Archive Reviews

Review: Scramble, WordPopper, & WordSearch - Free Word Games for the iPhone

For all you word puzzle fans out there I've put together a small selection of free word games available for the iPhone and iPod Touch that are fun for those of every level.

Scramble

How are you at making sense out of nothing? Well that’s what Scramble is all about. Sixteen letters against the clock. I have to admit at first I couldn’t make head nor tails of this game but once I discovered its quirky way of working I was hooked. Sixteen letters scrambled together and a race against the clock to find as many words as you can in two minutes.  You can set the board up with 25 letters and your clock for three minutes if you wish also.

 At the end of the game you’re given a list of all the possible words  you could of found and where they were hidden. Don’t be misled by this list as this is only a guideline. These words can be strange to say the least some not even being of the English language.

You have the ability to save your profile and play online as well as save your score to Facebook to showoff to all your friends what a wordsmith you are.

Ways of Earning Extra Points;

A great way of earning extra points is if you can an ‘S’ to a word you found, i.e. Rose & Roses.

Turn your screen on it’s side. It’s amazing how some words become clear when the letters are viewed from another angle.

It’s a nice little game that whiles away the time. If you like word games then I’d definitely give it a go.

Scramble 2 is now also available for download. Both games play the same and I haven’t noticed any obvious differences between the two.

Scramble by Zynga

Cost: Free

 

WordPopper

To play all you have to do is to tap on a combination of letters to make words. When you make a word you’ll hear a bell ring to confirm that word. To clear that word and start the next you must press the green tick mark or all the letters will run in together . If you make a mistake there’s a reject button so that you can start over. Most letters are worth 5 points with rarer letters like V, Q and Z scoring up to 10 or even 15.

 

You can also play against other players online and if you want to pause the game at any stage you can do so by simply tapping the name bar which is a handy feature.

 Simple game but fun for those who like words.

WordPopper from Raizlabs

Cost: Free

Full Version: $2.99

 

WordSearch Unlimited

I think most of us have played the paper version of this game at one stage of our lives. Well now it’s now gone digital. The premise is still the same, find the list of words at the bottom of the page in the jumble of letters, once they are all found. Game over.

Game options to choose from include word lists that range from Food & Drink, World Countries and Boys and Girls Names to control of screen appearance by choice of font style and background image.

Other than that the game is straight forward and simple. There is also a full version with more options to choose from.

WordSearch Unlimited by VirtueSoft.com

Cost: Free

 

So hopefully one of these games piques your interest and gives you an excuse to while away some time. So go ahead and give your brain a workout and see how you do. What have you got to loose with Free as a price tag?

By: Annette Quirke Benkie [http://www.annettequirke.com]
LearnMacsOnline [http://www.learnmacsonline.com

 

 

 

Review: Pebbles - Addictive Puzzle Game

Pebbles, from Objective Development Software, is a puzzle with easy and extremely difficult levels.  This game is highly addictive (for those addictive personality types) and for people who love puzzles that will keep you entertained for hours.

The objective is to empty the playing field by throwing a pebble from the border onto the board so that it touches a pebble of the same color, thus making it, and all pebbles of the same color surrounding it, disappear.  The shelf above the board will show you the color pebble that will replace the one you throw.  You must plan your moves to help you succeed at clearing the playing field.  Each time you clear the field you start over with the addition of another pebble, each level continues to 30 pebbles.

Once you complete these levels, you increase the number of pebble colors.  So in the first level, you only have 2 different color pebbles, the more difficult levels begin around 6 different stone colors.  You must plan your moves carefully and in advance to clear the boards.  A nice feature is that you do not have to save your game.  If you get interrupted during game play, you can answer the call, type the email, go to any app by pressing the home button, or just turn off the phone and the game will resume exactly where you left off.


Pebbles has great little sound effects for throwing the pebbles and telling you when you can not throw a pebble. If you enjoy a challenge and have a strategic puzzle solving mind I highly recommend this game.  There is a free mac version available on Objective Development's website, which is decent at showing you what the game is about, however it is not as good as the iphone version as you have no strategic planning of future moves.
If you have any question about whether you will enjoy this game or not, take a look at the quicktime demo on their website.

 

By Corey A. Serrins (The MacCore)

Pebbles by Objective Development

Full Version $2.99

Review: Cannons

Not very often does an iPhone game really catch my attention and therefore my wallet. When I was younger I would play games on our computer, a Windows 95 machine, for hours. One of my favorite games was a little pre-bundled Windows 95 game called Pipe's Dream in which you rotated pipes so that sewage could flow safely across the screen. If you prevented an unsightly mess then you received points and moved unto the next level.

Cannons from Readdle is a new take on this old game. Instead of rotating pipes you rotate fuses to set off a series of cannons. There are two play modes: story and quick play. Unlike Pipe's dream there is a story that involves pirates, treasure maps, and navel warfare. It is not a literary masterpiece by any means, but is a really sets the mood. Thankfully it can have multiple save files, which is really convenient if you let family members play on your iPhone; this is something I really wish that other iPhone games had. The game was fun, fast-paced, and overall I really enjoyed it. The game also possesses some RPG elements to it with the ability to upgrade your cannons to larger and point scoring machines of war. Basically, the more booty you acquire the more you can upgrade your cannons and the bigger your cannons the more points you score. 


The sound is great and really gets you into the mood of the game and makes Cannons feel more like a classic gameboy game. The graphics are about as good as you can get for a puzzle game, but the hand drawn backgrounds and sprites are pleasing to look at. The game also lets you upload you scores to online leaderboards, which is a nice touch. I would have personally preferred to see something more social like OpenFeint, the leaderboard/chat/social network publishing community present in other iPhone games. I think this application would really benefit from integrating the free OpenFeint platform especially considering that puzzle games really emphasize on obtaining the highest score possible, but that is really my only gripe. 


Right now this game is $2.99 in the iTunes store and I recommend it. I honestly was not expecting the game to be this enjoyable, especially with the pirates theme. I think Readdle really made a fun little game here. It is nothing highly remarkable, but nonetheless fun. It is not always the flashy games that you end up playing over and over game but volumes can be said sound puzzle games like Tetris and Cannons.

By: Hunt Henning (www.thedigitalcheatsheet.com)

Cannons

Full Version: $2.99 

Review: Find A Metro DC - Metro iPhone App

When I was on vacation this past week in Washington DC, I had added a few applications onto the iPhone to help me plan out the sites I wanted to see. I knew we would be using the Metro rail for our primary mode of transportation, so I picked up the paper map at the Metro station. I'm a smart guy, I can use a map, right? Yes, but, it's not very well lit underground and it's kind of a hassle to pull out the paper map when you are toting around a lot of stuff like we were. On top of that, we walked out of our hotel and had no idea which way to walk to the closest metro station; the paper map doesn't really help out with that, and I hate asking directions.  

My solution was to check out the app store. I found 'find a metro dc' from jrbapps. This app was exactly what I was looking for. I tested it by having it show me the 5 closest stations from my current location. It show the stations and which train lines are serviced by them. You simply select the station you want and the location based services really shine by launching Google Maps with your start/end walking direction points already entered for you.

Once you get to the station, you can use the trip planner to choose your start/ending Metro stops. This is where it really shines, as the app give you clear and concise directions. It tells you where exactly which train line to use,  the direction it's going, how many stops, which transfers you may need to make, and even tells you the fare. I found this to be the most helpful, as it eliminates all confusion as to which train to take. To top it off, it's quicker than pulling out the paper map. 

If you aren't underground (no cell coverage), the app can also use your data connection and find the arrival times and delays for the trains. Be sure you do this before you go into the Metro station, as you will have no connectivity underground, at least not yet. I have heard that in October of 2009, there is going to be cell coverage in the Metro tunnels. If you just want the start/stop destinations and which trains to take, you don't even need to be connected, which makes this also compatible with the iPod touch, although slightly limited. Since the iPod Touch doesn't have GPS or 3G, it doesn't let the app live up to it's potential.

As an aside, this app also supports the Metro bus system, which I didn't try since we used the train. It's a nice added feature though. 

Conclusion:

If you are visiting or live in the Washington DC area, this app is a steal at $0.99 cents. It took me out of a few stressful situations, like finding the correct train and the closest Metro stop when we were walking after dark. This app totally removes the hassles and stress from using the DC Metro for tourists. 

Find A Metro DC from jrbapps

Price: $.99 USD

Review: Boxcar - Push Notifications for Twitter

Does your favorite Twitter application not support Push notifications? Probably not. This is where a third party can step in and provide a specific service. This is what Boxcar does.

Essentially Boxcar is an intermediate app that polls your twitter account every couple of minutes and then sends a push notification to your iPhone or iPod Touch that you have a new Direct Message or Mention (@reply).

 

 


When a new message is detected, you will see the message and get an audible notification that you have received one. Don't worry, you can easily disable this to keep it from annoying you if you are popular twitter user.

 

 

 

 

Once you click on the notification, it will launch your twitter client of choice. Currently Boxcar supports Tweetie, Twitterrific, Twittelator, Twitterfon Lite, Twitterfon Pro, and Twinkle. Boxcar is even granular enough to use combinations of apps with @messages opening one app and DMs opening another. It's your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

If you open up the Boxcar app, you can even type a DM to someone and if they are a Boxcar user it is pushed to them instantly, negating the whole polling every couple of minutes. While this is an added feature, I double it will be heavily used by most, as they will just DM from their regular twitter client.

 

 

Boxcar works as advertised, right now. My biggest concern is that the developer has to keep his server running and be able to grow with it as the Boxcar user base increases. If it gets extremely popular, growing is no small feat.  I love that Boxcar is also one of the only services that doesn't charge a small subscription fee.

 

Conclusion: I think Boxcar is a cool little app and brings push notifications to my iPod/iPhone when other twitter clients can't.While this is great on the initial purchase for $2.99 and that's all you pay... if he ever decides to let the server lapse, it goes down, etc... so do your twitter Push notifications. On the flip side, for $2.99 who cares

.

 

Boxcar from Appremix
$2.99 USD