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CES of THINGS: Low-Tech & No-Tech Surprises

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It's easy to find high tech wonders at CES, but I have a particular affinity for items that are low tech or no tech... In other words, items that have no battery, no wires, and no chips but still manage to make our high tech lives better.

People always ask me what to get the person who has everything. My response? Something to hold it in! If you have tons of gadgets, as I do, you're always looking for the right bag, case, or container. Fortunately, CES was full of such gear.



Infinity-Gate: Update Erases Thousands of Infinity Blade III Saved Games!

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Over the years I've had a strong love/hate relationship with the Infinity Blade series. It has been by turns, a highly rewarding, premium game experience and also a very disappointing one. My issues with the IB series go back to my experience with the very first Infinity Blade, which at one point refused to even open (using an iPhone 4 and iPad 2 at the time) for over six months (in fact, I was never able to resolve that issue before I moved on to IB II), to the present day’s scandal. The game series, for all of its amazing gameplay, strong storyline, and stellar graphics, seems to have been plagued with consistently recurring development problems, bugs, and glitches. But this latest fiasco takes the cake...



CES 2014: Game On! Introducing the Stratus iOS Game Controller

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If you follow iPhone Life magazine and iPhoneLife.com you might already know this about me, but if not, I'm an avid iOS game playerSo when I found out about Apple’s MFi support for third-party developers to build dedicated and certified iOS game controllers you could say I was stoked, and that would be an understatement. However, the first entries into the field of iOS MFi game controllers actually left me a little underwhelmed. The potential was there, but until now no controller has really embodied the complete package of what a good iOS game controller should be like. Until now...


CES 2014: Free FlipSquare App Provides Puzzle-Solving Downtime at CES!

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I can call this a CES mini game review, because I was able to enjoy a bit of a gaming break here at the show while at the Venetian at CES (which I desperately needed). The FlipSquare concept at first look seems way too simple and easy, but after I blasted through a few levels, it became apparent I needed to put on the old thinking cap. Starting position is key, but basically this block connection style game requires clever thinking and pattern visualization skills to master. Once you select a block direction to fill, you have to fill the entire row before going in another direction. The developers are offering the first 75 levels for free (unlock 100 with a $0.99 IAP, and 4 extra hints also cost $0.99). It looks boring, but I stayed through at least 14 levels and still wanted to keep going (later levels add new block types and conditions)... Ah, back to the show, darnnit! Grab the already popular FlipSquare at the link above.



Abducted Episode 1 in the App Store!

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Due to other reviews and the mad holiday and CES email avalanche, I totally missed the press release on this new Sunside game (recently also "greenlit" on Steam Greenlight) called Abducted, which is a space horror RPG that uses the Radiance game engine. The first episode (of several to come) was actually released for iOS back on December 19, 2013, and the game in the US app store has been discounted to $2.99 for a limited time. 



Game Centered: Special Holiday Edition, Exciting New Games and Awesome Updates.

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. This week, in advance of Apple’s annual iTunes Connect closing dates (12/21-12/27) we've been treated to a whole slew of top-of-the-line new games and big updates that slipped into the App Store just in time for Christmas! We've got a lot of exciting gaming news to cover, so let's dive right in. And don't forget, the App Store allows us to gift apps and any of the following games would make excellent holiday presents.



This Escher-inspired iPad Game is a 'Beautiful Impossibility'

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Described as an interactive M.C. Escher artwork, Monument Valley may change the way you play puzzle games. It's currently being developed by London-based design studio ustwo, specifically for iPad.

The ustwo team established the game as a "surreal exploration through fantastical architecture and impossible geometry." Designer Ken Wong adds: "Monument Valley is a beautiful, exploratory experience, somewhere between exploring a toy shop and reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe."



Apple Posts Best of 2013 Lists: Duolingo Named iPhone App of the Year

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Monday Apple posted their Best of 2013 lists, including Music, Movies, TV Shows, Apps, Books, and Podcasts. The free Duolingo - Learn Languages for Free, was named iPhone App of the Year. And it's well deserved. Not only can you use it to learn Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, and English, but the app makes it fun. It uses gaming techniques to help you learn. And, interestingly, the app also has a crowdsourcing function, such that in the process of learning and doing translations, you are helping translate the Web into other languages. 



What I Played This Week: Angry Birds Go and Quantic Pinball!

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There's a buzz over Angry Birds Go (free), and 'freemium" titles in general to discuss in this edition of WIPTW. I was not aware that computer bits were being subjected to such draconian work conditions on our devices that they needed to rest; but Angry Birds Go introduces the "energy" concept to the Rovio game chest: a union break for overworked player characters, I suppose. Otherwise, ABG has plenty of good graphics, and is mostly goofy and fun like a cart race should be. Also played this week is the jam-packed action pinball slam of the season called Quantic Pinball ($2.99). If you like pinball, you will gorge yourself on this version.



Cognition Episode 1: More Than The Eye Can See

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Cognition Episode 1 ($3.99)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Back when graphics were first starting to take shape for computer games, Sierra set the standard for adventures with titles like King’s Quest and Leisure Suit Larry. The fact that you could actually see your character follow your commands along with the immense amount of dialog made the experience feel as much like an interactive movie as anything. Phoenix Online Studios clearly understands what it takes to make this style of game, and as much as I loved the old Sierra games, I’d say the Cognition series kicks things up a notch or two. More realistic characters, adult subject matter (in a mature way, not like Leisure Suit Larry), and a focus on exploration and discovery (instead of finding an obscure key in a tree to unlock some mystic chest) give Cognition Episode 1 more of a Law & Order bent than anything. It’s just too bad this intriguing story telling couldn’t have come with a better interface wrapped around it.



Best iPad Games, Reviews, Free iPad Games

The best iPad games, reviews, and free iPad games are always hard to find, especially when you don't know where to start.  Tons of reviews on 'the game that must be played' are written right here on this page.  We are constantly looking for ways to improve and the article on the NBA 2K12, is just one example of what we do.

Here is a brief description of the article:  “In iOS world, there’s an App for everything, and everything has an App.  Until recently, the only exclusion was that of a true NBA game.  Well thanks to NBA 2K12, by 2K Sports, throwback fans of “The Hick from French Lick” and his more modern counterpart of “The Candy Man” now have their favorite teams and players in reach of both thumbs.  This is 2K sports first edition (in iOS format) for this #1 selling basketball game.  Did they do right by iOS users?  In short, “Yea baby”, they did.”

We try and keep the articles lively and informative.  Although not all of them are based on sports.  Skillz is one example that has become one of the most addictive and an overall fun game that has recently hit the market.  The concept matches many other popular music games that test your rhythm, tap speed, and ability to rock the turn tables.  It’s similar to Guitar Hero and Rock Band, but much more difficult which makes it appealing. 

Another key point in choosing the best iPad games are the graphics.  Shadowgun is a new game that is pressing the boundaries of the new graphic cards.  The linked article even has a video for you to see what it actually looks like.  It's a first person shooter that guides the gamer through an intense story line out in space.

All reviews, like the ones linked above, are the best iPad games that we can find.