Apps: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, NBC 2.5.1, Sago Mini Monsters + Square Cash 1.3
Games based upon movies have a reputation for mediocrity, but Gameloft’s past track record with superhero movie games was solid enough that we didn’t expect Captain America: The Winter Soldier - The Official Game ($3) to stink. The movie-inspired title suffers from a variety of bad decisions, ranging from a boring overhead camera angle to confusing controls, repetitive action and an in-app purchase-heavy upgrade push, all taking away from what should have been a slam dunk companion to the well-regarded film. Captain America and a small team of AI-controlled S.H.I.E.L.D. agents walk — generally upwards from the bottom of the screen — through environments populated with groups of enemies, and you’re supposed to use an overly complex combination of virtual buttons, taps, and swipes to dispatch them. Swiping on things throws a shield at them, while tapping on them or on-screen buttons will throw punches and special attacks, including grenades, sniper rounds, and other support from the agents you choose. Too much of an emphasis is placed on managing and upgrading the team, and too little on making the levels fun rather than just a series of nearly mindless brawls with too little visual pizzazz. We’d advise skipping this one.
NBC Universal has added a few things to its free NBC app in version 2.5.1. Most notably, the app now features Airplay Mirroring, letting users watch NBC shows on a television using Apple TV. Considering that Apple TV doesn’t have an NBC channel, most users would previously have had to sign up for Hulu Plus to watch NBC shows. The update also offers “trending clips,” which includes clips from NBC late night shows including The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Saturday Night Live.
The prolific Sago Sago has returned with another winning kids’ app, Sago Mini Monsters ($3). Sago gives kids “blank slate” monsters, then allows them to color and decorate the monsters in a number of ways. Eyes, horns, and mouths can be swapped out, and all types of accoutrements can be added to the creatures. Children can also feed the monsters and brush their teeth. When the work is complete, kids can take a photo of the creation to share. As is the norm with Sago games, there are no ads or in-app purchases. It’s a simple app, but younger kids should have plenty of fun with it.
Square has updated its Square Cash (free) app to version 1.3. The useful app allows users to send and request money securely via email for free, but it’s had a few kinks to work out. Though the new changes appear to be subtle, they should make for a much better experience. Users can now easily respond to cash requests within the app, which is a welcome change. It’s also easier to send and request cash through the app using the Activity view. The app also now enables users to view all past and current Square Cash transactions.
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