Brick-breaking, block-smashing, bubble-bursting, and balloon-popping apps are rampant in the AppStore. We see a lot of them here at the iPhone App Review, so trust us when we say that Bubble Birds, by XIMAD, isn’t the like the others: This bird-bombing iPhone app has a lot of promise, and at a bargain price, to boot.
The premise of Bubble Birds is largely simple: You’re presented with a wall of multi-colored birds and a nest from which birds can be hucked. By throwing birds at the avian onslaught you can match up three or more similar fowl to pop the whole bunch. Pop all of the birds, and you win the level. But don’t take too long—if you dilly-dally enough the game will add birds to the stack. Wait even longer, and you’ll find yourself overrun with feathers and covered in a game over.
That’s the basic idea that Bubble Birds is packing, and for the most part, it’s got fun in spades. The central mechanic of throwing a bird at other birds to pop the whole bunch is satisfying, and so is completing a level. However, those are the only mechanics that Bubble Birds is sporting. Completing a new level only increases the speed with which birds are added to the stack, which certainly makes the game more challenging, but just doesn’t provide that carrot-on-a-stick feeling one needs to keep playing a game. Some power-ups would have been appreciated, or even just different bird abilities, à la Angry Birds. Bubble Birds is certainly fun, but what’s offered here feels tedious until too late in the game.
Some of our nostalgic (and older) readers may remember well the classic game Duck Hunt. It was a game of infinite animal abuse and infinite fun, spawning many a childhood memory. Thankfully, that ye olden yarn from yore has not been lost, as the developers over at InfinityK have so graciously concocted Duck Hunt AR, an iPhone app with a new spin on an old classic.
For those unfamiliar with the premise of Duck Hunt, you are a hapless hunter with an overly sarcastic dog and a sky full of ducks that need a good blasting. You are positioned at one end of a field while ducks fly up from the brush at the other end. The waterfowl fly about for a bit, and in that time you have to shoot them—the game gives you three shots to do so, or the duck flies away. If you miss enough ducks, you’ll fail the level. However, peg enough of the birds and you can advance to the next: Duck Hunt AR iPhone app has kept on the infinite levels scheme of the original, meaning the sky’s the limit as far as your high score can go.
For those unfamiliar with the other part of Duck Hunt AR—the alternate reality bit— our iPhone app review will show how the game uses the iPhone’s built-in camera to capture the real world, then overlays the game on top of that. This means the game creates a screen in front of, say, your living room from which you can wildly spin about while tapping the screen to fire at ducks. It’s a beautiful concept that’s orchestrated well here. Duck Hunt is a great choice for an alternate reality game, and the developers have done a great job keeping the calibration in line.
Do you have a thing for horseshoes, jungle vibes, and congo drums? Or how about a thing for fun iPad apps in general? If so, then Jungle Games HD, by German developer Koordinauten GmbH, has everything you could possibly want in a tropical, ring-tossing game for iOS. Let’s explore my iPad app review and uncover the gameplay within the app.
The gameplay of Jungle Games HD is probably best described as a mix between a match-three brick-breaker and horseshoes—only the whole cocktails been uprooted and moved into the middle of the jungle. You stand at one end of a field across from three poles which you must fill with tossed, multi-colored rings. Match up any three colors (either vertically or horizontally across all three poles) and the rings vanish with a score increase.
There are a total of five colors and only three poles, meaning you’ll have to strategize: Thankfully, Jungle Games gives you a preview of the next two rings to come. If you fill up all five slots on each pole, you lose the game.
The Jungle Games HD iPad app gameplay takes only a second to ascertain, but offers a whole lot of strategy once uncovered. Perhaps one of the biggest boons for the iPad app are its copious difficulty settings: The game runs from Easy (which is still quite hard) to Ultra Panic, which pits you against a timer as you attempt to score more seconds with fresh combinations. Jungle Games is a lot of fun, and is much more similar to a puzzler than it is to Brick Breaker. This app is certainly a thinking man’s game, grass-skirted tribal men or not.
Here at the iPhone App Review we are constantly seeing new ways in which the iPad is capable of enhancing early childhood development, making it one of the most important (and coolest) resources a modern parent can have. And at the heart of that innovation are apps like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi HD, an iPad app by developer XIMAD.
Function and Design
Those of you familiar with Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” will instantly recognize the story at the center of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi HD. The iPad app features the tale of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, repackaged in HD glory for the iPad. The app presents the text in the same manner you would expect from a children’s book, with clearly readable lines surrounded by lightly-toned illustrations. However, the app adds a bit of modern flavor by allowing the reader to manipulate just about any object on the screen. It’s a great innovation, and it adds a lot of entertainment value to an already engaging story.
The artwork and interface presented here are very crisp as well. Navigating to different pages is as easy as pushing a leaf arrow at the bottom, or pulling down the table of contents from the top of the screen. Discovering these may take a second, as there’s not much by way of in-app documentation, but it’s far from impossible to manage. It’s worth noting that the artwork perfectly matches the story, and is top-notch in every way. This app would be equally at home as a traditional children’s book as it is in digital format: The artwork is simply that good.
It’s not often in this business that we get to say an iPhone app is truly unique. However, this iPhone app review proves that CalcPad, by developer Chipotle Labs, is the rare exception. The iPhone app offers a service you may not have even known you needed, but one you’ll certainly find useful.
The idea behind CalcPad is both simple and tricky: Simple in the fact that it just works, but tricky in the fact that it’s a bit creative. The app is, first and foremost, a fully-functional calculator. When first booted, the user is presented with a number cruncher very similar to the stock iOS offering. Interestingly, there is no tilt for scientific mode, which though disappointing, is hardly a deal breaker. However, the real surprise of CalcPad comes with a quick two-finger scroll up from the bottom. After a quick flick, a feature-rich notepad is revealed, offering the user a multitude of ways to take notes, add photos to jottings, or even surf the web with a secure in-app browser. The intention here is, obviously, to keep your private notes secure: CalcPad is almost like a trapdoor for your iPhone, or a false bookcase.
The idea of securing notes behind a calculator is certainly a bit gimmicky, but it hardly harms the app. In fact, it rather makes CalcPad cooler. I felt a bit like a spy, flicking my way through a calculator to get at my secret notes. Certainly this isn’t a feature everyone needs—or even wants—but at the end of the day, CalcPad has created something new and totally fun, even if it is a Why-didn’t-I-think-of-that? kind of app.
Each level is a new puzzle to solve in the name of intergalactic salvation when you play Joe Versus from Star Technologies. If you have a soft spot for humanity, or any other carbon-based life form, partner up with Joe, his daughter Olivia and her cat Cheeto to take down the evil alien.
While performing my iPhone app review, I found myself faced with a puzzle board covered in menacing tetrahedrons advancing towards my hapless avatar. It seems that Joe, a space barge pilot, had a little run in with an evil alien and now he has to figure out how to clear game boards of tetras from his barge or face the worst.
Use your avatar to place explosive charges on the board. Blowing up brown stone tetras or green toxic tetras is good form. You can even expand and arm the toxic tetras you explode to clear adjoining tetras. The red tetras need to go over the side though, so plan your charges carefully. Clear all the proper tetras without getting squished or pushed over the edge to win a level. That sounds simple enough, but tricky patterns and the ever-advancing wall of tetras makes the Joe Versus iPhone app challenging. Thankfully, self-preservation is a fabulous motivator.