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ION iCade Video Review

by Brian Booher

Hey everyone,

Instead of having to write about the ION iCade, I figured a video review would be better.  Now if you don’t know what the iCade is; it is an arcade cabinet built for the iPad using Bluetooth.  Several game manufacturers are building apps for iOS that is compatible with the iCade, giving a fun experience for those who remember going to the arcades when they were younger.

The really cool thing is that it is NOT just for the iPad, though the built in dock is designed for it.  The iCade can work with Android devices too, since all we’re really dealing with is Bluetooth connectivity.

I could write more, but that would take away from watching the video review.

Have fun and geek out!

Osmos HD

Osmos HD by Hemisphere Games is a game that really lives up to its name.

I can’t say I’ve ever played a game like it before, it’s almost meditative. You play the part of this floating entity that’s almost amoeba like that goes around absorbing the smaller elements around you.

As you absorb the smaller pieces your size increases and then you are able absorb larger elements, the goal generally being to become the biggest. Some levels you have to grow just enough to absorb a special element.

Sounds simple enough but then you have to take into account that some levels have gravity and other have repulsers and a variety of other ‘bad guys’ to work around. You realize that something so simple can be a lot more difficult than it appears.

You ‘push’ yourself around by expelling small bits that you can later reabsorb as you float around. If your not careful and get too close to an amoeba larger than you can easily get sucked up into nothingness.

There are times where you just kinda want to float around and absorb everything in your path. A nice little touch for when you don’t have the patience is the finger swipe to speed up and slow down the fast everything is moving.

I’ve spent several hours in the game the last couple of nights and it’s really fun. I finally unlocked arcade mode, which opens up various levels in an Angry Birds/Cut the Rope style of leveling.

The game is absolutely beautiful, I love looking at the little amoebas as they float around and grow as they bounce and slurp each other up. There is something very soothing as you adjust your orbit on some of the gravity focused levels.

I recommend it if your looking for a new puzzle type game that doesn’t fit the typical puzzle model. It’s not often you can tie together the frustration of solving a problem with something so serene and soothing.

Osmos HD is available for the iPad and Android devices.

Bily Foster aka ‘That iPad Guy’

The Steam mobile app review

Yay! Steam finally came out with their Steam mobile app for iOS and Android about a week ago. Although it has been labeled as a beta, it is fairly neat to use.

If you do not know what Steam is, Steam is a computer game service that allows you to purchase game licenses from many different publishers.  It is essentially a digital locker for your computer games.  You do not get any software on physical media like CD or DVD.  You install the game on your computer by having it downloaded.  One of the advantages of this method is that you can install the game on as many machines as you want, but they are only playable when you log in with your account.

The Steam Mobile app is basically nothing more than a chat client with your friends that you play with on Steam games and a store to let you search and buy game software that will be installed on your computer.  When it first came out, it was by invite only to the beta, of which didn’t seem that hard.  I got my invite in a few hours later after signing in on the app.  Now the beta is open to all registered accounts.

As I said, this app for both iOS and Android is a beta, but that is mainly the service, not the app itself.  The app has a look and feel of being in the desktop version of Steam, only smaller.

It is split into 3 main categories: Community, Store, and News Feeds.

Community

The Community section is where you will find your Steam friends, groups, and friend activity on Steam.  You do have the ability to chat with them if they are online.  You can view their profile on who their friends are, what games they have been playing lately, and their wishlist.

Store

The Store section  is where you can search the catalog, make your wishlist, and be able to purchase games that will then be put onto your desktop or laptop.

I think it would be cool to be able to buy the games and play them directly on the phone. But since many of these games are recent, the hardware of iOS and Android just are not powerful enough yet to handle that ability.  It’s a neat idea, but it will be a while before the hardware can handle that much power.

News Feeds

The News Feeds are just like the advertisements of games on sale like on the desktop/laptop version of Steam. The Steam News part gives information like what games are on sale, client updates, product releases and updates, the Steam Blog, and press releases.
There is also a syndicated section that has links to articles from gaming sites like PC Gamer, Shacknews, Kotaku, and more.

Others

There are two other sections like Settings and Exit Application, but those are fairly self-explanatory on  what they do, so I won’t go into much detail on those.

Final thoughts

The app is really nice for being in the beta phase.  The nice thing is that anyone with a registered Steam account can try out this app on iOS and Android.

I guess I’m just thinking too far ahead into the future when mobile devices will be able to play these games, but at least you have access to the store and the sales that are currently going on.

You can find the Steam Mobile app in The App Store for iOS here and the Android Market here.

Have fun and geek out!

Brian Booher

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