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Don’t Make These Birds Angry, Mr. McGee – Angry Birds For iPhone


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(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)

It’s a war between the birds and the pigs in the action-puzzle game Angry Birds [iTunes $0.99] by Chillingo / Rovio. See, the pigs got all greedy and stole some eggs, then retreated to their fortified shelters. The birds, not ones to take such things lightly, have mobilized an impressive avian army to retaliate.

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Utilizing a challenging two-screen view, the player must fire a series of birds from a slingshot with the goal of eliminating all of the pigs before advancing to the next level. The pigs are dispatched by either hitting them directly with a bird, by causing them to fall or by causing a rock to fall on them. Each bird, knowing this is a one way trip, has also loaded up on black powder causing them to explode after a set amount of time. This can be used to advantage in combination with elements on some of the screens – rest a bird against some explosives and they can cause further damage.

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As you progress through the levels, you pick up new bird types too. You start off with the hard-headed red birds, capable of knocking down any obstacle the pigs can put up. Next up is the smaller blue bird which has the added ability to split like a MIRV while in the air. Time it just right and this terrible trio can take out multiple targets with the same shot. I just cleared level 12 (while grabbing screenshots) and can’t wait to find out what other specialized birds are yet to come.

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Some of the levels are easy and some are dastardly difficult. The smug grunts of the pigs are easily enough to make me want to re-try until I’ve conquered them! The game play is ultra smooth and the projectile physics are very well implemented. Each bird has different flight characteristics which have to be accounted for; luckily they leave a trail so you can make minor adjustments on subsequent shots if necessary. Since you get bonus points for finishing the level before running out of birds, it’s important not to waste too many shots (even though I ultimately cleared level 12 with birds to spare, I probably played it a dozen times before that where I left a single pig alive).

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An online leaderboard and achievement posting to Facebook/Twitter is provided via Chillingo’s own Crystal system. If you have an iPad (this post was written the day before the big launch), there is a new release of this app specifically for the new device. I, for one, can’t wait to see how it looks.

 

Don’t Like To Breathe? We Have The Perfect App For You!


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(written by guest author Connor Coghlan. follow Connor on Twitter @Condawg)

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NewYork Swimmer / SuddenDeath is a game unlike anything I’ve ever played before. It takes ridiculous uselessness to an insanely high new level. When Mister KRAPPS requested I review this app, I thought this was either some sort of cruel and unusual punishment (perhaps I pissed him off) or an early April Fools Day joke.

First off, I’m not quite sure how this is a game. This "game" relies on you pressing a button, then holding your breath (yes, YOU holding YOUR breath) to progress through "levels". Each level requires you to hold your breath longer and longer … until you eventually  turn blue and ready to pass out. Yeah – good times – FUN!

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If you do eventually decide to breathe for some strange reason, you must click the “Breath” button … which will cause you to lose the level. Basically,if you breathe, you suck (no pun).

If you like gameplay of any kind, turn back now … this game is not for you.
If you like decent visuals, run away … this game is not for you.
If you like breathing without interru — Okay, THIS GAME. IS NOT. FOR YOU. PERIOD.

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I’m not quite sure this game is for ANYBODY. I think we all can agree that breathing is a pretty awesome thing and in general, people like to breathe. However, if for some sadistic reason you have a death wish … then by all means, drop the 99 cents on NewYork Swimmer / SuddenDeath and be emo. However keep the phone nearby … just in case you suddenly realize breathing is a pleasant activity and need to dial 911.

NewYork Swimmer / SuddenDeath seems like more of a programming test from the developer than an actual game. Something whipped up in half a day to test his ability to create a button, progress bar, simple animations and of course, make a buck.

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Keep in mind, I’m not insulting the developer here. He’s a cool guy. I talked to him over Facebook and on the phone … and he seemed like a nice enough dude. But damn, this game is not worthwhile. It’s one of those typical apps featured here on KRAPPS that makes you think … “WTF was Apple thinking when they approved this app.”

In conclusion, even if NewYork Swimmer / SuddenDeath was free of charge, I would not recommend it to any normal person. Not trying to be harsh – just trying to keep it real, dawg.

And please, always remember … BREATHING IS A GOOD THING!

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WTH, Kanye West Interrupts Our Mystic Emporium Game Review


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(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)

99 Games recently released the time management game Mystic Emporium [iTunes $3.99]. My wife’s a big fan of the genre, so

Yo, yo, yo

Hey, Kanye West, what are you doing here?

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Imma let you finish your review, but first I gotta try to bring back my MEME and bust some rhymes ’bout this game

It’s not the least simplistic
When your magic’s gone ballistic
Gotta stretch the realistic
Take your emporium to the mystic

Peace out, back to you

Um, thanks for that great interlude and good luck with that whole "bring back the meme" campaign. Anyway, back to the game. You are tasked with helping the main character Lilly (the young witch) in her quest to own her own business, a magic shop. Each day you are presented with a baseline goal and, for you overachievers, an expert level goal. I’m a relative novice at this type of game and I was able to attain the expert goal in the first two levels. After the introductory levels, however, the game gets much tougher and you will find yourself scrambling to keep your customers happy.

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Each level adds new elements and between each level you are given the opportunity to buy items to assist you in your quest. Early on, I snapped up the Fairy Dust shoes, which give a much needed boost to Lilly’s speed. I passed on the Leaky Cauldron, however, and decided to save up for a better one in a later round.

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The game offers plenty of multi-tasking elements to keep it interesting. Some customers want potions, others are looking for crystals or magic rings. Some customers are impatient and others are more forgiving. I haven’t played enough to figure out all of the particulars, but that’s part of the fun (and the key to getting the expert level scores in the later levels).

Along the way, you’ll be able to play several mini-games which allow you to unlock "charms" which affect certain elements of the game, like providing the ability to earn extra tips.

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The graphics and gameplay are top-notch and the sound and music add to the experience. If you prefer to listen to songs via the iPod, that’s supported as well. For your $3.99 [iTunes], you will receive hours of time management fun.

 

Crazy Frogs Jump For Their Lives – Dizzypad Game Review


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(written by guest author Connor Coghlan. follow Connor on Twitter @Condawg)

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Dizzypad [iTunes $0.99] by NimbleBit is yet another application I’ve been assigned to review that is anything but a krappy app. It’s actually kwite kool. If you’ve ever played Doodle Jump (or Spring Fling, another app I’ve recently reviewed), Dizzypad will feel somewhat familiar, but with an unknown and exciting aspect… timing your daredevil-like jumps.

You play this game as a frog (ribbit), hopping from one lilypad to another. Each time you miss and land in the water, you lose a life (because either frogs can’t swim or the water is infested with killer koi). But if you choose to take a risky jump, skipping over one lilypad and to the next, you’ll find that an extra life is added to your repository, allowing you one more screw up. You can really rack up extra lives by doing this, and greatly extend your session.

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Now the timing comes in with the direction of your jump. Each lilypad you sit on spins around, one way or the other (hence the name … Dizzypad). There is an arrow, indicating which direction you will jump when you tap the screen (which is the only control, by the way). You have to time it perfectly to land on the next lilypad (or the one after that if you’re looking for extra lives).

This game isn’t incredibly fast-paced, but that doesn’t much take away from the excitement. I’ve seen my sidebar fill up with flowers (indicating lives left) after a few minutes, only to see each and every one of them deteriorate from a single jump that I, for whatever reason, cannot seem to land < bangs head against wall >.

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I’ve spent a good bit of time with Dizzypad and it’s loads of fun … especially with the 15 unlockable frog skins and Plus+ awards and online leaderboards. But alas I have a single complaint … where are our power-ups? Without power-ups, Dizzypad is just the same thing no matter how far you progress into the game. Although there is not much variation, that’s not to say it gets old quickly … Dizzypad has loads of potential for future updates.

As it stands, Dizzypad [iTunes] is a load off fun and a cool take on the old-school Frogger game (meet Doodle Jump). 99 cents these days will not buy you much … but if you invest it in Dizzypad, you’ll receive a huge ROI in the entertainment category … ribbit!

Go Ask Alice: Alice’s Adventures – Rabbit Hole Of Death iPhone Game


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(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)

Alice In Wonderland has been a popular topic the last couple of years. From the highly anticipated opening of the Tim Burton helmed film starring Johnny Depp to the recent SyFy reimagining (which was just released on DVD), the subject is one that appears to engage people from the time they first hear the story.

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So, it is no surprise that there are Alice-themed apps available for the iPhone. One of note is "Alice’s Adventures – Rabbit Hole of Death" [iTunes $0.99] by dev sisters. The game takes one aspect of the story, falling down the rabbit hole and puts you in control of a decidedly older, scantily clad Alice. See, to keep out the riff-raff, the White Rabbit has placed doorways in your path. And not just any doorways, these require you to contort the articulated figure to match the shape of the rapidly approaching opening which you see in a small view on the screen. Make a clean pass and you get maximum points. Just scrape through and you get a few points. Totally miss the shape and Alice has some unkind words for you.

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In the early rounds, the shapes are relatively easy and they flow from one to another. In later rounds, you will be challenged to make the proper shape before time runs out. For additional scoring opportunity, two different types of rabbits float by. One gains you extra points, the other subtracts points. In the early rounds, I found it pretty easy to get the figure set up and then grab a few of the beneficial rabbits. In the later rounds, I barely had enough time to get her set and often chose the bad rabbits instead (they are only subtly different).

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alices-adventures-66 The animation and character movement in the game is rock solid. There are infinite varieties of positions for Alice’s limbs to assume, many of them hilarious in their own right. The accompanying game music and sound effects add quite a bit to the entertainment, especially Alice’s quips. Each level has a theme as well, but the scenery flies by so quickly you may not get much of a chance to appreciate the details. The game is currently on sale at 99 cents (although ending any minute!), but is well worth the regular price of admission at $1.99 [iTunes].

Spooky Spirits – Absent of Absinthe


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(written by guest author Tim Giron. follow Tim on Twitter @timgiron)

When I first heard the phrase "spooky spirits", I immediately thought it might be some kind of Absinthe connoisseur’s app, allowing the user to chronicle their dalliances with the wormwood infused liqueur romantically referred to as "the Green Fairy".  Upon firing up Spooky Spirits: Puzzle Drop!! [iTunes $1.99] by Innogiant, however, I was pleased to discover it to be an imaginative and entertaining game of the highest caliber.

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The story’s premise is that a couple of "spirit wardens" (think "ghost guards", "poltergeist probation officers", "specter watchdogs") fell asleep on the job (you’ll soon find out that these two fall asleep quite easily) and let a bunch of the groovy ghoulies escape.  These AWOL apparitions then worked their way into the various puzzle blocks that you, the intrepid player, will encounter.

When creating a profile, you pick which of the two characters will accompany you.  For me, the choice was easy… See, one of the characters is named Tim.  I took this as a portent and an omen.  He’s a sarcastic little dude who blames the other character, Becky, for their predicament.  Becky, not to be outdone, throws some zingers right back at him.

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Game moves are simple yet effective.  You interact with a set of blocks that are arranged in two rows at the top of the playing field.  You drop the blocks onto the playing field in pairs and can also swap the positions of adjacent blocks (successively to move a block from one edge to the other if necessary).  When a "spirit infused" block makes contact with others of identical color, the whole group disappears and the ghost is recaptured.

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There are three basic game modes: Panic, Puzzle and Eternity.  Each will appeal to a different kind of player.  Me, I quickly gravitated to the Puzzle Mode.  Here, the goal is to solve the puzzle within the number of drop moves you have been given (which often seems impossibly low).  I have yet to experience one of the puzzles where I was able to solve it in fewer moves, so the number you are given is likely a hint as to the order in which things must proceed.  The puzzles are very well thought out, progressing nicely, level by level, from basic to head-scratching.

In Panic Mode, you must quickly drop blocks to clear a certain number of ghosts before the screen fills up.  This mode is aptly named as the games begins to speed up and you start dropping blocks willy nilly in an attempt to avoid destruction.  In Eternity Mode, which is Tetris-inspired, you rack up as high a score as you can until you can’t make any further moves.

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The graphics are outstanding and the music and sound effects are top notch.  Well worth the price of admission which is, at the time of this writeup, $1.99 [iTunes] or a free lite version is also available for trial [iTunes].

Let’s Bounce – SpringFling iPhone Game Review


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(written by guest author Connor Coghlan. follow Connor on Twitter @Condawg)

Since I can’t really describe the genre of this iPhone game, I have to make a comparison.  Ah, I’ve got it … Spring Fling [iTunes $0.99] is like Doodle Jump, but with a bouncy twist.

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Instead of being instantly propelled upward by each platform as you land on it, you have to pull down on your spring (which can be done anywhere on the screen) to decide the power and direction that you will launch. This gives you more overall control and allows you to guide yourself toward powerups and whatnot with more precision.

There are two kinds of levels … static and scrolling. The static levels allow you as much time as you need to figure out where to go and what to do. The scrolling levels put a bit of a time limit on the endeavor by auto-scrolling upward, making sure you act fast to avoid slipping off the screen. This feature adds a unique challenge and some frustration <banging head against the wall>.

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There are powerups within SpringFling … a pogo-stick, balloons or fans that pop up at the bottom of the screen to blow you back up if you fall too low. But there are also pickups, which, unlike powerups, are permanent. Pickups affect your character aesthetically, so they don’t effect gameplay, but I’ll be damned if they’re not a boatload of fun to collect.

You can pick up different hats, faces, and eye pieces (some are glasses, some are just eyes) for your character to wear. This adds a good bit of replay value, as you try to unlock ’em all. Plus online leaderboards and Facebook / Twitter integration makes SpringFling even more addictive.

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Although Doodle Jump is more popular, I personally prefer SpringFling. I like the extra control that you get and I love the pickups available. Published by indie game developers GTProduction, SpringFling is in no way krappy … it’s one of the few anti-KRAPPS we feature here at KRAPPS and has Konnor’s (that’s me) Kredential. For only 99 cents, give it a try, you won’t be sorry.

 

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