Let the games begin!

Carnival Games Live (US$0.99) from Digital Chocolate is a bright and cheery collection of some good ol' past times, carnival past times that is! Take part in Duck Shoot, Mole Whack, Arcade Basketball and Arcade Bowling (my personal favourite).

The colourful lights and cartoon-esque appearance of the games are reminiscent of the fun times that were and still had by little kids (and some of us big kids) at the local carnival! Duck shoot has the player shooting and reloading a revolver in an effort to hit all of the ducks mechanically swimming across the water. Of course, it is as simple as tapping and swiping to build up a score, although as time progresses (and yes, like all good games, there is a time limit) the game becomes harder to play, requiring more skill to shoot some faster ducks, and avoid shooting ducks that will lower your score.

Mole Whack requires the player to tap the moles as they pop out of one of the eight holes in quick succession. Sometimes they require only a single tap, others need two, and sometimes tapping wont help you at all. Arcade Basketball is a basketball shooting game similar to that of well, arcades. Simply flick the basketballs into the goals. Arcade bowling is much the same (although the most addictive game of the lot), you must flick the bowling balls up the ramp, and into various holes.

Carnival Games Live uses its own scoreboard and trophy system to track you best (or in some cases, worst) efforts within each of the four games. The games can also be played in multiplayer mode, a pass-n-play style to share the fun around. Overall, the game is a thorough and well-polished reproduction of some of the fun of a real carnival. Of course, it could still benefit from a few more games.

MyAppSource Rating: 4 Stars!

Now you can be the champ!

Hook Champ (US$2.99) is a fast paced, somewhat challenging, and utterly addictive blast of nostalgia-inducing gameplay. Complete with a rather humorous OpenFeint achievements system ("Hot Pants Deployed! - Fashion saved your life!"), Hook Champ follows Jake, a brave explorer who swings and flings about the various cave-like levels in search for valuable idols.

Different maps can be purchased with coins collected within the game, to unlock thematic worlds with their own unique hazards. One map, for example, is home to lava-based levels - fall into the lava and you're dead meat! To help combat Jake's complications in the field, you also have the ability to purchase (again, with the in-game coins system) character upgrades, including better ropes, grapples, or the highly-esteemed 'Hot Pants'. Hot pants provide various levels of protection from the lava of the levels already mentioned.

However it isn't all fun exploration for Jake. While trying to navigate the worlds and attain all of the coins and gems, dodging lakes of lava, and swimming slowly through bodies of water, you must stay on the run, as (and it has happened to this reviewer many-a-time), if the ghost who is chasing you throughout each level manages to catch you, the game is lost, and you must start from the beginning of the level once again.

At times this has left me in utter frustration, especially when the final score screen states that 98% of the level had been completed before being eaten alive by the dreaded apparition. However, the game has me hooked (pun intended), and as soon as I publish this review I'm off to try and finish the next level.

Thanks to Rocketcat Games, you too can get hooked! We have two redeem codes (US Store only) for Hook Champ, to whoever finds them first (hint: check our Twitter, you'll find them in our most recent tweet! While you're there, you should probably check out Rocketcat Games's own twitter page and maybe thank them if you are lucky enough to win.)

MyAppSource Rating: 5 Stars!

Become a Fan, on Facebook!


For the first time, MyAppSource is on Facebook! Help us out, and let the world know you read our stuff by hitting "Become a Fan!". The team would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our developers and readers (that is, you!), for all of their support since MyAppSource was created.

Also, apart from having our own page, you can now click the "Share on Facebook" button at the top of any page of our blog, to share the particular page you are reading with the world! (We recommend you do this, it will make you a little more awesome.)

We will continue to do our best in bringing you reviews of available apps (and possibly previews of apps that you can't buy yet, how exciting), that you have come to love over the last few months, as well as app giveaways every so often! So keep reading, you wont be disappointed.

Take Her For A Spin!


Sygic Mobile Maps Australia and New Zealand (AU$79.99) is the ultimate driving companion, especially if you are prone to getting lost, or just love to go out for a Sunday drive, and need a means of getting home. This review has been based on the Australia and New Zealand version, althought everything exept the maps themselves, is the same no matter what country's version you are using. In this review I will not be comparing a GPS app to a classic street directory, nor will I be comparing it to it's various competitors, but I will be providing you, yes you, our valid readers with a comprehensive list of features, and all the little things that I found, which earn Sygic Mobile Maps a place on my home screen.

First of all, set the price aside. The GPS app market is expensive. However, Sygic's prices have been very competitive. You cannot expect to find a good quality GPS app, with all the bells and whistles for under $10. If you only need to overlay directions on a 2D map, there's already an app for that, and it came with your phone! However the hefty data charges it incurs whilst being used are more than a put off. This is where Sygic Mobile Maps begins to shine. The large file size of the app isn't without it's benefits. You are actually downloading the complete map, full of points of interest, straight to your device. I'll say this now and make it clear, Sygic Mobile Maps has absolutely no data fee's.

After thorough testing, and miles on the road, I have found a few things about Sygic Mobile Maps, that really sell it to me.

We all know that GPS signals can be slightly unreliable at times, depending on your location. This is because, to work successfully, your phone needs many satellites in it's line of sight. Simply, the more GPS satellites in sight, the stronger the signal and vice versa. Thankfullly Sygic has gifted us with numerous ways to begin tracking a route. You can elect to start from any location, or point of interest (POI), or choose to wait or a valid signal. This means that you can get going without a wait, unlike some more unreliable GPS solutions.

But the real zinger of Sygic Mobile Maps is the turn-by-turn voice navigation it provides. You can select from a multitude of voices, in many different languages, to let you know where to go without the distraction off picking up your device. My favourite voice, which I personally recommended is called "English UK (Simon)". Try getting a street directory to talk to you in the same way (not now, keep reading!). You won't be able to.

The interface also rotates depending on the orientation of your iPhone. So if it us docked (which I highly recommend for extensive use, all GPS apps drain battery like there is no tomorrow) on it's side, the view will switch to landscape mode, providing you with a much wider view of your surrounding area.

The highly configurable "dashboard" allows you to display all the information you need, and remove what you don't. Possibilities include GPS signal strength, time you began, estimated time of arrival, your current speed or direction, how many minutes you've been on the route for, and how many minutes are left before you reach your destination. You can also change the map between a 3D and flat mode to suit yourself, as well as change the colour scheme to (or automatically) change between day and night variants. The interface also tells you the current speed limit, and warns you if you have exceeded this.

Now onto the fun stuff. Planning a route is simple an quick. You can select a destination from an extensive list of POI's, 'favourited' locations, your phones contacts, or enter one manually. You can then select a starting point. Whether this is your driveway, or your current location is up to you. You can also elect detours, or add in another destination on the go, althought neither I, Sygic nor your local authority recommend operating this while driving. You can also choose to avoid toll roads, and set automatic route planning methods to the fastest, shortest or most economical route depending on your needs.

But what happens if you don't follow the exact route Sygic Mobile Maps gives you? Maybe you missed a turn, or maybe you (wrongly) think that another route is shorter. Either way, Sygic has you covered! Your route will be recalculated to get to your destination according to the settings in use.

In short, Sygic Mobile Maps is all about you. Not only is it the top grossing app, (in the Australian App Store anyway), but its highly configurable interface and route options allow you to get to your destination with ease, and hey, when you're told when you're speeding, and shown where all the speeding and red light cameras are located in the current area, as well as being provided with audible turn by turn navigation, and quick re-routing options in the case of a wrong turn, Sygic Mobile Maps is the back seat driver you've always wanted.

MyAppSource Rating: 5 Stars!

Spaced Out


Space Rush (US$0.99) is one of my (and the rest of the MyAppSource crew's) favourite applications. The other members of the team loved this app from their first turn. However, it took me several attempts to fully embrace the greatness of this simple, yet incredible, application. The first several times I used Space Rush I though it was a solid, if not spectacular game. This was mainly because I wasn't very good at it. After some practice and other members of the MyAppSource team throwing down the Space Rush Challenge gauntlet, I was addicted. This application, much like Volley, proves that applications with a simple theme and entertaining gameplay are often much better than their more theme-rich, yet poorly designed counterparts. This app was developed by Nicholas Patrick. There is also a Lite version of Space Rush, for all you cheapskates who want to try before you buy.

I often wonder what makes an application (or anything, for that matter) addictive. Is it personal preference? Is it the ability to separate a person from reality and immerse them in the much less harsh world of gaming? Is it the way an app makes you feel? Or is it simply because it is fun? I believe that the level of enjoyment and addiction (for lack of a better word) is caused by all of these factors meshing and making one big meshy ball of entertainment. Space Rush targets the last three questions. Space Rush can be a great stress release because it is you versus space and no one else can interfere. I find that Space Rush often has me at the edge of my proverbial seat due to the thrilling nature of its gameplay. It is definitely fun and hugely enjoyable, this certainly adds to its allure. All of these factors certainly help an application become popular and addictive, but it is the non-quantifiable factors which help to really set the great applications apart from the rest. Space Rush has this X-factor by the truckload. The prospect of besting your high score is enough to keep me playing for hours, now add the fact that OpenFeint can be enabled and I'm hooked.

The only thing that I could find which may need to be altered is the inability of the app to save the high scores without OpenFeint being enabled. This will particularly effect poor souls like myself who rarely have access to wi-fi, this means that OpenFeint is useless to us. I would love to be able to see the global high scores because on the screenshot I was sent the Global High Score was just over 1.8 million. My highest score is a touch over 3.4 million and I really would like to see how I rank globally. Not to boast too much about my almost superhuman ability to succeed at Space Rush, but I came out victorious in the MyAppSource Space Rush Challenge by approximately 3 million points. (Man, the rest of the team is bad). If the ability to save personal high scores without OpenFeint was added I would jump for joy (don't hold me to that). Enough about me, back to the review.

I am telling you from the goodness of my heart that you NEED to purchase Space Rush. You can be a pansy and trial it before you buy the full version, but believe me you won't regret it. Space Rush ticks all the boxes. It is cheap, great fun, addictive and you can compare high scores with anyone from anywhere (with wi-fi). Space Rush is one of the best apps out there and you simply must buy it. You can swing around to our Flickr and YouTube accounts to find some more screenshots and a helpful gameplay video (Be careful, the video involves lots of quick turning and movement. It may leave you a bit queasy.)

MyAppSource Rating: 5 Stars!

Simple Idea, Wonderful App

Volley (US$2.99) was an application, which initially, I did not expect too much from. What I quickly realised when I first began to use the app was even though there wasn't too much ground being broken in Volley (in terms of themes and gameplay goals) the app still managed to draw you in and make you play longer. Volley, which was designed by the great people at Tapelicious (the developer's blog can be found here), executes the idea of making a seemingly simple application deceptively thorough and addictive, perfectly. If only more apps would cut out some of their filler and replace it with useful and helpful features.

There are many applications out there in the app store (both free and paid) which attempt to use a relatively simple goal as the central purpose and then build on this goal to make the the application enjoyable and less theme-shallow. Few applications have done this as well as Volley. Volley is a simple volleyball game in which two dome-shaped characters square off in a battle, where the first player to six points wins. Volley is almost identical to the classic SlimeVolley. That does not mean that Volley is any less enjoyable or effective, it just signals that Tapelicious did not take too many risks during the production process and stuck to a tested and popular app design idea. Volley does have a few differentiating factors which help it stand apart from SlimeVolley, these include: much cleaner, crisper and overall much more immersive graphics, which include both the environment and the characters themselves. Another point of difference is the control mechanism. Volley uses a slider to control the character, rather than the 'out-dated' arrows of its competition.

Perhaps the best feature available in Volley is the almost perfectly set difficulty level as the user progresses through each stage. As the user clears stages they become progressively harder. During gameplay it is easy to see this rise in difficulty level as the old tricks that enable the user to complete previous stages are no longer sufficient and new tactics and skills must be learnt in order to continue progression through the stages. I have noticed that as each stage becomes more challenging your skills increase and this increase is easily visible. When I first began using Volley I wasn't very good at all. I had a lot of trouble completing the fifth level (why is it always number five?) because I wasn't changing the way in which I went about playing the game, while the AI player drastically changed their playing style. This forces the user to develop new ways of playing in order to become victorious. This forced changed may sound a little violent, but it is this that makes Volley so much fun. The fact that the user must change their methods means that by the end of the game the user will have mastered all aspects of the game.

Volley is an application I would definitely recommend to anyone (and everyone). Volley is one of the rare apps that makes the absolute most out of its potential and this is great to see. At just under $3 (US) I save seen (and heard) people complain about the price being a little too steep for what the app offers. Many of the people that wish for a drop in the price have not yet tried Volley and, therefore, are unable to understand many of the subtle and intangible features that are present during gameplay. The MyAppSource team would also like to thank Reinhard from tapelicious.com for supplying us with many videos and screenshots to use in this review. We are unable to post them all here, but, they will all be available through our respective Flickr and YouTube accounts.

MyAppSource Rating: 4 Stars!

Burn Baby, Burn!

Against the Fire! (US$0.99), ia rather ominously named adventure application developed by the team at Meridian. Meridian are also responsible for the excellent RPG app Alive 4-ever, of which Against the Fire! bares more than a slight resemblance to. Meridian have stuck to their winning design and gameplay formula in Against the Fire! The basic gameplay premise in Against the Fire! is almost exactly the same as Alive 4-ever and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Both apps offer similar thrills and spills, but come is vastly different visual packages.

Against the Fire! is an adventure application which bases itself around the fact that your character (Andrew, an amateur fireman), must rescue helpless civilians from a hotel which is being invaded by "Fire ball monsters". The idea is great and I was excited to have the responsibility of reviewing this app. Meridian has managed to differentiate this application from the many RPG shooter games out there, both on iPhone and non-iPhone platforms. Against the Fire! is cleverly disguised as a fun and innocent heroism-based app, but if you swap the harmless fire-hose with a loaded a gun and the Fire ball monsters with a living enemy (Zombies, anyone?), this app is RPG shooter to the core. In my mind, this kind of differentiation should be applauded, as it adds depth to a very theme-shallow genre and invites new fans into the RPG world.

Aside from the fantastic premise and inviting aesthetics, Against the Fire! still has some catching up to do before it is on par with its big brother (or sister, depending on what you're into) application, Alive 4-ever. The area which lags behind the most is the actual enjoyment that is received via the gameplay.  I don't like saying this, but, I did not find Against the Fire! particularly enjoyable, which is a shame, as it is loaded with potential. The two main issues which caused this unfortunate letdown are; that I found the character's movements difficult to control and that after the first five levels the game becomes ridiculously difficult. Other members of the MyAppSource team agree with me on the sudden jump in difficulty but not necessarily on my lack of manoeuverability during gameplay.

Luckily, the team at MyAppSource is full of ideas men (or women, depending on what you're into) and we have come up with some simple ways in which Against the Fire! can be altered to make this review redundant. The first idea we had was, if the difficulty of the levels (at least for the first seven or so) be toned down a little so that users can get a better feel for the game and not consider themselves hopeless when they are unable to complete the fifth level. The next, and perhaps most mind-blowingly revolutionary idea we've had, is to change the means of controlling the character. The directional pad is a bit small for my grown-man fingers and I believe that Against the Fire!'s gameplay would only stand to improve if the character was moved by 'tilt' control. Tilt control in this app would, in my opinion, make the gameplay incredibly entertaining and provide another point of differentiation for Against the Fire! as I have not yet played, or witnessed, any accelerometer controlled RPG apps.

All in all, Against the Fire! is not a lost cause by any stretch of the imagination. With a few minor adjustments this app would drastically improve. At less than a dollar and with many positive iTunes Store reviews this app is worth the purchase, if only to prove me wrong in my assertion that the gameplay is a little too tough. Don't hesitate to send us an email or drop us a comment about how hopeless we are at Against the Fire!, and to tell us that the level's aren't that hard, we'll probably ignore you, but it's worth a shot.

MyAppSource Rating: Three Stars!