Be A Game Playing Big Shot with Pig Shot

Price: $0.99     Score: 8/10     By A. Papachristos badge appstore sm Be A Game Playing Big Shot with Pig Shot

Do not be alarmed; no animals were hurt in the process of making this game.  Sure, these pigs may end up a bit dizzy, but with Pig Shot by Nexx Studio, the only thing that may come out of this game a bit bruised is your ego as you go head-to-head with players all over the world.  Pig Shot, you see, allows users worldwide to compete against one another to see who has the greatest pig-flinging skills around.

Once you begin, just pull and release the slingshot to send your pig flying.  Tilting your device will help your pig navigate through the obstacles, such as wandering sheep and random fences, in his path in an effort to make it to the next slingshot.  Sadly, if your pig loses momentum before you can give him another boost, the game will end.  Collect the stars along the way to boost your score.  Plus, by collecting cauliflower along the way, users can then use the vegetable as fuel to make their pig fart and therefore boost his traveling speed.

Pig Shot employs the benefits of OpenFeint, an online scoreboard that ranks you amongst other players worldwide.  For those who already have an account, simply login upon first startup.  For those who have never played an OpenFeint enabled game, simply register in order to gain access to these leaderboards and to connect to Facebook and Twitter so you may share your pig shooting glory with all you friends!  And, with over a dozen achievements to unlock, users will enjoy the ability to challenge their friends via email so they can compete to see which person is truly the best pig flinger.  Simply hit the Challenge button on the home screen to send a pre-written email to friends and family, inviting them to take a crack at it as well.

Plus, with future feature updates, such as Game Center compatibility, more obstacles and Facebook and Twitter high score challenges, you’ll be flinging in hog heaven in no time.

Pig Shot [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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My Sports Picks: A Safe Bet for Sports Betting

Price: Free     Score: 8/10     By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm My Sports Picks: A Safe Bet for Sports Betting

With the NFL season just getting underway, and the MLB season about to wrap up, the sports world is alive with excitement.  For those who enjoy betting – from the occasional gambler, to the hardcore risk taker – My Sports Picks by KDub Sports LLC allows users to track their bets and monitor their winnings and loses simply and efficiently, documenting your history and alerting you of your status.

When you begin, the first thing you must do is login to your account.  If this is your first time using My Sports Picks, which it undoubtedly is, you will need to register using your email address and a password.  By registering, you then gain access to the free 3-day sneak peek of all that My Sports Picks has to offer, including bet tracking for the NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAAF and NCAAB.  As a generous gesture, My Sports Picks allows users to track their MLB betting for free for the remainder of the season.  Unfortunately, that season is drawing to a close mighty quickly, so you best bet while you still can.  (Looking at the main menu also reveals that bet tracking for the NCAAB also appears to be free.  And, for some reason, my NBA trial says it doesn’t expire for another three weeks, which was a pleasant surprise.)

Every other sports league, however, will only allow the exceptionally short, 3-day trial before users must pay $2.99 for EACH sport!  (Yes, that means those who want to track EVERY sport available will have to pay $2.99 APIECE via their in-app purchases.)  That’s nearly ten dollars just to track your betting.  And while they say you must spend money to make money, these prices might be a bit steep.  However, tracking your bets could very well keep you organized to the point of making more money than a sloppy opponent, so the added expense is rather subjective.

The only extra that seems like wasted money is the Alerts feature.  For an additional $2.99, users can have push alerts notify them of the exact moment when they win or lose a bet.  Sure, I know many complain about sports junkies being serious couch potatoes when it comes to watching sports, but this seems like laziness to the extreme.  Since My Sports Picks specifically highlights bets won in green and bets lost in red, how hard is it to just look?  Spending $2.99 to have the application tell you the status of your bet seems rather redundant.

But, despite any shortcomings you may find with the pricing, My Sports Picks lays everything out there for its users, making it one of the most clean, functional betting applications available.  The bottom navigation bar allows users to access the Scoreboard, which shows the dates and times for future games, as well as the odds for each team playing.  The My Picks tab displays your totals and your picks, while the New Pick button allows you to add another.  The Reports tab displays you earnings overall and for the season, as well as your historic picks.  The More tab allows you to change your email and password, manage your alerts (if you buy that function) and logout of your account.  Plus, in a newly live update, My Sports Picks has added parlays and teasers.  So prep your wallet, because betting season is about to begin!

My Sports Picks [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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Get the Best Rates, Selection with iFindHotels

Price: Free     Score: 9/10     By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm Get the Best Rates, Selection with iFindHotels

The Internet normally serves as a vast, helpful resource for finding exactly what you want with as little hassle as possible.  However, with so many sources trying to provide the same service, such as finding the best hotel rates in this case, one’s search can become rather confusing.  Having choices may be wonderful, but figuring out which offers are best can be mind-boggling.

With iFindHotels by Hotels Combined Pty Ltd, users connect to HotelsCombined in order to access hotel rates from over 30 travel websites, finding the lowest rates possible in the shortest amount of time.  Their database, featuring over 200,000 hotels from 195 countries, collects information from popular travel sites such as Hotels.com, Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity and more, narrowing down your search to only the most affordable and relevant deals available.

When you start up iFindHotels, the main page will ask you whether you’d like to simply search hotels for the best deals, or specifically look for hotels by map near your current location.  The bar at the bottom will inform you as to the currency displayed, the default being US dollars.  Move to the right and you will see a gear icon, which will allow you to adjust settings such as currency, as well as your radius search, the distance unit (which is set on kilometers by default) and the maximum number of hotel results appear on a single page.

When searching for hotels close to your current location, iFindHotels will populate a map, pinpointing where every local hotel can be found.  You may search based on when you’d like to book a hotel, or simple perform a general search.  Tap the pins to see the name of the hotel, its average price and star rating.  If you see anything you like, tap the arrow at the bottom to find the best deals for that given hotel.

To search hotels for the best deals, simply enter the city’s name, your check in and check out dates, the number of guests and the number of rooms desired.  Then, iFindHotels will generate a list of all relevant deals available.  Sort your results by Price, Popularity or proximity to the nearest Airport.  Using the bottom navigation bar, adjust your results by choosing your ideal Star Ratings, Price Range, Location and Hotel Name.  Each hotel comes with every detail you’d ever want to know about the hotel itself and the surrounding area.  Hotel descriptions include a list of nearby attractions, a general description, and available facilities.  Users can also view overall ratings for characteristics, such as Cleanliness, Location, Pricing and more.  Each hotel even comes with a collection of maps and images, helping you get a great sense of the quality and atmosphere of your potential lodgings.

Seems like finding the right hotel just became as easy as falling asleep in your room’s beautifully made bed!

To view demo videos of how to use iFindHotels, click here.

iFindHotels [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.1 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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Simple Game Apple Picker Needs Some Work

Price: $0.99   Score: 4/10    By S. Campbell

Developed by Michael Venn, Apple Picker is a super simple game featuring a lone tree that spontaneously grows and drops apples which you need to catch in a basket below. The more apples you catch, the higher your score.

You get five “lives” and are able to miss 5 apples before the game is over. The further you get into the game, the faster the apples fall and the harder it gets to catch them in time. Unfortunately if you only just miss an apple, it will bounce off the edge of the basket and out of the screen. As the apples disappear off the edge of the screen and out of sight there’s no chance of getting rebounds, which is a shame as it would add a much-needed extra element to the gameplay.

Apple Picker features very basic graphics, no music, only one level and just one sound effect for when the fruit falls into the basket. Although the concept is not original, that can often be excused when other elements of the game are well executed. Unfortunately, in this case, Apple Picker needs a lot of work to justify a $0.99 price tag for an app that probably should be free.

Apple Picker is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Explore the Beautiful Villages of France on your iPhone

Price: Free   Score: 8/10    By S. Campbellbadge appstore sm Explore the Beautiful Villages of France on your iPhone

France is a beautiful country, but there’s so much to explore that it can be hard to know where to start. Beautiful Villages France, a new app for iPhone, focuses on some of France’s most charming villages – the kind of places that are easy to miss if you don’t know where to look.

Developed by EasyTravelApps, Beautiful Villages France presents you with a catalogue of hundreds of historic villages across France, including more than 500 “Beaux villages” across the country. The app is free to download, with access to three regions (Nord, Pas-de-Calais and Picadie) being included in the download. If you would like to explore additional regions there are in-app purchases priced from $0.99 for a single region to $5.99 for all regions (Aquitaine, Normandie, Languedoc, Roussillon, Cote d’Azur, Alpes).

The app itself features a Google map with pins that identify individual villages – tapping on a pin will bring up a name label which you can tap again to take you to an info page. The same information can be accessed by tapping on the “Villages” tab at the bottom of the screen and navigating via region to the particular village. The villages have varying amounts of historical data and other key points such as the number of inhabitants, market times and a website, but understandably, this information is not available for all villages.

You can add any of the villages to your favorites at any time by tapping on the “+” icon, share it with a friend via email or use the navigate option to find your way to the village.

If you’re traveling to France and would love to get off the beaten track and experience small-town rural life then I wholeheartedly recommend you take a look at Beautiful Villages France.

Beautiful Villages France is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.1.2 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Control The Seven Seas in New Cyan Worlds Game Stoneship

Price: $2.99    Score: 8/10    By S. Campbellbadge appstore sm Control The Seven Seas in New Cyan Worlds Game Stoneship

Developer Cyan Worlds, best known for their blockbuster 90′s PC game Myst (also available on iPhone), have just released a game called Stoneship – a turn-based strategy game with an entirely different look and feel to what you might expect.

Stoneship is set on the buccaneering high-seas and features hand-drawn cartoon graphics, and a simple style of strategic game play. The idea of the game is to control and protect a number of ports across a network of islands while fending off your pirate foes.

The game starts out with a basic tutorial, which is definitely necessary as there is more to the game than you initially think. After 3 introductory levels to show you the ropes you’re thrust into the campaign, which features some 83 different levels.

In each level you start out with a rough outline of an old map, with the true lay of the land hidden underneath. Searching uncharted waters on the map adds to your “renown” as a captain of the HMS Stoneship – and each point of renown gets you an additional crewmate on the HMS Stoneship. You only get a set number of turns to explore the map, during which you can find buried treasure, crewmates lost at sea, native ruins, sea monsters and additional ports. Once all your turns are up – the pirates attack.

When an attack is imminent, white dots indicate the path of the pirates attack – allowing you to move your crew from other ports to shore up your defenses. Once the battle begins, it’s essentially a case of who has the most men – if your port reaches zero first then the pirates have won the battle and will move on to attack your next port. During the battles there isn’t much you can do except madly tap the “fire!” buttons that appear on the screen. As with other turn-based games, the battle is won by what you have done before the attack, not what you do during.

In addition to the campaign, there’s another game mode called Challenges in Stoneship, which feature additional levels that are much the same in terms of gameplay.

Stoneship isn’t a gamechanger like Myst, but it’s a fun and light-hearted turn-based strategy game that should keep you entertained for a while.

Stoneship [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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