Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Undiscovered App #12: Forget-Me-Not -- PacMan Meets Fargoal

Forget-Me-Not
[ PROMO CODE ALERT ]

We're taking it back to the 80s with this Undiscovered App from Nyarlu Labs, makers of Forget-Me-Not, a quirky retro blend of the rogue-type genre set in an ever-shifting and random PacMan-esque landscape.

It was this comment I saw in passing that made me want to find out more about this app:

I never really liked Pacman, even when in the early days of gaming. Nor have I enjoyed a roguelike since I was maybe fourteen years old. Somebody decided to stitch the two of these together and created something greater than the sum of its parts. The word 'addictive' gets thrown around a lot with iOS gaming, but there's probably no description better suited for it.

I had to see for myself, for science, and being a retro fan myself, I was not disappointed.

The goal is simple:

Grab the key to the next floor.. try not to let monsters take it off you. Once you've picked all the flowers, the doorway shall appear...

It's the execution that's both challenging and fun. The maps are randomized and are combined with different enemies and spawn rates as you progress through the levels. Along the way, you'll notice little details that make you want to pick it up just one more time to improve your results, and you'll quickly see why this has become a hit with those who've played it. The sound effects and pixels made me feel like I was a kid again in an arcade, pumping quarters into a machine. Check out the video below to give you an idea of how the game works:


And some screen shots:

Forget-Me-Not screenshots

Forget-Me-Not should be part of your retro collection when you need a quick fix. It is available for download for $1.99 and has an average rating of 4.5 stars from 233 ratings.


PROMO CODE ALERT!


We loved the game and contacted Nyarlu Labs to see if they would be kind enough to give a few extra promo codes for our readers. They responded kindly and gave the following codes to download:

FW4FKY7PY46M
ER77MJR4YX44
494EF9TLM7HW

We're very thankful for developers who are kind enough to let our readers join in on the fun. As a courtesy, for those of you who redeem a code, please consider passing the word on to a friend about the game, or check out their website, which has links to additional work like music and games.


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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Undiscovered App #11: Nifty - Craigslist With Friends

Nifty
Some of the best Undiscovered Apps are probably being talked about in a small meeting room in the back of the corner coffee shop in your town. That's where I was able to find this Undiscovered App called Nifty by Network Anomaly.

For anyone who has ever used Craigslist to buy or sell something, the concept is an attractive one. I don't know about you, but when I've posted some of my no-longer-wanted stuff, I've usually been attacked by a swarm of deal vultures, calling me at the very moment it's posted, and then when I've gotten people to stop by, they've either flaked out or tried to negotiate what was a nonnegotiable price to begin with. In short, it's annoying.

Nifty fixes some of those problems by letting you put up things for sale that only your circle of friends can see. If a friend posts that they want to get rid of a couch, you can call dibs on it. It's easy, and there's no weird person on the other end of the phone (well, unless your friend is weird). You can cross post it to Facebook so local friends can help you get rid of that item just a little bit faster.

Nifty screen shots

It also has a nice little reward mechanism from Kiip. Once you post your item, you'll get an occasional promotional coupon or freebie to use as an incentive for using the platform. It's a win-win: reduce junk, let a friend get something for a great deal, save the earth, and get a freebie in the process.

Nifty is free to download. It has an average of 4.5 stars from 13 ratings.


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Undiscovered App #10: Turret Tilt

Turret Tilt
This next Undiscovered App comes from a true independent developer: one-man company Austin Patten put together a semi-retro style arcade shooter called Turret Tilt. He personally wrote us to nominate his app for consideration, and after giving it a few plays and considering the polished results and effort of a one-man indie company, we thought it deserved an honorable mention here on Undiscovered App.

This is how he described it:

My game is called 'Turret Tilt' and it's a FREE, "see how long you can survive" arcade shooter. As enemies continually approach and attack, tilt your device to aim and destroy them before they get too close! With 19 unique enemies and 2 different modes of play, you will be eager to unlock and upgrade the 11 different weapons and items to help you stay alive! 

Turret Tilt screen shots

It was formerly called Ataxia, and we applaud the name change given how it relies on the accelerometer to control the turret's shooting angle. We played it on the iPad and found the controls easy to use. The game is pretty straightforward: blast enemies away while trying to stay alive as long as possible, and in the process, collect orbs to use as currency to purchase improved weapons and help you cope as the game gets progressively harder. There are in-app purchases to let you buy more orbs if you want to power up more rapidly.

Those who enjoy the process of upgrading and testing yourself to see how far you can go will find this to be a worthwhile download. For a little incentive to improve your times, it's nicely integrated with Game Center so you can see how your results stack up with others who have played this.

Turret Tilt has an average rating of 4.5 stars from 45 ratings, and it is free to download.


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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Undiscovered App #9: Airbnb - Rent Out Your Couch


AirbnbThis next Undiscovered App is more of a website than an app, but I wanted to mention it because it's such an interesting concept, plus, since it has an app, it's technically fair game.

If you live on a budget like the majority of us, you'll probably want to try to keep your expenses to a minimum when you travel. Hotels, while nice, can easily set you back $150 - $300 a night, but that can be such a large part of a vacation expense that you're left with little to actually enjoy the place you're visiting.

That's where Airbnb comes in. They realized everyday people like you and me often have a spare room or couch where friends and family can crash, and they decided it might be a good idea to create a win-win situation by letting you rent out that room or couch on a very short term basis at a discounted rate. The host wins and so does the traveler: the host gets money for empty space that sits unused and a traveler gets to be in a destination he or she wants to be in at a much lower price than what a hotel charges.

Airbnb Screenshots

Check out the free app or go to the Airbnb website and start looking at some places you might enjoy traveling to, then be awed at the prices you can get for staying there.


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Friday, April 19, 2013

Undiscovered App #8: Photo Date

Photo DateIf you ever take pictures on your iPhone, you're going to appreciate today's Undiscovered App from independent developer Ben Philabaum, who created this app in three weeks for $250. It's called Photo Date, and it does one thing that I've always wished Apple would do with their pictures: show the time stamp.

I've got literally thousands of pictures in my camera roll, and sometimes when I'm scrolling through them, I want to know when I took a certain picture. With Photo Date, that question will forever and easily be answered. Just open the app, and it will access your camera roll and show you a little time stamp at the bottom, like in the screen shots below:

Screen shots of Photo Date

Photo Date is free to download and has an average of 5 stars from 44 ratings. Get this, and it will simplify your life.

By the way, I'm in a giving mood: every week, I'm going to select a lucky person to get any one MP3 song from the Amazon MP3 Store. Have a look at the Amazon MP3 Store for the song you'd like, and leave a comment with the name of the song.  We'll go through all our comments, from past and present posts, and if we select your song, we'll gift it to you. Just make sure to check back so you'll know if you won (we need an email to send it to, after all). This will be ongoing, so if you don't win this week, try again next week and drop another comment.
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Undiscovered App #7: Pawn'd - Chess Meets Match-3

Pawn'd[ PROMO CODE ALERT ]

I love chess but often don't have the time to sit for the typical hour needed to play and think through the various outcomes of my next move.  I'm also a fan of the occasional puzzle, especially if it can be done in just a few minutes of downtime. So when I ran across Headlight Software's chess/tile-matching game Pawn'd, I had to give it a try.

Pawn'd brilliantly combines the Match-3 concept with chess. The objective is to move your various pieces across the board in a chess-like fashion to line up at least three matching pieces, either horizontally or vertically (not diagonally). Each piece moves differently, just like it does in chess; if it's a knight, it can only move in L-fashion, and if it's a king, it can move in any direction, and so on. Lining up matching tiles eliminates them, and pulling off a combination of eliminations triggers certain achievements.

The app is well-designed, has beautiful colors, and pleasant background music to go with it. Check out some of the screenshots below.

Screenshots of Pawn'd

Pawn'd has a paid version for $0.99 and a free version available for download as well. It has an average rating of 4.5 stars from 99 reviews. We highly recommend this if you're a puzzle or chess fan.

PROMO CODE ALERT!

We liked playing this so much that we contacted Headlight Software to see if they would be kind enough to give a few extra promo codes for our readers. They responded generously and gave the following codes for download:

9XL3K9WE3NJL
K7T443RYXHPL
HKA6WEPXKRYY
697T9MJFJ4WT
FJPRTTX497M4


As a reminder, it takes many hours of effort to build a polished app like this, so as a courtesy, for those of you who redeem a code, please consider passing the word on to a friend about the game, or leave a review on the App Store (promo code downloads can't be reviewed, but if you download the Free version you will be able to), or you can check out Headlight Software's other apps.


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Amazon.com Amazon.com: because today is a great day to finally order that stuff sitting in your shopping cart!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Undiscovered App #6: Axe In Face

Axe in FaceToday's Undiscovered App is an action/physics type of game from Blue Carrot Games. It's called Axe In Face, and it has a simple premise: to protect your row of flowers from getting trampled by an onslaught of endless enemies.

You do that by throwing your axe in a line that you determine by drawing it on the screen, and while it's flying and chopping off heads, you need to time its launch and boomerang-like return path to get as many enemies as possible, while they're moving toward you.

Trying your hand at aerial physics while chopping up enemies makes the game terribly fun, and thankfully it has 32 levels so you'll have plenty of ways to get challenged for the few hours it takes to finish. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to use special powers to eliminate your enemies when the going gets tough.

Click to see screenshots of Axe in Face

Axe in Face sells for $0.99, it has never been featured in iTunes, and it has received an average of 4.5 stars from 959 ratings. Truly an Undiscovered App worth getting.


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Amazon.com Amazon.com: because today is a great day to finally order that stuff sitting in your shopping cart!

Friday, April 12, 2013

App Store Pricing: What Works and What Doesn't

Image of a dollar signWe diverge from our regular program to bring attention to an important piece about pricing in the App Store, what works and what doesn't, depending on the category of the app. Interspersed within the series of articles are lessons in economics to help developers grasp how to maximize their profits when selling their apps. If the link doesn't work, copy and paste the link down below:

http://jury.me/blog/2013/3/31/understanding-app-store-pricing-part-1

Too lazy to read it? Finance and Graphics apps make money, Weather and Social apps don't, but IAPs can make you money. You can maximize revenue by increasing prices if your product is "sticky" and difficult to replace. Here's the most important paragraph:

And this is really one of the most important points to begin to take away from this data. Not all apps are created equal. If you create a single serving app that mostly solves an occasional need then sure, I'll give you a cup of coffee's worth of cash for it. But if you fundamentally change my life, how I work, or make it easier for me to get more done with less effort, I will pay you truckloads of cash. Most users are exactly the same. Solve a big need for them in a simple, delightful, and thoughtful way and they will give you money. Cheap apps might get downloads, but higher priced apps pay the bills.

Good things to think about from a developer's standpoint.



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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Undiscovered App #5: Animator

AnimatorDo you remember back in school how you would draw little stick figures on the edges of a book and then animate it by flipping the pages quickly? Well with today's Undiscovered App, you can relive your school days by creating little flip books on your iPhone.

Animator by JBrown is a simple flip book app that gets the job done well. I downloaded it and within minutes was able to create my own little animation of a worm wiggling its way up and down the page without the use of any detailed instructions. It has all the basic things you need from a drawing app, including changing colors, brush size, and undo, plus you can quickly add to your animation by flipping to the next page, where you'll see in lighter shading the previous page's drawing, so you can trace right over it or make variations for the next scene. There's also a Duplicate function that copies the previous drawing and brings it intact on the next page to save loads of time recreating your drawing. Saved flip books can be quickly posted to Facebook, emailed, or saved to your camera roll. In addition, you can add music from your song library to make your animation more lively.

Click to see screenshots of Animator
Perhaps the biggest negative for the app is its aesthetic appeal. Yes, the app icon could use improvement, and the buttons and fonts could benefit from a more polished set of options. But if you can see through that, you'll find an enjoyable app that is easy to understand and use and is the least bit intimidating. We found other flip book apps with much more polish and a vast number of features added, but their complexity detracted from the overall experience and resulted in more negative ratings from users. We opted for one that was easy to use and quick to jump into, and this fit the bill remarkably well.

Animator has an average rating of 4.5 stars from 170 reviews. There is a Paid version and a Free version available for download. We recommend adding this family-friendly app to your library.


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Amazon.com Amazon.com: because today is a great day to finally order that stuff sitting in your shopping cart!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Undiscovered App #4: Fingle

Fingle
Today's Undiscovered App from Dutch developers Game Oven brings a little twist to the concept of Twister, the popular and funny party game where multiple players contort themselves to put their arms and legs on a mat with different colors. In the case of Fingle, it's your fingers that mingle, and the result is a truly unique take on the iPad that takes advantage of the extra space afforded by the larger device. This is a two-player game, so grab that cute guy or girl you've been thinking of, and play this with them.

The objective here is to place each of your and your partner's fingers on little squares around the board, and to keep it there for a few seconds until you get an acknowledgment that the level is complete. It sounds simple, but as the levels progress, some of the squares start moving, which makes things more difficult and potentially awkward, intimate, fun, or all of the above,depending on your relationship with the person you're playing. You can also try playing it by yourself, but it's going to require some skills like being able to rub your belly and tap your head at the same time. Check out the trailer below:



Fingle for the iPad has a Free version that has more than a dozen levels, and a Full version that has more than 130 levels for $1.99. It has received an average of 4.5 stars for over 350 ratings. The developers did a great job with this Undiscovered App, and we recommend it highly.

Undiscovered App screenshots of Fingle

As an added bonus, Adriaan de Jongh of Game Oven was kind enough to give a few extra promo codes for our readers. This team obviously put a lot of time and effort to make such a polished app, and for those of you who redeem the code, please consider passing the word on to a friend or leaving a review on the App Store (promo code downloads can't be reviewed, but if you download the Free version you will be able to). Here are the codes; please leave a note in the comments mentioning which one you've redeemed.

RMMNWWEWTYPM
3N7YF3K66XP6
4P7PHLNNL34K
MF3JXEFMXWYT
M73EJJYHYMRT


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Amazon.com Amazon.com: because today is a great day to finally order that stuff sitting in your shopping cart!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Undiscovered App #3: Pangolin

PangolinToday's Undiscovered App is from FeedTank, and it's called Pangolin (Free with IAPs). It got Casual Gameplay's 2012 Mobile Arcade Game of the Year, and has the following description:

Pangolin is a physics-based arcade game that turns the classic platformer on it's head. Instead of controlling the character, you control the platforms.

I tried the demo levels (the first 10 levels are free, and there's 40 more that can be purchased through IAPs, plus extra "shots" if you need extra help finishing a level) and found it to be like a reverse form of Angry Birds - instead of controlling the main character, you set up little trampolines underneath it to bounce from, and the objective is to reach the bullseye on the other side of the ever-changing game map on each level. It has a very good in-game tutorial, and I found the controls very easy to learn. Along the way, there are coins and gems to collect, and spikes to avoid.

Undiscovered App screenshots of Pangolin

Keeping all these objectives in mind is what keeps the game interesting and fun. Each level can be finished in under a minute, and it's perfect for those few moments when you have a minute or two to kill, and you don't need something very in-depth. It has an average of 4.5 stars  over 260 ratings. I give this 5/5 stars given the combination of originality, art, and creativity in the concept. I can see the potential for this being very Angry Birds-like, but for now, it really has gone unnoticed.


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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Undiscovered App #2: Guardian Saga

Guardian SagaToday's Undiscovered App from 9th Bit Games is something that was previously discovered but then got lost. Kind of like an archaeological artifact, it got lost in the desert sands of time, and we here took our handy brushes and rubbed off a bit of the past to rediscover a gem.

Guardian Saga was released over two years ago, a lifetime ago in the iOS timeline. Think of it in dog years, except maybe 1 year = 10 years, so this is pretty old. To add to that, it's a retro-style RPG / adventure game, much in the style of Ultima (one of my favorite games of all time) but even more striking is its resemblance to Dragon Warrior.

Here's the storyline:

The Guardians - the great beasts created by the Gods of old to protect mankind from evil – have suddenly fallen quiet. Evil creatures once again roam the lands, and the entire Kingdom is thrown into chaos! As the greatest of the King's warriors you must venture forth and discover what has befallen the great Guardians and help restore peace.

Undiscovered App screenshots of Guardian Saga

If you were ever a fan of old school top-down RPGs before graphics accelerators were invented and 3-D first-person shooters became mainstream, this is worth a look. It'll bring you back to a simpler time of hacking away and healing, taking notes on paper to keep it all together, and simple inventory management. Plus it has an enjoyable story to keep the flow of the game moving along evenly.

Guardian Saga is a Universal app that currently goes for $1.99, but it occasionally flips back and forth to $0.99 every six months. Over the past two years, it has accumulated a 4.5 star rating from over 400 reviews. The masses can't be wrong with this one.


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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Undiscovered App #1: Combine 4!

Combine 4!Our first Undiscovered App is Angry B-- no! Just kidding! This first one is a family friendly, classroom friendly mentally stimulating app. It's called Combine 4! I think it used to be called "Twenty Four!" but it was terribly hard to find in the App Store, so the developers probably changed their minds to make it easier to find.

Anyway, the premise for this app is easy: you're given four numbers, and you're supposed to somehow manipulate them to get the number 24. You can add, subtract, multiply, or divide in any order to get it. The concept is simple and fun, and gives anyone sitting around with their iPhones a good reason to do just that. No longer can anyone say you're just mindlessly on your phone. Instead, you're doing mathematical mind drills that keeps your senses sharp and having fun at the same time.

Undiscovered App screenshots for Combine 4!

There's a paid version for $0.99 and a free Lite version (still called "TwentyFour", with 50 problems) as well. I heartily recommend this for those times when you want to engage in something fun and don't need a long time commitment to do it.


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