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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DoDonPachi Blissful Death in Review – A Shooter By Any Other Name

There’s a bit of irony in the game’s title, because I’m pretty sure going down in a hailstorm of bullets is anything but blissful.  The slightly odd name aside, however, once you start playing DoDonPachi Blissful Death you’ll feel right at home if you’re a fan of Cave.  If you peruse their titles on the App Store you’ll note they primarily do one thing, but they do that well – scrolling shooters.  To be even more specific, their area of expertise seems to be the “bullet hell” shooter, though from that perspective Blissful Death is a bit milder than most of its type.  That’s good news for me, because I’m terrible at bullet hell games. Continue reading…

How to easily setup a VPN on the iPhone and iPad

Note: To setup VPN primarily on a PC or Mac (and even on a smartphone), you can check out Hidemyass, one of the largest VPN providers around. 

Setting up and configuring a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on the iPhone and iPad can be a daunting task for many. You can first search online and choose from one of the many providers, pick a plan that suits you, and then manually enter the account details into the Network area under Settings. You can of course use the the recently released Onion Browser for more secure browsing, but relying on the Tor network can be frustratingly slow at times. For those not familiar with VPNs, they’re great for accessing websites or social networks that have been blocked by your company’s (or even country’s) firewall and allow you to surf the web without revealing your true IP address. But perhaps even more important for iOS users, using a VPN while logged onto a public WiFi network — something we’ve all done, be it in a hotel, coffee shop or airport — will ensure that your data (namely usernames and login passwords) is encrypted and protected from would-be snoopers. Let’s take a look at two iOS apps that will easily let you setup a VPN and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

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ZAGGfolio Keyboard Case for new iPad in Review – To Type ‘n Protect

Sometime ago, I’d reviewed a keyboard/case combo from ZAGG – the ZAGGmate – for my iPad 1. Thanks to its slick and slim design, along with the capable bluetooth keyboard, it became a constant companion whenever I traveled with the iPad. The one downside was that the tablet’s back was left exposed to potential drops and falls – a trade-off for its sexy form factor. So as an alternative, ZAGG introduced the ZAGGfolio, a folio-styled case that not only houses a much improved keyboard, but also offers front and rear protection for the iPad when closed.

Seeing how I’d become quite reliant on the ZAGGmate, I was eager to pick up a case with similar functionality for my new iPad. And now that I’ve had 3 weeks of hands-on time with the ZAGGfolio, I’ve once again found myself growing very fond of this combo case, thanks in large part to the drastically improved typing experience offered over its predecessor.

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Cannon Cat in Review – In Space No One Hears Meow

Apparently the need to add “cuteness” to puzzle games isn’t going away any time soon, but that’s okay with me as long as the game is fun to play.  Thankfully that is the case with Cannon Cat, the premiere offering from new iOS developer Loqheart.  It would probably be more accurate to label the game action than puzzle, though there are definitely situations that will require a bit of thought if you want to score all the fish in a level.  However you want to classify the game it’s enjoyable and quite habit forming.

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