Hatch Pet App Review

Hatched
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Hatch Pet Logo

I love to draw a lot of cartoony characters in my free time, and even though I love art, I don’t really follow a lot of artwork by specific artists, except for the work done by David Lanham. His style of work is something that is just weird, and awesome all rolled into one. Plus the cartoony nature of some of his works really gets me.

Some of his most recent artwork though has been on a game for the iPhone and iPod touch running iOS 6.1.3 or higher called Hatch Pet. It’s virtual pet game kind of like Tamagotchi, but way the heck cuter, and up to date when it comes to interactivity. It just released finally and so far I have been loving this little time waster. Now although a few the of people playing the game so far have their reservations about some of the games features not being as expansive as they expected a virtual pet game to be for todays standards, or so they think. It’s still a pretty cool game, and additional features will be in the works for future updates, but there’s a lot to this app that most people don’t even realize. And so far the overall response to the app release seems to be pretty good. Where I really think this misconception stems from is that too many people assume that all the features of the game are unlocked right off the bat, but like most good games, you have to earn, or learn as you go and new features become available as you unlock them.

Dog pile of Hatch Pet Fugu

Here’s a few facts provided by the developers:

FUGU FACTS:

• Fugu come in a variety of colors and spots. It’s up to you to choose the right one to hatch!

• Plug in your phone to charge it, and your Fugu will catch some zzzzs too.

• Fugu love photobombing your photos and showing off its silly faces!

• Fugu thrive on your love and attention and build up trust in you. Keep yours fed and maybe it’ll show you its happy dance.

• Neglect it, and it will eventually run away… but not before waiting very sadly for you to come back.

Max excited that my fugu is about to hatchThe game is pretty simplistic but to help you walk through the basics a little boy named Max comes out to help give you guidance. Once your Fugu egg hatches, you can pet it, pinch/stretch his cheeks, poke it, shake it, feed it fruit from the surrounding trees, clean up it’s area of trash, dead fruit, and it’s poops. Your fugu will react to your input, and once he gets happy enough, noted by the flowers growing around your pet, you can make him do a happy dance which causes fruit to grow at an alarming rate, and sometimes grow starfruit.

Hatch pet item store

Now if your pet fugu isn’t hungry you can turn fruit into currency or acorns, and starfruit will turn into a another type of currency or star coins. The pet store run by our little friend Max sits off to the right of your fugu where you can buy items such as rugs for you pet to lay on, an in game instant camera that your pet will photobomb, fruit, and storage container upgrades for safe keeping of extra fruit.

Hatch pet sticker book

Throughout the game you may notice that some stickers will be laying around, a pile of acorns, or even star coins. Usually hidden around the edges of the game area. They’ll pop up from time to time. The stickers can be used to share with friends via social media or text message, and the acorns or star coins of course are for currency for the store. And if you have friends via Game Center that have a Hatch pet, you can sometimes gets gift wrapped presents from your friend’s pets. The contents of such packages can range from wonderful bundles of currency to a heaping pile of dung. Seriously a pile of poop was the most unexpected thing I got out of gift wrapped box, which was hilarious.

Now I haven’t even unlocked all the of the advertised features yet because according to their press kit, the feature list mentions being able to play peekaboo with your pet, which sounds awesome. That apparently happens after you’ve managed to gain 100% trust with your pet.

Now that’s something I haven’t mentioned yet was how important it is to keep your pet happy, because he can get sad if you neglect him. And if he gets sad enough he could run away. Now the feature list also mentions that you may be able to recover your lost Fugu pet depending on how much trust you originally had with him, and that Max would be the one to help you find him. But I would rather not risk it since I managed to get a limited edition colored pet that was only available to those who found their website, and signed up for their newsletter before launch.

Hatch pet adoption certificate for people who pre-ordered a pet.

Fugu Clear Egg

Their also seems to be a symbiotic relationship between your iPhone, and your pet. This is made apparent by the fact that when your iPhone battery level is low, your fugu will begin to yawn and start to get tired. And if your plug in your iPhone, your fugu will goto sleep while your iPhone is charging. You see, the developers meant for your fugu to be an embodiment of the spirit of your iPhone. In the youtube video they mention that you love your iPhone, and now it can love you back. Also if you play music on your iPhone, your fugu will begin to dance to the music. These are just a few of the little nuances that they put into the game that make it really special. I don’t think that everyone who bought the game realizes those features when they just buy it, and quickly make a bad review when this game it what they expected in 5 seconds of playtime. It has a lot more going on under the hood than you would expect of a simple virtual pet game.

Happy Hatch

Plus they also promised this in their press kit.

Hatch is ever evolving with app updates

We’ll be starting by shipping a 1.1 update shortly after the launch of the 1.0, adding collectible iPhone wallpapers featuring your pet and new scenery transforming decor to unlock. Stay tuned on our Facebook page for previews ahead of its release!

I’m excited to see what the come up with in the next update, because so far I really love this game for multiple reasons. The artwork, animation, unique feature set, and the integration with the iPhone itself just seems amazing. But who couldn’t resist a little guy like this on their iPhone.

Short version of the review, buy it now!

Hatch Pet App IconAvailable App Store

Hatch Pet was created by Impending in partnership with Realmac Software

Artwork & Animation by David Lanham

Soundtrack by composer Josh Mobley

Sound design by Emily Ridgeway, Bioshock sound designer

Animated Intro by Headless Studio

P.S. Has anyone ever noticed that throughout this game there are tiny doors everywhere, and even a tiny mailbox?

Dessert Diagrams

Banana Split Diagram with alternate ice cream flavours
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So not long ago my wife was helping organize a birthday party, and they were going to do a dessert bar. I though it would be cool if they had some signs showing people how to appropriately make a hot fudge brownie sundae, or a banana split. I searched online to see if anything existed already, but it didn’t seem like there was anything like I had in mind. So I decided to just draw a few things myself.

I ended up using my 1st generation iPad, and my trusty Wacom Bamboo Stylus to get the job done. I used a free application called Paper by FiftyThree. Now it isn’t the most robust drawing application I own by any means, but it has some nice default brush tools that I like the art style of for what I was planning on doing. Since I was too cheap to buy the in-app purchase for colors, I just exported the images to my camera roll on the iPad, sync’d them to my computer, and added color, placement, and adjusted size using Adobe Photoshop.

So here’s the final product:

Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae

Drawn diagram of how to make a hot fudge brownie sundae.

Banana Split

Drawn diagram of how to make a banana split with just vanilla ice cream.

Banana Split Diagram with alternate ice cream flavours

Drawn diagram of how to make a banana split with various ice cream flavors.

Halo Waypoint Mobile App

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Halo Waypoint Mobile AppFor those of us who play Halo on our Xbox 360, or Xbox Slims, we may sometimes like to use an application called Halo Waypoint to access some of our statistical data on how were doing in on Halo Reach, ODST, achievements, and even special armor unlocks for certain tasks.

Well, not to long ago a mobile version of this app was developed for the Windows 7 Phone. Which brings up the question, will they ever develop a version of this app for other mobile devices like the Android, iPhone iOS, iPod, Blackberry, or otherwise?

Its pretty convenient to have if your in the middle of playing Halo Reach, and you don’t want to switch apps on your Xbox between matchmaking games just to check on your scores, or progress. But the likeliness that Microsoft will allow this to be ported to other devices seems slim to none when they probably consider this a selling point for their new phone.

And you can even take this one step further with their release of an official Xbox Live Mobile App on their phones. But where does it leave the rest of the Xbox Live, and Halo fans who don’t own Windows 7 Phones, and would rather like to access their data via other devices.

Well to really get to the source of the issue, I guess the real question is there even a demand for such a product. I mean supply, and demand really is everything when it comes down to it. So I started a Poll on the Bungie.net forums in order to address this issue, and get some feedback from others who play Halo on Xbox Live.

If you would like to participate in the poll I created, you can goto the Bungie.net forums, and look up the post I made called, Do you want Halo Waypoint Mobile for your iPhone/Android?

Although if your lazy, and don’t want to make the jump you can participate in this localized poll.

Update:

Recently I sent a message to 343 Industries via Twitter about the issue at hand. I included a link to my blog article about it. The article has some related links to the several forum posts, and polls I made trying to get feedback from all of you.

I said:

@HaloWaypoint Will you make Halo Waypoint Mobile for any other devices like the iPhone or Android? http://bit.ly/efgZ7W

343 Industries said:

@Rebelord While we’re exploring the possibility of bringing it to other platforms, we have nothing specific to share at this time.

@Rebelord We are thrilled there’s interest, though!

Official Playstation App for iPhone and Android

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Playstation App for iPhoneSAY WHAT? That’s right ladies and gentlemen Playstation has announced on their very own blog that they are going to release an official Playstation application for the iPhone, and Android. Playstation Blog

So what does this mean for iOS and Android gamers? Some are speculating that this could eventually lead to emulation of old Playstation one  games on these platform. It seems possible since jailbreakers are already able to use a 3rd party emulation app called Psx4iphones to do this very thing with decent frame rates for gameplay.

Playstation App for Android

According to their blog post here’s some of the features that will be available in the initial release of the app.

In version 1.0 you’ll be able to:

  • Check out your PlayStation Network trophies and keep up to date with your friends’ games and online status.
  • Discover all the latest games, news and hardware for your PlayStation 3PSP and PlayStation 2.
  • Read all the announcements on the European PlayStation.Blog.
  • Share your favourite products or news with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or via e-mail.

The first version (1.0) will be available in the following countries: UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and The Netherlands.

We are already working on the next version that will support most SCEE countries and languages, and will also let you comment on PlayStation.Blog.

There are tons more features we are planning to bring to this app in the next few months so keep an eye on the PlayStation.Blog for further announcements early next year.

I’ll be back here to let you know once the app goes live.

Oh, and I almost forgot to say that the app will be free to download! :)

Now if I read that right it said that it’s going to be free, that’s pretty awesome. Now if only Microsoft would stop being such a stinker about Xbox Live, and make a similar app of their own, oh wait that’s the only cool feature their lame Windows phone even has, can’t let anyone else have that now can they. They even went to the lengths of making a 3rd party app maker remove on his app that actually accomplished that, but then again he was charging for it.

So who knows what’s in the future for this wonderful little app, but it’s an interesting move on their part since they’ve been attacking the iPhone, and iPod Touch gaming directly as if they were direct competition. We’ve seen it in ads like this one.

The funny thing is that a developer, Be Rad Entertainmen, actually took the time to make a game called Lame Castle. I haven’t really tried out the game yet, but it’s very similar to what was described in the Playstation ad.Playstation App for iPhone & Android

Today’s Free iPhone Game : Revolt

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Revolt IconI just happened to be browsing the iTunes App Store once again in my usual fashion scoping out the new games, and seeing if anything looks promising. I noticed that the game Revolt which had caught my eye once before was among the freebie games. I was surprised because it seemed liked to me that this was a self sufficient title that didn’t need any pro-bono marketing to get itself on top of the 25 lists.

 

To give you all a better idea of what this game title is about, and what the gameplay is like I figured I would give you a little preview. It’s another one of those overhead view free roaming 3D shooters where you gun down tons of NPCs to build up cash for goodies, and upgrades. The game has been out for a little while now, and maybe that’s why they’re opting to give out for free. It helps bring up their player base, get word of mouth out on the game, and inspire others to grab it as well when it’s freeness goes away.

Revolt Weapon Upgrades

Now unlike many other shoot em up games like this title, this one has a bit of a storyline to it which is nice because it makes it a little more unique, and not so boring. Fighting endless mobs of zombies, robots, or whatever it is needs to have something to it besides just shooting, and killing. Although I still love the title Minigore which is pretty mindless in its own right, but it has some cool voice over work.

Revolt Intense Visual Special Effects

The other nice edition to this game is that some of the game environment is actually destructible. Giving you even more wonderful things to blow up in your mindless yet tactful mayhem.

Revolt Destructible Environments

Now I haven’t had the chance to play the game fully through right now, but I wanted to get the word out while the game was still free on the iTunes App Store. I mean it’s free, if you get it now you can review it yourself at no cost so what’s the hold up!

iTunes App Store Link

Infinity Blade

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Infinity Blade Main ScreenAwesome Medieval Combat on the Go

I downloaded this new awesome iPhone game called Infinity Blade. I not sure if you were familiar with the free game demo on the App Store called Epic Citadel by Epic Games Inc, but it was a free roaming world displaying the graphics capability of the new Unreal engine on iOS devices, and boy oh boy were those graphics sweet. Infinity Blade is the final game product released by Chair Entertainment Group, although it’s slightly different in the fact that you can’t do any real free roaming around it’s virtual world anymore, it’s a action RPG with the focus on knights, and gesture controlled sword, and shield combat.

Basically you can stun, dodge, block, and activate spell mode using virtual interface buttons, and swing your sword and parry attacks using you finger to swipe in any direction. Magical attacks are activated by activating spell mode, and then drawing the correct corresponding spell on screen to activate it during combat. You need to be quick though, because it’s during combat, so you either need to have your enemy stunned, or time it just right. That’s if you don’t plan on being pummeled while casting, otherwise by all means cast away willy nilly. Sometimes your sword can get locked with your enemy’s sword, and you’ll have to tap your way to overpowering them.

Although the game sounds simple, the gameplay is awesome, and as you level up, the enemies level in relation to you. During my review, I thought I had mastered repelling attacks until I was surprised by a giant troll throwing a head butt, and punching me in the face. When those get added into the arsenal of attacks, the game really started to shine.

The RPG element comes in through leveling, and gear. As you level you can add to your character stats, master equipped items, and equipping new items are essential to your character progression. Your gear will allow you to attain new abilities, or additional stat improvements. Things like extra experience gains, extra gold drop, elemental damage of different variations, and extra stat leveling points.Infinity Blade Character Stats

When you master your specific equipment items through battle experience, you can gain additional points to add to your character stats. So you’re not only leveling your character, but mastering your equipment, and getting bonus stat points for doing so. Plus different magical abilities are gained through certain equipped rings give you the ability to cast spells by the drawing of symbols. So although one item may be better than the other, you may want to take the time to master it, although you can also master items by paying. You do need to own the item though to do so.

The different items available for equipping by your character are listed as such; weapon, shield, helmet, ring, and armour. It looks like they keep it pretty simple keeping the game from getting to overly complicated for a mobile game, but it seems like a good balance between RPG elements, and action. The game allows you to buy items during gameplay, but don’t get too hasty with your gold because you can find great equipment along the way throughout the game.

As you travel through the game via rails, you sometimes stop to make decisions on which way you want to go, although you need to keep your eyes peeled for gold, or health potions laying around on the ground, and make sure you grab them as you walk by, because they’ll be needed. When you stop to make a choice, you can look around to see if there’s anything laying around nearby, but don’t forget to grab items during cutscenes of your travel. You can pick up a few different items like bags of gold, health potions, and chests with hidden loot.

What’s interesting is that the game allows you to play out your character to his death, and continue playing through a bloodline decedent that has all your saved stats. So don’t worry too much about dying, your son will hopefully avenge your death, or so on and so on. Plus if any cutscenes seem redundant, and you have somehow managed to get bored of watching those awesome graphics, you can fast forward through cutscenes, but you may miss items laying around you could grab by skipping certain scenes.Infinity Blade Vengence

I noticed that the anticipated online multiplayer feature allowing you to play against your friends in glorious medieval combat through Gamecenter hasn’t been implemented yet, although you can compare your number of victories, and achievements.

Now obviously every game has a few bugs when it first comes out, but hopefully those will get fixed quickly with updates soon enough. I experienced a few game crashes, but was relieved when I noticed that I didn’t lose any saved character data, just the fight I was currently in. And I did experience one weird situation where I should have been dead due to a damage over time effect, or poison an enemy put on me with his blade, but when my life ran out, he simply bowed and stopped fighting. I couldn’t hit him back since he kept blocking without taking damage, but I was able to restart the fight through the pause menu. I had to restart it twice though because I forgot to use a health potion before restarting it, and ended up in the same situation twice.

All in all, I would say that this game is well worth the money, and it’s a must have game for any serious gamer, or iOS device owner. And since the game was designed to be iOS universal for iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and so on, you won’t have to buy a special version for your different devices. Just buy the one copy, and your set to play.

So what are you waiting for, go out and get it now, medieval combat awaits.

Mobile Me Wannabe

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MobileMe WannabeThe Free way to get Mobile Me Functionality out of your iPhone

So Mobile Me is a great way to get more convenience out of your iPhone, or Mac with such awesome features like online storage, web-space, being able to find your iPhone, upload photo galleries, and have push notification synchronization when it comes to email, calender events, and contacts between your Mac and iPhone.

But how can you get all of this wonderful functionality out of the box, without forking over $99 dollars a year? Well to be honest, in all reality you can’t really do that, and that’s why it costs so much. Well at least straight out of the box anyway, but with a little knowledge and motivation, you can get most of these awesome features for free by combining some already available services.

For starters let’s address some of these push notification and synchronization issues. Now some of us may already have some of these thanks to our work Microsoft Exchange setup, but did you know that Gmail offers these same features for free. You can sync your email, calender, and contacts all in the cloud just like Mobile Me. So if you don’t have one already, setup a Gmail account. Now to setup your iPhone properly to use Google Microsoft Exchange servers, just follow this neat little tutorial to setup your Apple device for Google sync. Although before you do this you probably want to make sure that you upload your address contacts to your Google account and make sure everything is updated.

Now what about online storage though? It’s not like there’s some company giving away gigs of online storage away for free, right? Well in fact there is, and it’s even cloud based storage that will sync itself to all your computers. Now before I mislead you a bit there are some limits, and it more of a cloud based folder that will sync across all your computers or devices, so you will still have to keep your files on the computer taking up space. But the people over at Dropbox have come up with a pretty cool solution for syncing files. They even have an iPhone app so you can access everything that gets synced in the cloud. They have a pretty self explanatory video about their file syncing software. It also works on both Macs and PCs. It has great features like file sharing, undo deleted files, automatic online backup, and even a photo gallery feature similar to Mobile Me.

But what’s even cooler is that the guys over at TUAW.com figured out a way to use Dropbox to host an iWeb website for free. Here’s a link to their tutorial on using Dropbox as a way to host your iWeb site. Of course you do end up with a pretty ugly, and long URL for your site, but you could either use a domain name redirect, or use something like tinyurl.com to make it easier to find you website.

But Mobile Me allows people to track their iOS devices and keep them safe from thieves, even remotely. Well thanks to Apple and the recent iOS 4.2 update you can get the great “Find my iPhone” feature for free! You easily create a free account or use your apple ID to set it up. It’s as easy as adding an email to your iPhone after you’ve updated your device. Maclife.com has already made a great tutorial on how to setup the feature even on unsupported devices. So check out their tutorial on how to setup free find your iPhone feature.

Although it’s not an out of the box easy setup, the process is fairly simple, and the combination of these different services will give you a lot of the functionality that people get with Mobile Me without the price tag of $99 dollars a year. It sure beats forking over the dough.