The past week has been rather rough for me. I managed to really hurt my right wrist due to a repetitive motion injury, induced by overzealous fence painting. This of course was quite a problem, since I am right handed, and my profession involves heavy computer usage. In addition to the pain, I’ve had to try and make due with single left hand typing and mouse usage. I’ve also lost the ability to play a majority of IOS games. But luckily, MonTowers – Legend of Summoners came out this week. A game that I was able to enjoy while being single handed!
This week is quite a week for games. The folks over at the Humble Bundle are running their charity event again, Humble Bundle #3. If you don’t know what that is, its basically a charity event that raises money for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child’s Play, at the same time it offers exposure to independent game developers and a chance for them to make a few dollars too. This Humble Bundle includes the following games: Crayon Physics Deluxe, Cogs, VVVVVV, Hammerfight, And Yet It Moves, and Steel Storm. You also get a promo to play Minecraft until August 14. As an additional bonus, anyone paying above a certain minimum (currently $5.20) can also get the games in the previous Humble Bundle, which includes, Braid, Cortex Command, Machinarium, Osmos, and Revenge of the Titans. All told, that’s 11 game, not counting the time limited Minecraft promo, quite a deal indeed!
Today also marks Square Enix’s release of Final Fantasy Tactics for the iPhone, for $15.99. The price seems steep in comparison to other games on the Apple App Store, but this is a port of the latest Playstation Portable (PSP) version, and at half the price of the PSP version! For those unfamiliar with the series, Final Fantasy Tactics is a turn-based strategy game that’s been around since the Playstation One days and set the standard for just about all turn based strategy games that have come out since. Square-Enix has also made a very strong showing on the Apple platform, by making quality ports of their Final Fantasy games, and even a new game series called “Chaos Rings”. So Final Fantasy Tactics should be pretty darn good. My only reservation is Square-Enix has the habit of releasing separate iPhone and iPad versions, instead of a universal version, which means I will need to buy the iPad version separately when it comes out later this fall, and I don’t relish the idea of buy the game twice… Even with this in mind, I’ll probably still pick this up.
There is not shortage of games on Apples iTunes App Store, it is after all the biggest category of Apps available. So to become number one on the ranking takes something special. Angry Birds has been on the list for a very long time, and to my surprise this past week, I noticed that it wasn’t anymore! I had to find out what usurped Angry Birds from the top spot. Behold, it’s a little game called “Tiny Wings”. If you haven’t bought it yet, I’d recommend doing so, why? Because it’s a great example of a simple idea done very right.
Tiny Wings, doesn’t have a deep story about betrayal, vengeance, or anything that dramatic. It’s just a cute little bird with little wings that dreams of great flight. What transpires is a game where you essentially slide down hill to gain speed for prolonged flight. Of course, there are challenges. You must maintain your distance from the impending onset of night. The game keeps score for how well you slide, how far you go, how high you go and how many coins you collect along the way. This simple premise would be easily dismissed, if it weren’t for the execution. The game’s character is cute, and well animated, but it’s the backgrounds and visuals in conjunction with the masterfully crafted music and sound that makes this game shine! It’s a colorful world that changes with each play through, so the game always looks different. There’s not much more to say, you need to experience it for yourself, and at a dollar, this little game is a no-brainer. In a sea of so much competition, to come up on top with something so simple is quite an accomplishment, Bravo!
Click on the image below to purchase Tiny Wings!
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I have been an avid tablet and tablet pc user for many years. I’ve always enjoyed Pen computing, and even more-so pressure sensitive pen computing with a Wacom enabled device. For the uninitiated, a pressure sensitive pen is simply a stylus for a tablet or tablet-enabled laptop which can understand the various levels of pressure you exert on the pen tip. The experience offers a more real translation of real world hand writing and drawing onto the computer – a facet that doesn’t exist on the iPad or iPhone. Instead, you are left to finger paint your notes or drawings.
Fortunately, Apple has a very dedicated group of third party peripheral manufacturers, one such company is Boxwave, who offers a solution to the no-pen dilemma. Boxwave’s offering is a sleek metal cylinder, about 3” long with a black rubbery collapsible nub for a tip. On the body is a nice metal clip, and at the other end is a loop with a special plastic pin that anchors neatly into the headphone jack on an iPad or iPhone; so the pen is harder to lose. In short, it looks and feels like a quality product.
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I tested the Boxwave on the following applications on my iPad and iPhone: Penultimate for notetaking, Sketchbook Pro for drawing, and Sprite Something for creating game graphics. As with any pen product for the iPhone or iPad, resting your hand on the screen (like a pad of paper) is a bad idea, the device doesn’t recognize a large hand print from a finger tip, so you end up smearing and multi-touching the screen unintentionally. It’s also important to understand that the accuracy of a finger isn’t very precise, which translates similarly over to any pen, including the Boxwave. Don’t expect pixel perfect precision. If you understand and accept these limitations, then the Boxwave performs admirably. Taking notes and drawing is far better with this pen than with my finger tip, making for a more natural experience. Unlike other pens, the Boxwave doesn’t require much pressure from the tip to register a touch, and works at an angle, thus allowing you to hold the pen in a more natural hand position; even if your hand must hover above the screen.
For $15-$20, it’s pretty pricey for a metal cylinder with a rubbery tip. But if you really desire the feel of a pen to enhance your use of your iPhone or iPad, then I have found no better choice than the Boxwave, and compared to other similar pens, like the Pogo, the Boxwave is a far better performer and value.
If you wish to purchase the one I bought, simply following this link. BoxWave Capacitive iPad Stylus (Metallic Silver)