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3 years ago

Avadon: The Black Fortress [Android Game Review]

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Sometimes a game is made on such an impressive scale, it dwarfs the games around it by its sheer magnitude and detail. Avadon: The Black Fortress is one such game, and while its graphics and sound effects might initially leave you in the lurch, the excellent story and massive amount of content more than make up for it.

When you first open up Avadon, you're shown the all too familiar options screen. Chances are you'll want to start a new game, and when you do so, you're able to create your character. There's four classes to choose from: blademaster, shadowwalker, shaman, and sorceress.

Each class fits one of the established archetypes we've grown accustomed to seeing (for example, the blademaster is a tanky, devastating warrior, capable of taking damage, while the sorceress is mostly ranged, casting spells, wearing cloth, and equipped with the occasional heal), so all should be familiar on that front.

After you've settled on your name, Avadon tells you the game's story through a series of still images and text. All of the drawings are very well done, and it's clear a lot of effort went into the detailed storyline. (Long story short, you're now a warrior working at the Black Fortress, defending your land, fighting off baddies, and trying not to infuriate the all-powerful and crazy ruler of the place).

Once you're actually in-game, the camera takes a 2½-D, top-down view of your environment. You simply tap where you want to move and your character will walk there, and if you happen to tap on another NPC, you also use touch to advance through all of the dialogue.

There's a multitude of button that run alongside the bottom of the screen, and these help you access your inventory, player stats, and abilities, to name a few. On the right side of your combat status icon (the middle icon that shows a peace sign when you're not fighting) are quick access slots for your preferred spells and items. You can hold four of each, so as you continue to get better gear and more abilities, you can switch these out as necessary.

Combat is fairly fluid, using a turn-based system that should be familiar to anyone who has played a tactics game before. A grid appears underneath all involved parties feet, you're limited to how many squares you can move (as are they), and you tap the enemy you want to attack. When you have skills, this would be the time to use them. (You aim and control them using the same touch method.)

While the battle style isn't clunky, I'd definitely appreciate an auto-attack function so I don't have to keep tapping the enemy I'm on. Sure, you might want to switch to someone else mid-fight, but in the battles I played, it was all pretty straightforward (we steamrolled them), so being able to check out for a few seconds would help keep the monotony down.

Still, Avadon: The Black Fortress is truly a game of epic proportions. It's detailed, very engrossing, and just plain long. The fact that Spiderweb Software promises it to be the first in a trilogy of games excites me (and gives me hope they'll improve the graphics), and if you ever played the older games of a bygone era, this might just tickle that nostalgia bone of yours.

Avadon: The Black Fortress is $9.99 in the Google Play Store. We've got video and download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Spotify now live in Australia and New Zealand

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It's been a long time coming, but finally our friends in Australia and New Zealand can enjoy the Spotify service as it has launched down under. By now, Spotify needs no introduction, but its arrival in another new market is welcomed. As a 'celebration' of the launch, a special Australian themed playlist has been put together by Spotify to get everyone started.

The service you'll be interested in as a reader of this site, is the Spotify Premium, which includes the ability to listen to music on your Android device. In Australia, you're looking at $11.99 a month for this, and $12.99 in New Zealand. 

We've included download links to the Spotify app below to get you started. But, there's a newer -- and much better -- preview version available directly from Spotify themselves. We did a little hands on back in April when it first emerged, so don't forget to head over and give it a read. 

Source: Spotify

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3 years ago

Netflix for Android updated, brings 'enhanced playback experience' and a secondary install method if needed

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The Netflix Android client has seen what appears to be a relatively minor update this evening, promising an enhanced playback experience on both phones and tablets, stability improvements, and general bug fixes. Sound like a typical maintenance release. But what caught my eye was this, from the Google Play store change log:

If you are having problems updating your application, you can update your device manually by opening your mobile browser and going to this URL: http://tinyurl.com/nflx180
Once the application is downloaded please tap on it and follow the instructions to install this application. In some cases you may have to allow applications from untrusted sources to be installed.

Having had a device with "issues" when trying to update this particular app from the Play store once or twice, this is a really nice option. No need to try some potentially janky (or worse) version found in a forum, Netflix is offering up an alternative of their own. Hopefully, nobody needs it -- but it's great that it's there. 

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3 years ago

Amazon Appstore updated, beta version of 'Test Drive' comes to some

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Amazon has pushed out an update to their Appstore, bringing it to version 2.6.53. Besides the always-present bug fixes and stability enhancements, this time around there's a slick new feature for a select few -- The Test Drive feature. Much like the Test Drive that's always been available on Amazon's web site, this give you a chance to see what an app looks like and how it operates when installed. 

Without access to the methods Amazon is using to pull this one off, we're going to have to guess it's simulated on a server somewhere and not actually running on your device. But it's still pretty damn cool. Grab your update from Amazon and have a look. If you're lucky enough to get the Test Drive feature, sing out in the comments and let us mere mortals know how it works!

Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

Swords and Soldiers [Android Game Review]

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If there's one thing I love about the Humble Bundle, it's the great games it brings to Android. The downside is that most aren't launched in the Google Play Store until much later, but Swords and Soldiers has made the jump.

Swords and Soldiers is a sidescrolling, conquer-'em-up type game, not unlike a simplified Starcraft 2 (yeah, I went there), where you mine resources, build up troops, and fight the invading army (that's coming from the other side of the screen). It's all very cartoony and lighthearted, but it's obvious the game was built from the ground up with this in mind, so it totally works.

You start off as the Vikings, but can eventually unlock storylines for the Aztecs and Chinese, as well. Combat and resource mining is the same across all three armies.

You create troops using the upgrade menu (the blue arrow in the bottom-left corner of the screen), and this is also where you buy spells to beef up your team. As your hoard of monies grows, you can build even more troops, or less, more powerful troops. There's an excellent variety of soldiers in your barracks, so you can tailor your army to your enemy's weakness or just steamroll them with your favorite.

Once you've purchased either a new unit or spell, there's a small amount of time before you can actually use it. (You'll notice its icon growing slowly on your screen.) Once it's up, you can tap on it and either build the troop or use the spell. As you advance through the campaign, you'll find yourself with a whole host of spells and troops that you've bought, but it really helps keep the game fresh.

There's also a multiplayer mode with a pretty ingenious implementation. Instead of requiring your buddy to have their own copy of the game and play over wireless, the game goes into portrait mode and each of you takes half of the screen (so you're sitting across from one another). You can't really see what they're doing (nor can they see you), but it lets you share the fun with a friend even if you only have one device.

To top it off, Swords and Soldiers also includes a skirmish level, where you can pick any army and hone your skills against a computer. You get to pick how large the map is, play with all upgrades unlocked, and just go to town. It's great for killing a few minutes, especially if you don't have time to keep playing through the campaign.

You can pick up Swords and Soldiers for $2.99 in the Google Play Store or try the demo version for free.

We've got video and download links after the break.

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3 years ago

Play like it's 1997 with unofficial port of Theme Hospital for Android

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Some of you out there will remember Theme Hospital, the 1997 PC simulation game. Some of us spent a little too much time playing this during IT lessons at school instead of playing with boring spreadsheets. In any case, thanks to an unofficial port of the title, we can now enjoy some Theme Hospital on our Android devices for £0.99/$1.49

For those not familiar, over the course of different levels you're tasked with turning an empty hospital into an all singing, all dancing, fully equipped care facility. Oh, and you also get to hire and fire. When you've hit certain goals, you get to move on up to the next level and start the process all over again. 

It has been optimized for handheld devices, but requires a screen resolution of 800x480 or higher to be able to play. If that sounds like your device, we've got the download links for you after the break.

via Pocket Gamer

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3 years ago

Android Central Editors' App Picks for May 19, 2012

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Ready to check out some more of our favorite apps? Each week we bring to you some of our favorites in hopes that they may become your favorites, and we want you to do the same. Drop a line in the comments and let us know some of the awesome applications you have installed on your device, so the rest of the Android Central community can check them out as well!

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3 years ago

DoubleTwist announces 2 million daily active users, celebrates with special app sale

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The folks from DoubleTwist have announced a major milestone for their company. People all over the world are now making use of their app daily to listen to music, view videos and take in podcasts -- 2 million of them in fact. To celebrate the milestone they're having a sale, doubleTwist Player in-app upgrades, AirSync and doubleTwist Alarm Clock are all on sale right now for 50% off their original price. Congrats to doubleTwist on their achievements, now hit the link below to grab yourself some of their apps!

DoubleTwist Apps In The Google Play Store

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3 years ago

Week one of the TegraZone Player's Choice awards is done, let's announce a winner!

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The first week of NVIDIA's TegraZone Player's Choice awards has run its course, and that means two things -- the first is that you only have two weeks left to hit the TegraZone contest page and vote for your favorite games and developers, and the second is that we need to announce a winner of our own prize giveaway. Let's do that!

Congrats, cckgz4! You just won a killer ASUS Transformer Pad TF 300 from your pals at ASUS, NVIDIA, and AC. Check your e-mail for details.

It's a great piece of gear, and Ice Cream Sandwich runs lovely on it. But let's be honest -- the highlight of the TF300 is the Tegra 3 that's packed away inside it, and the incredible Tegra optimized games available. They bring things to an entirely new level, and it seems like each new game released pushes the envelope even further -- the gameplay on Sonic 4: Episode II is simply amazing. 

With week one over, it's time to start week two. You'll want to be sure to hit the TegraZone and vote, where they are giving away seven prize packs consisting of the TF300, a keyboard dock (a must-have accessory!), a Logitech wireless controller, and a Jambox portable Bluetooth speaker. It's like a personal arcade, but with better games! When you're done there, jump into the Android contest forums and enter our own giveaway, as AUSU and NVIDIA have partnered with us to give away another prize pack each week for the duration. 

You don't want to miss this opportunity, so be sure to throw your name into the ring and try your luck. At the same time, hard working developers get a bit of recognition, as NVIDIA will be hosting a special event for them at E3 on June 6. 

VOTE IN THE PLAYER'S CHOICE AWARDS AT THE TEGRAZONE!
ENTER TO WIN IN THE ANDROID CONTEST FORUMS!

 

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3 years ago

Temple Run updated to address compatibility issues with Android 4.0 devices

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If you've been having any sort of issues playing Temple Run on your Android device now would be a good time to check for updates. The team at Imangi Studios has now released the latest update to the game and it has plenty of bug fixes and improvements added that will hopefully make the in-game experience better for all.

  • Fixed many compatibility issues with Android 4.x ICS devices
  • Fixed bug that caused low resolution textures to be used on high DPI devices
  • General bug fixes and improvements

Personally, I never had any issues with it on my Galaxy Nexus in the past but there seems to of have been enough reported concerns for Imangi Studios to correct whatever the issues were. If you had issues try out the latest build and see how it works. Remember, if you're still experiencing problems -- reach out to the developers. They're openly asking for feedback so give it to them if need be. As always, download link is below in case you've not yet checked out Temple Run.

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3 years ago

Google addressing Music device de-authorization issues, back to 'normal' for now

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New: It might be your music, but it's still not your cloud

Google has made known that it is in the process of figuring out exactly how to handle the device authorization and de-authorization for Google Music, and for the time being they have reverted to the old method allowing unlimited device de-authorization. From Google Play's help pages:

Yesterday we made a change to our device policy for music on Google Play.  Any user can associate up to 10 devices to his or her account.  Once you have connected 10 devices, you may add a new device only by deauthorizing an existing one from your account, and you may do this up to four times per year.

We limit the number of times you can swap out new devices at the request of some of our music partners in an effort to limit abuse. We understand this has caused some issues for users who often deauthorize and reauthorize the same device, and we are currently re-implementing the solution in a way that works for our users and music partners.

We apologize for any inconvenience and will update this page as new changes are made.

We're not sure how they plan to address the issue, but we're sure glad they have given us all a chance to clear out all our old devices. Hopefully they can implement a fix that doesn't add the same device multiple times, but that still won't be a solution for folks who need to switch devices often. It's an interesting dilemma, and one that hits close to home. We'll keep our eyes on this one.

Source: Google; via The Verge

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3 years ago

Sprint customers in the US can now pay for all Google Play Store purchases using carrier billing

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For pretty much a year now, Sprint customers have been able to make use of carrier billing for app purchases on the Google Play Store but now, Sprint in cooperation with Google have gone ahead and taken it one step further. We knew it was coming but starting today, Sprint customers in the US can now use carrier billing for all their Google Play Store purchases including apps, music, books and movies. Anyone on Sprint going to be making use of this now that it is finally live? I've always been curious how many people make use of carrier billing.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

Evernote updated to v4.0 - Brings redesigned Home Screen, with improved note and notebook lists

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Now that Android 4.0 Ice Cream sandwich is spreading we've seen a lot of apps get UI updates to conform a little better to Google's design philosophy and now, we can add Evernote into that group. The latest update available in the Google Play Store brings a whole new design to Evernote along with plenty of changes for the better:

  • A redesigned Home Screen, with improved note and notebook lists across the app
  • Responsive Action and Navigation Bars, which relate to the screen you're viewing and disappear for easy reading or note viewing
  • Swipe navigation horizontally to scan through Notebooks, Tags and Places easily
  • Location tagging for all your notes, if your phone is "Location Services" enabled

Aside from the visual changes, Evernote has worked plenty on the engine below the surface that powers the app. You'll find plenty of bug fixes and improvements overall. If you're looking to see it in action before giving it a go, you'll find a video below along with the download link.

Source: Evernote

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3 years ago

Sonic 4: Episode II Tegra 3 edition review

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Remember back to Christmas, and we let you know that Sega and NVIDIA would be bringing an enhanced Tegra 3 version of Sonic 4: Episode II, and today is that day! If you thought Sega did a great job with Sonic 4 Episode I, wait until you try this one! Designed for the Tegra 3 SoC, the latest addition to the popular Sonic the Hedgehog franchise brings true console quality gaming, easy controls, and hours of fun for folks with the right hardware to run it. The rolling, the jumping, the bouncing -- it's all there, and looks as good as it ever did thanks to the new HD graphics engine and in-game physics, and the backgrounds and ambient sounds are done the way only the Tegra 3 can bring them to you.

If the single-player action isn't enough to get you excited about Sonic and Tails, grab a buddy with a Tegra 3 device and play co-op via Bluetooth. And when you hook up a wireless controller, it's just more fun than you can imagine. This game rocks!

Know what would be a hell of a fun way to play it? On your very own ASUS Transformer Pad TF300. Vote in the Tegrazone's first annual Player's Choice Awards and you get a chance to win one of seven ASUS Transformer Pad prize packs -- complete with the tablet, the keyboard dock, a Logitech wireless controller and a killer Jambox Bluetooth speaker. Then double your chances by entering Android Central's giveaway, where NVIDIA and ASUS have partnered with us to give away one each week right here on our site. Don't miss your chance to win an awesome setup, because the games in the TegraZone just keep getting better. Check out the source link for more details, and hit the break to see the two minute run through level one. Sonic 4: Episode II is available for Tegra 3 devices on NVIDIA Tegra Zone for $6.99, so fire up that app to get started.

Read more about Sonic 4: Episode II

Vote in the Player's Choice awards at the TegraZone

Enter the drawing right here at AC

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3 years ago

Google Music limits device de-authorizations to 4 a year

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A bit of a wet blanket has been tossed onto Google Music recently. We're not exactly sure when this policy went into effect (but we're pretty sure it's been a recent change), but you can now only de-authorize four devices from Google Music per year. (You can still have a total of 10 authorized to play.) This is one of those situations that generally wouldn't affect your "normal" user who has one or two phones, and maybe a tablet, and doesn't go around swapping devices every few weeks.

We are not your normal user. And chances are a good percentage of Google Music users aren't "normal" users either, flashing ROMs and what not. (As a side note: Having a rooted device has nothing to do with any of this, headlines to the contrary.) That leaves some of us in a bit of a pickle. That's my authorized device list above. Somehow I've managed to get two Logitech Revues authorized, even though I only have one, which needs to be hard-reset every few weeks because it's a piece of crap that likes to forget it has certain applications installed. (The latest app to fall victim to my Revue's disappearing act -- wait for it -- was Google Music.) So not only do I have two Revues listed and can't de-authorize either of them, I'll be stuck with the Revue as an authorized device if and when Google releases something new later this year. (I'm still expecting an announcement of some sort at Google IO.)

I don't blame Google here. Online music still is a ridiculously overcomplicated endeavor, thanks to the record labels. (And it's second only to online video streaming.) But, obviously, this won't do. Because I shan't be using this Revue any longer than necessary, and phones don't last forever.

So is it back to Amazon for me? Or back to local music? 

More: Google Music support page; Thanks, @anthonok, for pointing this one out

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