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Rufus Firefly (United Kingdom)

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Ice Rage
Ice Rage
Price: £0.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Bash, check, slap, score, 4 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ice Rage (App)
Pick a cartoonish character. Start the game. Slide around and smash your opponent and slap the puck into the goal.

There is nothing sophisticated about this game; it is just the closest thing to air hockey you are going to find on the Kindle Fire. The graphics are crisp and the gameplay is remarkably fluid. Although it is a simple little game, you will sense a high standard of quality control about it.

There's not much to be said about the single-player version (distracting and monotonous), but the two-player is good fun. Recommended for warring friends, siblings and couples.

Ebola:  The Outbreak: Top Ten Survivalist Tips and More...
Ebola: The Outbreak: Top Ten Survivalist Tips and More...
Price: £2.23

5.0 out of 5 stars Solid dossier, 4 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So, Ebola has been dominating the headlines of late. Like most people, I knew nothing about it other than it stemmed from Africa. With stories about it creeping into the west, it was time to get clued-up about it.

For a couple of quid I thought I'd give this book a go, and it didn't disappoint. Although it's short (I breezed through it in 15 minutes), it packs in the key information for the layman: history, symptoms, timelines, tables, charts, maps, FAQ, and - for the proactive among you - tips for personal defence.

A lean and solid little dossier if you need to get informed in a hurry.

Pixel Gun 3D (Pocket Edition) - multiplayer shooter with skin creator
Pixel Gun 3D (Pocket Edition) - multiplayer shooter with skin creator
Price: £0.00

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic multiplayer shoot 'em up, 21 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is about as much multiplayer fun as you can have on the Kindle Fire.

You pick a skin. You kit them out in ability-enhancing boots, capes and hats. You earn better weapons. And then you take to the single player or multiplayer arenas. In truth, the single player campaign is rubbish - it's a monotonous trip through different levels shooting the same bland creatures. But that is of no concern, because this game is all about the multiplayer options. Take your pick of different formats (e.g. death matches, survival games, team battles, capture the flag, etc) in different locations (nuclear towns, pirate ships, gangster mansions, etc), and get down to the business of pixel-killing.

The customisation is great - you can even design your own skins and cloaks. There's a strong social element too, as you can add friends and start/join clans and compare scores on a leaderboard, and there is in-game chat. And the coin-earning, unlike many games, is actually fair - you get big bonuses for moving up levels (based on playing time and wins) as well as making progress on the single player campaign. You never have to spend a penny on this game if you don't wish to.

Only a few caveats to make me (very) reluctantly knock off a star. The first is reconnecting issue if your wireless connection lags; the game doesn't keep any record of your kills/progress if that happens, so you end up re-joining the same game with no credit. Here and there that would be okay, but if it happens on a regular basis then you will be seeing a lot of well-earned coins slip through your fingers. The second issue is the price of coins should you wish to purchase them: it would take $20 to be able to purchase a premium weapon. And the final issue is the number of crashes. It seems to crash around 60% of the time whenever the lid of the Kindle is closed, meaning a long reboot.

But it's free. Play it!


14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great gameplay. Shame about the cost., 16 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: DEAD TRIGGER 2 (App)
I absolutely loved the first Dead Trigger and gave it a 5* review. In gameplay terms, the sequel picks up where the original left off, complete with more countries, zombies and weaponry. In that regard it remains one of the best games on the Kindle. But I want to focus on the new buying system...

In the previous game it was fairly straightforward. You paid money in exchange for 'gold', which you could trade for items and weapons. In this edition, however, the developers seem to have done everything they can to extract as much as possible from the consumer. Now we have five dedicated characters: the medic, the tech, the engineer, the gunsmith, and the smuggler.

Here's how it works. Let's say you want a better gun. You first need the blueprint for the gun. You can collect the 2-8 pieces of the blueprint by playing dozens or hundreds of missions and collecting them at random. Or you can pay for the blueprint upfront with hundreds of pieces of gold (375 pieces of gold costs £3.05 at the time of writing).

Once you have the blueprint, you need to ask the gunsmith to build the weapon for you, which costs tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars (earned during missions or paid with real money - $150,000 costs £3.05). And THEN it informs you that it will take the gunsmith two or three DAYS to build the weapon - unless you want to pay hundreds more pieces of gold to get it immediately.

Oh, and you can only do that as long as the gunsmith (or any other character) is upgraded to the necessary tech level - which requires lots more gold and lots more time (unless you pay for those upgrades too).

This may be okay once or twice, but this goes for just about every weapon, grenade, medical kit or booster you could want. The free alternative just takes far too long to be worthwhile. I'll bet that anyone who tries to 'earn' upgrades will spend dozens upon dozens of hours with the same kit they started out with. Although you get rewarded with gold for completing certain achievements, the entire game's achievements don't add up to much more than 100 or 200 pieces of gold - not even enough to buy the blueprint and accelerated construction of an initial upgraded weapon.

If you do have the money to hand, then be sure to buy the best value packs of gold that you can. It costs £30.54 (at the time of writing) to buy 7000 pieces of gold, and I'd be surprised if even that was enough to get you half of everything you want in the game.

It's a real shame, as I do love the gameplay. But unless you are willing to fork over a small fortune to get the *most* out of Dead Trigger 2, then you'll end up frustrated as you run around for the two-hundredth time with your starter's pistol and wrench...

BBC Weather
BBC Weather
Price: £0.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dependable ol' BBC, 13 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: BBC Weather (App)
A robust weather app with a simple facade from the BBC.

The app automatically detects your location, though you can manually enter any location you like. It presents hour-by-hour forecasts of the weather to come, including temperature and wind speed & direction. If you want greater depth, you can click on any given hour and see the humidity, visibility, and pressure.

It's easy to navigate, works fast and is free. Nothing to lose - give it a go!

Michel Thomas Spanish Language Builder CD (Michel Thomas Series)
Michel Thomas Spanish Language Builder CD (Michel Thomas Series)
by Michel Thomas
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An effective review of his teachings, 1 Dec. 2013
The best way to describe this language builder course is that it differentiates from the foundation and advanced courses in two ways: 1. you are the only student to whom Michel aims his questions, and 2. the questions are less linear and more haphazard than in the big courses (by that I mean he can go from "what is 'I can buy it'" to "how would you say 'I would never be able to go if he was going there'".)

It is tough not to have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, you can absolutely see the value of this little 2-CD course; it does review everything from the foundation course (without the handicap of the students), as well as throwing in quite a bit more vocabulary. On the other hand, you quickly realise that you will have to revisit this course time and time again to really get it down cold.

That is the only reason I am knocking off a star. I have completed Spanish courses from Paul Noble and Paul Pimsleur, and the key difference with those courses is that you find complete sentences flying off your tongue. With Michel Thomas's courses, you can still find yourself having to think about putting together a sentence even after finishing all four of his works. That's not a bad thing, necessarily; somewhere in that noggin of yours you will be laying down the long term foundations for speaking fluent Spanish. But it is undeniably a daunting commitment; it's hard to imagine how many attempts it would take to nail 90% of the answers rapidly and correctly the first time.

If you enjoy MT's method of learning, then definitely pick this up. You will likely be able to dispense with the foundation course altogether once you have this one to work at. But do be prepared to come back to this on a regular basis to get the most out of it. It ain't a one-listen job. I think it would be very interesting to regularly combine a review of this product while working a larger course, such as the FSI Spanish or Pimsleur, to see how the other materials improve your response time and efficiency.

Michel Thomas Advanced Course: Spanish (2nd edition) (Michel Thomas Series)
Michel Thomas Advanced Course: Spanish (2nd edition) (Michel Thomas Series)
by Michel Thomas
Edition: Audio CD

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough but rewarding, 30 Nov. 2013
This is my idea of an advanced course. In the foundation course, Michel Thomas introduced a LOT of language to get your head around. That was all very well and good, but it was scratching the surface.

In the advanced course, Michel goes over the foundational material in-depth as well as introducing new vocabulary and tenses. Instead of two absolute rookies who make frequent mistakes (I believe the male speaker on the foundation course doubled the running time), we have two learners who are much more confident with the language. Consequently, we rattle through the a range of verbs and their tenses.

Some have complained about the audio, but I really didn't have a problem with it. Yes, it's more like a tape recording than a CD, but your mind ought to switch away from that within a minute or two. The main issue I had was with the male speaker -- again! Whereas the foundation male speaker was far too slow, this male speaker is far too fast! He often starts his answer before Michel has finished the question, and will defensively say 'of course, of course' as Michel is trying to explain why he made a mistake. It's not a huge problem, but I much preferred listening to the female speaker, who gives you a chance to pause before the answer and doesn't talk over Michel as he explains.

I will also say that I found this much more taxing than the foundational course. Of course, it is 'advanced', but that is not so much the issue as is the speed. As I said earlier, there are far fewer mistakes made by the students, so Michel's questions come faster and harder. I found I needed to take at least a couple of breaks on each CD. That's not a complaint -- it just shows how much you can learn and bank if you really commit to this method. But do be wary of how challenging it can be. Give yourself the time to succeed.

And it works. You won't know every inch of the Spanish language, but you will know how to handle yourself with confidence. If you discover a new verb, you will feel confident in being able to amend it for any tense you wish. You'll also know to put the personal pronoun first, to hook on a pronoun in the imperative, and so on. A truly excellent course and, for what it's worth, my Argentinian friend had absolutely no issues with my pronunciation.

Total Spanish (Learn Spanish with the Michel Thomas Method)
Total Spanish (Learn Spanish with the Michel Thomas Method)
by Michel Thomas
Edition: Audio CD

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun & turbo-charged language learning, 30 Nov. 2013
It is true: you will learn more in eight hours of a Michel Thomas course than you did in five years of language learning at school. I remember nothing of my school French, except a vague recollection of going through a particular verb table. I do, however, remember the bulk of the Spanish I learned under Michel Thomas almost nine years after first listening to the course.

It won't take long for you to understand what makes this course so good. In the first few minutes you are made to relax by Michel's insistence that you don't try to memorise or take down notes. And before long you are constructing sentences ('es' is 'it is', 'posible' is 'possible', 'para mi' is 'for me', therefore 'es posible para mi' is 'it's possible for me'. Throughout the course you get the fundamental grammar drilled into you on a subconscious level, and are given a much greater vocabulary than it appears at first thought. For example, as soon as you are out there using the language, you'll find yourself remembering Michel's rule that -tion words can become -cion words in Spanish. He doesn't need to drill you on a few hundred words in order to make you remember them.

And as a few other reviewers have pointed out, this course can help you with your native language of English too. He has a very accessible method of introducing concepts such as the imperative, verbs, adjectives and nouns. You will be kicking yourself from time to time as you make mistakes, but only because you know that Michel laid out the rules beforehand. That is a testament to his teaching, that you will always remember on some level, rather than your own failure to grasp it immediately.

There is some sniffiness in some quarters about the accent, the male speaker, and the promise of fluency. Let me tackle them one by one. The accent just doesn't matter. No, you may not finish the course speaking in a beautiful Argentinian accent, but you can always refine that later down the road with experience; the core thing that matters here is just being able to speak another language and understand its grammar and nuances.

The male speaker is annoying, I grant you. I reckon he got maybe 5% of his answers correct the first time. Sometimes it feels like he's making pure guesswork, and his pleading tone of voice grates. But having said all that, I can tell you that I am currently going through the Advanced course and it makes me miss that male speaker! The male speaker on the Advanced is much more of a know-it-all. I have no problem with good students, but this means that Michel doesn't keep repeating and breaking down how things work -- an invaluable part of the learning. And the advanced student gets in his answers as quickly as possible, meaning you have to be trigger-happy on the pause button. So value the dodgy male speaker for all he's worth; you'll understand what I mean if you try the Advanced!

Finally, the issue over fluency. No, you won't be fluent after this course or the Advanced course. But I would make the argument that these two courses are all you really need to set you on the way to fluency. There is no way to become fluent without interacting in the native environment. It's one thing to be able to speak Spanish pretty well, but understanding it from and rapidly responding to native speakers is quite another. I'm willing to bet that six months, a year in South America (or conversing with a partner) on top of this course will take you to near fluency. It's like the 'big bang' that can lead to a bigger vocabulary, writing, and fluency; just be sure to make full use of it!

If you've been sheepish about learning languages in the past, or are planning a trip abroad, or want to converse with your Spanish-speaking partner, this is the best place to start bar none. 8 hours ain't gonna kill you!

Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers [Previous Generation]
Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers [Previous Generation]

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Limited, but excellent in places, 26 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For me, this is not a complete tablet solution.

For example, you cannot download movies. There may be a funky workaround, but why should we have to use workarounds to have movies available on our tablet? And as a big podcast fan, it is not as easy to subscribe and organise podcasts as one can with something like iTunes. I also struggled to find a decent instant messenger app, found photo-sending very hit and miss, and you can forget about doing much office work.

I also had some issues with the functioning of the device. I find the wireless connection seems to drop more frequently than it does for other devices I own. I'm not crazy about the carousel style of listing the apps, as it becomes so cluttered you inevitably find yourself clicking the apps/books/music/video tabs instead. The app store, though expanding, does remain far limited (case in point - there isn't yet a decent YouTube app!). I've only come across four or five games that I consider to be knockouts. And even after a year of using the Kindle Fire HD, I still have trouble locating the very thin, very delicate volume buttons at will.

But I will say this: what it does well, it does VERY well. Reading books on the Kindle is a joy because it is so intuitive. You can get a quick dictionary definition of a word by tapping it, swipe pages fast, easily bounce between chapters or leave bookmarks or highlight passages. And of course, Amazon has an enormous library of Kindle ebooks you can get one-click access to. The beautiful high definition screen and impressive speakers also make the streaming of movies, playing of games, and listening to music an enjoyable experience. You can surf the internet without issue on its Silk browser. The tablet is light, compact, and its battery lasts a long time.

So no, it is not a complete tablet solution. I think with a Nexus or iPad you could feel genuinely comfortable in shaping it into whatever needs you may have, from DJ'ing to blogging. I don't think you will find that confidence with this tablet. But I would have no hesitation in recommending the Kindle Fire for £99 as a primary ebook reader with the benefit of lots of additional features.

Zombie Frontier 2:Survive
Zombie Frontier 2:Survive

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor, 19 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Zombie Frontier 2:Survive (App)
I'd usually not bother giving a bad review to a free and disposable games app. But with 70% of reviews giving it 5* (!), I felt an obligation to stand tall with the two dissenters who rightly rank it poorly.

After opening the game for the first time, you will receive a request to receive notifications. In this request it is stated, 'We have put a lot of time and thought into this game ...' I am afraid that was not evident on my experience.

First, there is the general navigation just to get to the game. Multiple badges flash up, but most of them won't open if clicked upon. When you do get through that, you are told to get yourself a weapon. An annoying finger icon keeps pointing at what you have to press and, in the case of the weapon, you have the single choice of a handgun. Once you have selected that, you then have to click another button to purchase it. Then you have to click another button to confirm you want to unlock it. Then another two clicks to upgrade it and confirm the upgrade. And then anoooother click as, for some reason, you need to buy ammunition for your weapon. Then the final two clicks as you 'equip' and 'change' your weapon.

After all that, you finally get down to some gaming after selecting your mission from a rather unclear map of icons. The gameplay just isn't smooth in any sense. Your character is at a fixed point and does not move, other than aiming the gun. That movement is scratchy and jerky; when you try to adjust the 'sensitivity' controls, it just makes it faster. Kill a zombie and another one that looks identical will appear out of nowhere in the mid foreground and start inching towards you in that 'block movement' way. And you need to both buy new ammunition and reload while firing, making zombie-killing something of an administrative process. There's no reaction from the zombies when hit, and no movement of their limbs or facial expressions; it's like a cardboard target is being pushed towards you.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't last more than 10 minutes on the game. Maybe it gets better and, for free, it won't hurt you to find out. I'm always grateful for free games and try not to leave bad reviews if I can help it, but this is most certainly not deserving of the 4-5* it is currently receiving. Compare this game with another zombie-killing freebie -- Dead Trigger -- and see what an epic difference there is.

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