A Lunch-Time App Stalker Mini-Report:
Great Free Game from FAAD. Don’t Miss Out. It’s an Edu-App No-Brainer!
- By: Playrix Entertainment
- Version: 1.0.2
- Platform: iPad Only
- Genre: Puzzle Game; Gem-Swapping Game; Casual Game; has some educational content.
- Price: Reg 6.99 FREE TODAY 2/16/11
- Recommended Age: 7 – adult
- Rating: 4.25 stars!
It’s great to be back. I missed my cozy little corner of the internet. I have some big stuff for you the rest of the week and on into the weekend to make up for my absence.
- The Stay at Home GeekMom’s EXCLUSIVE sneak peek at the major overhaul of Chillingo’s hit game Cooties. (Read my Original Review of Cooties Ver 1.0 with comments from the developer to see what’s on his mind)
- An in-depth look at one of the finest apps for News Junkies: PressReader, and a peek at a first release of a new visual grocery manager NeedFood (The Visual Grocery List) and other apps to K.I.S.S.
- My regular Edu-App No-Brainers, App-Stalking reports, and I’m hoping time permits a round-up of some great Jailbreak/Cydia Apps I used on Valentine’s Day to give my iPad a funky makeover.
- I will be posting the winners of last week’s Dino Rush Promo Codes
- The WeetWoo! Give-Away and New Contests start later this week! Read About WeetWoo! and other Sanity Saving App for Parents.
- Most exciting (to me anyway) I will be telling you about a groovy new spot you’ll soon be able to find Stay at Home GeekMom QuickAdvice Reviews! I’ll have details as soon as I can, but it will mean more access to the best apps for me and of course more goodies for you.
I was going to post this later as part of an App-Stalker Report, but to get in this sweet freebie, time is of the essence.
If you recall my App Stalking Guide., then you might remember I mentioned a website called freeappaday.com. Known as FAAD they work with developers to bring a game or app (based on popular request) free for one day.
It benefits the developer as they swiftly rise in the rankings as a PAID app, and of course we get a free paid-app if we act in time, in this case a great one for anyone who enjoys puzzle games and gem-swapping games.
Rise of Atlantis HD is truly a stellar redition of this popular puzzler sub-genre. Pump and I give it 4.25 stars because of the steep price, but it’s free right now making it a (Semi-)Edu-App No-Brainer!
Rise of Atlantis HD is the game you would get if PopCap’s multi-platform hit Bejeweled married EA’s Jewel Quest franchise and they sent their baby to study the Ancient World before letting him loose on the iPad.
I love both of those games for iPhone, but I am guessing PopCap is waiting to release it’s latest Bejeweled 3, already on sale in the Mac App Store (4.75 stars – it is gorgeous!) and for other platforms, rather than updating Bejeweled 2 for iPad (which is fine with me since the in-app purchases have ruined that one. And did I mention Bejeweled 3 is gorgeous? 😉 )
And while EA doesn’t distribute it, there is a Jewel Quest for iPad, but as you can tell from user comments, it is a poor rendition of one of my favorite puzzlers, so Rise of Atlantis HD, with its polish and sophistication is a very welcome addition to both the Casual Game category and loosely the Edu-App category as well.
This game normally costs $6.99 so I wasn’t buying, but I was using the App Shopper App (again see App Stalking Guided for details) to track it in the hopes I could pick it up for a few dollars less, a more appropriate price for a gem-swapper unless it really brings something unique to the table.
Rise of Atlantis HD is not exactly one-of-a-kind, but it is unusually slick, fun and different enough that I would have gladly paid, say, 2.99.
I was thrilled, however, to find this morning it had gone completely free. I had been canoodling with the Lite Version (a very generous one if you read this too late) and really liked its twist on the all-too-familiar line-up-three jewels theme.
Playrix’s spin is that you are on an adventure through the great empires of the Ancient World in search of mythical treasure.
I confess Pump & I haven’t made it beyond Phoenicia yet, but I happen to have (yes another useless UG) degree in Ancient Religions of the Near East, so the subject matter is one I like exploring with my son.
Also as I discussed in my review of the INCREDIBLE new interactive book for iPad: Rome – A Virtual History, when educational content grabs Pump’s attention by seeming, well, not so educational, he loves it. Just mention warriors, treasure or mysteries and he is gung-ho to listen and learn.
I can’t say if playing this sort of puzzle game is educational per se; all games of this sort do help with motor skills, pattern recognition, eye-hand coordination, visual processing, etc. that in an of itself does not make it an Edu-App.
This games skirts that line, however, by setting itself in, and providing some detail about, a time in ancient history/mythology that tends to be overlooked altogether in the North American educational systems, unless it’s elected for in college.
Now let’s be honest, you don’t need to read the historical bits to progress in the game, you just need the ability to swipe gems to make matches and earn points and power-ups. On his own (see below) Pump would look at all those WORDS and just press the easily (and for replay purposes mercifully) available skip button.
But like all media, if you encounter it with your child, and make the educational aspects important and relevant, and if you seem engaged, you child will likely follow suit. At least until she’s 11, if you’re lucky! ~~~insert rolling eyes~~~
As far as the game itself goes, first who can resist the opening screen with the Playrix mascot. Pump and I want to take him home, set him up in a castle and moat with a princess or three and call him Herewing the Horrifying.
Seriously though, when you are looking at an app priced at 6.99 you want polish and polish is what you get from the opening credits and throughout the game.
The controls are so intuitive (and so familiar: swap gems, use finger) that Pump disabled the tips after, like, two? He may not know exactly why he gets power-ups, but he knows what to do with them.
And he gets the point: he has to get the pieces of the treasure freed from the board by clearing their path to the bottom. I want to show you, not tell you, so I am going to try a new feature here.
When I was doing my Cydia Makeover of my iPad (see above and read about it later this week) I found an amazing app, Display Recorder, which allows me to actually show you how Pump interacts with a game or other application.
I haven’t learned much about Video Editing so I confess the first clip is stupidly short and the second is needless long and soundless, but you will see for yourself how a 7 year encounters the game for the first time, and see details of the gameplay you won’t find anywhere else but at the Stay at Home GeekMom’s new digs. (Please bear with me, two weeks ago i didn’t even know how to put a picture in a post. I learning as fast as I can.)
I hope you snatch this up while it’s still free, you will enjoy it.
[I’m not going to review Display Recorder at length but you can read about by clicking on the name if you have a jailbroken iOS device. I will say it’s extraordinary, possibly worth hacking your device just to get it, and Apple is insane not to either buy the technology and offer it themselves or let developers this good access the hardware and into the App Store (whoops, sorry, putting my soap-box away now.)
Anyway it works better than I dared anticipate, 4.5 Stars! If they add an option to convert the video format on the iPad so more stuff actually can get up to YouTube from the mobile device instead of having to download it to your computer, convert it and upload it yourself it will be a perfect app. Seriously.]
Ok that’s what I have for you for lunchtime, but check back often, I am working on so many reviews I can hardly type fast enough.
Happy App Hunting,