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.

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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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Digital Lust Daily Feed: July 5, 2011

Wow, what a day. As you might have known from reading my bio (if you read it), I live in Orlando, FL, and the Casey Anthony trial came to a conclusion today to some shocking results. This led to me getting into some interesting debates revolving the verdict (but since this is not a blog about the law, we won’t discuss that here!). Needless to say–I’m really not too surprised about that outcome.

It was also a big day because of Google+. I finally got in, and I absolutely love it! I’ll be posting my official rundown and impressions of the site tomorrow, so be sure to stick around for that. I also announced my Google+ Invite Giveaway, and I have a few winners to announce! Look for that right after I go over today’s top news:

iPad Web Traffic hits 1%
It was announced today that iPad users are using their iPads so much that it is accounting for 1% of the total web traffic in the world. Interesting fact, seeing as how I have this stance that the tablet market is exploding. The number has grown significantly since the launch of the platform, and is only expected to get higher. It was also announced that iPad web traffic accounts for 2% of all web traffic in the United States.

HTC Sales Waaay Up…HTC Stocks Waaay Down
HTC has announced that their total amount of sales is up 88% over the past year. Of course, devices like the Evo 4G, the Droid Incredible, the HTC Thunderbolt, and the new Evo 3D are amazing devices that have held up well on the market, and the increase only further proves that point. The bad news regarding this however, is the optimism that investors have about the company. Stock prices for HTC have slid 19% in the past month–definitely not a good sign for the company.

Playstation Network FINALLY Concluding Restoration
The Playstation Network is finally returning to the Land of the Rising Sun. Sony has announced that the restoration of the Playstation Network will finally conclude in Japan, after a group of hackers took the service down back in April of this year. Sony has also concluded its Welcome Back program in the United States today, after extending it 2 additional days to help those who were having issues downloading their free content.

Google+ App Coming to iOS?
Maybe this isn’t so much a question as it is a question as to when Google will release their new app for Google+, the new, limited-beta social networking service from the Internet empire. The Google+ app has reportedly been submitted to Apple for submission, hopefully to see release soon. The Android app for Google+ is absolutely stunning, and hopefully the iOS edition will be equally as stunning.

Myspace to Become Social Talent Show?
Last week, Myspace was purchased by Specific Media for a total of $35 million. Actor/Singer Justin Timberlake has apparently obtained some ownership of the site, which lost its dominance as the leading social network to Facebook. Sources indicate that Myspace will be completely revamped as a “talent show” experience, in an attempt to revitalize the site to a new level of popularity.

Hotmail Turns 15 Years Old!
Wow, time flies! Microsoft’s “Hotmail” service has provided quality email service for 15 years today. The service has been immensely widespread over its 15 year course, and continues to grow today through Microsoft’s revamped “Live” service. Congratulations, Microsoft!

Picasa, Blogger to Get Re-branded?
Sources indicate that Google is preparing to completely rebrand and relaunch two of their popular services, to make them fit into the company’s portfolio more effectively. Picasa, the popular photo sharing service, is rumored to become simply “Google Photos,” while Blogger could become something as simple as “Google Blogs.”. With Blogger being the original home of Digital Lust, I don’t really know as to whether or not changing that particular service is a great idea–it’s popular the way it is, and who knows what could happen if it changes.

Google+ Giveaway: Day 1 Winners!!!
Today was the first day of Digital Lust’s first online giveaway, the Google+ Invite Giveaway! The response wasn’t anywhere near the fifteen invites I wanted to give away tonight, so be sure to submit your 50 word comment to any post on our site (and please include your Gmail address!). Tonight’s winners will have their invites sent shortly after this post is published, and hopefully they will have joined the fun soon! Enough rambling! Tonight’s winners are:

-Ron Schoenstein
-Gallucia
-James Mozingo

Congratulations to tonight’s winners, and hopefully I will be able to give more out tomorrow!!!

That about wraps it up for tonight’s edition of The Daily Feed! Tomorrow on Digital Lust, I’ll be continuing my weeklong coverage of Google+ with a rundown of the main site and how it works. I also will be posting the first edition of YouTube Today, a mini-aggregator of a few YouTube videos that catch my attention. And finally, the Google+ Invite Giveaway will continue tomorrow. It’s gonna be a great morning, so be sure to come back and see what’s going on!

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.

The Post-PC World: Is It Here?

If there’s only one reason why I love Apple, it is their dedication to morphing the landscape for the post-PC world. Apple has made great strides in innovating technology to get people away from their PCs and more in-line with the mobile generation. Other companies are following suit, releasing new products and services to help end the home computer era.

In 2007, Apple unleashed the original iPhone, a device unlike any other, that changed the game for the the mobile world. It launched along with the App Store, a new service, similar to iTunes, where owners of the iPhone could purchase and download apps and games directly onto their devices. Fast forward a few years, and Apple announces and releases the iPad, a new tablet computer running iOS, that became an affordable, lightweight alternative to the laptop. With it’s 9.1″ screen, the iPad seemed like a viable solution for the on-the-go person. Featuring everything that made the iPhone so great on a much larger screen, the iPad became an instant success. Accessories like keyboards have become available for the iPad, which further makes it more of an option against the laptop.

One appealing feature about the iPad is how well it replaces the PC experience. For example, applications, such as Pages on the iPad, are a much cheaper and very functional replacement to your current word processing application. These apps feature the same functionality that you would find a PC version, at an extremely significant fraction of the price. Gaming has become even more significantly easy on the iPad than it ever was on a PC–no lag, no having to change out graphic cards or memory to support a game, and better control scheme. The user experience of a PC becomes irrelevant and unnecessary compared to what you see on a tablet.

Others have tried to emulate the experience. Google, which released the first version of it’s popular Android operating system in October 2008, has been working to perfect their open-source project into something that will help further shape the mobile landscape to its highest potential. Microsoft, too, has worked to perfect the new Windows Phone experience, where everything is more easily available by simple tiles on the home screen. The amount of mobile usage is at it’s highest point ever, with some users, myself included, completely abandoning the home computer in favor of smartphones and tablets.

Last month, Apple held a press conference to announce iCloud, their new online storage product that allows users to store practically everything “in the cloud.” Word documents, music, photos, applications, and other files will soon have the capability to be stored in your own virtual hard drive, powered by Apple, and accessible across all of your devices, with no wires or syncing required. The cloud concept is not new of course, with companies like Amazon and Google already offering these services for music. Apple is ultimately looking to keep users from using their PCs even more, by backing everything up to the cloud and turning the computer off. Apple is also eliminating the need to sync to iTunes to activate or update your iPad or other iDevice. All updates, starting with iOS 5 when it releases in September, will be handled over-the-air. The need for a physical hard drive is diminishing. The need for wires is diminishing. An era is ending.

What does this mean for companies like Microsoft, who have strived to maintain their Windows operating system? Microsoft is hard at work on Windows 8, which is a complete and total revamp of anything that you have ever seen on the platform. Windows 8 takes the tile concept first seen in the new Windows Phone 7, and evolves it into a desktop experience that promises to be unique and revolutionary. Windows 8 is designed specifically with tablets in mind, as Microsoft is well aware of this new revolution.

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Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 utilizes the MetroUI look first seen on Windows Phone 7.

It will be interesting to see where this new mobile generation takes us. With cords disappearing, syncing becoming a thing of the past, and tablets becoming more and more affordable and easier to use, it may be time to retire your ol’ PC. It’s something that I have recently done, and couldn’t be happier with. What do you think?

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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