By Daniel B. Kline
Trivie offers fairly basic trivia action in a game show-style format. Players must either create an account or log in through Facebook to play, and all games are head-to-head against either a friend you invite or a stranger you are matched against randomly.
The basic game play has players competing in a four-round match where the early rounds are multiple-choice questions and the final round is a single question a la Final Jeopardy. There are rotating free categories as well as a selection of topics that can be paid for. You can also buy other items in the game like fancier avatars or the ability to earn credits to buy even more stuff faster.
Trivie works much like Words with Friends or an online board game like chess or checkers in that once the first user completes a round, he must wait for his opponent to play before scores are compared and the second round becomes playable. This makes for somewhat unsatisfying game play as playing a round takes longer than many games with similar styles of play.
In addition, over the handful of games I played with strangers, it seems that if one player builds a commanding early lead, the other tends to not come back to finish. If that happens, instead of a forfeit victory, the player in the lead is simply stuck in an unfinished game. And, since Trivie does track how many victories a player has, creating a big lead only to have your opponent not finish can be somewhat frustrating.
Trivie's website claims the app has more than 75,000 trivia questions and in frequent play, I did not see a repeat very often. The questions are somewhat easy in general and the game is more aimed at the Wheel of Fortune audience than the Jeopardy crowd.
Trivie is a decent, but not great, app that suffers from the intermittent game play. A single player option would be nice, as would faster gameplay.
By Joel Abrams
I recently put in a bid for The Boston Globe, but was unsuccessful, so I bought Boston.com. Not in the real world, but in Tiny Tycoons - a sim where instead of growing crops, building a city or running an amusement park, you take over real-world real estate.FULL ENTRY
By Daniel B. Kline
Having a useful website does not always translate into having a useful app. Take countless travel apps that perform poorly when compared to their online versions. So just because OpenTable has an easy-to-use, especially useful website does not mean that would carry over to the app.
In this case, however, those fears were unfounded as the OpenTable folks have delivered a perfect, simple, and elegant app. Like its online parent, the OpenTable app lets you make restaurant reservations. And while the website can sometimes feel cluttered and a little hard to navigate, the app offers the bare minimum. There are no bells and whistles; but in this case, you don't need them.
The OpenTable app makes it incredibly easy to use your phone to make a restaurant reservation – be it for tonight in Boston, or six months down the road in San Francisco. After registering (or logging in with an existing account), you simply pick a location, a date, and time. Once you enter that data, a list of available times at various eateries come up and finishing the reservation is just a couple of clicks away.
There's nothing fancy about this app. It doesn't do much to help you decide between the restaurants (though you can see menus and read reviews from other OpenTable customers). You can also get directions by accessing the Maps app from the OpenTable app, but none of that is the point. This is an app that lets you make a reservation in a few simple clicks and it does that fabulously well.
OpenTable also has a rewards system tied into your account where you get points for every reservation you make and keep. Those points can be traded in for gift cards good at any OpenTable restaurant. Since the app offers a useful service without offering a kickback, the rewards system is simply icing on an already delicious cake.
By Kristi Palma
Reviewing: Kids Trucks: Puzzles - An animated truck puzzle game for toddlers, preschoolers, and young children
By: Scott Adelman
Available on: Android
Should you get it? Yes
My 3-year-old daughter loves puzzles.
She will sit on the floor and do the same puzzle over and over again - putting it together, breaking it apart, putting it together, breaking it apart.
So you can imagine her delight over this animated puzzle app we recently downloaded on my Kindle Fire.
She doesn't even care that this app features trucks instead of princesses. What she cares about is the variety of puzzles offered all in one place (she loves to scroll through and choose them as much as she loves to do them) and the bonus of seeing the puzzle come to life after she's moved the last piece into place. Not only that, but little paint bubbles erupt when she finishes one, which she can pop with her finger. Her old-school cardboard puzzles certainly can't offer that!
The app features 13 different puzzles in the form of trucks, shapes, and numbers. The trucks and numbers have little eyeballs, to which my daughter Paige likes to say: "They're looking at their friends!"
This is a very simple app. Children drag a shape from the left side of the screen and fit it into the scene on the right side of the screen.
"See, mom?" said Paige after completing a puzzle. "It's easy!"
And it's easy to choose the puzzle you want to do or navigate back or forward through the puzzles if you change your mind.
But while my 3-year-old may delight in easy, her 6-year-old older brother gets bored. This game is geared for kids age 1 to 6 and may lose the interest of kids on the upper end of that range.