Guess The News!

by Jeff on September 25, 2009

Guess The News is the newest word game on the market.  As a this is the first game from this FingerArts, they certainly have done their homework to come out with a quality iPhone game.  The look of the game is very professional and fun.  The tutorial of this app is great too!  I’ve noticed in a lot of apps that the tutorials is very lacking leaving you wondering how to complete certain tasks to move on.

When first starting this game, you have many options of news categories to choose from.  This app is a great way to stay informed with the headlines of todays news, especially since things change so fast these days.  There is just about a category for everything as well, except random.  This would be a good addtion to the already abundant list.

To play the game you simply fill in the title of the news article.  Simply double click the letter you want and it goes to the first available spot, or just drag and drop where you want it.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.  On the bottom of the screen is a clip from the article to help along with the puzzles.  I have found some to be blank so the only hint to the solution is the actual category I’m in.  Once you finish this level, there is an icon that takes you to the article that keeps you in the app.  Want to read more?  Simply click the web button and it takes you to the full website to browse.

With 3 different levels, the difficulty ranges.  The game can range from ‘Super Easy’ to ‘Please get me a newspaper so I can find the article!’  The game also saves you progress on each category too.  It does restart the actual puzzle to a new one if you stopped mid puzzle but this is expected as the news has probably changed from the time you left to the time you came back.

Overall, this game gets an A.  It is simple to play and easy to use.  It reminds me of a crossword puzzle mixed with Wheel of Fortune.  I would definitely recommend this game to others.  FingerArts did an excellent job with this app.  Definitely look for new apps in the future from this up-and-coming company!

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Boxed In

by Jeff on September 11, 2009

Boxed In is a fun little game by Dennis Mengelt.  The point of this game is to move wooden boxes and around the board and collect the gears inorder to find a clear path to the exit.  While moving about the board, you can only push objects, no pulling.  And you can only move it if there is a blank space behind it, so no pushing two blocks at a time.

While some of the levels were extremely easy, there is definitely expert levels in this app as well.  You have one option to move back one space too in case you accidentally make a move you didn’t intend to, or puts you in a bind.  This app makes is simple to move about as well with simple directional finger movements anywhere on the screen, so you don’t have to place you finger exactly on the little robot guy.

The only recommendations I have for this app in the future is to have some sort of high score tally or a way to keep track of progress outside of level completion.  Hopefully there will be more levels added soon too.  It took me a while to get through the 50 they have but now that I’ve completed them, there’s no where to go.  Another added feature would be a back to home screen button somewhere in the game.  Once on a level, there is no way to get back in case you forgot the instructions without restarting the app.  Overall an extremely addictive and fun game though, just needs some minor updates that other games already have.

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Madden 2010 being released for the iPhone today

by Mickey on September 9, 2009

Apple has just announced that Madden NFL 2010 will be available on iTunes sometime today.

TouchArcade has a great preview of the game, which includes some of the following features:

  • All NFL teams, players and stadiums.
  • “Action Control Time”.  When things are about to get interesting (almost tackled, etc), the game slows down so you can decide what to do: spin, juke, etc.
  • Draw your own hot routes.  Before the snap, press the hot routes button and draw the new route on the screen.  Nice!
  • Kicking interface similar to Tiger Woods Golf, which is a good thing — it’s a nice interface.
  • Price will be $7.99 today, going up to $9.99 tomorrow evening.

We’ll let you know when the game is available in the app store.

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TwitScoop builds app with real-time tag cloud

by Mickey on September 8, 2009

twitscoopI love the way TwitScoop is integrated into TweetDeck.  At any point during the day, I can glance over to my TweetDeck laptop and see what’s hot.  It’s great!  Now I can do the same from my phone.

The app costs $0.99, but seems pretty solid.  You can’t tweet from it (a rather glaring omission), but that’s not a big deal — there are tons of other apps on the phone from which you can tweet.  If you want an easy way to see what’s hot on Twitter, the new TwitScoop app might be the best way to do it.

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Flickr finally releases a native app

by Mickey on September 8, 2009

There have been a lot of unofficial Flickr apps on the iPhone, but none have done as good a job as the newly released official app does.

The summary from TechCrunch:

After only a little bit of time using it, I can tell that I’m going to like it. The main screen is a fairly mesmerizing slideshow of photos from your contacts on Flickr. There is an upload button that is easily accessible right on the main page, and the upload process is nice and easy. You can obviously name your picture and give it a description, but you can also easily manage what set to put it in, and what tags to give it. And the privacy settings are very clearly displayed on the upload page.

I agree — it’s a very solid app.  I’ll still be using PixelPipe for most of my photo uploads so that they’ll go to more than just Flickr, but this will be a great app to have on the phone.

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spotifyThe excellent Spotify app has just been released for the iPhone and the Android Market, but users in the United States still can’t use it.  The problem is that the app is only for premium users of the service, and users in the US still can’t access it.

Spotify is essentially just a streaming music service, but has some extra features.  Tracks play almost instantly due the P2P techniques they’ve used, and you can cache songs in an “offline” mode for listening to on a plane or a no-signal area.

Check out the video below for a preview of how the service works:

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Many choices for Encyclopedias on the iPhone

by Mickey on September 5, 2009

Test Freaks has a great post today with a round-up of all of the encyclopedia apps (and mobile sites) that you can use on your phone.

Sadly, most of the best ones are mobile sites, and there are very few killer encyclopedia apps so far.  Their list includes:

  • Wikipedia in mobile Safari
  • A handful of Wikipedia apps
  • Encyclopedia Britannica in mobile Safari
  • Encarta Online in mobile Safari
  • Worldbook Online in mobile Safari

Seriously, why are more of these being released as full apps?  I can appreciate the mobile versions so they can reach a wide variety of devices, but why not build an app as well?

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looptThis could be the start of something cool. Loopt, the location-based social network, has figured out how to use the iPhone to push your current location to their servers, without the app even running!  It’s like running it in the background, but we all know that Apple doesn’t allow that.

TechCrunch has the details on how they pulled it off:

Loopt co-founders Sam Altman and Alok Deshpande would not disclose the names of any of these partners, noting that the system set up to make this happen is very “complex” and involves a number of players. But at least one of them has to be AT&T, which is, of course, the network the iPhone runs on. Loopt, which seems to be particularly good at carrier relationships, has cut deals with AT&T in the past.

What this means is that these guys have gotten around the iPhone’s limitation by keeping a pipeline open on AT&T’s side that is constantly sending your location data to Loopt. This doesn’t require any app to be running on your iPhone — not even Loopt — and the location data will be sent even when you’re on a call or surfing the web on your iPhone. Most importantly, because there is no app required to do this, it doesn’t drain your battery life, Altman tells us.

The downside is that it’s currently limited to 5,000 users and it’ll cost $3.99/month.  Still, it’s got the potential to be a very cool service so it’s worth giving it a shot.  You can sign up here to test it.

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AroundMe posts a nice new update

by Mickey on September 3, 2009

The popular app AroundMe has just posted a new update.  This one includes:

  • Show the compass on iPhone 3GS
  • Setting for Units and Temperature
  • New theme “Black & White”
  • Support for Facebook posting
  • Improved detail view
  • Minor bug fixes

For those that haven’t used it before, the app is pretty cool.  It asks for your location, then presents a list of options (Banks, Gas Stations, etc).  Choose a category, and it’ll show a list of the locations nearest you.  From there, you can get information about the establishment, and even get a map from your current location to help you get there.

The app remains free, and is one that virtually every iPhone should have loaded on it.

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New version of WordPress app coming soon

by Mickey on September 3, 2009

WordPress has just announced that a new version of their popular app is coming soon.  They haven’t given many specifics yet, but the new app:

  • Will require OS 3.0 (which most folks have already).
  • Will feature an updated UI
  • Will have a “slew of behind the scenes updates”, to make the app faster and more compatible

They’ll be releasing more info in the next week or so, and we’ll be post it here as soon as we hear about it.

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