Archive for October, 2009

Noiz2sa FREE

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Long-time readers know that I am a fan of the over-the-top shooter sub-genre known as Bullet Hell, which is basically too many enemies and waaaaay too many bullets. This is actually a remake of Kenta Cho’s original masterpiece, but it fixes some of the flaws, while adding some new functionality that I’m not really too sold on. (BTW, if you like this genre and don’t have his earlier title rRootage, you should get it).

Here’s what I know about the different versions: Noiz2sa has a soundtrack, light grey levels, square shots, an indie spirit, and an inexplicably hard to control front end screen. Noiz2sa FREE has thin bullets, a good front end, dark blue backgrounds, different shot patterns, and best of all…off-ship finger placement (which I feel is imperative in a Bullet Hell game)! The game also runs very smoothly, which was not always the case with the original.

    Most of the differences are down to the preference of the individual playing the game. Personally, I think both games are worth having. The new feature I alluded to was that you can now direct your shots in any direction, with the press of a second finger, which I think was a questionable addition. Part of the challenge of this type of game is using the tools at hand and, to me, this seems like an unnecessary addition, but at least it is opt-in (I actually thought it was a bug, lol).

    Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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    Aera

    Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

    This game has really nice graphics, both in the foregrounds and especially in the backgrounds, but the gameplay is somewhat unexpected: it’s not a freeform flight game, you travel along a linear path. This goals is to fly through Pilotwings-style hoops and collect goodies, while avoiding enemies and mines. Pretty fun, actually, but the flip controls take a little getting used to. Due to your wonky angle at some points, it’s not easy to see what lies ahead, which can be frustrating, but it works for the most part.

    Rating: ★★½☆☆ icon
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    Mixt

    Sunday, October 18th, 2009

    Clever color-mixing game. The goal is to fill enough of the slots on the bottom edge of the screen with the appropriate colored paint blobs. The trick here is that you often-times have to mix two globs together to get the right paint color. There is no color-blind option, unfortunately, but the gameplay is solid, otherwise.

    Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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    Horror Racing

    Saturday, October 17th, 2009

    Rock ‘n Roll Racing with somewhat awkward controls.

    Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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    Dark Harvest

    Friday, October 16th, 2009

    This is a Bust-a-Move clone in which the mass of balls (say it 3x fast!) reacts to physics and spins. The artwork is really nice and moody, the story and theme is a nice change of pace, and the soundtrack is good. Unfortunately, for me, it just didn’t nail the fun factor. I felt that the role that skill played was too minor. It allows players to post bragging rights on facebook.

    Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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    Navy Patrol: Coastal Defense

    Thursday, October 15th, 2009

    This is a Tower Defense game that I haven’t even played through a full time yet. The interface is poor, which makes it hard to play, but it does add potentially interesting mechanics to the mix, such as upgrading tech and causing storms. To be honest, I don’t like it that much, so far, but it is too early to tell and it is rated very high in the app store.

    Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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    Grocery IQ

    Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

    This app is really slick. Press the plus sign at the top, type in what food you need to buy at the grocery store, it pulls from a huge database of items and brands to generate a potential hit list, you pick the one you want, enter quantity data and such, and it then adds it to your grocery list in the proper aisle. You can make different lists for different stores, with some crossover items. While you are at the store, you can check things off as you dump them in your cart. You can flag oft-purchased items as favorites so, next week, your list is easier to generate. A number badge on the app icon, shows you when you have items to buy. It really is amazingly helpful.

    Update: Barcode scanning (awesome), list sharing, and coupons (which are annoying).

    Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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    ZenNews

    Monday, October 12th, 2009

    Very kewl way to get the news; an aggregator that uses tag clouds to display hits. May not be for hardcore newshounds, although they do have more straightforward ways to search the data, but for casual users like myself, it’s awesome. The presentation is excellent and you simply swipe left and right to browse many of the obvious news sources like CNN, NY Times, and BBC World.

    Update: The love affair is over. The more I used it, the more I realized I would rather use a “real” news engine, even if I check it rarely. Down a star.

    1Password Pro

    Sunday, October 11th, 2009

    This is a great way to keep all 50 jillion of your passwords for different sites and such in check. You set 1 password to get into the app and view all the rest. It also allows you to set up profiles to automatically log into websites. It uses hardware-accelerated AES encryption. The pro version is adding MobileMe syncing, which will be FTW. There is also a Mac desktop version.

    Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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    Dungeon Hunter

    Saturday, October 10th, 2009

    This is the Diablo clone to have. There are three hero archetypes, Warrior, Mage, and Rogue, each with their own progression path and skill tree. The item game is both broad and deep, with plenty of decision-making for the hardcore guys and an auto-equip for those that aren’t. Loot is auto-pickup, as well. The controls are good, since they offer both tap-to-move and analog joystick controls, but not great. The stick could be tighter and the UI can potentially interfere with the tap controls, but your favorite of the two will probably serve you better than most games of the genre so far. Holding attack will auto-attack, which can be alternated with any of three special attacks and one of several magic fairy powers. As you can see, there is an overworld map, outdoor regions, dungeons, and a jam-packed pause screen with inventory, skill tree, magic, character info, and quests. It’s done by the Hero of Sparta guys, so the graphics are great and the gameplay is much, much deeper than that title. If you like dungeon crawls, you need this game.

    Rating: ★★★★★ icon
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