Update: I have written step by step instructions on how to turn off IAP's on your Kindle Fire at the bottom of this review. I hope this information is helpful to you should you choose to turn off this feature.
The game graphics are OK but game play may be difficult depending on the sensitivity of your motion sensors within your device. The objects to hit or avoid are in one of three lanes and they are sometimes stacked close together in the same lane and it forces you to hit a red object in order to collect the blue object you may need. The objects can also come after a slight hill and this does not provide you much time to respond as you are moving very fast. The game is difficult as that in after 10 tries I haven't completed the first level. I hope you can fly better than me.
There are objects that have to be hit to collect to help you race:
* Auto repair automatically repairs the craft's shields over time
* Multiplier multiplies the points gathered on the track
* Advanced ion reactor lets you squeeze out more energy from gathered ion orbs
* Head start skips the easy part and lets you jump right into the high velocities
* Red objects that you should avoid or crush using the strike mode
* Blue crush objects for points
* Blue cross - crush 3 to repair the craft's shields
* Ion orbs replenish your craft's energy that is used in strike and focus modes.
You also receive points and Kions for collecting ion orbs
Kions are your currency to buy upgrades for your craft. You can earn them in game play or buy them with real money. You can buy:
* 15,000 for $.99
* 50,000 for $1.99
* 200,000 for $3.99
* 500,000 for $4.99 and credits apply only to the single device that you purchased them on.
This app is rated for ages 9 and up but downloads Dynamic Content which means:
This application contains content that is downloading real-time, based on inputs from the user or developer. The maturity rating associated with this application pertains only to the static elements of the application and does not cover any dynamic information (e.g. websites, friend postings, tweets). Dynamic content is defined as any content that may change within the application. Content can include animations, video or audio.
This warning shown above is from Amazon.
The app size is 20.1 MB per their specs but can vary depending on downloads.
Permissions asked for are:
Storage -Modify/delete internal storage
Find your network location - coarse
Network communications - full internet access
Network communication - view network state
I find the game's action frustrating to play and the controls are very slow to respond. I don't endorse IAP's and as a result I give this game one star.
Do to the continued insistence of App Developers to include the IAP's option in their apps I thought I would provide step by step directions on how to turn off the ability to buy IAP's on your Kindle Fire. I hope this helps you.
How to turn off In App Purchases on your Kindle Fire:
* Tap on the Home key and go to the Home page of your Kindle Fire
* Touch the Apps tab on top of the screen
* Touch the Store tab on top of the screen on the RH side
* Touch the menu button located in the center of the screen on the very bottom of the page. It looks like a page of written paper.
* Touch the Settings icon
* Touch In-App Purchasing
* Unclick the "Allow In-App item Purchases" box
* A window will pop up and allow you to enter your Amazon Account Password. Enter your password and touch continue.
* You have now turned off your In-App Purchases option and this will help to keep your children or yourself from accidently placing orders.
Turning off the feature in this manner shuts off IAP's for all apps you may download. If you wish to turn this feature back on then just repeat this process and check the box to turn on In-App purchases and re-enter your Amazon password. This lock only applies to turning off IAP's and does not affect your one touch buying which you may also wish to disable. This is your personal preference.
on July 20, 2012
OK, the game isn't bad. I gave it 4 stars, minus 1 for tracking and minus 1 for IAP. I'm playing it with no ads, no tracking, and no IAPs. How? Because I use these OTHER apps:
Addon Detector - don't walk, RUN to the Google Play Store to get this FREE (and I mean FREE as in NO CHARGE, NO ADS, NO TRACKING, and NO NAGWARE POPUPS) utility that will show you EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about that app you just installed, including all the hidden tracking and advertising. For today's FAOTD, Addon Detector shows it has the MoPub advertising module in it. Not so strangely, the Amazon Appstore doesn't have this gem. Wonder why? Hmmm.
LBE Privacy Guard - OK, you'll have to root your device to use this, but GAWD ALMIGHTY WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Privacy Guard allows you to DISABLE EACH OF THE PERMISSIONS you granted when you installed an app. When you install a new app, Privacy Guard asks you if you want to configure permissions for it. You can then disable any permissions you just had to grant in order to install that app. Or you can just go ahead and run the app. Let's say it's todays tracking-infested FAOTD - it wants to know your location. Privacy Guard pops up a box that asks if you want to allow ION to obtain your location - YOU CAN SAY NO! And when it wants to report back to momma, another box opens and asks if you want to let it on the internet - YOU CAN SAY NO! Oh, and did I mention - LBE Privacy Guard is also FREE (NO CHARGE, NO ADS, NO TRACKING, NO NAGWARE). Can it get any better?
AdFree Android - Another app that requires a rooted phone YOU STILL HAVEN'T ROOTED YOUR !@$!# PHONE? So you paid for an app and it STILL HAS ADVERTISING in it? No problem! AdFree Android will happily DENY that app the ability to talk to the mothership. In other words, there may be a space for the ad in that app you just got, but it'll be blank because all requests for new ads will be going into the big black hole of the internet known as localhost. This works in your browser too! Again, it's FREE (NO CHARGE, NO ADS, NO TRACKING, NO NAGWARE). You can make a donation if you're feeling generous.
TURN OFF IAPs - Open the Amazon Appstore, press the Menu button on your device, select Settings, Parental Controls, Enable Parental Controls, enter you Amazon password. You can add a PIN if you want, but it's not required. Now, all IAPs will require your password, so you won't accidentally buy something :)
Here we go again: another game that wants you or your kids to give them even more money after you pay for it.
Only this time the game is tracking your location in addition to being dangerous to your pocketbook.
And I had hoped developers had learned that violating privacy and including In-App Purchases isn't a business model that's going to get them far. Disappointing.
The problems with Amazon's IAP system, for those who haven't yet read them:
* Amazon actively discourages people from turning OFF in-app purchases. In order to prevent IAP presently, the user must know his or her account login information and use it to turn them OFF inside the Amazon store app. That is a BAD THING. It should be very easy to turn off - simply go to the setting and select "off"! That level of security - using account credentials - should be the only way to enable IAP at the device, and to do so specifically. But that still relies on device security, which is not enough.
* You might not know (but some kids have discovered) that resetting the device's Amazon store app will turn back on IAP (enabled is the default setting), so when the parent goes to do something with an Amazon app the parent is prompted for his or her account credentials and the parent will most likely not realize that IAP is now re-enabled for the device.
* Some developers are making the games intentionally extremely difficult to artificially encourage In-App Purchases.
* Many IAPs are for "disposable" or "one-time-use" items. Not only that, several don't transfer from one device to another, or even survive uninstallation and reinstallation.
Good luck and watch your back; it's becoming a jungle out there.
on July 20, 2012
Note to Amazon.
Love your customer service, Love my Kindle Fire, love the multitude of applications you have available in your store both paid and free.
I am, however, getting extremely tired of these paid Apps that drill you for more money once you buy them.
It makes sense at least for an app that is free to begin with to have some sort of way of making income. But these Apps that cost money to begin with, and then cost more money just to play the game are repulsive. Most of them aren't even complete games, they are for the sole purpose of extracting both money and information. What's worse is instead of them getting lost in the shuffle because they are what they are, you are PROMOTING them by making them FAOTDs. Shame on you.
I have stopped downloading your apps of the day with in app purchases, but it has started to become far too frequent an event than I would wish to see.
Just my 2 cents...
on July 20, 2012
Unfortunately, Amazon's FaotD has become a gateway for developers to have a free app distributed to ~100,000 customers.
This app is a great FREE app. The graphics are nice, the controls are decent enough (a little difficult, but manageable), advertising for their other games, and IN APP PURCHASES. Games should be free with in-app purchases or paid and complete.
Another poor choice by the developers was making the game 20.1mb. It's not that difficult to cut out 100kb through lowering the bitrate on a soundtrack, dropping the texture quality of a few images, or using drawable-nodpi to save duplicate copies in the apk. This would remove the wifi only download.
Graphics - 5/5
Great graphics. Similar to PS1 wipeout for those who played it.
Sound - 5/5
Not great but more than you can ask for in a mobile game.
Gameplay - 3/5
Fairly difficult to control and the learning curve is very steep. Maybe good for hardcore gamers. [No rating deduction]
Overall - 5/5
High quality mobile game. Runs great on the Galaxy Nexus.
-1 star : GPS permission. This permission is generally used for targeted ads.
-2 stars: IAP. Not acceptable for a paid game.
on July 20, 2012
Ion Racer is a high-speed twitch-reflex racing game. Collect ion orbs for energy and smash through the blue barriers for points, but don't hit the red ones, they will damage your shields. Hit a red barrier without any shields left and the race is over.
Controls in the game were terrible. Several times the game stopped responding to my inputs and I just smashed through whatever was in front of me, unable to move.
The missions require you to exceed a certain speed or collect a given number of ions, but there is no speedometer or other indication of how far you have progressed within the mission until the game ends.
This is another of those games that make it difficult to progress without resorting to In-App Purchasing. The upgrades and perks cost so much and you get coins so slowly that even the second mission is impossible to pass without upgrades. Completing missions is the only way, other than spending cash, to obtain a decent number of coins.
This app contains a module from the advertiser MoPub, though it does not display ads. It does, however, have some rather excessive permissions, calling on the Course (Network-based) Location, Modify/Delete SD Card Contents, View Network State and Full Internet Access permissions. At least it's only course location and not fine (GPS).
1 star for buggy controls, IAP and excessive permissions.
on July 20, 2012
Just felt I needed to clear the air on a few issues here...
1. To the reviewers that say "IAP is fine, look at Facebook, so stop whining!".
-Facebook devs don't charge for their apps, so the devs create iap to make money... Among other things. This game is, presumably, a paid app since it is being marketed as such being the faotd.
2. For those of you claiming that the dev isn't making money on the faotd.
-Are you serious? You think these devs are just giving their paid apps away for kicks and giggles? Amazon has a history of taking a hit on some things in order to get people interested in their products. It is more likely that the devs are being paid by amazon for every download... That's what amazon does. So not only are these devs making money on the sales, they are adding information mining, iap and adds. Yeah, I think it's safe to say we should shun these devs all day long.
The fact of the matter is, amazon is trying to promote itself by taking a hit selling free apps. The problem is, too many people can't look past the fact that they are giving away so many crap apps. My take is this, the apps are free, if you don't like one, don't download it.
***UPDATE - I stand corrected...possibly. Amazon apparently claims to pay devs 20% of the price for being a FAOTD. But as the comment to my post points out, they do not pay devs anything, at least in one case. I do not know if this is the case with every FAOTD, but a few google posts claim this to be the case for at least one dev. The problem is that the only instance I could find where Amazon held back paying out was back in the middle of 2011 with Shift Jelly. There doesn't appear to be any other evidnence that devs are being ripped off. In addition, if devs weren't making money or seeing the benefits of being the FAOTD then why are their so many devs repeating their FAOTD giveaway with different apps they have created. I have to image that they are being compensated despite the media blowing up about Shift Jelly's experience.
on July 20, 2012
I received this app as an app of the day. Having tried the app, here is my review for anyone considering purchasing the app.
First, the good. The gameplay is initially fun, the graphics are nice, and the controls are responsive and intuitive. This game could have a lot of potential if the developers learn from their mistakes and listen to their customers.
Now, the bad. First, it is a paid app with ads. This breaks a cardinal rule of app development: Don't charge people money just to bore them to death with ads! Second, for a paid app, it relies HEAVILY on Pay-to-Win content. Everything costs game credits ("Kions"), and the only way to reliably rake in enough credits to buy anything is to purchase credits with real money. As an example, my average run was 2 minutes and earned roughly 50 Kions. A new ship costs 20,000 Kions. Upgrades cost between 500-1000 Kions initially depending on the upgrade, but the cost doubles, triples, and even quadruples after each successive purchase. Third, gameplay is heavily repetitive and gets old fast. The game has a rudimentary "mission" system, where you gain bonus credits by trying to complete 3 goals per level. The problem is that you must complete all three goals to receive any reward, and to advance to the next level. The fun quickly wears off when you are trying over and over to accomplish some silly little task. Once you do get stuck, you can either keep grinding the missions hoping to pass, purchase a single use "perk" in order to temporarily grant your ship a special ability for 1 run, or quit entirely out of frustration. Fourth, there is only 1 game mode: avoid obstacles while collecting points. That's it. There isn't any "racing" anywhere. There aren't even any tracks. You just keep flying increasingly faster through an infinitely long tunnel while smashing into various colored blocks until your ship explodes. There don't appear to be any other ships, checkpoints, bosses, or even powerups beyond the finite supply of Pay-to-Win "perks" that wear off after 1 use. It starts to feel absolutely pointless in a relatively short timeframe.
So, in conclusion, if you are looking for a sleek scifi racing game as the title might suggest then (as of writing this review) this app is not the game for you. If, however, you are looking for something with pretty graphics to pass a few minutes of time, you don't mind bribing a game to let you win whenever you get stuck, you love repetitive gameplay, and you also don't mind paying for an app that bugs you with ads every few minutes, then you might enjoy this app.
on July 20, 2012
Funny how more and more of amazon's "free" apps turn out to not be free because of in game purchases. Looks like amazon is getting more and more evil by the day. I wonder if these developers are paying amazon for the privilege of being the "free" app of the day that really isn't free.
And no game should be tracking location. Developers that pull these shenanigans should be boycotted, this one right here is a perfect example. Not downloading on principle alone. It's time for customers to stand up and reject apps with egregious permissions like this one. Garbage
on July 20, 2012
And here is exactly why. It used to be that you could get useful and fun apps. Now, you get shell games designed to extort cash out of you just to make your game playable.
I've stopped bothering to check what TFAOD is lately because I haven't seen one worth while in ages.