In App purchases have made the news recently as a number of young children have managed to generate large bills through apparently free games.
Fortunately there’s an easy way to prevent In-App purchases on iOS devices.
To Block In-App Purchases on the iPhone and iPad.
- Open the Settings App
- Click on the General Section
- Open the Restrictions tab.
- Turn on Restrictions by selecting Enable Restrictions
- You will be asked to set and then re-enter a Pin Code, don’t forget this number
- You will now be able to alter the restrictions on your device – Turn the option to turn In-App purchases off.
- You can reactivate the ability to make in-app purchases at any time but you’ll need to know your Pin Code.
Many iPhone users are experiencing difficulties with the new Apple Maps App and are looking for alternatives and In this previous article we looked at how to install Google Maps on the iPhone. There are other respected suppliers of map apps and Nokia has developed a good reputation for the quality of both their Maps App and their Maps data. Traditionally Nokia have produced their Maps App for their own hardware platforms but they also produce a Web App version which works rather well on the iPhone. One advantage that Nokia Maps has over some of its rivals is that its possible to download routes and maps for off-line use.
To install Nokia Maps on the iPhone:
1) Open the Safari Web Browser
2) Navigate to http://maps.nokia.com in the browser
3) You’ll see a box inviting you to install the Nokia Maps Web App.
4) Tap the Arrow Icon
5) Select the Add to Home Screen option
The Nokia Maps Web App will be installed on your iPhone.
Here’s a little racing gem with fantastic visuals from the App Store – CSR Racing on the iPhone.
Far from being an exact technical simulation of motor sport, CSR Racing provides a fun arcade experience focusing on the underground sport of street racing.
A wide selection of real life cars are provided and they look stunning with incredible models and beautiful lighting effects, in fact the whole game looks fantastic matching the visuals on home console games.
Plenty of Race Options are included
After you have chosen a car the game is controlled through a city map which highlights your potential races and process access through to mechanical services.
Races take several forms, including a daily challenge against a mystery challenger, regulation races against your own car and crew battles against a local street gang where you race 5 members of the gang through an increasing difficulty level.
The actual race mechanics are very simple but do take practice and skill to get right with steering being automatic and the main focus of the game on shifting up gear at the correct time. Getting off to a good start is also key to winning a race and you will need to experiment with the on screen accelerator peddle to learn how to get the best results. Optional Nitrous upgrades can also been used to give you a short lived speed boost.
Face & Furious Action
Each race only lasts a few seconds so this is definitely about short sprints rather than a long marathon.
Each car can be significantly upgraded in the garage to increase performance and this is vital as opponents get harder, winning races and sharing feedback through your social networks provides you with extra funds or in game currency can be purchase with real world cash. If you are very patient there is no need to spend real money which makes the fact that this game is free to download.
We have often talked about what makes a good mobile game, fun and quick gameplay along with touch screen centric controls are required to make mobile games fun and CSR Racing has this formula down to a tee.
CSR Racing looks incredible, is fun and is free to download so check it out.
Podcasts are audio or video recordings that are distributed over the Internet. They are generally released on a regular basis and some have very large followings of dedicated listeners. iTunes has provided Podcast subscription and management tools on computers for a long time but on the iPhone & iPad podcasts have been hidden away deep in the more section of the Music App, but this has now changed with the release of a dedicated Podcasts App from Apple.
The Podcasts App provides a user friendly way of accessing all of your Podcast subscriptions from your iPhone, including setting options for auto downloading new episodes, setting how many episodes to keep and when episodes get deleted. Previously it wasn’t possible to manage podcasts at this level from your device so this App is a welcome addition.
They are many many podcasts available, and getting started for the first time can be daunting, fortunately the Podcasts App can point you in the right direction. As well as providing direct access to the Podcast Catalogue the app provides access to a selection of ‘ Favourite Stations’.
The Favourite Stations section provides access to a small selection of highly rated Podcasts in many different categories, so by choosing a category that interests you, you are bound to find a high quality podcast to listen to, it’s a great feature and makes podcasts more accessible to everyone.
If you subscribe to Podcasts or are interested in giving them a try then now if the perfect opportunity to do so.
The Podcasts App can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store.
Originally released in 1999 Sega’s Virtua Tennis series of games have found success over the years. It’s blend of highly detailed graphics, fluid animation and TV style presentation proved to be a hit with gamers.
Whilst not as realistic as some of its competitors it’s arcade friendly gameplay and quick learning curve meant that it provided unparalleled accessibility to both tennis and sports fans, and now the game has arrived on the iPhone.
The first thing that hits you about the game is the incredible visuals, the graphics on the small screen look as good as on a console, and it remains smooth on the iPhone 4s in singles matches, although looking through the App Store reviews older models may struggle, and on the 4s in doubles matches you do occasionally see a little slow down. Hopefully this will get resolved in future updates as the games looks incredible.
Virtua Tennis had managed to keep its accessibility in translation to the touch screen iPhone, several virtual joypad options are included but the new touch control scheme works best of all. Tapping the screen causes your player to run to the point you tapped whilst swiping the screen will make your player hit the ball in that direction. It takes a little getting used to but very quickly you’ll pick up how to pull off a variety of shots.
There are several game modes to choose from, if you fancy a quick game then you can play an exhibition match where you play either a singles or double match against a CPU opponent, but the main meat to the game is in SPT World Tour mode.
In the World Tour mode you have a choice of 3 tournaments per real world day, each tournament has an entry fee and a prize fund, the more cash you have in the bank the bigger tournaments you can enter.
There is also an Internet multiplayer mode where an appropriate opponent is chosen for you for an online match. Online play works well although you’ll need to get used a tiny bit of added lag in the game.
Virtua Tennis is a big name and a big game, and if you have the device to run it then it’s a fantastic arcade experience in the palm of your hand. I only hope that future updates include optimisations for lower end iOS devices.
Rummikub is a popular classic tile based game for 2 to 4 players where the objective of the game is to get rid of all the tiles in your hand before your opponents get rid of theres, and now Games Factory Online has brought Rummikub to the iPhone. Providing 1, 2 or 3 computer controlled players Rummikub certainly provides an engaging challenge.
To remove the tiles from your hand, you are required to organised your tiles into sets of Groups and Runs. Groups are
three or four same value tiles of different colours, Runs are sets of three or more same coloured tiles in consecutive number order. After your initial move, which must value a combined total of 30 or more, sets can be made from either the tiles in your hand or from the tiles on the board, If you can’t make a move then you have to take a new tile and add it to your hand.
The iPhone version of Rummikub is well implemented, with clear tiles and crisp graphics, although given the nature of the game the graphics are only ever going to be functional. If you aren’t familiar with the game then it might take you a while to learn the rules and strategies of the game as the included rules aren’t very user friendly for the novice,but stick with it as after you get into it, Rummikub becomes very addictive.
This is one of those games where because of the set up time of the original the computer version has advantages over the real world counterpart, and whilst the computer opponents provide an engaging experience, even better is the inclusion of game centre functionality and multiplayer challenges.
Game Centre will automatically find you an opponent and then go one step better, because Rummikub is a turn based game it will give you a notification when it’s your turn, this means that you don’t have to sit waiting around waiting to play you can just return to the game when it’s your turn, this is a great feature of the iPhone version. If you are into classic games then you should check out Rummikub.
You can find Rummikub in the Apple App store.
Emulation is a popular method of playing games from older systems on your current device. Traditionally emulation involves the copying of game files or Roms from your computer but on the iPhone due to Apples App Store policies emulation works in a slightly different way.
On the iPhone it is more common for you to buy an emulator with games included, this guarantees that the files are legal and don’t breach copyright, it also provides a legitimate way for those in search of classic games to purchase a digital copy.
The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was a popular home computer which holds a place in the heart of many gamers and is a much emulated system. The Spectrum has also recently celebrated it’s 30th Anniversary and to celebrate the event Elite Systems have released a special 100 greatest hits emulation package.
Many Classic Games are included
The package contains several top spectrum games from several top Spectrum Publishers and there are some true classics here including Chuckie Egg, Manic Miner, Skool Daze & Barbarian. The quality of emulation is superb, the games look and feel exactly like they did on the original Spectrum Hardware, which is its strongest strength and also it’s biggest weakness.
Game control is performed through on-screen virtual controls, and by default this method has a few problems as important sections of the screen
are covered by your figures during play. To help improve this, Elite have included the iDaptive toolkit which allows you to edit the size and layout of the screen on a game by game basis, this allows you to optimise the controls for each game.
This highlights the problem of emulation though, games have come a long way in 30 years and some old games just don’t stand up today. This is especially true of some of the coin op conversions like Dragon Ninja which did the best it could with the available hardware but it wasn’t great 20 years ago and today is a frustrating unresponsive mess.
True 8 bit classics running on the iPhone
It’s not all bad though, the Spectrum classics that were designed around the hardware tend to be simple and fun to play and games like Manic Miner still retain their classic status.
If you are a fan of the Spectrum and want a mobile method of accessing your games or are looking for a cost effective way to see some proper gaming classics then Sinclair ZX Spectrum 100 Greatest Hits is a great way to do it.
In a previous article I’ve written about the Sky Sports TV App and how to watch Sky Sports on the iPhone, and the App has been updated to include the new Sky Formula One Channel.
Formula One is incredibly popular and there was uproar when a number of races were taken off free TV and put onto Sky TV, but if you are an F1 fan but don’t want to subscribe to Sky then there is now an alternative.
The Sky Sports TV app is provided on a rolling 1 month subscription through iTunes so you can stop paying at anytime by ending the subscription.
The App delivers a number of live streaming channels to your iPhone, including Sky Sports 1-4, ESPN, At The Races, and the Sky Formula One channels. The video quality is good even on a 3G mobile connection, so you can keep up to date whilst travelling.
To install the Sky Sports TV App search for Sky Sports in the App Store.
In this previous post I looked at how you can save money by comparing prices with the Red Laser App on the iPhone, and here’s another way you can save, by using money off shopping vouchers from Voucher Cloud.
After you sign up to Voucher Cloud, which is free of charge, Voucher Cloud provides you with an impressive range of electronic vouchers which you can show to the person serving you to get money off, the vouchers cover many different types of category, from house hold shopping, to eating out, to entertainment and many more.
As well as providing a compressive search engine Voucher Cloud can detect your current location and display all the offers nearby, this is a great feature for when you are out and about and want to find a cheap meal or activity.
Voucher Cloud is one of those Apps which you should keep on your phone. You never know when you could use it and when you do it might save you a significant amount of money.