Sunday, January 23, 2011

Time to be Geeked (Time Geeks)

Remember wayyyyy back when there used to be books published that would stick a random object in a collage of different objects and make you find that ONE object?  Confused?  Pretty much.  While I usually managed to find said object after a long period of looking, it always used to bug me that I had such a hard time finding those stupid little things.

By now, you might be wondering why I just went on a monologue cursing the very existence of search and find books.  The answer is pretty simple -- Time Geeks is just one big search and find book, app style.  Is this a bad thing?  No.  If you are one of those people that absolutely love doing that sort of task, this app executes it flawlessly in a number of colorful, pixilated areas that bring a true last-generation arcade feel to the game.

Being as though this is an indie game developed by a relatively obscure studio, there isn't really that much to hate about TimeGeeks.  The graphics are colorful and the music complements the feel of the game well.  If you like the genre, you'll undoubtedly like the app and will be willing to put down the money for it.  If you're like me, though, and search and find games really aren't that high on your list, I'd take a quick pass and spend the money elsewhere.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Atomic Web Browser

Safari has generally been one of the better mobile browsers that I've used over the last few years.  It does its job decently well, is pretty fast in most situations, and provides an easy way of creating browser apps for your homescreen.  After reading that, you can imagine my skepticism when one of my friends recently came up to me and recommended the Atomic Web Browser.  Why would I ever pay .99 cents for an app when I already have a serviceable browser to begin with?

Because the Atomic Web Browser rocks, that's why.

After downloading the little sucker (5.8 MB makes it a rather light app), there was little doubt over the massive amount of features that are provided when you pop open your browser.  First things first is the tab system, which mostly emulates your average desktop browser in form and function.  For the life of me, I can't understand why mobile Safari hasn't implemented this feature yet, especially with how easy it makes it to flick around browsers at the tap of a button.  Another awesome feature is the ability to trick sites into thinking that you're using a desktop browser.  By doing this, you cut the garbage that comes from using the mobile sites that a variety of websites have implemented, allowing you to view websites in their original format.  To top it off, Atomic Web Browser also comes with a convenient Ad Block feature to stop ads from slowing down your browser.

There are literally a TON of other features that come with the browser, some of which may interest you, others which may not.  You can literally change everything, from color scheme to even how big font appears on certain pages.  Drop-Box support is available, as well as rotation lock and an extremely convenient offline viewing capability for those who wish to save pages for later browsing.  All of this is extremely helpful, and in reality, what should have been included in Safari from the get-go.  There are a lot of things that you can spend a buck on in the App Store.  Save yourself from wasting that buck on a cruddy game and invest in the Atomic Web Browser.  You won't regret it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fantasy Sports News at its Finest

Back when I got my first iDevice forever ago, I downloaded a few apps, including the Fanball Fantasy News app.  It was kind of an impulse download, and for the record, I never thought that several years later I'd still have it sitting in a prominent place on my iDevices.  But it is there, and for good reason.  Throughout my time owning Apple's line of portable goodness, I have never come across a better app that allows users to check up on trends in fantasy sports like this one.  Even if you're not a huge fan of fantasy, this app is still great for even checking up on regular sports, because most of the (albeit sometimes witty) news can be applied to both the real and fantasy worlds.  The menus are clean enough, and at the price -- free -- you really won't be able to do much better on the open market.  If you're looking for an app to keep in tune with your favorite players, definitely check this one out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Otterbox Defender Series Case Review (iPod Touch 4G)

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's Cookin Time (Diner Dash Review)

For anyone who has ever been a waiter before (or waitress), you probably realize the rigors that naturally come with the job can sometimes be a bit stressful.  From people who don't like the food that's been served to idiots who can't keep their "hyper" children under control, things can be a bit rough.  Which brings us to Flo.  Once trapped in the everlasting agony of corporate America, Flo has decided to leave her job for the greener pastures of being a waitress.  Sounds fun, right?

For those of you who have never played Diner Dash before, the basic concept of the game is to get through  a day of being a waitress while racking up tips and making as much money as possible to upgrade your diner.  Along the way you'll manage to serve people from all walks of life, from the elderly to even restaurant curators.  Gameplay is simple enough and what you could probably expect from the genre: greet the people at the door, seat the people, and serve them their food.  After they are done eating, it's just a simple matter of moving them out the door while you usher in the next group of people.  Do your job in a fast, effective manner to get a great tip and get you closer to your money goal for the day.

While it really is a simple app, Diner Dash can get very addicting when things become hectic later on in the game, and it's definitely something that you will probably sink quite a few hows into in your quest to move up the food chain.  It's a bit on the pricey side at 2.99 (.99 cents is basically the sweet spot for this app), but there is a light version available for those who would be more comfortable trying before they throw money at the developers.  For the price, it really is on the meh side.  If it goes on sale, though, I highly recommend picking this up and joining Flo is her quest to become the ultimate waitress.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Some Random Thoughts About the New Mac App Store

As many of you Mac owners probably know, Apple decided to finally release the much ballyhooed Mac App Store yesterday as a software update (10.6.6 IIRC).  Being the curious one that I am, here are a few random thoughts and musings from my quick overview of it.

1.) Angry Birds has come to the Mac...

...but it's crazy expensive for the game.  Don't get me wrong -- I love Angry Birds.  But $5 for it?  I think I'll stick to the mobile version.

2.) My condolences to the people who decided to buy the iWork bundle again thinking that it was the '11 version.  Apparently there's a bug in the software that doesn't pick up that you already have it installed, but that should be fixed soon enough (it was on mine...).

3.) Aperture is cheap.  Well, almost.  Gimp is still my preferred photo manipulation/editor tool if you don't mind X11.  $80 is $80.

4.) I've seen a bunch of these apps randomly strewn across the internet in the past.  I guess this is just Apple's way of condensing things.

5.) iLife '11 individual apps can be had for 14.99 a piece.  That's a good thing, too, because I largely find iPhoto and Garageband useless for my tastes.  iMovie, on the other hand, is what I use for youtube videos, so that got my download.

6.) Twitter is the #1 free app right now.  TheAppNook approves.

7.) When in doubt about which version of an app to get, portable is usually better.  And cheaper.

8.) Having an all-in-one update feature ala iTunes is going to be a huge boon for the lazy people out there (read, me) who never get around to updating apps.

9.) Growl isn't in the store.  Get moving, guys.

10.) Microsoft hasn't put the Office Suite on there, either.  They're either wanting exclusivity rights, or Apple is trying to sell old iWork programs.  Or Microsoft is trying to siphon every last penny out of you.

So there you have it, just a few random thoughts about the whole thing.  I may find other random tidbits here and there, but this whole thing has underwhelmed me compared to what the iOS App Store has become.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Join the Elite (NBA Elite 11)

Usually, the sweet spot for app pricing is around .99 cents.  Once you start going above that price, app sales tend to dip a bit.  Once you get up to around five bucks, as is the price with NBA Elite 11, you hit a really dicey area that forces the person in question to really consider whether or not they want the app.  NBA Elite 11 is, in a way, the spiritual successor to the console games that never were released.  The app has all of the official licensing that goes with being an NBA game, so no half-brick players are present.  Is it really worth the money, though?


NBA Elite 11 is the only true basketball game in the app store that I could find.  Every mode that you'd expect in an NBA title is present, from quick exhibition matches to a full season.  A 3-PT shooting contest is added in for fun.  Games usually last around twelve minutes and can be paused at any time, which is perfect for a pick-up and play type of experience.  If you really want a mobile NBA title, NBA Elite 11 is probably the closest thing you're going to get.

While I like NBA Elite 11 for the aforementioned reasons, there are a few problems that need to be mentioned.  Firstly, the "Retina graphics" that the game promises aren't really retina quality at all, looking more like jagged bricks at points.  It's not enough to dissuade someone from buying the title, but I definitely wouldn't consider it a selling point like the developers are trying to push.  Secondly, the game is heavily reliant on dunks.  Almost no skill is needed to simply walk up to the basket and lay one down, as your CPU opponent will surely show you as you start playing games.  There is simply no way to stop an opponent from dunking on you.  Thirdly, in the time that this app has been fooled around with, there have been two or three crashes that randomly occurred while the game was loading.  For five bucks, I don't like the idea of an app crashing randomly.

Problems aside, NBA Elite 11 is probably the closest thing you're going to get to an NBA experience in the app store.  If you have to have a mobile NBA, you really only have this to fool around with.  For those of you who can wait to simply play it on a console, I'd do yourself a favor and stay far away from this app.  It's good, but not five buck good.  Ninety-nine cents would have been perfect for this app, so if you do see it on sale in the future, I can definitely recommend it for that price.  Anything higher though is a red flay to stay far away.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year from TheAppNook!

Happy New Year!  Regular posting activity will resume as of tomorrow.  Thanks!