App Roundup: with a special sneak preview!

flatten-iconYou read that right, folks. We’ve stepped up our game on this week’s App Roundup and are going to go ahead and review an app that’s not even out yet. Pre-released apps are becoming increasingly common in our inbox, as the Apple Review process seems to take forever (no surprise, given that it’s run by 8-year-olds).

iphone-pics-1010App #1 – Turn Turn Tank: Globe Defense: The aforementioned unreleased app. Made by Reverio Technologies, this is a basic shooting game (like Space Invaders) with a twist. You are in the center of the screen and the enemy aliens follow marked paths as they attempt to destroy you. Just like your everyday slide-screen shooter, this is as much about frantically tapping the “shoot” button as it is about moving your tank to aim it at the enemy. There isn’t anything particularly special about this game, but it is fun and easy to pick up and play. You turn by circling your finger around the tank and shoot by tapping the bullet on the bottom-right of the screen. Shields and bombs can be used by dragging them onto your target. Addictive and simple, I’d recommend this for anyone who just wants something to do while waiting for the bus or in-between classes. The $2 price point is a bit high for what you get, but if Reverio brings it down to $1, this game would be well worth it. It should be available by July 23.

iphone-pics-1057App #2 – Kaloki Love: Yearning to build a space station in the sky all the while trying to woo that special someone? That’s the premise behind the third game in NinjaBee‘s space station tycoon trilogy, Kaloki Love (iTunes link). It’s kind of like Sim City in space. There are 5 levels, and in each level you are trying to build up a space station from scratch. You start by building some power generators and a lemonade stand (lemonade? in space? not very intergalactic if you ask me), and slowly build up your wealth. As you continue to amass wealth, you have a longer-term goal of meeting the love of your life. Somehow the mix of teen-age romance and real estate mongering just didn’t work out for me. Though money and love usually make a good pair, the game-makers didn’t smooth out the relationship very well. This criticism speaks to a larger problem with Kaloki Love: there is just too much going on at once – and it’s damn near impossible to keep up. Some may find this exciting (and trust me, I usually do too), but most will find it overwhelming. That said, the game packs a lot into its price: there are great graphics, plenty of characters and buildings, and five (somewhat) unique levels. At $1, you could probably justify buying Kaloki Love, but there are definitely better apps out there.

iphone-pics-1030App #3 – WalletWhiz: For people who just aren’t feelin’ it with Mint or Pageonce, or still prefer cash to credit cards, there’s WalletWhiz (iTunes link). For everybody else, there are better ways to spend your buck. Like the others, WalletWhiz is an app that allows you to track your spending. As you spend or receive money, you dial up WalletWhiz and log the transaction. You can also set budgets (by week/month/day), and file the spending into categories. It allows you to custom create your own categories or use the pre-canned ones. Of course, this all sounds great, except that there are ten times better apps out there that provide you with better ways of tracking your money. Mint, for example, auto-categorizes all of your credit card and bank transactions for you – so you only have to manually enter in the cash ones. Also, Mint lives on your browser and your iPhone, so you aren’t limited to just one way to log in. Sorry, Numlock Solutions, but I just don’t understand the value proposition.

If you have an app worth checking out, shoot us an e-mail at gaganATcrunchgearDOTcom (with the obvious substitutions in place, of course).