iPhone App Review: Super Monkey Ball 2

January 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

Name: Super Monkey Ball 2 (iTunes)
Written By: Sega
Category: Games
Price: $9.99 $4.99

Size: 74.8 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch
Version: 1.1
Rate: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Last December, Sega launched Super Monkey Ball 2 for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It’s an amazing followup to the popular original game! If you’re a Super Monkey Ball fan, you’ll be happy to know that SMB 2 has some significant improvements over first version of the game. The graphics are highly impressive. The rolling monkeys are now truly in 3D. And the tilt-meter is much more accurate to the movement and position of the iPhone/iPod Touch, which makes controlling your monkey character much easier.

The concept of the game is very simple. Tilt your iPhone/iPod touch to guide your monkey to the goal. Collect bananas along the way and keep your monkey from falling off the edge of the track. The tracks are are challenging as before, but there’s much greater control with you and the accelerator. There are 115 tracks to play, so the game can keep you occupied for quite some time.

In the main game, you have a few modes to choose from — Single Player, Multiplayer, and Practice. In practice mode, a random track will be chosen for you to play. In Single Player mode, collect bananas and rack up points to unlock new tracks. Multiplayer mode is a fun way to play with your friends! Go head-to-head using a wifi connection. Players take turns selecting up to 5 tracks to compete in. Player with the most points wins.

While you are playing, you may also notice a small video icon on the lower left corner. This option allows you to record and save your gameplays. You can save up to 10 of these videos and can view them in the “View Replays” option. It’s a very cool feature, and I hope there’s a way to export the videos in the future.

There is also a mini game called “Monkey Bowling” where you can take turns rolling the monkeys to knock over pins. Multiplayer mode is also available, but only one iPhone/iPod Touch device is needed. Two other mini games — Monkey Golf and Monkey Target — will be available in the near future as a free update.

Overall, the controls are smooth and accurately reflect the player’s movement. Super Monkey Ball 2 is really fun and entertaining, and will keep you occupied for hours and hours. Take the monkeys — Aiai, Baby, Meemee, Gongon — out for a spin!

Learn more about Super Monkey Ball 2 for iPhone and iPod touch in the App Store.

This article was originally published in iProng Magazine.

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iPhone App Review: I Am T-Pain

December 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Links and Resources, Multimedia, Reviews

Written by: Al Morita

I’m a big fan when it comes to music apps, especially ones that let you be creative. “I am T-Pain” has two modes – one lets you sing like T-Pain on his songs and a freestyle mode that is worth the $2.99 alone. When connected to a speaker, the freestyle mode lets you use the app like an auto-tune machine. You have the option to have the auto-tune setting set to T-Pain or you can customize the tuning to major, minor, and even chromatic scales. This app works great for non-singers and singers alike as it automatically adjusts your voice to the nearest note in real-time.

The “I am T-Pain” app includes 14 songs to sing along with. Five of them are instrumental versions of T-Pain songs including the hits “Bartender” and “Dreamgirl.” Three are Christmas karaoke songs, and the other six are T-Pain beats you can freestyle with. You can also purchase additional T-Pain songs in the app for $0.99 – $1.99. None of the songs are installed by default, so you might spend some time downloading the songs if you have a slow connection. I found the karaoke interface to be very good with easy-to-read lyrics on the screen. If you mess up, you can easily restart the song. By default, all your songs are recorded onto your device so you can listen to them later. You can also upload your audio track to the Smule server and also add an audio player with your songs to MySpace and Facebook. They also updated the app so you can sing along to any song in your iTunes library, which is a cool feature. The only limitation in this mode is that you can’t upload it to the server.

This app has many hours worth of entertainment with the auto-tune feature and a good list of songs to sing along with. I applaud Smule for updating the app with new features and songs. They made an excellent product even better. The possibilities are endless, who knows – you might see someone using the “I am T-Pain” app at your next karaoke party. I know I will.

Pros:

  • Excellent auto-tune feature in real-time
  • Good selection of songs with app
  • Share your songs via the upload feature
  • Ability to sing to any song in your iTunes library
  • Solid karaoke mode
  • Good recording quality

Cons:

  • Needs vocal recording level option

Learn more about the I Am T-Pain app in the App Store

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iPhone App Review: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

December 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Games, Multimedia, Reviews

Grinch BookName: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (iTunes Link)
Written By: Oceanhouse Media
Category: Books
Price: $3.99

Size: 9.6 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch
Version: 1.0.1
Rate: 5 out of 5 Stars

The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without the Grinch. If you haven’t read the book yet, there’s a fabulous app that will read it to you! And if you have read it, you’ll love all the memories this app brings to you and your little ones.

Grinch Book“How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is the first official Dr. Seuss ebook and it’s tons of fun! You have the option of the book reading to you, or reading it yourself. The pages are filled with the original book artwork and the animation is just spectacular. It’s perfect for young children learning how to read, and big kids who loved this book as a child.

In the “Read to me” mode, the book will read to you. As it reads, the words are highlighted in red.

In the “Read it myself” mode, the audio is turned off. If you would like to hear the audio, simply tap on the text and the app will start reading that phrase.

There is also another fun and interactive element in the app. If you tap on the page’s illustrations, the object or item’s name will appear in big red letters, and a voice will say what it is. This app is a great reading tool for children just learning how to read as well as big kids like you and me! It’s definitely a must-have for any Grinch fan. The iPhone/iPod Touch app is currently on sale for $3.99 and well-worth it.

This review was originally published in iProng Magazine issue #56.

Disclaimer: I’ve received a promo code for “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” iPhone app from Oceanhouse Media in exchange for a review.

Screenshot

Grinch Book

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iPhone App Review: Grinchmas

December 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

GrinchmasName: Grinchmas (iTunes Link)
Written By: Oceanhouse Media
Category: Games
Price: $1.99
Size: 5.7 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch
Version: 1.0
Rate: 5 out of 5 Stars

If you’re looking for a casual holiday game, this one will surely hit the spot! “Grinchmas” let’s you play the part of Mr. Grinch on Christmas Day. If you’re feeling like a mean grinch, you can throw snowballs at the houses in Who-ville. If you’re feeling like Mr. Nice Grinch, you can shower the houses with gifts!

The game is pretty simple. There are two gaming modes — Mean Grinch or Merry Grinch.

GrinchmasIn “Mean Grinch” mode, the houses in Who-ville are making too much noise for the Grinch. Splat each noisy Who house with a snowball to quiet them down. Do this by simply swiping the phone / iPod Touch. Keep throwing snowballs and see how long you can last!

In “Merry Grinch” mode, the object is to deliver matching colored presents to the Who houses within 2 minutes. Swipe the iPhone / iPod Touch to toss the presents. As each present gets delivered, the Grinch’s heart grows bigger and bigger. The Grinch’s heart grows smaller if the present and house colors are mismatched. How big can you make his heart grow?

The two modes are both simple and fun. I find that aiming at the houses can be a tough though. It may just be because I need a lot of practice. The speed and accuracy of the swipe will determine if the snowball/present hit the right house.

Grinchmas It’s fun for the whole family, even big kids like you! Grinchmas is available in the iTunes App store for just $1.99!

This review was originally published in iProng Magazine issue #56.

Disclaimer: I’ve received a promo code for “Grinchmas” iPhone app from Oceanhouse Media in exchange for a review.

Screenshots

Merry Grinch

Mean Grinch

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iPhone App Review: Disney’s Prep & Landing

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

Prep and LandingPrep & LandingGet into the holiday spirit and help Santa on the most important night ever! ABC brings to you Disney’s Prep & Landing, a new television special airing Tuesday, December 8th at 8:30/7:30c. Along with that comes a cute iPhone / iPod Touch app to spread holiday cheer!

You get to play Lanny, the Christmas elf, as he joins the Kringle Training Academy to become part of the elite unit of elves that prepare homes for Santa on Christmas Eve! Practice in these great mini games: Deployment, Sparkle Ball Practice, and Ski Jump.

In Deployment, you hop off of Santa’s sleigh and parachute down. But be careful! Avoid the toy airplanes, balloons and birds that may be i your way. catch the candy canes and presents to earn rewards!

You never know who’s awake and creeping downstairs anticipating Santa’s arrival! In Sparkle Ball Practice, toss sparkle balls to put eagre children and puppies to sleep.

There are lots of houses for Santa to visit on Christmas Eve, so in Ski Jump, you get to jump from rooftop to rooftop to catch special ornaments that increase your time to prepare for homes for Santa! Watch out for chimneys and snow pits!

This app also comes with some extra holiday fun. Santa has a special scanner to know if you’re naughty or nice, a compass, and a world map!

All in all, if you like fun little mini games, this is a great app to have. Play it while you watch Disney’s “Prep & Landing” tonight!

The app is available in the itunes store for just 99 cents.

If you’re in the US, you can view the video on hulu.

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iPhone App Review: UC Map

October 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Links and Resources, Reviews

ucmapuc-map-iconStarting your first year of college? Feeling a little lost? Not to worry! There’s an app to help you find your way around campus! Logical Dimensions has developed a variety of iPhone applications that map out some of the popular college campuses.

The example app used in this review will be on the “UC Map” bundle. This app includes maps of all 10 campuses in the University of CA system. It’s perfect for college students, faculties, staff, or anyone who visits any of the UC campuses often. Also see the other campus map apps available.

The app was built with simplicity in mind. To use it, scroll and select the campus map you would like to see. Once you make your selection, click on “Buildings” at the bottom. Now, select the buildings you would like to find on the campus by tapping on them. Note, you may select more than one. Once you are done with your selection, tap on “Map” at the bottom. This will pull up Google Maps with pins on all the buildings you selected.

Tap on a pin and you will get options for “Walking Direction,” “Driving direction,” and “Public Transit.” Upon your selection, Google Maps app will open up, show your route, directions, and estimated time of arrival from your current location to the selected building. This will surely help you on your first week of classes. Note, the GPS coordination are not always exact, so be sure to use it only as a guidance.

To test out this app, you can download the UCD Map for free. All other individual campus map apps are 99 cents, and only the UC Map Bundle is $1.99 (but includes all 10 UC campuses).

See all of the Logical Dimension Apps here.

This article was originally published in iProng Magazine.

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Attending Blog World Expo 2009

October 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Geek Get-Togethers

135pxI’m heading off to Blog World Expo 2009 tomorrow and I’m so excited! It’ll be my first Blog World event. I did go to New Media Expo 2008 last year, but now the two conferences are combined into one.

BlogWorld & New Media Expo is the only trade show and conference created for the industry of blogging and new media. It will give participants the strategies, tools and technologies they need to stake their claim in the blogosphere.

It’s a great conference to learn from the industry’s top leaders. There’s so many great educational opportunities and all the panels look great, it’s hard to choose just one for each time slot! The conference will cover various areas of blogging, new media, and so much more!

If you have an iPhone, be sure to install the Blog World Expo Sched iPhone app. It will also sync with the schedule you created online. Here is my schedule. Also be sure to stop by the Exhibit Hall for sessions at WordCamp Las Vegas.

BlogWorld Ad

I will be attending as iProng Magazine’s correspondent. iProng Magazine is the publication for iPhone, iPod, music, podcasting, and social media lovers. There are many reviews of iPhone apps, iPod accessories, and interviews with musicians. Check it out if you haven’t already! Best of all, it’s free! Also, if you haven’t registered for BlogWorld yet, you can still get a 20% discount using the code IPRONGVIP. I’ll see you there!

Read more

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The Guild DVD Seasons 1 & 2

September 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Multimedia

Just a reminder to go get your The Guild: Seasons 1 & 2 DVD now! It’s released today for only $14.99 in retail stores!

What is the Guild? It’s a show is about a group of online gamers who meet in real life, and all the funny adventures they have together. The new DVD set is beautifully packaged and comes with a ton of great extras that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

daynah-guilddvd-smI got mine, now go get yours too! I had the pleasure of interviewing Felicia Day about The Guild. Be sure to look for it in the next iProng Magazine issue (Tuesday, Oct. 6th).

Also, be sure to watch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight for Felicia Day’s guest appearance! And yes Jimmy, Felicia Day is quite awesome. :)

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iPhone App Review: Ramp Champ

September 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

iPhone App: Ramp ChampName: Ramp Champ (iTunes Link)
Written By: Icon Factory and DS MediaLabs
Category: Games
Price: $1.99 (Plus 2 Optional Add-Ons – $0.99 each)

Size: 16.7 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch
Version: 1.0.1
Rate: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Remember the classic boardwalk games like skee-ball and knock ‘em over? Now you can have them right in the palm of your hands! Ramp Champ is a new iPhone / iPod Touch game that adds an interesting twist to these classics.

You can journey deep into the ocean, battle space aliens, play with dolphins and unicorns, fight ninjas, and so much more in this exciting new game. Ramp Champ comes with four built-in skee-ball-like ramps. For each ramp, you are given 9 balls to roll. The object of the game is to knock down various objects (clowns, aliens, ninjas, etc.). Each object is worth a certain number of points. Aim for a high score and rack up points for tickets. Test your finger-rolling skills and redeem your tickets for virtual trinkets.

To keep the game interesting, each ramp also has 3 different set of goals that you can accomplish. For each goal you complete, you will get a trophy. When you reach the first goal, you’ll get a bronze trophy for that ramp. When you reach the second goal, you’ll get upgraded to a silver trophy for that ramp, and then a gold tropy for reaching the third goal. You’ll find yourself coming back for more to complete all the goals (which may seem very impossible at times!)

As mentioned, Ramp Champ comes with four themed ramps — Clown Town, Breakwater Bay, Space Swarm, The Icon Garden. Clown Town is like the classic “Knock ‘em Down” carnival game where you throw balls at clowns, cans, and ducks. Breakwater Bay brings you close to the ocean floor where you can see seahorses, clams, and sharks. Space Swarm has the feel of Space Invaders, and The Icon Garden has the feel of your favorite old school Mac icons.

Ramp Champ also has the option of purchasing add-ons within the game for 99 cents. Currently, there are two add-ons available. The Adventure Pack comes with the Ninja Attack & Tiki Island ramps and the Challenge Pack comes with Happy Place (dolphins and unicorns) & Molar Madness ramps. Each of these ramps also add their own virtual trinkets as well as trophies. Purchasing them is also quite easy. Simply click on “Add-ons” at the bottom of the screen, select your add-on pack, and confirm your purchase by clicking on “Buy.”

After collecting your tickets, click on “Redeem” at the bottom and pick an item that you like. Note, you will have one page with 9 trinkets for each ramp you have. Select an item by tapping on it and then tap “Redeem.” This will add your new item to your loot! To view all of your goodies, click on “Loot” and you will see shelves with all of your virtual trinkets. Tap on “Trophies” on the top right and you’ll see the shelves with all of your trophies.

IconFactory (the makers of Twitterific) and DSMediaLabs did an amazing job with Ramp Champ. The selection of music puts you in the mood to get some cotton candy and head down to the county fair. And as you change ramps, the music just takes you into the specific scene. The attention to details is quite remarkable as well. The scuffs on some of the ramps were just brilliant, as well as the animation of the tickets rolling out.

Ramp Champ is a highly enjoyable game that’s fun, challenging, yet easy to learn. The user interface is simply beautiful. It will surely put a smile on your face every time you play it. iPhone OS 3.0 is required to play Ramp Champ, and you may purchase it in the iTunes App store for $1.99.

This article was originally posted in iProng Magazine. Many thanks to Hollywood Mac Guru for introducing me to this game!

Game Screenshots

iPhone App: Ramp Champ iPhone App: Ramp Champ iPhone App: Ramp Champ iPhone App: Ramp Champ iPhone App: Ramp Champ iPhone App: Ramp Champ

Game Preview from Touch Arcade

Below are Ramp Champ Video game previews by Touch Arcade. You can see how addictive the game can be!

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iPhone App Review: Ancient Frog

September 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

iPhone App: Ancient FrogName: Ancient Frog (iTunes Link)
Written By: Ancient Workshop
Category: Games
Price: $4.99 / Lite Version available for Free

Size: 5.8 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch
Version: 1.0
Rate: 4 out of 5 Stars

Ancient Frog is one of the few hidden gems the iTunes App store has to offer. It’s unique, elegantly designed, and leaves you with this amazing Zen-feeling while playing.

What is it exactly? It’s an original puzzle game that makes you feel like you’re sitting in the middle of a rainforest. The object of the game is to help guide your frog from one part of the screen to the other to eat a delicious little fly. You control the frog by moving its legs, one at a time. The frog must stand in a natural way, so having it cross-legged wouldn’t work. To complete the level, all four legs must be in the target position in front of the fly. The first level is a basic tutorial that will teach you everything you need to know about the game.

On the top right corner of each level is a daisy. Tapping on this will display the game’s options. Options include hints on the next move, skipping the level if you get stuck, or restart the level. The number in the daisy is the par number, which represents the least amount of moves it takes for the frog to reach its goal.

The soothing sounds and peaceful landscapes make this the ideal game to help you relax. There’s no ticking clock to rush you through the level and you don’t have to worry about any lives being lost. The realistic graphics takes you out of your own environment and makes you one with nature.

The game features 100 unique levels, 6 species of frogs, hours of replay value, a ton of beautiful environments and lighting, and soothing sounds of nature. This is a must-have game for a puzzle-lover. Ancient frog is compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch and is currently in the iTunes App store for $4.99. A lite version is also available which features a few levels from each type of complexity, is also available for free.

This article was originally published and featured in iProng Magazine.

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Ancient Frog Game Trailer

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iPhone App Review: Pac-Man Remix

August 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

Pac-Man Remix for iPhone

Name: Pac-Man Remix (iTunes Link)
Written By: Namco Networks America
Category: Games
Price: $5.99 $4.99
Size: 11.3 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch
Version: 1.0.0
Rate: 4 out of 5 Stars

Pac-Man fans will greatly enjoy the newly released Pac-Man Remix game for the iPhone and iPod touch! The object of the game hasn’t changed much. Pac-Man still eats dots, power pellets, and ghosts when they turn blue. He still also gets chased by the ghosts when they’re not blue and loses a life if they catch him. The addition of the 3D graphics and fun animations adds a whole new dimension to the game. As an added twist, the Remix version has exclusive features like boss battles, stage-specific gadgets, and power-up items!

pacman-remixPac-Man is stranded on an island full of ghostly enemies — big and small. The island is divided into 6 different sections. Within each section are 5 different levels, which means there are 30 different levels altogether. The last level of each island section is the big boss battle. Before playing each level, a short colorful clip shows you the challenges you will face in the next stage. Although, with only 30 levels, gameplay seems a bit short.
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Comic-Con 2009 On-Site Report

August 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Geek Get-Togethers

On-site report from Comic-Con 2009 in San Diego, which included appearances by everyone ranging from Joss Whedon and Felicia Day to Wil Wheaton and, well, pretty much every fictional character ever created…

Comic-con 2009 on-site report

Comic-Con is where geeks meet annually to celebrate their passion for comics, science fiction, fantasy, and their inner-geekiness! Many dress up as their favorite comic book characters and pose in photos, getting a dose of the celebrity life for a weekend.

Comic-Con is also where many long-awaited special announcements are first heard, and I believe the best surprises this year came from The Guild panel. So what is The Guild? It’s an online comedy show about the online and offline lives of a guild (group of gamers). Whether you play games or not, it’s worth checking out. You’ll find yourself laughing at all the characters, because we all know people in real life that reminds us of each character!

The Guild panel was on Friday morning, and to my surprise, the line was wrapping around the hallway! Every seat in the room was taken, and many of the attendees stood against the back walls. The session was quite packed!
Read more

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Marvel Comics Beach Towel SDCC 2016 SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON EXCLUSIVE GALLERY OF HEROESMarvel Comics Beach Towel SDCC 2016 SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON EXCLUSIVE GALLERY OF HEROESHit the beach or lounge poolside with a mix of all time & rarely represented favorites

iPhone App Review: Rolando 2

August 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

Rolando 2

Name: Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid (iTunes Link)
Written By: ngmoco, Inc.
Category: Games
Price: $9.99
Size: 56.1 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch / (iPhone OS 2.2.1 and later)
Version: 1.1
Rate: 5 Stars

The sequel to one of the best iPhone games has arrived, jammed packed with even more fun than ever before! “Rolando 2: The Quest for the Golden Orchid” takes us back to the days of pirates and their quest leads us through tropical beaches, ancient ruins, volcanic caverns, and jungles. The new cast of characters in this adventure/puzzle game will surely make you smile!

As the story goes, Sir Richard Buttons-Smthe, a brave young Rolando, returns home to the Kingdom of Rolando to report of his adventures to the King and Queen. As he tells the Sages of his adventures, they suddenly fall ill, showing symptoms of the Kilgorean Flu. Sir Richard mentions that the only cure for it is the “fabled Golden Orchid, atop the great Mount on the Isle of Fontanis.” So the King sends him back to the boat, along with a new team of Rolandos and that’s how their adventure begin.
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iPhone App Review: Bed Bugs

July 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

Bed Bugs

iPhone App: Bed BugsName: Bed Bugs (iTunes Link)
Written By: Igloo Games
Category: Games
Price: $1.99
Size: 14.0 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch
Version: 1.1 (iPhone OS 3.0 Tested)
Rate: 4.5 Stars

Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.

That’s what people say when you’re heading off to dreamland. Sleep should be relaxing and peaceful time, but that’s not the case for the poor sleepwalker in “Bed Bugs.” From the makers of “Dizzy Bee,” comes a lovable game about a little guy who sleep walks through the night and gets in all sorts of danger. You, as the player, must let him dream away while you squish and protect him of the bed bugs!
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iPhone App Review: Cooking Mama

June 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Apple, Games, Reviews

Cooking Mama

Name: Cooking Mama (iTunes Link)
Written By: Taito Corporation
Category: Games
Price: $6.99
Size: 8.8 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch
Version: 1.0
Rate: 4 Stars

Learning to cook on the go is now even simpler with the “Cooking Mama” iPhone/iPod Touch game! It made it’s first appearance on the Nintendo DS, and then the Wii, capturing audiences of all ages.

“Cooking Mama” is a quirky culinary game where you follow a series of recipes to make a nice meal as the end result. Dishes are prepared by manipulating the utensils with your finger. This includes chopping, flipping, kneading, slicing, dicing, stirring, peeling, and more. Mama rates you on your performance at each step of the way. The better you do each task, the happier Mama gets. However, if you don’t finish the task within a certain amount of time, she gets mad! The better you prepare the dishes, the more recipes you can unlock.

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iPhone App Review: Chop Sushi

April 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

Chop Sushi

Name: Chop Sushi (iTunes Link)
Written By: THQ Wireless Inc.
Category: Games
Price: $2.99
Size: 9.4 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch
Version: 1.0.16
Rate: 4.5 Stars

There are many match-three games in the App Store, but “Chop Sushi” stands out in this genre. This game proves to be a tasty treat! The object of the game is to match at least 3 types of sushi. The more sushi you match, the more turns you get.

The unique part about “Chop Sushi” is the role-playing twist. You venture into the game as the character, Master Chef. His main goal is to serve the freshest sushi and to make everyone happy. Unfortunately, everyone he runs into has a personal demon that needs to be dealt with. As he challenges them to a match-three sushi battle, he also levels up, gains health, adds new weapons, and defeat the customer’s demons.

The game starts out simple with very helpful tutorials. Tapping on a sushi piece or stone will signal the chopsticks to pick it up. Move the piece by swaying the chopsticks up, down, left, or right. Matching pieces will disappear and more will appear in their place. If you match more than four pieces, you will get another turn. You take turns with your opponent and the battle ends when you or your opponent have 0% health. Match wasabi pieces to damage your opponent’s health. When no moves are available on the board, all the stones crack to reveal what’s underneath them.

There are three modes to choose from — Adventure, Quick Battle, and Challenges. In Challenges, you have to match items in a specific number of moves. In Quick Battle, you can select which land and demon to battle with. But the game is mostly centered around the Adventure mode, where Master Chef can wander around, talk to people, and swim to new lands.

As the game progress, you start to earn new recipes that can help you with your battles. New weapons and healing recipes will have you thinking about your next move as well as your opponent’s. This adds another level of gameplay to keep the game fun and challenging.

Sometimes selecting a sushi piece to move is difficult. The pieces are small, so you’ll find yourself picking up the wrong piece. However, you are not penalized and there is no time limit in the game. This is nice because you never feel rushed.

If you would like to try out this game, download “Chop Sushi Lite” (iTunes Link) for free and give it a test drive. You’ll be able to play one level and battle three different opponents. The full version is only $2.99 and is worth every penny!

This article was featured in iProng Magazine.

Video Game Trailer

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iPhone App Review: I Love Katamari

March 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

I Love Katamari

Name: I Love Katamari (iTunes Link)
Written By: Namco Networks America Inc.
Category: Games
Price: $7.99
Size: 84.0 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch

“I Love Katamari” is a fun and addictive puzzle game created by Namco. It can also be found on various gaming platforms, but the version for the iPhone and iPod touch brings you an experience you can’t find anywhere else.

As the story goes, “The King of All Cosmos has accidentally knocked all the stars out of the sky during a crazy night out. It is up to the pint-sized Prince to put the twinkle back in the heavens.” You play the role of the young prince who’s undying wish is to please his father. The King of All Cosmos sends the young prince to Earth to bring back his requested object.

The object of the game is to roll a katamari (a very adhesive ball) around various locations to collect interesting objects such as pencils, push pins, sushi, and more! Larger objects can be rolled up in your katamari as its diameter increases. I know this sounds very weird, but it’s also highly addictive and you’ll find yourself tiling your iPhone/iPod touch in all directions.

Keep in mind that rolling the desired object is the goal and not rolling everything in sight. The game features a few play modes: Story Mode (find and roll-up the King’s requested object), Time Attack Mode (roll up as much as possible in a limited time), Exact Size Challenge Mode (match exactly a requested katamari size), and Eternal Mode (roll at your own pace without any time or size limit). Finishing the challenge in Story Modes opens up new adventures for you though.

The graphics of the game are fun and the music is entertaining. My only concern is the speed of the animation, but hopefully that will be fixed in the next update. Try out “I Love Katamari Lite” (iTunes Link) to get the feel of the game, which includes the first level.

This was originally published and featured in iProng Magazine Issue #36.

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iPhone App Review: Rolando

February 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

iPhone App Review: Rolando

Name: Rolando (iTunes Link)
Written By: ngmcoc, Inc.
Category: Games
Price: $4.99
Size: 25.1 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch

Enter the storybook kingdom of Rolandoland and meet the cute little Rolandos. Each one has its own unique personality that you’re sure to love. Rolandos come in three types — royalty, spikey, and regular. Royalty Rolandos need a lot help and protection. Spikey ones can stick and roll onto any surface, including walls and ceilings! Regular Rolandos are hard-working critters who have the ability to roll and jump.

This fairytale land has been invaded by pesky enemies and your help is needed to save them! Tilt, tap, use multi-touch controls, and the laws of physics to solve various puzzles and guide each Rolando to safety!

Within each level, there are also three different types of bonuses: save all the Rolandos, collect all the gems, and beat the challenge time. Beating the challenge time proves to be the most difficult.

Rolando also has a nice feature called iSave. When you press the home button to turn the game off, it saves your place, not matter where you are in the level. This comes in quite handy when you take a call or need a short break.

The graphics are beautifully done. The 3D display of the Rolandoland map is quite impressive. Even selecting a level to play is fun in itself. The music is quite catchy, but you can turn it off and listen to your own music instead.

With 36 levels to play, the challenges and puzzles will prove to have plenty of replay value. If you’re interested in trying the game, download Rolando Lite (iTunes link) for free. You can purchase the full version for $4.99.

This article was originally published on page 27 of iProng Magazine’s 35th issue and was a featured article.

Rolando Video Trailer

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iPhone App Review: Spore Origins

February 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Games, Reviews

Spore OriginsName: SporeTM Origins (iTunes Link)
Written By: Electronic Arts
Category: Games
Price: $4.99
Size: 68.4 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch

Eat, or be eaten! That’s the motto of “Spore Origins.” You start off as a tiny cellular blob, swimming around in search of food. You munch on the smaller creatures and stay away from the larger ones.

Evolution takes time. And as your creature develops new skills of swimming and dodging large creatures, you earn evolutionary points at the end of each level. Your creature has the same goal at each level: eat the smaller creatures by swimming towards them, avoid the larger creatures and their attacks, and fill up your “DNA Bar” to finish the level.

Tilting the iPhone in different directions moves your creature around the water or swamp. The graphics of the game is really great and colorful. The music of the game suits it very well too. Very relaxing and captures the mood of each level.

Getting your food becomes more of a challenge at each level. Stranger creatures with spikes and attacks become obstacles in your way. But you also have power-ups called “symbiotes” to your advantage. They’re scattered all throughout the level and come in three colors — red allows you to move faster, blue is a shield, and purple is poison that you can use to attack bigger creatures.

The Creature Creator is another fun part of the game. Click on “Edit Creature” after you complete each level. As you gain evolution points, you are able to edit how your creature looks and add new features to it. You can change the pattern and color, add eyes and feelers, spikes, teeth, and shields. The more evolution points you gain, the more items you can unlock.

Overall, it’s a fun game to play! With 30 levels to explore, it may be a little addictive. If you’d like to try it for free, test out the Spore Origins Lite version. You can play one level as well have full features to the Creature Creator.

Spore Origins Spore Origins Spore Origins Spore Origins Spore Origins

This article was originally published on page 27 of iProng Magazine’s 34th issue.

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iPhone App Review: Topple

November 2, 2008 by  
Filed under Apple, Games, Reviews

iPhone App: ToppleName: Topple (iTunes Link)
Written By: Ngmoco, Inc.
Category: Games
Price: $0.99 (Now Free)
Size: 8.9 MB
Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch

This new game is described as:

Stack and balance a family of mischievous and dysfunctional shapes using multi-touch controls to slide and rotate them into position. Build your way to victory but remember to keep your balance by tilting the screen to prevent your teetering tower of blocks from Toppling to their doom.

It’s a simple game concept that can turn out to be very addicting! It’s kind of like Tetris. You have shapes that fall down and you have to rearrange it in stable way. You can rotate the image using multi-touch controls. Use one finger to hold the shape, use another to rotate. When you’re ready, drop the shape down. The object of the game is to stack the blocks as high as you can, without toppling them over. The most shapes you can drop is 4 per level. Any more, and the game is over. Tile the iPhone/iPod touch to help balance out the shapes and reach your goal! Keep an eye on your blocks’ facial expressions to plan your next move.

Let me know if you enjoy this. I really enjoy games that make use of the accelerometer! Go buy it now. (iTunes Link)

Many thanks to Natali Del Conte for interviewing Christi Wilkerson (Apple, iPod marketing) on CNET’s Loaded. That gave me a first glimpse of the game in action!

This article was published in iProng Magazine: Issue #31.

Topple Screenshots

iPhone App: Topple photo photo photo

Topple Space Mode Video Trailer

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