15 Dec

Escape the Titanic: A “Free” App

It’s not. I’m going to start off by saying it most definitely isn’t free.

Escape-the-Titanic

I downloaded this app because I love the film, and it was on the trending list on Android Play. But after playing a really fun, well-designed puzzle game for maybe twenty minutes (I wasn’t timing, but it didn’t feel like long), I got to a stage where it asked me to pay to continue with either answers or hints. They are both paid-for options. The other option was a tiny ‘no thanks’ link at the bottom. Naturally, I pressed ‘no thanks’ and waited to continue without my answers or hints.

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It took me back to the main menu. I pressed the play button and it the same ‘answers or hints’ screen loaded. You can’t progress without paying for hints. It’s 61p for hints, and £1.85 for full answers. So, not a lot for the hints but as this review from Gamezebo points out, the hints are just basic instructions and not at all helpful.

But I wouldn’t know. I refuse to pay for a game that calls itself free. And a quick scan of the reviews on the Android app store reveals that a lot of other people have felt duped by this too. Okay, so you get a few puzzles for free, but it should at least come clean in the description.

As for the few puzzles I did play, I did think it was fun. I like a good puzzle game as much as the next geek, and the imagery was great too. I felt like a cartoon Jack Dawson.

It’s a shame it was advertised as free, when it should have just been advertised as 61p. It’s better to have less people downloading the app, than making everyone annoyed by it!IMG_2737

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15 Dec

Free Theme Park game in app store

Theme Park app by EA

Theme Park app by EATheme Park, originally released back in 1994, was a firm favourite of mine. I remember spending a fair few evenings constructing and managing my amusement park on my second hand Playstation.

So when EA released the Theme Park app, I had to give it a go. On Android and in the iTunes App Store, Theme Park starts off just as fun as I remember. Yes, the control isn’t as easy on a smartphone as it was on a console, but the game is still great. The only thing I’ve found, as with a lot of these free apps, is it takes a long time to get anywhere with the game and it begs you to pay for stuff at every opportunity. I’d rather just pay a flat rate for the game instead of paying for tickets.

As I said before in my Candy Crush review, I don’t like paying for upgrades. I will buy games, and I will buy apps if they are particularly useful (although I’ve yet to find one that falls into this category), but I won’t buy tokens, tickets, coins, or any other paid-for item on a ‘free’ app.

Theme Park has therefore taken a very long time to progress.

EA Theme Park gameplay

There have been some other very angry reviews of this app, like this one from Jim Sterling on Destructoid.

I don’t feel that strongly about it. I still enjoy playing it, but I’m sure the nostalgia of the original game has a part to play in that. It’s given me the urge to dig out my old Playstation instead.

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03 Dec

Your photos on marshmallows: why do I love this?

Instamallows

It shouldn’t be great, but it is. Imagine getting a parcel you haven’t ordered, so you immediately rip it open with a mixture of excitement and confusion. The box reads ‘Boomf, Magical Mallows’ and you are still none the wiser. What is this? Opening the box reveals a set of 9 bite size marshmallows, each printed with a picture of you and your best friend on that amazing holiday you had last summer.

Boomf box

THIS IS THE BEST PRESENT EVER. Except that you have to eat them, or it’d be a waste, right?

I don’t know why I like this idea so much. It’s personal, it’s quirky, and I don’t even know what the point of having photos on marshmallows is but I would be thrilled to get some.

You order from the Boomf site, and choose your photos directly from your Instagram account. It’s a great extension of the Instagram app – a use for the collection of photos that would otherwise just stay on your phone.

So really, download Instagram if you haven’t already, and get snapping.

Instamallows

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03 Dec

I thank LEGO® for the 4+ app

LEGO® App4+My son loves Lego. I love Lego. I like having a little boy as an excuse to play with Lego. Then they released an app aimed at 4-7 year olds (Android and iOS) and I let the little one loose on my phone, sticky mitts and all.

It has two games in the app. The first is a build-a-car scenario that lets you select from various lego parts, and you can unlock more of these for free. Then you press a button to drive your vehicle and collect lego studs. My son cheers and claps when he gets to the end and triggers the celebration.

The second game is puzzle building, consisting of click and drag action. There are lots to chose from, and this would keep my son amused for a very long time if I were to let him have my phone for that long.

It’s design is great, the Lego branding is superb as always, and the gameplay is fantastic for toddler/pre-school children. My son is two, and he loves it, although he needs a little help from time to time. It’s a brilliant way to keep him amused while I do the washing up.

LEGO® App4+

I’d rather be playing this app myself though.

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03 Dec

Blackboard Learn app review

Blackboard have released an app on Android and iOS. It’s always handy to have access to information on your phone. It goes with you everywhere, and great for someone who is always on the move.

Blackboard Learn app

I also find it so much easier to have an app to use than having to try and find the specific webpage on a mobile. Mobile sites are often dysfunctional or you face the endless zooming and navigating of a desktop site. I use my phone for a good chunk of my online browsing/researching so this is really useful.
Although, for timetables etc. downloading PDF documents to your phone isn’t ideal, and the one criticism I would have is that these should be posted as pages to view rather than links to documents.
I will be using this app throughout my course though as it is so easy to use.
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02 Dec

I’m all Tapped Out: The Simpsons app review

Simpsons Tapped Out

I feel as a human being, we are all instinctively born with knowledge of the Simpsons. As a 90’s kid, the Simpsons has always been around, and probably always will be. When I first started playing the EA app The Simpsons™: Tapped Out I suddenly realised how many people I knew that were already playing it, and more importantly, how much further ahead they were!

This app was instantly addictive. I enjoyed reading the little storylines that go along with the quests, and I chuckled to myself when clicking on the different characters and hearing their catchphrases. I found that I progressed quickly in the beginning, which is important otherwise you feel like you are getting nowhere.

You know you’re hooked when you find yourself bragging to your other half, ‘I got the Chief Wiggum, have you?’.

As far as game play goes, it’s easy to get the hang of, and enjoyable, if a little repetitive. Therapeutic might be a better word. It’s a little like a Farmville/Sims mash-up, but much better. And you can make Nelson say ‘ha ha’ on cue.

 

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