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Archive for the ‘IOS Games’ Category

Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition For iPad – Win Promocodes At Apptudes.com

  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Genre: Board Game, Family Game
  • Platform: iPad 
  • Price: $9.99 
  • SAHGeekMom Rating: 4 Stars
  • Pump gives it 4.5 Pump’s Up
  • Recommended Age: 6+
  • To win a PROMOCODE visit my new app and game review site Apptudes and follow the direction on the original post there.

MONOPOLY Here & Now: The World Edition for iPad, by Electronic Arts has just been released and if the original Monopoly appeals, this is the same game you know and love but, with an international twist, gorgeous animations, and a lot of customizability.

In 2008 Hasbro decided Monopoly, a game about making money by acquiring real estate needed a 21st century international edition and Monopoly – Here & Now was born.

EA has long had classic Monopoly for iPad and released an iPhone version of Here & Now in December ’08, but never adapted it to the big screen – until now. If you have an iPad 2 and love the game it’s a must-have.

Gameplay is the same, but instead of the familiar Pennsylvania Aves and Park Places, an open vote put my very own Montreal in the money spot, along with international capitals and places you might need Google Earth to help you find to fill out the rest of the actual board.

There also a change of currency, which raises salaries and property costs, but maintains the original profit ratios. And, Here & Now has factlets about the various places on the board on the “flip side” of every Chance and Community Chest card.

So, why buy this if you have the classic on iPad or own this version on iPhone? Well, if you have an original iPad, maybe now isn’t the time, but for iPad 2 owners, EA has given the GUI a gorgeous makeover and four distinct gameplay modes.

There is the familiar “Play Now” option, where players go up against one or several human and AI foes and “Teacher Mode”, which is a single payer against an AI opponent with guidance to introduce the game concepts.

There is also a local multiplayer option, which works via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Up to four players can compete, on individual devices.

But the biggest change – and the best selling point – is the “Tabletop Mode.” You can play with up to three friends, exactly as you would with the physical game. Players take turns playing on a board that, like a cardboard one, works in every position and both orientations naturally so there’s no passing and twisting the iPad.

What appeals to me most is the degree of customizability in the game. Almost every household I know has their own rules for “Free Parking”, or what to do if a player lands directly on “Go”. All of these options, and more to increase or decrease both the difficulty and the duration of the game are tweakable.

I tested the game on iPad 2 was impressed by how smooth everything was, and how vibrant and fresh the game looked. When I went to test the local multiplayer features, however, I broke out my original iPad and understood the complaints I was seeing on the App Store. On original iPads the game crashes and the animation is choppy.

But, that brings up an interesting issue. Is a game company’s obligation to make a game that works equally well on all devices, or should they use the latest technology to push the boundaries of what their games can do?

What follows in my opinion, and I invite debate in the comments:

Apple’s mobile devices, unlike, say, PCs, are uniform and there is only a single new model introduced each year. iOS users are spoiled – we have come to expect all products to work on all devices, even two generations old, despite the fact it’s common knowledge that tech toys at all pricing points have intentional built-in obsolescence.

There are so many Android devices that the Market is full of apps and games that only work on some – but we seem not just to expect, but demand and complain vociferously about backward compatibility.

This is neither realistic nor fair. The iPad 2 is into its second quarter in a life span of four, and as someone who paid good money for the faster processor and other advancements I want companies to take advantage of what this puppy can do before the iPad 3 rolls out.

EA should absolutely clarify that the game is iPad 2 optimized, or offer a mode that doesn’t use some of the advanced features if they continue to market to the entire iPad market. And being that they are EA, and deeply invested in iOS, they will likely update and perhaps lower the framerate of the rich animations or something comparable.

But if we don’t let the big players use new technologies to their maximum advantage, across all platforms, gaming and gamers suffer. Does anyone else see the inherent absurdity in asking for a downgrade in an update?

MONOPOLY Here & Now: The World Edition for iPad, takes a classic that was already modernized and uses the latest iOS technology to brilliant advantage.

On iPad 2 the fluidity is amazing, the multiple game table environments are rich, the pieces on the board are animated flawlessly and even with humor, and there are enough variations in gameplay from modes and settings, to make this the most replayable Monopoly since Parker Brothers first brought out the game. If you have the latest iPad and love board games, don’t pass Go, don’t collect 200 dollars, just download it and start having fun today.

Or… head over to Apptudes.com and win a promocode! See details here and Good Luck!

Happy App Hunting

The 

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Win iTunes Gift Cards Now With Tweet – Huge App & Game Promo Code Giveaway Coming Soon!

UPDATE June 16, 2011, 10:45pm EST

New chance to win June 17, 2011 9:00pm EST – this time the prize is a $15 tunes card, but you will have to work for it. This is NOT a random draw, the more attention you bring to us, the better you chnaces of winning! Random chances at iTunes cards and even early free apps, are available by liking our Facebook Fan Page here! When we hit 200 likes someone will win a $15 iTunes card, at 300 a $20 card etc. – details here.

We also have a twitter party planned for Tuesday, June 21, from 6-8pm EST – Click Here For Details

Win extra goodies just use the hashtag #swagathon starting at 6:00pm EASTERN time and for two hours we will be giving away extra swag and answering your questions about apps and the new site – please join us!

Did that make no sense? I know right, I went to my first about a week ago – it’s simple copy and paste #swagathon into twitter’s search bar when it’s time and you will automatically see everything everyone is saying and be able to reply. You can ask us questions and win big!

If you want to win you need to be following @apptudes and we have to follow you back so we can DM (direct private message) you with the code for the app you win!

Note:

We awarded the first iTunes card for Tweeters tonight, June 16, 2011, at 9:00PM EST. The prize was a $10 iTunes card for following and tweeting this and anything else that gets apptudes.com and @apptudes or our Facebook fanpage (where you can win ever more, click here) and I even gave an extra prize to someone who has been tweeting so hard for @sahgeekmom. Since we are all the same, it seemed only fair =D

Also visit and like our Facebook page to win free app promo codes starting NOW! And more chances to win Itunes gift cards! No limit to how often or how many you can win!

ORIGINAL POST:

Do you want a chance to win some of the best bet apps and games on iOS, Mac and Android?

What about free iTunes gift cards? Free subscriptions to premium online services?

Then mark the date: Father’s Day, June 19, 2011 and start following @apptudes on twitter!

Below are just some of the AppTudes launch week Swag-A-Thon sponsors.

All the apps you see below and mnay more will be yours to win, along with other amazing prizes.

To promote this event you can WIN iTunes Gift Cards starting right NOW!

Just tweet this page once a day between now and launch (we will be updating it constantly) and we will start picking winners on Thursday, June 16 from those who are doing the best job of spreading the word.

Be sure to follow me too, @sahgeekmom to keep up to date!

Check out our press release here to learn more about apptudes.com, the freshest site in iOS, Mac and Android Apps, and look forward to more great giveaways added daily

You Can Win These great iOS, OS X Apps and their PC and Android cousins too – new apps and games are coming in so fast this is only a partial list and will be updated as often as possible. These are some of the top apps, we have award winners, and we don’t review or giveaway anything we don’t absolutely love ourselves. You really don’t want to miss out on these!

                                                     

Here are some of our amazingly generous Swag-a-Thon sponsors. they are giing out iTunes gift cards, premium memberships (think Slacker Radio!) and unique prizes.

Apps:

  • ESPN iScore Baseball
  • Nascar Junkie for iPad
  • Martha Stewart Cocktails
  • How to Cook Everything – All Version!
  • Slacker Radio (Premium Subscriptions)
  • Procreate
  • Auryn Ink
  • iQuarium
  • Pimp Your Screen
  • Radio By Spreaker (Premium Subscriptions)
  • Writing Prompts
  • Packing Pro (as featured on CNN)
  • iMuscle (Nova) iPad
  • Comic Life for Mac and iOS
  • Dramatic Music App Plus
  • Debt Payoff Pro
  • Let’s Create! Pottery
  • Let’s Create! Pottery HD
  • Autopainter HD
  • Autopainter II
  • Autopainter Express for Mac
  • Dynamic Autopainter for PC
  • Wig Booth
  • Everyday Golf Coach HD
  • 1-2-3 Draw
  • Make-A-Monster
  • Overdamped Artists Series – giving away a TON of their huge catalog!
  • Album App
  • LitterBug
  • Talking 3D Lab Mat
  • Green Genie
  • Max and Molly
Games:
  • Dress Up Rush HD (released today, June 17, 2011)
  • Grim Joggers
  • Cavemean (Lemmings!)
  • Snuggle Truck
  • Smuggle Truck
  • Azkend
  • Crux (Crosswords – the best!)
  • Jack Of All Tribes HD
  • AR (Augmented Reality) Misslie -(iPhone and iPad 2)
  • SwipeTapTap
  • Sparkle the Game
  • Royal Envoy
  • Robot City
  • Heros of Kalevala
  • Sailboats Champions Pro HD
  • Teddy’s Playground
  • ColorFlys
  • Egg Drop Soup
  • Doggie Day Spa
  • Joining Hands
For Kids:
  • Hop On Pop
  • Auryn’s Little Mermaid
  • Stack the States
  • Oh, The Places You’ll Go
  • Nosy’s Crow’s Three Little Pigs
  • My Word Wall
  • Grimm’s Rapunzel – 3D Interactive Pop-up Book
  • Once Upon a Potty: Boy
  • Bunny Fun
  • Enchanted Tales: Snow White
  • Ansel and Claire’s Adventures in Africa
  • Teddy’s Day
  • Roxie’s A-MAZZE-ing Vacation Adventures
  • Teddy’s Night
  • Stack the Countries
  • Aesop in Rhyme Series from Auryn
  • Toddler Email
  • Alpha Books
  • Toddler Toy Factory
Please take a moment to visit out amazing sponsors below and tweet now to start winning!

                OVERDAMPED ARTIST SERIES           v   

Blast Off Into Action-Gaming Goodness With Chillingo’s Rocket Bunnies

  • Publisher: Chillingo
  • Genre: Action Game, Family Game, Casual Game
  • Platform: iPhone/iPod touch and iPad sold seperately
  • Price: $.99 or $2.99 HD
  • SAHGeekMom Rating: 4.75 Stars
  • Pump gives it: 4.0 Pump’s Up
  • Recommended Age: 8+ (Subject matter is G-rated, but the gameplay quickly gets too difficult for mini-gamers)

If you are a fan of pick-up-and-play action games Chillingo has a new title that should have you flying high and planet-hopping with glee.

Rocket Bunnies and Rocket Bunnies HD, developed by Android game devs, Defiant Development, have landed on the App Store with an already established a following, an excellent concept and killer style.

The game is simple, and almost obnoxiously fun. You are Rocket Bunny – your job is to careen across the universe saving baby rocket bunnies stranded on two galaxies in 60 different environments.

First, it’s a simple matter of timing your blasts from planet to planet with the brilliantly responsive single-touch control.

But, soon you are dodging singing suns, blasting through webs, avoiding electric currents and other obstacles and collecting hats. (Yes, you read that right.)

The environments are quite varied for this type of “complete one level to unlock the next” game and the graphics are vibrant.

You will be as compelled to laugh at Rocket Bunny’s antics as you will be to play Rocket Bunnies over and over.

The use of the word addictive is over-used, especially in reference to iOS games, but this one will have you saying “just one more time” for hours.
There is a sound Rocket Bunny makes when he has a close call that actually makes me laugh out load.

If you have ever seen the now defunct Fox animated series King of the Hill, do you recall that sound that Hank Hill would make when upset? It sounded kinda like “mawwhahaha?” Well, Rocket Bunny sounds just like Hank on helium!

Seriously though, this is a very polished offering. The devs had a chance to work out the kinks on early Android versions, and with Chillingo behind the iOS port, there is a promise of a third galaxy, Game Center and Crystal Gaming Network integration with leaderboards and achievements, and a GUI spit-shine.

Check out the trailer:

The learning curve is gradual – there is a tutorial world to teach you the tricks to safe bunny space flight. The instructions, though few are needed, are clear and the animated scenes will crack you up. This game is not cute – it’s cartoonish eye candy.

That said this game is really fun for kids, just a bit too difficult from the middle levels onward. Pump laughed at everything Rocket Bunny uttered or did. But, he was quit before the second galaxy because of the steep rise in difficulty. He is a kid though, so he doesn’t mind repeating the first levels over and over.

Pump’s Point: This is a really really funny game. I love Rocket Bunny and when he makes funny noises or is in the little movies. The game is fun too, but maybe you should let a grown-up or big kid play after a few rounds. It’s fun to watch too.

There is little to complain about. Several hours of testing revealed no bugs or crashes on either iDevice and gameplay is great on both iPhone and iPad.

The responsiveness and simplicity of the one-tap control mechanism is superb.

A little more logic to the galaxy maps, and a bit more information on the hats thing would be nice, but otherwise this is an almost perfectly executed game. I haven’t completed the game yet, maybe the hats make sense later?

If you are looking for fast-paced action, served in small fun helpings, Rocket Bunnies is a must-have. Grab it!

I’ll be here and on 148apps.com again soon! In the mean time here are some of my recent reviews and most popular lists for you to enjoy:

Happy App Hunting

The 


Welcome AppTudes! A Brand New Site For App Reviews: iOS Mac And Android Coming Soon

Happy June! The Stay at GeekMom is proud to announce:

Please welcome AppTudes: New attitudes about apps!

Watch for www.apptudes.com, going live: Father’s Day, June 19, 2011.

Our team of experienced writers will bring you side-by-side app reviews, exclusive contests, App Store shopping tips, insider looks at hot apps before they launch, and breaking mobile-tech news. Look for side-by-side Android vs. iOS match-ups too.

What is apptudes.com?

What sets apptudes.com apart from other review sites, is our attitude towards apps and games on iOS and Android devices – we love them!

We are super-jazzed about bringing them to you in a new format of side-by-side reviews from two or more experienced writers at one time.

You may get an “Android vs iOS match-up”, a “he said – she said,” or “home user vs. small business vs. power user” review, depending on the app in question. We will give you multiple viewpoints to help you spend your budget wisely on the apps best suited to you. We are an opinionated group, so expect lively debate!

If it’s hot, we’ll have it. Our staff of writers will look at chart-topping or buzzworthy games (tons of games) and apps, with a “10-tudes” multi-angle rating system that will steer you to just the right apps and games for your Apple iDevices, and coming soon, Android devices.

Jailbreak apps on the Cydia Store will be covered too.

Keep your eyes peeled for “break it down for me” guides that will look at apps in a single category and tell you which ones you need, and which ones to stay away from. We’ll help you navigate through the App Stores’ chaos, and provide laughs along the way.

Swag-a-Thon Sponsor

Stay tuned for more developments coming soon! Be sure to follow Sue (@technopinksue) and Lisa (@sahgeekmom) on Twitter for what’s coming up and to get access to promo codes, iTunes gift cards, special contests, giveaways and swag.

You can add @apptudes now too, so you’ll be the first to catch our huge launch-week swag-a-thon full of giveaways and contests.

Here’s just a sneak peek at what’s coming you way from our Father’s Day Launch Week Swag-a-Thon sponsors:

            

  • Free premium online and multi-mobile platform radio subscriptions from the best music discovery and custom station provider, Slacker Radio (www.slacker.com)
  • Overdamped Artist Series (Van Gogh HD, Monet HD, Vermerr HD, Da Vinci HD etc. huge catalog) mega-promocode slam
  • Free app and game promo codes from Nosy CrowMochiBits, Dreamix Studios and many more
  • Quick-Contest giveaways on Twitter (coming soon to Facebook)
  • iTunes gift card contest sponsored by Kid’s Corner and My Scrap Life developer Dirk Bost
  • Something very special from developers Owlchemy Labs, creators of the smash game Smuggle, er Snuggle Truck!.

And, those are just some of our upcoming prize offerings; you’ll have to follow us to catch them all!

Thank you in advance for your support and follows. We are passionate about mobile devices, apps, and developers. We can’t wait to bring you great information on how to get the most out of your iDevice.

Please direct press and general inquiries to info@apptudes.com and we will see that it gets to the right person for a speedy reply.

Advertise on our site! Amazing monthly and annual deals for launch day sponsors: info@apptudes.com

Developers, writers, and job seekers please click here for more information on our dev corner and dedicated forum, as well as a list of open positions for experienced applicants and student/novice internship options.

We can’t wait for you to see our new attitude towards apps, coming soon: www.apptudes.com

Happy app hunting, stayed tuned for more info coming soon!

The 

p.s. Sue and Lisa are still proud members of the best iOS site on the web, www.appadvice.com. Watch for our reviews there and be sure to get our top-30 app here, to help you find the best of iOS for your device, right on your device!

Best iPhone Apps For News Junkies (Most Free!)

Stay At Home GeekMom Weekend Edition: Best Apps for News Junkies – iPhone (Most Free!)

Hello again,

I’ve been so good, I’ve been posting here all week and I have an exclusive giveaway going on right now for the best new puzzle game this year, Burn it All.

Now it’s time for another Weekend Edition.

I have been meaning to do this one for a while. As a news-a-holic I use my iDevices to consume news in every format. I get my print newspapers, my digital editions of print newspapers, my magazines and anything else availble in paper, in paperless form. I also comsume RSS feeds and tweets voraciously.

And if you were one of my Facebook friends you would know I love sharing what I discover or find interesting with everyone.

iPhones and iPads are the ideal way to get your news on the go in myriad formats. No matter how you like your news served, there is, of course, an app for that.

In fact there are actually thousands of apps for that, so how do you choose? And should you pay or stick to the free services?

Today we are going to look at  iPhone (and iPod touch) options for news, but instead of just mentioning my favourites, I created a guide. Part two, next weekend, will focus on iPad apps. Apps on both lists may be universal so check them both out!

Since this is a guide, not a list, the apps are ranked and categorized.

If I missed your favorite please let me know in the comments. I checked out over 60 apps for this list, but I could never hope to cover them all!

Must-Haves

PressReader Universal (free) 7 Trial issues, In-App Subscription 
5 Stars

If you are a traditional news junkie and love newspapers, but want to carry them with you or if you want your papers, but you want features that only an app can provide, PressReader is awesome. Literally,  as in I am in awe of how it brings the world to my lap.

It gives you access to over 1700 papers from around the world.

Read the International Herald Tribune, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Observer and other major international papers.

And also select from thousands of publications from cities and towns in every corner of the world, all in their native language.

The universal app is free to download, comes with seven free issues, and then has a pay-as-you go or subscription option.

Features include read aloud, multi-platform access, easy navigation, social network integration, and all papers are available for offline reading.

I wrote a comprehensive review when I first started this blog, you can read it here, but note there have been even more updates and more papers added.

Because it is a companion app to a huge website, and part of a company that delivers newspapers to hotels worldwide you can expect constant improvements.

Also you can access the papers you buy on your computer or almost any other mobile device, not just Apple gear. It’s even available for Kindle and other e-readers. This is a must-have if you don’t mind paying a fair price for a ton of content.

User reviews were middling until recent updates. The current version has 4.5 stars but only 7 people have checked in. Try a free issue , or just browse and let me know if you love it as much as I do!

Pulse News Mini (free)  5 Stars

Pulse Mini is the free iPhone counterpart to the hugely popular Pulse News app for iPad. It’s gorgeous. It also brings you news from any of a vast selection of preset feeds in all areas including sports, tech, politics, entertainment even fashion from the biggest websites around.

It lets you add your Twitter, Facebook and other social network feeds. And it functions as a Google reader.  We’ll go a bit deeper into Pulse in part two, in the mean time you can get it for iPad, also free, on the App Store.

Excellent Options:

News360 Universal (free) 4.5 Stars

With well over 2000 user reviews and a solid 4.5 rating, News360 may not need an introduction, but here’s one just in case.

The app gathers information from over 100 newspapers and magazines and presents them to you based on your location.

It also serves up multiple articles from many viewpoints on a single theme allowing for depth and perspective.

With the ability to follow topics and Instapaper and Read it later for offline reading and Facebook, Twitter and email sharing and you have another free winner.

Taptu Universal (free) 4.5 Stars

 
This one is the newest universal multi-source newsreader to hit the App Store. And I confess, I’m in love.

Taptu is the current critics darling; wired.com, TechCrunch, Tuaw and Gizmodo amongst others, have been touting the newcomer as a fantastic news app that keeps you coming back for more.

It’s user interface (UI) is beautiful. Taptu lets you add your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, and the content from your favorite web sites and blogs (via RSS feeds or Twitter.) It then transforms them into visual streams. Share via Facebook, Twitter and email.

Reported crashes were fixed in update, new version is getting 4.5 stars.

Reader ($2.99) 4.5 Stars

If Google Reader is your preferred manner of consuming news, I highly recommend Reeder.

There are many free alternatives, good ones, (I like Feedly and Feeddler), but if you rely on Google’s RSS service, no iPhone app brings you more for less.

Browsing and sharing are a breeze, the slider control is great, and it’s super easy to manage feeds and folders.

Features: send to Instapaper, ReadItLater or Readability, save to Delicious, Pinbard and Zootool; Facebook and twitter posting, and much more. Current version has 20 5-stars ratings, overall over 355, with a firm 4.5.

Sources You Know -Good Apps

PBS NEWSHOUR – official (free) 4.5 stars

What can I say, it’s PBS’s Newshour. Some folks don’t like the GUI, I say get over it.

If PBS wants to bring their content to me for free even on my iDevices, I’m thrilled to have not just one, but many hours of their insightful, in-depth analysis.

And the chief user complaint is the placement of a banner. It’s annoying, but this is PBS. If they can raise funds in-app, kudos; at least their not shilling for co-co puffs or Shi.. er Citibank. Get it!

NPR News (free) 4.5 Stars

Ok I don’t debate politics,(well of course I do, but not here) ,but this might give you a hint as to which side of the aisle I would be on if I were American.

If you hate NPR, obviously this is the wrong app, but if you are like me and turn to them for thought-provoking discussions of headlines, politics, and everything else under the sun then this is one killer app.

Forgetting the content, the features are amazing and the interface works smoothly. The latest version has over 1000 user reviews and it gets a solid 4-stars. If you assume some of the critics are NPR haters, I think my rating is more reflective of the app’s quality.

You can listen to hourly updates, create playlists of stories you want to hear, and stream podcasts, no syncing or downloading needed.

You can also read stories while listening to live or on-demand shows an can download the stories for offline access. You can find your local station or listen to your favorites from around the US (I am partial to Boston) or stick with national coverage only.

Favorite segments like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, Fresh Air, and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! are included. It’s a must-have for NPR junkies.

CBS Sunday Morning (free) 4 Stars 


Sunday is happy day for news junkies. The best papers are bursting at the seams and for most of my life CBS has brought us 60 Minutes in the evening and CBS Sunday Morning with our coffee and crossword.

OK, both shows have gone downhill since their heyday, 60 Mnutes more than Sunday Morning, but in a sea of lightweight news programs, of info-tainment and opinion lurking beneath the guise of journalism, Sunday Morning is a still breathe of sunny fresh air. Especially if you like culture with your news.

They cover the news the sound-byte stations overlook: Art, Music, Architecture, Nature, Pop Culture, History and offer thoughtful opinions from some of the best commentators still on the idiot-box And Charleses, past and present, serve the top news and political stories from unique angles.

The app brings you highlights only, not full shows, but I’ll take it. It’s also a two-fer; tap to switch to the main CBS news app: But that app is poorly rated (see below.)

This one is iPhone only, The video upscales well to iPad, but the GUI does not. Users give it 3-3.5 stars, but I am a die-hard fan of the show and if you are too, it’s even worth the pixelation on the iPad to get the video content.

Quality crumbs beat an overabundance of garbage any day.

Bloomberg  (free) 4 Stars

If the name doesn’t make you think of stocks and financial news you must have been sleeping in a cave for the last several decades.

Bloomberg is a preeminent source for all things market-reated, and the app serve up their content on iPhone.

Bloomberg offers news, stock quotes, company descriptions, market leaders and laggers, price charts, market trends analysis, and more.

You can also create a customized list of stocks you want to follow from markets around the world.

It gets a 3.5 from users, I think the UI makes it worth 4.

BBC News (free) 4 stars

What’s in a name? With the BBC, like NPR and PBS, everything. Here’s their free app that lets you access their best content.

Filter news stories by geographical region or category including business, technology, entertainment and sports. It  also has content in Spanish, Russian, Arabic and other languages.

You even get video, including one minute news summaries to keep you informed on the go.  You can also personalize the app to suit your interests and download content for offline browsing

NBC Nightly News (free) 3 stars.

I don’t like network and cable news, period. And while all the networks have apps, I will tell you now that ABC, CBS, CNN and Fox get terrible reviews.

Well Fox’s dedicated, um, call them fans, (but in the literal sense), will defend the 24 hour exreme-right-wing propaganda machine. (Even on matters where I lean right, they are just plain nuts, sorry. Blame it on my Candianess, but it’s lol-funny, in a sad way.)

But those judging the app, not the politics say it’s crap too.

NBC Nighlty News by MSNBC is the only one that gets decent ratings. Users, the few who left comments, love it or hate it, but it averages out to 3.5 stars. Just the icon makes me sure I’ll never check for myself. Blech.

Sources You Know -Bad Apps

NYTimes (subscription only) 3 stars

 
The NY Times is widely considered one of the finest news organizations in the world and their app was huge hit. A recent change making content available only to subscribers, however, has lowered their user-reviewers considerably. News Junkies are fleeing to free or cheaper alternatives.

If you do have a subscription or need your NYT like I do (book reviews!), then this app remains a good, really the only, choice.

Just read the fine print; there has been some confusion over iTunes NYT subscriptions and direct NTY subscriptions.

Network News Apps (free) 0-2 Stars 

As I said avoid all the major US news network apps, besides the NBC one, and even that is superfluous with so many better options.

I’m not going to take them down one by one, just trust me, they suck and the content is often not available out of the US anyway.

CNN’s iPad app is eye candy, but their iPhone app is almost impossible to see.

AP Mobile (free) 2 stars

 The Associated Press is one of the oldest and most respected news organizations in the world. News outlets pay them to provide breaking news from all over the globe.

Their’s was also one of the first iPhone news apps to use Push Notifications. It used to me my go-to app for headlines and push.

But so many better alternatives have cropped up, and the AP app sits mostly unchanged except that a recent update added in-app adverts, which are turning off long-time fans.

Reuters is on par with the AP and their free app gets great ratings although I haven’t checked it out myself. It can’t be worse.

Great Alternatives to Traditional News Apps:

Twitter (free) 5 stars

If I were just listing the best twitter clients, I would not give Twitter’s own iPhone app 5 stars or the top spot. But this is a list for news junkies, not tweeters. This app has all the basic functions of twitter, and, of course, it’s free.

Other apps are available with more robust features, and with less features, and more a more passive reading experience. We’ll talk which are best that in another post.

But what we do need to discuss is how Twttter is one of the best and most popular ways to access news from any device or computer, any time, anywhere.  If you know all about twitter, skip this next part, but if you don’t read on:

It seems like  years ago, but back in late January when I was starting this blog I hadn’t used twitter, nor had I any interest in it.

My understanding was that Twitter was a way to link to your friends and celebrities to send stupidly short notes about what you are doing every minute of the day.

And I was right, Twitter is that. But, it’s also become the ultimate aggregrator, for all interests, particularly news. All you need to do is open a free account and start searching.

Pick an obvious starting point like the NYT or the AP, your local paper, favorite news network, website, or whatever and it’s pretty likely they have a twitter feed.

Just choose to follow them and suddenly you are getting instant access to their latest news. Then see who they follow to find more content you wouldn’t think to search for.

Robin Rhys, appadvice.com’s on-air personality, my friend and colleague, just covered the best Twitter apps for all different levels of Twitter users. She explains a lot about Twitter in general too.

Check it out to find which Twitter app will suit you best – I use several, but Tweetings is the one that lives on my dock.

As you get to know your way around, you will find there is a ton of content for any interest under the sun.

And things called hashtags that let you see what everyone in the Twitterverse (I know, but I didn’t make it up) is talking about.

If you typed in #royalwedding yesterday you could have seen what every single person from everywhere on earth had to say. All I had to say was “who cares”, so I did chirp in, but you can see how it can help with issues that actually matter.

And don’t think you only get 146 characters of news. Twitter all about sharing links. You post a link, a short comment and ta-da you have a tweet. When you read tweets in most apps you don’t have to open a web browser, you can see the relevant web page right there.

Of course you can then retweet it to your followers and trust me, somehow, some people, will find you!

Newsy: Multisource Video News Analysis (free) 4.5 stars

Newsy is also available for iPad and TechCrunch calls it a must-download. It’s for those who like to watch the news instead of reading it.

Newsy delivers short videos designed to keep you informed on the biggest news stories. It’s great to enhance your understanding of all sides of the argument quickly,  by providing multiple perspectives from multiple sources. The current version has 4.5 stars from over 50 users.

MacHash News (free) 4.5 stars 

Apple Junkie? Tech-News-aholic? If you’re looking for the latest on OS X and iOS look no further than #MacHash. (Think hashtags, see Twitter above)

It’s a tech news aggregator that delivers the latest Apple news to any iDevice.

Sources include: 9to5 Mac, Apple Hot News, AppleInsider, GigaOm, Lifehacker, Mac Observer, MacApper, MacDailyNews, Macenstein, MacLife, MacNewsWorld, MacNN, MacRumors, MacStories, Macworld, PowerPage, RoughlyDrafted, Slashdot: Apple, Smoking Apples, TidBITS, TiPb, TUAW and more in a great universal interface.

It’s a fantastic go-to resource for folks just like me. It gets a 4.5 rating from users too.

Podcasts – AudioPress Pro Player 
($1.99) 4 Stars

Do you prefer listening to, over reading or watching, the news? Or do you find yourself in the car or at work an unable to take your eyes off your task? Then Audiopress is for you.

Radio apps provide plenty of access to talk and news stations, but Audiopress brings you the news-out-loud a different way.

You can search radio stations by geo-location, but the primary function is playing podcasts. Just create a playlist and you’re set.

Don’t know the first thing about podcasts? Me neither, I equte them with iPod audio players, not iOS devices.

But Audiopress offers an easy way to discover them, and to my surprise there is a ton of great current content out there, news and otherwise.

In this app you can pick up to three topics and it chooses podcasts for you. You can then fine tune as much as you like. You can save podcasts for offline listening.

Once you learn what you like, you can add any other podcast you want, for a completely personalized listening experience. I have started to use it daily.

Share via Facebook. Twitter, and email. Free version available with limited features. 57 users share my 4-Star assessment. Try it.

Zinio Magazine Newsstand & Reader (freee to download, minimal free content, buy magazine via in-app purchase) 3.5 Stars

Prefer your news in magazine form? Well if PressReader is a virtual newspaper stand, Zinio is it’s magazine counterpart.

Access digital copies of news, sports, and every other type of magazine from top publishes. All the major names are there.

This is a paid service, there is a little free content, but expect the costs to be as much or more than retail. Much worse for non-US customers.

That said the interface is fantastic and some magazines are worth any price. I love National Geographic’s interactive content and prefer Zinio to their own app. Users like it less than I because of the cost. it gets 3 stars in/on the App Store.

Ok that should keep you more than busy for this weekend.

Until then please check out some of my most popular weekend editions and recent reviews. And enter to win the only free copy giveaway for the biggest new game to hit the app store. It’s the best puzzler of 2011 and I have a copy and a review for you! It’s the next post down or the first link below.

Happy App Hunting

The 

Burn it All – Journey To The Sun is Smoking Hot!

Burn It All  – Journey to the Sun Is Smoking Hot!

Win a Copy With A Tweet or Comment. An Exclusive Stay at Home GeekMom giveaway! – CONTEST CLOSED

  • By: BulkyPix / Pastagames
  • Genre: Puzzle game, casual game, addictive game, family game
  • Platform: Universal
  • Price: $.99
  • SAHGeekMom Rating: 5 Stars!!
  • Pump gives it 4.75 Pump’s Up
  • Recommended Age: 6+ but not a kid’s game

Burn it All - Journey to the Sun by Bulkypix iconBurn it All – Journey to the Sun is only a day old in its iOS incarnation, and it’s already a hit.

That’s saying a lot because yesterday was a banner day for new games with several highly anticipated titles launching and contending for top spot and press.

Gears is great, I will be covering it tomorrow. I just gave Vampire Rush a glowing review, and Snuggle Truck (formerly Smuggle Truck) has backstory buzz galore. But Burn it All stands out for good reason. This game is smokin’! Just read the user reviews in the App Store.

Bulkypix teamed up with Pastagames, who together brought “retrofied” insta-classic Pix’n Love Rush to the App Store, and this time they offer up a must have action-puzzler.

Before you assume that Burn it All is a copycat of Burn the Rope, know it was released for Windows Phone 7 last August in advance of the tilt-to-control game that shares the theme.

And while both games are puzzlers that involve burning ropes and both are safe bets for kids, that’s where the similarities end. And frankly, Burn it All is by far the better game in every way.

What Burn it All gives you is 100 levels of finger-guided, pyro-powered fun. So much so, you hardly realize you’re thinking a lot too. And if you play for just ten minutes, you will find there is a lot more to burn here than just ropes.

The game starts off simply. Drag a little fireball to a rope-end and set it ablaze. If it burns in time, you clear the level and unlock the next.

Soon the challenges pile on. Your little firebug has to battle vampire bats, dripping icicles and gas leaks. And that’s just in the first 25 “easy” boards.

Further along you meet a blue flame that can ignite from any spot on an object and a green fireball that can singe its way through several objects. And you face all kinds of new elements in need of roasting.

As a final burn, Pastagames has a twist: “time looping”. Did I mention the game is universal and only $.99?

Burn it All requires dexterity and a fast touch, but it also requires thought. Different colored ropes burn at different speeds. Cord length and obstacle-dodging factor in too.

I thought it might be over Pump’s head (he’s my seven-year-old son and co-reviewer, see about me.) But, as usual, he was faster and better than I was in no time.

He wants you to know that: “This game is really really fun. You think you are just burning ropes and bats and stuff and then you have to think about it a lot too to get faster scores. I think it is good for kids and moms too.”

Well, this mom anyway and at least one GeekDad who is a pretty serious gamer too.

Check out the trailer, read the rest of this then go grab it before they realize they could easily charge five times as much and still be offering a great deal:

The learning curve is fantastic. Challenges are revealed gradually, with clear pictorial explanation. But, since you can earn up to three gems for fast completion times, there is a ton of replay value too.

Add Game Center and Open Feint plus email and Facebook bragging and you have a title that will keep gamers, casual and hard-core, coming back for more.

The only flaw I found was a slightly sticky control mechanism. It’s designed to stay out of your field of vision, but it’s also a bit counterintuitive.

By instinct I want to drag the fire right to the rope, but because touching anywhere works too, I found myself losing fireballs to old habits. It’s a small matter, well worth the adaptation.

Burn it All – Journey to the Sun may be the most innovative puzzler of 2011. It’s a gamers delight and poised to be a permanent fixture on App Store charts and your iDevice.

Want to win a free copy? This is NOT an appadvice.com contest, it is EXCLUSIVE to Stay at Home GeekMom readers.

All you have to to is tweet this review (and include @sahgeekmom so I can find it) or leave a relevant comment. Funny is good, but this one will be by random draw since the game is so hot!

You can enter once by each method, and check out my contest page to see how you can ern extra entries as well.

Contest Closes Monday, May 3 2011, 6:00pm EST.

Here is a slideshow of all the screenshots I took and the promo pics.

Check back often for the hotest game reviews and a new Stay and Home GeekMom Weekend Edition: Best Apps for News Junkies.

Developers! Want a review or to run a promotion os SAHGeekMom or appadvice.com? Check out my page just for you!

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Until next time here are some popular recent reviews for you to chceck out:

Happy App Hunting

The 

Hack-N-Slash Meets Tower Defence In Chillingo’s Vampire Rush And Vampire Rush HD

Hack-N-Slash Meets Tower Defence In Chillingo’s Vampire Rush And Vampire Rush HD

  • By: Chillingo / A-steroids
  • Genre:  tower defence game, dungeon crawler game,  hack’n’slash, action game
  • Platform: iPad and iPhone sold separately
  • Price: $.2. 99 and $1.99 
  • SAHGeekMom Rating: 4.5 Stars
  • Recommended Age: 13+ (Warning Extreme Cartoon Violence)

Vampire Rush is part a hack ‘n slash dungeon crawler part tower defense game and the combination works. So do the rich bright graphics, the controls and all the little details that went into this killer new game.

Remember when Vampires weren’t ripped teen-idols wandering the day and hanging out in high school? Well, it may not be the fashion in 2011, but developers at A-steroids clearly haven’t forgotten they are blood-sucking fiends.

In Vampire Rush you play Captain Greg, a swashbuckling hero, whose job it is to protect the gates of the underworld from waves of Nosferatu and other creature of the dark bent on busting them wide.

Use a brilliantly responsive virtual joystick with your left hand to move Captain Greg around in this top-down action game, and tap the slash button with your right to slice your way through hoard after hoard of hell-spawned invaders.

Been there, done that? Well here’s the twist. Greg can place towers on the playing field and buy power-ups like fireballs, and health with money earned by successful kills. It’s ridiculously fun.

Vampire Rush was released for Samsung phones last October to critical acclaim. It was supposed to port to iOS back in January.

But A-steroids teamed up with publishing powerhouse Chillingo to polish off any rough edges.

You can read the backstory elsewhere, I just mention it because the game feels fully tested. I played for well over an hour without encountering any bugs, lags or other technical issues.

And this port of Vampire Rush packs a lot more than the original award-winning version. There are more levels, better graphics; in fact the whole UI was retooled for the App Store launch.

The game features a full 3D engine and gameplay is super smooth. I don’t like virtual joysticks, but this one is as good as they get. Here’s hoping this game is iCade compatible.

Check out the trailer:

The game uses Chillingo’s Crystal network for leaderboards, achievement s and social network interaction, which is great because this game has had some serious buzz.

More towers would be nice, and I’m not in love with the mini-map; I can tell where the fiends are coming from, but it’s hard to use for strategic tower placement.

The game is also little on the content-light side with only seven levels, but at $2.99 for iPad, $1.99 for iPhone you get more than your money’s worth.

And this is a Chillingo title. Updates with new levels, towers and everything else will almost certainly roll out in stages.

If you are a fan of either hack-n-slash action games or tower defense strategy games Vampire Rush is a winner.

Even if neither genre is your favorite, the bold graphics, the well-blended gaming elements, and the amazingly well-crafted controls will make any gamer very happy. Get it!

Check out the screen shots below, and I’ll be back as soon as I can with more reviews, App Stalking reports, and Weekend Edition Round-Ups.

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Until then here are some popular recent reviews for you to chceck out:

Happy App Hunting

The 

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