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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Now Playing: Dream Catchers – The Beginning HD for iPad

We have always had a fascination for the secret world of our dreams and how the real and surreal interact in our mind’s landscape while we are sleeping. Dreams sometimes help solve real world problems, others reveal anxieties and fears, while some of us find a fantasy world to escape in.
Dream Catchers: The Beginning HD by G5 Games hints at a new series of hidden object adventure games, with the intriguing storyline of ‘dream catchers’ (although not fully explained) who get caught up in a web of deception and betrayal.
The story, however, begins with the unexplained phenomena of students of a school, including one of its teachers (your sister), falling asleep seemingly without hope of waking up. As you try to piece together what happened, you are also drawn into the dream world with strange scenery, monsters and creatures to defeat in order to wake up.

the zodiac clock

Dream Catchers: The Beginning HD is standard Hidden Object and puzzle solving fare, requiring you to search for objects bit by bit that contribute to activating puzzles in order to obtain objects and tools (inventory items).
Looking for items is a pretty straightforward and simple affair. Some HOGs like to make things more interesting and interactive by requiring you to put together some items in order to find the object on your list, while others encourage you to open a drawer or part a curtain to reveal what’s inside. Disappointingly, Dream Catchers: The Beginning HD doesn’t employ these little gimmicks.
As I have observed with many hidden object games, there isn’t a clear or logical link between objects or tools you need to say, unlock a door or get an object from a tree. In addition, since these are objects scattered across different locations, you really don’t know what you need until you press the hint. Dream Catchers: The Beginning HD is no exception. Thus, in my case, I rely on hints a lot, and more so in this game. Some useful inventory objects show up in sparkly locations, in a seemingly random and arbitrary order.
The game’s art direction evokes some mixed feelings. The earlier parts and cutscenes are a bit hazy and muddled – much like a dream sequence, I know, but some consistency in relation to the regular scenes would be nice. The game would have been more visually appealing if the scenes were less static.
The puzzles are simpler and less varied than most HOGs. Of course, the usual rotate pieces to form a picture and rotate pipes to find your way out can be found in Dream Catchers: The Beginning HD, but I find the execution of some puzzles a bit cumbersome and frustrating.
As what appears to be the first among many in a series, Dream Catchers: The Beginning HD starts off intriguing and promising. However, compared to other HOGs and even G5’s own extensive offerings, this one doesn’t quite measure up. I do hope that future installments of this game will be a lot better in many ways and for its flaws, I will give Dream Catchers: The Beginning HD a pass.
Check out the report card below:
appSIZED rating: 3 out of 5

App: Dream Catchers: The Beginning HD
Compatibility: iPad only
Price: Free (with In-App Purchase of $6.99)
Deveoper/Publisher: G5

 

 

Now Playing: The Cursed Ship, Collector’s Edition HD for iPad

appSIZED the cursed ship
Dark, disturbing horror tales are a favorite subject of many hidden object games (HOGs). The Cursed Ship, Collector’s Edition HD by G5 Games is no exception. The story about Ondine, a Titanic-like luxury cruise ship, disappears in the late 1970’s and you step in on an assignment to search for the missing ship.
As the name implies, the ship Ondine is indeed cursed, and you have to navigate a treacherous and downright creepy environment searching for clues and a way out alive.
appSIZED the cursed ship 2

appSIZED Updates and a Freebie Alert: Inbetween Land

Dear All,

I’ve been off the grid lately due to my busy schedule, but I hope to be back soon with a Plants vs Zombies 2 review as well as some catching up with other games and apps that came out since May.

In the meantime, here’s an announcement from G5 games:

News Alert – G5 Giveaway: Get FREE Inbetween Landon iOS – Limited Time Offer

Get a FREE FULL copy of Inbetween Land on iOS through August 25th and journey on a mysterious adventure to another world! Inbetween Landacquaints you with the plight of a missing childhood friend, possibly aboard a mysterious flying island hovering just above our world. Through mini-games and fragmented hidden object areas, you piece together the details of your friend’s disappearance and how it ties into the floating Sky Island. The game begins as a science-fiction story and soon involves players in the rescue mission for alien creatures.

The city’s mundane rhythm is suddenly disrupted by the emergence of a flying island high in the sky. Though the island initially appears to be deserted, the citizens realize that they are not alone in the universe. Before long, the island becomes a tourist attraction, increasing revenues and crime. Then one day, Mary, who works at the city orphanage goes missing after a beam of light is seen coming from the island above. And, that’s where you come in. You play as her friend, and soon find out Mary bought some mysterious artifact from the island and then vanished. Following the clues Mary left, you will have to open a portal to the flying land, save her and help extraterrestrial civilization that desperately wants to restore their home. Explore the creepy island, make friends with the spirits of the island’s people, solve challenging puzzles, find missing crystals and take your friend back home in this absorbing adventure.

Inbetween Land has all the key features to provide a delightful gaming experience: soft music, engrossing Sci-Fi themed plot and three game modes – Casual, Normal and Expert – so you can adjust the desired level of difficulty. You also have a useful journal add-in that keeps track of the story and tasks to accomplish. But what really makes this game stand out, is its glorious visuals. Fantastic scenery, comic-like cut scenes and witty puzzles will glue casual game fans to their iOS devices and let them fully enjoyInbetween Land. The game is developed by Specialbit Studio and published on iOS by G5 Entertainment.

Key Features:

  • 52 Fascinating locations to explore
  • 19 Thought-provoking mini games
  • 3 Game modes: Casual, Normal, Expert
  • 4 Engaging comics
  • Out-of-this-world storyline

You can download Inbetween Land for FREE from August 20 to August 25.

Download:

Inbetween Land for iPhone

Inbetween Land for iPad

 

Enjoy! —> appSIZED

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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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Of Bots and Blocks: Shatter Crash for iPad

Puzzle games for the iPhone and iPad have taken on a whole new meaning for me – we have physics based puzzlers like Angry Birds, platform puzzle type games a la Lost Winds, and marble shooter/puzzle games like Zuma HD. Many prominently featured games on the App Store are categorized as puzzle games one way or another. Lately, I've been missing the regular types of puzzle games, the ones with pieces that are supposed to fit together and have a defined answer.

Shatter Crash is one such example. It's a game that is unmistakably a puzzle game, but it's so much more than that.

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App-surdities In Review: The Unstoppable Gorg, Giant Pizza, Zombified Frederic, Weardd Corpses and Frenzied Fans vs Footballs

Appsurdities

I love strange little games and I love developers who never seem to run out of interesting ideas. Some of these games infuse quirkiness and style into tried and tested genres or just simply original in concept and execution.

High on my list is Pizza vs. Skeletons ($2.99/Universal), a former iPhone Game of the Week pick by Apple (I’m a little late to the game, I know!) and currently on sale til tomorrow. If you’ve always wanted to know what it was like to be a 10-foot tall pizza on a mission to crush skeletons in Santa hats, consider your wish granted! The whole premise is just so strange that the various missions in the 110 levels available – from rescuing puppies to outwitting a giant skull, you just find yourself going along on such a madcap ride. The best part? You can style your pizza any way you want it – right now, mine is sporting leopard print.

Imagine this: an epic battle of the undead in the hands of two schoolkids. Corpse Craft: The Incident at Weardd Academy ($0.99/iPad only) feels like a cult favorite, incredibly good but known to a few, and ironically featured by Apple in its underrated apps selection. The ornate drawings, Tim Burton gothic art style – drawings of witches and a giant ball of a monster (who’d go with my giant pizza nicely) feels like something straight out of a deeply twisted children’s book. Even stranger is the marriage of match three mechanics and real time strategy (RTS) which work spectacularly well in this creepy crawly world.

Speaking of zombies, Frederic Chopin is back from the dead! The reanimated classical composer is back in fighting form in Frederic: The Resurrection to take on musical battles all over the world, with musician wannabes unworthy of his greatness. Apart from the interesting comic-book style drawings and slightly cheese voiceovers, it’s the various musical styles showcasing Chopin’s most famous pieces that really get to you – from reggae to J-rock. Hitting the right notes at the right time is another story, however, ’cause the game can be a little bit tough. You can also compete with a friend via Bluetooth for your own version of a musical duel.

Football fans currently keeping track of this year’s draft picks would probably find Fans vs Franchise, a Plants vs Zombies lane style of tower defense, sufficient to scratch that football itch. I can’t say I like the art so much, but the bizarre idea of lining of animated footballs and popcorn to take down crazy football fans kind of goes well with the overall look. This game doesn’t boast of the depth of PvZ, but it gets pretty challenging after the first few levels.

Finally, the Unstoppable Gorg. Sci-fi geeks will surely love this tower defense game which is delightfully stylish and offbeat. Don’t you just find black-and-white B-movies charming? Unstoppable Gorg has awesome art and little movie clips that put you and the planet Earth on the defense after some ugly alien – conveniently disguised as a pretty lady, falls in love with you and will stop at nothing to make you her alien consort. The attention to detail is incredible and the game is simply gorgeous. What makes it even better is that it puts a whole new twist on your usual TD game. Enemies come from various locations, and you only have a fixed path, and need reflexes to diffuse attacks coning from all sides.

Did I miss anything? feel free to leave ac omment!

 

Exclusive Interview With Robert Lloyd Lewis: From Dexter Producer to iOS Apps Developer

A couple of days ago, I got an email from Robert Lloyd Lewis who introduced himself as the producer of Showtime’s Dexter series “in real life” – and here’s the awesome part, decided to dabble in iOS app development and in fact, recently released “VOWEL MOVEMENT” – a word game that’s a mix of Boggle and Scrabble with an interesting twist.

I couldn’t resist such a rare opportunity to interview Mr. Lewis, and here are his thoughts on wearing the newbie iOS developer hat:

Considering your busy schedule as the producer of Dexter, what got you interested in developing iOS apps?

I just can’t turn off my brain, and love to follow through when opportunities present themselves. When I come across a problem, I’m compelled to solve it. I have some other ventures in that vein. One is the very successful OpenX package opener, designed to open those impossible plastic packages. (http://www.myopenx.com) I couldn’t stand struggling to open those plastic clamshells, so I did something about it. We’ve sold millions of them.

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iOS App Review: Hungribles for iPhone and iPad

Hungribles are hopelessly hungry creatures (one of them reminds me of pikachu!) you need to feed with orbs by manipulating a mushroom shaped slingshot. (The fewer orbs used, the better your score) These orbs travel along a rainbow trajectory where they bounce off objects and disappear in empty spaces.

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The Treasures of Montezuma Series in Review for iPad and iPhone

Treasures of Montezuma
Match three puzzle meets strategy in the in Treasures of Montezuma (TOM), now out with two more sequels: Treasures of Montezuma 2  and Treasures of Montezuma 3. Read on to learn more about this explosive match three series.

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