Phonics the Right Way – LETTER FREE PHONICS

If the English language was purely phonetic, then teaching it through the use of phonics would make all the sense in the world. However, it is not phonetic. There are so many rules and exceptions to them, that it’s easy to see why kids get confused when learning how to read. You literally are memorizing how to say the words merely my recognizing it a symbol rather than by sounding out each letter.

To learn phonetics the right way, you need a system that works on sounds, not just the letters. Because we all know that certain letters have certain sounds in some words and a different sound in others. That’s where LETTER FREE PHONICS becomes your best friend.

It starts kids off by learning the beginning sounds of words, so they create a strong connection between the letter and its sound. By doing this in a gaming format, the work being done is not considered work, and the child retains so much more as several more neural paths are engaged as each new word appears.

There are four different types of games included in the app, which add to the variety and keeps kids interested. Each games helps children master the primary sound of each letter, so they are able to use that when reading text.

Letter Free Phonics app reviews

Games one and two introduce letter sounds in the format of solving various types of puzzles. As the user moves puzzle pieces from one location to another to complete an image, the sound of the first letter of the name of the image will sound out. For instance, if the final puzzle will show the image of a dog, then every time a puzzle piece is moved the app will sound about the “d” sound.

Game number three offers up a sound and the player must then choose from a set of images the one that starts with the featured sound. This adds a twist and a new direction to processing the sound and recognizing how it’s used.

The last game is a little quicker and ups the challenge a bit more. This game will display several images and sounds. The player must drag and drop a token over the image/sound pair.

Careful consideration was taken to ensure the images that are used are ones that youngster would recognize and easily discern. Otherwise, the games would have no meaning.

A very nice feature of LETTER FREE PHONICS is the configurability. You can choose the voice sound to be male, female, or a child’s voice. You can also enable/disable the repeat sound function, which will repeat the sounds, or not. There are other options related to puzzle completion settings and clues that you can set based on what level of challenge your child can handle. The key is to learn the sounds and not be hampered by completing a puzzle.

I would say the only thing different I would like to see soon is an addition of images and puzzles so kids can continue to be challenged. Once completing a puzzle a few times, it’s easy for them to just “know” what the result is going to be and they will lose the ability to learn.

Outside of that, this game is a real lifesaver in terms of tools that help kids learn their sounds and set them on a course for success in reading!

Mighty Maru – A New Experience in Adventure Gaming

Gaming apps and online gaming in general have grown exponentially over the years and what was first understood as the “gaming experience” has evolved into something with a deeper and richer experience.

Mighty Maru is a game about fighting and surviving the evil foe of a rich elitist government that seeks to protect its rule and crush any and all insurgencies. When peaceful protesting students gather to question the system, they are put down hard by the brutal Constabulary, who has been given the authority to do so. The characters are vivid and bright, placed in scenes that are enchanting and surreal at the same time.

Our main characters are a couple in love, who are students caught up in the protest. One gets out safely when the Constabulary shows up. The other is not so lucky. As a player, you choose which character you want to be and then face the challenge of rescuing the one that has been taken into captivity.

The captive is taken to a known prison called Gorge, which exists under the radar – no one knows where it is. You are tasked with avoiding all of the Constabulary’s henchmen and find the location of Gorge, all before sunrise. You will have many puzzles to solve and spells to craft to work your way out of many situations.

Mighty Maru game

This is where another vital piece will be required. Your Nex Band. This band interacts with the game using mods you purchase. The app will tell you what you’ll need ahead of time, so you can make the correct purchases and have everything in place. These mods fit onto the band, so you use what you need, when you need it. Five mods are recognizable at a time. These mods are basically charms you put on the band. As you use them to play the game, the data and your choices are saved in the Cloud. So the next time you slip on the charm, it will remember what you did last.

The overall concept of the Nex Band is mind numbing. I simply could not get over how rich it made the game experience. I felt like I was more into the game because of it. The other neat thing was that other players with a Nex Band and the correct charms can show up in your gaming experience when they are physically close enough to you.

The downside to the game is that you have to have the Nex Band. There is not much to it if you don’t have one. Not sure how much they cost, but I will say that once you make the purchase, it will be with you for the long haul and of great use beyond just gaming.

If you like a game with a good story line and are looking for an experience like no other, then get yourself a Nex Band and download Mighty Maru today!

Kukun – Renovate and Remodel with the Right ROI

Folks are staying in their homes longer, and when that happens you know there will be things to fix and upgrade. The dilemma that strikes is in deciding whether or not the cost is worth it. If it only matters to you because you want it and don’t care about return on investment, then the issue is moot. If you are deciding on a remodeling project that is more want than need, then it’s always nice to know if the investment will bring you value down the road in terms of selling price.

You could hire someone to help you make that decision, but what if there was an app for that. Download Kukun: Home Remodel Costs & ROI and find out how informative and fun the app can be.

You can use it to prioritize and makes decisions on which projects to pursue and which to put aside. You can find professionals to help you execute on the projects, and make the right decisions that fit your budget, style and more.

The download is easy and free. You simply have to register using an email address. From there you can set up your property information. At first, you’d wonder why this app would not pertain to just your home, but imagine if you are real estate agent or if you own several rental properties. You can set up several property profiles and gain insights into each separately.

When entering data for a property, you add information about number bedrooms, number of bathrooms, living floor space, the number of levels, property size, whether or not there’s a pool or jacuzzi. This information gives you a rough estimate of the value of the property. This will be used later, of course, once you start entering data on the potential renovations and remodeling projects you have in mind.

Kukun

From there you can add details on each room, such as dimensions, ceiling height and number of windows. Once you have details of your property in place, Kukun has everything it needs to give you estimates on any project you throw its way.

Basic functions of the app include:

  • Estimate – get an idea of what a project could cost based on zip code
  • Find A Pro – research professionals and contractors in specific areas
  • My Projects – what you want to have done, with details on the changes you desire
  • Request a Quote – soon to come!

 

To start, let’s say you want to remodel a bathroom. You have what is currently there. Now you go in and select that you will be starting a remodel project. Kukun will present a list of tasks that could be a possibility. You simply walk through the list and pick and choose what you will be doing. Details on flooring and such can also be entered. You also rate, “good, better, or best” the level of upgrade that you want on each item. After entering a zip code, Kukun will go out and estimate the bids you may receive based on rates in your area.

The app itself asks many of the questions that contractors would ask when providing a quote. So, you know that you are getting a pretty close estimate from Kukun, which allows you to make smarter decisions on projects you want to pursue.

I found most of the app to be extremely easy to use and helpful. What I would love to see is the option to add specific changes that I’d like to make on projects, rather than have them be a built in list of options you select/deselect.

Until then, I plan on entering lots of potential projects and look forward to the Request a Quote feature so I can get my home back on track.

World of Guns – A Unique Combination of Firearms Education and Entertainment

Different by nature but informative all the same, World of Guns educates and entertains firearm aficionados in an easy to use app. Now, I have never heard of many app that do this; most apps are games that have you using various forms of firearms to partake in epic battles or defeat invaders from another space. World of Guns is for folks who want to get to know their firearms better and can tinker around with them in a virtual space.

To start, the app provides a massively expansive offering of guns, providing vivid graphics of structure and videos to that display the gun in whole and in parts. The disassembly is most impressive. You click on the gun of your choice and it brings it up. You can do cutaways to choose parts and zoom in on them. This part of the app is widely used as a skill builder so you get to know guns well, inside out. So well that you will be able to disassemble and then reassemble.

From here you can load and unload the guns, add accessories, and view in different modes. I found the X-ray mode to be very fascinating, revealing the inner workings of the various areas of the gun. You can even view the video in super slow motion and see how the pieces move and adjust and come together upon any action you take.

World of Guns game

World of Guns houses a range of guns from all eras. There are very historic ones and modern-day firearms. Here’s a sampling:

  • Colt SAAs
  • Garands
  • Lee-Enfields
  • Glocks
  • P90s
  • M4s
  • Tavors
  • M134

That’s the inspection/education side of the app. Then there’s the fun side. You can actually visit up to ten different shooting ranges and use those guns. Each range has its own level of challenge and goal to attain. In addition to the shooting ranges, there are games, quizzes and puzzles. If you so choose, you can sign up to play in competitive mode and pit your skills against others.

As you advance, you unlock access to more guns and accessories. Each level requires completion of a basic set of tasks: firing on empty, changing grip, loading, and more. If you achieve Power Player status, you unlock all items. This is a refreshing change to not have to spend on an in-app purchase.

The one thing I would like to see in the app is a better rendering of the side bar menu items they currently show in a white rectangle, which covers up quite a bit of the display. Maybe having them as non-opaque overlay of some sort or shrinking the display could resolve this.

Outside of this, World of Guns is a unique combination of training/education tool and entertainment vehicle. I can see many uses for it to help anyone interested in firearms to fully understand one before handling one.

Adueducts – Constructive Minds Find Fun in Aqueduct Building Puzzle Game

Love to construct and solve puzzles at the same time? Then have I got a game for you. Aqueducts is the name and it will keep you entertained for hours on end. The challenge is to place yourself back in ancient times, when the engineering feats of the mighty Romans reigned and sourced live-giving waters to many.

The game starts simple and is not hard to catch on. When you first download the app, you will b taken straight to a puzzle. It will show a waterway that has not been completed. There will be multiple pieces of aqueduct scattered in such a way that when you tap on one, it will rotate one way or the other. You need to keep tapping until it connects to the aqueduct piece just before it, so that the water can flow.

There is no swiping of any kind. Simply taps. The first level has just one game. Once you complete that, the app shows you the map of the levels. Tap on the next one to play. You essentially will be building a full system that weaves its way through a mountain range and into valley that surround it.

On the bottom of the map screen, there will also be icons for syncing with the Cloud, sound settings and leaving a comment on the App Store.

Aqueducts app

So, one word of caution, because I fumbled through this when I started Level 2. The pieces of aqueduct only rotate clockwise, so choose wisely when you tap on one. You want to make sure those pieces will be available to connect to the piece that is upstream. You also only have so many moves per game; choose wisely.

As I was making my choices to rotate and connect the duct pieces, I realized I needed to slow down and think about what would happen, before I let it happen. This game provides a skillfully designed exercise in forward thinking strategic planning. I found myself messing up quite a bit, until I learned to slow down and let my moves be the limiting factor, not time. My advice to you is to take it easy and make your move.

The only thing that I would say is lacking is the inability to undo a move. You can redo a game, but you can’t undo any rotations, which would be nice.

Other than that, Aqueducts is genuinely entertaining and thought provoking. I have not come across something like this before and it provides a more stimulating way to keep minds entertained.

Lions’ Sphere- Puzzle Out This Twisty Puzzle!

Inspired by the world’s best selling toy ever -the Rubik’s Cube – the Lion’s Sphere is a 3D puzzle that you can get ready to solve – in the palm of your hand too!

We all find ourselves stuck with a little free time, whether it be in some tiresome queue or just day-to-day breaks. These are perfect opportunities where you can pull out your delightful Lion’s Sphere app and work out some trendy twisty puzzles!

Why choose to solve puzzles in your lunch break though? The benefits are actually astounding! Puzzles provide more than just entertainment, they improve our concentration and reasoning skills.

When we solve puzzles we seek out patterns, this enables us to think logically, thus enhancing our problem solving skills. Overcoming challenges in puzzles such as the Lion’s Sphere, help us overcome challenges in reality. They sharpen our memory and cognitive abilities as well.

No signing up for anything, you just go straight to a neat tutorial and begin familiarizing yourself with the user-friendly controls. Dragging between the free space on your screen and dragging on the sphere itself will help to rotate your sphere and move the puzzle fragments.

Lions Sphere

Helpful arrows show you where to locate the help and undo button. These buttons are useful for having easy access to an image of a solved puzzle and for undoing your wrong turns. The statistics button is on the menu along with the settings one.

Unlock your first two color puzzle and tackle it when you are done practicing in the tutorial. The two color sphere is designed for novices, so do not be afraid to download this app if you are a puzzle newb. After the two color sphere, you can wrack your brain with the four and eight color spheres.

Features

The graphics are of clear and high quality. The unadorned brown background is ideal for concentrating on the main visual. Looking closer, glowing spores on the background add to the calming atmosphere.

Mentioning a calming atmosphere, the music is soothing and will surely relax even the most strung out mind. If you would prefer complete silence, simply turn off the music in the settings.

You press play to start and that is it! Puzzles start off easy and get really tough –  Lion’s Sphere caters for all puzzle fans. Controls are simple and user-friendly.

Solve spheres with players from around the world. Take on the eight color sphere and set world records! A timer is provided in the level so you can always keep track of how fast a solver you are.

The app does contain ads, and in-app purchases are available.

Games are usually played to provide some sort of enjoyment. By accepting the challenge of the Lion’s Sphere you can gain the entertainment and exercise your brain at the same time! Sharpen your mind with Lion’s Sphere today!

Biorhythm365 – Take Steps Everyday to Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Imagine if you could predict and plan what days would be ideal to make that product pitch or ask for a raise? You don’t have to be a psychic or know one to have such insights. There is a theory called biorhythm that lets you map out your life on a day to day basis, based on your birthday, so that you know what days are good for certain activities, and which days are not.

Biorhythm365 is not a fad of any sort. Detailed in the doctrine created by Dr. Wilhelm Fliess, this theory behind cycles and emotions provides a mapping of high and low points for four areas: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual and Intuitive. The basic premise is that each of those emotions follows a cycle based on a different calculation which uses your birthday to calculate the number of days living. Using this, the calculation creates a wave that is graphed. This graph fluctuates between +100 and -100, which -100 being a low point and +100 being a high point.

If you are at a high for Physical, it’s a great time to try something new, take on a big project or add to your pile of things to do. If it’s at a low, it is wise to concede to moments of rest and relaxation and postpone strenuous activities. Going against biorhythms can lead to stressful situations.

Biorhythm365

In the area of Intellect, high points are the perfect time to pursue a new project or propose a new idea. Low points would be a good time to avoid such risky pursuits.

You kind of get the picture.

Now, when you graph all four emotions, you will see trends and times when all four converge to high points and low points. Those are times to take note of and be extra careful of.

I really like the app because it laid out the information graphically and in other modes, as well. If you wanted to focus on one emotion, you can select it and it will highlight the days you have good scores. It really is a neat way to see what your future days will be like and help you plan accordingly.

It is in no way meant to scare you about your future. And, if you are apprehensive about it, you can look backwards and maybe make note of times when you had a bad day just to see what your biorhythm was saying.

I would like to see a neater graphical display with the ability to tap on a day and zoom in on the day’s details. Maybe in a version coming on its way?

No one really knows what is going to happen for sure, but Biorhythm365 puts some fun into understanding your moods and maybe they are certainly shaped by something greater than us.

BiorhythmΩ – Track Internal Trends to Take Steps Towards Balance

We all wish we could change our fates or control our destinies. Well, what if I told you there is a way to know ahead of time when you may want to pass up a socially taxing encounter or postpone an intense project for later, just to avoid a stressful situation and any ensuing effects it would have on your happiness?

BiorhythmΩ is the answer. You may have heard of it. It links loosely with the “stars” and when you were born; all that good stuff. But the theory behind biorhythms is not new. Summarized in papers by two German intellectuals, biorhythms provides foresight into your strengths and weaknesses by predicting when you will have good days and when you will have bad days.

Your biorhythm is based on the day you were born. From there, your biorhythm tracks four rhythms based on your birthday and the number of days you have been alive, looking at today’s date. This creates waves on a graph that let you visually see when you have high points and low points for each rhythm.

Biorhythm app

The four rhythms are:

  • Physical – related to physical fitness, this rhythm tracks when you will days full of energy and days when it would be best to slow down and take a break.
  • Emotional – simply put, this is how well you will react to your surroundings and events. If you are at a low point, it is highly advised that you avoid stressful situations that my tax your emotions.
  • Intellectual – your intellect is usually constant, but the reason for mapping it is to know when your high points may collide with the other three being low. Your intellect at those times may be affected and diluted temporarily. On the flip side, if you see a time in your cycle when the intellect coincides with high points for two other rhythms, it may be the perfect time to pitch that new idea at work or home.
  • Intuitive – refers to the ability to judge the feelings of others and how your actions or actions of others may affect them and the situation around them. If this is at a high point and the other rhythms are low, you may not want to take stab at assuming that someone is upset or unhappy and then try to help them. You may be wrong.

For all four rhythms, they are scored from -100 to 100. When any rhythm is at 0, this is a dangerous time. At times when several rhythms are converging at 0 or are all at a low point, it’s a good idea to listen to your inner voice and keep calm and rested.

The app graphs out all four rhythms so you can see when each one is doing well and when each is declining to a low point. It is helpful to note when more than one is declining, because this helps you plan accordingly.

Another great feature is the ability to view your standing by each rhythm. You can see data for just the physical, intellectual, intuitive and emotional – one at a time.

BiorhythmΩ may be sketchy to some, but is certainly worth looking into if you want to align the stars in your favor. Timing is everything!

Castle Breakout – Escape or Be Doomed

What makes “escape the room” games so addictive? Castle Breakout – Escape! is an example of such a game and it holds the answer for us.

The game by Cloudburst Team, is for those who seek a little medieval adventure while they solve their puzzles.

A security master named Rex, is trapped in a castle around the 11th to 14th century. One must enter each room and find their way out by solving puzzles and finding clues. The clues are often right in front of you, hiding on the walls and in the fruit bowls- keep your eyes peeled!

You venture into an old pantry, alchemy room, and the king’s quarters. Each room is charming, elegant and some are a little… dusty.
Just as if you you were trapped in real life, you have to sort of “feel around” the rooms for clues; you do this by tapping on items and obstacles. You will know when you’re on the right track because tapping on suspicious items will automatically zoom you in on them.
Even if items seem dull and pointless, keep on tapping around them and the area they are in- you never know what might be hiding in the corners. The items you collect go in an inventory on the right hand side of your screen.

For example, in the alchemy room there are draw knobs that are missing, maps to be found, and potions to be made. All of this is waiting for you to put together.

Castle Breakout

Once all the clues are found and all the pieces are in place, the door will finally open.

If you fail to interact with the room and puzzles, you must prepare to suffer a lonely fate. There are no shortcuts, only one door reveals the way out, and when you do escape a room, be prepared for the next one! Golden Gauntlets Castle Escape

Features

The graphics will take one by surprise, they are absolutely beautiful. In one room, you can tap on a window that will zoom in on the kingdom outside, it’s breathtaking.
The in-game sounds are realistic, they add to the mystique of the rooms.
In the menu, you can control the sounds, share the game, and find a short tutorial.
After getting the hang of moving Rex around, you will be disappointed with only ten rooms- you will definitely want more!
Each room is different and alluring in it’s own way.
Every environmental puzzle is unique- one puzzle could involve mathematics and another could test your memory.
Not all the best things in life are free, so it could be frustrating to see that the last three rooms will cost you three dollars. But, at the end of it all, there is a free dragon ride that awaits you!

These escape games tend to be addictive because they are challenging and make one scratch their heads a bit. You just naturally want to find your way out. After all, who wants to be trapped in a medieval castle forever? This app is available on iOS and Android.