App and Game ReviewsWhen I started writing app and game reviews, I had no idea what I was doing. So much seemed like magic, but I buckled down and found a way to do reviews with screenshots and a large amount of text. After trying hard to make that work, I was bogged down in the review cycle – apps were coming into and out of my life before I could give them a proper review. On my iPad, I had a folder containing almost 100 Applications that were waiting for reviews before I deleted them. Something had to give… After some hard coding and wading through the App Store API, I found a way to introduce a standardized rating system for my reviews and direct app store links. Instead of uploading a huge amount of screenshots I shoot a screen-recording of the App put it up as a embedded video. Now every review I put out is for games that are current, includes a video of gameplay, has screenshots, includes up-to-date pricing, and an overall rating. That is progress! My reviews are focused on five specific areas – although most applications will only get a review in three of those categories. I specifically look at the interface/usability of the app, how engaging that app is, and my final rating is a meta-score regarding the apps productivity value, overall gaming value, and/or educational value. All of the apps that I review will fit into one of those three major categories. You can see my full rubric by clicking on this link.
This app, despite all of the hype, transformed into a flop.
I have been a big fan of the Rovio games, and enjoyed the starwars subset tremendously. The most recent venture into the side scrolling Transformers, makes me a bit confused and annoyed. The game is entirely different, and is now a “Click to win” game rather than involving any skill or strategy.
Transformers has you run across the field (from left to right) and fire on the Decepti-pigs. You get points for killing them and having blocks fall and kill them. When you win you progress through the standard “Angry Birds” 3 star campaign system unlocking more perks along the way.
In my book, Angry Birds Transformers is a disappointment, and a game that I will promptly remove from my iPad.
The Survivor is a fun, but somewhat limited Crafting Survival Game.
You start off with your hand and a rock. Like a crazy person, you bang that rock against other rocks and against tress to collect resources so that you can survive. As a word of caution, like most Survival Games, the worst mobs come out at night, so make sure that you have some light, a weapon, and some shelter to protect you when the sun goes down (basically just chop down a bunch of trees with you rock at the beginning of the game).
Rebuild is a fantastic app! The premise is to develop a post-apocalyptic town and make it safe for all of the inhabitants. You do this by recruiting additional helpers, finding weapons, searching for food, and completing quests. As you build your town, you will discover quests that ask you to find several locations on the map ore recruit certain numbers of followers.
I played the Rebuild game on a 6 hour flight. I started it, and I thought “This will keep me entertained for a few hours.” After six hours of solid play, I had the game figured out, and completed the majority of the quests. It is a great game, and has a great amount of gameplay packed into a small price tag. This would be a fantastic purchase for anyone who is a fan of zombies and strategy games.
Platform: iOS Cost: $1.99 My current game of the week is Cthulhu Saves the World by TinkerHouse Games. If you can imagine crossing witty humor...
Werdsmith is an interesting app. It is just a text editor. There are no bells, no whistles, it is just a place for you to create and write and work on those long writing projects that you have a hard time focusing on. Not much to review, but take a look at the video for why I am choosing to highlight this video.
Platform: iOS Cost: $4.99 This weeks game of the week is Traps and Gemstones for iOS. This game is a great puzzler and platformer, but it has...
Well, it is that time of year when we all dip into our pockets a bit and give the gift of gaming and...
I was just minding my own business yesterday and out of nowhere a dozen well armed and smell dwarves dropped in. They did not ask me to join them on their quest to slay an overgrown reptile, but they did hold my iPad hostage and destroy my battery. Just a short 48 hours ago, Craft the World was released on the iPad and I have done very little on the device since then.
To be honest, I downloaded the game on a whim – probably because I was in the spirit of Dwarves with the hype surrounding the next Hobbit Movie. Unlike most downloads, I got it just as I had time to play. Three hours later, I put the game down and realized that I had blown my entire day.
Minecraft coming to the iPad gives me hope that we can finally get some great education games on the iPad.
If you have been living under a rock (or perhaps in a mine) for the past few years, you may not have heard about the Minecraft craze. A few years ago, a low budget production house called Mojang released an “Inde” game that allowed you to roam a made up world and create anything you want. It met amazing reviews and that small design house is now a multi-billion dollar business. Recently, it was announced that Mojang would be acquired by Microsoft.
The game itself is simple, you have blocks, and you mix those blocks together to make other blocks. That can be a forge, a table, or just the walls of your amazing Castle. There is widespread appeal in this game, since it is at heart a block creativity engine (think digital legos). Students can play the game with friends and build their favorite places. In adult versions of the game, people have created the lands of Middle Earth, Westeros, and even a replica of the Earth.