Quick Review: Clear Weather, Doodle Kingdom and Farm, Household Bill Splitter, and Prince of Persia
There are some apps that don’t really warrant a long, extended review, often due to low cost, simple (or poor) design, or some other factor I. These may be reviewed in a “quick review” format, about 1 or 2 paragraphs long, which a brief overview about the app, but I will not go into detail about the plusses, minuses, missing features, etc. Mostly it will be a “this is what the app does, and I do (or don’t) recommend it.
Clear Weather, Color Forecast, by Pavel Mikunda
Clear Weather is a simple weather app with one relatively unique feature. It uses a background color based on the surrounding temperature. The colder temperatures are cooler colors (24 degree F, for example, is a nice deep blue) while warmer temperatures are warmer colors (getting into the orange and red spectrum around 85 degree F). This is a nice gimmick if you just want to look quickly and get an idea of the temperature (or if tomorrow will be warmer or cooler than today) but it doesn’t play out very well in practice, simply because you don’t know what the exact colors represent.
Figure 1 - Color coded temperatures are the main feature of Clear Weather.
Besides to color coding, the app has standard information – 7 day forecast, hourly forecast, current weather details (humidity, wind, clouds, moon phase), etc. It has a bright white icon to indicate current conditions (sunny, cloudy, raining, etc.). The color gimmick is interesting, and certainly the app has enough standard features to be a usable weather app. However, I prefer a little more detail in my weather data, and so I found it a little lacking. Three out of five stars.
Doodle Kingdom and Doodle Farm, by JoyBits Ltd.
$1.99 (for Doodle Kingdom) and $0.99 (for Doodle Farm), ****
Figure 2 - "My Hero" mode is a new feature in Doodle Kingdom
Doodle Kingdom and Doodle Farm are games that following in the footsteps of Doodle God and Doodle Devil. The basics of the game are that you combine various “elements” together to produce more and more elements – for example, humans and forests combine produce timber. The goal is to unlock all the pieces eventually. In Doodle Farm, the elements all have a “farm” theme, while in Doodle Kingdom they have a medieval theme.
Figure 3 - Creating farm animals and features, like roosters using two chickens, are the goal in Doodle Farm
However, Doodle Kingdom adds a couple of new game elements. In Doodle Kingdom, when you unlock certain elements (like “castle”) you can start to engage in various quests, and there is a “My Hero” mode to battle through various monsters. Both of these games are fun extensions of the original two games, but I found that some of the logic behind the pairings was a little odd. In the original two, you could really try to figure some of the pairing out to create new elements, but in the new ones it is not so obvious (for example, the way to make a chicken in Doodle Farm is to combine two eggs – guess the egg came before the chicken). However, they are both still fun, casual puzzle games, and it you like to originals, you probably will enjoy these. Four out of five stars for each.
Household Bill Splitter, by Corbenic Consulting
If you live with roommates, then you probably are familiar with having to split various bills (rent, electricity, phone bill, etc.). While in many cases, this could be a very easy process, I suppose in some circumstances it may get complicated, or you may need to keep track of who has already paid for what items. This is where Household Bill Splitter comes in. You can use the app to track the amount owed be each roommate, after setting up the planned splitting procedure. Did you decide the person with the bigger room pays a larger share of the rent? You can adjust the percentages in the app. As people pay various amounts, you can deduct that from the amount that they owe. When a new bill comes in, you can automatically split it and have the amount added to each person.
Figure 4 - Customized bill tracking for roommates in Household Bill Splitter can include rent, utilities, groceries, and more.
This is a very straightforward app, which might be of benefit for tracking what roommates owe how much money. You do have the option of manually adjusting the amounts each person owes (so if one person may a $200 phone call to Uzbekistan, you don’t have to worry about splitting it equally. While the app is very narrow in focus, I can see it being useful under certain circumstances (heck, you could even use if for splitting trip costs or something). Four out of five stars.
Price of Persia Classic, by Ubisoft
Back in the 90’s, before Jake Gyllenhaal took over, Price of Persia was an awesome computer game. I played Prince of Persia on my computer – a side scrolling action game where your goal is to just stay alive…oh yes, and rescue a princess in trouble. Prince of Persia tries to recreate the game for the iPhone. You move through a labyrinth of tunnels, traps, and bodyguards, trying to find your way to rescue the princess. Using controls to run, jump, climb, and fight when needed, you try to stay alive.
Figure 5 - Death spikes from the ground are back in Prince of Persia, the classic side-scrolling adventure game.
The graphics have been updated (I remember to old blocky 32bit graphics fondly) and the game play is the same, but I still enjoy the game overall. It takes quite some time to figure out the entire maze, and the game gets more difficult as you advance. There are a few different game modes (including survival) to add some depth and variety to the original gameplay. For any retro-gamers, I definitely recommend it, just be prepared to lose yourself in it. Five out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. All opinions expressed in this review are precisely that – opinions. You may agree or disagree. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.