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Review: Lonely Turret for the BlackBerry PlayBook (Revisited)

Posted: 27 May 2011 03:15 PM PDT

PlayBook Game defender turret 3

A while back, Jay wrote a Lonely Turret review and a follow up.  However, these were written before he could play the game; I thought I’d give it a revisit, now that the PB has been released and the game itself has received some initial updates. (Based on conversations with the developer, more are coming). Without further ado…

Lonely Turret is a tower defender with a twist.  I’ve been playing defender games for a while now, and there are some ideas in here that are unique to my experience.  The game play starts out ridiculously easy – but as you advance, it begins to seem impossibly hard.  I can’t count the number of times I looked at a new level for the first time and said [sometimes out loud], “Are you insane? There’s no f—ing way!”   Of course, there is a way – every level can be beaten, and most in multiple ways.

The basics are the same: you’re outnumbered, facing swarms of enemies hell bent on destroying your base.   The number of different turrets available to you increases as  you progress in levels  – you start with one turret available; and progress to ten.  If you  replay a lower level, you’re restricted to the specific turrets available for that level.  There are a total of nine different enemy types – and in the final 25 levels of the game, they can come at you in brutal combinations.

But Lonely Turret adds in a combination of unusual gameplay components, making the experience unique as a whole.

Instead of having to guard various exits, you’ll find that your base is at the center of the screen.  Enemies can (and do) come in from all edges of the screen depending on the level layout.  They will home in on your base and arrive there quicker than you might expect.

Some ships are immune to specific turret types. In addition, you’ll often find that you don’t have enough energy to get the ideal turret for a situation, and so must make do.  Different terrain types impose their own restrictions on turret usage.    You can move your turrets. Indeed, to win many levels, you must move your turrets as a critical part of a winning strategy.

Unlike other tower defenders, Lonely Turret allows you to place a gun in  a location that will block all possible paths to your base.    It’s up to you to avoid it – if you don’t, the enemy ships will all home in unerringly on your base, bypassing all obstacles.

My favorite aspect of Lonely Turret – and what really sets it apart – is the amount of strategy required.   At its most basic, tower defender strategy is simple: figure out the enemy paths, and pile up enough guns between them and you so that they die before reaching you.  Lonely Turret adds several  new dimensions to this.   Sometimes you won’t have the energy needed to purchase the best turrets; often there are simply many more enemies than guns.   Terrain is a factor too.   These elements come together in a way that (for most levels) requires a fair bit of thought in order to find a winning strategy. Not to mention quick fingers…

The Good:

  • Strategy: Lonely Turret requires thought and calculation to win – the strategy goes beyond finding the most efficient way to apply brute force.
  • Three different victory types: no star, silver star, and gold star.  You will find that in many cases, completely different tactics are needed for a different type of victory on a given level.
  • Most levels have multiple paths to victory; though of course as you try for completion at silver and gold levels, the number of viable options decreases.
  • You can move turrets after placing them, and this is a critical element of strategy.
  • Swarming when blocked: Okay, I’ll admit it – this is annoying, but it also makes the game more challenging.  You have to pay attention to the placement of your guns; accidentally blocking all paths and not realizing it soon enough can  quickly spell the end.  (This gets especially frustrating when you think you’re in the home stretch for a particular level… )
  • Terrain types: instead of being able to simply place or not place a turret,  some terrain allows enemies and your weapon fire to traverse them, but disallows you from placing guns.  Even more challenging is the terrain that allows your enemy free passage, but blocks both your weapon fire and turret placement.
  • Replayable.  I found that the first time through, I was barely able to scrape by many levels – achieving a scattering of gold stars, many silver stars, and too many no-star victories.
  • Interface: the touch screen interface is simple and intuitive.  You drag turrets onto the screen; and to move them you simply drag them elsewhere.
  • “Go For Gold” mode – to achieve a gold star victory, you have to defeat a level without taking any damage.  The “go for gold” mode automatically resets the level as soon as your base takes damage.   Not for the faint of heart, but appreciated when you’re ready to try winning gold on all levels. It saves in frustration when you take a miniscule amount of unnoticed damage early in the level, only to have to get all the way to the end to find out about it.
  • The developer is actively fixing bugs and improving the game.   I was fortunate enough to play an unreleased version recently, and it includes some minor features that improve performance and playability, in addition to several bug fixes.

The Bad

There are  a few bugs still outstanding. Most have been fixed already, and will be available soon via AppWorld – none are gamebreakers (I was able to achieve “gold” victory on all levels with the version currently in AppWorld), and definitely not a reason to hold off on purchasing the game.

  • Pathing error: every once in a while, your enemies incorrectly think you have blocked all paths to base, and swarm in.    It happens pretty rarely, but it’s annoying when it does.   The trick here is usually to move the turret you last moved again, but it often takes a critical second before you realize what happened.  The developer is aware of this and is working on a fix.
  • Some levels can run slowly especially when you have a lot of turrets and enemies on the screen at the same time.  This is improved in the next update, which will be available as soon as it gets through the Appworld approval process.
  • The current version on AppWorld does not give an indicator when you’re going to drop a turret in an invalid location.  On the fast-paced levels it can get frustrating, leading to accidental drops in the wrong place – causing a critical shot to get missed.  This has already been fixed and will be available soon via AppWorld;
  • Not a bug, but I’d love to see multitouch support allowing you to manipulate a turret in each hand…
  • I got a nice “congrats, you got all the gold” screen when completing all 25 levels of the first galaxy with a gold victory, but didn’t see it for the others; nor one when I completed the entire game with gold victories.  Not at all a big deal, but it would’ve been nice.

The Both

I am not sure if I want to put this in the Good or the Bad section, as it really depends on your preferences – so I made a new section just for this comment.  The outcome of games is influenced – just a bit – by the specific locations enemies show up, and how closely clustered together they are.  These are partially random.

To the good: This mimics a “real life” battle – chance does play a factor in combat.  It’s entirely possible to lose a battle based on something being slightly out of position, or enemies clustering when you expected them to spread out.

To the bad: Because the random changes are relatively minor, you’ll find you still stick with the same basic tactics for winning — it’s just that those tactics will fail some of the time. They’re not significant enough to require you to work around them, because you know if you run the level again, you’ll probably not have the same scenario.

On the whole, I count this towards “The Good” but it really depends on your own preferences and style of play.

The Verdict

Lonely Turret is the best tower defender currently available on the PlayBook.  It makes use of the full screen, contains many levels and has plenty of replay-ability (especially if you just have to get the gold star victory for each level).

It’s definitely worth the hard-earned $0.99 to get this game.  If you like tower defenders, it will provide you with many hours of entertainment.   If you’re on the fence, why not check out the “lite” version? It offers a subset of levels, exposing y0u to the different turret and enemy types.    (Note: I did not find the lite version challenging, but I think that was because I had played through most of the full game first – and so had some idea of which strategies to use on any given level. )

Where to Download

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Posted by marc.paradise for ©BerryReview, May 27, 2011, 6:15 pm. | Review: Lonely Turret for the BlackBerry PlayBook (Revisited) | Leave a comment |

More Pictures of the BlackBerry 9810 Torch 2 and OS 7

Posted: 27 May 2011 02:40 PM PDT

blackberry-torch-2-0011We have seen quite a few pictures lately of the BlackBerry 9810 AKA Torch 2 recently and today Sean let us know that TechnoBufffalo has posted more images of this device. I noticed that this device is running OS which is lower than the ones we seen leaked this last couple of days.

One additional feature that we will see with OS 7 is voice enabled universal search.  As you can see on the picture above it references the feature but it is not enabled on this device.

The Torch 2 looks pretty much like the Torch 9800 with better specs including more memory and faster processor.

Personally I am waiting for the 9900, but none the less it is always nice to see leaked images and the guys are likely to post some video walk through of the device later on.

Check out the pictures below or head over to their website for a full gallery. If you are wondering why there is tape on the device, the reason is that RIM probably has etched a number to the device since this is a pre production device. 







Source: TechnoBuffalo

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Posted by Luis Merlos for ©BerryReview, May 27, 2011, 5:40 pm. | More Pictures of the BlackBerry 9810 Torch 2 and OS 7 | Leave a comment |

Bimmin Side Scrolling Game for the BlackBerry PlayBook

Posted: 27 May 2011 01:10 PM PDT

bimmin PlayBook bimmin PlayBook2

You have to love apps that tell you to "Get your prehistoric rear in gear" in the app description and manage to get it past RIM's App World censors. Bret from Hardcircle let us know about his first BlackBerry PlayBook game called Bimmin. While I did not pick it up for myself I decided to get it for a friend as a gift. I got a chance to play it and I have to say its fun. It kind of reminds me of the run and jump games I used to play on my Nintendo NES way back in the day.

The main idea of the game is that you are trying to run away from a tyrannosaurus Rex who is trying to eat you while avoiding obstacles. Its not the most challenging game but for $0.99 you really cannot go wrong. Check out Bimmin in App World at this link.

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Posted by Ronen Halevy for ©BerryReview, May 27, 2011, 4:10 pm. | Bimmin Side Scrolling Game for the BlackBerry PlayBook | Leave a comment |

Quick Review: SuperTooth Buddy

Posted: 27 May 2011 11:00 AM PDT

galeriebuddyThe guys from SuperTooth sent over their hands-free car kit the SuperTooth Buddy. This is the first time I've used a hands free kit in my car.

Package:  The package comes with the Bluetooth, a micro USB cable, and a car charger that you can connect the Bluetooth to charge.   It also has a magnet that sticks to metal surfaces or you can simply use the sun visor metal clip to attached to the visor above the driver side.

Specifications: buddyspecsd2d

  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • 20 hours talk time, 1000 hours standby, and 3 hours charging time
  • Full duplex
  • DSP echo cancellation /Double noise canceller
  • Anti-Echo microphone
  • call waiting
  • Voice recognition dialing (supported on BlackBerry devices)
  • Last call redial
  • Can be charge from PC via USB
  • 14.6x49x129 MM
  • 64 grams
  • If your device ask's for a pin code enter "0000"
  • range 10 meters

Form Factor: the SuperTooh buddy is a fairly good size with big buttons for easy operation specially while you are driving.  It has five buttons, on the center the call button, red End Call button, and a power button, the other two are the volume up or down.

Paring: SuperTooth Buddy is easy to pair, the first time you turn it on you can simply search for it on your device and it will find it. If not the other way to pair device is turn the SuperTooth Buddy off using the power button. Press and hold the power button until the call button flashes red, you will hear a beep.   It also allows you to pair it to more than one device, and it automatically detects it when you have both of the devices on next time.  You should also know that the range of this hands free kit is quite far around 10 meters but sometimes even further than that. Voice Call Quality: With the echo/double voice cancellation system on the SuperTooth Buddy the call quality is good and very loud if you need it to be. You can't stream music to it from what I found out just incase you were wondering.


Overall for the price and quality this gives you a good option for the money, I found that it last quite long  on one charge if you use it moderately. I had it for over a month now and only had to charge it 3 times and I am on the road quite a bit so it gets used all the time. This really helps you keep your eyes on the road and still have a phone conversation without any distractions.  The price is not high so it is a good buy.  Best of all it is really easy to set up and to operate.  You shouldn't need to re-pair it unless you wipe your BlackBerry.

To purchase go to Amazon it sells in the range of $40-$50 dollars  or their website for  at this link.  I do recommend buying from amazon if you are in the U.S since it is local.

You can also check out the frequently asked questions at this link.

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Posted by Luis Merlos for ©BerryReview, May 27, 2011, 2:00 pm. | Quick Review: SuperTooth Buddy | Leave a comment |

ZAGAT Upgrades Their BlackBerry app to v8.0

Posted: 27 May 2011 10:43 AM PDT

Zagat 8 for BlackBerry

ZAGAT has not had much luck creating a solid app for BlackBerry though the years. I remember thinking that v5 a few years back would be good but the iteration of apps tended to be slow and clunky instead of elegant like the Amazon, Newegg, or other apps. ZAGAT is hoping the 8th version is a charm and has thrown in a bunch of new features along with support for newer devices and optimized for touchscreens.

Their new version 8.0 is packing the following updates and new features:

  • Now supports the newest BlackBerry® devices: The display and user interface are optimized for the powerful features of the newest BlackBerry devices®.
  • Location-based search: View Zagat Ratings and Reviews for nearby restaurants using your phone's location.
  • Restaurant Reservations: Make restaurant reservations right from the app.
  • Map view: View Zagat-Rated restaurants plotted on a map, either nearby or near a specific location.

It also includes the following features:

  • Includes Zagat Ratings and Reviews for over 30,000 restaurants in hundreds of cities worldwide.
  • Search your nearby locations, Metro Areas, City/State/Country, Postal & Airport Codes, and recent locations.
  • Find your way there with full-color maps.
  • Search and browse listings by cuisine/category, neighborhood, feature and Zagat’s well-known Top Lists. You can also sort by Zagat Ratings, as well as cost.
  • Integration with your phone lets you add a reservation to your calendar, add a listing to your address book and call an establishment with one click.
  • Email a review to a friend using BlackBerry’s built-in email service.

The ZAGAT app is still a subscription service with a monthly plan going for $1.99/month and a more reasonable $9.99/year annual subscription. There is also a free 14 day trial for you to kick the tires before trying it out. I know I will be making use of the trial but let me know what you think!

All of the ZAGAT for BlackBerry versions and free trial are available at this link

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Posted by Ronen Halevy for ©BerryReview, May 27, 2011, 1:43 pm. | ZAGAT Upgrades Their BlackBerry app to v8.0 | One comment |

Google Music Beta Works on Both BlackBerry 9800 and the PlayBook

Posted: 27 May 2011 07:00 AM PDT

IMG_00000130Finally I received a Google music invite, which I was able to quickly set up right from my BlackBerry browser by following the link on the e-mail invite.  The set up process is simple, and it actually lets you pick Genres on the set up process if you want to add the free sample's Google offers you.  There is not that many songs in the samples but to test it I decided to add those.  To the right you have lists to choose from that allows you to pick what you want to listen to including songs, Artists, Albums, Genres. You can listen to auto playlist by thumbs up, recently added, and free songs.

Another playlist option is the instant mixes this option allows you to select one song and then Google creates a playlist of 25 random songs.

The last option towards the bottom allows you to create a playlist by giving it a name and simply drag and drop from current songs into the playlist of your choice within the browser.

BlackBerry & PlayBook Browser:

Captura al 26-05-2011 19-16-07

So I decided to test how it works on the BlackBerry browser and to my surprise it works just as good as it does on my PC or the BlackBerry PlayBook browser. If you do want to have a good stream it needs to be over 3G  or Wi-Fi. Depending on how good your connection is, you should have no problem streaming music.

Navigating: To my surprise navigating through playlist is simple and works just as good on the BlackBerry browser. To play a song  or to bring up a menu for the songs you have to click on a small downward arrow next to the number telling you time frame of the song.  When you click on a song you can navigate around the music library without worrying the song will pause, you have a bar at the bottom of the browser that tells you which song is playing. The bar stays put allowing you to change songs, shuffle, pause or stop playing music.

You can also rate songs by using the thumbs up or thumbs down option on the right side of the songs profile.

I really like way Google designed the music library is simple and gets the job done. I did not have another device to test it on, but if you have an invite let us know how it works on your device.

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Posted by Luis Merlos for ©BerryReview, May 27, 2011, 10:00 am. | Google Music Beta Works on Both BlackBerry 9800 and the PlayBook | 4 comments |

RIM Claims Class Action Lawsuit “is Without Merit”

Posted: 27 May 2011 06:38 AM PDT

Boxing Executives

Remember that accusation we told you about by Holzer Holzer & Fistel which is suing RIM for securities violations? Well they managed to get a response out of RIM. Holzer claims that RIM's guidance based on statements the made from Dec 16th 2010 to April 28th 2011. They claim those statements "were materially false and misleading at the time they were made." Bold words… Well guess what RIM has to say in response:

Research In Motion Says Purported Class Action Lawsuit is Without Merit

May 27, 2011 – Research In Motion Limited ("RIM") today confirmed it intends to vigorously defend against a purported class action lawsuit filed against the Company and certain of its officers in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit alleges that during the period from December 16, 2010 through April 28, 2011, the Company and certain of its officers made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s financial condition and business prospects, and seeks unspecified damages on behalf of an alleged class of purchasers of the Company’s common shares during this period. RIM believes that the allegations are without merit.

I love how RIM does not even dignify the lawsuit by naming the "company" making the claim. :) Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

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Posted by Ronen Halevy for ©BerryReview, May 27, 2011, 9:38 am. | RIM Claims Class Action Lawsuit “is Without Merit” | Leave a comment |

Get One Month of Slacker Premium Radio Free – 40 Free One Year Subscriptions!

Posted: 27 May 2011 06:01 AM PDT

Slacker Premium Free Promotion

Slacker is celebrating the launch of their new on demand Slacker Premium Radio service and new set of apps with a slick promotion. They are giving everybody a chance to get a promotion code for 1 free month of Slacker Premium Radio. They are also giving away 40 full 1 year subscriptions to the new service. That is a pretty good deal considering that the new service costs $9.99/month.

To give you an idea of what the new Slacker Premium Radio service brings to the table here are the features:

  • Search for songs and albums and listen on demand
  • Create custom playlists with your favorite songs
  • Replay songs on Slacker radio stations
  • Listen without audio or banners ads
  • Skip an unlimited number of songs
  • Get complete song lyrics
  • Store stations, playlists and albums on your smartphone and play without a wireless signal

You can sign up for the promotion at this link on Facebook. The promotion is available from May 16th until August 17th 2011.

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Posted by Ronen Halevy for ©BerryReview, May 27, 2011, 9:01 am. | Get One Month of Slacker Premium Radio Free – 40 Free One Year Subscriptions! | Leave a comment |

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