App Love: Blowfish Meets Meteor Is A First Rate Block Party

Blowfish Meets Meteor is an iOS block breaker that received a significant upgrade earlier this month. The latest iteration contains enhanced iPad compatibility, an improved physics engine, as well as new sound effects, animations, and music. I didn’t download the game upon its initial release, so I came to this adventure with the freshest of eyes. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.

The story has players taking on the role of a concerned, underwater living dad whose mermaid daughters are held captives by various creatures under the sea. Armed with dynamite, oysters, and a bouncing red ball, our hero must free his children by destroying surrounding blocks and killing various enemies along the way. After you complete a number of stages, you’ll need to defeat a boss to advance to the next level.

Along with the boss fights, there’s also treasure to be had. Depending on how well you do on each stage, you will earn different colored gems which are used to unlock some deep mystery in an area called the gemstone cavern.

Gemstone Cavern (Left), Boss fight w/ Electric Eel (Right)

Along with the beautiful hand drawn animations, Blowfish Meets Meteor also delivers in the game play. Most of the game deal focuses on the mechanics of the brick breaking aesthetic, as you’ll be moving your diver from side to side as he throws the red ball at his targets. However, getting the chance to actually blow up bricks or kill your enemies with TNT adds an extra dimension to this well worn genre. On my iPad, I used a left finger to aim my dynamite at a target while my right finger slide my diver to keep the ball from passing me by. It’s a multitasking maneuver which took me more than a few tries to master, but in the end all that frustrating work was worth it.

The visual design of each stage also kept the proceedings fresh throughout my two hour experience, as each puzzle has a unique identity of its own. During certain sections, you’ll need to navigate the mermaids past hungry piranhas, and on other stages you’ll need to successfully juggle falling penguins and your red projectile. Currently, my favorite Blowfish Meets Meteor moment is the silhouette portion. I know it’s an oft-used style these days, but playing in the shadows is just my cup of tea.

Blowfish Meets Meteor currently costs $1.99 to download on the App Store, but thankfully once you plunk down the cash you won’t be asked to shell out more cash for in-app purchases. With 60 levels and over 10 hours of gameplay, that’s a pretty good bargain.

I really enjoyed my time with Blowfish Meets Meteor, and it’s a pick up and play experience that is a step above the average brick breaker experience. Saving mermaids isn’t such a bad gig either – especially when you’re swimming with family.

App Friday: “Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet” Sets Sail May 1


“Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet,” a free to play space adventure based on the Honor Harrington novels by David Weber, hits the App Store on May 1. The adventure has gamers playing a newly graduated tactical officer who must commandeer the HMS Havoc after most of the senior officers are killed. Throughout their journey, players will also unlock more information about Honor Harrington.

Along with the starship combat, players must also repair and upgrade their ship. Currency is earned by completing various missions in the game, and weekly online events will be part of this app’s features in the coming weeks.

Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet (Evergreen Studios)

Tales of Honor: The Secret Fleet is the next phase in the expansion of the Tales of Honor story world,” said Evergreen Studios CCO Scott Kroopf. “Now gamers can discover the unique battle tactics and enjoy the military authenticity of the Honorverse. The game, like the recently released comic (Tales of Honor: On Basilisk Station), is intended to funciton as a standalone experience, yet we’re designing them to be complementary. Our goal is to make it easy for fans of all types to explore the rich universe that David Weber has created.”

Judging from the trailer, the visuals are definitely eye catching, and hopefully this app will give us an engaging free to play experience. Although many apps go for the cash grab with the freemium model, I’m crossing my fingers that this game stands out amidst the fray.

If you’re a Weber fan or want an experience beyond the app, “Tales of Honor: On Basilisk Station” hits stores and will be available digitally on Comixology.com on April 30.

Here’s the trailer:

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Infinity Wars Welcomes Star Trek: The Next Generation To Trading Card Universe

Infinity Wars

If you’re an independent developer, one of the key questions is how much are you willing to take it to the limit and push your content to an even wider audience. For Australia based Lightmare Studios, they’re putting all their cards on the table (excuse the pun) by bringing the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” universe into their Infinity Wars world. During my conversation with Lightmare Studios creator Elphie Coyle, he explained how the trading card renderings of the Star Trek characters should please avid Trekkers.

“It takes a lot longer to get the cards approved,” said Coyle. “Before if we liked the cards, it was cool and we’d take it on. Now if a left cheekbone is off by two centimeters, we’ll fix that. And then that will add another half a day to the production because of the back and forth. It’s totally fine, you accept it part and parcel, and the unexpected benefit that we’ve had is that the artists have gotten far better at their skills at well.”

Cyber Infested WarsCurrently in beta mode, “Infinity Wars” has generated a loyal following with over 6 million games played, and part of its initial momentum lies in its simultaneous turn game mechanic and since it’s a digital trading card game, the title puts a welcome emphasis on its visual design.

As much as I enjoy free to play titles, I’ll discard any game that goes for the money grab within the first several minutes of gameplay. Don’t expect that kind of freemium mess with “Infinity Wars,” as Coyle offers gamers a financial model that, for lack of a better word, is all about fair play.

It’s basically kindhearted free to play,” said Coyle. “So every bit of game affecting content is available for free and is earnable in the game. When I say premium content, it’s two things: one is the ability to buy a package quicker and the other is all the prestige items (i.e.) extra battlefields, extra card backs, extra animation for cards. But nothing that will affect the gameplay.”

Here are a few features you’ll find in Infinity Wars:

  • Over 300 cards currently available, with new cards released frequently
  • Every single card beautifully animated
  • Open trading between players
  • Over 120 Single Player and Multiplayer quests to complete
  • Simultaneous gameplay allows bluff and prediction mechanics never seen before in traditional TCGs
  • Full deck builder allows for millions of custom deck combinations
  • Cross-platform play across PC, Mac, iOS and Android
  • Customizable Deck and Battlefield skins
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation coming to Infinity Wars starting with 20 new cards releasing April 26

Before we finished the interview, Coyle explained how “Infinity Wars” and “Hearthstone” are games that are targeted to different audiences, adding that, in this case, the term “David vs. Goliath” should actually be changed to “David and Goliath.” Coyle also thanks the gamers around the world who have supported Infinity wars long, arduous, and ultimately fulfilling journey.

Click on the Soundcloud bar below to hear Coyle talk about Infinity Wars:

IOS Review: ‘Hip Hop Trivia Starring Murs’ Is Worth A Spin

Growing up in the 1980s, I fashioned myself a hip-hop head, but the recent iOS release Hip Hop Trivia put me in my place. The game is hosted by revered indie hip hop artist Murs, who essentially serves as the de facto Pat Sajak in these proceedings.

Although you won’t be buying vowels with Hip Hop Trivia, place a finger on your screen to spin the wheel. Categories featured on the wheel include East, West, Midwest, South, Mainstream, Old School, New School and Underground. Obviously the Mainstream questions are the easiest ones to answer, and although I did embarrass myself with a slew of wrong answers (especially with the Underground section), I currently have over $113,000 in my hip hop bank account.

The goal is to reach $24,000 within eight rounds, and the faster you answer a question, the more money you’ll receive. For example, I was quick to the trigger with this Grey Album question, and I took home $2,000 for my troubles.

Multiplayer mode is also offered, as gamers will take turns using the same device to figure out who’s the true hip hop expert. It’s a great feature to have for players who both love this genre, and with the plethora of categories available on the wheel, there are enough variety of questions to keep things interesting.

Since my personal bank roll is a bit light these days, I love landing on the Big Money slot. Once the wheel stops at this section, you will spin another wheel to get immediate cash, and it’s a definite aid in reaching your 24K goal by the eighth round.

For just $0.99, hip hop fans will be able to test their knowledge of the art form, and as a simple Q&A game interspersed with commentary from Murs, it’s not such a bad deal. Towards the end of your round Murs tells fans to check back for further Hip Hop Trivia updates. Hopefully this rapper is true to his word, as more questions, and some added bonuses (maybe the chance to unlock a Murs song?) could seriously increase the app’s creative value.

HipHopTrivia4Until then, Hip Hop Trivia is still a fun enough title to download, especially since once in a while, you’ll hit the jackpot. Even if it’s just a fiscal fantasy with my iPad, a wheel bonus cash reward isn’t something to complain about.

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Hip Hop Trivia: Version 1.01, Size: 242 MB, Rated 12+, Digital Dreams Entertainment LLC. $0.99 Compatible with iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch

As for Murs, he recently talked about his track “Everything” (from the 2008 album Murs for President), which he performed at South by Southwest: