TouchMyApps » rating-grab 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 Geometry Dash in Review – Jump To The Rhythm http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/11/09/geometry-dash-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/11/09/geometry-dash-in-review/#comments Sat, 09 Nov 2013 16:29:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73375 For some reason there’s always a bit of apprehension that simple graphics and simple game play might make for a boring game.  You’d think I would know better by now.  Geometry Dash has pretty much no fluff, yet I can hardly tear myself away from it each time I start it up.  Even the game’s … Read more]]>

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For some reason there’s always a bit of apprehension that simple graphics and simple game play might make for a boring game.  You’d think I would know better by now.  Geometry Dash has pretty much no fluff, yet I can hardly tear myself away from it each time I start it up.  Even the game’s one stand out feature isn’t implemented particularly well, but I’ve just learned to enjoy what does work right.  I haven’t regretted playing Geometry Dash for a single moment, and I just hope that one day I get good enough to beat a couple more of the levels!

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Geometry Dash rests on a simple concept – tap to jump.  Now in all fairness there is a section in several – or possibly all – of the levels where you are flying a plane so you tap to go up and release to go down.  Whatever the case it’s always a one finger mechanic, yet it more often than not proves to be rather challenging.  There are a total of 9 songs, each of which has one level that come stock with the game and one more levels online that have been created by various users.  According to the statistics screen I have made 633 attempts and racked up nearly 9000 jumps between all the levels I’ve tried, yet I’ve only completed one.

This game certainly doesn’t just hand over a victory, so at least you never have to worry about getting your money’s worth from it. Jumps flow with the rhythm of the music, at least on the developer generated levels… you just have to figure out which beats to jump on.  What’s more difficult to master is the art of allowing yourself to fall because sometimes it will be more detrimental for you to take one more jump than not.  Of course it doesn’t hurt if you can memorize the tough parts of the level so you can do it from habit rather than knee jerk reaction.  You can probably surmise from my statistics where I’m at in that process.  It seems that each level introduces a new mechanic like glowing orbs that give you some extra height or circles that reverse the flow of gravity.  Just because a new gizmo shows up in a level doesn’t mean you always need to use it, though.

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For the most part tapping the screen seems responsive, and I’m sure most of the time when it’s not the problem is really that I made a mistake, but it does seem like on some occasions when I tap there is no response from my avatar.  In addition to simply beating each level there are 30 achievements to earn, but the game has no leaderboards, even for the built in levels.  As you complete various tasks you’ll unlock different designs for your avatar as well as a few color schemes.  In this game the main thrill simply comes from completing a level, much like it was in the old days. One feature this game has that could be really slick is a level editor.  Of course due to copyright issues you can only use the songs that are in the game, but it still provides the opportunity for a ton of additional replay value for Geometry Dash.  I give a lot of props to those that have submitted custom levels, however, because while it’s clear that the editor offers a lot of options it doesn’t seem very user friendly to me, and as of me writing this article the web page that’s supposed to offer help is still “under construction”.  If I ever get ambitious enough to dabble and create a level I’ll be sure to update this post with the level name.

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The visuals are a bit more simplistic than your average runner / platformer but they serve the game well.  Lines and grids are accentuated with neon background objects and pulsing foreground objects that really help everything contrast from each other and stand out.  The avatar designs kind of remind me of pumpkin carvings and help give your play time a bit of additional flair.  There really aren’t any sound effects except for when you die, but the music is great.  This is one of those rare instances where not being familiar with the music in a music based game doesn’t really make a difference.  The soundtracks have been well orchestrated to flow nicely with the mechanics of the game, and it’s an all around pleasing experience from an audio perspective.

Geometry Dash is a winner in almost every way.  Simple neon visuals and a thumping soundtrack are contradictory yet complimentary aesthetic experiences that make the game come to life.  Controlling your avatar is easy and nearly always spot on, and the developer levels are well thought out.  Even when you die it’s nearly impossible to resist hitting the retry button for one more go.  My main issue personally with the game was the level editor, but apparently some folks have mastered it because there are user generated levels available.  Even if you stick to the handful of levels that come native with the game you’ll have plenty to do and a good time doing it. Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Geometry Dash Developer: Robert Topala
Reviewed Ver: 1.20 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $1.99 App Size: 24.9 MB
  • Easy to play, difficult to master
  • Well designed levels
  • Slick visuals
  • Great music
  • Level editor is awkward
  • Occasionally tapping produces no response

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Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy in Review: Everything New Is Old Again http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/09/07/game-of-watchcraft-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/09/07/game-of-watchcraft-review/#comments Sun, 08 Sep 2013 01:43:02 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73095 The retro craze is in full swing, with many developers making games that look, sound and often play like games that came out 20 years ago or more.  In some cases they have even made modern versions of those games that try to retain the “flair” of the originals.  Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy takes … Read more]]>

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The retro craze is in full swing, with many developers making games that look, sound and often play like games that came out 20 years ago or more.  In some cases they have even made modern versions of those games that try to retain the “flair” of the originals.  Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy takes an entirely different approach to the concept.  It poses the question “What would Warcraft look like as an LCD game?”  If you don’t know what that even means you can either count yourself fortunate or underprivileged depending on your perspective.  Either way the developers have done a fine job of recreating a brand new “classic”, though a true fan of Warcraft would have to tell me if it captures the essence of that universe or not.

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You are a wizard that looks suspiciously like the villain from the Scream movies, and you must either fight hellspawn or tackle goblins depending on which side of the screen you’re playing on.  Your goals are simple things like “kill X number of goblins” or “fight the boss”, and once you complete a task on one board the passage to the other will be opened.  When you complete tasks on the top board you’ll earn new equipment that you can pick up on your way back to the bottom board, but don’t forget to hit the action button to collect the goods as you won’t automatically pick up any items.  I’m not really sure what all the equipment does, but it’s cool to have.  You earn XP and level up just like in an RPG, but again I’m not sure that it means much.  At least you don’t have to worry about dying.  You lose your equipment and have to restart the current mission, but everything else stays in tact.

To control the wizard you use a simple Nintendo-like d-pad in the lower left corner.  While it seems pretty responsive, it’s small enough that I find myself “slipping” off of it frequently, even though it’s on an iPad.  In the lower right there is an action button that you use to do everything else.  Note that in the upper screen you can actually hurl lightning bolts as long as you have mana, but when it runs out you’re relegated to close range attack until it replenishes.  In addition to everything I’ve described previously the game does support Game Center for leaderboards and 17 achievements that you can earn.  You can also tweet or exploits or post them to Facebook if you like.  Unfortunately you can only have one game going at a time, but whenever you feel like it you can restart from the beginning or if you’re up for a greater challenge restart at the highest level you’ve conquered and see how good of a score you can get.

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The visuals are what you’d expect if you knew what to expect from an LCD game, which means they are pretty cool (if you like that sort of thing).  In grand tradition the background is primarily still and rendered in just a couple of colors, though this game does uses some black pixels to animate the backdrop in a couple of spots, which I don’t remember actual games like this doing.  The characters are pretty basic designs though they still look cool, and are silhouettes due to the technology that was used to render them when they were actually LCD visuals.  The sound effects are all beeps and boops, again keeping in character with the underlying concept, and there is no music.  That’s the one thing I don’t miss about LCD games.

I’m not going to lie to you.  It will probably take a special kind of person to truly enjoy this game.  Fans of World Of Warcraft might get a kick out of it for a while, and retro fans will certainly find some amusement in it.  But the folks that will ultimately declare this game a triumph are the ones that have experienced the LCD phenomenon first hand and actually thought it was cool.  I am one of those folks, and I think this game is great.  Now if they could just release an actual LCD version of the game…

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy Developer: Clicker
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req:
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Presents games like WOW in an “old” light
  • Captures the essence of LCD games
  • Neat graphical style
  • D-pad a bit small
  • Can get repetitive quickly
  • No music

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Mikey Hooks in Review: He’s A Real Swinger http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/30/mikey-hooks-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/30/mikey-hooks-in-review/#comments Fri, 30 Aug 2013 14:55:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73066 Mikey’s been a busy boy.  He’s still looking for shorts and fighting bad guys, and now he’s added grapple hooking to his repertoire.  This sequel to the game Mikey Shorts feels very similar to the first installment, but sometimes that’s okay, as is the case here.  The levels are quick, the challenge builds up nicely over … Read more]]>

Mikey’s been a busy boy.  He’s still looking for shorts and fighting bad guys, and now he’s added grapple hooking to his repertoire.  This sequel to the game Mikey Shorts feels very similar to the first installment, but sometimes that’s okay, as is the case here.  The levels are quick, the challenge builds up nicely over time, and you can decide whether you want to make it about the stars, the cash or simply getting to the finish line.  Plus there are a whole lot of costumes to collect for those of you that like collecting things.

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The aliens are back, the humans are once again captured, and apparently Mikey is the only one savvy enough to break them free and thwart the attack on Earth.  In typical platform fashion you’ll run, jump and slide to get through and around all the obstacles thrown before you.  The aliens are protected on one or more sides by spikes, and while killing them is mainly reserved for the ones that you can actually slide into, you’re safe around any of them as long as you don’t touch the pointy protrusions.  In addition to the aliens you’ll have to deal with platforms that move and disappear, electricity and throwing stars that just happen to be floating up and down, as well as whatever else the game throws at you.  On the plus side there are plenty of coins to collect and hearts to replenish your health should you get dinged but something you shouldn’t have touched.

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The controls consist of arrows to move left and right as well as a button to slide and button that lets you jump when you tap once and use your grappling hook when you tap twice.  You can actually position the controls wherever you want on the screen, though they can still be a bit cumbersome on the iPad which is mainly the fault of the iPad’s form factor.  The controls are actually rather responsive, and the grappling hook feature is one of the best implementations of this mechanic I’ve seen on an iDevice so far.  I just wish the reset button weren’t at the top of the screen when everything else I normally do during the course of the game is at the bottom.

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You can earn up to three stars on each of the non-story levels depending on how quickly you fly through the maze.  You also get to see how many coins you collected out of the maximum for the level, though I’m not sure if you get anything special for collecting all the coins in a given level.  Thankfully you do get to keep any coins you grab in a level before you die because there are more than 200 items in the shop to buy.  If you’re a collector you’ll have plenty to work towards.  There are also 32 achievements to earn and 25 leaderboards to rank on.  Depending on your skill level you might easily coast through some of the levels, but if you take advantage of all the bonuses you can get a lot of play time out of this game.

This game has some great pixel art.  Some of the background area tends to be a bit plain, but there is still a decent amount of detail to be seen throughout the levels.  The characters are cool, Mikey and his costumes are cute, and it’s even fun to see the costumes fall off of Mikey should he lose all of his hearts.  The sound effects are pretty standard for this type of game, but the music does a good job of rockin’ out in the background.  Each world seems to have its own theme which is always nice.

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Mikey Hooks is a nice progression for the series with the addition of the grappling hook which makes for some interesting level design.  However, I hope they push things even further if they decide to make a third installment.  Mikey Hooks has been great fun, and I might even convince myself to try and collect a sizeable portion of the disguises, but I don’t want to see this franchise end up like League Of Evil where each iteration doesn’t feel enough different from the next.  If you like platform games, though, and especially if you are fond of retro inspired fare, you won’t want to pass this one up.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Mikey Hooks Developer: BeaverTap Games, LLC
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $1.99 App Size:
  • More fun Mikey action
  • Grappling hook is nice addition
  • Lots to collect to keep you coming back
  • Nice retro visuals
  • Good soundtrack
  • Controls a bit uncomfortable on iPad
  • Need more diversity in game play

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An Alien With A Magnet in Review – The Developer Sure Can Attract Some Fun http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/23/an-alien-with-a-magnet/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/23/an-alien-with-a-magnet/#comments Fri, 23 Aug 2013 13:36:51 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73028 Gamers are always clamouring for that next big thing that they’ve never played before.  I would hope that at least once in a while something new would come along, but I don’t hold my breath for it.  Instead, my main concern is that developers focus on ways to take the styles of game play that … Read more]]>

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Gamers are always clamouring for that next big thing that they’ve never played before.  I would hope that at least once in a while something new would come along, but I don’t hold my breath for it.  Instead, my main concern is that developers focus on ways to take the styles of game play that we have grown to love and make them even more interesting.  Personally I feel Rejected Games has done just that with An Alien with a Magnet.  I find myself loading it up even when I had the intention of playing something completely different, simply because I want to take it for another spin.  You might almost say it has a magnetic quality about it.  But we don’t go for those bad puns around here.

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You are a little alien that has crashed and just wants to get back home.  Unfortunately the only thing that still works in your craft is a magnet, but it would appear that will be enough as it can work in conjunction with the gravity of various planets to slingshot you through space.  Unlike most games of this type where you tap when you want to go, however, in An Alien With A Magnet you tap when you want to stay in orbit of a planet.  If you get too close before tapping you’ll crash into the planet, and if you get out of the planet’s orbit, designated by a ring that glows when you’re in the right proximity, you’ll just have to wait until the next one comes along (and hope you don’t collide with the rocks in the mean time).  While you’re in a planet’s orbit you’ll spin around it, and it often takes precise timing and facing the right direction while spinning to get to your next destination.

Several interesting challenges await such as planets that have no orbit until you bounce into them once or planets that don’t actually exist until you collect all of their puzzle pieces scattered about the level.  Sometimes you’ll need cannons to guide your path, and in other levels you’ll have to avoid black holes that have no problem sucking you in and not spitting you back out.  The one I’m not real fond of is the energy meter.  On some levels you only have a certain amount of energy before you can’t use your magnet any more.  Luckily that means as you’re drifting you’re fine, but while orbiting a planet you use up that precious energy.  It can only be recovered when you orbit certain planets that act as rechargers, but these don’t always exist on levels that use the meter.  I get that the developer was trying to be creative with the challenges, but this is the next worst thing to a timer, and to me doesn’t fit with the casual nature of the rest of the game.

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Controlling the game is as simple as pressing the screen to use the magnet and letting go to retract it.  It doesn’t even matter where you press on the screen, so long as you’re not pressing the pause button.  Along the way you can collect up to three green orbs on each level that act like many games’ “three star” ranking.  There are also tons of stars to collect to help bolster your overall score for the level.  Finally you can collect gems to unlock special sub-levels that aren’t required to complete the game.  How long it takes you to get through the game really depends on how much of a perfectionist you are.  If you can’t get your fill from everything the main game play mode has to offer there’s also Time Attack mode which lets you race against the clock and compare your lightning fast reflexes with other Game Center members.  Oh, and there are even some achievements to earn too if you need more.

Visually I could very easily see this being a Saturday morning cartoon.  The backgrounds have nice details while remaining bright and colorful, and the main character is full of expression.  The sound effects work well for the most part, though the sound a puzzle piece makes as it is travelling to its planet is really annoying.  The music is pretty decent, but this is one of those games where you’ll honestly not really notice it unless you’re trying to.

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An Alien with a Magnet is lots of fun.  The first time I played it I thought it was interesting but just kind of shrugged it off, and now I’m addicted.  If you’re one of those people that pride yourself on collecting every star, gem or what have you on any given level, you’ll certainly have your work cut out for you with this one.  There is plenty to do, a great feeling of satisfaction when you complete certain levels, and new surprises to be discovered throughout your journey.  An added benefit is that this is a game that is not only safe for kids, but one they will most likely really enjoy.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: An Alien with a Magnet Developer: Rejected
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $2.99 App Size:
  • New spin on tested game play
  • Challenging, diverse levels
  • Plenty of extras
  • Lighthearted atmosphere
  • Cute visuals
  • Safe for children
  • Energy meter makes some levels frustrating
  • Time Attack mode uses same levels
  • No “infinite” mode

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Hero of Many in Review – Lack Of Action Doesn’t Mean Dull http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/03/hero-of-many-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/03/hero-of-many-in-review/#comments Sat, 03 Aug 2013 17:57:43 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72950 Hero of Many is an intriguing game.  I have as yet to encounter most of what is talked about in the iTunes description for the game, or at least in mass amounts, yet I find myself mesmerized every time I load it up and start playing.  This game is about exploration as much as anything else, … Read more]]>

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Hero of Many is an intriguing game.  I have as yet to encounter most of what is talked about in the iTunes description for the game, or at least in mass amounts, yet I find myself mesmerized every time I load it up and start playing.  This game is about exploration as much as anything else, and if you’re the kind of player that needs to blast something every five seconds you might have a hard time latching on to Hero Of Many.  On the other hand, if you prefer a relaxing experience that has a little bit of gameplay thrown into the mix as well, Hero Of Many will be both satisfying and unlike much of anything else you’ll play from the App Store.

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There is a story that from what I can gather so far involves oppression and trying to break free from the evil that binds… you know, your typical cliché background.  What’s interesting is that the tale is told via in-game cut scenes that have no text or dialog, so you pretty much take from it what you will.  The game itself involves collecting orbs to make yourself stronger and freeing your comrades in light who will follow you and help fight the darkness when you encounter it.  So far I have engaged in one or two “major” battles, and had one opportunity to flee for my life from a boss that was too powerful to take on directly, but most of the combat has been pretty benign.  Most of the “puzzle solving” so far has been relegated to pushing rocks and trying not to get lost, but based on some of the screenshots I’ve seen I’m guessing that picks up later on as well.

Hero of Many relies on your ability to be patient and content with swimming around your surroundings, building your own tension simply by anticipating what might come around the bend.  It’s kind of like the difference between the first two films in the venerable Alien franchise, Alien and Aliens.  The latter was an all out action fest similar to most FPS games, whereas the former kept you thinking “when is something going to pop out”; that’s the feeling Hero of Many invokes.  For me it actually works rather well, but there’s certainly a particular mindset required to fully enjoy this style of game play.  There is also no score to be found in this game or any sort of achievements, so if you’re in need of instant gratification when playing a game you won’t find that here.

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To control the orb (and consequently the followers) you just tap the screen.  The farther your finger is from the orb the faster it will travel in the direction you want.  Your followers automatically attack anything that’s fairly close which is good to pick off bad guys in small groups.  The only special move I’ve learned so far is a group attack where you swipe from your orb in the direction you wish to attack, and all of your current followers will attack what is in that direction.  The control seems responsive enough so far, but the ability to perform additional moves will help cement that belief.  The levels are huge, which is nice, but your only indication that you’ve been somewhere other than flat out recognizing your location are white circles that appear in the rock formations at certain points when you first pass them.  There are also specific save points, and any progress you make between them will be lost if you need to quit the game.  That’s a bit disappointing given how much ground there is to cover in each level.

The visuals are simple and breathtaking.  The creatures look like living symbols, and the background has just enough animation to give you the sense that this is an organic, breathing world.  I’m always impressed when designers can make something look so good with a limited selection of colors as well.  The sound has a unique flavor to it, and the music is often subtle or lacking until you get to key moments at which point it gets very energetic and helps to set a frantic tone.

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I know it’s true of just about any game, but Hero of Many will definitely not appeal to everyone.  If you’re a high octane, blast everything in sight kind of guy this might not work for you.  There’s also a chance you’ll struggle a bit if you’re the type to pull up a map over your display every five seconds to find out where to turn.  On the other hand, if you get how exploring without confrontation can be fun or just want to experience something that doesn’t feel like everything else you’ve played on the App Store, Hero of Many is a great choice for you.  Just don’t expect any updates in the foreseeable future to add a BFG to the mix.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Hero of Many Developer: Matous Jezek
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: $3.99 App Size:
  • Unique, relaxing game play
  • Large levels to explore
  • Great visuals
  • Complimentary sound and music
  • Easy to get turned around
  • Can’t just save anywhere
  • No immediate gratification via scores or achievements

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LIMBO Game in Review – A Dark, Captivating Platformer http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/21/limbo-game-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/21/limbo-game-in-review/#comments Sun, 21 Jul 2013 17:41:53 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72890 I’ve always felt platform games were a staple of the mobile game world, or at least they were until everyone wanted a touch screen.  It’s not even that people didn’t want platform games any more, but rather while some developers did a much better job than others, no one could really seem to master solid … Read more]]>

I’ve always felt platform games were a staple of the mobile game world, or at least they were until everyone wanted a touch screen.  It’s not even that people didn’t want platform games any more, but rather while some developers did a much better job than others, no one could really seem to master solid controls with no physical controller.  LIMBO doesn’t accomplish that task either, but thankfully that didn’t stop the developers from porting the game over to iOS devices.  There’s something about this game that grabs you pretty much from the beginning and just doesn’t let go… even when the main character doesn’t do what you want him to.

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You play a young boy trying to rescue his sister, though I wouldn’t have known that had I not read the iTunes description.  You start out in a field with no explanation of why you’re there or any instructions on how to play the game.  Anyone with the slightest amount of gaming experience will figure it out, though, and soon you’ll be up and running.  And jumping, pushing, pulling, climbing and swinging from ropes.  There is a wide variety of puzzles in this game, and some of them are very creative.  There are also a couple of “bosses” that you have to deal with in quite interesting ways.  The important thing is that you are willing to try things that you wouldn’t expect to work, because you never know what will succeed in the land of Limbo.

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You swipe both to move left and right and to jump, which can sometimes cause issues where you end up performing one action instead of the other.  This can be especially problematic in situations that require extremely precise movement or impeccable timing.  Most other actions require some combination of tapping and dragging and do tend to work fairly well except when timing is crucial.  Thankfully I’ve always managed to figure a puzzle out just before I was ready to chuck my iPad through a window.  It’s a good thing too, because I can’t afford a new iPad right now.  The focus of the game is exploring and ultimately finishing it, evidenced by the lack of level score or any sort of leaderboards.  There are achievements, but even though I’m nearly half way through the game I haven’t earned a single one yet, so I’d say these are geared more towards the folks that really need it all.

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The graphics in LIMBO are incredible.  Everything is extremely well drawn and despite the limited palette comprised of shades of black and white and the silhouetted nature of the design, there is still plenty of detail.  I particularly like the fact that you often see the protagonist’s white eyeballs amidst the shadowy nature of his form.  The only thing I don’t care for is that sometimes the scenes get a bit too dark and it’s hard to tell what’s going on.  The sound effects do a great job of bringing the world of LIMBO to life.  I don’t normally like it when games like this don’t have a soundtrack, but the ambient sounds are enough to accentuate the spooky atmosphere.

Conceptually this is a beautiful game.  It’s gripping without a vocalized story, it’s challenging and creative, and it looks and sounds amazing.  It’s probably one of the best platform games I’ve played in a long time, iPad or otherwise… at least in terms of content.  I just implore the developers to consider revamping the control scheme to make it more touch screen friendly.  By the time that happens I’ll probably be done with the game, but they’ll certainly save future players a bunch of heartache.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: LIMBO Game Developer: Playdead
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: $4.99 App Size:
  • Great atmosphere
  • Creative puzzles
  • Beautiful visuals
  • Complimentary sound effects
  • Controls can be frustrating
  • Visuals sometimes get too dark

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Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom in Review – Much More Than Lions, Tigers and Bears Here http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/06/27/fighting-fantasy-the-forest-of-doom-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/06/27/fighting-fantasy-the-forest-of-doom-in-review/#comments Thu, 27 Jun 2013 15:44:45 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72793 If you’re familiar with me, at least when it comes to my reviews, you know that I’m a big fan of Tin Man Games and their Gamebook Adventures.  I remember this sort of thing when the books were actually printed and you had to use real dice for combat and pen and paper to keep … Read more]]>

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If you’re familiar with me, at least when it comes to my reviews, you know that I’m a big fan of Tin Man Games and their Gamebook Adventures.  I remember this sort of thing when the books were actually printed and you had to use real dice for combat and pen and paper to keep track of your inventory.  There are clearly so many advantages to an electronic version of this form of entertainment, and to date Tin Man Games has one of the best interfaces available.  It doesn’t hurt any that their stories are generally quite interesting as well.  So far The Forest of Doom has been no exception to the rule, though I will say that as a whole this one seems much harder than any of the ones I’ve played in the past.  I guess that means I’ll just have to put more effort into beating it.

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If you’re not familiar with Gamebook Adventures, they are like Choose Your Own Adventure books in that you get to decide every few pages how you want the story to proceed.  However, they incorporate concepts like combat and an inventory to make the “book” more interactive.  Depending on the GA title you might have a varying set of statistics to work with that shape how well your character does at certain things, and in this case you have the three basic stats of skill (how well you fight), stamina (how well you take a beating) and luck.  At the beginning of each read through the gamebook you’ll roll for each of these stats and then add that roll to a predefined base value depending on which difficulty level you select.  You can go Hardcore Hero, which is how the original printed book was intended to be played, Adventurer which gives you better starting stats, and Free Play which basically lets you goof up and continue without any consequences.

Control is simply a matter of tapping the appropriate button to do what you want.  When there are multiple pages in a section you can swipe to switch between them.  If you tap in the center of the screen it will pull up the interface that allows you to do things like view your character sheet and check out a map of the forest (the parts you’ve already explored), as well as set and use bookmarks.  Bookmarks are unlimited, so don’t use them sparingly.  It would be nice if there was a way to clear out some bookmarks, though, as the lack of labeling makes it hard to decide where you want to go back to if you have more than two or three bookmarks saved.  The other thing that would be nice was if there were a quick way to reset the adventure if you so choose.  On the plus side you can change many options on the fly, including the size and style of the font and whether you want to use a “retro” look or not.

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Since this is supposed to simulate the printed gamebooks of old you won’t find a full blown illustration with every page, though the ones you do run across are quite nice.  What you will see, however, are sketches of things like swords and signposts, just enough to give you something to look at.  The interface is quite slick, and the ability to switch between “retro” and “modern” for the look of the pages is a nice touch.  There are also a couple of fonts you can choose if you’d like your print a bit fancier.  What really impresses me about The Forest Of Doom (and in general with most of the gamebooks) is the quality of the music.  They could easily have skimped on that part, but instead they give us a soundtrack that sounds more like it comes from a movie than a gamebook adventure.  In this case there are also some nice ambient noises to give you that “in the forest” feeling.

Not much to say here except that The Forest Of Doom holds up Tin Man Games’ tradition of turning out one high quality gamebook after another.  Aside from a string of bad reads, which I don’t foresee ever happening, I think the only way I’ll get sick of these offerings is if I decide I don’t want to read any more.  Sure there are times when I want to get down and dirty with some guns blazing dual stick action, but there’s no question in my mind that this type of game can be just as engaging and satisfying.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom Developer: Tin Man Games
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $5.99 App Size:
  • Interesting story with lots of decision points
  • Slick interface
  • Nice illustrations
  • Great music
  • Need a way to tell what each bookmark represents or to delete them

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Karateka in Review – More Than Just A Facelift http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/06/24/karateka-in-review-more-than-just-a-facelift/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/06/24/karateka-in-review-more-than-just-a-facelift/#comments Mon, 24 Jun 2013 15:45:16 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72772 With the release of Karateka Classic on the App Store, I thought I’d check out the remake that hit the virtual store shelves in December 2012.  There’s no question that this modern interpretation of the vintage karate brawler is more than just a namesake, but it’s hard to tell what the target audience is.  Causal gamers … Read more]]>

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With the release of Karateka Classic on the App Store, I thought I’d check out the remake that hit the virtual store shelves in December 2012.  There’s no question that this modern interpretation of the vintage karate brawler is more than just a namesake, but it’s hard to tell what the target audience is.  Causal gamers will likely get frustrated by the timing in later battles, while hardcore fighters will get bored with the lack of combos and repetitive back and forth combat.  About the only ones that will be truly satisfied with this updated version of Karateka are the ones that remember and love the original, but even then there are a couple of interesting twists and turns…

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The tale is tried and true: a princess has been captured and you must rescue her from the evil warlord.  In this case you may take on the role of up to three different suitors, which is both a major departure from the original and makes it interesting how they weave the tales together, or at least what little they reveal about everything.  This definitely has the potential for a good anime movie.  Anyway, to save the day and get the girl you’ll have to fight many of the warlord’s underlings, as well as the warlord himself.  And for those of you that might be concerned otherwise, you do get to take out the hawk in this version as well (and just like the original, you’ll enjoy it when the bird finally falls).

Combat is interesting in that all you do is tap the screen.  For the most part each round is a two phase process: block each of the bad guy’s blows and then when he’s done hammer him as much as you can.  Enemy attacks are designated by a series of dots on the top of the screen, so you’ll know how many are coming and what’s left.  Personally, I find it much easier to judge the timing by the dots than by actually watching the foe.  The key is that you must block the final blow of each sequence, or not matter how well you did otherwise you won’t be able to attack.  If you do get to strike back, just keep tapping the screen relentlessly; the game will make you stop when you’ve used up your attacks.

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In a way the combat makes good use of the fact that you don’t have any true joystick control or even a keyboard like the old versions of the game, but it almost feels like you have too little control.  Even the port of the original version managed to provide several on screen buttons that while still simple compared to a modern fighter made you feel like you were doing something.  Still, this game did somehow manage to keep me intrigued all the way to the end, and I’m working on my second try now, so I guess the scheme isn’t all that bad.  The game does offer 15 achievements to earn as well as Game Center leaderboards, but honestly in this case they seem a bit superfluous.  The main replay value comes from beating the game with each of the three suitors, but the fascination might wear off before then.

Graphically the game far outshines its predecessor, but that’s what happens when you get to work with the Unreal Engine instead of monochrome color palettes and low resolutions.  The backgrounds look pretty sharp, and I like the fact that they left most of the game outside in this one instead of mainly traipsing through the palace.  The characters are nicely detailed and a decent middle ground between ultra-realistic and cartoonish.  The combat animation is slick and the fact that you can see your opponents hanging around the environment is quite cool.  The sound effects are decent enough, though it would have been nice to hear some of these characters speak.  There really isn’t much music between fights, and the music that plays during the battle seems to be affected by how you are fighting.

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There’s no question that fans of the original should check out this remake.  I’m not guaranteeing you’ll like it, but it’s always interesting to see how developers resurrect cherished properties.  As for the rest of you, I’m actually stumped on this one.  I personally have enjoyed it quite a bit, but I’m not sure who the target for this particular title is.  Maybe the best group of folks for Karateka is the ones that are interested in fighting games but never cared much for learning combos and secret moves.  I guess you’ll just have to judge based on what I’ve described above.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Karateka Developer: Karateka LLC
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $1.99 App Size:
  • Interesting combat system
  • Great graphics
  • Dynamic Music
  • Not much variety in fighting
  • Replay value is limited

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Otterbox Armor Series Case for iPhone 5 in Review – A multitalented case for your iPhone http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/06/19/otterbox-armor-series-case-for-iphone-5-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/06/19/otterbox-armor-series-case-for-iphone-5-in-review/#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 22:46:55 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72733 Otterbox is no stranger to iPhone cases that provide serious amounts of protection, and the Defender case was proof of that. Now with the recent release of the Armor Series case – one Otterbox calls the “toughest case ever built” – your iPhone 5 is finally safe from the ill-effects of water damage. Besides being … Read more]]>

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Otterbox is no stranger to iPhone cases that provide serious amounts of protection, and the Defender case was proof of that. Now with the recent release of the Armor Series case – one Otterbox calls the “toughest case ever built” – your iPhone 5 is finally safe from the ill-effects of water damage. Besides being waterproof, the Armor case boasts protection against dust, 10 foot drops and can even withstand two tons of crushing force.

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Armor Design and Specs

These impressive feats are all accomplished thanks to a completely redesigned case that ensures no components of the phone are left exposed to the elements, with a body that’s made primarily out of high-strength reinforced plastic that can take a hell of a beating.

Unlike the Defender, which has an inner and outer shell that can be cumbersome to put on/remove, the Armor is much more convenient to install with its two-piece design. The front half of the case acts as a holder for the iPhone, while the rear shell sandwiches it from the rear. Giving it a waterproof seal are the metal latches that securely lock the two halves together. And you don’t have to worry about your phone wiggling around once closed; the inside is lined with protective silicone that ensures a snug fit and absorbs shock from potential impact. Raised rubber buttons on the outside allow the use of the home, sleep and volume buttons, and a built-in screen protector is there to prevent damage to the iPhone’s glass screen.

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To help keep water and dust from entering the lightning port and headphone jack, the Armor case makes use of flaps that essentially plug the respective openings shut. They are moderately easy to pry open with a fingernail, though the seal is still tight enough to keep water out. If you’re wondering how sound from the speakers can still be heard properly through the case, a non-permeable membrane is used on the flap and case to allow sound to travel through, all the while keeping dust and water at bay. Surprisingly, I found the volume just as loud with the Armor on, which is great as I often like to catch up with my TV shows on my iPhone. Meanwhile, the rear camera is also protected by a glass covering that is resistant to scratches. Just think of the Armor case as a biosuit: once it snaps on, nothing gets in.

Using the Armor Case

The first thing that comes to mind when holding the Armor is that it’s one solid and hefty case. This right here is the Hummer H3 of all iPhone cases. Dimensions wise, it’s every bit bigger then the Defender, though not by a significan amount (140.2 mm x 75.5 mm x 17.8 mm vs 135.12 mm x 69.9 mm x 16.18 mm). Depite its added bulk, I’m still able to comfortably put it in my front pocket without getting weird stares from the ladies (at least none that I was aware of). One comment I do get nearly every time I take out the Armor is, “what case is that!?”. I don’t recall ever owning a mobile case that elicited as much attention.

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True to Otterbox’s word, the Armor is extremely tough. I’m a complete klutz when it comes to holding onto my devices and have already dropped it (by accident) several times in the past 2 months — once on my asphalt driveway and the rest on other hard surfaces. Save for some minor scuffing on the case’s corner, that’s about the only damage taken. My iPhone 5′s remained unharmed and not a scratch resulted from the drops.

The built-in screen protector is responsive (making it easy to type or play games) and I’d say it’s even a touch more clear than that of the Defender. Save for the slight reflection it gives off under certain lighting conditions, you’d hardly notice it’s even there. That said, I did find a slight trampolining effect when tapping on the screen. This normally happens when the built-in screen protector isn’t sitting 100% flush against the phone’s own display. As such, you can feel a slight depression when typing, and there’s a “popping” sound when contact is made.

Update: I was able to test out another Otterbox Armor case and the screen protector on this is significantly better, with no noticeable trampolining or the aforementioned tapping sound.

Voice quality wise when speaking on the phone, I have yet to have anyone complain, so that’s a good sign. As for the camera, while photos come out sharp and clean, I’ve found that after a period use, lint and dust start to build up on the camera port holes on the outside (particularly when you leave the iPhone in your pants’ pocket), which in turn causes images to appear more washed out and even cloudy. The remedy is to occasionally clean up these areas with a piece of cloth; once done, the images looks fine once again.

It should also be mentioned that the belt clip that comes included with the Defender has been replaced by a tough handstrap. Personally I much prefer this accessory anyway as I never did use the belt clip.

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Waterproof iPhone case

To test whether the Armor case actually keeps water out, I intially inserted a piece of paper into the case (instead of my iPhone naturally), closed it up and dunked it into a basin full of water about 5 inches deep and had it held down for a good 30 mintues (as recommended by Otterbox in video below). Having dried off the case completely, I opened it up to find the inside and piece of paper completely dry. It’s waterproof alright! Now that I was more confident of it’s water repelling abilities, I placed my iPhone in the case and dropped it in the basin for a quick swim. Alas, my iPhone 5 stayed nice and dry. According to Otterbox, the Armor case can take submersions of 30 minutes in up to 6.6 feet of water. Not diving deep, but certainly enough for those times when you carelessly drop it into shallow water – like a toilet or bath.

On a recent 3 day layover in Tel Aviv and extended vacation in Thailand, I was more than happy to have my Armor case with me. Despite the added size, I appreciated its ruggedness and waterproof feature on my travels. And the visit to the hotel pool was great knowing that I didn’t have to worry about carrying my iPhone too close to the pool.

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Final Thoughts

The Otterbox Armor case for the iPhone 5 does what it was intended and does it well. Few other iPhone cases on the market can make the claim that it’s crush/dust/drop/and water proof all rolled into one. Naturally, it was created for those who seek maximum protection for their iDevice, though the extra bulk and retail price tag of $99 could be too much for the casual user. However, if you’re looking for a case that can take a heck of a beating AND won’t damage your phone when dropped into water, the Armor should be right up there at the top of your list.

Note: The Otterbox Armor comes in three colors: Neon Green, Arctic Blue and Electric Orange. And as of writing, Amazon is currently selling the Armor cases for $73.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

What’s to Like:

  • Solidly contructed
  • Waterproof!
  • Keeps dust out
  • Metal hatch system makes it very easy to install/remove phone
  • Sound still loud through case
  • Quality of phone calls still good
  • Built to ensure physical abuse

What’s Not to Like:

  • Adds significant bulk to slim profile of iPhone 5
  • Headphone flap at bottom can put pressure on end of earphone cord
  • Quality of photos affected by dirty lens port hole
  • $99 price tag, though it can be had for less
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Rolling Hero in Review – Chillingo’s Still On A Roll… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/18/rolling-hero-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/18/rolling-hero-in-review/#comments Sun, 19 May 2013 01:20:32 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72637 One of the things I really admire about Chillingo is that they have a knack for digging up games that take tried and true mechanics and give them enough twists and flair to make them feel like fresh games.  Such is the case with Rolling Hero.  Anyone that has played games on their iOS device … Read more]]>

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One of the things I really admire about Chillingo is that they have a knack for digging up games that take tried and true mechanics and give them enough twists and flair to make them feel like fresh games.  Such is the case with Rolling Hero.  Anyone that has played games on their iOS device for a reasonable length of time has probably played one or more titles where you rotate the board to get your hero to the proper location, yet this one feels different somehow.  It definitely has a cute factor that seems to permeate a majority of Chillingo’s best titles, but there’s a certain spin this game takes that keeps me wanting to come back for more.  Even if I never completely put my finger on it, I guess that’s a good thing since I’m spending my time with the game.

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Even animated ball like creatures fall in love, and it seems that evildoers wish to keep you apart from your girlfriend.  You’ll need to roll your way through 48 levels to get her back, and it’s certainly not going to be easy.  Each level has a portal that you must unlock by collecting the key, and there are plenty of things standing in your way.  The evil boss’s henchmen and spikes spell instant death.  A timer makes sure you stay punctual or you’ll have to start over.  Your worst enemies, however, are momentum and falling off the board. One thing I find interesting about this game is that they give you a lot of leeway towards getting back on the right path if you take an accidental leap.  You’ll still have plenty of reset moments as you realize that you’re not going to recover from a ledge plunge, however.

There are several things to help you along the way like potions that make you grow big and small, buttons that temporarily disable spike traps, shields that protect you from all the evilness around you and trampolines that give you a boost in what is hopefully the right direction.  What I find a bit odd is that several of these elements are introduced and then all but forgotten as you progress through the game.  I was particularly looking forward to some of the level designs that would incorporate the big and small potions, but so far the only one I’ve seen in three worlds is the one where the potions are introduced.  At least the elements that are taken advantage of are used well, as there is some interesting and sometimes crazy level design to keep you occupied.

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To manipulate the world you tap left and right to rotate the surroundings accordingly.  It doesn’t take much to get the ball rolling, so to speak, so be sure to keep in mind the force of momentum when you decide too late to try and turn back the other direction.  If you use your control sparingly you’ll master the game, otherwise you’ll be playing space cadet more often than unlocking portals.  In addition to simply exiting each level there are flowers to collect for bonus points.  You can also collect letters to spell the phrase “rolling hero” which will unlock a bonus world for you to explore.  Rolling Hero also takes advantage of Game Center to provide 13 achievements and leaderboards that you can rank on.

The graphics are pretty cartoony, which fits the whole premise of the game quite well.  Things are animated when necessary and the backgrounds are a bit more realistic and detailed to add a nice contrast.  At first I wasn’t too keen on the audio, but the more I listened (especially the last time I played) the more I realized they were cartoon like sound effects which compliments the visuals nicely.  I always appreciated the sighs when you accidentally died.  The music is not bad but not really thrilling either, until you get to the lava world.  Then the soundtrack really picks up.  On the plus side, each world does have its own theme.

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There’s not really much left to add other than to say chalk up another winner for Chillingo.  It’s nice to know that you can rely on a publisher to turn out one solid game after another.  They might not all be the most original efforts, but there aren’t too many games from these guys that I haven’t enjoyed.  Just remember that in Rolling Hero, gravity and momentum are not always your friend.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Rolling Hero Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Interesting, challenging levels
  • Easy control scheme
  • Colorful world
  • Decent soundtrack in later worlds
  • Need more variety of special items in various levels
  • Music is somewhat lackluster through most of game

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Vanished: The Island in Review – An Entertaining Cliche http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/04/vanished-the-island-in-review-an-entertaining-cliche/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/04/vanished-the-island-in-review-an-entertaining-cliche/#comments Sun, 05 May 2013 02:28:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72541 A good adventure game has a balanced story.  It gives you enough to keep you interested but not so much that you have no reason to continue playing.  The puzzles are fair and at least some of them should be challenging.  There will be both inventory based challenges and riddles that simply challenge the mind.  … Read more]]>

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A good adventure game has a balanced story.  It gives you enough to keep you interested but not so much that you have no reason to continue playing.  The puzzles are fair and at least some of them should be challenging.  There will be both inventory based challenges and riddles that simply challenge the mind.  In a perfect world there would be NPC interaction as well, but sometimes the story might prohibit that.  And even though you might have to do a lot of traipsing back and forth, you won’t mind because you’re too into the game.  Vanished: The Island is a good adventure game.

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The plot, as so many tend to be these days, is a bit cliché.  You get called to an island by a mysterious note from your aunt, only to find her missing and the island basically abandoned.  Through a friendly crow and your own wits you must discover the secrets behind the island and ultimately find your aunt.  As you explore the island you’ll run across books and journals that provide details on certain things, and you’ll also find certain locations that trigger flashbacks or actual visions of events that took place to lead up to the present situation.  They did a decent job of presenting the story and actually making you want to read entries as they are written into your own personal journal.

Navigating around the island requires tapping on a spot to move to that location or using the back button in the upper left corner to return to the last place you were at.  Sometimes it is difficult to tell what is considered background and what leads to a new location, and as a result I had to consult a walkthrough once or twice because I missed something that wasn’t obvious.  Unfortunately, the same can be said for items.  Once you find your inventory, however, it’s usually pretty obvious where you need to use things.  To apply an item you simply drag it from your inventory to the place on the screen where you want to use it.  The only issues I really had with the controls were the couple of mini-games that were included.  2D puzzles in a 3D world didn’t work so well, at least not in this case.  The pieces of the puzzles were hard to move around and I was thankful when they were both complete.

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There were quite a few rooms to navigate through, but the developer was nice enough to provide a “quick jump” feature.  Several main areas were denoted on a map, and you could select them and tap a portal button to go immediately to that location.  I would have liked to been able to tag my own screens to jump to, but this still worked reasonably well.  One interesting thing about the game is that as you transitioned between certain parts of the island there were slight loading times, though you didn’t necessarily have those same loading issues when you moved back to the screen you had just come from.  It’s not significant but it’s still enough to notice in case you’re one of those people that get annoyed with loading screens.

Visually, I was a bit disappointed with Vanished.  The graphics didn’t look bad, but it seemed very low res and somewhat muted color-wise.  I know the Unity engine is capable of some pretty slick stuff even on mobile devices, and the landscape just didn’t impress me for the most part.  Conversely, I did like the hand drawn “cut scenes” that explained certain happenings, and I wish there would have been more of those.  The sound effects were decent enough and the music worked well to keep things from being too quiet.  I definitely wasn’t wowed with the aesthetics in Vanished: The Island.

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iOS is certainly coming into its own as a platform for adventure games, and I grow more excited with each solid release like this one.  It wasn’t perfect, especially with regards to the mini-games and audio / visual department.  When it comes down to it, though, I was as intrigued by the game once I had finished it as I was when I started.  For years many folks have touted that the adventure game genre was dead.  I never really believed that, but I’m beginning to wonder if the authors of such games were just waiting for a new platform to bring their creations to life on.  Whatever the case, they’re back now and getting better with every release.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Vanished: The Island Developer: SkyHorse Interactive
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Intriguing, well paced story
  • Fair and sometimes challenging puzzles
  • Quick way to navigate between key locations
  • Sometimes hard to figure out where to go
  • Mini-games difficult to manipulate
  • Audio and visual elements somewhat lackluster

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Infuse in Review – A beautiful video player for the iPhone and iPad http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/01/infuse-in-review-a-beautiful-video-player-for-the-iphone-and-ipad/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/01/infuse-in-review-a-beautiful-video-player-for-the-iphone-and-ipad/#comments Wed, 01 May 2013 13:21:59 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72420 Infuse is the latest play-it-all video player app to hit the App Store. Long gone are the days when you first need to convert non-MP4 files before importing them for viewing on the iDevice. Infuse doesn’t just play 14 different video file formats, it’s also hands down the best looking app of its kind on iOS, … Read more]]>

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Infuse is the latest play-it-all video player app to hit the App Store. Long gone are the days when you first need to convert non-MP4 files before importing them for viewing on the iDevice. Infuse doesn’t just play 14 different video file formats, it’s also hands down the best looking app of its kind on iOS, it syncs with your trakt.tv account, and importing subtitles for TV shows or movies is an absolute breeze.

Importing videos can currently be done via several methods: iTunes File Sharing (plug iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch into your computer, go to device –> Apps –> Infuse and drag files into right window), email attachments, Dropbox and any other app that supports the “Open In..” feature. According to FireCore, developers behind the app, Wifi and FTP uploads will be coming in the future.

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Game of Thrones on the iPad: Metadata on a movie stub

The great thing about Infuse is that imported videos files will pull metadata and artwork from TheMovieDB and TheTVDB. So all your shows and movies will be displayed in a thumbnail poster, along with all the relevant info like Director, Cast, Writer, Movie Synopsis and more. Meanwhile, the interface is designed to the theme of a movie theatre, from the red stage curtains to the metadata displayed on a traditional movie stub.

Already use trakt.tv ? Login via Infuse and automatically “scrobble” all the latest videos watched to your account. If you’re not familiar, trakt basically keeps track of all the tv shows and movies you’ve seen, and the social movie site also lets you rate and discover content and follow others with similar tastes.

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Subtitles can either be imported or downloaded on the fly and it really doesn’t get easier than this. No other video app have I come across that makes the entire process so simple. While playing a video, open settings (top right corner) and tap on the Subtitles icon. There you can select those you’ve already imported, and if not, choose a language, then available subtitle. A host of subtitle options can then be tweaked: Size, Color, Weight, Outline, Vertical Alignment, Encoding and Time Offset.

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Infuse on the iPhone 5

As for video file compatibility, Infuse supports a whopping 14, including MP4, M4V, MOV, 3GP, ASF, AVI, DVR-MS, FLV, MKV, OGM, OGV, WebM, WMV and WTV. Dolby Digital Plus (AC3 and E-AC3) audio is also fully supported. I’ve tested several video formats (MP4, 3GP, AVI and MKV) and they all played great on my iPad mini and iPhone 5. FireCore claims that Infuse plays 1080p H.264/AVC files at a cool 30FPS. And due to iOS limitations, DRM-protected content purchased from iTunes won’t work with Infuse. This probably isn’t the right app for those who primarily download their movies and shows through the Apple ecosystem.

Unfortunately, Infuse doesn’t support streaming at the moment, meaning those of you who have a ton of videos stored on a computer, media center or a NAS and would prefer to stream them to the iDevice are out of luck. Thankfully, streaming (and Airplay) is something that FireCore are working on for a future update. Personally, I can live without it for the time being, though it’ll definitely make Infuse more complete as a video app.

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I do have two minor quibbles with Infuse. For starters, some kind of folder support would be great. As it stands, when you load a bunch of episodes of a particular TV show, the same poster thumbnail is shown multiple times on the main page. With a large enough library, it’d be much easier to navigate if all these episodes are placed under one thumbnail/folder. The other thing I’ve found lacking is gesture support during video playback. Apps I’ve been using prior to Infuse (AcePlayer and OPlayer) allow you to change the volume or skip x-seconds forwards or backwards by simply wiping up/down or left/right, respectively.

In just a short while, Infuse has become my favorite video player on iOS. You’d be hard pressed to find a better designed UI for a video app that plays just about anything you throw at it. The integration of trakt, ease of importing subtitles on the fly and automatic importing of artwork and metadata all help make Infuse hard to resist. Too bad that the initial release lacks support for streaming, but once it’s implemented in a later update, Infuse should be a heavyweight contender for “Best Video Player” on the iPhone and iPad.

Grabt It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Infuse  Developer: FireCore
Reviewed Ver: 1.2.2 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: $4.99 App Size:  42.1MB
  • Gorgeous interface
  • Supports 14 video file formats
  • trakt.tv sync
  • Subtitles extremely easy to import and they’re customizable
  • Artwork and metadata pulled automatically
  • No streaming or airplay
  • No gestures support for playback
  • Multiple episodes for a tv show should have only 1 poster thumbnail

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