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.
Remember yesterday when I said some games go beyond description? This is more what I was talking about. McPixel is a game in which things explode...or sometimes a volcano erupts? And you're a person (I think) that has to defuse bombs. Or put them places. Or make statues sneeze. It's really very confusing, in the best way. The objective is to stop things from exploding by doing things. Which may include stealing an old person's dentures, setting monks on fire, and kicking flashers. All very effective bomb disposal techniques.
Games from the NES era and earlier (and those styled after them) do very well on mobile platforms, if only because modern controls schemes just aren't easily compatible with touchscreens. Activision isn't the first to bring their wide collection of ancient titles to Android, but theirs might just be the most complete. The brand new Activision Anthology amasses the most popular Atari 2600 games published by the gaming giant and its subsidiaries, crammed into a single app with an impressively nostalgic presentation.
The collection of 45 games is presented in a carousel surrounding what looks like my grandparents' den circa 1983.
It looks like Google has added a new feature to the Play Store on devices that will recommend apps to users based on personalized criteria. In a new section, you can find apps that have been +1'd by your friends, apps that are popular in your area, and even apps that are "popular with similar users" based on some undisclosed criteria.
The feature mirrors a similar recommendation feature that's been live on the web version of the Play Store for at least a month now. Still, it's even handier on mobile. Also, you can flag an app as uninteresting to you by clicking on the little cross-out icon on the side.
Games on Android continue to get bigger and more elaborate. One of the top developers leading the way in less-than-casual gaming on the mobile platform is Idea Factory (together with Hyperbox Studio). Previously, the company released Spectral Souls, a 1GB RPG for $15 that promised hundreds of hours of gameplay (as any decent RPG would). Today, the similarly priced, and even larger 1.2GB sequel lands on the Play Store: Blazing Souls Accelate.
The game packs everything you'd expect in a high-end RPG. Impressive graphics and animations, a free-roaming world, item upgrades, modifications, and crafting, and even a Pokémon system the ability to capture monsters and have them fight for you.
It looks like Chinese manufacturer ZTE may have beaten Motorola to the Intel-powered phone announcement punch, today unveiling the ZTE Grand X IN. You may remember that Motorola is planning an announcement involving Intel for September 18th.
The Grand X IN looks to be a mid-range device, carrying a 4.3" qHD TFT display (that's 540x960 resolution), an 8MP rear camera with a VGA shooter around front, 1GB RAM, 16GB onboard storage (expandable via microSD), NFC, and of course an Intel Atom Z2460 processor with just one core clocked at 1.6GHz. The processor does, however, support Intel's Hyper Threading Technology, which allows multiple threads to run on a single core.
When Samsung announced the Galaxy Note II yesterday, they made no mention of regional or carrier availability. While we here in the States can speculate which carriers will get this next-gen phablet, it really is just a crapshoot right now.
For those who want to keep up with the latest on the Note II in the US, though, Samsung has opened up a sign up page. In theory, this will keep users privy to the Note's US availability and carrier launch information. Hit the link below to sign up.
One of the highlights of Samsung's Galaxy Note II announcement at IFA yesterday was the increased functionality carried by the device's hallmark S Pen stylus. The Note II's version of the Pen, besides being "ergonomically designed for the perfect grip," allows users to quickly clip, crop, and edit screen content, adding further illustration and handwritten keyword recognition. The Pen now also features a unique "hover" functionality, whereby an app can recognize that the Pen is near the screen and react accordingly with contextual menus or other activities.
Looking to put the power of the S Pen to use in more than just Sammy's own apps, the manufacturer has posted the updated S Pen SDK version 2.2 with all of the Pen's new features.
Lenovo took the wraps off its newest editions to the Ideatab tablet lineup this morning, announcing the S2110, A2107, and A2109. All three tablets cater to a different niche, with the S2110 sporting a Transformer-like keyboard dock, the A2109 coming in at a very affordable price point, and the A2107 hitting the 7" slate market.
The Ideatab S2110 is probably the most versatile of the bunch, thanks to its keyboard dock accessory. Much like the Transformer series, the dock sports a full-size USB port and SD card reader, as well as an internal battery that doubles the overall battery life of the tablet from 10 hours to 20.
Amazon, in a press release posted this morning, announced that its "#1 best-selling product," the Kindle Fire, is now sold out. The release boasts the Fire's millions of sales, noting that it managed to eat up an impressive 22% of tablet sales in the US, and added to the overall success of Amazon's digital product sales.
What makes this announcement interesting is that Amazon has a press conference scheduled for September 6th, meaning we're likely to see the latest member of the Kindle family unveiled very soon. Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, didn't comment directly on this possibility, but he did note "Kindle Fire is sold out, but we have an exciting roadmap ahead – we will continue to offer our customers the best hardware, the best prices, the best customer service, the best cross-platform interoperability, and the best content ecosystem."
The possibility of seeing a new Kindle device this September isn't so surprising considering this is around the same time we saw the original Kindle Fire announced, but it's always exciting to see a new product – particularly in such a successful line – make its debut.