Tuesday 31 July 2012

Fifa Online 3 coming to Korea

Fifa Online 3 will be coming to Korea by the end of 2012. Published by renowned online game publishers, Nexon, and developed by gaming giants EA the online football game has improved AI; better animation and dynamic 5 on 5 multiplayer. 
Touted as a next gen online game FIFA Online 3 should find a big following amongst the game crazy Koreans. Known for their predilection for videogames as sport, could we possible see Fifa 3 as the next Korean online supersport?

Savannah Hahn of EA Korea believes that the partnership with Nexon will enable them to "deliver the highest quality services and game experiences". Naturally the new FIFA has a myriad of brilliant features and is said to be the best yet, now we can only wait and see how popular the world's favourite videogame sports franchise is in the East.

Monday 30 July 2012

Skills Training for Call of Thrones

If you're a Call of Thrones Fan and are having problems with your skills or just want to find out more about how to use your Call of Thrones' Skills then this guide is your must read.

A Call of Thrones Character has 4 skill slots, some of which can be unlocked with gold purchases. How Do you get Skill Scrolls? Get skill scrolls by completing certain quests or buying  them from skill trainers.

Weapon Skills:
Supportive Skills:
        Healing(alternatively named Recovery in the skill tree window)
Trading Skills:
Skills can also be deleted at a later stage if you find that they're not a good fit for your character. 
1. Using Train functions (for Combat, Supportive and Trading Skills) 
Training is unlocked at level 15.This function can be used everywhere except on the world map and instance dungeons. Along with the skill points gained, it also recovers sp and yields a small gain in experience and combat mastery experience. Use this immediately if you  idle (while AFK, transferring items, making/embedding gems, checking out the player market etc.) for a while. Use it in areas where this state is activated because you'll have the risk of getting killed by other players at PK enabled maps. You could cancel this function by clicking stop/ train icon or moving your character. Roguhly you gain skill points every 35 seconds (ranges to 1-3 skill points for each skill tree) and at this time displays the amount of points/exp earned, but you could still gain a small portion of points and exp if you cancel it halfway.
2. Mining and Smelting in Call of Thrones (for Trading only)
There's not much trick here. Mining ores, smelting items, harvesting and lumbering yields 1 point for every successful gathering. Auto-Quest (refer to the Battle method for more information) function is also available during the mining, harvesting and lumbering. Getting trade skills are also important since the raw materials sold by NPCs are pretty expensive and it is hard to find a good deal in the player market.
3. Battle Monsters/Players (for Weapon/Supportive Skills only)
For the weapon and supportive skills, points are accumulated for their respected skill tree they belong depending on the frequency of usage of skills during a battle. Skill points are rewarded after battle. Training at nearby dungeons of your preference, just be sure you switch from [Manual] mode to [Auto-combat]. It automatically continues to battle a new set of enemies every 10 seconds. If you don't have much time in your hands, you could also utilize the [Auto Quest] function available for unlimited use for VIP members or you could exchange vouchers or gold for a fixed time. Unlike the VIP and gold options, in which you could train up to 48 hours (2 days), you could only train for a maximum of 12 hours and you could also get PK by other players if you are using the voucher option. To avoid this from happening, to find a dungeon where your character will be out of sight at players spawn points. The fun part of using the auto-quest function is that you could still train for skill points even if your offline though it is much slower.


For this method you should pack up on EP recovery and EP drain equipment, this will be useful with your automated grinding and this will also eliminate the need for using EP recovery items that also wastes a turn for your character. EP drain are more effective using skills that gives out multiple hits, so  Dual-Wielders are best suited for this job. For other weapon types you might Just as well try to increase your EP Drain stat. The easiest way to acquire EP recovery and EP drain attribute is by embedding Gems to your equipment. Having a Healing items, skill and stat (HP Drain, HP Recovery, HP Healing) are also vital to sustain yourself from damage you'll receive throughout this ordain. Get a healing skill as early as possible since healing items costs you  coins, hogs up your inventory, not as effective as the heal skill and you might  also run out of healing items during your offline long hour auto combat  sessions.
Note: This method is also a great way to level up your Pets, Mounts and Relics at higher levels. If you want to level up your supportive skills quickly, just select the [Supportive] auto-combat preset. Your character will now prioritize the use of supportive skills like healing and buffs, it even uses heal skill even if you didn't receive a substantial amount of damage. Poison however is more like an offensive skill even though you could purchase it from the supportive skill trainer.

Sinister City: Hidden Mysteries beneath a veil of gorgeous graphics

Sinister City : dig in!

SinisterCity is a well-made, albeit classic hidden-object game for iOS, with an HD iPad version. The first part serves as a free demo and you unlock the rest for 5$.

The iPad graphics are gorgeous, perfectly conveying the gothic, spooky feel of the eponymous sinister city; and despite the dusky lighting, the very-discernible objects won't make you squint to see them. The electronic, over-saturated, high-pitched notes of the music let a feeling of uneasiness sink in, rounding up the aesthetics. Items that needs to be pushed aside to reveal another one don't really jump at you; but, on the normal difficulty setting, hints are quick to recharge, so you're rarely ever-stumped; in the end, this plays more like an interactive scene. The plot is pretty easy to fathom, but the atmosphere is so spooky, it is nonetheless entertaining.

If you like hidden-object games and gothic settings à la Mystery Case Files : Ravenhearst, this is a pretty good pick. Also note that G5 Entertainment, the developer, has a couple of other games in the same genre and ambiance.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Samurai vs Zombies Defense: Hints,tips,advice and Mini Guide

Samurai vs Zombie Defense Guide
Samurai Vs Zombies Defense is a great game to spend your free Glu credits on. SvZ defense is an addictive side scroller defense game with a difficulty level that quickly ramps up.Here's our Gametrender guide with some hints;tips and secrets that should help you to get the most out of the Glu Mobile Game.

Samurai vs Zombies Defense tips , advice and Mini guide

There is such a broad scope to the game; when to level up your character; when to increase his bow power and so much more that we thought the best approach to this SvZ guide would be to look at the FAQ's for Samurai vs Zombies Defense, find the mosy useful ones and answer them in this article. Follow these little tidbits of advice and flying zombies, boss zombies, fast ninja zombies and all the rest should soon fall before your Samurai might!

  • How to get Frostie the Bowman :
Here's a tip to get Frostie the Bowman by getting a blue or gold present. You're most likely to find him in one of the levels that drop lots of goodies,like stage 35-40. Frosty the Bowman is most useful against flying enemies and the boss of stage 50.

  • General Tips:
You can get better and more warriors to fight for you by upgrading your summoning and leadership. Not happy with a farmer minion? Quickly upgrade to use the Bowman or unlock the master swordsman to level up your farmers.
The Sword and Bow are your primary weapons, upgrade them as soon as possible. However once the sword gets to a certain level you need to use Glu credits to upgrade it further. Get free Glu credits by downloading and playing some of their and their sponsors games.
Ranged attacks from the Zombie archers quickly eat away at your health. Engage them quickly in melee attacks to get rid of them. Generally take out the archers first then the zombies that give buffs and health to the others.
Lightning is one of the most useful spells in Samurais vs Zombies, but needs to be upgraded to be effective.
Place and upgrade your archers around the village to protect the sacred gate.
What to upgrade in Samurai v Zombie

  • How to Survive Longer
Attacks can be blocked by moving back slightly.
Tank minions (such as Panzer Samurai) can take the brunt of punishment. But you must protect them from ranged and air attacks.
The Warding bell helps to kill Zombies.
Levelling up your gate as much as possible is a good survival strategy.

  • Ways to get Free Gems (Glu Mobile Credits)
Click on the sponsor ads when they promise you gems for nothing, they will deliver and many of the games are free and fun too.
Use your Pachinko Balls to get lots of free credits and coins.
Of course you need to get loot from killing zombies, but unless you've got the right charm equipped you actually have to physically pick up the dropped loot.
Play every day for the daily bonus. (the most I got was 100 free Glu credits on day 5)

  • How to beat Wave 33 on Samurai v Zombie
Wave 33 has proven problematic for some people. Here is some advice for how to beat Wave 33- Tornado and Lethargy are some of the best spells to use here; also try improve your equipment to the max and use a maxed out Frostie the Bowman to full advantage.

  • How to Use the Cup of Tea and Sushi
Sushi replens your health and Cups and pots of tea improve your leadership score. These can be accessed on the top right of the game screen with a simple button press. Scroll through by pressing the arrow or swiping to access the other buffs.
Kill Archers and Zombie Priests First
Beat Wave 50-the Final Boss
Since the game has been upgraded it now carries on after stage 50, but for the purposes of this article Wave 50 still has a really powerful boss. Dodge his attack by staying in front of him just before he attacks, move forward to dodge and attack. This should constantly see his powerful blow miss and you keep on scoring the hits. Archers will also help to slow him down and Nobunaga and Panzer Samurai's can be used to help take him down. 

Most Powerful Zombie enemy
Perhaps not the most powerful enemy in Samurai Vs Zombie but certainly the most irritating is the Spider Zombie (orochimaru) they take a lot of hits to take down and the release a bunch of small orochimaru who run straight for your gates! The large red Onoki Melee Demon is also a tough character to take down, just avoid that club.

When to use Nobunaga and Takeda Shingen
Takeda Shingen is very pricy to get and level up so many players prefer to use Nobunaga , who if he stays protected from archers and flying demons can do a lot of damage with his melee attack.

Friday 27 July 2012

Princess Punt: Kicking Action Puzzle RPG

     Cell Shaded graphics are usually a good thing. This holds true for Princess Punt, an Action Puzzle type of RPG. Although the word "punt" really reminds me of American Football, this game doesn't really have much to do with the sport. The main character is a princess who kicks off her bombs and men/bodyguard/protectors into the battlefield. On levels with bosses, you get to kick a variety of men; an archer, a lancer, a magician/sorcerer, and a knight. Once you kick a character into the field, you no longer control them. Each round you kick in another character. Tap on the bomb or ball(in this case the fighter that is going to be kicked) to cycle and select your type of ball/ammo/attack. Kicks are performed like catapulting or shooting an Angry Bird. Unlike that game, however, your minions that you kick out stay on the field and attack each round unless their HP is brought down to zero or they fall off. Enemies attack you at the end of each round. Each type of weapon has different attacks and skills and different Mid-Air Attacks. Mid Air-Attacks are activated by a tap on the screen while your non-bomb shot is in flight. The path of your previous kick will be shown with a dotted line that is placed during flight.

Bosses randomly pop out upon level selection.
   On stages without bosses, you can only equip your main hero, referred to in the game as "Hero". You may equip different health items, attack weapons, and skills. Only one skill, one health or defense item, and one skill may be equipped at any given time. The skill must be the same type as the weapon. If a skill for a different weapon is chosen, then usually the strongest corresponding weapon will automatically be equipped too. The only things you may purchase at the Shop are Skills. Once a skill it bought it is usually automatically equipped. During gameplay, tap the ammo to change shot type. Tip: If you are already aiming the kick and decide you want to change the type of shot, then you can press pause(upper right) and then resume like you were not aiming yet. Hint Alert: Pressing "Retry" is not the same thing as "Continue". Continue will use large amounts of your gold to refresh your men and amount of kicks left, but keep the damage done to the enemy. Retry is restarting the level all over, meaning you lose your progress from that stage but it's free. It will still load that stage again though.

    When you gain the maximum experience for an item, that item is considered "Mastered." Each time you master a health item and skill, your attack and maximum health increases. Each time you master a weapon, your attack increases. Once a skill is mastered, it's next level will be available in the store. Bosses drop a lot more experience whenever you hit their weakpoints. The weak spots are revealed to you at the start of the fight. However, they seem to drop more attack experience than other kinds. This was problematic when I only needed skill experience points.

Bosses are big and detailed. The animations and attacks are smooth.

    Some weapons and skill combinations are better in different situations. Although I haven't exactly figured out the main use of some of all of them. Some weapons will be easier to use than others. You may come back to lower levels after you get stronger. Equipping lower level items that aren't Mastered the second time around will help you Master those items because you will be stronger already. Actually you probably have to come back anyways because if you just keep pushing new levels, then eventually you'll reach levels that you can't beat because you haven't mastered enough items.

While on the world map or stage selection, you may enter the shop or equipment area. While browsing through acquired items, the attack, and change/difference in attack to your attack item will be displayed on top. The same will happen for health/defense items but for health stats instead of attack stats. Next to the EXP in the middle will be a fraction displaying your current amount of experience for that item on top of the amount of experience with that item that is required to Master it.

A nice touch is the addition of being able to rotate your Hero in the Equip area.

The Results Screen after a battle
Upon completing a level, your princess does a celebration dance and your hero joins her and you receive bonus's for each kick that you had left unused. Then you will be taken to a results page. Here you will choose what kinds of experiences you want. There are three kinds of experiences. All of them count towards your characters level. The three kinds are for your Weapon represented by an icon with a Sword, Health Item represented by a Pink Crystal icon, and Skill with a Lightning icon. All experiences cost gold to use. I am not sure but I believe ratings are based on number of turns you take, the number of your men who were knocked out, and the amount of on screen coins (Princess Coins?) collected during the fight. Mid-Air attacks should be taken into account when trying to collect these coins. For example an Knight pops up a little then flies straight down after you tap when he is in mid-air, while an archer pops up a little then flies almost straight down, a lancer jumps up diagonally towards the right, and a magician does a backflip and then flies horizontally forward a ways.

Princess Punt scores really high here. The Cell Shaded graphics are really impressive. The details reminds me of Okami. The storyline is kinda lacking....or maybe I just don't get it. Since this is an application, storyline isn't a standard or expected. The cutscenes at the 1st level of every stage (map?) are detailed drawn manga's or comics. The details of the drawing sure surpass a whole lot of apps out there, although it doesn't tell much of a story. Although Princess Punt has been classified as an Action Puzzle type of RPG, I try to stay away from using the term RPG if it isn't a traditional Japanese Role Playing Game or have a big and long storyline.  Each map has 6 areas. And each area has 10 levels. The 10 levels are the same as each other (same enemies in the same spots in the same background) but with slightly stronger versions of enemies. The Sounds are neat from the menu clicks to the attacks. The friendly music, to the kicks and monster Roars sometimes reminds me of a Mario atmosphere(the princess too) and that's a good thing. From my experience Mario games have lots of quality. Helpful gameplay hints are displayed during loading screens. Although the English isn't perfect, it's understandable.

Princess Punt is Xperia Play Optimized. The optimization wouldn't be really helpful if the game didn't have response issues during the slot/ticket selection. It seems to have problems moving left and right sometimes for choosing the slots. The R and L shoulder buttons come in handy here because they let you cycle through the slots selections.

There is a Princess Punt THD that is exclusively for Tegra devices. It adds shadows, more lighting, and weather effects without sacrificing framerates. Both versions have a 4.6 rating on Google Play with a combined total of over 1 Million downloads(mostly the non HD one). Try it out. If it isn't your type of game, you should still be able to appreciate the artwork.


Thursday 26 July 2012

How much data do you need for your Smartphone?

With people increasingly relying on their mobile to connect to the internet how big do you need your dataplan to be? Popular online uses for Smartphones are checking emails;downloading Youtube videos;online shopping and more. Indeed most activities that users traditionally conducted on their laptop or Pc are increasingly being done via their Smartphones. This could be costly if you dont have the right data package. British mobile carrier Tmobile offers an unlimited data plan; their recent statistics show that Smartphone users data usage is on the rise. A year ago their unlimited data plan users used just over 400mb on a monthly basis. Just a year on and that figure has rocketed to 1.1 Gb of data on average. As Europe's slow mobile networks catch up to the rest of the world and 4g networks become the standard and video and game streaming picks up even more;then your data plan needs to grow. If you come across All you can use data plans then it might be a good idea to get them.

A very real example of this is that this article was written on an Android Smartphone and published via 3G whilst on a coach journey!

How to stop your kids buying iTunes Apps

Stop Kids getting Paid Apps on iPad.
Kids running up a massive iTunes bill is a parental hazard of the iPad generation. The fact that our young ones probably know more about the ins and outs of how the iPad works is worrying. What's more worrying is when I find obscure apps for a small business insurance quote that I haven't bought, but suddenly have a two dollar iTunes purchase for. KIDS! So here's some methods to stop your kids purchasing apps:

There's a ten to 15 minute window after you enter your iTunes ID and Password that another One click download can occur without you entering your password again. In that 15 minute purchase window either watch the child carefully or restart the iPad.

Get another iTunes ID for your child, but don't associate a credit card with it. iDevices can have more then one user ID associated with them so your child can use their own one to happily browse the thousands of kid friendly apps and games out there.

Lastly just use the security options on the iPad. There are built in password locks that can stop certain apps and functions being activated without a passcode put in, just activate the security feature under settings to save yourself a fortune in Itunes bills and having hundreds of embarrassing inexplicable apps on your iPad.

Jellybean for Samsung Galaxy S3 soon

Samsung have been working at an unbelievable pace to prepare the Android update for the Galaxy S3 smartphone. Sources say that the Samsung Galaxy S3 might be getting the Jellybean update as soon as August. This is an extremely fast pace for a phones update to be rolled out; the majority of handsets expectancy for previous Android updates has been measured in periods of many months. In an equally unprecedented move Samsungs last year flagship phone the Galaxy S3 will also be receiving the Jellybean update. Read between the lines and if you are a S3 owner realise that you have w remarkable and powerful handset;that if Android updates can be so quickly shoehorned in proves that the phone has a lot of future proofing built in.
As to how Touchwiz will be integrated into Jellybean is anyones guess. Personally I am excited about the update as it means that we will be able to use Google Now on our
Galaxy S3s.

Financing Mobile Apps

We just love the fact that there are so many good free apps out there, but is the fact that many good quality apps are ad supported a double edged sword?

In fact fully aware of how services like Openfeint can really enhance an app, I'm shamefully one of the first to press the "No thanks I don't like fun button" . Not because I don't believe in Openfeint , but because my phone's wi-fi and data connection is often turned off to avoid the hazards of pop up advertising-does Gun Bros really deserve a pop-up ad for craft supplies at MisterArt.com ?

However as a financing model pop up ads irritating as they are can serve a purpose. Glu Mobile uses this model to great effect in Samurais VS Zombies Defense with Glu credits being rewarded by clicking on ads. Other games are also coming up with the reward model of " click on this ad once per game session to disable ads" which works for me too. Now if they can only make ads less obtrusive and more catered to the type of game I might start to turn on the Wi-Fi more often and Openfeint needn't keep telling me I'm boring!

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Seal It: It's a deal, it's a steal !

Seal It: It's a deal, it's a steal!

Seal It is a free social application for iOS, described by its developer, Sofa King Interactive, as "the Official App of 'I Told You So' Moments". The interface is classy, with the appearance of a leather-covered notebook, and is very easy to use.

So how do you use this app? For example, you are ready to bet with your annoying little brother on the battle of Wherever having taken place in 1xxx. Rather than dashing to Google it, take 2 minutes to enter the bet and its rewards in Seal it. Thus, when Wikipedia vindicates you, you will actually have proof that "You Told Him So", but also that he promised to do the dishes for the next fortnight. It also work for any challenge you might want to set to yourself (walk 30 minutes every day, feed the cat, pick up the kids at school, etc.)

So, at heart, it works if you're a trivia-addict, a competitive chap, or some who needs a « carrot » to do things. I sure am and I can tell that, had it existed 20 years ago (yes, I'm old), I would have used it extensively at family dinners. As it is now, I love whipping it out, especially during Scrabble games, when someone starts contesting a word I'm sure of... And you end up with a nice memento of your "I Told You So" moments as well as your occasional defeat, but hey, trivia IS your thing right?

And if you need more eyes on you to compel a good behavior or to show off your knowledge of small-sized dinosaurs from the jungles of Chult, you can post every deal and its issue on your Facebook wall, "hire" a witness from your list of friends, or even offer to be a witness for someone else. As I said, this is a social app for friendly bets, school contests, and siblings rivalries.

You can also see it as a way to gamify your life, by setting "quests" for yourself with XP points. You can start right away, thanks to Seal It. You may ask: what’s the difference with just posting on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ your challenge of eating 5 veggies a day? Well, a wall can quickly be bogged down with a lot of other stuff, but Seal It keeps is compartmentalized and easy to access; furthermore, you actually seal the deal with one person, so she too can check pending deal and nag you until it is actually validated as a success as can any witness you invite; last but not least, you keep track of what you've accomplished in, again, an easy-to-access form. There is no better motivator than seeing what you've already achieved.

Nexon moves in on lucrative iTunes Market

Nexon have long been prolific publishers of some very well loved online franchises. Titles like Maple Story; KartRider and Vindictus have sealed Nexon in gamers minds. So there's no doubt th
at they know videogaming.
Following on from the recent info about Maple Story being released onto Android it seems that the publishers are setting their sites on the mobile gaming market. Their latest game MonkeyOoky Jigsaw puzzle is now free for iPad. In the well made puzzle game images from Nexons well known games can be puzzled out. With the obvious boost to their profile apparent by making their well known games into a puzzle; it also makes us wonder what Nexon has next in store for iTunes.

Apps that need to be Made

Spending a lot of time on the internet as you do when you're researching the latest apps and games I sometimes come across websites and services totally unrelated to the Smartphone World but that are desperately crying out to have an app made about them.
Strangely enough the marketing conceit of online gifts hasn't really gained much representation with Smartphone apps, neither Android nor iOS. When you think about it a Smartphone would be the ideal medium for choosing an Online gift: High def photos; easy to use touch screen interfaces; all of these things just point out the need for a gift service like hostess gifts to take that plunge , realise that 65 percent of net commerce goes through mobile phones nowadays and make an app for online gift services that really works before someone beats them to the punch.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Tower Worlds : A crumbling mix-and-match

Tower Worlds is a Facebook game recently out of beta... but it could have stood a lot more testing. As it currently is, it'll just bog down your internet connection for nothing.

The tutorial is a slow, laborious slog. You have to trudge through every animation of your character moving around, and they are sure dragging their feet. I  don't know if it's because of the 3D graphics, the coding, or as part of the design, but everything takes a lot of time to happen and then to be acknowledge by the game. No chance of popping in just for a quick session.

These 3D graphics are supposed to feel realistic, but are badly pixelized and bland – in game, because the promotional material as zero relation to the finished product. Beyond that, the general aesthetics is horrid, lacking some unifying theme: palm trees and wooden watch tower, but Western-style house with red roof tiling? And of course, this whole visual disaster only slow down the game to the point of almost-complete unplayability. The music uses a little flute tune which is pleasant enough, but again, lacking a strong aesthetic direction.

The game is touted by its developer as a mix of tower defense, RTS, and RPG: I haven't really see any of that, just the usual Facebook fare of quests, resource collection, and building upgrade. Yes, there is a combat system, but I find it boring: just clicked on the “bears” (they look more like foxes or wolves to me...) to hack at them and click the combat button when you're tired of seeing the same animations over and over again. 

In conclusion, I find it an unimaginative game copying the same old mechanics, ideas, and more of hundred of other Facebook games, but with enough ambition to trip itself and fall flat – in extra-slow motion.

Really Useful (Useless!) Apps

Useful Apps: How to tie a tie
A phrase we often use is : "There's an app for that!" So we're just doing a little comment driven survey to find out what you think are the most obscure and useful (or useless depending on your perspective) apps out there.
Like many of our articles inspiration has to come from somewhere and that was when we were researching this article and found that one of the most popular non game apps on Google Play at the moment is the "How to Tie a tie " App. Now if that is really trending for Android we wondered what other marvels we could find , we'd love to see an app for cleaning leather furniture for example. 
Useless Apps
Other Useless Apps (Useful to some maybe):
That's what HE said-all it does is say that phrase, over and over and over again!
Scary Kitty: You pat the cute little Kitty, then a scary face scares you. Awesome if you need an app for scaring kids!
Three irritating words are Um; You Know and Like, and guess what the Um-o-Meter lets you tot up how many times your less than eloquent friend uses each word. Pretty Useless!
What useful or useless apps can you come up with?

Apps for finding sites of historical beauty

Apps for Tourists
Once again we turn to the power of our Smartphones to help us out; this time around we wondered if we could use our Android Phone to find sites of historical or natural beauty. Would our phones lead us to the local parks water fountains or to Rome's Trevi fountain?

Apps to Find Historical or Natural Beauty Sites
We were inspired to write this article by a quiet day at home when we had no activity planned with the family. However a quick local attraction search on Google maps quickly took us to a local petting zoo-score one for Google Maps

Pocket Places has quickly established themselves as a well known maker of tourist apps and have a lot of guides that can lead you to sites of local beauty.

Africa Alive is another app by Pocket Places that makes the wonders of the African Savannah come alive with sights and sounds of wildlife and natural beauty. A great little app to download if your tourism takes you off the beaten track.

AroundMe is another app that has a lot of scope for tourists looking for local sites geographically. They have a large data base and a very easy to use interface.

Monday 23 July 2012

Skweek : quick, squee, and boring

Skweek is a recently-launched app for iOS, as a revival and update on the old Skweek of 1989. Visually, it indeed harkens back to that era: vivid, almost-neon hues, small sprites with simple forms and color-swapped versions, a good ol' concept of "walk on the tiles to paint them". Even the chiptune-inspired music could be playing on an old Atari.

However, nostalgia isn't enough to make it work for me. The tutorial is both too slow and too short. Despite the overabundance of speech bubbles, there is no explanation on the different tiles, power-ups, or enemies. The tutorial lacks closure to make you feel like you've accomplished something and are ready for tougher challenges. You can redo the tutorial later, but what's the point? A simple screen or two with the description, in list form, of the aforementioned different tiles, power-ups, or enemies would have been far more efficient.

I also have issues with the control scheme, my little "skweek" lurching around and slowing down without any discernible reason. Furthermore, the concept of the game just bored me in one minute flat : you only have to wander around while avoiding or killing slow-moving enemies; the one difficult is not falling down holes, but because of the control issue, my character just kept joyfully diving headfirst of the ledge. And I tested Skweek at home; I can't just imagine playing on the go.

To be fair, the title screen (rightfully) reminded me of "vintage" brain-teasers and I expected an "you can only walk on on each tile, unless it's a special tile" kind of mental exercise. I jumped to conclusions and was immediately proven wrong, which may partly explained my lack of enthusiasm. It relies on skill, avoiding enemies and walking carefully, which is not my preferred kind of game, especially on Iphone - and especially when the controls impede whatever skill you might have.

Last but not least, it's completely free, so you can always download it and check for yourself.

Apps for Real Estate

Blingest Homes
Apps for buying Homes
With our Smartphones constant connection to the internet and ability to geographically locate it's no wonder that they have changed the face of real estate, we've searched the web to find some of the best Real Estate Apps.
Buying a Home using Your Smartphone
Realtor dot com is a great app for real estate agents. Whether you're a manteo real estate agent or a New York high Roller you'll find the app useful to compare average prices in an area and find hidden gems in the property market.

Zillow Real Estate is probably the most well known of the home buying apps but has acquired a tarnished reputation in recent times as there have been recent complaints that the app somewhat inflates the prices of houses.

ZipRealty Real Estate is an up and comer when it comes to apps for finding a new home and has a really well made built in map system

The unfortunately named Wikihood is not an app for gangland violence but rather an interesting app that tells you all about a potential area that you want to move to including famous people who grew up there and the areas history and culture.

iPad: Changing the way we think and view the World

iPad Artists
Recently we ran an article on iPad artists, particularly looking at the work of David Hockney, one of the most famous iPad artists of modern times. Admittedly audiovisually and in the realms of fine arts the iPad has been somewhat of a seachange. But more can be done in the way that we view and perceive these visual artefacts. 
premier mounts to display and admire our pictures, TV's etc will always have a place, but surely with the prevalence of cheap screens and iPad streaming abilities we should be moving away from these ideas to less cluttered spaces that don't have a plethora of mounted pictures on every wall and "dumb" televisions. The abundance of digital photo frames and digital cameras on the market should have spelled the end of framed photos. They haven't. Cable TV-surely iCloud will eventually see this off-it hasn't yet.
Projector Phones
New ways to display our media
Steps in the right direction are the aforementioned iPad streaming capabilities which should make every screen in the home equal ; the Samsung Galaxy Beam SmartPhone with its Pico projector is now out too-this too should open up new possibilities.
Until we all embrace the new possibilites of media in every room though we will still be admiring art like David Hockney's in physical spaces; rather than in the way Steve Jobs intended us to.

Unotelly-Netflix without Regional Lock? Yes, please!

TV that transcends Geographical Boundaries
We're still at the preliminary testing stages of a new Video streaming service that does away with Geographical limitations and allows you to watch TV Globally.

Neyflix; Hulu and more are meant to be a universal, convenient and entertaining medium that shouldn't be effected by where you are in the world. Unfortunately that isn't the case so lucky for us new kid on the block UNOTELLY is doing something to change that with a DNS based system that allows you to watch online TV on a vast array of electronic devices. Another exciting feature for gamers (and we know that the majority of our readers are) is that regional locked content can be accessed from any country. For example with PSN network support us in Europe are often left with handicapped game versions due to different censorship laws or even PS3 releases that only come out months later due to the need for multilingual translation. Well say goodbye to those old PSN restrictions thanks to Unotelly.

We're only in the preliminary stages of testing at the moment due to our huge review schedule but have checked out the chanells available (impressed!) and set up the account (which took all of 3 minutes and was a very simple process). As we get more in depth with the testing we'll let you know about all the other features and how good Unotelly actually is, here's hoping it lives up to it's promises.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Which Mobile Phone has a better Graphics Chip?

Ever since I made my mark as a app game blogger I've wanted a phone up to the job of whatever modern smartphone gaming could throw at it. So playing on some industry contacts , some forum advice and some other sources we're going to take a quick look at what Graphic Chips are hot in mobile phones today.
The Mobile world is moving at a great deal faster pace then traditional computing. Just a year ago I was quite impressed by the graphics capability of my Xperia Play ( Qualcomm's 1GHZ Snapdragon Process combined with an embedded Adreno 205 GPU was benchmarked to handle 60 FPS and all Xperia optimised games) Sadly even on release the phone was underpowered and the graphics chip could not handle DirectX very well , or at all.

Just over a year later and the premier Android handsets are the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X, both with the SnapDragon Qualcomm Processor and Adreno 225 GPU. 
Until game devs start churning out Gears of War for Android we're still left with the likes of the superb Shadowgun as an everyman's benchamrk test for mobile graphics. The Samsung S3 doesn't bat an eyelid.
Graphics Benchmarks for Samsung Galaxy S3
The Antutu benchmark test is often used to test a devices capabilities; it test Memory; Graphics and the Speed of a devices CPU: the Galaxy S3 scores over 12 thousand beating devices like the Asus Transformer Prime-which being a tablet should really be able to squeeze more processing power into it's guts.
A more graphics orientated test is the GL Benchmark Standard Egypt Test which is a measure of a devices ability to handle high end 3D graphics. An incredible score of 59 , only matched by the new iPad was earned by the Galaxy S3.
What do developers say about current Mobile Graphics Chips
Sticking solely with the S3 , that is not to ignore the impressive Mali GPU, but the Adreno 225 is too prevalent and powerful to be ignored and too fully cover all modern Mobile GPU's is beyond this short articles scope, we decided to explore the XDA forums to see what moblie game developers themselves say about the Adreno 225 GPU
Here's some paraphrased soundbites to help you understand this modern mobile graphics monster:

  • Benches slightly lower than the Tegra 3 GPU but the Samsung Galaxy S3 in particular has a higher CPU speed which overcompensates
  • Adreno 220 and 225 are similar but the 225 has DirectX support
  • The Adreno can be clocked at 400Mhz
  • Modern Combat 3 is a good game for developers to test GPU ability against (the Adreno performs just fine here by the way) also NFS Hot Pursuit and Riptide GP are good graphically intensive Android Games to test against
  • Use Chainfire 3D to trick the market into thinking you have a Tegra phone if you really want to try THD games
  • PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics processing unit (GPU) is the renowned GPU for the iPhone 4S but lags behind the S3's current power; the iPhone 5 GPU should hopefully be something spectacular, in fact latest trends from studios such as Firemonkey who have made Real Racing 3 suggest that the iPhone 5 GPUs could be ten times faster! Hopefully that adds some clarity as to what graphics power mobile phones currently have. Updated latest cutting edge Mobile GPU's
    As of 6 August 2012 ARM has announced the latest GPU's for mobile devices and Smart TVs.
    The Mali T600 Series  comes in 3 variants and will supposedly deliver 50 percent performance improvement over previous mobile GPUs.
    Words like "console class graphics for mobile" have been bandied about . The need to address fragmentation is a concern of the new Mali T 600 chips with less need for multiple codecs and different colour textures and standards supported.

Apps for Finding Cheap Pharmaceuticals

Recently we ran an article entitled Medical Self Diagnosis on your iPhone, and since then have been inundated with requests for medical apps. Particularly with regard to apps that can help you to find cheap pharmaceuticals or medicines. 
As this seems to be quite a popular topic amongst our US readers, who seem to be continually looking for ways to buy cheap medicines , and of course Smartphones are ideal for this particularly Android which with a looser hold on the apps on Google Play have a constant stream of Medical apps and cheap coupon finding apps coming out. Well for once we thought we'd just give you a direct link to a site that features in a bunch of apps to find cheap medicines: http://www.shoppharmacycounter.com/t-Adipex-Medicine.aspx If you're one of the users of a Google Play app that finds cheap medicines then please let our other readers know if you come across theis site and if they are as good as many Android users think.

Smartphone Friendly Fashion

It's amazing how much our technology has transformed the way that we wear fashion. Aside from the matching purses and iPhone skins that are a woman's staple de rigeur fashion even more fashion decisions are informed by our need to keep our modern smartphones close and protected.

Gadget Friendly clothing
iPad Fashion Failure
Just a few years ago Manbags were unheard of for the average Joe Bloggs. Now with the need to carry Ipad's ; Nintendo DS's; PS Vita's and a Smartphone of Choice (notice Laptops are off the list as simply nobody bothers with that old tech any more) a manbag for your gadgets is more than acceptable.

And when you think about it even simple clothing choices, such as the need to have deep and secure pockets to keep your phone in are part of our day to day choices. 

When Google Maps go Wrong

Google Maps Fail
The Samsung Galaxy S3 has quickly gained a reputation for having one of the longest lasting Smartphones batteries currently on the market. So with this in mind I was willing to experiment a bit more with my Android  phone's functions. Previously with the Xperia Play that I was using, battery life was quite run of the mill; so to save on the juice I, as many other Android users would do, turn off all unnecessary features when leaving the house. 
That means Wi-Fi off; backlight to low and GPS to off. GPS being one of the biggest battery wasters on phones. However with the 2100 mAh battery in the S3 I wanted to just leave everything on and go off and experiment. I especially loved Google Maps feature of tracking your location history and then giving you a graph of how long you spent at work, at home etc. Great; nifty gadget and just a modern wonder that doesn't really do much, but being an owner of a premier gadget phone I'm all up for a bit of fun.

 Does Location History on Google Maps work though? Well in one week I travelled 3000 miles and visited carpet cleaners chapel hill nc three times (despite not leaving England and not going more than a few miles in a day)! Google Maps Location History FAIL!

Monster Cats: Top 100 iOS Adventure Game and rising

Monster Cats
Monster Cats now on Appstore
Barry Steakfries you have a new rival and he's not even human. Monster Cats is more than a homage to Jetpack Joyride though and expands upon the endless running genre in a remarkable way. The fact that Monster Cats (available for Iphone and iPad) comes from a small indie studio is remarkable as the game brings a lot of spit ; polish and addictiveness .

Appstore Top 100
Mittens: New darling of the endless
Runner Genre
Let's face it top examples of endless runners like Jetpack Joyride quickly seep their way into our game playing addictions, but less well done games are a dime a dozen and often the staple of starting out app game programmers.
So let's find out what sets Monster Cats apart and could make Mittens bigger than Mr Steakfries:

Details, details,details Gentleman and Mittens and his other incarnations certainly have them: Awakening from his cat lair complete with much Kitty shaped furniture (don't worry it's not too cutesy the graphics are pitched just right) Mittens sets out on his endless run (Question to Haptic Tactics Studio: When the app deservedly gets more downloads and some more cash comes in will you add a back story? This will really complete the game). The main avatar of the game has a lot of character sleuthily dressed in a cross between a Victorian gentleman and a feline Indiana Jones; his mismatched eyes lend a degree of manicness to Mittens that other games would simply embody as cuteness for the sake of it. 

As you progress more of his alter egos are unlocked: Fangs the Bat Cat; Mystic the Wizard and six others (these are unlocked by earning in game points and with money earned in game). Now this is where I truly stood gob smacked that the little Indie Studio who could squeezed so much love into the game-each alter ego has their own backdrop that they run against. Fangs has a scary Dracula type castle for example, so not only is our gamer's curiousity aroused by seeing which character which will be unlocked next but what crazy locale we'll find ourselves in.
What monsters can you change into in Monster Cats
Mitten's well designed alter egos
The aforementioned other King of Endless runners has the famous gadgets update (See Gametrender's very popular guide to Jetpack Joyride Gadgets ) but Monster Cats comes straight out of the box with a system of badges that imbue different properties . So for example you might have a badge that lets you swing from the forest roof or change gravity. Very nice touch there.

Undoubtedly comparisons can only be drawn with Halfbrick's masterpiece; but our only criticism for this indie inspired addition to the genre is that the enemies are too familiar in their behaviours to Barry Steakfries foes. Other than that a brilliant addition to the endless running genre which comes heaped with character; longevity and playability ( and yes achievement mongers those are there too along with missions to make you have that one more go feeling) . Haptic Tactic Studio your iOS adventure game was straight into the top 100 of  US Adventure games on just after Monster Cats was released; now we know why!

Experiences with S Voice

If you're a Samsung Galaxy S3 owner then you need no introduction to S Voice. Whether the Samsung powered voice search will become redundant as more Jelly Bean Updates role out is a matter for some debate. One wonders why there isn't some sort of Voice Search Collaboration going on between Google , whose Android software now powers most Samsung phones and the Korean Electronics giant. They're the master of hardware solutions so why not pool R and D funds etc. with Google to come up with more expansive soultions.

With a swift broadband S voice isn't bad; particularly when it comes to Internet searches. The most obscure phrase we could come up with cubital tunnel splint actually returned the results of more than a few local businesses that provide this product. Searching with Siri on the other hand continuously produced the results " We can only search for businesses in the USA." Very poor considering Siri's supposed Global reach.

WordRuggle : New Word Game

     If you looking for a wordsearch app, then here is an app for you, Wordruggle. Play against all other players currently connected.  Each match lasts 120 seconds or two minutes. Unlike most online apps, this app doesn't use Feint to connect. Both times that I tested this app, 60+ players were on. And yes I have placed top 12 a few times (placed 3rd twice).  Wordruggle currently lets you see how many times you've had the best score and how many times you've played (in a Today section and a This Month section). The menu is simple and easy to use, just like the app itself.

     Click on the light bulb for a slight hint list of how many _ lettered words there are. Click on the Snake looking button to rotate the letters clockwise. This doesn't scramble the words so the the list of possible words don't change, just your orientation of the letters.One unique feature of the WordRuggle is that is tells you the definition of some of the words if you want to know after the match. There are lots of words during a game so the words don't stand out as much as in a hangman game, but it's still nice to have the option nevertheless. If you try to start a match while one is already in progress, you'll have to wait for them to get done first. The wait isn't long.

    The games sound and graphics are decent and user friendly. A warning sound will be played when time is running low. After a match or game, you will have to wait until the server finishes up the score within 15 seconds. A list of top scores will be displayed and your name will be in an orange bar to remind you. I'm still currently a guest. Your screenname or nickname can be easily changed in the main menu.

 Suggestions for further updates 
    A suggestion I have is for the app to keep track of how many times I've placed and the places I were in. If the game gets really popular, more groups/servers might be needed. This might even allow for players to have less waiting time (although not necessary yet). One problem I encountered was that the same group of letters were used in two back to back games. I wasn't paying attention to the list of words after the first round but some people were. I noticed the scores were a lot higher the second time around. After a game, the next high scores lists automatically starts, and then the match automatically begins. Although this keeps the game at a faster pace, adding a "Stay on this page" button would be nice and useful especially for looking at the words and their definitions. Maybe a "Ready for next match" be used if the Stay button is activated.

Wordruggle is brought to you by the developer(s) at AGA Studios. Download the new app from Google Play here. So far the numbers are growing so if you want to win, you should start now before this app gets a whole lot bigger and competitive. Make use of your smartphone. Have fun while expanding your vocabulary.