Review: TiltArena > PewPew

A couple weeks ago I reviewed a Geometry Wars lookalike called “Pew Pew,” which was fun, but I had a few complaints about. I’m generally not a fan of games like it, which try to emulate game controls on-screen. Coupled with the fact that the play area was a bit on the small side, these joysticks blocked my field of play to the point where it was frustrating.

However, yesterday I came across another Geometry Wars clone which solved most of the problems I had with PewPew. Instead of relying on on-screen controls, Tilt Arena does everything via your phone’s accelerometer. By tweaking sensitivity settings found in the menu, users can fine-tune their steering and speed and blow up shapes to their heart’s content.

The graphics are beautiful and emulate the Geometry Wars experience a lot more closely, right down to the screen flashes when enemies die. This is a recent change, and one that can be thankfully turned off. The game also manages to zoom out a little bit, giving the player a greater view of the battlefield they’re playing on.

What really got me was how well it ran on my aging Milestone; not many games that involve a lot of action and particle effects do. Tilt Arena was smooth, responsive and the opposite of frustrating, which wins it major points. To give you guys an idea of how it plays, I whipped together a quick gameplay demo.

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The only thing I find lacking with this game is its lack of depth: PewPew may have been a bit more annoying in gameplay, but at least it had a lot of variety when it came to play modes and ship selection. There’s really no replayability here except for a high score table, which is a bit disappointing. However, apparently this is Priority Interrupt’s first effort at a game: hopefully more updates are coming.

Tilt Arena is a free download

Source: Reddit

Matt Demers is Droid Life’s app guy, and is sick as a dog. You can hear it in the video. You can wish him well via Twitter or e-mail.

Review: PicPlz on Android

If you’ve got friends who use iOS, there’s a good chance that at least one of them uses; for the uninitiated, the app takes a lot of the work out of photo editing and sharing. Users can take photos, apply effects and publish photos to social networks like Twitter and Facebook quickly and easily, which, for some, is an asset. Not all of us have the time to bring up Photoshop if we just want to convert things to black and white.

Though doesn’t have an Android app, it has something that’s similar. PicPlz achieves the same functions and more; in addition to Twitter and Tumblr, users can automatically add their photos to a Dropbox account. This makes it very easy to transfer photos off your phone without connecting a cable, and eases the process of viewing them later.

Users can use the app to comb their contacts for friends who also have PicPlz installed; they can, in turn, be added as “friends.” An in-app timeline lets you know what your friends have been up to with the ability to comment. This turns PicPlz into its own social network, but really, why would you use that system when you’re going to be posting to Twitter, anyways?

PicPlz has many of the same filters as, which is the main appeal; primarily, I’m using the faux-high-definition filter due to its ability to make my pictures look a little more detailed – at least at lower resolutions. Blown up it looks a bit off, but for Twitter, it’s alright.

If you don’t use a camera replacement, PicPlz is for you; it doesn’t add any new features to the camera itself, but makes it easy to share photos quickly. However, if you want to just snap and forget, the default camera might be a better option, as having to navigate filter and posting menus can be annoying.

PicPlz is a free download, which is great. You can find it on the Android Market.

Matt Demers is Droid Life’s app guy, and staving off strep throat at the moment. Good vibes on Twitter or e-mail would be appreciated.

Review: Plug In Launcher

Many of us have gone through the stress of disabling the bug where Android will automatically launch a music player when headphones are inserted. For me, it’s been especially frustrating to hear the same songs from A Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight Marauders” in some form of another on repeat.

So, naturally, one of the first things I used Titanium Backup for was to remove the Music.apk as a whole. However, what if you wanted to merely control the auto-launch better, instead of disabling it outright?


Review: WidgetLocker 2.0

The lock screen is one of the most important parts of a phone; it allows us to see multiple information sets without unlocking our phone. Most importantly, we can see items in our notification bar and the time; other features include being able to mute/unmute the phone without going into the settings menu.

At it’s core, this is all very basic functionality. Clearly, Google believes that the functionality we have is enough, and an average user should be able to get by.

However, what if we want… more? It’s the nature of Android to have a degree of customization over other phones, so why should the lock screen be any different? (more…)

Review: ActionComplete helps you get things done

Though there’s many ways of organizing your time, the one that nerds seem to be embracing in droves is David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) method. Based on the book of the same name, GTD emphasizes the removal of stress by the use of lists. This seems really simple, but it’s not just a matter of listing a project and waiting to cross it off – instead, users are encouraged to list the action that is the next step in moving towards conclusion. Try it yourself: write down a project you have to do in the next little while, then the immediate action that you have to do next.

While doing this example, I felt a little bit of weight lift off me: because I had placed that next step in a list that I could refer to constantly, it wasn’t bouncing around in my head. This kept me from wracking my brain trying to remember all the things I need to do and actually got me closer to completing them.   (more…)

Review: Make Your Clock Widget indulges our need to tinker

We feature a lot of widget posts here on Droid Life; we believe that part of what makes Android so amazing is the ability to customize your home screen however you want. Sometimes, though, what someone’s thrown together isn’t enough; you need something a little bit more personal.

Make Your Clock Widget is an application currently in beta that allows you to do just that. At face value, it’s a very simple do-it-yourself app; from its menus, you can choose different elements of date and time, change their color, add a drop shadow, mess with layering and size, and generally muck about until you create something you’re happy with. This is great for fickle types like myself, who need to have things exactly so.   (more…)

Review: PressReader for Android

Though the business of journalism is in flux right now, people are taking chances in order to fix it. Whether it’s trying new methods of content delivery, or new methods of payment, the important thing is that people are trying.

PressReader is one of those attempts. Essentially, when you pay a subscription to their service, you are free to download newspapers from over 79 countries around the world. These newspapers are updated daily, which means you’ll always be up to date; you can download them on a per-issue basis or set up a subscription, so issues are downloaded daily.   (more…)

Review: PewPew for Android

My hatred of touch screen controls is well-known to my editor here at Droid Life. Most of the time Kellex isn’t a fan of posting my more vitriolic reviews because games that do touch controls badly are simply bad apps. They fail in their most basic function: to make the game easily playable with minimal frustration.

Every once and awhile, however, I find something that changes my mind: PewPew is one of those games. It takes the winning formula of the Geometry Wars series and mercilessly rips it off; I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. However, it replicated the dual joystick experience of an Xbox 360 controller quite well through two amazing responsive on-screen control knobs. In short, one control stick moves you, the other tells the game which direction you want to shoot. Sometimes the game is a “rub your stomach while pat your head” conundrum; keeping track of the two is harder than it looks. (more…)