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This Week at 148Apps: September 21-30, 2015

Leap Into Fall With 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you’re looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we’ve been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


Kubiko is a fun little game. It’s slightly reminiscent of logic puzzles used to test your intelligence, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Across 40 different puzzles, you’ll find yourself having to piece back together various creatures and objects by rotating groups of pixels to turn the work into a recognizable shape.It’s simply done. While you’re restricted in terms of how many moves you must do this in, there’s no timer or anything particularly stressful going on. Instead, the worst that happens is you run out of moves and the stage immediately restarts. That relaxing nature immediately makes Kubiko more endearing. It’s so easy to just dip in and work towards solving something, any time you have a few minutes spare.–Jennifer Allen


Rob was right when he said we’d see more games like Lifeline. One such game is Timecrest – a tale of time traveling wizards who are trying to save their world. It’s a kind of adventure game book app with you having to make multiple decisions to see how things work out, with different endings encouraging you to try out different paths. There’s an almighty catch though, that soon puts you off.That catch is time. Timecrest is a free game that is utterly littered with timers. As the story unfolds you regularly find yourself having to wait. A few lines, maybe a whole paragraph or two, of story are provided to you, along with a couple of choices as to what to do next. Hit one of those choices and invariably you’re left having to wait to see how things pan out.–Jennifer Allen

Hotel Transylvania 2

If there’s one thing that Hotel Transylvania 2 offers, it’s an abundance of cute but spooky characters – much like the film the game is based around. Unfortunately, while the creatures might seem imaginative the actual game is fairly tired. It’s your usual run-of-the-mill settlement building game, only with a hotel instead. Starting out, you’re gradually introduced to all the elements of Hotel Transylvania 2. That mostly involves placing buildings down exactly where the game wants you to place them. It soon opens up a little though. You then find yourself completing various quests offered by the characters within Hotel Transylvania 2. These sound quite quirky, such as playing a guitar or video game, in order to lure someone in. Unfortunately, all you do to enact this is press the relevant button and leave the character to it. —Jennifer Allen

Lifeline 2

The launch of the first Lifeline… coincided with the release of the Apple Watch. There were a couple of hangups but it was a decent enough take on what I’m starting to refer to as the “timed adventure game genre.” Now we’ve got a sequel with Lifeline 2. It’s ditched the sci-fi in favor of a more modern fantasy setting, and it feels like it might be a bit longer in terms of the amount of story, but some of the hangups are still there.
For the unfamiliar, Lifeline 2 (and games like it) is a sort of choose-your-own adventure with a real time twist where the protagonist will go silent for minutes to hours at a time while they’re performing various tasks. In this instance you share a connection with a woman named Arika (pronounced kind of like “Erica) as she sets out to gather magical items to help her on her quest for revenge against whoever (or whatever) murdered her parents. She’ll fill you in on the details of her current situation, then you get to pick from one of two responses that could lead to a different line of dialog or even change the outcome of the story. —Rob Rich

Call of Champions

Call of Champions, by Spacetime Studios, is a distilled multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) that’s reminiscent to Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm in that your team of 3 champions must cross a battlefield to destroy the enemy’s base. Each match is timed so you only get 5 minutes to score, and capturing your enemy’s base is no easy task. Each team has four towers guarding their base, as well as a wall as their last line of defense. You’ll need to guide an orb along a path between the two bases to disable those towers and bring down the wall before you can attack the base proper. All along the way your enemy will be attacking and trying to steal away the orb. If either side fails to destroy the other’s base, then the winner will be decided by whomever destroyed the most towers. —Jessica Fisher

Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:


Downton Abbey

Yep, it’s Downton Abbey. Enough said.The game starts in such a way that series fans should find familiar: clan cornerstone Carson eagerly welcomes an agent to the Earl of Grantham’s residence. Early on, the idea is to solve stuff by finding stuff in “plain” site.Completing sessions (by finding items) earns one valuable XP and items. There is also an upgrade/crafting element which comes into play and adds some complexity to an otherwise simple game.When it’s all said and done, it is, at its core, a constructed hidden object game. The core competency sought is the ability to pick out selected items from a series of still images, and to do so as quickly as possible with as few helpers as possible. The artwork utilized reflects the time period adequately — at least, in my mind it did — and the scrolling feature that allows for more hidden objects allows the game to feel a bit more mysterious.–Tre Lawrence

The Lost Treasure

It all starts out with a cryptic letter from Uncle Henry, letting the player know that after studying the map that he (the player) found; Uncle Henry’s recommended course of action is to go on and find the pirates hidden treasure both suspect the map points to.With this modest beginning, our adventure is launched, and one gets to be immersed in the digital caper known as The Lost Treasure.
Right from the onset, the game is fairly easy to navigate. It uses still images to advance the gameplay, and the imagery does reflect the jungle environment one expects from the opening letter. The perspective is first person, and to move around, one simply touches the screen intuitively in the rough direction one wants to go; in this way, one can move from scene to scene, or get a closer look at an area within the scene. Thus, this also how ones investigates objects, which makes up a pretty big part of the game.–Tre Lawrence

Door Kickers

As a child of the 80s, I grew up loving some of the iconic shows of the time. The cop shows were the best; CHiPs was a staple, and for me T.J. Hooker — and not Star Trek — was my first introduction to William Shatner. One show I loved was from the preceding decade, and I got to enjoy it via reruns: S.W.A.T. From the opening score to the credits to the uniforms to, well everything, the show defined cool. Yep, the cops that “regular” cops called when stuff got tough.Boyhood fantasies aside, there’s plenty of room for special tactics sims for mobile devices, and Door Kickers, one of the more notable PC ports, has made its way to Android.The game is a full-fledged planning and action adventures. There isn’t much back story, no; this one gets right down to it.–Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, game guides, and even more reviews than we can share here.

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3D Touch could be a game-changer, but it’s not there yet

Were you one of the lucky/financially secure enough ones to buy a new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus over the weekend? Yup, me too (I’m not convinced I was either of those two things, but let’s go with lucky for now), so I thought I’d delve into just what’s going to wow us about this upgrade. It turns out that so far, there’s a ton of untapped potential. [Editor’s Note: I see what you did there…]

You see, the iPhone 6s’ potentially coolest feature is 3D Touch. Sensing how much pressure you apply to your iPhone’s screen could, in theory, revolutionize things in a way that we haven’t seen since the advent of touch screens. It’s distinctly early days, though.

This is particularly evident when you bear in mind there’s only really one game with 3D Touch support at the moment. That happens to be AG Drive which kind of makes sense for a game that embraces the future quite so readily. Playing a lot like WipeOut, 3D Touch does make quite a difference.

I found that by pressing down a little harder I could accelerate faster, as well as brake more quickly. It’s not as awe-inspiring as you’d hope, being more of a subtle tweak than anything right now, but it’s a great insight into what could happen next in gaming. It’s freshened up an experience that I thought I’d had my fill of.

Various apps are gradually embracing 3D Touch’s “Peek and Pop” – Apple’s term for being able to preview content by holding down on a link or button. For instance, doing this to Dropbox’s icon allows you to perform various quick actions, while Instagram lets you see thumbnail previews. It is a little tetchy though, so expect to change your settings so that 3D Touch recognises ‘light’ touches, otherwise it might not work correctly for you.

Stock Apps allow you to do things like preview messages or website links, saving you valuable time and being all-around a little cooler than before.

None of this is a game changer. Yet. But I can see it going that way. Imagine an Angry Birds game where how hard you press down on the reticule affects how violently the bird is thrown? Or an FPS game’s machine gun firing more rapidly because of how hard you “squeeze” the trigger.

The potential is pretty cool, and while for now it might seem gimmicky, it could make all the difference in making our games feel more tactile. That’s got to be a good thing, right?

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Meet your favorite movie characters in Hotel Transylvania 2 now on iOS and Android

Reliance Games has developed a mobile game version of the upcoming hilarious film Hotel Transylvania 2, and it launched today on iOS and Android.

Hotel Transylvania 2 gives you the opportunity to build and customize your dream monster lands and then let your friends visit them should they play the game as well.

Of course, you’ll also pop over to recognizable locations from the movies like the Graveyard, Quasimodo’s Kitchen, Jump Tower, and more.

There you’ll meet a ton of your favorite characters like Drac, Mavis, Mummy, Frank, Dennis, Wayne, Blobby, Griffin, Zombie Bellhop, and The Skeleton Mariachi Band who are ready and willing to give you quests to complete.

In these you’ll get an opportunity to turn into a bat, conjure a sandstorm, eat scream cheese, and do the Vamp Dance and receive gold and other collectibles for doing so.

Rounding out this already content-rich game is mini-games like the Terror Wheel, which can earn you decorations for your monster lands and other rewards per spin.

So head on over to the App Store [download] or Google Play [download] to get Hotel Transylvania 2 in time for the launch of the film.

This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partners.

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AZZL tasks you to complete a diverse set of unique puzzles within a cartoon on iOS right now

AZZL is a unique combination of cartoon and mobile game that tasks you with completing a diverse set of puzzles within an animated cartoon.

You won’t have played a puzzler like this before, though. Here you need to tap, swipe, move, and rotate broken parts of an animated cartoon made up of squares, zigzags, waves, hexagons, triangles, circles, and more to make it whole again.

You’ll also explore an entire map made up of themed worlds, each of which has its own plot to game mechanics to play, wacky characters to meet, and puzzles to complete. If you complete them all you’ll unlock a secret world even crazier than the others.

And it’s all incredibly appealing to look at, with beautiful artwork and animated visuals reminiscent of Disney films.

There’s plenty to keep you busy here, with just under 100 emotional or humorous cartoon stories full of puzzles to complete and a variety of secrets to find on the way.

You’ll be pleased to hear that you’ll get everything AZZL has to offer for a single price with not a single IAP in sight.

Head on over to the App Store [download] right now to check out AZZL.

This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partners.

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This Week at 148Apps: September 14-18, 2015

Celebrate September With 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you’re looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we’ve been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.

Order & Chaos 2: Redemption

Order & Chaos 2: Redemption is a rather gorgeous looking MMORPG. Building upon what worked well for the original, it’s a substantial MMO that doesn’t push you into in-app purchases (although the option is always there). There’s a plethora of content to sink your teeth into. One thing to note very early on is that if, like me, you’re still lumbered with an iPhone 5, Order & Chaos 2: Redemption is going to seem a little creaky. A bit of stuttering and a little lag is a sharp reminder that the iPhone 5 isn’t as powerful as it once was. Given how fancy Order & Chaos 2: Redemption looks, that makes sense but it might infuriate after a time. It also made my iPhone impressively hot to the touch which was unusual. —Jennifer Allen


There’s never been a laid back twin-stick shooter, has there? They’re consistently frantic affairs, requiring you to have fantastic reflexes and to be able to keep an eye on many things at once. Devastator continues that trend by being impressively difficult but really rather well made, too. Those of us who are prone to throwing things when we screw up might feel a little despondent after a time, however. Learning Devastator is very simple. Your left side is used for changing direction while your right side affects the trajectory of the constantly firing weaponry. There’s a virtual button for activating a special attack too, something that you should only ever do when you’re in dire need. The button isn’t far from the right stick so it’s relatively easily activated. —Jennifer Allen

Puzzle Craft 2

Bigger and better is precisely what you want from any sequel and that’s exactly what you’re getting from Puzzle Craft 2. It’s a little trickier than before but its potent mix of settlement developing and line drawing based match-3 ensures it’s compelling stuff for fans of well made freemium experiences. As before, your time is evenly split between your settlement and collecting resources. There’s a steady supply of missions to complete, in order to give you some structure in your development. It’s a reasonably cheery affair with cartoon style characters wandering around once you’ve hired them. —Jennifer Allen

Alien Robot Monsters

Deeply entrenched in the traditional tower-defense genre, Alien Robot Monsters might not offer anything exceptionally original but it’s a solidly dependable entry to the popular genre. In a predictable twist, aliens are out to get us. To be fair to them, it’s our fault this time round. Humans have landed on an earth-like planet and it’s inhabited by a bunch of hostile robotic life forms keen to wipe out humanity. Fortunately, they pursue our bases by following deliberate lanes that happen to go alongside various tower placements. —Jennifer Allen

Explore Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

On the surface, Explore Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is immediately appealing and cute. It’s hard not to be cute when you’re dealing with cuddly looking tigers. While the app promises to be an open-ended and imaginative game, it’s actually a little restrictive. That won’t bother some children but the more adventurous user is going to wish that they could do more. It’s all based around the layout of a regular town street. You can visit the grocery store, music shop, bakery, and doctor’s office. Each place is quite cute. You can interact with certain objects too, such as ringing the cash register in the store or playing different musical instruments in the music shop. It’s a little basic because you can’t do too much here, but it’s a fun way to explore. —Jennifer Allen

Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:


No matter where we go in mobile gaming, there will always be a place for the undead.UNKILLED highlights this, and helps underscore the civic responsibility of ridding the world of zombies.Yes, it’s another zombie apocalypse trip, but this one puts the player in the professor’s seat as part of an elite team that takes the undead out. Completely, that is. If feels a bit like Dead Trigger, which isn’t too unexpected, given its pedigree. —Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, game guides, and even more reviews than we can share here.

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148Apps Goes Hands-On with Dead Effect 2

Due for release on October 22, Dead Effect 2 is a first person shooter that’s clearly been influenced by the likes of BioShock and System Shock 2. Somewhat predictably for anyone who’s spent some time with those games, that means that Dead Effect 2 is at its strongest when it’s taxing your brain rather than your reactions.

It’s clearly still a work in progress, given that thetutorial is littered with references pertaining to keyboard controls, but it’s still looking rather delightful. As you’d expect with any sci-fi horror game, Dead Effect 2 is pretty dark and moody as you navigate your way around a spaceship full of puzzles to complete and zombies to annihilate.

A virtual joypad dictates your direction while the right hand side of the screen is littered with buttons for your weaponry, as well as interacting with objects. That’s one of the main issues for Dead Effect 2: on the iPhone 5’s screen, it can be too easy to tap on the wrong button, activating the wrong ability at the worst time. By default, auto-fire is switched on, meaning you can just hover the reticule over an enemy to shoot at it, but that ends up feeling a little weightless.

This becomes an issue when up against numerous zombies at once, meaning you feel like you’re fighting against the controls as much as the enemies. That’s in harsh juxtaposition to the slow but measured approach taken to figuring things out while away from combat. During those moments you’re expected to crack codes and use a bit of lateral thinking, which is immensely more satisfying and much easier to deal with on a smaller phone screen.

There’s time yet to see how this manifests in the full release and whether compensations are made for those with small screens and large fingers. In its current form, Dead Effect 2 is shaping up to be an appealing – but flawed- game.

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How to Update Your Apple Watch to Watch OS 2

At long last, Watch OS 2 is finally here! I’m legitimately excited about the update [LINK], but in order for all us watch users to start seeing the benefits we have to instal it first. If you’ve never updated Watch OS before, or if you did once upon a time and have since forgotten how, we’ve got a quick little installation guide for you.

First off, you need to go through the Watch app on your iPhone. Open it up and then tap on General – you can find it at the bottom of the screen when you first open the app.

From inside the General menu you can open Software Update, which will be the second choice from the top.

Once the app has automatically verified your current Watch OS version it’ll give you the choice to start downloading Watch OS 2. Before you begin, be sure to follow the instructions at the bottom of the screen (you can find them if you scroll down a tiny bit).

  • Place the Apple Watch on its charger
  • Make sure the Apple Watch battery is showing at least 50%
  • Keep your iPhone paired with your Apple Watch and connected to wifi – don’t wander too far with it or the connection will be broken and the installation will fail

At this point all you have to do is tap Download and wait for it to finish doing its thing. Just be aware that you’ll need to be patient. It’s going to take a while to download everything, verify the files, then actually install to the watch itself. The amount of time will vary a bit depending on your internet connection, but for me it ended up taking a couple hours.

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How to get your iPhone 6s Friday morning at 8am sharp

line at apple store over night

It’s the same dilemma every year. You want the new iPhone as soon as possible, but don’t want to spend the night waiting in line to get it. As much as I love Apple crowds, I’d rather spend the night in my bed too.

Even if you ordered your iPhone for delivery, there is always a chance the UPS guy won’t come by your house until later in the day, which means you could still be left hanging there for several excruciating hours. First world problems indeed!

Thankfully, if you’ve ordered your iPhone for delivery, we have a trick that may help you score your iPhone first thing in the morning, as soon as 8am.

Pre-requisites: for this to work, your iPhone must be shipped via UPS or FedEx. If you’re planning to go to an Apple or carrier store to get your iPhone, then I’m sorry but this won’t work and you’ll have to get the line like everybody else.

How does that work?

If like me your house is towards the end of the UPS driver route, you might want to put your iPhone on hold at the main UPS hub (or a store) and go pick it up yourself early that day when it opens at 8am, instead of waiting all day for the driver to deliver the package.

The trick is to get in touch with either UPS or FedEx and ask them to hold your iPhone at one of their locations. Depending on where you live, you might have a UPS/FedEx warehouse not too far from you (I know the main UPS hub for San Diego is about 30 minutes away from my house). If you don’t have one of these warehouses nearby, you might still want to look at UPS or FedEx stores, which can act as a drop off location and still be able to pick up your iPhone there sooner than it would be delivered at your house.

In this post, I will show you how to use UPS My Choice to put your iPhone on hold at a specific UPS location. Note that FedEx has the exact same system in place called FedEx Delivery Manager.

Step 1: If you don’t have one yet, create a free UPS My Choice account. Note that the verification process can be a bit tedious and tricky as the company will ask personal information related to your previous addresses and employers. This is required to ensure you really are who you say you are. If Apple is shipping your iPhone with FedEx, you can create a FedEx Delivery Manager account instead.

Step 2: Login to your UPS My Choice account and you should be presented with a calendar view, showing all UPS shipments scheduled to be delivered at your house. The shipment from Apple says “AI.” As you can see on this screenshot, my iPhone is scheduled to get here by the end of the day, which is much later than I would want.

UPS My Choice Plan Deliveries

Step 3: Click on the “AI” link and select Change Delivery.

Change iPhone delivery

Step 4: Select “Pickup my package at a UPS location.”

delivery change options

Step 5: You will now be presented with a list of UPS locations around you. As mentioned before, there are actual UPS warehouses (or hubs) and UPS Stores. Hubs are usually located around larger cities. UPS Stores are pretty much available everywhere around the country. If you don’t have a main hub nearby, my advice is to call all UPS Stores near you and ask them what time they usually receive shipments. I personally called several around town and they had delivery times that vary greatly. Ultimately, going straight to the main hub is my best option, but you might find a UPS Store near you that get deliveries early morning. Once you’ve figured out what the best option for you is, select that location.

select ups location

Step 6: Verify the information and click Finish to proceed.

confirm delivery change

On Friday morning, go to that location and make sure you have a valid ID with you. If everything goes according to plan, you should be able to get your iPhone first thing, as soon as 8am when the UPS location opens.

If you have had bad experiences with UPS in the past, I can see how you would be worried to purposely put a package on hold at a specific location, but after speaking to a half dozen UPS employees, it seems to me this is a basic service they complete thousands of times a day. Admittedly, this is going to be my first time doing this, but I’m pretty confident it’s going to be the way I’ll go at it in the future too. That’s assuming everything goes according to plan.

What’s your strategy for launch day?

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Puzzle Craft 2 – Tips, Tricks, and Strategies for Being the Best Builder

[Want to know if Puzzle Craft 2 is worth the download? Check out our review.]

Puzzle Craft 2 is a significant upgrade to its predecessor, offering a lot more content than before. That also means that it can seem a little intimating early on, as you try to figure out what to focus on and when. Here are some handy tips and tricks to get you started on the path to having the best settlement. (more…)

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DDTank has been optimized for mobile and is out right now on iOS and Android

The enormously popular browser game DDTank has been shrunk down and released onto mobile but with absolutely nothing lost in the translation.

This is a brand new DDTank experience but with a with all your favorite features like challenges, checkpoints, enemies, activities, and items intact.

But the whole experience has been optimized for mobile so you’ll find an improved user interface, faster loading times, simplified content, and online and offline play so you never have to stop shooting.

DDTank is a press and swipe turn-based shooter in a similar vein to Angry Birds or Worms. You’ll take it in turns firing a variety of different projectiles at your opponent and whoever falls first is the loser.

There’s a variety of different modes that allow you to play against your friends in PvP or with them to defeat the evil Gulu. If you have no access to the internet you can play the PvE modes offline.

DDTank actually takes cooperative multiplayer to the next level, as you can actually marry another player inside the game.

You character is fully customizable with over 300 outfits to dress them up in and a variety of different weapons like darts, lasers, plungers, and more.

There are two features in the mobile version that are entirely new to DDTank. The DDT Academy allows you to participate in Classic Battle Rivals, Challenge Training, and Survival Mode, and the Labyrinth includes a ton of new dungeons.

Over 300 million people are playing DDTank across desktop and mobile right now and you can join them by heading on over to the App Store [download] or Google Play [download].

This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partners.

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