Moonshot, Workout Sessions, Portrait Mode Plus, and other apps to check out this weekend

This week’s edition of our Apps of the Week roundup features a new app for jotting down and following through with ideas, a workout tracker, and a Portrait Mode enhancer. And as always, we’ve selected two great new games for you to check out…. Read the rest of this post here


Moonshot, Workout Sessions, Portrait Mode Plus, and other apps to check out this weekend” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery picks up a new trailer and launch details

The new mobile title, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, has a new trailer and launch details available. Shared by mobile developer Jam City, the upcoming role-playing game will be available for iOS and Android and takes you into the wizarding world of Harry Potter…. Read the rest of this post here


Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery picks up a new trailer and launch details” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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This Arkham Knight Batmobile Go-Kart Is Worthy of All Your Envy

Tearing through your town in a full-size replica of the tank-like Batmobile that Batman drives in the Arkham Knight game is sure to get you pulled over in no time. But a smaller go-kart version of that same Batmobile? Your local police might just ask to take it for a spin.

Read more…



Apple Daily: Cook Hints at iOS Core App Deletion; Apple TV Games Require Remote

Tim Cook dropped by the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue for a surprise visit today, and he was rather chatty about topics like changes to stock iOS apps and Siri privacy. In other news, it appears that developers will have to make their Apple TV games work with the Apple TV remote, no matter how complicated that ends up being.

Cook Answers Questions About Apps, Siri, and More at Fifth Avenue Store

Tim Cook is in New York today on the eve of his interview with Stephen Colbert tonight, and he made a surprise visit to the company’s iconic Fifth Avenue store along with Apple executive Eddy Cue. Buzzfeed’s John Paczkowski happened to be around to interview the Apple CEO, and Cook was surprisingly open during the chat — even to the point of talking about upcoming changes that we haven’t yet heard about.

On the subject of Apple’s built-in iOS apps that some people never use (such as Stocks and Tips), for instance, Cook said that it’s possible that we may be able to remove them from our phones one day. But, he notes, it’s not as easy as many people seem to think it is.

Source: Buzzfeed

“This is a more complex issue than it first appears,” Cook said. “There are some apps that are linked to something else on the iPhone. If they were to be removed they might cause issues elsewhere on the phone. There are other apps that aren’t like that.”

That isn’t the case with every app, though, and “over time,” Cook said, the company will attempt to find a way to allow users to delete them.

“It’s not that we want to suck up your real estate, we’re not motivated to do that. We want you to be happy. So I recognize that some people want to do this, and it’s something we’re looking at.”

Cook also responded to a question regarding new privacy concerns with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus’ always-on “Hey, Siri” feature. Anyone who’s really worried about it can just turn it off, he said, but he also pointed out that all the information collected by Siri remains on the phone itself and not in the cloud.

Buzzfeed’s interview is stuffed with other such tidbits, such as how Cook claims that “there’s no holding back” on Apple’s part when it comes to releasing new products. “As soon as products are ready, we’re going to release them,” Cook said. In addition, the interview revealed that Cook remains committed to keeping the Mac line a “key part” of the company’s strategy for the forseeable future, even though he notes that the iPad already meets the needs of many customers rather than a Mac desktop or laptop.

 

Apple TV Games Must Support Control with Apple TV Remote

In the days leading up to the announcement of the new Apple TV, many onlookers were excited about the device’s potential to emerge as a bona fide gaming machine. But as it turns out, there’s just one small catch. As noted by designer Dustin Westphal in a Touch Arcade article, Apple’s App Programming Guide for the new tvOS specifically claims that “Your game must support the Apple TV remote. Your game may not require the use of a controller.”

SteelSeries’ Stratus Controller for iOS

Keep in mind that this is much the same situation that we see on the iPhone, where some games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas might be better played with a third-party Bluetooth controller, but those same games also support the option for touch gameplay. In both cases, Apple’s reasoning likely springs from the desire to avoid complaints and calls for refunds once customers realize they need a controller to play the game they just bought. The problem is that some game developers might be scared away from designing games for the Apple TV on account of the need to create controls schemes for the Apple TV remote, which could be even more cumbersome to use than iOS’s touch controls.

Unfortunately for game developers, this appears to be a recent change. A tweet from game developer Rusty Moyher last week shows that Apple did, in fact, claim that “You Can Require an Extended Game Controller” even though Apple claimed that such a measure was “highly discouraged.” It’s always possible that Apple could go back to the earlier wording, but at this point, we’ll just have to wait and see what the reception is like.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

Sproggiwood Review

Sproggiwood costs a premium price by App Store standards, but it lives up to it. It begins with a young farmer boy on a top-down playing field, being led off by some sort of sheep. It’s cute, irreverent and surprisingly well written, with charming and occasionally funny dialogue in between randomly generated dungeon crawling. 

The randomness of the dungeons lets it down, sadly — respawning enemies, trapping yourself in a corner, and the chore of having to re-level each time you enter a new dungeon can rapidly unite to make an incredibly difficult, if not impossible, situation. When the going is good, though, it can be great, as you hack and slash your way through hordes of enemies, learning their attack patterns and upgrading your own.

You can switch classes as you unlock more, change up your weapons and accessories to get the best loadout, and build your little town back home to give you more perks and classes. There’s a shop that gives you access to gear you’ve found in dungeons so far, and where you spend the gold you’ve found in the same dungeons — a self-sufficient dungeon-based economy, led by a morally questionable sprite named Sproggi, your guide and sort-of boss.

It’s satisfyingly paced, with several levels and loot chests throughout each dungeon, ending in a different kind of turn-based boss battle each time, though the difficulty levels can feel a little unbalanced when the randomly generated enemies are unfairly over-powered.

With enough variety in the classes, dungeons, and weapons, as well as having to level up from scratch each time, it certainly feels like Sproggiwood gives you value for your money. And it’s definitely fun; the story is simple and sweet — though more dialogue would have been welcome — and meeting and learning new enemies keeps it fresh.

The controls are intuitive enough for touchscreen, so it works well on the go — though check that your device is supported. It’s a good little game, and if you’re the type to play again and again to get the best score, it’ll last you a while.

The bottom line. Sproggiwood is a nice idea executed well. It’s not hugely original, but it is a satisfying dungeon crawler that’s not afraid to have fun.

Review Synopsis

Product: 

Sproggiwood

Company: 

Freehold Games

Price: 

$9.99

Requirements: 

iPhone 5 (or newer), iPad 3 (or newer), or iPad mini 2 (or newer) running iOS 5.1 or later

Positives: 

Polished look and fun, witty dialogue. Lends itself to repeat play. Genuinely enjoyable and fun to play.

Negatives: 

Random elements can screw you over.

Risk: Star Wars Edition Lets You Conquer an Entire Galaxy, Not Just Earth

You know the sense of satisfaction you get from conquering an entire planet while playing Risk? Well imagine what it must feel like when you take over an entire galaxy. If that’s not enough reason to try Risk: Star Wars Edition, playing with X-wings and TIE fighters should sweeten the pot.

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Trulon Review

The words “strategy card-game RPG” get us as excited as some people get over sports, theme parks, and new Marvel films. Published by a Finnish company, Trulon is one of those: a game featuring a strategy card-battle element similar to that of successful World of Warcraft spin-off Hearthstone, as well as some rather attractive artwork that flits between colorful drawings and pixel sprites.

At first, Trulon doesn’t disappoint. Thrown into the world with naught but a deck of cards and your own spunky confidence, you travel off into the distance as Gladia, the game’s heroine. The towns and villages are bright, the music pacey and the dialog interesting — if not a little odd, teetering on the edge of nonsensical. As a monster hunter, your job is to rid the land of the pesky critters that are bringing people down, and as in other turn-based battle RPGs, you’ll come across these monsters in the field.

Unfortunately for a game that’s so centered on these card battles, the fighting is irritatingly tedious, preferring to focus on the slow, repetitive doling-out of battle animations while you wait for your turn. With cards dealt into your hand fairly sparingly, you’ll also find yourself in difficult-to-win battles, purely because of the luck of the draw — though you can create your own strategic deck with cards you’ve picked up along the way.

The monsters appear and reappear as slightly different versions of themselves, with horns, different colors, tougher defenses — but very rarely new tactics. The maps are convoluted, samey, and sprawling, turning traversal into filler content that requires you to drag Gladia around in increments.

The story itself is sweet, and it’s certainly reassuring to see a female lead in an iOS game, but there’s so little of substance in Trulon. The bits worth celebrating are found in between a great deal of padding, and frequent frame drops and the occasional crash did little to gain our affection. Not a completely terrible timewaster, but there are much better available for this kind of price.

The bottom line. Aesthetically attractive though it might be, Trulon disappoints with repetitive, tedious combat. There are better card battle games out there.

Review Synopsis

Product: 

Trulon

Company: 

KYY Games

Contact: 

Price: 

$4.99

Requirements: 

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 7 or later

Positives: 

Well-designed artwork and music. An intriguing story invites exploration.

Negatives: 

Technical issues mar the enjoyment. Often repetitive and dull.

Never Alone Review

Never Alone tells the story of an Iñupiat Inuit child’s trek across the Alaskan landscape to find the source of a blizzard that’s ravaging her village, with only an arctic fox for company.

Their journey is full of platform-based action and puzzle solving, with Nuna able to use tricks such as jumping in strong winds to cross chasms, and pull heavy objects to weigh things down. You can also switch to controlling the fox, which can claw its way up walls to reach things that are out of Nuna’s reach. Progression unlocks videos which explain how the game draws upon Iñupiat cultural values.

The atmosphere built by the visuals and sound fosters genuine affection for the duo. It’s heartbreaking to hear Nuna gasp or the fox’s mournful whimper when the other falls victim to the world’s dangers. 

Messing up can feel like it wasn’t your fault, but ample checkpoints keeps the story moving. The cost of this is the game’s short length, which isn’t helped by things just starting to get challenging around the halfway mark.

An experienced player can finish the single-player mode in about three hours, but Never Alone really shines when played with a young family member, each of you controlling a character, which reinforces the story’s collaborative theme. The way you play isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s really just the vehicle for a lovely piece of folklore told in a modern way, with striking imagery.

The bottom line. Never Alone is really at its best when played with a partner. The game tells a beautiful short story with moral points to get kids thinking, too.

Review Synopsis

Product: 

Never Alone

Company: 

Upper One Games

Requirements: 

Mac running OS X 10.8.5, 1.7GHz Intel Core i5, 2GB RAM; Intel HD Graphics 4000 or better, 3GB HDD

Positives: 

Strong atmosphere. Videos about Iñupiat culture.

Negatives: 

Not much challenge. Occasionally feels unfair.

Never Alone Review

Never Alone tells the story of an Iñupiat Inuit child’s trek across the Alaskan landscape to find the source of a blizzard that’s ravaging her village, with only an arctic fox for company.

Their journey is full of platform-based action and puzzle solving, with Nuna able to use tricks such as jumping in strong winds to cross chasms, and pull heavy objects to weigh things down. You can also switch to controlling the fox, which can claw its way up walls to reach things that are out of Nuna’s reach. Progression unlocks videos which explain how the game draws upon Iñupiat cultural values.

The atmosphere built by the visuals and sound fosters genuine affection for the duo. It’s heartbreaking to hear Nuna gasp or the fox’s mournful whimper when the other falls victim to the world’s dangers. 

Messing up can feel like it wasn’t your fault, but ample checkpoints keeps the story moving. The cost of this is the game’s short length, which isn’t helped by things just starting to get challenging around the halfway mark.

An experienced player can finish the single-player mode in about three hours, but Never Alone really shines when played with a young family member, each of you controlling a character, which reinforces the story’s collaborative theme. The way you play isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s really just the vehicle for a lovely piece of folklore told in a modern way, with striking imagery.

The bottom line. Never Alone is really at its best when played with a partner. The game tells a beautiful short story with moral points to get kids thinking, too.

Review Synopsis

Product: 

Never Alone

Company: 

Upper One Games

Requirements: 

Mac running OS X 10.8.5, 1.7GHz Intel Core i5, 2GB RAM; Intel HD Graphics 4000 or better, 3GB HDD

Positives: 

Strong atmosphere. Videos about Iñupiat culture.

Negatives: 

Not much challenge. Occasionally feels unfair.

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