Fight the War of the Words with Word Warrior

Price: $1.99     Score: 8/10     By A. Papachristos badge appstore sm Fight the War of the Words with Word Warrior

The power of words can be great.  Words can move people to action, or build a bond between many.  But, in the case of Word Warrior by Faro Entertainment, words have the power to restore a nation’s peaceful nature and vanquish the corrupt, evil spirits that run amok.

You see, thousands of years ago, The Word King banished evil from his kingdom, sealing something in The Great Library of Kings in case the evil one day returned.  Because only the King was able to open the doors of this library, he gave his own life by splitting his soul into seven different pieces.  These seven spirits grew weak as the years passed, becoming evil themselves and returning unrest to the nation as the King had feared.  But now, you must take on the role as the Word Warrior, the only being who has the ability to destroy all evil, reunite the spirits and return the nation to a peaceful state once again.

When you begin, the main page lays everything out for you simply and succinctly.  The Play button speaks for itself, while the How to Play button unleashes numerous comprehensive pages featuring tutorials and explanations.  Learn about the screen’s layout, magic tiles, weapons and armor, leveling and great tips to get you moving in the right direction.  Like your typical fighting games, users will have the opportunity to earn new weapons and armor, making them a more formidable opponent.  As users progress, they also gain experience points, as with regular fighting games, which allow them to level up at various intervals, increasing their hit points and longevity.  Each time you level, you also get to upgrade one skill.

As the Word Warrior, you will have to fight your way around the map, battling all sorts of monsters so you can proceed to the next dot on your path.  Win the given battle and you may continue on your journey, but don’t move too quickly.  These monsters are rather powerful and require quick thinking so you can deal you blow before they hurt you.  The best tip you’ll find in the tutorial is actually one I strongly advise as well – use earlier levels to gain experience points.  By winning smaller battles, you not only gain experience, but you increase your chances of leveling and earning new gear.  In fact, working to improve your chances can very well become addictive all on its own, not to mention the fun you will have trying to create words from the given letters on a whim.  Word Warrior shall certainly keep you on your toes and will surely suck you in, word lover or not, after the first battle.

Word Warrior [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.1.3 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Prankly Misses the Punchline

Price: Free     Score: 3/10     By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm Prankly Misses the Punchline

I suck at prank calls. Why? I can’t trust myself not to laugh as soon as the victim answers. For those like me, Prankly claims to do all the work.

Prankly is a free app that comes with ten prank call options, each of which is a $0.99 in-app purchase (and one free, already installed message). The topics include “Angry Woman,” “You Got Me Pregnant!,” and “Casting for Commercial.” Until you purchase them, there’s no way to hear or read what exactly the message will say (although you can probably guess). The free option is simply a message saying “This is Helena from Taxi” – one you’re unlikely to want to use.

It’s admittedly hilarious when the confirmation message pops up: “Do you want to buy one horny neighbor for $0.99?” Why yes, thank you. However, here’s where my problems began; I purchased two messages, confirmed in my iTunes account, and they never became available within the app.

I put it aside and came back to try again a few days later, and this time was successful in purchasing and viewing a third message: “Order from Sex Shop.” Once I tapped on the message, I was able to read what my victim would hear, although I still couldn’t hear it myself. However, tapping “Make Call,” where you can choose to enter a number in the keypad or select it from your address book, just made the app crash repeatedly.

I really wanted this one to work – I reinstalled and gave it several attempts, but in the end was unsuccessful in making a single prank call. Hopefully these problems will be addressed in future versions, as the concept is a good one.

Prankly [iTunes link] requires iPhone OS 4.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Become the Perfect Paparazzo with SneakyPix

Price: $0.99     Score: 8/10     By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm Become the Perfect Paparazzo with SneakyPix

There are dozens of instances in which you’d really love to take a photograph but feel much too awkward to do so.  Whether you want to capture a quick picture of that attractive person sitting across the aisle, or snag your friend’s funny face to use as blackmail for years to come, pulling out your camera and snapping away would defeat the purpose (and probably make you look like a stalker, too).  But with SneakyPix by Skidmore Apps, users can discretely take pictures of anything around them while simply pretending to talk on their phone at the same time.

You see, there are numerous situations where just cannot pull out your camera (or camera phone) and freely take photographs, but SneakyPix quickly and easily brings discrete to a whole level.  The very first page will tell you exactly what you must do in three effortless steps.  First, silence you phone, then hit the button.  Second, act like you are simply talking on your phone, but hold it up to your ear in the same general direction as the person whom you wish to photograph.  Finally, double tap the screen so your phone will stop taking photos, and view those taken right within you phone’s Camera Roll.  With a picture taken every few seconds, you will surely have some great shots, assuming you held your device in the appropriate direction and position, of course.

The introduction page also allows you to adjust a few settings before you begin.  Users may turn the Fake In-Call Screen On or Off, though On makes your efforts extra sneaky, for it will fake the call screen just in case someone gets suspicious.  Users may also adjust the number of photos to be taken.  Leave the slider all the way to the left for an unlimited amount of photos, or move the slider to allow any amount from one to 20 to be taken.  Those who choose unlimited need only double tap the screen to end their picture-taking spree.  Users may also choose whether they would like their phone to vibrate after each photo is taken or not.

The only problem users may come across is the fact that they may not obtain the greatest quality photos in this manner.  So if you’re hoping to sneak a high quality photo of that celebrity you spotted wandering the city streets, you might need to get a bit too close for comfort, for one must expect the typical quality of cell phone photos and accept the fact that one cannot frame the photo accordingly.  Of course, iPhone 4 photos will come out with full resolution (and be as beautiful as expected, most likely), while photos taken with all other devices will result in fairly decent 600 x 800 pixel photographs.  Users must simply do their best to get as close to their subject as possible, just not conspicuously close, and try to position their head to the best of their ability.  And with such an ingenious (and sneaky!) concept working to help make the task as easy as possible, it is certainly worth a try!

SneakyPix [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.1.3 or later and is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Finally Find What You’re Looking for with YP – AT&T Yellow Pages for iPhone

Price: Free     Score: 9/10     By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm Finally Find What You’re Looking for with YP – AT&T Yellow Pages for iPhone

Gone are the days of traditional phone books.  Many places have found that the prevalence of the Internet has rendered such guides unnecessary, for most use the readily available Internet to perform such searches anyway.  Instead of wasting vast amounts of paper, companies have put forth more effort in perfecting their online presence.  With YP – AT&T Yellow Pages for iPhone by YELLOWPAGES.COM LLC, users will find an enhanced way to search for the types of services they need, all from the comfort of their portable Apple device.

Begin by allowing the application to detect and connect with your current location, for YP will provide wonderful, local suggestions right on the home screen under the categories of Eat, Play and Live.  This home page suggests local restaurants, entertainment venues, hotels, salons, mechanics and much more all based upon your current location.  To yield different results, simply shake your device and new suggestions will appear right on the home page.  View those deemed most popular or enter your own search terms using the Search tab (or the Search bar at the top of the main screen) to narrow down your findings.  Users may even speak their search term by tapping the microphone button next to the Search bar, eliminating the need to type.  The Browse tab simply allows users to sift through different categories of interest based on either their current location or another they input manually.

To peruse your results, users may either read through the names as they are listed, or use the globe icon in the top right corner to access the Map view, which provides a visual as to where each business resides.  Choose a specific place, and you will find all the information you could possibly need, including their phone number, address, hours of service, ratings, reviews, website, driving directions and other similar suggestions.  You can read other customers’ reviews of the establishment and add your own experiences once you’ve visited.  Users will also find the Share, Add to Favorites and Add to Contacts buttons toward the bottom of the page.  Share allows users to email the listing to friends or post the information to Facebook and Twitter.  Add to Favorites allows users to add this particular place to their Favorites tab for easy access later on, while the Add to Contacts button will add the establishments contact information right to your phone’s address book.

Beautifully laid out and simple to use, this intuitive application makes searching for all types of places much easier than flipping through the pages of a book.  You can now “let your fingers do the walking” much quicker than ever before, and find just what you need right where you need it.  Plus, with all these automatic suggestions provided up front, you’re sure to have a vast array of choices.  Plus, no application could ever be rendered terrible (in my eyes) when the first ‘Eat’ suggestion just happens to be my favorite pizza place of all time!

YP – AT&T Yellow Pages [iTunes Link] for iPhone requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Squish Ants on Your iPhone in Ant Smasher

Price: $0.99     Score: 10/10     By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm Squish Ants on Your iPhone in Ant Smasher

Here, truly, is an app game for the eight year old boy in all of us.

Ant Smasher, designed by Best, Cool & Fun Games, is exactly as the name indicates – a game in which you smash ants. Simple concepts like this are usually either really well-executed or just plain boring.

In this case? It works. First, the graphics are great. Tap play and you find yourself staring at a wooden picnic table top, food lining the bottom. (If you’re feeling vindictive, swap the table for a picture of someone’s face from your photo album.)

As the ants scurry down from the top of the screen, you’ve got to squish them with your finger before they can reach the food. The attention to detail is impressive – the ants are all different shapes and sizes, and they move at different speeds as well.

Tapping them produces a nasty squishing sound effect, along with a disgusting yellow or orange ooze of guts on the table. And as an extra challenge, you’ll occasionally get a bee – tap one of those and it’s game over. (Some sneaky ants attempt to hide under the bee, making it all the trickier!)

If too many ants get to your food, that’s the end of the game. You might also be able to snag a green mushroom or two for extra lives. (You lose a life when an ant makes it to the food.) The more ants you squish, the higher your score – simple, gross, fun. At $0.99, this is one of those painfully addictive games.

Ant Smasher [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Track Product Recalls on Your iPhone with All Recalls

Price: FREE    Score: 9/10     By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm Track Product Recalls on Your iPhone with All Recalls

From dangerous toys to bacteria-infested food, there’s a lot to keep up with in terms of recalls. While the information is available on the Internet, having an app that tracks recalls specifically isn’t a bad idea at all. Enter All Recalls.

Designed by Urban Apps, All Recalls is straightforward and easy to use. You’ll open the app to see a list of all recalls – choose a category by scrolling the headings at the top to select from food, drugs, vehicles and more. You can also type a keyword or product name into the search field to find it quickly.

Once you select a product that’s been recalled, you get a full description of the reason for recall, a list of affected products, other recalls from that company, photos of the product, and all of the dates and numbers. There’s also a URL at the bottom, although tapping it does not lead to the address opening in Safari, nor can you copy and paste the URL. One of those options would be a nice feature. You can, however, tap the email icon at the bottom of the page to send thatinformation along.

All Recalls is free, but you can upgrade in-app to the Pro version for $0.99 (which gets rid of the ad banner running across the top). In the free version, you can recall data, email, and share info on Facebook and Twitter. The Pro versions includes a Realtime Alert setting for up-to-the-minute details on the latest recalls, as well as “search the recall database.”

My only problem: I experienced trouble with the search field initially. Any letter I typed produced the “No Results” message – it wasn’t until the comment below that I realized three letters must be entered, and the first few times I tried it loading took about ten seconds. After that I had no problems.

The bottom line: I can’t complain about a free app that helps me stay on top of recalls, and All Recalls does do that well.

All Recalls [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.1.3 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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