The real-time strategy genre has a lot to recommend it: tactical thinking, fast-paced unit and resource management, and multiplayer atmosphere that's unlike anything else in gaming. But it's hard to escape the fact that in order to have a real RTS, you just need a mouse. Precise movements and commands are nigh impossible on a touchscreen. Sega's Total War Battles: Shogun is a spinoff from their wildly successful Total War PC franchise, which breaks with tradition and tries to adapt the RTS genre to the touchscreen. Unfortunately, just about everything that makes a strategy game enjoyable is lost in translation.
A new Spin On An Old Hat
Some of the staples of real-time strategy are here: bases with buildings which manufacture units, gathering different kinds of resources, incremental technology upgrades.
When Horn arrived on that other mobile platform a couple weeks ago, it was met with plenty of praise. Now Horn is available on Android, and it still stands out among all categories of games. Horn is built from the ground up with an awareness that it will be played on a touchscreen device, and it shows. From the impressive graphics to the unique story, Horn has a lot to show off. Let's dig in and see if it's a must-have.
You play as Horn, the blacksmith's apprentice who awakens one day to find everyone in the village has been transformed into mechanical monsters by a curse.
A little over a year ago, before I was hired at AP, I wrote about the things I wanted my new Honeycomb tablet to be able to do in the next version of Android. Multitasking on tablets was (and still is) non-existent, and I wanted my tablet to be less of a big phone, and more of a small computer. I wanted split screen, and floating apps, and really, I wanted to just make use of this nice, big screen I had. One task at a time isn't good enough. The big difference between a tablet and a phone should be the ability to multitask.
Superhero tie-in games are inevitable. But over the last decade or so, gamers have found that they're not inevitably bad. Spider-man and Batman have both had something of a renaissance on consoles, helping us to forget some truly awful licensed titles. Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City have demonstrated that exceptional gaming experiences can spring from licensed titles, at least when enough talent, creativity and resources are directed at them. It was these two games, even more than its movie tie-in, that inspired Gameloft in the creation of The Dark Knight Rises for Android.
If you're going to copy something, a game that's been nearly universally applauded is a good place to start.
IMDb is already one of the most awesome movie apps on the market. With the world's largest and most popular catalog of who's-in-what and which-came-out-when, IMDb has single-handedly solved that whole "I recognize his face, but what was he in?" problem. Today, it's getting even better by adding support for the oft-forgotten IMDb message boards, providing recommendations based on your movie tastes and, perhaps best of all, Metacritic scores.
The Metacritic scores are perhaps the most exciting, as the site is one of the better opinion aggregators out there. Any movie app worth its salt has ratings and reviews from either Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes.
Hello and welcome! Allow me to introduce you to Sprint's next big boy phone: (deep breath) the HTC Evo 4G LTE.
This is Sprint's version of the HTC One X. HTC's much publicized "One" branding strategy survived a grand total of two carriers in the US - Sprint kicked it to the curb in favor of the aforementioned alphabet-soup-style naming convention. Keep in mind the original Evo was actually called the "HTC Evo 4G," so you're going to need to be detail oriented when talking about the Evo line. But hey, considering this is the same marketing department that birthed the novella known as the "Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch," we actually got off pretty light.
These days, you're not anybody if you don't have an app. Now, Lowe's is somebody. The home improvement warehouse has launched a mobile app that allows you to search for store locations, items, read reviews on products, manage your Lowe's card, and even have some products shipped to you.
The app is packed with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a retail app, including a barcode scanner and the ability to check inventory at the stores nearest you. It even has photo galleries to help you get ideas for decorating your home, and some how-to videos to help you out once you're home.
Make no mistake about it - the Galaxy Nexus is the most important phone of 2011. It's the first device from the next generation of Android. It hits every major feature the phones of 2012 will be touting: On-screen buttons, a massive 720p OLED screen, NFC, LTE, and Ice Cream Sandwich. Together these things make this phone unlike any other Android phone. This is what Android's future looks like.
Oh, the DROID RAZR - the very name RAZR brings back memories of the turn of the century (we can say that now, right?) - flip phones and cheap, unlimited data. Those were the good 'ol days. But let's talk about the here and now, Motorola's latest Android phone is the company's most ambitious handset to date, and the general consensus? It's good, but... [insert complaint about battery life or width / Galaxy Nexus is coming comment here.]
In all seriousness, one great thing about rounding up a number of reviews in one place is finding out what numerous sources agree upon about a particular piece of hardware, and more interestingly, what they don't.
Continuing on the quest for the perfect dialer to replace Android's stock phone application, I've come across Contapps Contacts & Dialer, an app I had never heard of until I began scouring the market. For a free dialer app, it has a lot to offer, and I'm surprised that it isn't more popular.
At A Glance
Contapps is a dialer replacement that is simple, practical, and well-designed, with enough extra features to make it feel new. While it may have a couple of redundancies or inconsistencies, it's definitely a great dialer, and definitely has a shot at being my everyday dialer solution (at least until I get my hands on Ice Cream Sandwich).