Reviews

Plunderland for iPhone- app review

Plunderland is Apple's App of the Week this week. Does it deserve it? Yes and no. Developer JohnnyTwoShoes has made a solid effort to bring pillaging across the sea in the hands of eager gamers.

The premise of Plunderland is you are a ghost with pirates that sail across the sea to attack and sink enemy ships, pillage tribes people and take money from their monuments then make it to the next port. Sounds fun? Well, get used to it because that is what you do over, and over, and over again with little variety. Call me a stinker, but I don't see the allure with this game.

Sure, the water physics are nice. You tilt the iPhone left or right to make your boat move in that direction. When there is a storm, etc, the water behaves in a more erratic manor, making maneuvering more difficult. Once you are on the high seas, you come across your enemy; the British warships. You have a couple ways to take them out. First is to use your ships cannon. You have a nifty way of angling the cannon to shoot your targets, just move your finger along the bottom and you will get a reticule via a line that helps your aiming. Release your finger and you fire your cannonballs. Second, you can use the enemies cannonballs against themselves. Before the enemy launches an attack, the cannon will puff smoke, that is your cue to ready your finger and deflect the cannonball back upon the enemy ship and with luck, split it in two!

I know, I make it sound exhilarating, and it is the first two or three times you do it. Sadly, Plunderland does little to keep your attention. Future attacks add blimps and more, but the fun is gone by that point. The attacking villagers is a simple "tap, tap. tap" on the totems to get money and fling some villagers around in an effort to extract some more dough. Again... zzzz...

There is nice upgrade system though, you can upgrade your ship, cannons and bowsprits by earning said money above. The game has excellent promise. The controls, physics and graphical style all lend them selves to a success. However, the bland  I really, really wanted to like this game, being highlighted on Apple's App Store, but alas, mateys, I just can't bring myself to recommend this lack-luster treasure.

[$2.99- iTunes Link]

UPDATE: I had a delightful Twitter chat with the developers. I explained that I had played 50% thorough the game and became unchallenged with the levels and objectives. They understood and are looking at a way to unlock the more exciting and complex levels earlier for more "hardcore" gamers. I also said that when I find the time to complete the game 100%, I would update this review to include my findings. I am hopeful that by the time I do this, they will have some new content available. You can follow the developer on Twitter here.

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Belkin Max Sleeve for iPad - accessory review

YouTube Link

The Belkin Max Sleeve for iPad not only does a great job of protecting your iPad, but it gives you a little extra room to stick some of your accessories in as well. The case is made of a fabric material that is pleated on the front. This is what allows you to have a zipper compartment in the front to stick your other gadgets in.

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iPhone 4 vs Android Captivate

An iPhone 4 user's experience with the Android 2.1 powered Samsung Captivate on AT&T

I’ll preface this by saying before this review, I’ve hardly laid hands on an Android device, let alone considered throwing my iPhone aside to completely delve into the OS and see if I could actually survive without my iPhone.  In my time with an Android device, the short answer would be that Android would be a perfectly passable everyday phone.  But would I make the switch and ditch my iPhone 4? Hit the jump to find out as well as see tons of videos and a gallery chock full of comparison pics!

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Pottery HD for iPad- app review

Pottery HD is a unique virtual clay pottery app that can really only be done on the iPad. It shows what an enterprising developer can do with a large multitouch interface. This game is fun and relaxing.

When the game first launches, I was caught a little off guard as I had no idea what to do. You have a "Create" button and that is it. So, I started to create, experimenting with the controls. You can make the clay taller and shorter, wider and thinner. That's about it. So, I made a pot and fired it up in the kiln. When it was done, it gave me an option to sell it. I thought to myself, "Who is going to buy it?". As it turns out, no one regretfully as it is all virtual. Once I sold my pottery I earned some virtual money. At the main menu a new feature appeared, "Shop". Now I had access to paints and brushes. I had a new feature appear as well, "Inbox". So it appears that as you play the game you are given different objectives; unique pieces of pottery to make. You can reference the photo given to you and once you make it, you can send it off to the virtual requestor. You can play Pottery HD independent of the virtual quests and just have fun adding lots of different pottery creations to your collection. If you like, you can even share these creations with friends via email.

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Incipio Executive Foleo for iPad- accessory review

This week I am taking a look at the Incipio Executive Folio black leather case for iPad. This case not only looks good but is super thin. There are no pockets in the case other than the area to slip in your iPad. The flap secures with a tab of leather that tucks into a leather loop.

The fact that this case uses real leather is nice; no "pleather" here. You can smell it as soon as you take the case out of the packaging. The inside is a very soft suede. I feel very safe sliding my iPad in and out of it. Since it is so soft, it slides in smoothly too. Sometimes with these types of cases the iPad won't slide in smoothly and can get stuck on a corner, etc. I have not found that to be the situation here.

The only concern I have with this case is that the leather tab that closes the external flap is only sewn on in two places. It feel that over time, it might easily tear. My case has not torn, but if you watch the video, I show you what I mean.

Overall, this is a slim case that will protect your iPad from daily bumps and grinds. There is not any real padding for falls, but it seems to had handled the daily abuse I was able to give it just fine.

The Incipio Executive Folio black leather case for iPad is available now from the TiPb iPad accessory store.

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Chain Link Pro for iPhone - App Review

Chain Link is based on the concept of creating as many links as you can and dragging them into the vortex in the middle of the screen without disturbing any other types of links.  The game starts off fairly easy and gets harder pretty quick.  There's also support for OpenFeint to share your scores with your friends and other Chain Link users.  I found the game pretty addicting after a while.  Hit the jump for more screens and a walkthrough.

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XGear SHADOW case for iPad review

XGear SHADOW case for iPad is for those who want a tough exterior case for the back of their iPad but want to keep the front completely open for easy access. so, yes, it's pretty much identical to the XGear Folio case for iPad I looked at earlier... without the front cover.

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StarDunk for iPhone- app review

Once in a while there is a game that comes out that is simple, fun, addictive and priced for the masses. Ladies and gentleman I give you StarDunk!

StarDunk is brought to us by the fine folks at Gozilab that made iMoki. The premise behind StarDunk is to make baskets (as in basketball) with a ball and complete globally against other players. You have two basic game modes; offline and online. Offline is where you hone your skills and when ready you are ready, compete online.

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Camera+ for iPhone - app review

Camera+ for iPhone is a photography application that allows you to take photos and edit them. tap tap tap claims Camera+ is "all about one thing - GREAT PHOTOS!" How does Camera+ hold up to this expectation? Follow along to find out.

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Calcbot for iPad (and iPhone) - app review

Calcbot is a universal calculator application for iPad and iPhone. It is a basic scientific calculator but is designed well with big buttons and tape. For this review, we will be focusing on the iPad version.

In landscape, you will find the calculator on the left and tape on the right. The calculator has two pages of buttons which keeps them nice and big. Just swipe the calculator to the left to bring the next page of functions. The first page is primarily numbers and basic operators as well as power and root functions. The second page contains a more functions such at the specific powers of 2 and 3, square root, factorial, log, natural logarithm, exponential, and trigonometric functions. Tapping the shift key (up arrow) will change the trigonometric functions to their inverses. Calcbot lets you chose between radians and degrees as well. The second page does not include an equal sign. This is annoying because a calculation does not appear on the tape until the equal sign is tapped.

If you want to re-enter a calculation from the tape, just tap the desired calculation and a menu pops up to use result, use expression, copy, send in email, or delete. You can also swipe to delete any expression. To email or clear the entire tape, tap the wheel in the upper right hand corner. If you're not interested in seeing the tape, rotate to portrait mode to view only the calculator.

Calcbot is an excellent little calculator app that looks and works great. There is nothing fancy about it, but that's part of it's appeal. Calcbot is strait-forward and to the point which makes it easy and intuitive to use. Simply put, Calcbot is another visually appealing and terrifically designed app by Tapbots.

Screenshots after the break!

[$0.99 - iTunes link]

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