The Year of the Apple: 2013 Games, Apps and Gadgets in Review

2013 IN GAMES AND APPS: THE HITS AND MISSES

appSIZED was a bit quiet this year in taking stock of the gaming scene. Nonetheless, these titles are worth looking at. Some are big names and some are quiet wonders:

appsized 2013

1) Tower Dwellers (Universal/$3.99) – While I am a huge fan of tower defense games, I am not a huge fan of Kingdom Rush, the game which Tower Dwellers is often compared to. Tower Dwellers boasts of a gorgeous art style and nice voice over narration which gives the game some humor. The similarities are there, but I like the interesting twist in Tower Dwellers where you build support towers (blacksmith, carpenter and mage) to boost your default defenders. Certain combinations produce new types of defenders, which is my favorite part of the game. The game is pretty hard to beat even on a normal curve, but what keeps me going is the thought and effort required to build certain types of defenders to defeat waves and waves of various enemies. There’s also a sandbox mode where you can practice.  One thing I love about this game is the micro-level management which lets you place your defenders along rally points to meet your enemies and adjust accordingly. (HIT)

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Tips and Tricks: Robot Unicorn Attack 2 the Always Edition

I was incredibly excited when Robot Unicorn Attack 2 came out two weeks ago. Being a huge fan of the original Robot Unicorn Attack, the sequel which is awesome on so many levels, has no doubt captured our collective imagination. Having played the game extensively for some time now, let me share with you some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way.

If you’re new to Robot Unicorn Attack 2, read on for a bit of a walkthrough.

Dashing through the rocks

Dashing with the stars

Robot Unicorn Attack 2 (Universal for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad/FREE with in-app purchase) is an endless runner type of game, the sequel to the insanely popular Flash-turned-iPhone game Robot Unicorn Attack. In Robot Unicorn Attack (Universal for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad/$0.99), you are a robot unicorn soaring to new heights in a fantasy world tinged in pink and purple, flying with metallic dolphins, dashing through obstacles and collecting fairies in the process – set to Always by Erasure, which makes the whole experience surreal and laugh out loud ridiculous. Robot Unicorn Attack 2 is true to its roots, but adds a whole new level of complexity and depth to the gaming experience similar to Adult Swim/Pik Pok’s later outings such as Extinction Squad. In Robot Unicorn Attack 2 there are individual goals to achieve in order to level up (rank 15 opens up a new environment, the Ice World) as well as community goals (Team Inferno vs Team Rainbow). The main currency here is the unicorn tear which allows you to buy robot unicorns and their corresponding upgrades as well as boosts to improve your performance.

That said, read on for some tips to improve your gameplay and boost overall performance.

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Myth Defense (Light Forces) in Review: Too Damn Hard!

As I’ve said many times, tower defense games are a dime a dozen in the App Store and it takes a lot for one to stand out.

Myth Defense – Light Forces sounded intriguing enough when I first checked it out. Unlike most games, it offers extensive customizability of its towers and offers a skill tree of sorts where you can choose what kind of upgraded towers you want, say whether you want it launch arrows or fireballs. You can also boost tower performance by combining various runes and enlisting the aid of dwarves, elves, etc. to create more powerful towers.

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Heads Up! Majesty: The Northern Expansion & Royal Envoy 2 HD Are on Sale!

Heads up! Two awesome games are on sale!

The full version of Royal Envoy 2 HD is on sale for a limited time:

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If you loved Royal Envoy HD and gorgeous building sim/time management games, you will love Royal Envoy 2 HD.

Download Royal Envoy 2 HD for iPad ($3.99 down from $6.99) for a limited time.

Majesty: The Northern Expansion, the sequel to one of my all time favorite games, Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim is also on sale for a limited time:
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Download Majesty: The Northern Exposure (Universal) for only $0.99 (down from $2.99) for a limited time.

Top 12 iPhone and iPad Games of 2012

As more and more games and apps flood the App Store, it’s getting harder to find apps that truly stand out. For 2012, I expanded the list to include 12 notable games.

The following were chosen because they feel like they were made for the iOS mobile device and make good use of its touchscreen (this applies to PC/Xbox/PSN ports, too!), flawlessly designed, and bring something new and/or great to their respective genres. In addition, as a casual gamer, these games are relatively light, fun and quick to play.

In no particular order, appSIZED’s notable games of 2012 are:

fieldrunners 2 HD on appSIZED

Gloriously fun and beautiful to play

FIELDRUNNERS 2 HD
(iPad only)

The much awaited sequel to the iOS tower defense (TD) forerunner Fieldrunners does not disappoint. It’s gorgeously designed, flawlessly implemented and fiendishly difficult at times. I love the cheeky humor, too! Despite their notable hiatus from the iOS game development scene, the guys at Subatomic Studios were clearly cooking up this masterpiece. (Read the full review here)

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Scrabble meets chess in Letterpress

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Last Hurrah for 2012: Introducing Mini-Reviews for iPhone and iPad Games and Apps!

Here’s a last surprise for 2012 – the bite-sized mini-reviews of games and apps for a busy shopper like you. Catch more of these in 2013!

Not to worry though, appSIZED will still feature full-blown reviews for selected games and apps.

Stay tuned for appSIZED’s annual selection of the best apps of 2012. You might find yet another surprise, then!

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iOS Weekend Alert: Angry Birds and Diner Dash Games Go on Sale!

angry birds and diner dash go on sale appSIZED

As Christmas approaches, more and more sales are popping up. Notably, Rovio (of Angry Birds fame) and Playfirst (of the hit Diner Dash series) have put up their hugely popular games on sale for a limited time. If you have only a few dollars left in your account, here are appSIZED’s picks for you:

1) Angry Birds Space HD ($0.99/iPad only) – I am not a fan of Angry Birds at all, but I loved what Rovio did with this installment. The laws of physics are at work in outer space, making gameplay more challenging and fun. It’s still the best looking AB game in my opinion.

2) Angry Birds Star Wars HD ($0.99/iPad only) – I like Angry Birds Space more but this is Rovio’s latest game so getting it on sale so new is a great deal to me. Also, if you are a Star Wars fan, an avian Hans Solo should be fun to look at.

3) Cooking Dash Deluxe ($0.99/Universal) – I am probably one of the few who prefer Cooking Dash over the original Diner Dash franchise. Buy it because it’s universal so you can enjoy it anywhere. Unfortunately it’s not optimized for the taller iPhone/iPod screen and you do have to pay for additional levels on top of the standard 50 – not to mention . Again this is a small price to pay for Dash addiction.

4) Bad Piggies HD or Angry Birds Seasons HD ($0.99/iPad only) – I haven’t tried out Bad Piggies yet but it looks promising, and offers a different type of gameplay from the standard Angry Birds fare. Take note however, that Bad Piggies HD has in-app purchases for additional maps. On the other hand, Angry Birds Seasons HD only offers a single in-app purchase for unlimited use of the might eagle (to solve levels) and it’s the kind of game to make you feel a little festive all throughout the year.

5) Wedding Dash Deluxe ($0.99/Universal) – Frantic gameplay and some wedding day drama make up this unique time management offering from Playfirst. Having played Wedding Dash 4-Ever and its tiny people on my iPad, Wedding Dash Deluxe is a welcome alternative.

H(app)y shopping! 🙂

Shop Til You Drop with appSIZED’s Black Friday Massive Sale Alert!

It’s Black Friday once again as we celebrate Thanksgiving with a slew of apps and games on sale! To guide you through the hordes of apps at your disposal, here are some of appSIZED’s very own recommendations. Just click on the name of the app to take you straight to the iTunes page:

1) Plants vs Zombies HD (NOW $0.99/iPad only) – if you don’t have it yet! Check out our review of this awesome, iconic tower defense game!

2) Avengers Initiative (NOW $0.99/Universal) – HULK SMASH!

3) Infinity Blade II (NOW $2.99/Universal)- Gorgeous, elegant and action-packed sword fighting RPG adventure. One of the best games on the iOS ever. Read the review.

4) Infinity Blade (NOW $0.99/Universal) – The game that started it all.

5) Gangstar Rio: City of Saints (NOW $0.99/Universal) – If you love cars, guns and some badass adventure, then go pick this up now!

6) Need for Speed: Most Wanted (NOW $2.99/Universal) – If you love racing games and a thrilling chase, check this out!

7) Mega Mall Story (NOW $0.99/iPhone only) – Their apps go on sale rarely, so Kairosoft fans and newbies to one of the most addictive simulation games known to man, you can test the waters with this game.

8) Jazz: Trump’s Journey (NOW $0.99/Universal) – Lest this music game/platformer be buried in the massive price drops going on, this gorgeous little game has a lot of charm and soul.

9) Autumn Dynasty (NOW $3.99/iPad only) – Gorgeous real time strategy (RTS) game that, in my opinion, is perfectly suited for the touchscreen device.

10) Fieldrunners (NOW $0.99/iPhone) – Experience the original 2008 tower defense game that set the bar for thousands to come. Check out the review of Fieldrunners and its awesome sequel here.

11) Pocket Informant Pro (NOW $7.99/Universal) – Powerful calendar/task/notes management software that helps you organize your life!

12) Quickoffice Pro HD (NOW $4.99/iPad only) – A personal favorite of mine, Quickoffice Pro HD is also a viable alternative to your Pages/Keynote/Numbers apps, in one easy to use app.

13) ReaddleDocs for iPad – PDF viewer/attachments saver/file manager (NOW $1.99/iPad only) – Readdle is a trusted brand when it comes to productivity, so you might find this app useful for school and work.

4) Docs to Go Premium (NOW $9.99/Universal) – Looking for a way to make your iPad more productive? Docs to Go is a one stop shop for documents, spreadsheets and presentations on your iPhone and iPad.

Attention, time management fans and casual gamers, do not miss the massive blowout care of Alawar Entertainment! Most of their iPhone and iPad games are on sale, or totally free! Check out their massive collection of apps here and apps reviewed on appSIZED here.

Likewise, another favorite of mine, G5 Games, also has tons of games on sale! Check out their games here and appSIZED reviews of some of their games here.

That’s it for now. Keep watching this post for more picks from appSIZED!

p.s. In case you are on the lookout for some cool new stuff from Apple, such as an iPad mini perhaps or a retina Macbook Pro, make sure you don’t miss their own Black Friday sale on the Apple page. Free shipping for selected items!

Fawning Over Felines? Show My Cat is Instagram for Kitties

 

Love cats? Love looking at kitty photos? Show My Cat promises itself to be your very own kitty Instagram, featuring photos of your beloved feline. No more “spamming” your Facebook friends with kitty photos, here, you have your own space to share your kitty photos with fellow cat lovers.

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iOS App Review: Cover Photo Maker for Facebook Pro+

Cover Photo Maker for Facebook Pro+

We choose our Facebook profile photos with care, displaying our photos which paint us in the best light. Cover photo opens up a whole new layer of expression and meaning, allowing us to share with people a photo that we like or made – a beautiful panoramic photo of a place we’ve been, a family portrait, our pets … The possibilities are endless.

Now that Facebook is set to roll out its Facebook timeline feature with a prominent cover photo as its centerpiece, many users will want to choose one major defining photo that’s even bigger than their profile picture. While having a statement cover photo is a fantastic idea, I find the cover photo feature rather frustrating to work with since there was no way to resize photos in such a way that the whole picture can be seen and not just some blown up part of it. Choosing a photo that will fit in Facebook’s irregular cover photo frame is quite challenging, if not outright difficult. Those with some photo editing knowhow will have to edit photos and customize them to appear properly in the Cover Photo section on Facebook.

Luckily, for non-photoshop users like myself, Cover Photo Maker for Facebook Pro+ – is a real godsend. It just made my life a lot easier and my Facebook profile page a lot easier on the eyes, too.

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