Monday, May 27, 2013

Undiscovered App #19: BlindSide - Play With Your Eyes Closed

BlindSide
If you read enough App Store descriptions, you'll notice the word "unique" gets tossed around quite often. Unfortunately, the labels end up being more marketing fluff than substance, so it's nice when I actually do come across a game with an approach that I've never seen before.

Today's Undiscovered App was actually funded through Kickstarter (check out the project here), and creators Aaron Rasmussen and Michael Astolfi deserve some praise for changing the focus of a game from what you see to what you hear. BlindSide pulls it off quite nicely with its opening premise: something mysterious happened, and you wake up to find that you and others around you are now blind.

What would you do if you couldn't rely on your eyes anymore? The game immerses you into its world by requiring the use of your earphones, and it opens with a very good tutorial to help you navigate through and acclimate quickly to your new environment. There are no graphics save for a main home screen that lets you move forward and backward, plus a button to help remind you of your current task.

BlindSide screen shots
This is all you see when you're playing.

Everything that you do will require you to listen carefully for audio clues, and closing your eyes not only will sharpen your senses, but it will also make you feel like you are literally in the game. The app will also require you to physically turn left and right in order to turn your in-game character left and right, so make sure you have a little space when playing this.

Check out the trailer...



...then download this one immediately. BlindSide is available for download for $2.99. It has an average rating of 4 stars from 54 reviews.


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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Undiscovered App #18: Lost Treasures of Infocom

The Lost Treasures of InfocomOh wow. I grew up on Infocom games, way back before games even had graphics. For most of you, today's Undiscovered App will seem arcane, but for the few who lived through the old days, The Lost Treasures of Infocom will make your day.

Here's a quick description of the app:

Enter the world of master storytellers. Before there were state-of-the-art consoles, tablets and PCs capable of amazing graphics, gamers had to use their imagination and wit, to solve intricate puzzles and progress through these text-only adventure gaming classics.

The Lost Treasures of Infocom brings these classic works of interactive fiction to life for the first time on iPad, Phone & iPod Touch. This definitive collection of 27 adventure games spanning fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, horror & more, places you in the center of immersive, richly-detailed interactive worlds full of interesting locations, engaging puzzles & surprising twists & turns. You’re more than just a passive reader as you engage directly with the story by typing actions through your keyboard. Use your imagination to come up with creative solutions to puzzles with multiple solutions as you progress through each adventure and bring these stories to life!

Check out the entire list of games you can get (via In-App Purchase):

• A Mind Forever Voyaging
• Ballyhoo
• Border Zone
• Cutthroats
• Deadline
• Enchanter
• Hollywood Hijinx
• Infidel
• Leather Goddess of Phobos
• The Lurking Horror
• Moonmist
• Planetfall
• Plundered Hearts
• Seastalker
• Sorcerer
• Spellbreaker
• Starcross
• Stationfall
• Suspect
• Suspended: A Cryogenic Nightmare
• The Witness
• Trinity
• Wishbringer
• Zork 1: The Great Underground Empire (FREE with free initial download)
• Zork 2 : The Wizard of Frobozz
• Zork 3 : The Dungeon Master
• Zork: The Undiscovered Underground (bonus game for purchasing the Complete Collection)

The Lost Treasures of Infocom screen shots

You get to see the images of the original boxes and Zork 1 with the free download. To get the rest, you can purchase five bundle packs with 5 games each for $2.99 per pack, or get all the games for $9.99. Invisiclues are another $0.99, but one purchase gets you all the clues for all the games. It sure beats having to look for it on the web and playing it on an emulator. Now you can bring all 27 games wherever you go with your iPhone or iPad.

The Lost Treasures of Infocom has an average rating of 4.5 stars from 70 reviews. Get it now and lock yourself up in a room.


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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, May 20, 2013

Undiscovered App #17: Alarmed - Helping End Procrastination

AlarmedDo you ever find yourself.... procrastinating? No? Then you're not human. For the rest of us, there's an awful tendency from time to time to drift off and do something else to avoid the most important task at hand. How else do you think I find the time to write this? While breaks are good, every once in a while, we lose track of just how long we've put something off.

Today's Undiscovered App helps address that. Alarmed by Yoctoville is probably one of the most straightforward productivity apps that address the procrastination issue in the simplest way possible. Create a task, set a timer, and let me know when I've hit my time limit. Simple as that.

I kept looking for apps that basically mimicked the Task Timer extension on the Chrome browser, but what I found were very pretty apps that sacrificed function for form. I don't need 10 different forms of swipes, shakes, pinches, and zooms just to avoid placing a button that should be there to begin with, and Alarmed does away with all of that by just being blunt and getting to the point.

The biggest draw for Alarmed is that you can easily set up a task you're working on, and then you can either set a timer that counts down to let you know the time is up, or you can set the timer to count up so you can continue to see how much time you're putting into one task. When the timer is done, you get an alarm, plus you can choose any of the pleasant sound options available in the library.

Alarmed Screen Shots

I see I have two minutes left before my timer to complete this post is done, so I'll leave it at that. If you want your life to be just a little more productive, I highly recommend you download Alarmed. It's free to download, and it has a ridiculously high rating of 4.5 stars from almost 22,000 reviews. That's right. It's that good.


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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Undiscovered App #16: Slide Circus

Slide CircusI love puzzles, so when I found today's Undiscovered App that was, well, an actual puzzle, I had to grab it and see if it was worth mentioning to our readers.

The concept is very simple for Slide Circus from FDG Entertainment: you have a picture that gets scrambled, and it's your job to put it back together. It's not as easy as your typical puzzle, however, since the pieces are set on a connected board that slides up, down, left and right, so when you move one piece in a column, all the other pieces in that same column move also. It's this Rubik's Cube-like connectivity that makes you think twice about how to arrange your next move.

Puzzle fans may recognize that the sliding mechanism is a lot like Polymer, a mega hit that got hundreds of thousands of downloads for its sliding block approach to the puzzle genre. We think this is a great addition to the concept and were pleased to find it took some additional steps to make it more enjoyable, such as the ability to create your own puzzle by importing your own pictures or taking one right through the app. We also enjoyed the Instagram kind of feel to the graphics and the pleasant background music (which you can turn off if you like to concentrate in silence).

Slide Circus screen shots

You can get Slide Circus today for FREE as of this writing. Hurry before it goes back to its regular price of $0.99. There is an iPad version and an iPhone version available; you'll have to download each one separately if you want to play it on both devices. It has an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 237 reviews. We highly recommend this for a download.


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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, May 10, 2013

Undiscovered App #15: PianoPass

PianoPassIf any of you ever played Ultima V back in the old days, there's a part where you have to play a piano using certain keys in order to make a secret passage open. Today's Undiscovered App lets you do the same thing with the valuable data on your iPhone.

PianoPass by Rahul Shah is a neat little utility that keeps your information locked up, hidden behind a piano app facade that only grants you access by playing the piano keys in the exact same sequence that you programmed. And you better remember your piano sequence or write it down somewhere, because currently, there is no way to recover it. If you can do that, your experience should be an enjoyable one, because most of the 1-star reviews came from people who couldn't remember their pass keys.

As you can see from the screen shots below, you can keep all sorts of things in there: passwords, notes, photos, and contacts. For anyone else who picks up your phone, they'll just see an unassuming piano app, and they can play around with it to their heart's content since it operates and sounds like any piano.

PianoPass screen shots

PianoPass is a fun little app we recommend, and it is currently available for $1.99. It has an average rating of 4 stars from 124 reviews.


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

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Undiscovered APPS #14 1/2: GeoFlight USA and GeoFlight Canada

GeoFlight USA HD[ PROMO CODE ALERT ]

When it comes to education, there's no better way to learn than when it's made into a game. That's what today's Undiscovered Apps do from TopoMonkey with GeoFlight USA HD and GeoFlight Canada HD.

I admit, I was a bit of a nerd back when I was in middle school. I loved studying for geography tests, but now that many, many years have passed, I'm at a loss when it comes to pointing out where Wyoming is on the map.

That's where these two apps come in. GeoFlight reframes the geography question in an enjoyable game format. You control an airplane that flies across the country, and when the app asks you to identify a state (or a province), you guide your little plane to the part of the map and it flies there. When you reach the correct target, the state icon lights up and you move on to the next state. The process continues with no time limit in Practice Mode until you're ready to move on to the Timerace Mode, where you are given a time limit but are given extra time for each correct guess and a penalty when you ask the game for a hint. There's also a Multiple Choice section where you can do essentially the same functions, but without the plane flying around.

GeoFlight USA screen shots

You can test your knowledge of the States (or Provinces), its Capitals, or its Big Cities.

I gave both GeoFlight USA and GeoFlight Canada a try and found it to be a very enjoyable experience on my iPad. The larger screen makes seeing the map easier, and for smaller locations, the extra size helps when you're pointing with a fat finger like me. The controls are responsive and easy to use, and the app made me feel like I was playing a game rather than trying to memorize a map. The good news from all of this: I'm once again able to point out where Wyoming is on the map.

GeoFlight comes in many varieties, each customized for its respective country, and it comes in both iPhone ($1.99) and iPad ($2.99) formats. There is also a free Lite version of GeoFlight USA HD  that lets you play with just the States, with in-app purchases unlocking the Capitals and Big Cities modes. Check out the TopoMonkey website  for links to all the different versions:

USA
Canada
Europe
Netherlands
Germany
Belgium
China
France

From an educational standpoint, GeoFlight USA and GeoFlight Canada get our highest marks for combining play with learning. If you have kids that are interested in geography or need some help in preparation for that test, or if you're a grownup that just needs some brushing up with geography, we highly recommend these apps for a download.


PROMO CODE ALERT!

When we found out about GeoFlight, we contacted TopoMonkey and asked if they would be willing to give our readers some extra promo codes to check out their apps. They responded kindly and gave the following codes for our US and Canadian readers:


Here are 3 promo codes for GeoFlight USA HD for iPad:

AWR3PTE7XH74
TMAKYTL367W6
YYKKXJ7RAAY6

Here are 3 promo codes for GeoFlight Canada HD for iPad:

AJAP77FYLRP6
6TEXRMNPL6AX
9HTAJNAXRNXT

If you enjoyed using their apps, please consider passing the word on to a friend, or even better, a school teacher who uses technology in the classroom to aid in learning. Or you visit their website to see what other creative apps they've come up with.


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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, May 6, 2013

Undiscovered App #14: Perfect Cell

Perfect Cell
You are the most advanced creature ever discovered on Earth, you are trapped in a high security submarine base, and you must use your superpowers to escape.

That's the premise for Perfect Cell from mobigame, a sleek action/stealth type of game that came out years ago and received very high ratings when it was briefly in the spotlight, but got buried and forgotten as an avalanche of apps came to market. We'd like to bring attention to it again because it is so well made.

You play the role of an alien organism that came to Earth from an asteroid, and your job is to escape your captors through stealth or force. Once you start, you're given an unobtrusive tutorial on how to control movement and attacks. We found the controls to be responsive (controls have evolved over many updates to be almost perfect), the gameplay smooth, and the story line and levels to be very polished. Along the way, there are enemies to fight or avoid and obstacles to overcome, with each of the 35 levels gradually progressing in difficulty. Players can go through the game killing everything in their path, or trying the harder route of taking the stealthy approach and harming no one in the process.

Check out the trailer:


...and the screen shots:

Perfect Cell screenshots

Perfect Cell has a Paid version for $2.99 and a Lite version that's free to download. Public opinion on this has been very positive, with 4.5 star average out of 828 ratings. We recommend this highly.


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

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Undiscovered App #13: iKingz - Get Your Drink On

iKingz
[ Warning: Mature-themed app ]

Well it wouldn't be a proper Cinco de Mayo in many parts of the U.S. if there wasn't some kind of drinking involved, so it was rather fortuitous that our Australian friends from Inebriated Games contacted us to have a look at their party-themed app called iKingz. This app has experienced a bit of success in the Outback, but hasn't made much of a dent here in the U.S. It's based on the Kings drinking game (here are the rules) , and while we wouldn't typically feature an app like this, with the Cinco de Mayo weekend coming up and this particular app landing on our lap, we thought the stars were aligning to tell us to examine it further.

The app has a very simple interface, with the rules explained in a pleasing card format so you know what to expect. Once you start, you're given a set of 52 cards, all face down, and once you drag a card to the center of the screen, the card is turned over. Depending on what comes up, you either have to drink your cup, or have your friend drink, or play some mini game like a trivia question or a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine who does the drinking. There are 8 mini games in total for some added variety.


If you have some friends that enjoy a bit of beer, this app may be for you. There are two versions available for download, a Paid version for $0.99 and a more limited Free version with only 16 of the 52 cards, and 3 out of the 8 mini games available. iKingz, which is a Universal app, has an average rating of 3.5 stars from 17 ratings. Enjoy your weekend, and please drink responsibly.


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