Now Playing: Valiant Hearts – The Great War for iPhone and iPad

It is 1914 and you are in the middle of World War I. You are an ordinary soldier, thrust into the power struggle between great European countries, to serve as fodder for protracted battles on the ground.

The App Store's Editor's Choice of the week Valiant Hearts: The Great War relives the confusion and nightmare of the war, told through the eyes of ordinary folks called upon to serve their country. Just as war, in its broadest sense, is just the game of the generals, it is ironic to see the game make out of a high stakes 'game' that cost lives.

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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.

 

 

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: 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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Bardbarian Now Out With Endless Mode

The guys at Tree Fortress were busy rolling out updates for Bardbarian. Last week, we saw important bug fixes and earlier today, Endless Mode came out.

Endless Mode is more about running and dodging enemy projectiles. Distance covered is key. I haven’t gotten very far; Brad is a bit slow when it comes to running,

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p.s. Finally unlocked all but one unit, and the newer units are just awesome and make this game even more unique!

Flappy Bird – 1, Mankind – 0

I decided to hop on the Flappy Bird bandwagon after seeing an ominous Facebook post warning the rest of the world that no matter how bored you are, DO NOT download Flappy Bird. Apparently, this game which has been out since May 2013, recently and mysteriously went viral.

That kind of a warning is the surest way to get someone interested in this quiet little game that suddenly went viral. Kids everywhere are playing it, adults like myself can barely get past the first pipe!

The game certainly doesn’t score points in the looks department. I instinctively look for Mario and perhaps a colorful red and white mushroom to pop out. The art here is rather plain and dull looking.

Flappy Bird has generated enormous attention as the game du jour with some writers mystified and frustrated about the game’s soaring popularity. Maybe because it’s free? Maybe because it’s supposed to be simple but it’s not? Is it because this game unites both iPhone and Android users, therefore, the entire smartphone toting world? Are mobile games going downhill? Whatever reason it may be, it’s undeniable that Flappy Bird now gets 15 minutes of fame the same way Candy Crush took over the world for some time.

Perhaps the game’s real secret is its infuriatingly simple premise : just get past the spaces between the darn pipes by tapping on the screen to propel your flappy bird. Tap too hard and you will hit the pipe. Tap too slowly you fall into the pipe instead. Timing and excellent eye to hand coordination is the name of the game. Believe me, it’s not as easy as it seems.

For some reason, Flappy Bird is more of a tappy bird, in my humble opinion, but knowing this doesn’t make me push past my all time high score of four.

Magicka in Review: Quirky and Cute, But Not Quite Magical

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Magicka for iPad was featured Game of the Week by Apple. It is a sidescroller where you constantly move forward in a linear fashion with enemies attacking you from both sides. At your disposal are elemental runes which you can combine into various spells, each with their respective properties. For example, lighting and water don't go together, but if you combine lightning with fire, you can cast a thunderbolt spell. Some spell combinations produce powerful spells – you can create meteor storms, blizzards, explosions, which are unlocked as rewards after completing a level. (Like it so far? read on …)
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iOS App Review: My Farm Life for iPad

My Farm Life HD on appSIZED

A game that's called “My Farm Life” might arouse suspicion for those, like me, who hate pay to play, freemium games that are cute and promising but require real cash to buy this and that. To my relief, and likely yours as well, My Farm Life HD published by Alawar Entertainment is not a social farming simulation game – it is actually the title of a fictional reality show where an unsuspecting aspiring actress is cast in the lead role to well, run a farm!

If you're into frantic time management games, then My Farm Life HD deserves further examination. Read on!

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iOS App Review – Build-a-Lot 4: Power Source HD for iPad

Keep track of your power consumption, make money, reach the level goals before time runs out!

Keep track of your power consumption, make money, reach the level goals before time runs out!

As I write this review, the lights in my entire area have gone out. If you build one too many literally power hungry houses without a wind farm in place, you will find yourself unable to earn rent from the houses that your own and pretty much unable to build anything else. Shame on you for not being environmentally conscious about your real estate tycoon dreams. In Build-a-Lot 4: Power Source HD, the emphasis – as it should be, is on going green. Read the full review after the break!

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