GoVibe Porta Tube+ valve headphone amp/DAC in Review – beautiful in blue

There’s nothing wrong with cheap. I eat cheap. I wear cheap. I make cheap jokes. And for the longest time, Jaben shipped mainly cheap amps to my cohort: the masses, God bless ‘em. But Jaben have gotten off that kick. They’ll ring the charity bells in another season. Today is the day of the Porta Tube+ valve headphone amp/DAC for your iPad/Mac, a delightful machine for bourgeois ears, and sound fit for a king.

The name of that kingdom? GoVibe.

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Rune Raiders in Review – When Rogue-Like Meets Strategy

 When I first saw Rune Raiders I had a feeling it would be something different, and it turns out it really is.  You’ll find it often referred to as a RPG, but it’s a slick little strategy game that might best be described as Fire Emblem for the iPhone, and that’s not even a good analogy.  Suffice it to say that if you like the atmosphere of a dungeon crawl, the need to think instead of simply slash your way to victory, and game design that doesn’t fit the standard mold, Rune Raiders is a good choice for you.

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Go Ninja in Review – Ninja And Samurai Don’t Mix

You’d think by now that “infinite runner” games might be a bit stale.  Well, maybe you wouldn’t, but I certainly have thought that from time to time.  As I play through GoNinja I’m once again reminded that this theory isn’t necessarily true.  Depending on the atmosphere, a perpetually moving protagonist on a constantly scrolling and somewhat generic background can still be entertaining.  Apparently, a merciless ninja slicing down everything that crosses his path is just such a scenario.  It works just fine for me, at least.

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Valentin – The Valiant Viking in Review – Paper Vikings Are Vikings Too

In January of last year a unique new puzzle game called Cardboard Castle hit the App Store. If I were to quickly summarize Valentin – The Valiant Viking I’d say it was a “spiritual successor” to Cardboard Castle, even though it’s not by the same developers. The game has a similar knack for silly solutions to thoughtful puzzles and the visuals were clearly inspired. Still, Valentin does an excellent job of standing on its own two feet, and it throws a wrinkle or two into the mix to make sure it is a completely different game.

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BrainJewel in Review – Are You Smarter Than A Mummy?

It seems like so many in the puzzle genre revolve around physics based gameplay that it’s nice once in a while to load up a game like BrainJewel.  After playing this offering from TribePlay for a little bit you suddenly realize how nice it is to simply fling stuff at other stuff and get points for it.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that physics games aren’t fun, nor am I claiming that this isn’t a good game, because neither statement would be true.  I’m just suggesting that if you’re going to tackle a title like BrainJewel, you might want to have a game around that won’t require nearly as many brain cells when you need to take a break every once in a while.

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Light The Flower in Review – Let There Be Light… And Fun

I’ve always preferred games that make you think a bit to those that test your twitch reflexes, and portable touch screen devices have proven to be a perfect match for puzzle games.  I have to say that the sub-genre of light bending conundrums has been among my least favorite, however, in large part due to the fact that it usually doesn’t take long before I get stuck and can’t move on.  Light The Flower showed me that it has as much to do with the presentation as anything.  Sure there are times where I still get stuck, but in the end it’s always worth the struggle to hear the content reactions of a satisfied flower.

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Audiophile Friday #1: Cypher Labs Algorhythm SOLO vs Venturecraft Go-DAP Unit 4.0 – Digital Output

Last week I half-arsedly introduced two accessories made specifically for the iDevice audiophile, the Venturecraft Go-DAP Unit 4.0 and the Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Solo. Both are able and willing to replace larger, more expensive and decidedly untransportable HiFi gear, but only one is worthy of doing so.

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Kung Fu Rabbit in Review – No Sharp, Pointy Teeth, But Still…

Well, BulkyPix has managed to publish another extremely addictive action platform game with Kung Fu Rabbit.  Of course the fact that the protagonist is an oddly shaped rabbit wielding a deadly blade is beside the point.  It also doesn’t hurt that no matter how many times you fail a level there’s this bizarre draw to give it one more try.  For various reasons I’ll choose not to disclose I’m not nearly as far in this game as I’d like by now, but it hasn’t deterred me one bit from playing, and in fact is probably the reason I’ve stuck with it so long. Continue reading…

ALO The National headphone amplifier in review – a new class

Handsome and powerful - and compact

After having created perfection in the Rx, ALO are free to experiment. Their first experiment, The Continental, is quite a hit, especially as it packs valves under the bonnet for a truly classical sort of listen. But as ALO explain, the use of limited valves means that the Continental has a shorter time on this planet. Enter The National, an amp that they reckon is the answer to the Continental. I can tell you right now: The National is a single box that can fill the void of both portable and living room headphone amp.

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