I love apps. So do my sons. I bet you do too!
I was running another blog when I realized the posts I liked most were app reviews. So, here we are- a place just for the reviews! The reviews I did on the other blog are listed on the right.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Animation HD

I love the idea of an app that can take my mediocre skill and turn it into something awesome-ish. Animation HD is easy to use and has an end product that is easy to share.

Here is a hoping frog I made in five minutes. I will start with a screen shot. The tools should be familiar to anyone used to art type programs: different types of "brush", layers, fading, etc as well as the additional add/create frames part there at the bottom.

Frog hop ex

YouTube example drawing

If you like to create new things this is an absolutely fun app.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Castle of Illusion staring Mickey Mouse.

I played one...level... I guess and was blown away by the graphics and game play. Unfortunately my modest mini iPad couldn't handle the program and would toss me out of the game unexpectedly. If you have a new iPad this game will probably work for you. At $9.99 you may not want to risk it.

I was impressed enough that I will keep trying with each new iOS update in hopes of the game working.

iTunes link

I have had the chance to play this game on my phone. The phone is not the best device for this game- the graphics and motion controls are best on a bigger screen. In fact, I am unable to get past the second level's boss and I think it is because the controls on the phone just don't cut it. Well, and also I am not exactly a serious gamer.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Toca Boca Hair Salon Me

I am trying out a new format for my reviews. I am still working out some bugs- such as videoing the game action itself without inverting the image…

Bottom line for Toca Boca Hair Salon Me: totally worth the buy and probably will be continued fun (and thus, "appily (ever) after".

 Here are some finished products I made while testing out the app:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jelly Defense

I have had a great deal of fun playing this game. This game is at times quite hard but never impossible.

The set up is that there is an invading force trying to steal your gems. You have specific defense options and have to deploy your resources wisely.

There are fast critters and slow ones, ones that poof easily and ones that die hard. There are defense towers with a short reload time and others with a longer one. Sometimes you have to sell a defense tower, replace it with a different one with different capabilities, then sell that one and replace it with another. This game is a true strategy game.

And it is also cute and silly. I mean, look at how this invader responds to being defeated- tears and drama...followed by an exaggerated splat.

Watch out though! It doesn't take long before the invading forces test your abilities and make off with your precious gems! In this level I made it through almost all the invaders until the second to last wave swamped my defenders. You can see my last few gems being carried away at the bottom.

If I had to pick something to dislike, I would argue for the ability to pick defense positions rather than being limited to the propositioned circles open for your defenders. I have played through to the end of this game twice now, so when a level frustrates me I can rest assured that at some point I was victorious.

Little Inferno

There is something about this game that pulls you in. The graphics are beautiful and entertaining. The game play is simple if not a little odd (how did they make playing with fire fun?).

This game encourages playing with virtual fire, so of course a warning is needed regarding real fire.

The set up is that you have just purchased a Little Inferno fireplace for your home. You get to burn everything- the terms and conditions and the congrats on your purchase letter. When these are gone, you get a catalog. The items in the catalog are purchased using coins gained from burning items. The more items you use from the catalog, the more items that become unlocked.

You may have to wait for your catalog items to "arrive" and at times have to select cheaper items to save enough to try the more expensive ones or to afford the combinations the game will have you make to progress.

See that little spider? You can light that guy on fire for extra coins.

It feels weird to enjoy burning things. Even typing that sentence makes me feel deviant. That said- this game is highly entertaining. If you are looking for easy game play with no pressure- give this one a try.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT: turn on restrictions and guided access

If you have a device and children, you need to turn restrictions on. How restricted you make your device will be up to you. Most people will want to at least restrict in app purchases, installing apps, and deleting apps.

Open your settings and find the "General" button. Click on that, then scroll down until you find Restrictions

Click "Enable Restrictions". This page can be confusing because the green means the app is "on" - the restriction is "off". I have turned restrictions on, or disabled three functions below:

Take a look at the other options there as well. Since this is my device I don't want to have everything age restricted! Keep in mind also that older kids can often find work arounds.

If you have a really little kid and want them to stay in one app or in one place inside one app, you will want to set up guided access so you can turn it on as needed.

Start out in the General section again, and find the "accessibility" line. Click on that.

Scroll down until you see "guided access"

You will be prompted for a pass code separate from your device lock (it can be the same if you want it to be). After that, anytime you want to keep the user on one app, triple click on the home button. Two choices will appear: voice over and guided access. Select guided access and then start. OR if there is a button in the app you don't want pushed (buy more games!) select options- you can draw a box around anything you want off limits. The boxes will not rotate with the screen though, so you will want to lock rotation, which is another option.

Appily After

Originally I was thinking this should be Appily Ever After, but one, that name is taken and two, apps don't really last for "ever" so a review is a snapshot in time. Case in point, I reviewed the Talking Friends apps (Talking Tom the cat etc) years ago, before the developers added a bunch of in app purchase crap. Man did we enjoy those apps...at first. They were uninstalled after about four, maybe as many as six months because I keep the in app purchasing restricted and the game play kept being interrupted which is a real bummer.

Speaking of restrictions, check out my next post for VERY IMPORTANT instructions on setting up your device for children's use.