Posts byJeremy Wood

    Slide To Play – Podcast #42: A Voyage of Discovery to the Horizon

    This week Andrew Podolsky is on vacation, so our producer Jeremy Wood guest hosts. We also had a special guest, Steve Palley co-founder and CEO of Slide To Play.

    We started out by talking about some of the news of the week. The App Store is now on Facebook, and iPad games are coming out of the woodwork.

    Next, we covered some of the games we’ve been playing. Jeremy has been playing Dawn of Discovery – Harbor, Chris has been playing Bit Pilot, and Steve has been playing too many to list. (more…)

      Slide To Play – Podcast #25: Monkey Sword Ball Stunts

      Slide to Podcast #25 is now available! Jeremy takes over hosting duties this week, as Andrew is off eating crepes.


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      Geared Review

      As most people know, giant clockwork gears turn beneath the bottom of the ocean, determining the course of human events. These gears are controlled by the Illuminati from their many secret control rooms (mostly in Elk lodges). Geared, a puzzle game by Bryan Mitchell, gives you a similar experience on your iPhone or iPod Touch. (more…)


      NFL 2010 Hands On, With Video

      When Gameloft said that NFL 2010 would launch “later in August” they we thought they meant the typical “late August”. Probably they hadn’t submitted it to Apple.

      Well, we were surprised to find it had been released, and we have some great hands-on footage for you to look at.

      So far we can say the title has great graphics, and the power of a real sports franchise can’t be underestimated.

      We’ll have a full review of this title up soon. In the meantime, check this gameplay footage’¦

        iPhone OS 3.0 Brings Big Wins for Users, Game Devs

        Apple’s Big Event today, the iPhone Software 3.0 Preview is really a big deal for game players and game developers.

        We’ll leave the talk about new user features to other outlets (OMG copy and paste’”finally!) and get right to what matters to us: Games. Game developers are going to be all over this new release, and we think we’re going to see some really fantastic stuff come out of it.


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          Rejected iPhone 3GS Logos Revealed

          Perhaps Steve Jobs isn’t keeping such a tight grip on things at Apple these days. Our dumpster-diving sources were able to uncover documents that show some of the rejected logos for the new iPhone 3GS. (more…)

          GDC 2009: Space Traders: Moon Madness Hands-On

          HermitWorks is launching Space Trader: Moon Madness onto the App Store shortly. We sat down with them at GDC to checkout this new space-based offering. (more…)


          Assassin’s Creed Coming to iPhone?

          While there may be over 5,000 games on the App Store, there are a couple of categories we’ve found lacking. The obvious one is big name, “Class-A” titles. And the less obvious one is games about assassins. (more…)


          Uno Review

          Uno is another highly polished offering from Gameloft. The game is a faithful interpretation of one of our favorite childhood card games’”for better and for worse. Although this is undoubtedly Uno, we didn’t find it to be anywhere near as fun as the original game. (more…)


          X-Plane Extreme Review

          Ever since X-Plane first came out on the iDevices, we’ve been waiting to fly fighter planes really fast. Happily, with the release of X-Plane Extreme, it’s time to take it into the danger zone in some sweet, high-performance hardware. This version brings the kind of energy-drink-swilling adrenaline rush we’ve been waiting for in iDevice aviation… but it’ll cost you. (more…)


          X-Plane Extreme Video First Look

          We’ve taken some video of the B-2 Bomber and the SR-71 Blackbird from Laminar Research’s X-Plane Extreme, which is currently on sale in the App Store for $9.99. Enjoy! (more…)

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          X-Plane Extreme coming soon, X-Plane Helicopter Updated

          X-Plane Helicopter has received a much-needed update, version 9.0.7, which purports to improve/ease control of the helicopters in the simulator.

          We had a really hard time flying these beasts, and we’ll be looking at this update closely to see if it makes a sufficient improvement to make the program flyable.

          What’s more exciting, however, was the note in the update which made reference to a yet another new version of X-Plane for the iPhone. (more…)


          Flight Stunts Review

          We’re flight simulator enthusiasts at Slide to Play’”and have been watching this sector particularly closely’”so we were excited to hear about Makayama Media’s Flight Stunts, a flight-aerobatics game in the tradition of PilotWings. (more…)


          Armageddon Squadron Review

          We had fun playing Raging Thunder, a car racing game from Polarbit, and we like flight simulators, so we were excited to check out about Armageddon Squadron, the developer’s “arcade flight simulator” featuring a World War II motif. What a huge letdown. (more…)


          X-Plane 9 Review

          X-Plane has a long history of providing some of the most realistic and detailed flight simulation available on desktop computers, on over a thousand different aircraft–both real and imagined (Drawing from the vast user-community at and elsewhere.) . When bringing the simulator to the iPhone, the developers had to scale things down a bit. There are only four aircraft in this version, and the ability to design your own aircraft is absent. While the iPhone’s accelerometer controls are a natural fit for flying aircraft, and the graphics and sound are fantastic, X-Plane 9 doesn’t quite have enough content to merit a full recommendation.

          The simulator starts with you in a Cirrus Jet, lined up for takeoff from LOWI field in Innsbruck, Austria. The default view is straight forward, with a superimposed heads-up display, which will be familiar to anyone who has played with a flight simulator. On the right side of the screen is a slider which controls your throttle, on the left a slider for flaps. At the bottom there are two buttons, one for brakes and the other for your landing gear. Tapping elsewhere on the screen brings up a menu of five different icons; these switch views, and give you access to the settings. The most impressive views of your flight are from the outside of the plane, which highlight the great aircraft graphics, but make it a bit tricky to fly. In any of the outside views, you can swipe your finger around the screen to move the camera, and pinch in or out to zoom.

          After you swipe the throttle up to full, and start to accelerate down the runway, you’ll see that X-Plane has one of the very best implementations of the “iPhone as controller” setups that we’ve seen so far. You hold the your iPhone or iPod Touch in landscape orientation, just like a pilot holding the yoke of an airplane. Tilting backwards and forwards moves the elevator, and tilting the device left and right moves the ailerons. X-Plane 9 uses something called “blade element theory” to simulate the performance of an aircraft from first principles, rather than the fixed models that most flight simulators use. This endows your aircraft with highly realistic physics and controls.

          The graphics in X-Plane are impressive both technically and artistically. The aircraft have a large amount of geometric and textured detail’”while they don’t look quite as real as the desktop incarnation, they are far beyond anything else we’ve seen to date on the iPhone. The only nit to pick about the aircraft graphics are the propellers, which seem to flutter and spasm, where they should be making a transparent disc.

          The terrain, however, is not as impressive. The single region provided, modeled on Innsbruck, Austria, is definitely topographically interesting, with lots of peaks and valleys to fly in and around. Unfortunately, these textured environs are a bit plain and repetitive’”if that’s because Innsbruck is bland, we apologize to Austria, but the developer should consider some other locations. One of the greatest attributes of the desktop version of X-Plane is that you can fly anywhere in the world. It’s probably not realistic to expect worldwide travel on your handheld, but a few other environments to fly in would add depth to the experience.

          Meanwhile, the simulator’s sound effects shine, especially the sound of the engine, which ramps up as you increase the throttle, and the sound of the wind rushing past the plane as you hurtle towards the ground. It adds a lot to the feeling of flight. The simulator does not have a soundtrack, but we would much rather provide our own’”perhaps “Flight of the Valkyries.” X-Plane is a good iPod audio citizen, turning off its sound when you flip the mute switch.

          You might have noticed that we haven’t mentioned any sort of scores, challenges, or competitions yet. X-Plane doesn’t have any of those things, because it’s not really a game, but a simulator. It offers a pure sandbox style of entertainment, where you can experiment and challenge your skills.

          To put yourself to the test, you can use the settings menu to change the time of day; wind speed and direction; amount of turbulence; cloud type and coverage; plane type; and even load up your plane with extra cargo. For a challenging takeoff, weight down the little Cessna 172 and crank up the wind. Or work on your night landings in the Cirrus Jet with heavy turbulence. These options provide a lot of replay value which isn’t immediately apparent. Still, the range of aircraft available is severely limited’”the contrast between the smallest and largest, and the fastest and slowest, isn’t that great. We’d really like to see a more diverse fleet of airplanes and more flying locations, as well as more airports in those locations.

          X-Plane is not for everyone. Those hankering for competitive play should look elsewhere. However, if you’re interested in flight, or want to see a technically impressive simulator, X-Plane 9 may fit the ball, although we can’t entirely recommend the program until more aircraft and locations are added.


          X-Plane Series Gets Multiple Locations

          It’s simulated airplane Christmas for X-Plane fans’”Laminar Research has released a major update to the X-Plane series, which adds multiple flying locations.

          The new feature, premiering on the original X-Plane (with version 9.06) brings our most desired feature’”more places to fly!



          X-Plane-Helicopter Review

          X-Plane whet our appetite for flight simulators on the iPhone, with an impressive showing of accuracy in simulation, coupled with first-rate graphics. The feeling of flight that the sim provided was impressive, but the limited choices available in terms of planes to fly and places to fly them disappointed us. Laminar Research, the developer behind X-Plane, has set out to address that situation with two new releases: X-Plane-Airliner and X-Plane-Helicopter. We’ll look at both titles, starting with X-Plane-Helicopter. (more…)


          i Love Katamari Review

          Katamari Damacy, a cult hit on the PlayStation 2, and has grown into a whole series of titles spanning the PS2, XBox360, PSP, and mobile phones. I Love Katamari has rolled its way onto the iPhone, looking to snatch up some new fans on Apple’s platform. Though the same great Katamari style is recognizable in this game, bad controls and performance problems kill most of the fun. (more…)

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            More Sneaky App Store Tactics

            Developers on the App Store have reinvented a search engine optimization from the early days of the web. Remember those pages full of keywords?

            Paul Haddad over at Tapbots has posted about an “optimization” he’s noticed recently in the App Store.



            X-Plane Helicopter First Look

            X-Plane for the iPhone is turning into a little family of simulators. With the release today of X-Plane Helicopter budding pilots can now try their hand at piloting a helicopter through the Grand Canyon.

            Coming in at $4.99, X-Plane Helicopter is very similar to it’s fixed-wing predecessor, offering Laminar’s trademark realism in flight simulation, coupled with impressive graphics. (more…)


            Deep Green First Look

            John Gruber at Daring Fireball reports the release of a new chess game for the iPhone/Touch. Interestingly, this is the second “Deep Green”, by developer Joachim Bondo, for an Apple portable device. The game’s name comes from the platform the original was made for’”the Newton. (more…)

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