Thursday, June 30, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Doodle Fit

written by: Nick Kosmides

Games, games, and always games.  Some of the most popular free apps have been games.  And today we see another game enjoy its freedom.  Doodle Fit is a simple puzzle game where you fit Tetris inspired shapes into the puzzle for an exact fit.  Move on to see more difficult puzzles.  With a current total of 100 levels to complete, and a chip tune soundtrack worth listening to, Doodle Fit is the right fit for your Android.

Save up to five profiles if you happen to be sharing your devices with others.  The game allows the use of hints as well, in case you get a bit stuck.  I don't think I'll be needed those, but we'll see.  I'm only on 20 and counting.  There are two themes, notebook and chalkboard, to liven up the look.  Finally, there is no shortage of stats as the game allows you to track just about everything pertinent to a puzzler.

Set your sights on this doodle designed dilly and drop on by the Amazon Appstore to grab it free of charget today only.

Doodle Fit - $0.99 FREE

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Speed

written by: Nick Kosmides

Speed is free today on Amazon's Appstore for Android.

This will not be a long review.

Speed is a speedometer.  Don't know what that is?  Okay.  A speedometer tells you have fast you are traveling.  Speed will register speeds of 3 miles per hour or faster.  I would never recommend using an app exactly like this when doing any of the following: biking, driving a car or boat, standing atop a train shooting at mercenaries while avoiding missiles from an enemy helicopter, or while on a treadmill or stationary bike.  All but the last two are simply for safety reasons.

In response to one of the numb-nut reviewers I've added treadmill and stationary bike because this app does not work unless you are traveling across the face of the planet.  It uses your GPS signal to do all the work.  And it is displayed nicely with a leather seat background.

Speed - $0.99 FREE

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Aparatus

written by: Nick Kosmides

At $1.50, Apparatus constructs quite the challenge.  Though, today you can get your fix of all things mechanical for free from Amazon.

I sort of see this as a man's puzzle game.  As most puzzlers are designed to look pretty with lots of colors and sparkles in the effects, for which PopCap has made a killing, this game barrows from LittleBigPlanet in its simple looks yet sophisticated functionality.

The game has several modes, most of which are not found in mobile games, not even on iPhone and its ocean of options.  In the standard play mode you'll be familiar with yet another game using the Angry Birds UI for level selection.  Gameplay is straight forward though not simple.  Move the moveable pieces around to for a clear path for the little ball to land into the blue basket.  Simple enough, until they introduce electricity and all kinds of other physics based tools.

Back on the main menu you'll find two other interesting modes to choose from, Sandbox and Community Levels.  Within Sandbox is three more options, Apparatus, Building Challenge and Interactive Challenge.  All but Interactive Challenge are actually selectable as of this writing.  As you can imagine, both modes start you with clean slates for you to build a level custom to your tastes for you to share in Community Levels.

Community Levels is will take you online where you can find a plethora of custom levels made by people probably more skilled than you.  Just tap any level and you'll be presented with a screen shot of their custom level and the option to play it instantly.  Amazing premise and not something you see in games these days.  I would expect something like this to be used in Angry Birds before a surprisingly amazing game as this.

I love building and constructing and if you do to, definitely do not miss this game at any price!

Apparatus - $1.50 FREE

Monday, June 27, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Pocket Casts

written by: Nick Kosmides

Pocket Casts can be downloaded today for free from the popular Amazon Appstore for Android.

Do you do the podcasts?  Another term Apple coined, podcast, has sparked a popular craze amongst web and mobile users.  One way to get a favorite podcast is to subscribe to a sites RSS feed and download the podcast from within the feed.  Another is to use an official app of the site you frequent and hopefully it allows easy access to their own podcasts.  Though if you frequent a few or more podcasts from different sites, you'll have a lot of apps just for all those sites.  You could just use your mobile browser and bookmark each sites podcast page.

But one problem with most of these solutions is updating.  Apple does this right by allowing you to set rules to how many and how often podcasts are downloaded to your machine, though you must download to a computer then tether to transfer to an iPhone or iPod.  This should be changing if it hasn't already, thanks to Apples iCloud.  Its been a long time coming.  Heck, it may have not even come if it weren't for Android having done everything without needing to be tethered to a computer at all.  Don't get me started on the Notifications drop down.

Enter Pocket Casts, an all in one podcast searching, bookmarking, downloading, and updated utility to keep you up to date on all your audio and video podcasts.

My first attempts to view podcasts before downloading is posing some challenges so far.  I'm having to tap the same selection several times to get past errors suggesting there is no content when there clearly is.  Even of a solid WiFi connection this app is taking forever to load the Engadget podcast only to get an "Error: No podcast details available."  I'm going to keep at it though because this app has the potential for success if I can get it to work.

Give it a shot if you're into podcasts.

Pocket Casts - $2.70 FREE

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Solitaire Deluxe & Airport Mania

written by: Nick Kosmides

There are two free apps today, and think I know why.  The first one is seemingly innocent at first.  By offering you the ability to play many solitaire games in a paid app with credits or coins.  They give you a bunch to start with, but each game costs 1000 to play.  Then you can wait to earn more the following day similar to many popular Facebook games or buy more with actual money, up to $100 in your real money.

While still free from its original $4.99 price tag, Solitaire Deluxe is no longer the "Free App of the Day".  And the reviewers will tell you why.

It's my guess that to cover up the betrayal of this app and its developers ungratuitous ways, Amazon pulled it as the official "FAAD" and replaced it with a repeat of Amazon's own Airport Mania.

As with other dastardly apps, be cautious in downloading Solitaire Deluxe.  Read the reviews.

Solitaire Deluxe - $4.99 FREE

Airport Mania: First Flight - $0.99 FREE

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Big Sport Fishing 3D

written by: Nick Kosmides

Big Sport Fishing 3D is one of the few Android games I was planning to buy and good thing for me that I didn't, because its free today on the Amazon Appstore.  Set sail or fire up the two stroke and get ready for some 3D fishing fun.

Use the Android system compass to rotate your view and look for a collection of fish waiting to be snared. Though it won't be that easy, hold the device back and fling it gently forward as if to cast the line.  Low and behold, the line is cast and the reeling can begin.

If you feel like casting your shadow on some 21" trout, then cruise on over to the Amazon Appstore and fish up this great deal.

Big Sport Fishing 3D - $3.99 FREE

Friday, June 24, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Pocket Ants

written by: Nick Kosmides

Massive destruction, cruel racing, and objectiveless fun makes the recipe for today's free app of the day.  Pocket Ants is about nothing.  Like Seinfeld it takes you to one facet of our life and leaves you there, killing ants.

I bet everyone who either has played this game or can imagine playing this game can also accurately guess how this game came to be: One day I was bored and I noticed an ant hill.  So I got my magnifying glass, squirt gun, laser, flame thrower, and weather machine.  I started killing the ants every which way possible and even some ways that I didn't think were possible. Then I told the ants if they wanted to survive they'd have to race the other ants for food.  They did it and I still killed them.  Ha ha ha.

Though Pocket Ants is mindless fun and looks good without its menus and all, it will be an instant uninstall for most everyone.  Unless you have a destructive son who loves to kill things, though I probably wouldn't give a kid like that my phone.

Try it today for free and together we can keep the ant killing on the screen.

Pocket Ants - $0.99 FREE

Amazon's Free App of Yesterday - Kona's Crate

written by: Nick Kosmides

So I didn't submit this on time yesterday because I was too busy playing Kona's Crate.  I lie, I was playing Peggle.  I was in a heated competition with my wife to see who could get to the end fastest.

Kona's Crate is a decent game.  Game mechanics take a lot of time to get used to.  People often confuse game mechanics for controls.  This game has the simplest controls of any game I've played on Android.  The left half of the screen is the left thruster, and the right half of the screen is the right thruster.  The thruster work together to create lift for a platform you control used to deliver a crate to the tiki man.  The challenge is lifting the crate steadily and changing its direction without flipping the platform.

Tapping is the key!  I found that after ten levels of sloppy completion I was able to hone my skills with a sort of left-right flicker of the thrusters. This allowed me to favor one side more than the other when I needed to turn and to do it slightly rather than with a heavy finger hold.

The UI is again reminiscent of Angry Birds, and this seems to be an ongoing theme with mobile games.  If you can't design your own theme then borrow from the most successful of all games.  I guess I would do the same, though I would definitely be able to design my own.  UIs are kind of my thing, just in case someone needed a hand in designing a UI.

If you downloaded Kona's Crate yesterday for free, then you most likely have moved on to a different game or outdoor adventure. If you didn't, I wouldn't suggest wasting $3 on this.  Go for Peggle or Angry Birds if you want a good looking time killer.  Though it is a pretty game, the competition is just starting to get thick on Android!

Kona's Crate - $2.99

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Executive Assistant +

written by: Nick Kosmides

At nearly $7 for Executive Assistant +, it seems to be an extremely glorified widget app for all your media needs.  The truth of the matter is I'm right.  Similar to how the SuperBox gave you access to all your Settings under the hood of the SuperBox app, Exec. Ass. + (shortened) provides the following services under its hood:

- calling features
- emails
- text messages
- calender
- tasks
- Google Reader
- Twitter timelines
- Facebook news feed

Here's the funniest part of it all.  Your "smartphone" already does all this stuff!  Its the whole reason you bought a smartphone in the first place.  If you want a quick chuckle, read the Product Description for Exec. Ass. + and pretend they are talking about a new phone, rather than an app.  Try it, I'll wait.

Now, what the app actually does offer users is the ability to access all those stock and free-to-download features of your phone in one convenient spot of your Home screen.  Choose to use the many widget options which every Android user loves!  Or how about the Lock screen option, or unlock to face their Home screen atop your Home screen.

While those are real nice features, the popular vote is going with the notion that running redundant apps on your smartphone is bad for the environment, the phone environment.  Your battery will thank you by not having two versions of every app running in the background, plus a widget and Lock screen feature.

Regardless of the popular vote, you'll save $7 by picking up this little big app today from the Amazon Appstore as part of the Free App A Day program.

Executive Assistant + - $6.99 FREE

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Peggle

written by: Nick Kosmides

Uh, Peggle is here!  Free!  From Amazon!

Have you really not played it?  Its addictive plinko style gameplay at its best.  With tons of levels and colorful characters to meet along the way.  There seriously isn't anymore to say, because I'm downloading this as I type and its already been reviewed at least a hundred times since it was released back in the early 1900's.

Remember, its another WiFi-only download so be sure to nab it before you head off to work.  At 74MB, it could take sometime if you wait until your next Starbucks visit or another shared network.

Peggle - $2.99 FREE

Monday, June 20, 2011

FREE for a LIMITED TIME - SeekDroid

written by: Nick Kosmides

Amazon is straying from the one free app a day formula by providing SeekDroid for free.  I noticed this yesterday and I'm not sure how much longer it will be offered up for no charge.  Though if you're in the market for a missing device administrator, and Lookout is draining your battery, try SeekDroid.

Said to not only be a stellar device administration tool capable of GPS location of your device, remote lock and remote wipe, but does it all without touching the battery until it is called upon by you and your PC.  All the tools are available to you via their secure website allow you to locate, track, and react to your Android device from afar.

One reviewer mentions that its a great tool to use to keep track of your children by tethering them to a phone.  I would think being a good parent involved simply knowing where they are without handing them a cell.  Though, if we are all paranoid parents afraid our lives are exactly like what's on TV, then cell phone it up!

SeekDroid - $0.99 FREE

Amazon's Free App of the Day - SuperBox

written by: Nick Kosmides

SuperBox is free today as part of the Free App A Day promotion through Amazon's Appstore for Android.

This app brings forward a lot of features that are already on your Android device, though a few clicks into you Settings menu.  SuperBox does not really bring anything unique or empowering to you phone and a lot of reviewers are expressing that.

For example, SuperBox allows you to check your battery details.  You can already to this from Settings>About Phone>Battery Use.  This will tell you what has been taxing your battery and help you to understand if any apps are overusing or if its just how you are using your apps.

Another popular example is clearing the cache.  Though this is not something you'll want to do to apps you use everyday, it is possible from Settings>Applications>Manage applications.  Notice a "Running" tab among the others.  Use these tabs to see what you have installed or are currently running, then click an app and you may have the option to Clear Cache.  Warning: DO NOT select Clear data!!!

Make sure you are not clearing your data unless you intend to re-enter the information needed for the app to operate for you.  In other words, if you clear the data for 100 Pushups, you will lose all previous pushup records you've ever saved.  If you clear the data for any game, you'll have to start the game over again.  If you clear the data for Qriocity, you'll need to re-enter your account info or possibly reactivate the device.

It is with this app that you may be able to do all these things and more from the confines of one app rather than scattered all over the Settings menu.  Though do be cautious with apps like this that promote clearing caches and killing apps.  As I've said before and many others have documented, killing apps is not actually doing any good on Android 2.2 or greater.  The apps are simply restarted because they weren't actually running in the first place.

SuperBox - $3.99 FREE

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Jenga

written by: Nick Kosmides

At the time of this writing, one star ratings are a click away from 100 total, with the common complaint being the inability to install.  Boy, Amazon is on a roll picking the winners this week.  First it was yesterday's Nano Panda-monium with that pile that nearly bricked my phone, and now Jenga doing just the same to everything EXCEPT my phone.

Jenga, free today on the Amazon Appstore for Android, is a sound download on the Samsung Fascinate running 2.2 on Verizon (the best).  Other working phones seem to be the original Droid with CM7, one Evo 4G, Droid X, even a Galaxy Tab.  But there are tons of people saying it won't even install.  This sounds like a packaging issue on the part of the dev or Amazon.

The game itself is fun.  Takes a game to get used to how it works, but I think its a lot of fun.  With several modes of play including a multiplayer pass-the-phone mode to get everyone into the classic yet virtual brick pulling fun.

Download with caution everyone, though I would like to share with you all some ideas.  Here's a couple tips to downloading apps on anyone's marketplace, Amazon or Android:

Tip #1: If you don't want to install an app because its in disarray, though its free and want it anyway, you can choose not to install on your phone OR... on a computer, while logged into Amazon, click this:
You'll own it and see it in your New apps list yet its not downloaded or installed to your phone.  Then just wait for it to update before installing.  You still get it free and stay away from any serious temporary issue.

Tip #2: When writing a review for an app on either Amazon's Appstore or the Android Market, please please please note the phone you are using at the time of the writing and the OS, so everyone knows if the problems or praises you preach are present on the p-phone.

Now get to downloading you Fascinate users!

Jenga - $2.99 FREE

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Nano Panda [PSA: WARNING!!!]

written by: Nick Kosmides

I've not had to make a PSA yet, but don't download today's free app from Amazon!  Nano Panda, though looks extremely cute and fun, and has achievement support through Open Feint, has some serious problems.

I downloaded it only after reading everyone else's experiences on Amazon and basically ran into the same initial problems.  Extremely long load times getting to the main menu for starters.  Its not Feint's fault as many seem to think.  If you load Feint from the Main Menu, it operates perfectly fine on its own, but returning to the game and progressing anywhere within is where the problem lies.

The first level was really beautiful, I thought I might be one of the lucky few (literally) who made it to gameplay.  Upon completing the first level I had no idea how to play still.  Onward to the second level.

I fired off the two pandas and CRASH!!!  My phone's auto-brightness level seemed to increase which may have caused the crash, meaning the game could not handle certain phone features.  Not good.  So my phone is hard crashed, locked up, can't be recovered without removing the battery now.  Sweet.  But my screen starts to do something funny.  All these horizontal lines begin to slow cover the frozen image of gameplay.  A couple minutes later my phone's screen is covered in lines.

So I say once more, until a proper fix is released, DO NOT DOWNLOAD THIS APP!  If you do so, you will be putting your phone at risk of these same issues or worse.  Not every device will fully recover from this.  Heed my warning people.  I'm not even going to link the app below, its that bad.  If there appears to be a link below, its because the issue is reportedly fixed and I will update this post.

Nano Panda - $0.99 FREE

Friday, June 17, 2011

Get Wordfeud for $0.99 from Amazon's Appstore

written by: Nick Kosmides

Wordfeud is one of my favorite apps for Android.  It brings Scrabble gameplay to Android better than most all the other apps.  Wordsmith, Words With Friends and whatever contenders out there have been struggling to keep up with Wordfeud.  Why is that?

Because Wordfeud is quick, smooth, clean and fun.  It offers players the ability to connect on Android or iOS.  You can create a list of the friends you play the most so you can quickly send them a game invite and chat features are fast and responsive.  Where Words With Friends falls flat, Wordfeud has been excelling.

I can't speak more highly of this game, and having tried them all, I feel I know what I'm talking about.

The looks of Wordfeud is the only category where players may differ.  I know plenty of female players who aren't too fond of the black and grey hue of the boardgame, whereas the male players may prefer it.  Though its safe to assume there are more women than men playing, this could be something where the dev may consider offering skins or a level of customization also not found in any other word games.

Gameplay features are one thing that Wordfeud has been excelling in.  For example, the most recent Words With Friends update for Android has FINALLY brought the long desired Shuffle button to the game.  Forever, you were required to shake the phone to get the tiles to shuffle.  And you can only shake the phone once every 2 seconds.  With the Shuffle button you can spam that thing until you scan a word, and PRESTO!  Wordfeud has had this Shuffle button since it first hit the Android Market.  And the shuffle algorithm is still better than Words With Friends.  For some reason, it just works better in moving the letters around to find a word.

Another gameplay feature found in Wordfeud that excels is the ability to play a word, then place your letters for the next word before its your turn again and have them stay there even after closing and reopening the app.  As long as your opponent doesn't play their letters where you've placed yours, they will remain for you to simply hit the Play button to play those letters super fast during your next turn.  Rinse and repeat, and the games do move a lot faster, and you won't forget that 7 letter word you wanted to play in a specific twisted place on the game board.  Words With Friends does not save these placed letters, or the order in which you last left the tiles in your rack.  These features are paramount to playing your next word with ease.

If you visit the Amazon Appstore today, and maybe the near future, you'll find that the amazing Wordfeud is on sale for $0.99.  A bargain and a steal for the word game enthusiast or someone who wants to just try it out.  Also note that there is a free version with ads, but isn't supporting the developer for a third the price so much nicer!!!

Wordfeud - $2.99 SALE $0.99

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Virtual Table Tennis 3D

written by: Nick Kosmides

Clapfoot Games brings table tennis to the Amazon Appstore, and Amazon is giving it away for free today. Virtual Table Tennis 3D the big game os ping pong to your little touch screen Android.

Though the title says it, this game is far from "Virtual" and not exactly "3D" either.  The menu screens are all presented in 2D while the gameplay is in 3D, but not the 3D so many are advertising in movies and console video games.  As stereoscopic 3D is becoming more commonplace, people will begin assuming the 3D in the title for all things, maybe except fruit snacks, means you can where special glasses to play.  This is not the case with Virtual Table Tennis 3D.  In fact, the only thing that is actual 3D is the ball.  The paddle moves on a 2D plane and the table could very well be a 2D image of a table that appears to be going away from you.

The controls are not nearly as responsive as the iOS version of the same game.  A bit of lag may be present on many devices while the AI is unrelenting. One match in Intermediate and I was uninstalling.  The keystone to the game design arch is controls.  A game can look like a work of art or on par with the console version, but if the controls just aren't there, then everything falls apart.

Virtual Table Tennis 3D - $1.99 FREE

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Watchdog Task Manager

written by: Nick Kosmides
 Back on June 2nd, we were offered TaskKiller Pro for free on that Amazon Appstore and I went on and on about how we don't need task killers and there are other things you can do to extend your battery life.

Yesterday we were graced with Watchdog Task Manager, and the title nearly explains what this app is all about.  Instead of killing apps which the company explains on their website it bad, Watchdog will alert you to when an app may be using more resources  than it should while running in the background.

The user interface is simple and intuitive.  The app will notify you of any apps running over the expect CPU level or background processes that kick on when they should be on standby.  Give the app a try and decide if its worth the buy.

Watchdog Task Manager - $3.49

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Amazon’s Free App of the Day - Yumsters

written by: Nick Kosmides

Yumsters is free today from Amazon.  A game about worm-like creatures stretching across the playing field in an effort to gobble up random pieces of fruit that appear from nowhere. I could only play this for maybe 10 minutes before it became boring.  The gameplay mechanic is a big odd to.  Why these pearl necklace looking worms are eating so much fruit seems to be the afterthought.  What is the purpose other than to consume, or is that what the app is reminding us of.  That we are just sheep lined up to be sheered of our hard earned cash?

The UI reminds me of a cell phone game from the 90's.  Even typing my name in at the start of the app was made difficult due to extremely tiny font on my 4" OLED screen.

Yumsters is fun for a fling, but not much else.

Yumsters - $1. 00 FREE

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Glow Hockey 2 Pro

written by: Nick Kosmides

Glow Hockey 2 Pro is free today from the Amazon Appstore.  The added name "Pro" brings nothing bug ad-free gaming to the table, literally.

The gameplay is solid and arguably top in its class.  This app has been played across nearly every platform including Palm devices, now HP I guess, and iOS.  Though its major fault lies in the noticeable lag when swiping for the puck.  Your paddle will not stay with your finger and this accounts for 99% of goals against yourself.  As you go to defend your goal after missing the shot, you'll knock the puck into your own goal.

During my first play session in Championship mode, I made it to level 9 before I lost.  I was exploiting the cpu by returning their server as a left bank shot and it would either go in on one bounce or the cpu's puck would knock it in.  Worked every time so long as the angle was right.  I just aimed for the center of the side wall on the cpu half of the field.

Fully customizable fields, pucks and paddles may keep you coming, but one shining feature is the 2-players-on-one-screen mode.  Each of you hold either end of the device and play a round to see who can adjust to the lag the quickest.

Ironically, the number of reviews on the Amazon page for this app forms a nice image depicting AT&Ts signal bars, from 1-star to 5-stars.  Download this app today for free and get future updates free too.

Glow Hockey 2 Pro - $1.99 FREE

Sunday, June 12, 2011

That's A Good Idea! - Amazon Edition

written by: Nick Kosmides

With Amazon soaring in popularity and people becoming more comfortable with the choices of Android app marketplaces available today, glaring inconsistencies and short comings arise.  Amazon is a great place to get nearly everything under the sun, but because of its nature and the fact that its a retail site for all things thingy, they keep tight records of your transactions.

Whenever you buy something from the site they keep a record of it, for various reason all of which are business related.  When it comes to Android software, this is not entirely a good thing.  People complain frequently about the need to have a credit card stored in your Amazon account to get free apps of the day, but this is true with every app, even lite or demo releases.  One long list is created including every single app you've activated to your account or device.  Every demo, lite version and full or pro version is included.  Lets say you download the lite version of Wordfeud to give it a try.  Wow, this app is incredible and you say, "hey, its cheaper on the Amazon Appstore than on the Android Market.  I'll buy that!"  So you do.  But now it appears in your list twice, one is the lite and the other is the ad-free version.  This sucks!

What can we do about this???  Hmm, they most likely won't allow people to delete the apps in this list because they issue a receipt for everything including the free stuff.  To Amazon, every app is purchased and therefor must be catalogued.  But maybe, just maybe, they could allow you to hide apps of your choosing from your list.  Like layers of an onion, you could not see layers of apps beneath the first unless you so choose to.  At the very least, this would be extremely helpful on Android devices.  My list of apps has surpassed 50 and approaches 60, of which are not installed at this time.  More than 20 are currently installed.  I would like to hide some 30 or more if I had the choice.

What are your thoughts on the matter?  When compared to the Android Market, purchased apps paid for with a credit card where an actual exchange of currency is made are the only apps that remain on your list after uninstalling.  Demos are no longer kept in a list and therefor become a burden no more.  This is obviously something Google felt the need to consider when designing the Android Market and where Amazon deemed unimportant.

You can help by taking the thoughts expressed here and forming your own opinion of the matter.  If enough people were to send Amazon a feature request we may sway them to consider and eventually implement a fix to this potentially crippling oversight.  Find "Contact Us" on Amazon's Appstore for Android and do us all a favor.

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Grow

written by: Nick Kosmides

Grow is today's free app from the Amazon Appstore.

Familiar as it may be to some PlayStation gamers out there, this may be a new type of game to Android users.  Not many games are available with the food chain gameplay mechanic used as the primary motive for the game.  And to those faithful PS gamers a particular game bares the most resemblence in not just gameplay but also the title, Flow.  Like Grow, Flow is a food chain game whereby your aquatic life form begins as a single celled organism and grows only by eating similar or smaller sized organisms.  Although Grow follows nearly the exact gameplay design as Flow, Grow differs by including an upgrade system and loot to boot.  After eating fish they drop coins.  Collect the coins to afford upgrades in swim speed, accelerated growth, and extra item slots.

Grow also borrows its UI straight from another widely popular game, Angry Birds.  Each backdrop has as many as 12 levels where you'll attempt to earn 3 stars based on speed and performance, just like Angry Birds.  The Pause menu and Level Cleared/Failed screens have also have the replay, menu, and next level buttons from Angry Birds.

Touch controls are responsive and come with two optional setups.  By default you'll have the entire screen as a touchable control surface.  With your fish in the middle, touch anywhere around it to go in that direction.  This one was fun for a while, but my finger ended up blocking the action.  So you will most likely do what I did and switch to the static directional touch pad.  There is an option for left hand or right hand controls.

With 64 levels of gameplay, seven colorful backdrops, and two levels of difficulty, Adventure Mode is where you'll begin.  Seven levels in Survival mode come next where global online leaderboards may keep you coming.  Reviews are positive and I'm enjoying the game at least for a little while.

Grow - $1.99 FREE

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Ledgerist

written by: Nick Kosmides

Ledgerist is free today from Amazon's Appstore for Android.

The app description asks if you still use pen and paper.  Well, do you?  We do, and it hasn't failed us yet, other than forgetting to put all purchases and withdrawals in it sometimes.  This app helps eliminate the need to carry the big (big by today's standards) clunky checkbook register in exchange for another dollop of digital data downloaded to your device.  A device that you already use for nearly every facet of life.

Which makes an app like this questionable.  Do you get your spending habits involved into the storage device of a piece of electronics small enough to lose or mishandle?  Backups are easily managed with this app, though the csv files are backed up to your SD card.  You then need to get them off the SD card and onto a laptop or to a cloud storage system somehow, like by email or USB.  If you lose your phone, you also lose the SD card in the slot and all its contents.

Ledgerist features simple and clean interface with not many bells or whistles.  One good feature is the  four digit passcode security simply meant to keep others from looking at your finances.  Not by any means a secure 128bit encryption for wireless data transfer.  More like a privacy lock on a door knob.

I am hoping to see some of the Amazon reviewers suggestions used in future updates because there are some good ones.  But for now, go grab Ledgerist while its still free today.

Ledgerist - $1.99 FREE

Amazon's Free App of the Day - My Paper Plane 2 (3D)

written by: Nick Kosmides

My Paper Plane 2 was free yesterday.  What can I say.  I found life without my phone yesterday in my many outdoor hobbies.

I downloaded this but didn't have time to play it, so a review would have been fabricated.  My Paper Plane 2 may be worth the $1.98 they are asking if you are into flight games with slightly old school 3D graphics. Not the 3D from all these glasses-free devices you may have heard about, just "plane" old 3 dimensional graphics, pun intended.

With four backdrops and 16 levels to fly through, Amazon's Free App of the Day helped to garner over 70 reviews for WaveCades first app in the Amazon Appstore for Android.  So, with a lets congratulate the developer for a fine title and if you managed to miss out on this app entirely, don't worry, there is a Lite version you can download to run a test flight before you take to the skies in the full version.

My Paper Plane 2 (3D) - $1.98

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Random Mahjong Pro (ad free)

written by: Nick Kosmides

Shall I start by saying I love Mahjong Solitaire, and this is by far the BEST Mahjong game I've ever played.  Not only is it amazing, its free today!

The interface is simple.  This is important and so many other games are so busy and over done.  The color palette is classy and sharp, which makes this a very appealing game to play.  The sounds are simple as well, and perfectly balanced with gameplay.  Try to select a piece not on the edge and see and hear what happens.  Perfection.  You may think I'm going a bit over board, though as long as you have no device issues, you will agree this is sheer perfection.

 I played this thing all night, still can't get enough.  Puzzles are randomly generated but sophisticated and extremely challenging.  I chose Easy at first just because I'm not cocky, even though I'm good.  Got five puzzles in and started failing to solve!  I was blown away.  Tried Medium and couldn't solve the first puzzle.  I eventually did, but they do seem to have only one solution in the Medium difficulty. What's Hard like?!!

Please do not hesitate on this one.  The dev deserves the credit for this masterpiece Mahjong solitaire gem and you deserve the free-ness of it all.

Random Mahjong Pro - $1.99 FREE

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Pocket Salsa

written by: Nick Kosmides

Pocket Salsa is free today, fulfilling your video downloading desires.

This is basically a portal to download the videos.  Welcome to Salsa 101, and mobile app 101.  Anyone who thinks downloading the videos through the app is a pain should not own a smartphone.  Apps are in nature meant to be portals to websites and databases.  Most apps are just shells and the internet is the filling, if we're making stuffed shells.

Pocket Salsa brings over 100 instructional dancing videos to your phone in an attempt to make you active.  When it comes to smartphone users, not to many people can be caught dancing while holding their phone in one hand.

I must warn you though as many downloaders are complaining about the permissions.  There is an unexplained number of permissions, not to mention the personal nature of the data these permissions have access to.  Download with caution.  Although we can trust Amazon to a certain extent, these developers may have a completely different agenda.

Pocket Salsa - $1.99 FREE

Amazon's Free App of the Day - Car Maintenance Reminder Pro

written by: Nick Kosmides

Yesterday was the day of car maintenance.  You missed out on nothing, and if you think you did, I feel sorry for you.  Having downloaded Car Maintenance Reminder Pro free yesterday, you will discover that this app loves to run continuously in the background despite turning all alerts and notifications off.

The UI is clunky and leaves something to be desired.  My big problem with the app is the commitment.  You won't realize it when you download it, but this app does nearly nothing for you right away.  Every other app you've downloaded has something for you to use or benefit from almost immediately.  Once you input all the details of your vehicles the next step is nothing.  You wait.  The app simply tells you when things need to be changed on your car.

When I think car maintenance, I'm not only thinking regularly scheduled maintenance.  What if you get a flat and need to find a tire repair place.  It would be convenient of this app included this feature, utilizing Google Maps api to help you find this or a gas station.  How about cheapest gas prices, or oil change specials.  I think the reason for this not being available is because the dev clearly states the app does not use the network in any way when you go Pro.  Maybe to prove there are no ads.

In this case it hinders the true potential for a "pro" car maintenance app.  Though, there is that word "reminder" in the app title.

Car Maintenance Reminder Pro - $1.99