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2 years ago

Android Game Review: R-Type

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

When news got out that R-Type had been officially released on Android, I got pretty excited. Yes, R-Type is technically a year older than me. I still played it at the laundromat down the street growing up, and old games in general still occupy a soft spot in my heart.

Simply put, this is an awesome, authentic port. There's eight levels, two modes of difficulty, and enough powerups to make you keep continuing in hopes you'll beat the darn game. It's also OpenFeint supported, which is the only newfangled, non-authentic addition to R-Type.

If there's one thing that sticks out, it's how brutal R-Type is. That's not a bad thing, but it's a nice reminder and how much games coddle people these days. Take one hit? Boom, your ship is gone. All of your lives run out? Sayonara, friend. You'll be starting back over at the beginning.

That's probably the most entertaining part of R-Type (aside from a well-placed charge shot). It's difficult just like you remember it, and if it's your first time playing, put on your big boy (or girl) pants and strap yourself in, cause the gameplay is as unforgiving as it gets. And that's awesome.

Some people argue that the touch screen doesn't control the ship very well, but I didn't experience any of those issues, especially on a tablet. On the contrary, the only issue I had was stretching my thumb too far away and having to reset its position, but on a phone screen, you'll be hard pressed to do that. The response is really quite good, and your right thumb is completely free to shoot whatever powerup you might be saving or charge up your cannon to blast through a big group of aliens.

For those who grew up playing this game (or even those who are looking for a bit of a retro experience), R-Type is a must. This port is so well done and so faithful to the original, it might just take you back to your days of standing on a stool, pumping quarters into the arcade machine because you got blown up... again. It's just that good.

R-Type is a bit on the pricey side at $4.13, but for the hours (and hours and hours) of gameplay you'll get trying to beat it on normal (and don't forget about Hard Mode!), it's totally worth it. For old folks and newcomers alike, R-Type should be in your game library.

We've got download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Android Launcher Review: Rocket Launcher

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Launchers are a dime a dozen now-a-days, there are tons and tons of options in the market, some free, some paid, many doing similar things in the end. When I first caught wind of Rocket Launcher I thought to myself "oh, another launcher to do the same thing" but as always I checked it out and wow was I shocked. First impressions, as we all know, mean quite a bit, and when I first installed Rocket Launcher I was quite intrigued so I gave it a look.

The video above shows off the features and different parts of Rocket Launcher in action, and while it won't appeal to everyone this launcher is not one to simply write off. With static icons, and only one home screen that offers limited customization it is great for maximizing productivity, and enhancing ease of use. The market offers a free version, as well as a paid version, so if you are on the fence about it try the free one, and if you enjoy be sure to upgrade to the paid. Is this the replacement launcher for you? Hit the break for download links, and be sure to hop in the forums and let us know what you think!

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2 years ago

Android Game Review: Muffin Knight

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YouTube link for mobile viewing

Sometimes you just need to play a game that makes absolutely no sense. Something with a completely nonsensical, ludicrous plot that has simple mechanics and colorful graphics.

That game is Muffin Knight.

Writing this, I'm still not really sure what Muffin Knight is about. I've gathered that you play as a little warrior and collect muffins whilst either defeating or avoiding enemy animals. Downing a bad guy gets you some experience, and as you level up, you're able to upgrade any of the various warriors you've unlocked.

The actual muffin collecting is where the game takes a turn for the strange. Whenever you pick up a muffin, you turn into a different character that you've unlocked. The characters are all fundamentally similar (they can all jump, they all have an attack), but from there, it's up to you to know each character's speciality to survive and keep collecting muffins.

Collecting muffins gets you two things: new levels and new characters. For example, in my first playthrough, I unlocked a unicorn that poops out explosive rainbow mines. Yes, you read that correctly. You also start off with the knight, mage, archer, and gnome at the beginning of the game.

It's hard to say what exactly is so hypnotic about Muffin Knight. Is it the random chance of getting a character you've upgraded fully so you know you'll pwn whatever is barreling down on you? Maybe the fact you can play as a unicorn that poops out explosive rainbow mines? Perhaps it's the fact that when you fail to stop an enemy and they jump into a pit of flame (what? why would they do that?), they return on fire and run at double speed?

Regardless, Muffin Knight is fun. The controls are tight, the graphics are appealing and colorful, and the game is just neurotic and random enough to keep you from getting bored. Nearly endless entertainment is only $2.99, and we've got download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Mint.com Personal Finance app updated with new features

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Intuit's popular personal finance app Mint has been updated with a few new features, along with some security enhancements. You can now add transactions from your device, as well as view your available and current balances for each of your accounts. Mint also now supports Google Maps to change the location of your transaction, and Google Places to find a merchant when adding a transaction. You can grab the update from the Android Market after the break. 

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2 years ago

Android Kids App: Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin now available

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From the same developer who brought us the excellent Android version of Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" comes another Potter classic: "The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin." Just like with "Peter Rabbit," you can read the book yourself, or have the app read to you. The images are all interactive, and your child can tap each word to read along.

"The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin" is available in the Android Market for $3.04, and it's coming soon to the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. We've got download links and a promo video after the break.

See more Android kids apps

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2 years ago

Adobe goes 3D with Flash Player 11, AIR 3, coming in October

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Adobe's come quite a long way in a relatively short amount of time on Android -- just about every device released today has Flash Player or AIR on board, or it's one of the first apps you download. Adobe's just announced the next versions of its Flash Player and AIR frameworks, and things are going to get faster and become more immersive -- and they're going 3D.

Yes, the updated Adobe framework will allow for 3D Flash and AIR gaming, folks. And that's whether you're talking on a desktop computer, television or, in our case, Android smartphones. No more side-scrollers. We're talking console-quality gaming that Adobe says is 1,000 times faster than Flash Player 10 and AIR 2, and it can deliver a smooth 60 frames per second. (An added bonus is that Adobe AIR can be bundled with an Android application -- no more extra downloads.)

And that's just for the end user. There's tons more for developers, naturally. Check out these videos:


Zombie Tycoon
Update highlights

And ease on past the break for more from the slide deck, and the full press release.

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2 years ago

Hulu Plus adds more device support to their Android app

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If you're rocking a device that in the past, wasn't supported by Hulu Plus then you'll want to check the list below. Hulu has updated their Android app today and the list of supported devices has grown by nine. Eight phones and one tablet. The new devices listed are:

That's it -- nine new devices in total supported by Hulu Plus, anyone going to be checking it out? The service does cost $7.99/mnth but students can get one month free when you sign up.

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2 years ago

ESPN and Slacker launch customizable sports stations on Slacker Radio

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I know plenty of people who listen to sports radio programs and one common thing I noticed between them all is that as soon as someone starts talking about something they don't like, they tend to get all fired up.  But what if you could customize your sports radio stations to however you like, so that you never really have to deal with the stuff you don't enjoy listening to?

That's exactly what ESPN and Slacker Radio have announced today. Slacker Radio Plus and Slacker Premium Radio subscribers now have unlimited access to the ESPN Radio integration, and the ability to create highly personalized, myESPN Radio sports stations based on favorite sports, teams or ESPN programs. If you're not yet a subscriber, you have free access to ESPN Radio but without all the extra bonus content.

In addition to the extra content being added, Slacker also updated their Android UI and optimized it to perform better across a range of devices. If you're looking for the full details, the press release is past the break for you all.

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2 years ago

Hands-on with mobile Hangouts and the Google+ update

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Here's our first look at the major update to Google+ for Android 2.3 and above -- and it's a doozy. Mobile Hangouts are seamless and awesome, though you can only join a Hangout -- not initiate one.

The notification settings are a must. Basically, we're getting even more excited about Google+. Check it out.

And if you're looking to circle all of your favorite Android central writers on Google+, here's a handy list:

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2 years ago

Google+ Hangouts now available for Android 2.3+, opens registration to all [update]

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Google+ Hangouts have become one of the most popular uses of the rapidly growing social network. Until now, they were relegated to the desktop, making users pine for mobile support. Today, Google announced that they have made Hangouts available for phones running 2.3+.  This is amazing news and will certainly make the feature more widely used now that they can be done anywhere and on-the-go.

To use the feature, once you see a Hangout in your Stream, just click Join and you should be all set.

The new version of the Google+ app will be rolling out today, so if you don't have it yet, sit tight. For those who don't have the app yet, see the links after the break. For those with friends and family on iOS, they promised Hangouts will arrive soon. Until then, you can tease them about Hanging out right from your Android phone.

Also of note: Google+ has opened registration to everyone -- no more invites needed. Hangouts also can be broadcast for all to see, plus Hangout APIs have been released, and Google's added better search functionality. Check it all out at the link below!

[update] Google announced a bunch new features for the Google+ Android app in addition to Hangouts:

  • US and India users can post, respond and receive notifications via SMS (you need to verify your phone number in settings)
  • Improved + mention support
  • Edit your Profile photo
  • Customize notifications
  • Support to move to SD card
  • Huddle is now Messenger
  • You can share photos via Messenger now (killing Pool Party makes sense now)

Source: Official Google Blog

Google Mobile Blog

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