Wednesday, December 21, 2011

AAQR: Chicken Coup Remix HD (game)

This was an Amazon App Store Giveaway

Unfortunately, this game doesn't work on my OG Droid.

AAQR: Icecube Cavemen (game)

Icecube Caveman is a game where you roll this 2x1x1 block around the field, trying to get to the destination by rolling this way and that. At the destination, the block needs to be vertical.

There have been many games on the market that has this mechanic so this was nothing new. While the theme was kinda cute, it's not that original. Still, if you like puzzles, this ain't that bad.

AAQR: Worduku (game)

This was an Amazon Appstore Giveaway

Worduku is inspired by the Japanese math puzzle Soduku. In this game, you're trying to fit a word into the grid. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to fit that well. The math part is intuitive, but not the 9 letter part. I give them credit for trying though. If you REALLY love word puzzles, give the demo a try.

AAQR: Helium Boy (game)

This was an Amazon App Store Giveaway

Helium Boy is a whimsical 3D platformer where the objective is to move about the "board" with the help of your helium balloons. if you "jerk" the balloons you go up and if you don't do anything you fall (gently), and you can gently glide left right, forward back a bit. The idea is to grab all the goodies while avoiding the nasties.

Controls are a little iffy, as it takes a bit of time to learn how far you glide, and there are nasties, and you CAN fall into bad places. Still, it is unique and interesting take on the platform game genre.

AAQR: Quizr Pro (trivia game)

This was an Amazon App Store Giveaway

Tried Quizr, one of those trivia test apps where you get questions off the Internet and thus almost never the same questions twice. UI is pretty good, and performance is respectable. However, you need to register, and that's kinda pain.

Friday, December 16, 2011

AAQR: 5 in 1 Corona Indie Bundle

This Indie bundle of 5 different Android games is on sale for mere $0.99 (it's worth quite a bit more)

AAQR: Shift Puzzle Game

Shift Puzzle is a platformer that is fundamentally different, in that it makes you do jumps, but also lets you "flip" perspectives. If you were black, you shift to white (and the map turns inside out, sort of), which may be the only way you can get to the "exit". The main problem I see is the "jump" is not a dedicated button, but instead relies on "multi-touch", in that if you hold down right, then tap left, you jump while going right. Thus, the control scheme is a bit... weird. But the idea of shifting perspective is a very good one.

AAQR: Badass Battery Monitor

Badass Battery Monitor has an unfortunately name, but it does track exactly how much power is each APP consuming, plus wakelock and other items. This information can be had in "Spare Parts +" and other places, but it's nice to see a single place with everything. And it's free!

AAQR: Diaro, the "diary" app

Diaro is a password protected journal/diary/notetaker that has a ton of predefined categories. Interface is pretty standard and works fine. All in all, it is useful if you do need to make semi-secret entries. There's categories like shopping list, todo list, birthdays, memos, thoughts, ideas, and so on. Not bad!

AAQR: Live Wallpaper Fireworks

Fireworks #1
Fireworks #1 (Photo credit: Camera Slayer)
This live wallpaper reacts to your touch, but as fireworks it doesn't look that good. It's just "scatter and fall", when fireworks should have all sorts of patterns. Meh.

Not really worth your download, IMHO.
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Dungeon Defender (Game)

This game requires 512MB of RAM to run (which would rule out my OG Droid)

and it crashes. :)

AAQR: Angry Shark 3 (game)

I an sorry to report that this game does not run on my OG Droid. (the original did). It got all the way to main menu, then when I hit play, it force closes.


Monday, November 28, 2011

AAQR: AudioManager (free, paid)

Audio Manager has a simple job: gives you full control of your various volume settings in your Android devices.

Did you know your Android devices has no less than SEVEN different volume settings?

  • Alarm
  • Media
  • Voice call
  • Alert
  • Ringer
  • System
  • Navigation

Yet there is no one single place to adjust them! Until now... with AudioManager. Just open the app and adjust the sliders to your liking!

You can even define "presets" (or profiles) for certain situations, like meeting, normal, driving, and so on.

There are two sizes of widgets you can use as well, and the Pro version allows Widget skins and shortcuts to presets.

Definitely give the free version a try. I am using it now.

AAQR: Advanced Task Killer

Advanced Task Killer, i.e. ATK, is a very popular app, but widely misunderstood. Basically it allows users to kill running apps and background services. Whether this actually do anything is subject to debate. I have my own view on this and it's explained somewhere else. [ see link here ]

It works, though I only use it manually.

It is free, and there's a $4.99 donate version (ads-free). You should have it loaded, but do not use auto-kill.
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AAQR: AdFree (root required)

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseAdFree is an app that uses the built-in IPTable in Android OS to filter out ads, by basically bypassing "known" ad servers (route them to nowhere). Similar apps on the PC would be Adblock on various browsers.

AdFree works quite well, but it requires root access, as you can't get to HOSTS/IPtable otherwise. It will block most banner ads inside apps, unless the banners are provided by sources not known to the list.

It is free, and it will periodically check for updates to update the list.

Keep in mind though, that a lot of free apps rely on the ad revenue to keep them free. So this is a morally conflicting problem. Still, it is your device.

And yes, I do use this app.
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spookley the Square Pumpkin (audio-visual eBook)

Spookley the Square PumpkinSpookley the Square Pumpkin (Image via the Square Pumpkin is an illustrated children's book with audio narrations (complete with rhymes) that tells the story of this cute square pumpkin. Illustration are nicely done, and narration is good. It should keep your very young quite engaged... but it really needs to be played on a tablet. It's quite readable on a phone, but do you really want your kid to squint at a tiny screen?

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AAQR: Espier Launcher (home replacement)

Espier Launcher is a DIRECT clone of the iOS Launcher / home (I think it's iOS 5, as it's identical to the one on my friend's 3GS updated to iOS5). I imagine they are looking at a lawsuit from Apple any day now.

EVERY feature is cloned down to the pixel. If you scroll left until the end you'll get a "search pane", just like iOS launcher. They even copied the Safari browser icon for the browser.

If you insist on making your Android phone an iOS look-alike, or you want to play a trick on your friends and claim this is really an iPhone, sure. Try it. As for me, it crashes like crazy on my OG Droid, just quits with no explanation.

Worth a look at, but probably not to keep.

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AAQR: 3D Bio Ball (game)

3D Bio Ball is one of those "tilt and move a ball in a maze" type games in full 3D, and has pretty visuals, along with extra elements like light, spring pads, "cannon", and so on. There's a story mode too, about how "Bolt" freed you to do a few things for him.

Play is not that special, as the ball is a little small, but I guess you do need to see the whole play field. The extra features are interesting. There is a tutorial mode with some sample levels.

Not bad. 6.5 out of 10.
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

AAQR: Zombie Rider (game)

Zombie Rider is one of those 2D games similar to "trials", where you need to get this vehicle through various 2D "terrain" without wiping out, and do minimum time as possible. You can accelerate and decelerate, and that's about it. However, as there are hills, jumps, gaps, and so on, it's not as easy as it sounds.

Oh, and your rider's a zombie on a Harley-like bike. Eh?

It's rather interesting, but not that innovative.

6.5 out of 10

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

AAQR: Tropical Fish Shop (game)

Tropical Fish Shop is a "match 3" game a lot like Bejeweled, but with underwater theme. You have to periodically match "air bubbles" to increase your air supply, and you have requirements to do X number of certain creature per "trip".

There's a story about how Annabel, who wants to live near a beach and do diving all the time, need to do this for a dive shop (who also sells tropical fish).

Not bad.

7 out of 10

AAQR: Seven Stars 3D (game)

Seven Stars is a Chinese app (and still have a lot of Chinese in it). The story is hokey, some nasty God made off with the NorthStar and you have to go through the Big Dipper to get it back.

How this backstory links up with "moving a ball through 3D maze" is beyond me.

The visuals are quite good, though the tilt sensing is a bit off. If you like this sort of game give it a try.

This version is the paid version. There's a free version too.

6.5 out of 10

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

AAQR: Townsman 6 (game)

This game does NOT work on my OG Droid (CM7.1)

AAQR: Gem Spinner II (game)

This game doesn't work on my OG Droid with CM 7.1

AAQR: CandySwipe (game)

This is another Amazon AppStore Giveaway of the Day.

CandySwipe is a casual game where all you do is "swipe" as many of the same object consecutively as possible. You can go up/down/left/right/diagonal. You have a time limit, so do as many as you can!

And that's it. It's sorta fun for short stretches, but lack of additional challenges is meh.


AAQR: Hungry Monstr (game)

This game was one of the Amazon App Store Giveaway of the Day.

Hungry Monstr (that's no E) is an action game. Your job is to prevent the Monstrs from reaching the ice cream cart by "flicking" them to the appropriate.. vacuum cleaner tubes. There are four kinds, so you have to send the right ones to the right tube, or you'll clog it up.

And that's it. Really.

Meh.  (6 out of 10)

Apologies for lack of updates

Was very busy on various other projects, such as updating my gaming PC. :)

But there will be a lot of updates coming in the next few days!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Android Keyboard Review Updated, now 47 keyboards reviewed

DasherImage via WikipediaThis time, reviews of Dasher, Chorded Keyboard, and G-Board have been added.

Dasher is one of those really weird yet innovative input methods that seem to be designed for people with limited mobility, such as Dr. Stephen Hawking. it's easier for you to see it than to describe it.

Chorded Keyboard use only 12 keys to input all 26 letters by using other keys as shift keys. It's interesting.

And G-board can be thought of as better Graffiti gesture input.

Read the updated review at
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Android Keyboard Review Updated, now 44 keyboards reviewed

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseLatest to the review: MaxiKeys... a revolutionary new concept in onscreen keyboard... tilt scrolling!

Also, updated the links for Better Keyboard to Amazon, due to BetterAndroid's problem with Google.

You can find the updated review at
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

AAQR: Cyberlords (game)

A sort of strategy RPG on Android, it got good reviews, but unfortunately, does NOT work on my OG Droid, even the free version.

AAQR: ExionFly 3D (game)

ExionFly 3D is a 3D shooter where you pilot this plane and shoot at various things both in the sky and on the ground, and yes, it's in 3D. You're looking at your plane from behind, and you CAN climb, dive, do barrel rolls, and shoot lots of different things. Aiming at the planes can be difficult, as is strafing the ground targets, but it actually works on an OG Droid well enough. Not bad!

AAQR: Space War HD (game)

Space War HD is your typical "Galaga" type shooter where you can go forward, back, side to side, and get a variety of weapons and powerups. It is quite playable on my OG Droid, but isn't anything really remarkable.

AAQR: SPC Music Scratchpad (media)

This was an Amazon AppStore Giveaway

SPC Music Scratchpad is a rhythm generator where you activate various high-quality repeating sounds to get a good background rhythem for whatever music you want to play. It reminds me a lot of those little music toys. There's like a dozen effects and it combines to hundreds of combinations. Worth checking out just for your kids, or even as some background sound for your band act. :D

AAQR: iDemolished (game)

This was an Amazon Appstore Giveaway.

iDemolished is is a game where you are given certain amount of explosives, and you need to bring a building down so the debris is no higher than a certain specified height. The less money you use, and the lower the final height is, the higher is your score.

There is a lot of physics involved, as they have different types of material, some of which are only vulnerable to bigger explosives.

For true demolition effect, you can adjust the timing in 0.1 second intervals, as you want the building to collapse, usually by blowing up one side of it.

You can also influence the "gravity" a little bit by tilting the phone to one side.

There's like 100 levels for you to test your demolition skills on, and there are additional levels to download, and there's even an editor if you want to get really cute.

Definitely worth your time, even paid.

AAQR: Meteor Blitz (game)

This game was another Amazon AppStore Giveaway a while back.

Meteor Blitz is a "dual-stick" shooter where you are tasked to shoot up as many meteors as possible. There are different weapons, as they are effective against different meteors, and of course you want to avoid getting hit.

Quite playable on OG Droid. Highly recommended if you like the genre.

AAQR: Happy Vikings (game)

Happy Vikings was another giveaway on Amazon AppStore. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on my OG Droid. When the title screen loaded, it then restarts as if out of memory.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

AAQR: I Must Run! (game)

This was another Amazon giveaway

Basically, this is one of those "timing" games where you need to tap the controls in sequence to jump in time, or slide in time, and "punch" in time. The problem is you need a VERY hefty phone for the extremely tight timing to work, or else, you will never get very far in this game.

A VERY simple twitch game, not much to it.

AAQR: Word Mix (game)

This game was another giveaway on Amazon.

Basically, it's the game where you are given X letters and you need to find as many words as possible given those letters. It's about as basic as they come. In fact, it will tell you how many words to expect if you hit the HINT button.

Nothing else to this game except OpenFEINT support.

AAQR: Greedy Spiders (game)

This game was given away on 18-SEP-2011. Unfortunately it doesn't work on my OG Droid. After the cutscene, as the game loads, it just force closes.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

AAQR: Drag Racing (game)

Drag Racing Premium was given away on Amazon Free App of the Day, and it's a pretty addicting little game, ruined by a bit of pacing problem.

The game is simple drag racing: beat the other guy by performing good starts, accelerate, hit nitro if you got it, and basically beat the other guy.

There's "internet competition" by using ghost laps, and there's upgrades galore: 5 areas of 5 levels each. There's dozens of cars, from pedestrian VW Golf to Superexotics like Bugatti Veyron SuperSport. There's also offline race (i.e. race against AI), "online race" (race agains tother people's ghost runs), league racing (ranking improves as you race), and so on.

Graphics are simple, not 3D fancy, just 2D sprites, but they are quite smooth and detailed. And shifting is very precise.

And different cars do behave differently, and upgrades DO make a difference. Too much wheel spin? Add better tires, shift earlier to reduce torque, and so on. Advanced tuning options let you tweak the gear ratios and whatnot to REALLY optimize it for 1/2 mile or 1/4 mile.

Cars, cars, cars. I already said there's tons of cars. Figure about 100 or so, separated into 10 "levels" of cars. You can buy and sell all of them... if you have enough money.

however, the game has some problems in that the players can dig themselves a hole if they are not careful.

The game's like this: a Level 1 car can be upgraded with parts. When fully upgraded, the car will probably be a level 3. However, level 3 have pretty large variations. A fully decked out level 1, now a Level 3, when wielded properly, can probably do 10 second quarter miles.

However, a stock level 3 car, CANNOT do 10 second quarter miles. It can do about 11 second quarter mile.

Thus, if you sold your level 1 car (at about 20% loss of value), to buy a level 3, you won't be able to win ANY races on level 3, and thus, no income, no reputation points, and no upgrades. And thus, you are STUCK!

Fortunately, there is a special race called "driver's challenge", where you randomly race another driver in identical cars, and thus driver skill carries the day. This will allow you to accumulate some money and reputation to finance your upgrades.

All in all, Drag Racing is a surprisingly addicting little game. My only objection is the game often crashes on my OG Droid after a race, with "this program needs to close" error message, and that "logic hole" above (which I figured out).

At $1.99, I'd say get it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Samsung Pure Breeze Launcher (free, $1.99)

I can't get this launcher to run on my OG Droid. The previous version 1.00.37 worked, but the latest 1.00.40 did not. It just crashes.

Here's a review from Gizmodo, and they seem to like the idea, even though it's a bit unusual.

Download it from Appbrain:
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AAQR: Are you Left-Brained or Right-Brained (free)

"Brain" is a little test where it asks you questions and see which hand do you prefer such tasks, as well as how you think about certain situations, to see which half of your brain dominates.

It's just a short quiz, nothing more. It is rather cute though.

AAQR: Camera Fun Pro (paid)

Camera Fun Pro was given away on Amazon App Market the other day.

I have previously reviewed the free version, and the full version has 29 different filters. Basically, it gives you live preview of the effects on the camera picture.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work on my OG Droid with CM7.1RC1. Preview works fine. I took a picture, then the app crashed (while writing the picture).

I tried the "low-resolution" mode, did not help.

And it's NOT my MicroSD card. I have a 16 GB Class 10 card I bought from NewEgg (and I still have the original class 2 somewhere)

Your experience may vary.
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AAQR: Godville, the anti-RPG (game, free)

Godville is a satire / spoof on the entire RPG genre. You don't really play it. You sort of watch it being played.

Basically, you are this "god", and you create a "hero", who will go fight in this world and do quests. This is a text game though. Your only control over this hero is "encourage" or "punish". And you can only do this X times per Y hours. Oh, and if he dies, you can resurrect him. But that's it.

So periodically check in on him and see how well (or badly) he did, and give him a little encouragement (or punishment) as needed. Lots of encouragement makes him nice, while lots of punishment makes him nasty. It's all up to you.

It's cute, and you should try it, if just for the fun of it.
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

AAQR: Gem Spinner (game)

NOTE: This game was given away on Amazon Free App of the Day (not any more)

Gem Spinner is a genre masher, combining Bejeweled and Tetris.

The field is full of different "pieces" each containing several colored gems. You need to make 3 consecutive gems (horizontal or vertical only) of same color. The catch is, you can only move gems INSIDE the piece. You cannot shift a gem across two different pieces. If you remove gems, that square turns "dark" and gems are removed, and more gems drop from above to "fill" the pieces. If you don't see obvious possibilities, you can "rotate" pieces (double tap the piece) 180 degrees and see if that gives you more ideas. If you turn ALL squares of the piece dark, that piece is removed from the board. The idea is to remove as many pieces as possible before the time limit expire. You can actually MOVE the pieces around when you have removed a few pieces already and have some room to maneuver.

Too complicated? Yes. It's hard to keep track of all this stuff in your head. Not a bad idea, but a bit too complicated for action puzzler.

(Link to be added later)

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

AAQR: ZDefense, a tower defense game

Zdefense was given away a few days back on Amazon, and it's basically HexDefense with an editor thrown in, and difficulty turned WAY up, and a few twists.

The actual combat is standard fare... "creeps" emerge from entrance hex, and goes for the exit hex, via whatever efficient way they see. Your job is to kill them and prevent them from getting through, using whatever turrets available. Turret choices are your standard list: cannon, laser, missile, shockwave, slow. Each can be upgraded umpteenth times. Kill creeps to get money for upgrades.

This game throws in a few more twists

Mountains: a tower on a mountain hex have vastly improved range

No-build hexes: you can't build on those, but creeps and move on them

Warp-gates: creeps enter a warp gate will instantly emerge from the matching warp gate at a different sector of the map

Tunnels: creeps that enter the tunnel will stay inside and move until it gets to tunnel exit (and can be shot at in the meanwhile)

And as said, it even has a map editor, and ability to take screenshots to celebrate your winning moment (and share them with friends). The maps can then be shared as well.

It also features 3 levels of difficulty, and even on easy, some of these maps are quite hard.

At $1.99 regular price, this is not a bad way to spend it, albeit a bit derivative.

Friday, August 26, 2011

AAQR: Safari Sunset Free Live Wallpaper

Safari Sunset (Free) looks pretty for a "safari" sunset scene. However, it takes 8 MB of download to do it, and it asks you to allow it receive SMS?!?!?! permissions... and 12 MB of RAM.

Not sure if that is worth it.

AAQR: Underwater Ripples (Live Wallpaper) free

Another OwnSkin creation, this LWP makes no sense at all. You appear to be underwater, then you see all these "ripples" randomly appear. How can you have "ripples" underwater?

Somewhat amusing for a little while.

AAQR: Google Android Flag 3D Live Wallpaper (free)

Andy the Android flying a "Google Flag" which is "waving" in the "wind" in 3D.

Animation is pretty well done, but it's taking up 13 MB in memory, AND it lags my phone.

AAQR: Beauty Camera (camera / retouch) free

Beauty Camera is supposed to let you "touch up" a photo, adjust tone / brightness and stuff.

Unfortunately it doesn't work on my OG Droid. It won't load the pix, index the pix on the camera, or even load a pix from Gallery, much less take a camera pix directly. Either it just crash and restarts, or it just crashes, period. Even a recent update didn't help.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

AAQR: Flick Kick Football (game)

Does NOT work on my OG Droid. I just get crash to desktop. YMMV.

AAQR: Everlands (Hex Strategy Game)

Everlands is a hex-based chess-like strategy game featuring a wide variety of units. The idea is to convert enemy pieces (by attacks) while prevent your pieces from being converted, so when the board is fully occupied you have more pieces than the enemy side on the board. It is like Othello, but combined with chess and special attacks and abilities.

There's a cute story about how some sort of substance have caused animals to go bonkers, and as one of the few unaffected animals, you have to beat the berserk animals to convert them back (by winning battles) and eventually get to the source of the problem.

Each animal has an attack rating and life rating. They can only attack or defend in SOME directions (not all six at once). So facing is VERY important. Most units also have a special activity. Kiwi bird can lay an egg (to take up a different spot on the map), when it is placed (so it takes up 2 spots, instead of one), while raccoon can 'steal' eggs (convert the egg to your side), for excample. With over a dozen animals, and you take turns to put units on the map, this game is a lot deeper than it first appears.

(NOTE: Giveaway on Amazon appstore for a day)

Try it!
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AAQR: Overkill (2-D Sidescroller / Shooter)

Remember R-Type, a shooter that basically have you shoot everything coming from the right side of the screen? Overkill is like that.

You can get weapon upgrades between levels, and with 3 different weapons (guns, missiles, special) there is a bit of RPG involved.

By using tilt controls motion is very smooth. Worth trying.

NOTE: NOT related to the vertical 2D shooter from Epic Megagames.
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AAQR: Trip Journal (GPS app)

Does not work. Don't even see the main menu.

AAQR: Dragon, Fly! (game)

"Dragon, Fly!" is a cute little super-simple game that has a bit of physics simulation, and is a relative to the helicopter game where you try to navigate a cave by 'touch to go up, release to go down'. In this game, you're a baby dragon who want to fly, but can only "hop" for now. Slide down a hill and use the momentum to fly up a little. The idea is to outrun your momma as much as possible! Whimsical cute little game.

Rating: Try it
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

AAQR: Refraction (free, $1.99) game / puzzle

Refraction is a cute puzzle game that ultimately left me more frustrated than puzzled.

The premise is great: a light / color based puzzle. You need to use a few parts, like mirrors and prisms to get a proper colored light beam from "source" to "destination". There could be more than one of either.

The problem is with the arbitrariness of the puzzle pieces.

You see, with a mirror, the output is obvious. Rotate the mirror to move the beam... somewhat. Else, move the mirror.

With the prism, it ain't so simple. A prism divides a secondary color light back into two components, or it split a single primary color light beam into two. Or if you shine two beams into it you get a combo. In other words, it will "bend" the light. However, the path is completely arbitratry: one goes 45 degrees, while the other output is actually rotatable (huh?!) to a degree. Now does that make any sense?

And I admit, I'm not the brightest guy, but I'm stuck on level 4 (out of 120, really). You get two light beams... yellow, and blue. You need to make TWO green beams... using just 5 prisms. Bending one beam and split off some branches, okay. No problem there. recombining them? NOT so easy. Argh!

Still, it's worth a look. It is unique in a sea of Bejeweled clones and derivatives.

NOTE: The lite version has 20 levels, while the full version has 120 levels (which are NOT the same as the 20 in the lite version)

EDIT: Apparently on the prism you CAN move BOTH beams by tapping the prism itself and it toggles between the exit beams in splitter mode. (This game needs a TUTORIAL!)

Refractions Lite

Refractions Full
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AAQR: Spectrum Puzzles (free, $1.49)

Spectrum Puzzles is a puzzle where you try to reassemble a picture cut into pieces. The difficulty is that the pieces could have been rotated. You get 4 different sizes for the pieces (simple 3x3, more complicated 4x5, or you can go for crazy 20x20) as well as 3 levels of difficulty, as it depends on the amount of hints you get. If you need help knowing which way to rotate the piece, you can turn on piece hint (if it's the wrong side up, the border stays red). There's over a dozen puzzles for you to try, with different sizes and difficulty levels.

Not bad, but ain't that good either. Worth a try, at least? Chugs a little upon startup.

Free version

Full version
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AAQR: Wiz Kids Jr. (free, $0.99) (Game / Puzzle)

Wiz Kid Jr. is basically another variation on "link the tiles". The grid is square this time, and you need to get rid of as many linked tiles of same color as possible, minimum of 3 at a time. What's special? Some of those tiles at later level becomes "monsters" that will eat your mana. When they ate all your mana, game over! You get some special spells to beat back the monsters though... hammer breaks them one at a time, while later spells take them out in an area, and more.

It's basically a color / tile matching game, with a semi-coherent back story, but game wise it ain't that different.

Worth a try, I guess.

Wiz Kid Jr. Free Trial

Wiz Kid Jr Full  $0.99
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

AAQR: Star Chart ($3.23)

Global constellation mapImage via WikipediaSorta like Google Sky Map but with a lot more visual flair, Star Chart lets you explore the constellations in the sky and find out details about them.

In AR (augmented reality) mode, just start the app, then point the device up at the sky and look for matching things. It will highlight the constellations (complete with illustration and lines), as well as any significant astronomical objects such as galaxies, planets, and nearby stars. Pan the phone and let it act as a virtual portal. You can even engaged the red-tinted "night mode" to preserve your night vision.

In normal mode, just swipe / drag the view to desired spot. You can choose to hide or show lines, illustrations, and such.

Good app if you are an amateur star watcher, or have interest in the field. Good companion to a decent telescope. My only complaint? Size. Just over 2 MB download expanded to over 14MB app (according to Titanium Backup). Still, it's nice.
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AAQR: Jamie's 20 Minute Meals ($8.11)

NOTE: This app was given away free for one day on Amazon Appstore

Jame's 20 Minute Meals is a series of lessons on cooking basics from Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef, that also teaches cooking basics and prep basics. It has video, pictures, and descriptions, as well as recipes that scales from 2 to 4 people, and even creates a shopping list for you. It is a well polished app, though the price seems to be a bit high.

App itself is almost 3MB. When you run it, it needs to download ANOTHER 80MB worth of data (photos and such), and even then, the videos are pulled / streamed separately.

The photos are nicely done, as are the instructions, which seem to be out of the cookbook. Videos are nicely done as well, clear instructions. Should produce some decent results.

I just don't know about having a phone or tablet in the kitchen with all that oil and smoke and all that. :D
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AAQR: GRave Defense HD (free, $1.99)

GRave Defense is a "fixed path" tower defense game. It has a cute story, and it has a few interesting features such as multiple entrances and exits, and some of the weapons are interesting, but that's about it.

(To clarifiy, I classify tower defense games into "grid" vs. "fixed path". This one is fixed path variant: multiple entrances and exits. )

The story is typical nuclear apocalypse, humanity survived by hiding in vaults. Outside, the landscape has recovered... except for all these nasties mutated into unknown forms. Your job is to build defenses to block the incoming hordes. Blah blah blah. There's X number of lives in the city and there are some militia as final defense. Your job is to make sure as little as possible (preferably none) reach the city/village/whatever.

The fun part about this game is there are usually multiple entrances for the nasties, and multiple exits, so you can't rely on just a few turrets, but have to space yourself out because you don't know which path the nasties will be using.

Your turrets are air only, ground only, or both. A ground-only turret won't engage air targets. Each turret can be upgraded several times (usually 5) and gets vastly improved firepower, and the upgrades are relatively cheap compared to the turret cost. Typical gatling is about $250, and each upgrade is like $25-30. Some of the more expensive towers can cost a LOT of money. A freeze tower is like $2500.

Later you see nasties that can damage your turrets, but you can place mines to block them.

Graphics are quite good. The sprites are detailed enough though not that animated. The scenery is cute, but the scale seem to be a bit off.

Music and sound... average. Techno track is boring, and sound doesn't mix so turrets all shooting just makes a cacophony of sounds any way. Turn it all off.

Hardware wise, it runs fine on my OG Droid, which is saying a LOT, as most HD games often don't run on OG Droid with only 256MB of RAM.

All in all, GRave Defense brings a few new wrinkles to the Tower Defense genre, and is a well polished game, and should satisfy your thrist for "another round" of tower defense.

8 out of 10

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Friday, July 29, 2011

AAQR: Nemus Launcher (home launcher)

Nemus Launcher, from the folks who brought you the VERY eye-candy-ish Regina 3D launcher, is sort of the opposite of Regina. It's light weight (just over 1 MB), yet quite nicely featured. However, its various limitations makes this a very niche choice.

Nemus Launcher gave a very good impression: it feels quite snappy with very smooth scrolling. It has a good looking "dock", which can be configured by simple drag and drop. Just drop an icon onto the dock and voila, that's it. The icons are also full sized, not shrunken version like in other launchers.

It also let you know the app drawer is getting refreshed with a the spinning circle behind it. The app drawer is also improved: it can be used to manage running apps and a shortcut to "Manage Apps" choice under settings / applications. The app drawer can be shown in two styles, the normal vertical list and the Samsung style horizontal "paged" style.

The "screens" (panels) on the desktop can number from 3 to 9. There's an edit screen that lets you easily adjust the order, add more panels, remove panels, and so on.

Its folder support is impressive... Basically stealing the iOS style folder management. Just drag one shortcut onto another to make a folder. It doesn't have sorting or "starred / favorite" tagging.

However, there's a few problems. First of all, this app is portrait layout ONLY. It will NOT go into landscape mode EVER. It does NOT react to orientation sensor. Second, it is somewhat crash happy, at least on my OG Droid. I've seen it FC numerous times, even as I go into and out of settings. Third, it is virtually undocumented. There is no mention of the app on the NemusTech home page (in fact the whole page is in Korean).

All in all, Nemus Launcher is a smooth launcher that is pretty good if you stay in portrait mode most of the time. It makes folders extremely easy. Indicator on the app drawer to let you know it's refreshing is also very neat. On the other hand, no landscape and occasional FC makes this launcher a bit niche for me.

7 out of 10
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Thursday, July 28, 2011


Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseTED Air is one of the many different TED clients for Android. (There's also TED Talks, and TED T). This one seem to be the top of the game, as it supports selectable subtitles, search, and of course, share.

It's not bad, and the interface is pretty polished.

As these features are mostly the same, it's down to personal preference. Try the other two.
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AAQR: Archipelago (game)

Archipelago is one of those simple games where you basically send units to attach the enemy. Each of your "islands" produce planes. You tap your island, then another island, to send HALF of your planes from the origin island there. Islands can be yours, theirs, or neutrals. The idea is to conquer ALL the islands.

The interface on this one is a little iffy. I can't seem to make it send a single fleet from multiple islands. The game also crashes quite often. Even free, it's problematic.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

AAQR: Delicious: Emily's Taste of Fame (game)

Emily's Taste of Fame is basically Diner Dash with a few more mini-games, and a bit more back story.

The premise itself is absurb. Emily, on the way to Hollywood to host her own cooking show, had her car broken down in the middle of nowhere, and was forced to work at a diner to earn enough money to get her car fixed up so she can get to the show. But will she? (Not if you don't play well!)

The mechanics are exactly the same: the counter has some ready made items: cola, donut, coffee. There's a burger station where you can build your own burger (top and bottom buns, lettuce, meat patty, and cheese are optional. Later missions adds ice cream machine, waffle station (you have to "cook" the waffles and add the right toppings), and more. Each person comes in, orders, and you need to fetch the right stuff and serve the right people. You need to serve to-go, sit-down, and drive-thru. Speed is key! You also need to clean up the dishes!

As you earn more money, you can spend some of the money on decorating the diner, which will give you some benefits, such as the clients having more patience to wait for their stuff, bigger tips, and so on.

Frankly, this game seriously needs some tutorial for the newer minigames. The burger one is obvious, but the waffle and ice cream stations are not. The premise itself is also absurb. All in all, it felt like an also-ran.
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AAQR: Lingrove (game)

Given away on Amazon App Store for a day, Lingrove is a word puzzle that is a bit like Mastermind, but with 5 letters (that must form words), not simple colors. You enter 5-letter words and you are told which letters are used and in the right place, and which letters are used but NOT in the right place. You have exactly 5 chances.

I never was very good at word games, such as Scrabble, so I was struggling with this one. There's a story to unlock, but there are a LOT of puzzles to solve.

Interesting, but not THAT interesting.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

AAQR: QQ Desktop Pro (Home Launcher)

QQ Desktop Pro (actually the app's in Chinese) is a decent if not spectacular launcher. At 1760KB in size, it's not exactly lightweight, but its performance is quite respectable.

BEWARE: The app is in Chinese, so it's not for everybody.

Once nice thing it does is it will look for backup files left by other desktops and import them to restore your desktop layout. I have Launcher Pro installed and it was able to restore my desktop config.

The dock's background can't be changed, but it does have 4 static shortcuts. Just drag and drop another icon to the spot and voila, it's configured.

It comes with a few built-in widgets such as memory / purge widget and a "toggle" widget similar to "Power Control". However, it used a 'blue on white' theme instead. In fact, the entire app uses a white theme.

You can choose different transitions, import config from other launchers, and choose two styles of app drawer (Samsung style, or Windows Phone 7 style) . It also has a few links directly to QQ's download app store, and other things.

Worth trying for sure.
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AAQR: Farkle Dice (game)

NOTE: Farkle Dice was given away one day on Amazon App Store.

Farkle Dice is a very simple game of chance with some strategy involved. The rules are simple, and you can actually buy the physical game (with real dice) in some B&N stores (that's Barnes & Noble). This is the Android virtual version, with AI players.

The rules are simple, and you will have a hard time beating even the regular "Steady Sam" AI until you figure out the strategy on how it should be played.

Graphics are simple, and typical game only lasts a few minutes. So you can slam a quick game in.

Is it worth money? I don't know. Depends on how much ad you tolerate. Give the free version a try, at least. (paid version)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sorry about ANOTHER unplanned outage... And Updates

My apologies about lack of updates in the past week. I've been VERY VERY busy on various problems, personal, business, and other. I still have various items on my to do list.

But don't worry, there are more reviews in the pipeline, including more home launchers, more apps, and more live wallpaper reviews.

So stay tuned.

AAQR: Sinister Planet (game, no rating)

This game does not run on my OG Droid. The title "loading" screen pops up, the progress bar goes to 1/5th, then after 3 seconds, it "quits to launcher", no error message.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

(ROOT) Winner00's CM7 ROM, modified

This is only of interest if you flash Mod ROMs (and have rooted your device).

I have an OG Droid, so I am interesting in learning how to improve it. So when someone claim they have tweaked CM7 for even better performance, I am intrigued. It's on ROM Manager's download list.

Downloaded it, flashed it. As it's a derivative of CM7, decided NOT to wipe data and such.

Booted right up, seem to have no problems... Then realized my Google account is gone. There is NO account under Settings / Accounts and Sync.

So I hit "Add Account".

8 seconds later, the system rebooted. WTF?!

So I try again.

SAME RESULT. When I add account, the system reboots.

Okay, this is ridiculous. Going back to plain CM7.1RC1.

Go into app drawer and start up ROM Manager.


And since there is no Google account, I can't even go into Market and redownload ROM Manager!

Fortunately, there is Clockwork Recovery and Nandroid Backup. So I am now back in regular CM7.1RC1.

Not exactly a good experience setting up the stuff, eh?
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Friday, July 15, 2011

AAQR: HydroTilt Live Wallpaper (free, $0.70)

Hydrotilt is basically a "fluid sim" where it pretends your phone has some sort of liquid behind it. In the free version it's just water.

In the paid version you get beer or champagne.

Tilt the phone and watch the liquid level react to the "sloshing around". It is... somewhat amusing.

HydroTilt Live Wallpaper Free

HydroTilt Live Wallpaper, $0.70 (approx)
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AAQR: Tape-a-Talk (free, $5.70)

Tape-A-Talk is a no-frills but robust audio recorder that will continue to record even if the screen times out, perfect for recording lectures and whatnot. You can choose to share the result with others through various "share" options, but is that really a feature? The interesting part is the ability to record in low fidelity (8-bit vs. 16-bit), low-bitrate (all the way down to 8 Khz and up to 44 Khz), and choose between regular WAV/PCM and compressed 3GP.

The pro version has a few more tricks, like widgets, forward/rewind, edit/trim, and a few others. And it's ad-free.

Personally, free version does everything I need.

Tape-A-talk, free

Tape-A-Talk Pro, $5.70
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Unplanned Outage (outrage?) of LWP round up, now 210 LWPs reviewed

After pruning and new updates, we're now back to 210 LWPs, and there are dozens more to be added!

There was an unplanned outage, because there was sort of a change on what links are allowed to one's own blog, even though the links are perfectly legitimate and on-topic. Oh well, thus are the rules.

EDIT: *cough* here's the link

Any way, enjoy the improved roundup!
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AAQR: Canopy Live Wallpaper (free, $0.99)

Canopy Live Wallpaper use iterative graphics to give you the impression that you are forever falling through branches of a huge tree. It is rather cute, at least at first. There are few options like rainbow-colored branches and different backgrounds, but the animation, albeit quite smooth, gets boring rather quickly.

Pro version have leaves on the branches and other eye candy.

Give it a try?

Canopy Live Wallpaper free

Canopy Live Wallpaper Pro, $0.99
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AAQR: Hundred Pushups ($1.22)

This app is the official app of the It is basically a training program to help train you to be more fit. Instead of those TV programs that goes by various fancy names, this one costs much much less, and even logs your progress.

The app is pretty simple: it tells you what "program" you should be doing on a certain day. If you admit you did it, voila! You go on to the next program. Hopefully, in 6 weeks, you'll be much fitter with stronger biceps!

Push ups are pretty simple, so there's no fancy animations, or pretty graphics to inspire you. On the other hand, this doesn't cost a lot of money either.

If you are interested in fitness, this app is worth trying.
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AAQR: Safari! / Safari! HD (free, $1.99)

NOTE: There are four versions of this: regular, regular lite, HD, and HD lite. The lite versions are free.

Safari! is basically another variant on Bejeweled, except the board is now "hex", and you remove tiles by "tracing" the matching and touching ones. All the hexes are animals: lion, zebra, hippo, elephant, and later, monkey and others. In the screenshot, this guy was able to trace/chain together 24 different elephant hexes.

There are multiple game modes (lite version only have 'survival')

  • 'survival' (until your time runs out, but the more you do the more time you got)
  • 'time attack' 100 seconds to see how many points you can score
  • 'endless' see how many you can do until you ran out of moves?
The HD version has better graphics, basically, but plays the same. The tiles are based on various animals you can find on an African safari, such as lions, monkeys, elephants, giraffes, and so on. 

Gameplay has little to do with safari. I guess if you need a bit of diversion playing the lite version ain't bad. The other modes? Rather superfluous, IMHO. 

Safari! Lite, free
Safari! HD Lite, free
Safari!  $1.99
Safari! HD, $1.99

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

AAQR: Loop Wallpapers (free)

Loop Wallpapers is a collection of Android wallpapers specifically designed for "loop" desktops, where if you swipe right, from the right-most screen on the "desktop", you loop around to the leftmost screen. These wallpapers are "seamless" looping.

The wallpapers are not bad, but most of them tends to be on the bright side, very few dark ones. As I use a dark theme, that's annoying.
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AAQR: Toodle Droid (tools, productivity)

ToodleDroid is basically a simple and unofficial Android client to ToodleDo, the online Todo List. The basic service is free. You can pay for more capabilities in the enhanced versions, but that's between you and ToodleDo.

This app is very basic, and lacks any visual flair. It's large font text all the way. It will store your stuff for offline use and resync later.

You can define a ton of contexts, tags, classifications, types, and so on. As you can see in the pix to the right you can even define colors for entries in certain categories. You can easily implement GTD with this.

With a ton of other ToDo apps out there, this one ranks pretty low, having almost no "flair" to it. Still you are looking for a VERY plain ToodleDo client this may fit your bill.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SIDENOTE: has Motorola Xoom tablet for $399!

Image representing Woot as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via deals are only good for 24 hours... or until inventory is depleted.

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AAQR: Abduction 2 (free, $2.19)

Abduction 2 is sequel to Abduction, where a cow tries to jump its way into the UFO that abducted her friends (and nearly got her) and save all of them.

The controls are simple: you merely tilt the phone left and right to control the jump and fall trajectory. There are of course a few things in the way...

Unfortunately, this app doesn't work on my OG Droid. It just quits as I got into the game. Your experience may vary. (The original worked quite well).

Abduction 2, $2.19

Abduction 2 Demo, free