Doodle for Kindle

I had a lot of fun playing Doodle for Kindle. It is a lot like Etch A Sketch, an old favorite drawing toy from childhood.

The Kindle’s e-ink platform is really similar to Etch A Sketch. Use the Kindle’s toggle button to draw a picture on the screen. You can customize the drawing speed and type.

Hold mode does faster and more precise drawings. This setting is great for more intricate designs. Automatic draws on its own while you guide with the cursor. Step by Step adds a line at a time, so it is good for stair steps or boxes.

Doodle for Kindle comes with a few sample drawings to get your creative juices flowing. They’re pretty elaborate. A couple of examples include the Mona Lisa and a swan. Take this as a fun opportunity to recreate something equally or more elaborate!

For those who aren’t that good at drawing, you can always just doodle for fun. I just like to dig in and create a bunch of random shapes. Sometimes the most random doodles can turn into a true work of art.

I think kids will love Doodle for Kindle because it provides an opportunity for them to use a “cool gadget.” For adults, this is a great way to keep your kids occupied for long periods of time in the car or waiting room.

I’ve seen so many reviewers of Kindle books and applications talk about how they wish there were more kid friendly options on the popular e-reader. Doodle for Kindle fits the bill perfectly.

Your primary drawing method is through the toggle button, but you can use keyboard shortcuts to switch between modes. Also, if you press the menu button on the Kindle, it gives some important options to choose from. They include clearing the drawing, resetting default drawings, and an about section that explains the basics of the app. You’ll also find an option to invert the colors from black on white to white on black. I thought that was pretty cool.

After going over the reviews, I was pleased to find that they are all positive. The average is 5 stars! Doodle for Kindle is a great app for a really inexpensive price.

Chios

“Pretty straight forward drawing app for the Kindle. Definitively good for keeping your kids busy during a car trip or for zoning out during a boring meeting. Does what it advertises and worth the one buck.”

Converter

In addition to serving as an e-reader and game platform, the Kindle also can serve as a useful tool for everyday needs such as unit conversions.  The conversion tool is called Converter.

I was impressed with the types of conversions it includes.  It even has Pressure conversions: paschal, bar, etc.  The average person probably never uses these, but I think they’re good to have if you are a scientist and need to work with them.

It always takes me a few minutes to remember how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon, or how many ounces are in a cup.  I like to bake goodies often, so this will be a quick and handy tool for me to use if I need it.

The complete units of measure list can be found from Converter’s Amazon page.  Some of them took me back to my high school chemistry days.

I think the interface needs a little work.  You have to use the Kindle’s 5-way toggle to maneuver around each section, and that can get cumbersome.  When you first open the application, it provides a list of keyboard shortcuts to use as an alternative.  They’re helpful, but I think they should be accessible somehow once you get into the conversions.  Maybe a menu option, or at the bottom of the page perhaps?

The font size is really big, which I am grateful for.  You can adjust the font size through the menu.  Aside from the navigation flow, it works great.

Check out the Converter reviews.  They provide good insight on how the tool works and provide really good suggestions for future improvements.

Michael P. Gallagher

“It’s a pretty simple process – you start with the “From” unit of measurement, such as volume, and type in your base starting point. Then you change what you are trying to convert “to” and your Kindle immediately spits out the answer.

About the only drawback to me is you have to use the “A” or “J” keys to change the conversion type – such as length – and the S, K, D, or L keys to change the “from” or “to” parameters; I had to write those hints down until I had performed about two dozen calculations and didn’t have to refer to it again. That does not take away from the program, but is more an inherent limitation in the Kindle’s keyboard.”

B. Bordi

“I purchased this product today and it seems quite easy to use, however, one of the first things I attempted to do was convert a negative temperature fahrenheit to celsius. I could find no way to enter a negative number. I contacted the creator, 7 Dragons, and was told that negative numbers are not supported. No big deal, a minor limitation for what seems to be a well valued product (99cents).”

 

Monopoly

Monopoly is the most well known board game in the world.  You can play it in the original board game format, on the computer, on your smartphone and on the Kindle.

The Kindle version of Monopoly has a good set up, but can use a few tweaks here and there to make it easier to navigate and find your playing pieces.

I think the “Help” section is great, and it is very useful for getting the feel for the game on the Kindle platform.  Also, try ” Tutorial” when you first start.  It gives you direction throughout the game.

The graphics are decent.  I agree with the many reviewers who said it was difficult to distinguish between your piece and the opponent’s because they aren’t marked very well.  It took me a minute to find mine on the board.

As you know, Monopoly is a really addicting game, and can last forever if you let it.  The Kindle version is no different.  Countless reviewers remarked how addicting it is.  You can play against the Kindle, or you can Pass ‘N Play with your friends and family.

I remember, before the Kindle came out, I’d have to travel with the original board games, and there was always a good chance that we’d lose pieces along the way.  With the Kindle, and even with the smartphone versions, you no longer have to worry about losing pieces.

As with many Kindle games, this one requires heavy use of the 5-way toggle button.  Future adjustment suggestions could be to utilize the keyboard more so you don’t wear out the toggle button.

The Kindle version of Monopoly is customizable.  You can create “House Rules” to determine whether players get extra money for passing “Go” and more.  You also have three levels of game difficulty ranging from easy to hard.  Whether these levels are actually easy or hard depends on the skill levels of the players.

Scott from Detroit

“The game delivers the true Monopoly feel. Computer AI is, for the most part, rather logical. Graphics are crisp and clear. Screen draws and navigation aren’t too slow.

Some added bonuses include the ability to have multiple human and CPU players at the same time, custom house rules, and the ability to choose what game pieces the AI uses. ”

I can definitely see a great potential for improvements in Monopoly as the Kindle product gets upgraded.  Right now, the game is listed at its full price: $4.99.  Be on the look out for sales.  It has been marked as low as .99 occasionally.

 

 

Sudoku for Kindle

Sudoku is a natural addition to the Kindle word game list.  You have a large variety of puzzles to choose from, and you can choose to play Sudoku puzzles that come from newspapers and magazines.  So, no need to give up your favorite New York Times puzzles.

If you aren’t familiar with the game, you are provided with a 9 by 9 grid that is partially filled with numbers.  There are thousands of number combinations to choose from.  The grid is broken down to smaller 3 by 3 regions.  You must fill each region with the numbers 1-9 in order to finish the game.  The Kindle version comes with levels ranging from easy to insane.  So there is something for everyone.  A reviewer who considers himself a Sudoku expert even feels challenged by the difficult levels.

EA did a great job making the Kindle version of Sudoku resemble its pen and paper counterparts.  There is a legend included to show what letters on the Kindle keyboard represent the numbers in the game.  EA makes is easy to remember what letters go with the numbers.  The letters that correspond to the numbers are the ones at the top of the keyboard starting with “w” and ending with “o”.  The 5-way toggle button makes it easy to move the letters around.

Sudoku on the Kindle has a few advantages over the paper version.  You can make notes in the squares and click “autofill” if the game gets too hard.  You also have a “hints” option that is included in all of the Kindle games.  If you mess up, click “undo” or use the error checking option.

For more information on Sudoku for Kindle, check out the Sudoku Kindle review on the Kindle Review Blog.

Texas Hold’em for Kindle

texas hold'emFor about 4 bucks you can get Texas Hold‘em for the Kindle, a fun poker game created by EA.  This popular poker game can be played with up to 5 people via Pass n’ Play.  EA has a good record so far for games on the Kindle and this one continues the trend.

In Texas Hold’em, you have three difficulty levels to choose from, as well as six different characters in Career Mode.  You can also play one on one or in tournaments.  Texas Hold‘em is an easy game to learn, and the Kindle version has a built in Advisor setting to help you out.  You can access this setting by pressing “A” on the keyboard.  One reviewer made a good point about the Advisor.  It can provide common sense advice, but sometimes a winning hand is based on just plain luck.

One thing that the Kindle edition has that the physical card game doesn’t, is stats.  That is, unless you write them down yourself.  You can track your stats that the Kindle has automatically created for you, and see your playing history.  That’s pretty cool, and you can use your past experiences to get better and better with each game.

One review suggested some good improvements that EA should include in the game.  It should be able to hold 8-10 people instead of just 5.  Players should be allowed to play against other Kindle users via wireless or 3G networks.  Both of these would be great additions for any of the games available on the Kindle.  The Pass ‘N Play feature is nice, but it would be easier to play against users with their own Kindles.  Plus, that would give you the option of playing with someone remotely.

Texas Hold’em works the best on the third generation Kindle, but first generation Kindle users are out of luck unless someone comes up with a way to make it compatible.  There have been several complaints about this issue in the reviews.

For more on Texas Hold’em for Kindle, check out the Texas Hold’em Kindle Review post on the Kindle Review Blog.

Panda Poet for Kindle

The latest addition to the Kindle game scene is Panda Poet.  Panda Poet is just about as creepy as it sounds.  However, the reviews are excellent and it comes from Spry Fox.  They hit the jackpot with their hit game Triple Town that came out a couple of months ago.

Panda Poet is a word game sort of like Scrabble.  You place letters on a board to form a word.  A panda is formed when you form a word in an open space on the board.  If you form a word near another panda, it makes the panda grow.  As the panda grows, new letters appear around the panda.  Your goal is to get the biggest panda or the longest word possible.

Here’s the catch: every time you form a word, the other letters on the board go one step closer to expiring.  Letters usually last about four to five rounds.  If a letter expires, it is replaced with a skull and limits the panda’s growth in that direction.  So, not only do you have to create the longest word possible, you have to think about where to place words to get the most letters before they expire.

I was amused at the way the pandas look as they grow.  One reviewer pointed out that the pandas are basically rectangles.  But, would this game be as interesting if it was just called the Rectangle Poet?  You also have to keep in mind that Spry Fox has only a monochrome e-ink screen to work with.  Maybe penguins will be next?

The scoring is a bit complicated, and one reviewer said that the “Help” screen could use some work.  However, you can easily pick up the gist of the game through playing.  Panda Poet is a fun, addicting game well worth the 3 bucks.

Check out the Panda Poet Kindle review on the Kindle Review Blog.

Minesweeper for Kindle

You are probably familiar with Minesweeper for the Microsoft Windows platform.  The game got its roots from various games of similar nature that were developed in the 1980’s.  You will find the basic Minesweeper structure in a variety of other puzzle games such as Sonic Battle, Mole Control and Vinesweeper.

The object of Minesweeper is to clear a grid without landing on hidden mines that are placed in various spots on the grid.  When you uncover a square on the grid, numbers reveal how many mines are in the vicinity of that particular square.  Use your deductive reasoning skills to identify all of the mines.  To identify the mines, you have to make the square without actually landing on it.  If you land on a mine, the game is over and you lose.  The game is also a race against time.  This should push you to improve your speed as well as strategy as you play more and levels of the game.

The Kindle version of Minesweeper has some great features that will assist you as you play.  You can turn on hints that will help you learn the game.  It also comes with three levels of difficulty and a wide selection of puzzles to solve.  The greater the difficulty level, the larger the grid becomes. The game also records your high scores so you can keep track of them.

Minesweeper is not the most exciting game in the world, but it can be addicting.  The Kindle adds portability and allows you to play in so many more places.  This game is great for the Kindle platform because of its simple design.  Best of all, the application is free and a vast improvement over the Kindle’s built in version.  If it’s free, there’s nothing to lose.

For more information about Minesweeper, check out this Minesweeper Kindle review in the Kindle Review Blog.

Triple Town

If you like puzzle games, there is a new  and exciting game called Triple Town available for the Kindle that has awesome reviews.  It even works well on the 2nd generation of the Kindle, which cannot be said for all of the Kindle games.  That makes me happy because I have the Kindle 2.

Triple Town is simple and easy to learn.  You line up similar objects on a board and they turn into a more elaborate object.  For example, three grass squares turns into a flower, which turns into a bush until eventually you create buildings and castles.  Of course, there are creatures eager to get in your way and disrupt your building process.  You will also find hidden crystals that are considered “wild cards” for the game and can be of great value.  There are also game play hints that you can use as well.

Don’t be fooled by the initial simplicity of the game.  As you progress, you’ll find that there is a lot of strategy involved, and those can lead to unexpected outcomes.

It is nice to have a game that is mentally challenging, as opposed to brain numbing games like Minesweeper or Oregon Trail.  Speaking of Oregon Trail, I’m surprised that there is not a Kindle version yet.  Despite the mindless nature of that game, I have fond memories of playing it on my calculator when I was supposed to be paying attention in math class.

But I digress.  Spry Fox did an excellent job with Triple Town, and I hope to see more games from them in the future for the Kindle.  The Kindle platform makes it tough to make games, but this could spark a whole new realm of gaming.  It is refreshing to see the new crop of games fare so well alongside the familiar ones such as Solitaire and Scrabble.

For more information about Triple Town, check out this Triple Town Kindle review in the Kindle Review Blog.

Triple Town is now compatible with the latest generation keyboardless Kindle.

Solitaire for Kindle

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has ventured into card games with the recent release of Solitaire.  Solitaire is a great game to play if you’re bored at work (that is, if your boss doesn’t block it from your computers) or have time to kill.

The Kindle and Kindle DX version of Solitaire lets you get by the boss’s computer restrictions, and it also adds portability to the well loved game.  Actually, I should say games.  The Kindle edition comes with twelve different games to choose from: Klondike, yramid, Yukon, Golf, Freecell, Wasp, Peaks, Canfield, Spiderette, Eliminator, Easthaven, and Baker’s Dozen.

Brief Overview of a Few of the Games…

Klondike is the most familiar and well known version of Solitaire.  The goal is to build piles, or foundations of each suit.  The foundations begin with an ace and end with a king. In the mean time, you create piles of descending numbers starting with the king and ending with a two.  The goal is to get to the point where you can move the cards from the descending piles to the foundation piles.

Freecell is another form of Solitaire, and the good part about it is that you can play it over and over and still get a challenge.  The goal is to build foundation piles by suit, just like with the Klondike version.  Throughout the game, you can move the piles around and start new piles.  So it provides a little more card flexibility than Klondike.

Baker’s Dozen is set up by creating thirteen columns of four cards.  The game got its name because thirteen is considered the baker’s dozen. The object of the game is the same as Klondike and Freecell.  In order to start the foundations, you must free the aces from the piles and add them to the foundation piles.  The columns or tableaux can be added to in descending order regardless of suit until the ace is found.

The Kindle’s keyboard makes moving the cards around really easy with shortcuts and the 5-way toggle button.  The Kindle is not a color e-reader so you will need to know which suits are red and which are black to create the descending piles of alternating colors.  The crisp e-ink display makes it easy to see the cards and their contents.  Despite the lack of color, Solitaire has been a real hit with reviewers.

Describing the games in writing might come off as a bit dry and hard to understand without seeing the games themselves.  I think, in order to understand the Solitaire games and how to do well in them, you have to actually play them.  Trust me, they are a lot of fun!

For more information about Solitaire, check out this Kindle Solitaire review on Kindle Review Blog.

Scrabble for Kindle

Scrabble has been a real hit for Kindle users since its release on September 23.  It includes a lot of cool features to help you improve your playing strategy..

The Kindle edition of Scrabble includes both solo and multi player versions.  In the solo game, you’ll play against a computer with a choice of three difficulty level settings.  The Best Word feature provides you with the best word options that would make the most out of the double and triple word scores for a turn.  Too bad you don’t have that hint with the regular board game. I’m sure many people will make good use of this feature.

Statistics tracking is included to help you strive to improve your game each time you play.  You can also take a look at past moves that both you and your opponent have made throughout the game.  It looks like the players are going to have to get a lot more secretive about the way they play strategically.

The reviews for the Kindle edition of Scrabble are great, and one reviewer pointed out that the Kindle’s five way controller makes playing the game really easy.

Another reviewer noted that the graphics are well done, and the game has just enough complexities to justify the higher price of $4.99.  This is about the same price as the best games on the iPad and iPod touch.  So you get what you pay for in most cases.  When I think of paying $5 for this game versus $30 or more for a Nintendo DS game, it puts things into perspective.

The full board on the regular Kindle is quite small, but the new and improved graphics on the latest generation allows it to remain crisp and easy to see.  The Kindle DX certainly provides more board room on its bigger screen if you have one.

As for the game itself, Scrabble is a challenge.  It is fun to come up with creative or crazy words.  I get a real kick out of beating the “unbeatable” experienced players.  Now, with the game available on my Kindle, I can take it anywhere and play it while I wait for the bus, the doctor’s office or at home on a rainy afternoon.

For more information about Scrabble, check out this Kindle Scrabble review on Kindle Review Blog.