Facebook has launched their own location-based check-in service called Places, and updated their iPhone app to support it, but will you be using it?
Some people maintain sharing your life, and your location, allows for "serendipitous" discovery -- people who you may never otherwise know or meet see you're nearby and take the opportunity to say hello. Others think it's pretty much a gateway to everything from embarrassment to stalking.
Facebook's iPhone app has been updated to version 3.2 and, among other things, brings support for the new Places service that lets you see where your friends are and what location-based social activities they're up to. (At least in the US, when I tried it it said it wasn't yet available in my region.)
NAVIGON has been on the iTunes App Store for one year, and to celebrate the anniversary they're offering 50% off their turn-by-turn navigation apps and in-app purchases, including MobileNavigator and MyRegion:
To kick off its second year in the App Store, NAVIGON is celebrating for four days (August 12-15) with a half-off promotion for all North American MobileNavigator apps and most other country versions. The In App Purchase options Traffic Live and Panorama View 3D are also 50 percent off. The additional maps in the MyRegion app get a discount of more than 30 percent.
Like Star Wars? Like tower defense games? Then you might want to take a look at THQs recent release Star Wars: Battle for Hoth for iPhone.
The game premise is that of all tower defense games; prevent your enemy (in this case the Imperial Empire) from reaching the other said of the map. As you play the game you get a fairly diverse set of units to deploy in defending Hoth. But, before I get into that, let's look at play mechanics first.
You start Battle for Hoth with some simple ground troop units and a shovel. The shovel allows you to alter the landscape of the level and force units to move a certain route. This is a great tool in later levels as you can really funnel the Empire to their doom. When you place your units and they destroy a wave of Imperials, you are rewarded with a green wrench icon you have to touch to collect. This gives you points to build or upgrade units. You have to be fast though if you wait too long the wrench will change color to orange then red, decreasing the point value. Wait too long, and your points are gone forever.
As you play through the 15 levels you unlock more types of units including; seated blaster units, radar lasers, turrets, snow speeders, x-wings, shield generators and ion cannons. Some of the more complex units like the ion cannon, shield generators and turrets require an energy generator placed next to them. The energy generator is required to power those units. If you upgrade a unit (say the shield generator) without upgrading the energy unit, you run the risk of losing power to that unit so you always have to keep it in check.
You can upgrade your existing units to make them more powerful and sell them as needed. I found the most fun in the game building up units under the safety of the shield generator and then taking out AT-ATs with relative ease once my units were upgraded to the maximum.
When writing this review, I have to admit I had some distaste for this game. Simple and not a lot of variety in what appeared to be a shameless use of an awesome gaming license. However, after I made my video review above, I am having a bit of a change of heart. I think I am trying to make Battle of Hoth more than it is; a simple Star Wars-themed tower defense game to kill a view minutes in your day while standing in line to get groceries. Should you get it? If you are a Star Wars fan I think you will enjoy. If not, I would pass.
Developer tap tap tap submitted an update for their app Camera+ which included a new feature called VolumeSnap. VolumeSnap allowed users to use the volume controls to take a photo, a feature that many iPhone users have asked for. Apple, however, does not approve of using the iPhone's hardware in this manner. Here's what they had to say to tap tap tap:
And the iOS4 app updates just keep on coming. We're finding more and more by the day. Whether it's adding support for the iPhone 4's awesome retina display or taking advantage of new APIs within iOS4, we're still watching for them. Here's the ones we found this time around, and as always, if you see any we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Kaboom's Paratrooper is simple in theory -- tap the plane to drop the paratrooper, tilt your iPhone or iPod touch to direct them to the landing spot. And right there is where every casual gaming fan knows the addiction starts and the mayhem begins.
You want to hit the X. You need to hit that X. Things get more complicated quickly, of course. Obstacles build up. They're paratroopers after all, not sky divers. So don't be surprised when you start having to leap -- and land -- into the middle of a paper-art war zone. (Yeah, paper-art. Awesome.)
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.
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.
Just a quick update on some freshly released iOS 4 goodness today. As you know, Ally has been watching the App Store for iOS4 compatible updates and if you guys find anything especially awesome, feel free to leave it in a comment or send it to her in an e-mail (ally (dot) kazmucha (at) tipb (dot) com) and if we think it's awesome too, we'll include it in our next roundup!