Space Deadbeef – First Side-Scrolling Shoot-em-up for iPhone is a Winner

Written iPhone Game App Review

Space Deadbeef is a new game for the iPhone in the tradition of those old school side-scrolling shoot-em-ups of the 80’s & 90’s. You know the ones – where your impossibly small fighter takes on wave after wave of bad guys armed only with your quick reactions and virtually unlimited firepower. Space Deadbeef is the first incarnation of this style of arcade shooter to make its way to the app store, and it does the job surprisingly well for a game that won’t cost you a cent.

When playing Space Deadbeef, you use touch control (rather than tilt) to maneuver your aircraft up & down. You are constantly dodging lasers fired in your direction while trying to let loose as much ammunition in the other direction as you possibly can (it is unlimited after all). Sadly, for fans of the genre, power-ups don’t feature in Space Deadbeef. You only have the following two weapons at your disposal:

  • Gun: Activated by tapping on your own aircraft. You can hold down your finger to build up the power of the shot.
  • Homing Missiles: Activated by tapping on enemy aircraft. Pressing down over the enemy for longer increases the number of missiles that are fired. You can also drag your finger to select multiple enemies.

The graphics and detail of the models in Space Deadbeef are quite impressive. The explosions and particle physics are especially good. The sound is ok, and funnily enough it’s disabled by default – but you can turn it on if you want.

There are 16 stages in all, but essentially they are just repeats of the first stage. They’re all actually identical bar the increase in difficulty, and by difficulty I mean the volume of lasers that get fired at you. Your ability to evade the onslaught lessens with each stage until a veritable tsunami of lasers makes it impossible to survive. Still, criticism aside, this is the first release and the possibility is always open for updates/new levels etc.

Bottom line: Space Deadbeef is definitely worth checking out.

Space Deadbeef Gameplay:


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Shazam Updated – Now a must-have app

Written iPhone Music App Review

The popular music identification software for iPhone, Shazam, has just released a major update (v1.5). This update brings with it a host of new features, but there is one stand-out improvement that now makes Shazam a must-have app.

You now have the ability to store “pending tags” for when you don’t have access to the internet. So, if you’re like me and you have a 2G iPhone and/or a pre-paid iPhone without web access, Shazam used to be pretty non-functional. You can now record a soundbite of a song on-the-go, save it, and upload it to get the song info when you do have net access (e.g Wi-Fi).

Other v1.5 changes include increased artist information (lyrics, track & album reviews, other music by same artist), improved tag sorting, iPod Touch support (requires ext. mic) and the inclusion of advertising.

You can read our full review of Shazam here.

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Banner Free – Scrolling Message App

Written iPhone Utility App Review

Banner Free is an app that allows you to input a short text message that will then be displayed on the iPhone screen in scrolling LED-matrix style.

It’s kind of neat, but then again it’s kind of useless too. The message scrolls across the screen far too slowly for anyone to be bothered in taking the time to read it. For example, it takes 20 seconds to completely scroll the message “useless application”. There are no options to control speed, colour, size etc. I’d recommend Banner Free for bored students as a way to covertly communicate in class – but not to anyone else.

There is a paid version of this app by the same developer called “Banner” that addresses some of the shortcomings of the free version – speed control, colors, shapes are all featured. The dilemma still remains finding an actual situation that could use Banner, however.


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SteadyCam – Say No to Blurry iPhone Pics

Written iPhone Photo App Review

SteadyCam (now Darkroom) is a simple, but useful iPhone app that will help solve the constant blurry photo issue that plagues the built-in camera.

SteadyCam will only snap the shutter when your hand is stable.

You can press the ‘take photo’ button, but it won’t take the picture until the accelerometer tells the app that the iPhone isn’t moving = clearer photo’s.

There is no difference in photo quality between SteadyCam and the native camera app, and images are saved into the same directory. Worth downloading if you use the camera a lot, but there are no other features that make this one a stand-out.

SteadyCam is free to download.


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TapDefense Strategy & Tips

Written iPhone Game App Review

TapDefense is currently the most popular free-to-download game on the App Store. If you’re having trouble finishing all the levels or want to beat the higher difficulties, here are some tips to get you going:

Conserve Gold

  • Build the bare minimum of towers that you need to complete each level.
  • Save as much as you can in the early stages, to increase the effect of compounding interest.

Spend Halo’s Wisely:

  • Spend you “halo’s” wisely. Priority should always go to upgrading your interest rate before upgrading/researching new towers.
  • Improving your interest rate several times over the course of the game will greatly increase your end-game gold.
  • More gold = more options/upgrades/towers

Tower Strategy:

  • Use ice and water towers liberally, especially in your “kill zone”.
  • Upgrade your towers that cover multiple enemy paths/zones first
  • Fully upgrade your ice/water towers later in the game, you can slow enemies down by 90%.
  • Utilize arrow/magic towers, they have a long range and can be upgraded so that they are effective even from the fringes of the map.
  • Diversify. Don’t build just bomb towers or just arrows. In the later stages of the game your opponents will have resistances to certain tower types.
  • If you have lots of gold, consider placing a couple storm towers near the gates of hell. These will immediately take off a percentage of the enemies total hit points
  • Don’t sell’s not necessary and it will lose you gold. Concentrate on strategic tower placement from the beginning of the game.

Also, the difficulty of the game tends to take a notch up around level 30 so conserve your gold as much as you can before that point and shore up your defenses on level 28-29.

If you have any other tips, please share them and comment below.

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SimCity to be released on iPhone

Written iPhone Game App Review

In a very exciting little piece of iPhone gaming news, SimCity for the iPhone is due to be released on the App Store later this month.

Produced by EA Games, SimCity promises to be a full-featured version of the ubiquitous Will Wright classic. See Kotaku for their full first impressions.

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