appSIZED is ba-ack!

Apologies for the unexplained hiatus.

The founder, Editor-in-Chief and Girl Friday of this solo-driven app reviews site got married in November in Buenos Aires and has been busy ever since.

Rest assured that the gamer in her is still alive and kicking, and in fact, a mini version is also on the way.

As always, the format and way of presenting app reviews is a constant challenge to this solo reviewer but I hope to share with you the apps and games I’m into these days.

Also, the unique new offering of Apple, Test Flight, has enabled me to check out beta versions of games in development. Feel free to include this reviewer in your pool of testers!

Thanks for your patience and I look forward to more appventures with you!

Have a great week ahead!

Enuh

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Review: Hanx Writer for iPad

 

 

Hanx Writer for iPad may seem like a quaint idea to most, but for those e who grew up with a manual typewriter long before Microsoft Word became a household name, Hanx Writer brings back memories and then some. The app, incidentally, was commissioned and endorsed by no less than award-winning actor Tom Hanks who is a typewriter fanatic.

 

Back then, typing was a challenging and frustrating experience. You needed to be extra careful when typing things – how soft or how hard you bang the keys means the difference between a smooth looking typewritten page and a page with out of place keys or smudged letters.

I can go on all day about the perils and terrors of typewriter ribbons gone threadbare and paper incorrectly inserted, but I'm not here to wax poetic about a bygone era, I'm here to talk about how Hanx Writer fares as a throwback app and as a notetaking/mini word processor.

The fun part about having a 'pretend' typewriter like Hanx Writer is that you get to enjoy the perks of typing manually without the corresponding headaches. The fun part of typing then was hearing the clickety clack of keys and watching words being hammered out on the page with a couple of quick strokes – the less than fun part was dealing with jammed keys, smudged letters and uneven typing. Nowadays, typing with a keyboard is a muted experience while a touchscreen computer is almost silent.

For a free app, you get to enjoy the experience of typing on a 'pretend' typewriter, complete with the clicking sound of the individual keys as you type and the ringing sound when you've reached the end of the line and have to move to the next. For the full-blown typing experience, you can even turn off the 'modern' way of correcting mistakes (read: backspace). However, it would also be nice to see keys a bit out of place just like what I was used to when I typed too hard. For select upgrades, you can try out new typewriter themes or styles or just get the entire pack for $5, which includes more ribbon colors, justify alignment, a title page with the option to put a picture, etc.

Hanx Writer makes typing on the touchscreen keyboard fun, but I've tried pairing the app with my trusty bluetooth keyboard and the experience has been seamless.

My only gripe with the app is that sharing options are limited. For now, you can only “share” or export your work in PDF, which you can of course open in other apps such as Goodreader and other PDF readers. It would be nice, however, to have other file saving options such as .txt or .rtf formats.

For a free app that you can straightaway enjoy without shelling out real money for in app purchases (IAP), Hanx Writer is a fun and engaging typing experience that is more than just a trip down memory lane. I can envision it to be my default writing app just to get those creative juices flowing. Check out the report below:

appSIZED rating: 5 out of 5

App: Hanx Writer for iPad

Link: Hanx Writer for iPad

Compatibility: iPad only

Price: FREE

Ver.: 1.0

Developer/Publisher: HitCents, Inc.

 

 

App Review: Goodreader 4 for iPhone and iPad

If there is one app out there that is the best toolbox that you'll find for your iPad/iPhone, then Goodreader for iPad (Goodreader, for short) would be it. As a long time user (since 2010), I have come to rely on Goodreader for the tasks needed for my iPad that are usually only possible using a computer.

Goodreader 4 is said to be an even better version of an already great app. It's currently available as a standalone app or as in-app purchase from one's existing Goodreader app.

Need a toolbox of an app for your needs? Read on to find out!

 

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Now Playing: Man At Arms TD for iPad

 

man at arms TD It has taken me a month before sitting down to write this review largely because I’ve been doing nothing with my free time except play Man At Arms TD for iPad ($4.99). After many hours logged in making maps, playing online, replaying levels and combining cards, I have finally finished the lengthy campaign mode and am left wanting even more!

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At first glance, Man At Arms TD is not as slickly designed as its tower defense (TD) counterparts. In a genre where games are getting more attractive by the day, Man At Arms TD is rather plainly designed with some awkwardness in the animation. Gameplay wise,  Man At Arms TD does not reinvent the wheel with its gameplay.

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Now Playing: Doctor Life for iPhone and iPad

I once dreamt of becoming a doctor when I was a kid. The dream quickly dissipated when I realized I couldn’t bring myself to dissect a live frog when I was in high school. Now, the closest I get to playing doctor is by playing iPad/iPhone games revolving around a hospital theme.

Doctor Life ($2.99/Universal for iPhone and iPad) by WIGU Games came out recently, the kind of hospital-themed time management/sim game that will make you feel like a doctor. Having played a fair number of hospital/medical themed games in the past, such as Hospital Havoc 2, Are You Alright, the Amateur Surgeon series, Hollywood Hospital, Doctor Life is the first of its kind to actually focus on real medical conditions and treatments.

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Now Playing: Bug Heroes 2 for iPhone and iPad

Did you play the original Bug Heroes game? I did. Years later, Bug Heroes 2 ($0.99/Universal) is Foursaken media's latest addition to their lineup, following Bug Heroes Quest.

I must admit that while I played the first game extensively, the unlockable characters via in-app purchase threw me off. It didn't help that I sucked at the game and it seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I just didn't have powerful enough characters to use.

As for Bug Heroes 2, there are significant improvements and more problems compared to the original. It's still the same game as the original – you control an arsenal of fighting bugs (spiders, ants, etc.) and use them to fend of waves of aggressive enemies who are out to steal your food stash (a.k.a. your base). This time, however, you have two (2) heroes to control. These heroes are obtained randomly (slot machine style), and more heroes require a certain number of stars to unlock further.

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Now Playing: Hidden City – Mystery of Shadows for iPad

I haven’t got much patience for hidden object games (HOGs) of late, but I do appreciate most of them for the gorgeous design and interesting storylines. Hidden CIty: Mystery of Shadows (Free) by G5 Games is their latest title to hit the App Store. While there are plenty of HOGs out there, not many have explored the free to play model. In the past, HOGs were far more expensive than your usual games, owing to the depth and richness of the content. It also takes a lot of time and patience to finish one, hence a single HOG could last you for months, depending on how busy you are and how many games you play on average.

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Five iOS Games to Get Excited About in 2014

Before January ends, let me share with you an awesome guest post by fellow blogger Jennifer Birch. She sent me an email awhile back with her own take on games she’s excited about this 2014. Thank you, Jenni! Enjoy!

The year 2014 might be in favour of those born with under the horse sign according to feng shui experts, but we can all agree that Apple users are the luckiest ones. Exciting new games are debuting on the iOS platform this year. As early as in the first quarter, new titles are already raring for their release. Below are some of the most highly anticipated and most-awaited games for iPad and iPhone enthusiasts.
frontline+commando

Frontline Commando 2

Coming from Glue (who also made the app store hits such as Zombies Ate My Friends and Eternity Warriors II), it won’t be surprising if this turns out to be an equally brilliant ‘freemium’ action game. While some absolutely abhor this type of business model, others are actually sensible such as the case of Frontline Commando. The original boasts of clean-cut animations and good-enough targeting mechanism, but it is not your run-of-the-mill indie game for the iPhone. It feels deep and immersive with the constant content updates, unlike others that lie rotting as an icon on your gadget until they inevitably turn into a massive byte-waster.

From the previews of the game and the first look of our Kiwi friends (New Zealand got the game last December), it seems like it will be a massive hit.

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Now Playing: Bardbarian for iPad and iPhone

appsized bardbarian review

conga line … charge!

In any fantasy adventure, the bard usually plays a supporting role, providing inspiration and support to the rest of the party with his songs about war and heroism.

In my current game of choice, and one I highly recommendBardbarian for iPhone and iPad (by Bulky Pix and Tree Fortress), it’s Brad the Bard who takes centerstage in fighting off nasty baddies invading his village. However, Brad can’t directly attack them, but his battle axe turned magical musical instrument generates notes which lets him summon allies who do the fighting for him. What Brad can do is to activate special powers to boost his units, such as increased damage, speed or protection.

appsized bardbarian

channel your inner slash

It’s not easy to classify Bardbarian as one type of game but not another – the best way to put it is that it’s a crazy mishmash of different genres such as castle defense and a bit of RPG – crazy in a good way, of course.

If you still know the likes of Slash (Guns N Roses) and Kirk Hammet (Metallica), you’ll know that this Bard plays a mean guitar solo. So on top of a crazy, frantic game you get a pretty awesome soundtrack.

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My Most Anticipated Game for 2014: Battleheart Legacy

To be honest, I haven’t been into games lately because not many catch my attention nowadays.

BUT this is one game this reviewer’s been waiting for since it was in development back in 2012.

If you’ve ever played the original Battleheart (released in 2011), I consider it one of the best iOS games ever. What made it so unique was its party approach to real-time combat. The genius behind this game is how Mika Mobile, the developer, made an incredibly hectic game so easy to understand and simple. By simply drawing lines you can do a lot – damage enemies in battle, heal an ally, unleash special powers, etc. Battleheart has been imitated many times over but it’s still in a class of its own.

For Battleheart Legacy, Mikamobile has clarified that it will not bring its party system to the table, which I will sorely miss but offers instead a deeper and more complex solo RPG game, with 3D art (still the same cute cartoony characters, though, which is great), lots of quests and tons of new stuff to unlock and upgrade.

This game is on my watchlist and I really hope Mika Mobile will be able to roll it out within the month (it was initially set for release last December) or early next month.

In addition, I hope the original Battleheart will also be updated with more stuff. It’s been around since 2011 but I’m still playing it. Dear Mika Mobile, please hear this fan’s desperate plea. Love you, guys!

 

p.s.

Don’t forget to check out their other games!