Sunday, January 30, 2011

App Review: Dead Space

Rating: 5/5

Price: $9.99 for iPad, $6.99 for iPhone/iPod Touch

Review:

If you are a fan of the original Dead Space and own an iDevice, you really owe it to yourself to get this app. Dead Space is also sure to win over any fans of the survival horror genre in general. It is a hefty price tag but, in my opinion, it is completely worth it.

I was a unsure at first how well this game would translate into an app but the trailers wooed me into giving it a shot. I was not disappointed. The game is, for one, beautifully made. The graphics are easily some of the best, if not the, that I have seen on the iPad (I can't attest to the iPhone/iPod Touch version but I'm guessing it is equally impressive).

The storyline is very interesting and fits nicely into the Dead Space series' world. It follows not the original game's Isaac Clarke but a new character. This game fills in a chunk of the story left by the original Dead Space and Dead Space 2 and is great for fans who want to experience all aspects of the story.


The controls were surprisingly very easy to manipulate and delivered all the lovely limb-destroying experience that we would expect from a Dead Space game. Most objects are interacted with using a simple click of the screen on any particular object.

Lastly, the environment of the app version of Dead Space is really amazing. I doubted that terrifying video games could be translated properly to a mobile device but EA proved me wrong. The lights flicker, the area goes dark, emergency lights kick in, the terrific audio keep you nailed to the edge of your seat and everything else in this game adds up to a horrifyingly fun experience.

Pros:
- Amazing graphics, audio, controls, and basically everything.

Cons:
- I really can't think of any flaws in this game. EA really nailed it.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, January 23, 2011

App Review: Chaos Rings for iPad

Rating: 4.5/5

Price: $15.99

Review:



I was a bit apprehensive at first about paying so much for an app but decided to give it a try because of Square Enix's history of providing high quality games. Chaos Rings really is a terrific game and I felt like my money wasn't wasted.

Chaos Rings plays a lot like traditional turn-based role-playing games but Square Enix really optimized the gameplay for the iPad. The controls are very easy to pick up and combat moves very smoothly. Most of the gameplay is menu driven and it takes a simple click of an option to continue through the game.

The storyline follows a mysterious arena in which various combatants have been taken to and placed into pairs. At first they have little knowledge about why they are paired together but it gradually develops as the game moves along. You can choose to play as different partners so it also allows for a fair amount of replay value.

What I really loved about Chaos Rings was the depth of different combat options available. You have the strategic option of controlling characters together as a pair or solo. As a pair you are more effective but can both be damaged at the same time while solo you are not as effective but don't have to worry about being damaged together. The game also integrates a gene system in which you can learn different genes and customize your characters' abilities with different ones.

Also a rather nice feature if you just want to casually explore is the option to turn off random encounters. This can be extremely nice if you just want to experience the story or just happen to want a break from the long string of battles you will have to face while roaming around.

There is one problem I have with Chaos Rings and that is the graphic quality for the iPad version. I felt that for the extra money of the iPad version I should be paying for greatly improved graphics which were not present. I'm guessing that there is little difference between the iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch versions although I did not personally test both games, only the iPad version. The graphics seemed too pixelated to have been optimized for the iPad and, in comparing the screenshots between the two versions, there seemed to be little difference.

If you're looking for a solid RPG experience on your iDevice, then Chaos Rings is a great option available. You're really paying for a game experience that you would expect on a traditional handheld system like the Nintendo DS and not the typical casual game you generally see on the App Store. With the price difference between the two versions though, I don't think it's really worth upgrading to the iPad version. I would save the few dollars and just magnify the iPhone/iPod Touch version if you're running it on the iPad.

Pros:
- Great storyline
- Fun gameplay
- Easy to use controls

Cons:
- Price tag
- iPad version's graphics seem lacking (stick to iPhone/iPod Touch version)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

App Review: Pocket Resume

Rating: 2/5

Price: $2.99

Review:



Resume HD does exactly what it is supposed to: it gives you an easy to create, update, and distribute resume available from your iDevice. You easily can enter in your information and the app converts it into a cleanly formatted resume which can then be conveniently emailed to anyone you would like in PDF format.

There is one major qualm I have with this app though which greatly contributes to why I rated it as low as I did. There really isn't much in the way of customization which I felt was a key feature for a resume app to have, especially one at the price this app is going for. You are able to pick from three different styles and choose the ordering of the sections but that's about it.

If you would benefit from being able to create a rather basic resume and sending it away on the fly then this app might be just what you need. At a price of $2.99 though this app hardly seems worth it. If Pocket Resume was selling for $0.99 or free I would adjust my rating but as it stands, it is too simplistic to be worth the money.

Pros:
- Simple to use
- Converts resume to PDF

Cons:
- High price
- Lacks customization

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

App Review: Cannibal Bunnies

Rating: 4.5/5

Price: $3.99

Review:



I would almost give them my $4 for the introduction alone. Almost. Luckily though, I don't have to because this gem packs fun gameplay throughout. The point of the game, as you can possibly guess from the title, is to rescue cute pink bunnies from their demises at the hands of nasty cannibal bunnies. It reminds me a bit of lemmings back in the day complete with suiciding off cliffs. Cannibal Bunnies though is filled with bunny rabbits and more direct control over the little creatures.

The gameplay involves dragging pink bunnies into cages so that they are not eaten by the cannibals. There are various obstacles thrown in, such as poisonous carrots, and it makes the game a terrific casual masterpiece that definitely earns it's $3.99.

The only complaint I have about the game is the lack of screen controls. I want to be able to pinch zoom and, if I get to the edge of the screen with a bunny, I expect the screen to scroll with my bunny captive. On several occasions I would misjudge a drop because of a screen scrolling issue and my poor defenseless bunny would drop right into the lurking clutches of a cannibalistic fiend. I don't want my bunnies being gobbled up because of screen control issues! Hopefully these will be adjusted in future updates.

That being said, this game is really amazing and is a must have if you have a slightly dark sense of humor (like mine). Watching a cute bunny get eaten is not for the faint of heart.

Pros:
- Fun gameplay
- Cute bunnies
- Challenging levels

Cons:
- Screen controls are lacking

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, January 10, 2011

App Review: Qvik Sketch Pro

Rating: 3.5/5

Price: $0.99 (free version for iPhone available)

Review:






I'd like to first start out by saying that I really like Qvik Sketch Pro. It is a really fun sketching app available on the App Store and it has a rather cool drawing style with 6 different types of brushes, any color you can pick from a color wheel, an eraser, an undo function and either a white or black background. It has an intuitive shading system that makes even my artwork look pretty awesome and that's saying something.

The major flaw though with the app though is really just how simplistic it is. For some, this might not be a flaw at all. For anyone who wants a drawing app with a lot of features, I would suggest looking someplace else unless they release an update with new material.

As it stands though, if you just want a simple sketching program with a few nice features, Qvik Sketch Pro (or their free iPhone/iPod Touch version) might be just right for you and with a price tag of only $0.99 it is definitely a good value. However, if you want a fully loaded drawing application, I would suggest looking into maybe Brushes, ArtStudio, Inspire Pro, or Sketchbook Pro. Each of these have really neat features and you might want check them out to figure out which will suit your needs best.

Pros:
- Great if all you want to do is sketch and have some seriously nice looking sketches

Cons:
- Sketching is about all you can do (lacks features)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, January 7, 2011

App Review: BlogPress

Rating: 4.5/5

Price: $2.99

Review:

I spent a while sifting through the various blogging apps available on the App Store and by far BlogPress has been my favorite in terms of features and usability. BlogPress is very simple to use and offers a variety of useful features for the blogger. Some of the notable features include the ability to maintain multiple blogs, support for many popular blogging sites (Blogger, Drupal, Wordpress and Live Journal to name a few), the ability to add photos and edit their placement, and label/tag/category support. The UI is simple enough and I've had no problems while using it.

Another nice feature of BlogPress is the ability to instantly update your Twitter and Facebook with your post so that can save you some time and help build some traffic to your blog. It also supports video uploading through YouTube along with photos through BlogPress' own upload service, Flickr, or Picasa, both of which can be inserted directly into your blog post.

BlogPress also features support for HTML text editing allowing you add color, italics, bold, etc to your text. The only minor complaint I have about the app is that I felt that the UI for the HTML functions could have been more convenient to use than it is but they are still relatively easy to use.

Overall though, I would highly recommend BlogPress for any bloggers out there with an iPad/iPhone. The app is universal so if you buy it once, you can use it on any iOS device you may own.

Pros:
- Support for multiple blogging services
- Video/photo upload support
- Label/tag/category support
- Posts to Twitter and Facebook

Cons:
- Slightly inconvenient text editing controls using HTML

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Introductions

I figured it would probably be good to introduce myself before jumping right into the reviews so here goes.

I'm a recent college graduate with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and am planning on returning in order to receive my master's degree. You might be wondering to yourself, what does criminal justice have to do with app reviews? To answer that question: absolutely nothing. I do however have more free time than I know what to do with and spend a ridiculous amount of time with my iPad and iPhone, each with more apps than I could ever need.

I have a confession to make. For a very long time... I hated the iPad. I thought it was useless and overly expensive. I even went so far as to tease family and friends who had it and preach about my netbook. Why waste so much money on an iPad when you could get an awesome netbook for half the price?

That was until I won an iPad. My eyes were opened to the light. The device is simply amazing. I don't think I've ever been more productive in my life and I am historically known for being a chronic procrastinator! It was life changing. Well, maybe not that far but it was pretty amazing nonetheless. Now the first thing I did with my shiny new iPad was sit in the app store for quite literally hours and download a ridiculous amount of apps. I don't even want to think about how much money I spent. I quickly found though that not all apps are high quality and can be a complete waste of money.

That is what brought me here so that I might try to share some insight into many of the apps in the App Store. I hope I can help others sift through the huge number of apps available and find the ones that fit their needs, saving them the pain (and money) of buying apps that simply aren't worth it. Since I primarily use my iPad, most of my reviews will be focused on iPad apps although I probably will include some iPhone/iPod Touch apps as well.

I think I've spent quite enough time with introductions (probably more than any of you wanted to read) and I hope you'll find some use out of my reviews. Thanks for reading!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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