Tilt your way through dangerous obstacle courses in Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge

Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge ($2.99) by One Man Left is a spinoff of the Tilt to Live series that we know and love. I’m a huge fan of the original Tilt to Live and the Redonkulous sequel that came out last year. So naturally, when I heard that they were coming out with a new game, I was ecstatic. Now that it’s here, I must say it’s definitely a must-have if you’re a fan of the Tilt to Live games.

When it comes to iOS games, I will say that one of my all-time favorite titles is Tilt to Live. This is the type of game that was made especially for the iPhone and iPad, and over the years, it has proven to be a blast to play. It’s a game that I can keep coming back to over and over again because it has infinite replay value. But what happens when you take one of the game modes that was found in the original Tilt to Live and Tilt to Live HD and create a standalone game for it? Well, you’ll end up with Gauntlet’s Revenge.

There’s a little backstory here that should be made clear. Gauntlet’s Revenge has the same gameplay as the original Gauntlet Mode in the first Tilt to Live game. Rather than having players jump from weapon-to-weapon to survive, the goal is to navigate your way through an obstacle course that is filled with traps. This was supposed to be an additional mode in Tilt to Live 2: Redonkulous, but the developers had some questions arise in the process.

Once a few enemies and track pieces were in the prototype, all sorts of interesting thoughts came up. What if you could reach some kind of bonus room if you survived long enough? I have a lot of leftover obstacle ideas; what if we did a few different Gauntlets? Can we evolve Tilt to Live’s abstract art style into something more interesting?

With this in mind, One Man Left ultimately decided that Gauntlet’s Revenge would be better suited for a standalone game rather than another mode in Redonkulous, and I have to say that things have worked out very well.

Gauntlet’s Revenge features the same visuals that you would find in Redonkulous, which is not a big surprise. The graphics may seem simple in appearance, but One Man Left does not spare any expense with detail. The various courses all have their own look and feel to them, along with their own dangerous traps to watch out for. Everything is bright and colorful, with animations that are as smooth as butter. The fast-paced soundtrack is catchy and delightful to listen to, and the sound effects add another layer of charm.

There are four different obstacle courses to go through: Lockdown, Pointonium Mines, Arropolis, and Dot Bot Fortress. You’ll have to earn achievements to gain access to Dot Bot Fortress, but the other three start off unlocked. With only four levels, this does not seem like a lot, but I can assure you that it is, thanks to the incredible difficulty level of the game itself. The game is also procedurally generated with each run, so while the environment looks the same, it will never be the same experience twice because everything is shuffled around.

You can also choose between three stages of difficulty: Easy, Normal, and Hard. The one you pick determines how many lives you get. There are also three objectives in each that you should try to strive for: complete the course, collect 150 pointonium (blue dots), and finish it in one try. With the various difficulties and goals, there’s plenty of replay value. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

The controls in Gauntlet’s Revenge are just as you’d expect from a Tilt to Live title: you tilt your device to move. Like the other games in the series, you have three options for tilt controls: Regular, Top-Down, and Custom. The sensitivity can be adjusted at any time if you need to refine it. Regardless of what you choose, the mission is to survive until the finish line. Once you reach the end of a course, you can take on an endless bonus round. If you can reach the final gauntlet, you can even face off against the Dot King himself, but of course, this isn’t for the faint of heart.

Since this is the perfect game for bragging rights with your friends, there is full Game Center integration for 14 leaderboards and 36 achievements. This just adds to the already high replay value of the game — you get your money’s worth here.

I’m still trying to master the game, but it’s fun and enjoyable, especially for fans of the Tilt to Live series. I love the graphics, music, and incredibly responsive tilt controls. And while it may not look like much content on the surface with only four levels, this is a game that will keep you busy for a long time.

I highly recommend checking out Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge if you loved the previous Tilt to Live games, or just enjoy action arcade games in general. You can get it on the App Store as a universal download for $2.99.

Sentinels of the Multiverse Review

Developer: Handelabra Games LLC
Price: $9.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

You’ve just recovered from barely fending off a pack of bloodthirsty velociraptors when suddenly some intergalactic warlord shows up. He launches into a trite rant about his plans to take over the Earth and begins teleporting in legions of his ugly alien soldiers who advance on you and your friends. Then, without warning, a volcano erupts, spewing ash and burning lava into the sky. Yep, it’s just another Tuesday for the Sentinels of the Multiverse.

Sentinels of the MultiverseSentinels of the Multiverse first came to life in tabletop form courtesy of Greater Than Games back in 2011. Now this superhero smash-up is the latest game to go digital with Handelabra’s iPad adaptation. And while it may not be the prettiest thing on the market, Sentinels has weathered the transition well.

Game setup involves selecting a team of superheroes, an archvillain for them to face, and a location where the battle takes place. Each of these three elements comes with its own deck of cards representing the special abilities, equipment, events, and/or the foes the heroes will fight. As one would expect, the heroes win by reducing the archvillain’s health to zero. Meanwhile, the villain can win by either knocking out all of the supers, or by fulfilling some special victory condition specific to that particular baddie. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

Sentinels of the MultiverseThe tutorial does a pretty good job of explaining the game’s mechanics and structure in a methodical manner without feeling like it’s holding your hand excessively. I do wish there were some manner of pause function so it would be easier to check card details without the gameplay continuing when it’s not the heroes’ turn, however.

Sentinels‘ artwork, which rather echoes the feel of a lot of indie superhero comics I’ve read in my day, comes across a bit on the low-rent side but it definitely lends the game a very unified and distinct look. There are even fictional histories for all of the characters and cards are sprinkled with quotes from back issues of books that have never seen print – at least not in THIS universe. The panels of the game’s layout and the page-flipping effect as the turns progress nod respectfully at the fictional source material. It’s just a shame that there’s not a bit more pomp when winning, rather than just a simple splash screen.

Sentinels of the MultiverseYou might not see that splash screen too often though, as Sentinels of the Multiverse sports a pretty nasty difficulty curve. Some heroes (Absolute Zero leaps immediately to mind) can be a bit hard to play and are recommended for experienced metahuman wranglers only. Admittedly, these are supposed to be massive threats the heroes are facing, but sometimes a combination of random luck and what can appear to be just overwhelmingly unfair combinations of enemy powers can lead to a rapid spiral toward defeat. And while defeated heroes can still assist their teammates via small support boosts that only activate after they’re removed from active combat, it’s rarely enough to turn the tide in the player’s favor, unless the big baddie was already on the verge of defeat.

Still, small issues aside, Sentinels of the Multiverse is another great adaptation that continues to bridge the divide between tabletop and tablet screen. And considering the original has released several expansions during its lifetime, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some DLC beefing out the experience before long. This is a solid recommendation.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Puzzle to the Center of the Earth Review

Developer: Foursaken Media
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★
Playtime Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Dig this:
Do you need some help with your puzzle-spelunking? Check out our Puzzle to the Center of the Earth tips and tricks guide!

Puzzle to the Center of the Earth is a puzzle platformer in the most literal sense. The game has players manipulating platforms with a match-three mechanic, with the ultimate goal of journeying further down toward the center of the earth. With bright visuals, smart mechanics, and a satisfying brand of puzzle-solving, Puzzle to the Center of the Earth is a very worthwhile download.

As a spelunker, players can move about caverns by sliding their fingers across the bottom part of the screen. As they approach sets of colored blocks underground, they can then tap and slide to link blocks of the same color together and break them. Breaking blocks allows players to move deeper down in a level, which contains an exit on the bottom of the screen.

027019If this was all there was to Puzzle to the Center of the Earth, it would merely be amusing. Luckily, the game has a lot of smart additions to the gameplay to keep things interesting and minimize frustration. In addition to being able to destroy blocks of the same color, players can drop individual blocks down to create higher platforms or link up more combinations. They can also unlock formulas that allow for mismatched blocks of a certain order to be linked and broken for a special ability, like an explosion or extra energy.

Speaking of energy, part of Puzzle to the Center of the Earth‘s challenge comes from its energy mechanic. At the start of every level, players have a limited amount of actions they can apply to blocks. This can be replenished through using an energy formula or breaking sets of blocks containing additional energy, and its the strategic balance of breaking blocks and preserving energy that enhances the puzzles. On top of all this, Puzzle to the Center of the Earth boasts multiple environments with over 80 levels, purchasable gear, hidden items to discover, unlockable characters, environmental hazards, and more. The game, put simply, has a lot to offer, which is surprising for being free-to-play. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

021025Puzzle to the Center of the Earth does have a few issues, but they only impact the game experience minimally. Controlling the camera and touching blocks on the edges of the game screen can confuse both players and the phone as to what command is desired, though I never once actually pulled up the dashboard or notification center while playing. Also, the free-to-play structure, while mostly completely great and unobtrusive, locks away some items in the store – reserving them only for players that will pay for them. Luckily, Puzzle to the Center of the Earth is completely playable without this gear, although it’s a bit trickier at times. Finally, the number of lives free players have are limited, with just three lives that replenish over time. But again, this isn’t a huge problem considering the game is completely playable (and ad-free!) using this system.

Overall, Puzzle to the Center of the Earth is a fantastic game. Its blend of platforming and puzzling is smart, fun, and most certainly replayable. Plus, it’s free and doesn’t badger players with in-app purchases or advertisements. And if players enjoy the game enough, they can make a one time purchase to sidestep the game’s life limit. Definitely give this game a look.

Posted in: Games, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

iPhone 6 boosts Telstra’s business, Thodey says


"The iPhone 6 launch was pleasing for us and postpaid handheld ARPUs are continuing to improve," he said.

Growth in the mobiles market is continuing to moderate, Mr Thodey said, and there have been some deactivations in Telstra’s prepaid subscriber base.

However, strong mobile revenue trends have continued into the first quarter, Mr Thodey said.

In the 12 months to June 31, Telstra added 937,000 mobile subscribers over the year, most of them in the first half, as customers have continued to switch from Optus and Vodafone. Telstra has 16 million mobile subscribers.  For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

Mr Thodey said Telstra was seeing improve profits in data. "We’ve been putting technology in that carries the data at such a low cost. We’re one of the best performing mobile businesses around that I know of," Mr Thodey said.

The telecommunications company is continuing to push into Asia, and chief financial officer Andy Penn said he saw a massive opportunity for growth in data in the region.

"In Asia it’s interesting that many users of the internet, which are growing rapidly in Asia, actually used the internet for the first time from a mobile device, not from a fixed service," Mr Penn said. "There’s a very different, they’re very rapid adopters of technology."

NASA posts free sound library of iconic recordings and space sounds

The Space Shuttle Discovery launched in 2006. But what did it sound like?

The Space Shuttle Discovery launched in 2006. But what did it sound like? Photo: NASA

The Eagle has landed and man is taking a giant lap for mankind all over again, and again, with NASA’s new free public library of iconic sounds.

Just in time for SoundCloud’s newly-announced integration with Twitter, the US space agency opened its own account on the audio-clip sharing service and has already filled it with 60 or so recordings, including "the Eagle has landed" and plenty of choice quotes from President Kennedy. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

"You can hear the roar of a space shuttle launch or Neil Armstrong’s ‘One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind’ every time you get a phone call if you make our sounds your ringtone", NASA says on the account, "or, you can hear the memorable words ‘Houston, we’ve had a problem’, every time you make an error on your computer". 

But there are weirder, more otherworldly noises too, like bleeps and bloops from Sputnik, radio waves being interpreted by spacecraft instruments, supposed "interstellar plasma sounds" and part of a pop song written by NASA scientist/musician John Marmie about finding water on the moon.

While the various recordings are perhaps unlikely to wind up on too many phones or PCs belonging to those nostalgic for the moon landing era (has anybody at NASA tried setting a custom ringtone on an iPhone?), the shareability of the SoundCloud format is surely aimed at driving some much-needed interest in the space agency among the younger crowd.

All the sounds are public domain too, so they’re sure to find their way into throwback movie projects, advertisements and the intros to grindcore metal songs. You can browse the full library here, and check out a few highlights below.

A huge fan of Apple and its customer service philosophy: Dominic Perrottet.

A huge fan of Apple and its customer service philosophy: Dominic Perrottet. Photo: James Alcock

The NSW government has joined the tech race, committing to a "digital transformation" to deliver an Apple-like customer experience to its residents.

Announcing an update to the state’s IT strategy on Thursday, Minister for Finance and Services Dominic Perrottet said that dealing with government should be as easy and seamless as dealing with companies like Apple that are regarded as world leaders in delivering a good customer experience.

"A huge fan of Apple," Mr Perrottet cited his recent experience of making a purchase in an Apple store as something government should strive to deliver.

"No queues, no paper and no inconvenience. The whole experience was designed around making things easier for me."

He said "digital government" represented "a shift of focus from us in government using technology … so that our citizens can interact with us in a seamless way. In fact, digital is less about technology and more about an experience – of everything working together, being connected and joined up".

Mr Perrottet said the new version of the government’s ICT strategy, dubbed Digital +, was designed to help it reach these goals.

"I’d like to see a renewed focus on innovation – real innovation – when it comes to re-engineering government processes," he said. "And I am encouraging the ICT board to push the envelope – come back to the government with the ideas that will make a real difference – and continue to lead and be accountable for this transformation."

However Alan Hansell, an analyst with IBRS specialising in government, questioned whether the NSW government had sufficient in-house IT skills to achieve these goals, and said it was not being sufficiently open on the issue.

"The problem is putting in place strategies to help people acquire the skills to move to where they want to be. That is always a test for government," he told IT Pro.

While projects could be outsourced, he suggested there would still be considerable need for in-house skills to define requirements and oversee outsourcers.

"[Department staff] are the buyers. They have to tell others what they need, and the sort of people able to do that would come at a premium."

Mr Hansell said his own experience indicated that some parts of government had a very long way to go.

"One agency I have been dealing with recently won’t even accept email input. Everything has to be on paper," he said. "Electronic funds transfers are not allowed."

Mr Perrottet also announced specific initiativestowards its digital government goals. It will launch a mobile app "Service NSW" developed from the current NSW Rego app to provide access to government services.

"We intend to use this as a platform to deliver many more transactions," he said. "For example, we are currently looking at booking or doing the practice driver’s knowledge test or paying your fines."

An iPhone version is due in November and an Android version before the end of the year.

The government also wants to apply data analytics to extract insights from the huge volumes of data it manages.

"The ICT board is looking into opportunities for us to improve how we link the various data sets we have in government," Mr Perrottet said. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

"We’re examining options for a ‘data broker’ to unlock the value of our data by looking across departments – and this can offer us a new tool for evidence-based policy decisions."

Last week he launched a new round of competition for app developers to encourage broader use of government data.

Follow IT Pro on Twitter

Bee Brilliant Review

Developer: Tactile Entertainment
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Do you like Candy Crush Saga and the many other games that have attempted to enjoy similar levels of success? Well then you’ll like Bee Brilliant. That’s the simplest way of summing it up, as Bee Brilliant is a lot like all the other games. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

Instead of matching candies, you’re matching up cute bees with smiley faces. Connect enough bees in one run and you get special ‘busy’ bees that can then take out whole lines of tiles in one fell swoop. Elsewhere, there are power-ups to help you along the way, such as one that offers you extra moves, as well as extra busy bees. In similar Match-3 fashion, there are also different objectives. While some levels simply require you to hit a certain high score, others ask you to clear honey tiles or clear spider webs as you go along.

bee5bee4Some levels are pretty easy to clear within the limited number of moves offered. Soon enough though, other stages will tax you and require some planning ahead and a bit of luck. Reaching the maximum 3 stars for each stage can prove tricky after a time, too.

Of course this is a format we’ve seen before, because Bee Brilliant really is pretty derivative. It’s fun if you like that kind of thing (I do), but there’s little that’s particularly different here. There are the usual plethora of energy systems and timers holding you back, along with the option to skip ahead for a price, all meaning Bee Brilliant is more of a game you dip into rather than play for a long time. Ultimately though, you’ve seen it before. And eventually, such repetition will get pretty unexciting.

Posted in: Games, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Inferno 2 Review

Developer: Radiangames
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.01
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Inferno 2 had a lot to live up to – there are plenty of twin-stick shooters around, and the best of them sit as some of the most fun games I have played. When you’re in the same genre as something like Geometry Wars, you have to do a pretty good job to measure up.And Inferno 2 manages to do it in style.

photo 1Controlling your movement with one thumb and your weapons with the other, you’ll battle your way through small hordes of neon wireframe enemies in your constant search for each stage’s locked exit, and the key that will let you advance.

The comparison can’t be avoided – Inferno 2’s visuals bear a distinct resemblance to Geometry Wars and its ilk. Stark lines, sharply contrasting colors, and bursts of light and sound accompany virtually every move and shot. The soundtrack is a well-suited chiptune beat that keeps you engaged. The controls, arguably the most difficult and important piece of any game in the genre, work quite well, though I thought it was an interesting design decision to use the same thumb for activating missiles as you do for movement. This effectively makes you choose between staying agile and mobile, or sitting in place as a turret and firing off far more powerful ordinance. It’s a very clever duality, adding even more depth in a very simple, straightforward way.

Inferno 2 features a fairly wide upgrade system of several different weapons and options, though some of the weapons did feel just a little too similar for me to bother with both of them (and besides, having Spread Shot as an opening choice is pretty much a no-brainer in any shmup). As you fly through the stages finding keys and picking off hordes of enemies, you’ll gain a constant stream of XP that will allow you to unlock new upgrades or improve those you already have. While certainly not the most robust upgrade system, it still offers plenty more than the standard fair these games often have.

photo 2On the whole, my time with Inferno 2 was quite enjoyable, but there were a few spots that were less than ideal. The game is dark – playing anywhere other than a dim room often left my ship plowing (painlessly) into walls I occasionally just couldn’t see. Also, while each individual stage isn’t particularly large, without any sort of a map or radar it was sometimes too easy for me to find myself lost – especially once the game introduced pass-through walls that otherwise looked completely solid. Some better guidance would have been handy.

Small complaints aside, Inferno 2 is a good time. It’s got tight controls, good visuals, fun weapons, solid gameplay, and is definitely a worthy entrant into genre. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

Posted in: Games, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , ,

Angry Birds Transformers Review

Developer: Rovio
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.1.8
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Ever played an Angry Birds game and wished you could just shoot everything that moves? Possibly not. It’s certainly never occurred to me or any of the Angry Birds fans I’ve asked in recent days. Still, that hasn’t stopped the arrival of Angry Birds Transformers – a game that deviates from the usual format and is actually quite fun thanks to that. Don’t expect to progress too quickly though, as timers seek to slow you down.

transformers3Part auto-runner, part side-scrolling shoot-em-up, you control one of many Transformers as they stop the EggBots by taking out their platforms. Instead of flinging birds at your enemies you shoot at them, aiming for weak points in order to vanquish them. It’s simply done, with you tapping to create a reticule.

Each level is much the same meaning that Angry Birds Transformers can get a little repetitive, but it’s often fun. At times you can transform in order to duck under obstacles coming your way, which ensures you keep your wits about you. Each level is also pretty brief so it’s an easy game to dip into for a few minutes here or there.

transformers6Indeed, Angry Birds Transformers doesn’t really lend itself to extended sessions due to its many timers. You can upgrade your transformer, gaining more health and so forth, but it takes time. Similarly, unlocking new areas involves waiting it out too. After a while these timers become quite intrusive and will put you off the game a little. It’s an unfortunate side effect given that Angry Birds Transformers is pretty fun when there’s something to do.

The beauty here is in forming a team of your favorite heroes or villains and steadily leveling-up, rather than feeling as if the game itself evolves to any lofty height of greatness. It’s quite the departure for the Angry Birds franchise but you’ll be pleasantly surprised how it works out, assuming you get past those timers. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,