App Attack: Fruit Ninja HD (iPad)

Tonight we’re going to take a look at Fruit Ninja, the insanely addicting iDevice game that has been taking the world by storm. The game is fun, addicting to learn, and provides players with hours of entertainment–simply said, this is a must have.

The concept of Fruit Ninja is simple–slash a bunch of fruit, try not to slash the bombs, and earn the highest score possible. It’s really easy to learn, and incredibly catchy once you know what you’re doing. You’re equipped with a blade (you can unlock additional ones, which add to the replay factor), and you just swipe across the screen to attack the fruit. Multi-touch really comes into play here, as you can swipe with multiple fingers to unleash different blades. The objective is to hit only the fruit that flys up at the screen. Cutting the bombs will result in penalty, which differs depending on what game mode you’re playing.

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There are a few different game modes to keep you entertained. Classic mode gives you three strikes, and by not cutting a fruit, you lose one strike. Cutting a bomb in classic mode will end your game immediately. In Arcade mode, you have 60 seconds to slash as much fruit as possible. There are several different power ups to unlock, such as double points or time freeze. Slashing a bomb in this mode will subtract 10 points from your score. There are also bonus points available at the end of each round, depending on how well you do throughout the game. In Zen Mode, you have 90 seconds to hit as many fruit as you can. There are no bombs in Zen Mode, which makes it slightly easier, perhaps for someone who has not yet played the game. There’s also a fantastic multiplayer mode, as well.

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The game also has several achievements to unlock, as well as rewards resulting from your swiping abilities. There are several different backgrounds and new blades to unlock, which should keep players addicted and into the fun. The game also supports Game Center, as well as OpenFeint, which makes it more usable for gamers to share their great scores.

Overall, Fruit Ninja is a fantastic app that will keep people entertained for quite some time. Its on iPad and iPhone for $2.99, but there’s also an awesome new arcade game that can be found in various locations, including Dave and Busters.

App Attack: Angry Birds Rio (iPad)

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In this edition of App Attack, I’ll be taking a look into Angry Birds Rio, the newest installment of the popular mobile game series that has been taking the world by storm since it’s launch last year. For this version of the game, the hogs have taken a break from their usual maniacal activities, and instead been replaced with several other creatures to destroy. Is the game worth the hype that it’s been receiving? Does it live up to the hype of the Angry Birds franchise?

The answer to both of those questions is YES. Angry Birds Rio is much worthy of being a successor to the popular mobile game, and in a big way. The first thing you might notice about Angry Birds Rio is it’s name. The game is based off of the animated FOX film Rio, which released earlier this year. It’s premise is exactly the same as the other games in the Angry Birds series, where you must destroy a set of targets within a playing field by flicking a flock of angry birds around the screen. In place of the maniacal hogs, however, you’re left with bird cages (in the first chapter), wild monkeys, and so on and so forth. This simple change of target really gives the game a fresh appeal.

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The first chapter of Angry Birds Rio takes place aboard a cargo ship, where you must free captured birds locked inside of tiny cages.

Controlling the game on iPad is incredibly easy, and getting through the levels is a lot easier than playing on a smartphone. The extra screen space definitely makes things a lot easier. I found myself accidentally flicking my birds a lot less here, leading to having to restart the level less than if I was playing on my Evo 3D. That being said, however…the difficulty of the levels in this version of the game varies quite a bit. It’s really not all that hard to complete a level (I was through the first two chapters of the game within an hour, with some time spent away from it), but the real challenge is getting 3 stars in each level. In previous versions, it would take me forever to be able to make it through some of the levels at all–I definitely don’t feel that in this version.

Graphically, Rio looks similar to the other games in the Angry Birds series. The game uses backdrops and scenes based upon the Rio movie, which makes them even more appealing than the other games. Colors are incredibly crisp and it just looks so well, that I can’t seem to stop playing the game. Cutscenes are a little different in this version of the game than the others…instead of a quick video, you’re taken to a screen where you see a bunch of different slides compile themselves to tell the story. It’s not much of a hassle, but great cutscenes would have been a lot more compelling.

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Angry Birds Rio takes inspiration from the movie Rio, which makes it even more beautiful to look at.

There’s a total of 4 chapters in Angry Birds Rio to play now, with a couple more coming soon (I’d take a guess that the last chapter will be releasing right around the time the movie comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray). That should keep fans of the series entertained enough while Rovio works on another installment of the series. Anyone who likes the Angry Birds series will definitely appreciate this installment of the game, that’s for sure. If you haven’t picked it up yet, it’s available now on the App Store for $2.99 (there is also an ad-supported free version).

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App Attack!: Monopoly (iPad)

In this edition of App Attack, I’m going to give a look at something a little more casual for the iPad–Monopoly is here, and ready for the next generation. Forget having to count money, forget the hassle of losing property cards and game pieces, because the classic board game has arrived on iPad, and in a way that’s easy for the whole family, tech savvy and tech illiterate, to enjoy.

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Monopoly offers a couple different styles of gameplay–can you play against the computer in normal mode, or you can play in Tabletop mode with your friends. The game also features statistics based on your gameplay, which probably really doesn’t mean much to anybody. The game board is everything that you’ve come to know and love about Monopoly for almost a century–same properties, same game pieces, same design. The only difference here is that instead of handling virtual money bills, you use a keypad to manage your money. This is something that has been seen in recent versions of Monopoly, and it just makes things a little more convenient.

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Gameplay is pretty straightforward–you roll the dice, you move your game piece, you collect properties, and you move on. The controls for the game are pretty simple. You swipe anywhere on the board when it’s your turn to roll the dice. After landing on a spot, you have the opportunity to purchase that property. If you opt out of it, you’ll be taken to an Auction room, where you and the other players can bid on the property. It helps drastically lower the playtime of the game, but some might find it to be a little bit unlike the original board game.

Before your turn ends, you also have the opportunity to manage your properties. If you own all of the same colored properties, you can begin placing houses and hotels on them. You can also offer trades to the other players. The interfaces here are pretty easy to use, and shouldn’t be too hard for anyone to learn quickly.

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All in all, I really like this version of Monopoly. If you’re looking for something that’s quick to learn and fun for the whole family, this is a great game to try. Digital versions of board games really haven’t been all that spectacular or playable on PC or gaming consoles, but the iPad version really acts like it’s own board game. It’s available for $9.99 in the App Store.

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Digital Lust Daily Feed: July 6, 2011

Interesting news day today–not too many stories to share tonight, but definitely a couple of big ones in the social media world. Lets get right to it:

Facebook Announces Chat Revamp
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today that beginning today, a new partnership between the social powerhouse and Skype has formed, giving Facebook an all new video chatting service in-browser. Zuckerberg also announced a new group chatting feature, as well as an easier to use chat interface. The changes went into effect today.

Google+ Goes Live For All With a Gmail Account
As long as you are the proud owner of a Gmail account, Google+ is now open for you. Various media are reporting tonight that the site has opened it’s hypothetical doors to everyone. Of course, we’ve been covering the launch of Google+ all week, and even kicked off a new Google+ Giveaway. With this new level of operation of the new social network, however, the contest has become irrelevant, and has been discontinued. Be sure to check out Digital Lust tomorrow for a rundown of the Google+ Android app.

And Speaking of Google+, No Privacy for You!
Google announced today that at the end of this month, any private Google+ pages will be deleted. The purpose of Google+ is to provide users complete access. You should still be able to hide some aspects of your profile, however, and any content that you do not want shown to the public can just be shared with specific people.

Angry Birds Movie in Development for 2014
David Meisel, the former head of Marvel Studios before the company was bought out by The Disney Corporation, will begin developing a new project based on the epic mobile game of the same name. This is pretty significant for the mobile world–this is the first time that a movie will be developed based on a mobile game. Should the project get the green light and proceed with development, it will release in 2014. Hopefully the Angry Birds franchise will have enough lasting power to make it still relevant in 3 years. Perhaps a Alfred Hitchcock style “Birds” plot will be appropriate for this movie?

Sony Announces PSN Pass
Sony has announced that starting this fall, in order to gain online access to new games, a PSN Pass will be required to be input before playing. This appears to be a new security feature that the company is putting into place following the recent hackings that kept the Playstation Network offline for a month. It was mentioned that if you buy the game preowned, you would have to purchase a Pass on the Playstation Store in order to gain access.

iPhone 5 to Launch in Q3, On Sprint too??
Sources indicate that the next iteration of the iPhone, reportedly titled the iPhone 5, will release sometime in Q3 (which is this quarter, by the way). Other rumors indicate that the phone will also launch on Sprint on the same time as Verizon and AT&T. This could get interesting, seeing as how Sprint is now the only major carrier left with an unlimited data plan. Will the AT&T faithful flock away from the network and head towards Sprint for the cheaper plans and unlimited data? Only time will tell…

And that about wraps it up for tonight’s edition of Digital Lust Daily Feed. Tomorrow on Digital Lust, I’ll be going in depth with the Google+ Android App in an all new App Attack. I’ll also be talking about the increasing popularity of net casting, specifically with Twit.TV. We’ll see you tomorrow!

App Attack!: Tap Tap Radiation (iPad)

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Tap Tap Radiation is a game that came out back in April on the iPad. The game was created by Tapulous, the same developer that brought you the immensely popular Tap Tap Revenge on both iPhone and Android, and aimed to give iPad users a new, unique twist on the music genre game.

The general concept of the game is very similar to Tap Tap Revenge, which takes it’s cue from Guitar Hero and Rock Band. You have three “buttons” on the board. As a note hits the inside of the button, you push it, and earn points. The difference between Tap Tap Revenge and Tap Tap Radiation, however, is the placement of the buttons. In Revenge, the buttons are all at the bottom of the screen with a very organized “line” of notes flowing down the board. With Radiation, the buttons are in the middle of the screen, floating in space with no clear view of what notes will hit what button. The concept seems pretty cool, but the execution gets awfully confusing.

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The new interface for Tap Tap Radiation. Looks cool, gets confusing.

To try the game, I played one of my favorite songs of the moment: Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO. On easy, I found it to be alright. As soon as I stepped up to medium, however, I found myself to be lost as to where each note was going. The buttons, as a mentioned before, are floating in space. They move. The notes come from above and sometimes, from the sides. It can become absolutely confusing as go what is going where. It’s a lot harder to get a 8x multiplier in this game, and even harder than that to get a 16x (I have yet to do that at all).

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The concept is all well and good…and then the notes start coming from the sides!

Once you get used to the controls (if you even have the patience for it), the game is kinda fun. I don’t even think I personally want to attempt anything on hard, but that’s just me. You’ll want to download more songs, right? Well, good luck with that one. The store in this game has not been updated in quite some time. I first downloaded Radiation back in May, and booted it up for the first time in about a month today for this review, and there was nothing new available in the store. This is incredibly disappointing, as it does get kind of addicting, and I do want to try more.

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The Radiation Store has not been updated since I originally downloaded the app.

Overall, Tap Tap Radiation is a clever concept. It is a great evolution of the music game, and although the execution may be confusing and frustrating at times, it still has the potential. With the lack of support from Tapulous, however, you may want to pass on this one until they can get more content online.

Quick Impressions: Dead Space (iPad)

As I reported last night, EA Games started their biggest sale ever of their iPad library, with games such as Monopoly, Need for Speed, and Dead Space being cut down 90% in their cost on the App Store. The latter of those games, Dead Space, is quite possibly the best bargain of them all, and here’s why:

The whole gaming craze is nothing new for mobile devices. Developers are beginning to focus a lot of their effort on their mobile games, giving them more polish and better visuals than ever before. With the iPad, it’s possible for developers to take a console game and recreate the experience in a way that even rivals the console counterparts.

Dead Space released for the iPad in January of this year, and with the price seeing a major decline, it may be incredibly enticing to purchase it. The game features visuals that rival any other experience on the iPad, and a control scheme that may not be revolutionary…but it works.

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Controlling the game is simple–you move your character on the left side of the screen and control the camera on the right side of the screen. Your weapons will vary, with options such as swiping, tilting the screen, or firing by clicking the middle of the screen. Again, nothing too revolutionary here, but it works. The entire experience feels very fluid, and I did not find any problems controlling it in my 15 minutes of playing so far.

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Sound wise, the game sounds fantastic. Sound effects are incredibly loud, and the music is dramatic and fits in perfectly with your surroundings. It really helps add to that horror game sense of reality that I am catching from the game.

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This is a very dark game in some places. Players may wish to turn their brightness up quite a bit to be able to see. This seems to be the one area that I am not too impressed with, as higher brightness settings lead to battery life becoming shorter. Definitely play this one indoors, kids. Aside from this, however, the game is absolutely beautiful–the best that I have played on the iPad so far. It is incredibly detailed and really adds to the value and truth that publishers are putting a lot of effort into these mobile games.

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I will likely be giving a full review of the game in the near future, but, in case you were wondering if you should get it while it’s on sale–the answer is yes. At $0.99 currently in the App Store, Dead Space is truly worth the download.

EA Games Selling iPad Games for $.99 Each!

EA Games appears to be selling it’s entire collection of iPad games for a mere $0.99 per game this evening. If you’ve been holding out on buying digital versions of your favorite board games like Monopoly or Scrabble because of their normally high price points, now may be the best time to invest!

Not only are the board games on sale, but games such as Dead Space, Nova 2, and NBA Jam are now at the $0.99 price point too. Better hurry, this probably won’t last long!

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