertain me for short spurts while I feel bored, e.g. daily commute, waiting at a restaurant, etc… Hence I don’t particularly enjoy games that require me to spend lots of time passing levels and learning overly complicated controls/gameplay. This is why I like Concentric Sky’s Geotap quite a bit!!

geotap2The aim of Geotap is for the user to tap on the correct location specified by the game, and the player will be given points based on the speed and accuracy of his/ her answer. Answers requested can be either cities or famous monuments (at least up to level 4, the last level I was able to get up to).

geotap3The player will first get an entire map of the world, and the questions will be asked on the screen. The user can use the typical double-tap or reverse-pinch gestures from the iDevice OS on the touch screen to zoom into the map. The more accurate you are in being able to pinpoint the location, the more points scored per question. While this is a great idea, the implementation of this function still needs work; the zooming in and the rendering of the map is hideously slow, which makes the gameplay not very fluid. Also, because I’m timed on the speed of my answer, I just know that I’m losing precious time trying to get as close in as possible for maximum points (please note that here I’m using an iPhone; it could very well be quicker on a 2nd generation iPod Touch).

geotap4Onto my opinion of this game; I think GeoTap is actually quite addictive. The concept is very interesting and at the same time also very educational. It was only upon playing the game I had realized that there are so many places I didn’t know where it’s located; I mean I know where things are thereabouts… but now I know to the nearest mile how far off I am. This is also the reason why the game is so addictive; the two elements that you can control to achieve the highest score, i.e. speed and accuracy, are key in Geotap and it certainly makes it more challenging and fun. As well, seeing how the statistics are displayed immediately after solving the questions just makes me wish I could keep passing level after level.

If you’re looking for a game that is easy to pick up and play, addictive and educational to boot, then you should definitely check out Geotap. While it’s not perfect (zooming breaks up pace of the game) , the fact that you can have fun while learning something new makes this a worthwhile entry in the ever growing App Store.

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App Summary
Title: Geotap (v1.0) Developer: Concentric Sky
Price: $1.99 App Size: 19.0 MB
  • Simple yet addictive game play
  • Very descriptive scoring system that helps the gamer improve
  • Educational
  • Slow zooming in/ zooming out
  • No use of music; though this can make the game more intense
  • (My personal grief… it’s quite hard…)

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Who Has The Biggest Brain? in Review – Shows off the best of the platform http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/03/28/who-has-the-biggest-brain-in-review-shows-off-the-best-of-the-platform/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/03/28/who-has-the-biggest-brain-in-review-shows-off-the-best-of-the-platform/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2009 15:17:06 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=7951 The thing that attracted me most about Who Has The Biggest Brain? was the Facebook version; I’ve played it many times and I must say I really like it. The graphics are funny and that the multitude of simple games offers great entertainment and laughter. Most important, however, is that the game allows the competition … Read more]]>

whohasthebiggestbrain1The thing that attracted me most about Who Has The Biggest Brain? was the Facebook version; I’ve played it many times and I must say I really like it. The graphics are funny and that the multitude of simple games offers great entertainment and laughter. Most important, however, is that the game allows the competition between all Facebook users who play this game. When it was released for the iPhone/ iPod Touch platform, I immediately wanted to try it, because I knew that if the game was done correctly, then it can be tremendously fun on a mobile platform. As well, developer Playfish’s offering is also one of the first to use Facebook Connect, a protocol for developers to integrate its applications with the Facebook platform.

App Description:

Think you are smart? Join the 15 million players who have already played this addictive brain training game to prove it! Compare brain sizes and scores with friends by connecting to Facebook Connect on your iPhone or iPod touch.

With 12 different minigames, 27 brain types, a ton of unlockable achievements and a calendar to keep track of your performance, Who Has The Biggest Brain lets you exercise your brain in areas ranging from analytics to memory and visual processing and provide you with neverending fun!

Well, I’m happy to report that Who Has The Biggest Brain? was ported to the iPhone/ iPod Touch platform without any loss of quality; the entire game was ported to the platform directly so when I first fired it up, the interface was very familiar. The only difference was that I used my fingers to touch on the buttons and controls rather than using my mouse pointer to make my selection.

whohasthebiggestbrain2The first thing I did when I launched the game was to try out the Facebook Connect function; for those who don’t know what Facebook Connect is (if you still don’t know what Facebook is, please get off your couch and ask a friend!!), it is a protocol for developers to link their applications to the online world of Facebook, so that the app can link to your friends list, contact details and the like. With this game, the Facebook Connect function will allow it to upload the score to Facebook and compare it to other players, whether it’s the iPhone/ iPod Touch version or the Facebook version. Once logged in, I can view my previous score that I’ve achieved on Facebook, and see where I’m ranked amongst my friends. This is a very nice touch, as this adds more interactivity to my game, and allows me to continue to improve my ranking when I’m away from my Mac.

whohasthebiggestbrain5Once started, it was very familiar territory, with the games appearing the same as the Facebook version, only which it seemed easier because I could tap on the object to choose, whereas on the desktop I have to manipulate the mouse. The only time the touch interface was a hindrance was when I had to key in numbers; I am more used to the number pad, and at first that affected my score but after a while it was not much of a problem.

whohasthebiggestbrain3One difference to the desktop version is that on the iPhone/ iPod Touch, it has a few more games; although they still belong in the same four categories, it just makes the game a lot more interesting and allows more re-playing throughout. Although these are considered “Pro” functions on Facebook, it’s good to know that these levels are already built into the iPhone/ iPod Touch version.

whohasthebiggestbrain4Overall, I think Who Has The Biggest Brain? is very nicely done; all elements of the Facebook version was carried over to the iPhone/ iPod Touch platform. This was improved further with the touch interface of the platform, as well as the new technology from Facebook that allowed the connection between a mobile device and the Facebook platform. This added a lot more interactivity between friends as usually with iPhone/ iPod Touch games I can only compete with myself. With Facebook Connect, the mini-games got a lot more competitive because I’m playing with other people I know.

Although I think the price is a bit steep for an essentially a free game online, I think that the improvements made to it during porting is definitely worth it.

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App Summary
Title: Who Has The Biggest Brain? (v1.0) Developer: Playfish
Price: $1.99 App Size: 9.8 MB
  • Exact port of Facebook version, with Facebook Connect allowing me to play with other friends
  • Extra levels compared to Facebook version
  • Touch interface makes the game a lot more fun
  • Lots of chocolate recipes
  • No option to switch off the music, unless I flick the silent switch on the phone
  • The game keeps asking me to log into Facebook Connect, when it has all my details
  • A bit expensive…

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Braineous in Review: Cashing in on the “Brain” Genre? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2008/12/24/braineous-in-review-cashing-in-on-the-brain-genre/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2008/12/24/braineous-in-review-cashing-in-on-the-brain-genre/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2008 08:30:57 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=2661 In the time-honoured tradition of portable gaming, there have always been the stodgy genres: arcade, simulation, adventure, strategy, defense, puzzlers and racing. Eventually, however, parents became involved in the gaming lives of our pioneering gamer forebears. With such came the hitherto uneeded educational gaming genre into our pat world. From that day, our lives as … Read more]]>
The Iconic Monkey and his brain

The Iconic Monkey and his brain

In the time-honoured tradition of portable gaming, there have always been the stodgy genres: arcade, simulation, adventure, strategy, defense, puzzlers and racing. Eventually, however, parents became involved in the gaming lives of our pioneering gamer forebears. With such came the hitherto uneeded educational gaming genre into our pat world. From that day, our lives as gamers have changed. We are increasingly faced with addictive and mildly fun edugames popularised recently on the DS in titles such as Brain Age and Kanji Training.

Now, straight from TryThis Networks, Inc. to your iPod Touch or iPhone is the title, Braineous. I hesitate to call it educational so will use Try Networks’ own term, stimulating. Inside you will find a stimulating series of 10 games and an iconic monkey that trods on your ego.

From their website:

How smart are you? Assemble puzzles, solve math problems under pressure and match gestures as accurately as you can before time runs out. Braineous includes 10 exercises to stimulate your neurons, but the challenge doesn’t stop there. Think you’re good? Submit your score to the TryThis Network and compare yourself with the rest of the world to find out how smart you REALLY are.

Presentation and Gameplay
Braineous’ games make heavy use of the touch screen with tapping, tracing, swiping and in small amounts, gestures. However, it is mostly variations of tapping on a selection that will keep your fingers busy. For instance, in early stages, you will use your fingers to tap a number on a number pad or make direct selections of icons. As more levels open up, you will be directed to trace paths, follow floating icons and tap in sequence. All input methods have been seen before so little acclimatisation is needed though innovation would be nice.

Similar to the been there, done that input methods, the graphics are in general, bland. While bright and cheery there are many graphical oversights and/or glitches that are stumbleworthy. Some buttons have graphical residue and need to be taken back to illustrator in order to look nice. The same goes for the odd jagged edge but most annoying is the recycling of images over and over again in a game that is supposed to stimulate your brain. Sheep, characters, the monkey’s stage are all grind meat taken from as far up as Microsoft’s Powerpoint or as low as the game itself. Developers have many items to worry about in upcoming releases and I understand a hasty release however, for the price of 3.99$ I would have expected a more professional graphical experience.

Those curtains inspire my creative side

Those curtains that spurned my creative side

Sound too is a sad affair.  It is lacklustre even in this genre.  Clapping, booing, and silly melodies.  It won’t get deeper than that.

Gameplay is a mixed bag. Some games are fun but others are simply pointless. For instance in stage three you are asked to choose similar objects. I was asked to find 3 red fruits but only found two. The final answer was a watermelon which is drawn with a clearly green skin but red centre. The next question asked me to find 3 peeled fruits. None on the screen were peeled. Am I as a player supposed to know which fruits the author peels? Does prophecy count as smarts?

Smarts, Brains, Prophecy

Smarts, Brains, Prophecy

I will admit that I enjoyed the maths section. I will also admit that I had to relearn what I thought I would never again use in my adult life: times tables. That is a work in progress. Other sections including tracing were markedly more fun and will undoubtedly generate fans in the App Store.

Scoring is a touchy affair but one that unlocks the best part of the game: competition. After a session, you can submit your profile and scores to the network and see how well you did in relation to your peers around the globe. At the time I submitted, I was ranked 15th in the world: not bad. There may be more than 20 players now so by all means, if you buy this game, submit your scores and boost my ego.

I'm with stupid

I'm with stupid...

Conclusion
Overall, I found very little truly interesting outside of the online scoring system. Everything was either bland, too hastily thrown together or too deep in deja vu. I am still scratching my head and wondering if this game improved anything in my brain. And, to whom is Braineous aimed? It makes no mention of kids on its TryThis Networks’ webpage but I cannot imagine anyone without kids playing longer than I did. After a few months on the App Store, I am sure Try Networks will release updates and better define their audience on the homepage. As it is now, Braineous is a far cry from being worth the 3,99$ from your wallet and 17 megabytes of space on your iPhone’s disk.

In a game advertised to test your smarts, why does it feel so tried, old and poorly thought through?

App Summary
Title: Braineous Developer: TryThis Networks, Inc.
Price: $3.99 App Size: 17 mb
  • Bright Graphics
  • Some stimulating games
  • Scores can be shared with other players
  • Superficially designed graphics
  • Sounds are trite and annoying
  • What audience is it designed for?
  • Hastily thought out games that rely on personal habits of the author rather than user smarts.
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