Category Archives: Gadget

5 Most Addictive Smartphone Games on the Planet

At the turn of the year, Singapore was leading the way with smartphone penetration and the latest figures suggest that more than 70% of the population owns one. That really is some stat, and an indication of how addictive the devices truly are. From messaging to social media to gaming there are a plethora of options that can keep you occupied whether the phone is in front of you or not.

We know that the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat are the big players for social media but what about the games, which are the most popular (and addictive) across the globe?

1. Candy Crush Saga – Available on Android and iPhone, this game made its name on Facebook where you suddenly became constantly inundated with life and move requests from a large proportion of your friends. Chances are, you succumbed to temptation and began to play it yourself. Such is the simplicity and quick nature of the game and levels that almost everyone is playing or has played it. The popularity saw the game become a popular app and with so many modes to play combined with a lot of levels, it’d be a safe bet that it will continue to be popular and addictive for some time yet.

2. Angry Birds – The worldwide phenomenon that just keeps growing had to be on the list. When t-shirts, toys and PC games are coming out on the back of an app then you know you’ve struck gold – and the era of the app has truly arrived. What started out as an easy to play game has become an intensely addictive game for people of all ages – quite literally. It’s easily adaptable to all phones and tablets, while the addition of teaming up with Star Wars has seen the game grow to such a stage that the apps are no longer free. Now it’s also available on BlackBerry Z10 World as the brand continues its resurgence.

3. Real Racing 3 – Sports gaming can be difficult on smartphone, and this is reflected in that many popular apps have a price on them (Real Boxing, Virtua Tennis, Need For Speed, Football Manager etc) but you can still find some hidden gems in there. This is one of them, free on Android and iPhone, the graphics and gameplay are superb, handling is easy and with hundreds of events, more than 50 cars to buy and the online multiplayer feature it might just become a regularly played game on your smartphone.

4. Dots – The thing with popular puzzle games like Candy Crush is that you often want a new option, and Dots is one of the hottest games on smartphone at the minute. Unsurprisingly, the matching three or more objects formula that we see in most puzzle games applies here and it is another game that looks simple but really isn’t, and in a frustratingly addictive way. You have been warned.

5. Plants v Zombies – This bizarre game has won a number of awards since starting as a PC game. It is a tower defence game with a peculiar twist. Goofy zombies are the enemy and you need to defend the home with plants that house special abilities. The sequel has just come out and is likely to be just as addictive. Have fun(gi).

With so many apps available today, it is hard to cut your list down to just five but these are undoubtedly five of the most addictive. Check the Guardian out for their 50 best games for tablets and smartphones from a couple of months ago for more options! Happy gaming.


Writer: Lenny Marlina (Nina Lia) – (


Defining Mobile Gaming

The Beginning

Ten years ago, if you ask anyone what mobile gaming is and they would probably think you are referring to the ‘Snake’ game on their Nokia phones. Java game  came next with the release of color phones (for the younger reader, yes phone use to come with monochrome screen – see picture below) and little developer house started to mushroom developing these cool java games. Around the early 2000s,  the Symbian OS becomes dominant and a good number of Symbian games sprouted out amongst the java games.

Nokia’s N-Gage

Mobile gaming took off fairly quickly in Japan. By 2003, there were already a wide-variety of games available on the Japanese handset. For the rest of the world, we have Nokia N-Gage at that time. It was one of the first Mobile Device dedicated for gaming. However, with it’s high price tag and limited library of games, N-Gage didn’t really take off. Ok, try naming 10 popular titles from N-Gage. Erm Tomb Raider, Rayman…? Now name 10 popular games from Nintendo GBA. Pokemon, Legend of Zelda, Wario…You get the point.

Furthermore, portable gaming devices such as Game Boy Advance greatly outsold the N-Gage at that time. People still prefer to have a separate device for gaming. So Nokia decided to stop producing handsets dedicated for gaming and instead overhauled N-Gage changing it into a gaming service compatible with several of its smartphone such as Nokie N96 and N85 by 2007.

Rise Of Touch-based Game on iPhone and Android

When iPhone came out in 2007, mobile games started to take off. It gave birth to companies like Rovio (makers of Angry Bird) and HalfBrick (maker of Fruit Ninja). Casual gaming is brought to a whole new level.

The entire keypad is removed. So playing games on mobile is via the touch screen which in some sense remove the barrier for the casual gamers who are not used to the idea of playing with a game pad. My mum can’t handle a PS3 controller but she plays Angry Bird with ease on her iPhone, swiping and launching bird off the catapult.

The PlayStation Phone!

Meanwhile, while every one is happily playing games on their touch screen Android, iPhone and iPad, gamers like me who is used to playing games on physical controller has to carry two devices with them, a PSP and a mobile phone. So when rumours of a Playstation Phone surface way back in 2006, I was excited about the handset. However, it took a while when Xperia Play finally launched in Singapore last April in 2011. Finally a handphone with a dedicated solid buttons for gaming! Not to mention the all familiar PlayStation X/O/Square and Triangle button!

The Xperia Play (Aka, the PlayStation Phone)

What we love:

The gamepad! The D-pad and all-familiar PlayStation buttons will make any PlayStation Fan (myself included) feel right at home! While I have a bit of problem with reaching my finger out to the shoulder button, overall, the keypads and buttons feels really good for the hands.

The speakers of the phone, to our surprise, produces quite good sound quality as well!

What we don’t like:

Instead of two analog stick found for PS controller, Sony placed in two circular touchpad. When I tried playing games with the touchpad, I find it a bit cumbersome for us as we need to slide over it a couple of time to turn our characters around or sometime the in-game camera will spin around too quickly for FPS game. It doesn’t work that well.

The 4-inch LED-backlit LCD screen, well not stellar, should be good enough for most people. However, with iPhone’s Retina Display and Samsung’s AMOLED,  this older LED-backlit screen seems to lose it luster of yesteryear.


I got a chance to try out some of the games on a Xperia Play. Among them were PES 2011, Minecraft and Battlefield Bad Company 2. While the game library isn’t impressive at the moment, with the device being PlayStation certified, there is a chance that more classic PS games may start to surface for Xperia Play. Love to be able to replay FFXII on the Xperia Play!

PES 2011 on Xperia Play is definitely a better playing experience than on a normal Android phone which lacks the keypad. Playing PES2011 on a standard Android Phone which uses a on-screen keypad is really a nuisance as my thumbs block out about 20% of the screen. Ok may I have fat fingers but I am just not a fan of on screen keypad. On the other hand, the Xperia Play’s entire suite of buttons really improves the experience for PES 2011. . At times, you would feel that you are playing a PSP only to realize that you are playing on the phone when someone calls you and the phone rings. However, the touchpad were really quite bad for playing the game and I end up using the D-pad.

When I was playing Battlefield Bad Company 2, I  had problem with the two circular touchpad again. Either I move too much to the left, or my crosshair just have problem going to where I want. This is the major complain that I have. Other than that, after playing it for a while, I got a hang of it and the game play gets better.

Cloud Gaming

OnLive on Xperia Play! For those who don’t know about OnLive (it is currently only available in the US and UK), it is a cloud gaming solution. Basically, with an internet connection, you can get to play titles like Assassin’s Creed Revelation, L.A. Noire on your mobile devices. In cloud gaming, the servers in the cloud do the hard work of graphic processing while delivering the rendered results as a streaming video to your connected devices. Your mobile devices simply act as an input device, of which your inputs are sent via the internet, and a display.

Although OnLive is already on Android, having it on Xperia Play would mean that you can play your favourite console games with a decent gamepad on your mobile! Isn’t it cool? While the only thing is that it is not available yet in Singapore. Keeping our finger crossed on that one.

Last word…

Gaming on your Mobile Phone has come a long way since the time of playing Snake on Nokia Handset. With better graphics and processing power that are inbuilt in today’s modern smartphone, gaming on your mobile phone is now gaining pace. Furthermore, people are spending more time now with their smartphone.

With PS Vita now released, there are times when I just wish Sony could smack in a GSM module into the beast and have cellphone functionality for PS Vita. Well waiting for that to happen, Xperia Play would be a good choice for Android users who is keen on a better gaming experience.

Perhaps for the casual gamers who are happy with smashing the angry birds or slashing fruits with their finger, a standard touchscreen Android Phone or iPhone should satisfy your mobile gaming needs.

iPhone 4S – Should you get one?

iPhone 4S is sure attracting lots of attention online. This all new iPhone while similar to its iPhone 4 physically, is actually packed with more power internally. Four main features to look out for:

  1. A5 dual core processor (the same processor that powers the iPad 2)
  2. 8 MP camera with new CMOS sensor – time to throw away that point and shoot camera?
  3. Dual Antenna – to solve the ‘grip of death’ problem of iPhone 4
  4. Siri – your voice command butler that may not understand Singlish (wonder if Apple is working on this…hmm…)

If you have a iPhone 4, probably it will probably be better to wait for the real next-gen iPhone 5 which is rumoured to be announced Q1 next year.

Here’s another more in-depth review from CNET for iPhone 4s



Here’s a video that showcased the potential problem with Siri for Singaporean. Siri doesn’t understand accent well! I really pity the Japanese in the video..

Spoiler: Jump to 0:57 and see how Siri misinterpret this Japanese.

Of course, it is make for the American and British accent but what about user outside this two countries? May Mr Brown’s Simi will serve us better!

Siri has a sense of humor too! See the video below:


When is iPhone 4S coming out?

iPhone 4s is coming to Singapore on all three telcos on the 28th of October 2011. Check out the individual telcos for their iPhone 4S offer.