Bubble Pop

Bubble Pop is the first game that I’ve gotten the opportunity to compare both Kindle 2 and Kindle Touch versions.  The Kindle Touch version wins hands down as far as navigation goes, but this game is rated quite highly on both Kindle Touch and non touch screen Kindles.

Bubble Pop is pretty self explanatory.  Simply pop matching bubbles until you run out of moves.  If you run out prematurely, the game is over.  Try to match the biggest groups of one color as you can because the bigger groupings get more points.

There are two game types; Classic and Puzzle.  Classic constantly fills the board as you pop the bubbles until you no longer have any moves left.  The puzzle mode takes away bubbles until they are all gone or until you run out of moves.

With the Kindle Touch, all you have to do is touch the matching bubbles and they pop.  For Kindles that include a toggle button, you have to move the cursor around until you get to the bubbles you want to pop.  The toggle button slows everything down considerably, but it is still a fun game regardless.

Bubble Pop’s graphics are about equal for both types of Kindles.  The bubble colors are distinguished by different shades or patterns.  They look really crisp and easy to see.  If you get stuck, there is a hint option.  The game isn’t timed, but the best thing you can do is to try to beat your own previous scores.

So, overall, Bubble Pop is easy to learn and is great for all ages.  You know how it can be fun and addicting to pop bubble wrap?  Well Bubble Pop is the same type of deal.

Hard2Please

“A great game for having some quick mindless fun just poping bubbles willy nilly, or a game of strategic moves that maximize a high score.This game moves very fast given that you’re playing on a Kindle. Another good feature is that the game tells you when no more moves are possible so you aren’t just spinning your wheels.”

Lady Galaxy

“This game reminds me of the very first game I ever downloaded to my little Mac Classic when the world of computers was oh so new and oh so simple. It’s easy to play. It doesn’t require that you learn or remember a lot of complex keystrokes to play. All you need on a Kindle Keyboard is the 5-way controller and a few minutes of spare time. The hard part is stopping. Popping all those bubbles is a great way to rest your mind.”

Big Holiday Kindle Game Sale

I wrote an earlier post about the holiday themed Kindle games that were released at the beginning of December.  Now, with the holidays upon us, there are several more that have been added to the collection.  All games are going for a great deal at $.99.

Christmas Cocoa Stand is a unique strategy game for all ages.  The object of the game is the sell the most cocoa each day.  In order to do so, you have to maximize the flavor and keep track of how many customers you have.  The better your cocoa tastes, the more customers you’ll get.  It is a good way to teach kids some simple business tricks.  Yet, it also provides enough challenge to make it enjoyable for adults.  This game is one of the top rated in the list of holiday games.

If you’re looking for some adventure, check out Mystery Castle: Winter’s Night.  Mystery Castle; Dawn of Illusion’s Monty returns to tackle the demons of the Ice Palace.  Build bridges and blow up barriers with bombs.  Lots of fun with a wintery twist.

 Mahjong Solitaire Holiday Edition is similar to the original version that consists of uncovering matching tiles.  This game takes a little strategic thinking because you can’t just uncover any tile.  Tiles can be matched when they’re not attached to adjoining tiles.  There are 10 games to choose from with two holiday sets.  So, instead of matching up shapes, you’ll be matching up pictures that go with the season.  This game is compatible with the Kindle Touch.

Snakes Christmas is just a holiday themed version of the simple game: Snakes Basic.  The object is to collect as many pellets as you can without running into your growing tail.  It gets a bit tricky once the snake gets longer, and you can make it go faster in the medium or hard levels.

If you’re planning a trivia night or are spending a lot of time in the car over the holidays, Ultimate Christmas Quiz might be a good game to try.  HandyX has a number of quizzes and all of them can be quite challenging.  So, this is a great game for teens and adults.  Test your knowledge on all things Christmas, and see how well you do.  The questions tend to run in strings of hard ones, then an easy one will pop up to give you a breather.  you can challenge yourself further by adding a timer.

Puzzazz is offering a holiday collection of word games for free called Puzzazz Holiday Gift.  The collection includes word searches and Sudoku and Wordoku puzzles.

Not a bad collection of holiday games for Kindle.  All are available for Kindle devices up to the 4th generation with a few available for the Kindle Touch.  The $.99 sale runs until January 2.  Happy Holidays!

Spongebob’s Treasure Quest

Most are familiar with the hit Nickelodeon cartoon, Spongebob Squarepants.  It is amazing how such crazy ideas can become a favorite among kids everywhere.

Now you can get Spongebob on your Kindle with the game Spongebob’s Treasure Quest.  Surprisingly enough, the game provides a good challenge for both kids and adults.  So, get ready for some silly family fun!

The object of the game is pretty simple.  Spongebob and his buddy Patrick are out to find treasure, but they must get to it before the evil Plankton and his cousins do.  Using the Kindle’s 5-way toggle button, you can move Spongebob around the map to uncover the coveted treasure.  As you progress through the easy levels, the harder ones will unlock.  The game boasts an “unlimited” amount of treasure maps to choose from.

To dig for treasure, you select the square you want with the toggle button.  If you uncover one that doesn’t have treasure, a plankton will show up to tail you around.   They are pretty freaky looking, and can trap you really quickly.  So, watch out!

Spongebob’s Treasure Quest is written in the same goofy way that we know and love from the TV show.  I couldn’t help but chuckle a few times at the exchange between Spongebob and Patrick.  The graphics are pretty clean and easy to see.  The squares on the grid are nice and big, which helps a lot with navigation.

The only concern I would have is that the constant use of the 5-way toggle button can get cumbersome.  That is a common issue with most Kindle  games, however.   Just be careful that you don’t try to go too fast around the grid, or you’ll accidentally run into some obnoxious plankton tails.

There are some clues that are important to take note of.  On the top of each row and column, there are numbers that tell you how much treasure is in that row or column.  Those numbers come in handy, and so do the various objects that are scattered around the grid.  The objects are roadblocks, but at least you know for sure that there is no treasure underneath them.

Spongebob’s Treasure Quest is compatible with the latest generation Kindle, as well as earliier generation models.

David Barry

“We’re huge fans of SpongeBob in our house. Downloaded this app for my kids; great game. I had thought that the Kindle wouldn’t cope that well with its black and white screens, but the game works surprisingly well! It has various levels of difficulty too, and I found myself having trouble beating some of the more challenging levels. It’s a great combination of original classics Sudoku and Snake.”

Holiday Kindle Games

The holiday Kindle games are really starting to pour in.  There are about six so far, and as the holidays approach, I’m sure there will be more added to the Kindle game collection.  These games will be great for traveling, and as fun activities for the whole family.

Pixel Perfect Holiday Puzzles is holiday edition of Pixel Perfect Puzzles, a game developed by Amazon that is one of the most popular games in the whole Kindle game collection.  The goal is to create a picture by grouping sets of blocks together on a grid.  Each row and column has a set of numbers that tell you how many blocks to put down.  The trick is to figure out how far to space each set of blocks so that they’ll make a picture.  The holiday edition includes themes such as Winter, Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.  This game is free, so you can’t go wrong, especially with it being top quality.  I like that it includes themes from all of the major holidays of the season.

Picture Cross is the same type of game as Pixel Perfect Puzzles, and it comes in a Christmas edition.  This game has 100 Christmas themed puzzles, and even though it isn’t free, it is still pretty cheap at $.99.  So, if you get done with all of the puzzles in the free game, check out the Picture Cross version.  Picture Cross Christmas Edition is a fun game for all ages.

Word Search is one of my favorite word games.  There are many versions available for the Kindle, and to celebrate the season, you can grab Holiday Word Search for just $.99.  The object of the puzzle is to find the words hidden vertically, horizontally, or diagonally into a grid.  All of the puzzles in Holiday Word Search are part of different categories such as songs and movies, and are related to the season.

Cryptograms are scrambled words or phrases that you have to decode.  To me, they are quite challenging, at least as far as word puzzles go.  Puzzle Baron’s Holiday Cryptograms add a fun twist that includes cryptograms with themes from the season.  I find that it is helpful to pick up context clues from the letters already in the slots.  The categories are Wintertime, Gifts and Giving, Friends and Family, New Years, and Holiday Season.

Futoshiki is one of the top rated Kindle games, so I am excited that there is a holiday version that brings even more great Futoshiki puzzles.  Futoshiki is basically a Sudoku puzzle game, but it includes < and > signs to make things more interesting.  The rules remain the same in Futoshiki Holiday Eidtion, but the board becomes more cheerful with the addition of trees, stockings, and presents.

Blossom is another top rated Kindle game, and has awesome reviews.  A holiday edition of the hit flower irrigation puzzle has been released.  Instead of flowers, your goal is to spread holiday cheer by transforming ugly lumps of coal into beautifully wrapped presents.  The basic concept of the game stays the same.  You connect pipes from a center source to different parts of the board.  Each puzzle is complete when all of the pipes are connected.  It can take a bit of maneuvering, so don’t leave any lumps of coal behind!

All of these games are compatible with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation Kindles.  The only one currently compatible with the Kindle Touch is Word Search, which is unfortunate, but with the user interface now touch screen, it will take some reworking on the developers’ part.  The Kindle Fire has its own separate set of games that can be found in the Amazon Android marketplace.  The prices range from free to $1.99, with most being $.99.  Happy Holidays!

 

What Black Friday Means for Kindle Games

November has been a big month for the Amazon Kindle.  The Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire shipped on November 14, and the reviews are pouring in.

Black Friday is fast approaching and people are already starting to camp out at stores like Best Buy and Walmart.  Amazon is celebrating Black Friday Week by offering deals on its Official Black Friday page.

Consumers already have a wide variety of Kindles available for unbeatable prices.  The Kindle 4 starts at $79.  The Kindle Touch starts at $99 and the Kindle Fire is $199.

Barnes & Noble quickly responded with an update to its NookColor and calls it the Nook Tablet.  The Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire will be going head to head during the 2011 holiday shopping season.

Holiday editions of Kindle games are starting to trickle in.  Pixel Perfect Holiday Puzzles has been out for a couple of weeks.  Reviewers raved about the original Pixel Perfect game created by Amazon.  Both the original and holiday versions are free.  Hard to believe a free game would beat out its paid counterparts. Picture Cross and Nonograms by a long shot.

Pixel Perfect Holiday Puzzles is a logic puzzle.  Starting with a grid, you have to fill in the number of blocks that the numbers at the top and end of the row indicate.  Sometimes, there are more than one numbers, so you have to figure out where to place each set of blocks.  For example, 6 3 would mean 6 blocks separated by one or two empty blocks, then 3 blocks.

The holiday edition includes puzzles that are symbols of all of the holidays that come around this time of year: Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

The only other holiday themed Kindle game that I’ve seen so far is Puzzle Baron’s Holiday Cryptograms.  This game includes quotes about all things holiday: winter, friends and family, New Year’s, gifts and giving, and the holiday season.  There are 100 quotes that are scrambled into cryptograms.  This one is around 3 bucks, but the original one got great reviews.  I wouldn’t expect anything less than great reviews for this version as well.

To be honest, I thought there would be a much bigger holiday game selection by now.  Maybe developers are focusing more on recreating games to be compatible with the new Kindles.  There are very few games compatible with the Kindle Touch so far.

But, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a big game sale for Black Friday.  Now that the Kindles are all in the hands of consumers, it is only natural that great deals on games and accessories will not be far behind.

 

5 in a row

If you are looking for a simple, no brainer kind of game, 5 in a row is your game. There is also a built in version called Gomoku that is on the Kindle 2 and 3. You can press either alt+shift+m or g.

The object of 5 in a row is to get your game pieces: “x” or “o” all lined up either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. By default you are “x”, and you will always go first. There are three difficulty levels: easy, medium, and hard all determine how accurate the A1 moves are. So, the harder the difficulty level, the more fine tuned the Kindle’s moves will be.

To me, the thing that puts 5 in a row above the built in version is the graphics. They’re bigger and easier to see. Another difference is that there are three difficulty levels in 5 in a row as opposed to one in the other one.

I thought the game was okay, and the simplistic nature fit the object of the game. The easy level is a good warm up. It is easy to win, but it also teaches you strategies. The 5 in a row direction that I usually forgot about was the diagonal direction. So, the Kindle did manage to get me there.

I wish there was a smoother way to fill in the blanks. My 5-way toggle selection was all over the place. This might be better on newer Kindles though. With that said, you use the 5-way toggle button to navigate to the square you want, and to select it.

5 in a row did not get good reviews. I think the two major things that it could use are bigger graphics and an option to play a human instead of the Kindle. Otherwise, it is just a simple, time filler game.

5 in a row is available on the latest generation Kindle, as well as older models.

Ed Pegg

“My first game was on Easy. The computer opponent played over in the corner, far away from my stones, and I got 5 in a row right off. “Uh-oh,” I thought.

But on Hard, it took me over a hundred moves to win in my first try.

5 in a row, go-moku, renju, gobang, pente, caro, omok are all variants. This does not use the Pente rule (capping a line of two opponent stones captures them). This does not seem to use the “three and three” rule either (two simultaneous lines of three forbidden). This seems to be a pure 5-in-a-row game.”

KenKen Vol. 1

KenKen Vol. 1 is a logic puzzle similar to Sudoku, but it has a lot more factors involve that make it more challenging.

There are four difficulty levels: easy, medium, hard, and expert.  The puzzle grids get bigger and bigger. So far I’ve completed some 3 x 3 grids and am working on a 4×4 grid.  The grid size doesn’t reflect on the difficulty level necessarily.  I saw some easy puzzles that consisted of an 8×8 grid.

The size of the grid determines what numbers you’ll use.  So for a 3×3 grid, you’ll just use 1-3.  Numbers repeat horizontally or vertically.  There are also sections within the grid that are called cages.  In these cages you’ll see a mathematical symbol along with a number.  So, if therre is a 10+, all of the numbers in the cage have to add up to 10.  So, just an extra bit of puzzle fun to be had.

This game is a lot more interesting than basic Sudoku games.  the graphics are very clear and easy to see.  You can annotate the squares before you make your final decision on what number to puz in.  they’ll show up as tiny numbers.  Navigation is through the Kindle’s 5-way toggle button.  The cages are well highlighted, so you can’t miss them.

There are a ton of Sudoku and other similar games out there for Kindle.  I think for the mos part they’re all worth checking out.

KenKen Vol. 1 has excellent reviews.  the game fits well into the look and feel of the Kindle and does a good job of guiding the user throughout each level.

speakfriend

“I learned how to do ken-ken in the Reader’s Digest. This version is great, because you can easily put notes in the squares, keeping track of all the possibilities. The sudoku game I bought for my kindle was difficult to use, but this is fabulously easy. I bought it a week ago, and I have completed almost all the puzzles. Now I am going back and redoing the ones I used clues to finish, trying to get a star! When will we get Vol. 2? I can’t wait!”

delta

“I love how comprehensive Kenken is; there are so many levels to prepare you to the ultimate toughest level. I enjoy the challenge very much. The paper look of Kindle help creating the ‘classic and important’ feeling to the game. I’m addicted to the game soon enough, promising myself to solve all the puzzles. Thumbs up for the game! “

Anywhere Spreadsheet

I’m impressed with the quality and features in Anywhere Spreadsheet.  It isn’t as powerful as Microsoft Excel, but it includes built in templates, and allows customizations.  The biggest perk is the portability.

As far as power goes, you have to consider the platform the application is working on.  However, the newer Kindle models are boasting some pretty powerful processors these days.

Anywhere Spreadsheet has tools that can help you calculate various things like sale price, temperature conversion, tips, BMI, and more.  Just select “tools” from the menu.

This amazing tool also includes templates for lists and logs that track weight, groceries, running time, and even chores.  Good for those who go everywhere with their Kindles.  Spreadsheets keep the logs a lot more organized than the standard list.

The menu options are huge font size wise, which makes them so much easier to navigate.  The navigation is done with the 5-way toggle button.  If you open a new blank spreadsheet, all you have to do is select the cell you want to fill in and type the information.  It will fill in at the top, but once you’re finished, it will fill the cell you selected.  This threw me off at first, but it is a good idea because there’s more space to write above the cells.

You can also download small CSV files via USB cable into Anywhere Spreadsheet.  Maybe in the future the system will be powerful enough to support downloads from Excel files themselves.  For more information and how to access imported CSV files, click the “Import” section in the main menu.

Nickel Buddy is primarily known for its exercise collection.  I was surprised to see a spreadsheet from them, but it is their best Kindle app so far.  At least from a graphics standpoint.

Rodney B. Rich

” would like to see enhancements such as sorting and better (more extensive) cell formatting tools but hey, this is on a Kindle which makes this tool already pretty amazing! I can’t wait to see where they go with this app in future releases.

Like I said, not a full blown spreadsheet like Excel, but it has real potential and gets the job done for many tasks. Not at all bad for being on a non-adroid e-reader! I love my Kindle 🙂 ”

Javisan60

“In a word incredible portability and a really usefull, you can make from notes, contacts, to calculations….! I will say it is a big step forward for the Kindle apps.”

Math Star

Math Star is an excellent game for both kids and adults.  I never was a math person, but it was good to have a refresher.

The thing that impressed me the most about this game is the graphics.  Every Kindle game developer should take note of how clear, big, and easy to see everything was.  The only drawback was having to use the keyboard.  Since the keys are so small, sometimes it was hard to press the right shortcut quickly enough.

Math Star begins with an introduction by Professor Plank.  He’s a goofy looking old man who guides you through all of the different games and other math questions.  Math Star calculates the difficulty level by your age.  At 27, I got double digit addition and subtraction problems.  You have to unlock the multiplication and division problems once you complete the addition and subtraction ones.

Once you get into the menu, there are several options to select.  You can choose to play the main game which is a larger set of addition and subtraction problems.  Or, you can play quick games that consist of ten questions.  They’re all timed, so you have to move quickly.  I suggest acclimating yourself with the keyboard before you start.  I messed up a few times before I got the hang of it and was able to move quickly.

You’ll be using the keyboard a lot for Math Star.  That is good because it doesn’t over tax the Kindle’s 5-way toggle button.  The keys they have you select are pretty logical, just running down the keyboard vertically.  So you aren’t going all over it to select your answers.

I love that there are fun, interactive math learning tools like Math Star out there.  It can go a long way in getting kids to learn math, who otherwise wouldn’t.

Puzzle.tv also has a spelling equivalent to Math Star called Spelling Star.  It is set up the same way.  Other math games for Kindle are Ultimate Math Skills Quiz and Flash Cards: Basic Math for Kids.

KValentino

“This game is GREAT for kids and adults! It bases your starting level on your age and allows you to move up from there. My 6 year old has fun with addition and subtraction games with one caveat: the game developer(s) have included a timer for each game at each level. For the younger players this is VERY stressful while they’re still learning. I would recommend that a “relaxed game” mode be incorporated as an upgrade for this game. After all, it’s supposed to be a learning game…give the kiddies time to think instead of the pressure of a timer (at least at the lower levels). Otherwise this is a GREAT game! “

Ghostboy and the Nameless Grave

Ghostboy and the Nameless Grave is an interactive fiction Kindle book for kids.  The black and white e-ink screen fits the mood of the book really well.  It is written in an easy style that kids can understand and enjoy.

The book is set up kind of like a comic book with the cartoon like graphics.  You get to choose a character that is male or female with any name you want.  Your character is Tristan’s (Ghostboy) best friend.

Along the way, you get to answer questions that determine the direction the story will go.  It doesn’t really affect the outcome overall, but it gives you choices to explore extra parts if you want.

Tristan and his mom live in an old house that is said to be haunted by an old lady.  Boy, the front door is scary.  Good thing Tristan has a camper to retreat to.

With the help of his friend Miranda and your character, Tristan sets off to help the ghost girl who is lost and needs to find her parents.  Tristan checks out a book on ghosts from the library.  It was funny to see the librarian with a bun and glasses.  That’s the age old stereotype for librarians.

Ghostboy is a great book for Halloween.  You and your child can have a lot of fun together solving riddles and answer the questions.  The interactive nature of the book gives you the nudge to pay attention to the details.  Some will show up later so it is helpful to remember them.

The book does a good job with telling you how to get through each section.  Use the Kindle’s next page button to go through the book.  When you need to select answers, use the toggle button.  You’ll need to use the keyboard to solve riddles and fill in the blank questions.

The only suggestion I have for Ghostboy and the Nameless Grave is to include a font size adjustment.  The text was kind of small.  The graphics may be a bit too spooky for young children.  It is up to the parents to decide on that factor though.

Elizabeth Wood

“My son loved this book! It’s like a combo book/game – too cool. He’s been reading/playing for 3 nights straight, and wants to know if there are any more available. ”

Proud Mom of Two

“This is a great book. My second grader loves it and wants more. It’s a lot of fun.
The reason why I gave it only 4 stars is that I wish the text was a little better quality. I understand it’s not great literature, but I don’t think that only the fun factor should be taken into consideration. That said, I’d buy #2 in a heartbeat! “