The Apper
iPhone App Reviewer

Feb
03

I’m sorry for leaving the site so barren within the last few months….. after Richard (the owner) left and I moved to RazorianFly, I had not time to mend Apper.

That’s not to say it’s over though, I still have a registered domain, unlimited WooTheme templates and plenty of ideas, so you may just see a complete site revive within the next…. who knows.

If anyone has any ideas for well, anything – send me a message at barringtonsoft@gmail.com.

Nov
15

Just today, the founder of this site Richard contacted me stating that he was too busy to maintain the site any longer. He will still be making the odd post, but for now the site is being left up to me. For a while now we have been planning dozens of new features and changes to the site that will make your experience even better. The first one of these, was to have our own application in the App Store, just a few days ago, we accomplished that. Next up is to give the site a whole new look along with it’s very own domain. I purchased the domain “apperreviews” and within the next few months, we will be making a transition over to it. Lastly, I think we could use a lot more authors. If you think that you would make a good author here at the Apper, contact me at barringtonsoft@gmail.com and well go from there. It would be great if there was someone out there who can do both web design and reviews, because I’ll need someone to help me with our upcoming re-design. Now just because there will be lots of new changes, doesn’t mean everything will. We are still going to be reviewing games the same way as we always have, and we will also keep our special “Freebies and Vs.” sections.

Again, if you are interested in becoming an author here at The Apper, contact me at barringtonsoft@gmail.com. Thanks for reading guys!

– James

Nov
13

 

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I’m extremely proud to announce that our website’s official application is now available in the iTunes App Store for .99 cents. It allows you to read all of the latest news, reviews and rumors, right on your iPhone or iPod touch. Currently the app supports 7 great websites such as RazorianFly, TouchArcade and ourselves, but future updates will allow to you download more, along with many other new features. All updates to the app will be free to current buyers. We hope that this will be a big deal for us and many others, and we hope you will be kind enough to try it out yourselves.

http://linktoapp.com/Apper

We will keep you updated with any more news, and look out for some new reviews soon!

– James

Nov
05

Head Photo

 

We are lucky enough to have another exclusive interview, this time with David Frampton of Majic Jungle Software. Majic Jungle Software is responsible for great iPhone games such as Chopper and DuckDuckDuck. We previously reviewed Chopper and hope to write about his other apps soon. In this short interview, David discusses some info on his current and future applications.

 

When and how did you first get into software development?

I was a self employed artist at the time, and had always thought that game development would be an enjoyable thing to do, allowing me to both be creative and to solve technical problems. So, I started teaching myself how to code when I wasn’t feeling motivated to paint. Within a couple of weeks I couldn’t sleep. My paintings lay unfinished while I coded into the night. It was a whole new world.

 

Out of all of your applications, which is your personal favorite?

DuckDuckDuck actually. Chopper was my first major game and has been well received. However DuckDuckDuck was an original concept that is more peaceful and graphical. The other games and applications I have worked on were fun too, but DuckDuckDuck certainly has my love and attention right now.

 

What are your current favorite apps by other developers?

I use Twinkle and Mobile Fotos all the time. But Fieldrunners is my current favorite game.

 

What are the best and worst parts about your job?

Being self employed, it is fantastic being able to go surfing when it’s up, or work late when I’m in the zone. As far as the actual work goes, I really enjoy the amazing variation in the work I get to do. From designing graphics to recording sounds to marketing and networking. It’s great that it isn’t just coding. On the negative side, sometimes one particular part of the job can bog me down, but I just have to stick in there and get it done.

 

How long does it usually take you to complete large projects such as DuckDuckDuck and Chopper?

It varies a lot. The original version of Chopper for Mac OS X took three months to complete. The iPhone re-write took less time than that as I already had the game concept and assets from the Mac version. The original version of DuckDuckDuck took about two weeks to create, but version 2.0 has taken quite a lot longer. Most of the time tends to go into the polish, and 2.0 has the polish that the first version should have had.

Do you have any ongoing projects at the moment?

I have a couple of Mac projects that have been on hold for a long time now. When the excitement of the iPhone dies down I may return to them. I also have another iPhone game in the works which I will be returning to very shortly. It’s a longer term project and will hopefully be completed early next year. I like to have a few projects on the go in case inspiration stalls on one of them.

 

Can you tell us anything about your next iPhone title, or is it under wraps right now?

It’s about alligators from space… that’s about all I can say about it just yet!


Sounds interesting!  Any plans for a Chopper sequel?

I’m really keen on doing a Chopper sequel at some point. At the moment I’m thinking about what exactly I would want to add in a version 2 and there is no plan to actually start working on it yet.

 

          Lastly, what do you do in your spare time?

I enjoy surfing and playing the guitar, and hope to get back to painting again soon. And of course I play a fair few games for “research purposes”.

 

So that’s the end of our second exclusive interview! There are plans for several more interviews, reviews, and news on our upcoming within the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

– James
Oct
22

I thought that I would let everyone know that “Apper: News & Reviews” has officially been submitted to the App Store. The best thing about this new app is that it has way more features than what I had originally planned. Instead of having just one website included, we have bundled in 8 popular news and review websites such as Touch Arcade, iGames, RazorianFly and Fingergaming. Not only that, but you now get a preview of the articles before you open them, and once you do decide to read the whole thing, it will be displayed within the app instead of in Safari. If that isn’t enough for you, I am starting to plan a 2.0 version that will be a free update to all customers. 2.0 will bring the ability to download extra sites, share articles with friends, create “Favorites” folders, search through the app and much more. In addition to all of this, we have a very nice logo provided by Aaron Hirst of RazorianFly. If you have any suggestions or concerns, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

I will make another post once the app is released on the store later this week.

– James

Oct
13

This is an exclusive interview, only available on this website. Do not post this article anywhere else on the internet without also stating that it belongs to both Brian Greenstone and The Apper.

 

Brian Greenstone is the founder of Pangea Software. His company is very well known for their Macintosh and iPhone games, along with other projects. A few of Pangea’s recent releases include Cro-Mag Rally, Enigmo, Bugdom 2 and PangeaVR.

 

 

 

How did you first get into software development?

Well, I was one of those kids in the late 70’s who used to hang out with my friends at the video arcades and pump $20 in quarters into Asteroids.  I really wanted to get an Apple II+, and once I did I was hooked and it all just went from there.  I upgraded to an Apple IIgs and then a Mac.  Out of college I got a job doing Super Nintendo games, and after that I got into Mac development which then led to iPhone development.

What do you like and dislike about you job?

I like the hours (since I make them up as I go), and I like the pay.  I also like knowing that I’ve made a lot of people happy over the years with the games that I’ve done.  But I dislike having to sit in front of a computer all day.

Of all the applications that you have developed, which do you think turned out best? Which turned out worst?

The best game I’ve ever done was Otto Matic.  Most people would say it was Bugdom, but Otto was really my favorite because I put so much thought into it.  The worst would probably be Weekend Warrior.  That game was the first 100% 3D game *ever*.  No sprites at all in that game – not even for the menus and credits.  It was all 3D.  But it was also a game before its time, so it kinda sucked.

Do you have any plans to make any more Macintosh games or apps?

Very unlikely.  There is much more money to be made doing iPhone apps, and the iPhone is so much more fun than developing for the Mac.

As a developer, what are your thoughts on the App Store’s current state?

Heh, the “state” seems to change daily, but overall it’s great.  There are obvious issues, but Apple seems to be fixing things as they go.  There’s a lot of competition right now to get into the Top 50 list because only the game in the Top 50 really do well.  There are so many apps, and it’s so hard to get yours seen unless it’s high on the popularity list.

Do you often find yourself using your own games and apps?

Generally when I’m done with a game I never look at it again because I’m so tired of it, but a year ago I did a utility called Bracketeer which I use all the time for my photo processing.

What will be your next release for the iPhone?

Currently working on Nanosaur 2 which should be done late this week if all goes well.  After that we’re going to look into doing Otto Matic.  After that we’ll be done with the ports and will focus on new games.

Lastly, what is your idea of a fun time?

Fun is being outdoors, as far away from a computer, TV, or telephone as I can get.

 

 

– James

Oct
12

That’s right!  We have an exclusive copy of UrbanTycoon!  This will be (I believe) the first and (probably) the only place you will find a full review of UrbanTycoon before its release later this week.  Before I start, I would like to thank TouchSoftMobile for giving me the opportunity!

Along with this review, we will also have an exclusive look at Version: 2.0 of UrbanTycoon in the coming weeks!  Well, without futher delay, here is the full review of UrbanTycoon:

UrbanTycoon is a simulation game in which you are in control of a city.  The gameplay takes elements from many popular simulators like Rollar Coster Tycoon and SimCity.  It was published and developed by TouchSoft Mobile.  It is currently not available in the App Store (as of Oct. 12, 2008), but will sell for $1.99 when released.

Presentation

There is no story in this game.  But, the menus are very simple.  With this kind of game, it’s always good to have short menus, and this is no different.  As soon as you pick your city, you are right into the game.

Score: 9

Graphics

The graphics are complex (3D) in anyway, but they work with the game.  There are just simple, bright sprites.  A little bit of animaion and 3 dimensions would look really nice on this game.

Score: 7.5

Sound

This game has simple video game music (which is rare for apps these days!).  The music suits the game very well.  But, maybe a couple sound effects for clicking on stuff would make the sound perfect.

Score: 9

Gameplay

The gameplay in UrbanTycoon is a little simpler then what you would find in RCT or SimCity, but it still plays well.  As of V: 1.0, the three things you can do are: create buildings, destroy buildings, and raise/lower taxes.  It isn’t very hard to become a billionaire (see the last picture above), but it’s still fun to get there.  V: 2.0 promices to add complexity to the game with pollution, crime, and other ways (not yet released to the public).  Overall, this isn’t a game that slowly evolves overtime, it a game to play when your bored, and haver 20-30 minutes to spare.

Score: 8

Value

At a price tag of $1.99, this game is a good buy.  It isn’t going to last a long, long time (at least, not yet), but the price tag is more than enough to justify purchasing the game.

Score: 10

Lasting Appeal

The game is very easy to beat in one or two sittings, but building multiple cities is still entertaining enough to play again.   But (as I’ve mentioned many, many times this review), 2.0 promices much more depth.

Score: 6

Overall

Overall, this game isn’t a go-buy-it-right-now kind of game yet.  But, it is a good investment to buy it now with 2.0 (sorry) coming out (as promiced by TouchSoft) before SimCity hits the App Store.

Presentation: 9
Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 8
Value: 10
Lasting Appeal: 6
Overall: 8.4

What To Do (Buy Or Not): Buy

The Apper

Oct
12

First off, Happy Thanksgiving (well, at least to all Canadians)! 

Now, down to business.  I won’t be able to review the CouchWorld games just yet.  But, I still have a surprise up my sleeve! 

The Apper

Oct
11

Line Rider is a physics game. The basic concept is to draw one or more lines with the touch screen. A boy (referred to as “Bosh”) rides his sled on these lines after the player presses the “Play” button. The game includes simulated physics, which means the track must be sufficiently smooth to prevent the character from falling off the sled. This version was developed and published by inXile. It currently sells in the app store for $2.99.

Presentation

There isn’t any story in this game (which is actually better for this type of game).  There aren’t really any menus either.  The game just kind-of drops you in an empty screen.  From here you can just start colouring.  Overall, I believe this is one of the best ways for the game to start up!

Score: 9

Graphics

If you compare this game to Flying Rider (R.I.P.), Flying Rider kicks this version in the nuts (I’m not trying to offend anyone).  This game has very, very jagged lines.  Hopefully these graphics will be improved through an update.

Score: 5

Sound

Not much here, just some popping sounds.  This game would benefit extremely well from music.

Sound: 3

Gameplay

This game has a mixed bag of pros and cons.  On one hand, drawing with your finger helps over a mouse on a PC/Mac.  But, on the other hand, with such a small screen, drawing can be a real chore (and by chore, I mean makes-you-want-to-throw-your-iPhone-across-the-room).  I think that if the tweaked the drawing a little more (like, having the magnet effect on all the time), the game could become a lot smoother.

Score: 6.5

Value

For $2.99, this game is a steal!  The game can run short if you get board easily, but for the rest of us, this is money spent well.  As well, it’s always fun to download someone elses stages and watch them (while yelling, “Oh S*!T, how did he do that!?!?!”).

Score: 9.5

Lasting Appeal

For half of us, the game will eventually become a dusty app.  You have fun for a couple of weeks, then nothing.  But, for the other half, this game will last for years.  It is all up to whether or not you are type A or B (to find out, just go play the free PC version). 

Score: 7

Overall

Overall, this is a game that is for a specific crowd.  It isn’t for everyone, for those who enjoy it, enjoy it a lot!  Go try the game on the web, if you like it, buy it.  If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.  It’s as simple as that.

Presentation: 9
Graphics: 5
Sound: 3
Gameplay: 6.5
Value: 9.5
Lasting Appeal: 7
Overall: 7

What To Do (Buy Or Not): Opinion

The Apper

Oct
11

BlocksClassic is a version of the popular game Breakout.  The objective of the game is to to remove all the blocks on the ceiling.  To do this, you must bounce a ball with a paddle to know down the blocks.  Once you knock down all the blocks, you go on to the next (harder) level.  If you miss the ball with your paddle, you lose a life.  The game was developed and published by Bootant.  It currently sells for $.99 in the App Store.

Before we start the review, I must say that from when I reviewed the game in a Freebies, up until now, the game dramatically changed.

Presentation

No story or menus (well, there is one menu, but it just says new, or resume).  The game is perfect like this.  It gets you right into the action with no delays.  I can’t imagine the menus much better!

Score: 9.5

Graphics

Every update, the graphics improve.  So, I’m sure, that when the next update comes out, this review won’t be very accurate.  But, as they stand now, they look very, very nice.  There are only a few spotsthat aren’t very crisp, but overall, the game looks great.

Score: 9

Sound

There isn’t any music in this game.  Just a few sound effects (a few pops, bings, etc.).  The lack of music hurts the game a bit, but the sound effects are good.

Score: 7

Gameplay

The gameplay is extremely simple.  All you do in the game is move your paddle.  What makes these controls work better than most Breakout iPhone games is that there is a little bar below the paddle.  This way, you can actually see your paddle while playing.  This makes the game so much easier to play. 

Score: 9

Value

$.99?!?!?!  Is this a joke?  I should give it an 11 out of 10.  This game is so polished and fun, it could easily sell for at least $3.99.

Score: 10

Lasting Appeal

There are so many levels in this game that this game will last a long, long time.  There really isn’t anything more to say about this game.  It is long!

Score: 9

Overall

This is a great version of Breakout anyway you look at it.  And at $.99, you should already own this game.  What are you doing?  Stop reading this review.  Go get this game before the sale ends, now!  It isn’t going to be there forever, but this review is! 

Jokes aside, this is a must for almost anybody.

Presentation: 9.5
Graphics: 9
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 9
Value: 10
Lasting Appeal: 9
Overall: 9

What To Do (Buy Or Not): A Must!

The Apper