• astraware

    Astraware Platypus Review

    Platypus is the latest game from the creative minds at Astraware and Idigicon. In this side-scrolling shooter you take to the skies in your F-27 “Platypus” fighter to defend the peaceful Mungola from the invading Collosotropolan Battle Fleet.

    Game Play

    Platypus is an adaptation of the popular game of the same name from Idigicon for Windows to the Palm OS and Windows Mobile platforms. Astraware has created a faithful representation of Platypus for the small screen providing you with pulse pounding excitement anywhere you happen to be. The game has three levels of difficulty (easy, medium, and hard). First timers will want to begin game play on the easy game mode until they get the hang of the game.

    You control your Platypus with the stylus by default. If your handheld PDA or smartphone has a 5-way nav pad, you can optionally use it to control your ship. The game also has two modes for firing at your enemies: autofire on and off. I tried playing the game with and without the default settings, and I found that game play was easer with the default settings. Trying to move your fighter around the screen and shooting at the same time with a 5-way nav pad like those found on devices from Palm turned out to be just a bit too difficult. When dog fighting in the skies over Mungola, you will be able to destroy most enemy aircraft with a single shot. Keep a watchful eye out for larger enemy ships as they will require multiple hits to destroy them.

    Platypus is made up of over 20 playable levels or missions that are broken up into 4 worlds, referred to in the game as stages. Once you have completed a stage, the next time you play the game, you are allowed to jump over previously played stages if you chose. You score points by shooting down enemy aircraft and demolishing ground vehicles. Extra points are awarded for destroying other targets of opportunity like buildings and airborne obstacles. Destroying enemy ships often releases bonuses and power ups. Falling fruit (cherries, grapes, and bananas) will give you extra points and floating stars will add power-ups to your ship. Power-ups only last for a few seconds, however you can do a lot of damage with rapid fire mode, scatter shot mode, and my personal favorite, the heat seeking missiles power-ups. Just fly your Platypus over the fruit or stars while they are on screen to pick up the goodies they offer. Just be careful when the shooting starts. If you are not paying close attention, you might try to pick up a cherry only to realize at the last second that it is really a bullet from an enemy fighter.

    I tested Platypus on a Palm TX, Palm Treo 755p, and Treo 750. In all cases the game played well with no noticeable differences in game play.


    Graphics & Sounds

    One of the unique elements of Platypus is that the game’s graphical design elements have been created out of modeling clay that was later colorized on a computer. The use of clay models gives the game a very organic feel to it. When ships, vehicles, or objects are destroyed, they don’t just blow up, they burst in a squishy, splattering explosion! With all of the messy shoot-em-up action taking place in the foreground, it is almost too easy to miss the graphics in the background that make up the game’s landscape. Trees, buildings, hills, and the sky are also beautifully crafted. You will want to crash you Platypus a few time just so you can look at all of the other graphical objects on the screen.

    The sound effects in Platypus are also well done. Laser bolts sound like laser bolts and enemy craft erupt with a satisfying plop while ground transports explode with a resounding ba-boom! The background music that is used in Platypus is a retro throw back to the mid-1980s, when side scrolling action games dominated computer screens of the day. While playing, I found the default music level to be too loud. Lowering it to the first level (out of three) was better. If I’m playing in an area where there are a lot of people around, I just turn the music off and set the sound effects volume to a lower setting.

    Conclusion

    Platypus is a perfect mix of modern action game with deep roots in the classic slide-scrolling shooters from yesteryear. The game is easily picked up by both casual gamers and fans of action games. The replay value of the game is high because of the messy fun when things go “splat!” as they explode. In short, Platypus is an entertaining game that will keep players glued to their handhelds for hours! If you enjoyed Astraware Zap 2000, then you will want to add Platypus to your software library. Not since Bejeweled have I spent this much time playing a game on my Palm Treo.

    Buying Information

    Platypus is available today directly from the Astraware website for $19.95 and runs on recent Palm OS and Windows Mobile smartphones and PDAs. Astraware is working on releasing future versions of Platypus for the Symbian S60 and UIQ platforms.

    For more details, visit the Astraware website at http://www.astraware.com/platypus.

  • astraware

    Club Astraware offers for May 2008

    The Club Astraware Member-only discount offer for May 2008 is Golden Skull for just $9.95, that's a huge saving of $10 off the regular price!

    Golden Skull is a puzzle adventure game that will take you on an unforgettable journey through undiscovered Mayan pyramids and long forgotten ruins.

    Featuring amazing graphics, and an entertaining story mode, Golden Skull delivers challenging gameplay with unbelievable production value. It's a puzzle adventure game the whole family will enjoy.

    There are 3 double points offers in Club Astraware this month, so members can build up their points even quicker and get even bigger discounts on games in the future! The games offering double points this month are Text Twist, Platypus, and Astraware Boardgames. Simply buy any of these games at full price and get twice the regular number of points! For example: buy a game for $19.95 and you'll get almost $4 worth of points to use against your next purchase!

    These offers are only available in Club Astraware until the end of May 2008. To get your hands on them simply join or login to Club Astraware at http://www.astraware.com/club. It's quick to join and completely free too!

    Readers of Foleo Fanatics and listeners of my weekly 1SRC.com podcast know that I'm a huge fan of Astraware's games. Joining Club Astraware is a great way to pick up some outstanding games for your favorite Palm OS or Windows Mobile smartphone or PDA handheld.

  • microsoft,  office mobile,  windows mobile

    Office Mobile 2007 Upgrade

    I just ran across a link on the Microsoft Windows Mobile website for the Office Mobile 2007 upgrade.

    Depending on the build of Windows Mobile 5.0 installed on your smart devices the upgrade will be free for some users while others will have to pay $49.95 for the upgrade kit. (Yikes!) Before purchasing the upgrade, I strongly suggest that you check with your smart device vendor to see if they have any Windows Mobile upgrades available. You might be able to upgrade your install of Windows Mobile and then qualify for the free Office Mobile upgrade.

    On the Microsoft Office Mobile Upgrade or Purchase page, there is a simple series of questions that helps you determine if your device qualifies for a free upgrade or not. Microsoft was nice enough to publish a Office Mobile 6.1 FAQ so you can learn about what is included in the latest version of Office for Windows Mobile devices before pluncking down the cash for the upgrade. Upgrades can be purchased from Handango, and volume licenses are available if you have a fleet of Windows Mobile 5 devices to upgrade.

    I see this upgrade being important for users who find themselves with a Windows Mobile 5 device with no vendor provided upgrade to Windows Mobile 6, and who need support for Microsoft Office 2007 files. If you are a non-corporate user who doesn't need the latest and the greatest, I would skip the upgrade until you need to purchase it. $50 is a lot of money to gain support for Office 2007. DataViz Documents To Go 10, which added support for Office 2007 on the Palm OS platform, only ran customers $29.95.

  • Uncategorized

    Palm to Present at Merrill Lynch Conference

    Palm has sent out a notice earlier today that Senior Vice President & CFO Andy Brown will be presenting at the Merrill Lynch Technology Conference this Thursday in New York City.

    The presentation will be held at 9:45am (Eastern time) and a live audio feed will be available. Interested parties can listen in on the event by logging into the Merrill Lynch website.

    Palm regularly makes presentations throughout the year at conferences similar to the technology conference being hosted this week by Merrill Lynch. I do not expect any new product announcements at this event.

  • mac os x,  markspace

    MissingSync 6 for Palm OS Updated

    The following is from Mark/Space Newsletter 45:

    "The Missing Sync for Palm OS 6.0.3 update provides several enhancements, including better synchronization with Bare Bones Yojimbo 1.5, improved handling of recurring tasks, and enhanced support for custom field synchronization with Entourage. Also, the Call Log application now allows for deletion of individual or selected calls from the call log archive on your Mac. Similarly, the SMS Log application lets you delete all incoming and outgoing text messages for a single contact.

    This update is free for all owners of The Missing Sync for Palm OS 6.0. Qualified owners of older versions of The Missing Sync for Palm OS can upgrade to version 6.0.3 for $24.95. Version 6.0 introduced many new features, including: the ability to encode video for viewing on a Treo smartphone, access to Treo Call Log and SMS Log on the Mac, Notes synchronization, and more."

    I have reviewed the Missing Sync for Palm OS for my weekly 1SRC.com podcast, and I have to say that if you are a Mac OS X user, you need to be using this software. The Missing Sync is light-years ahead of Palm Dekstop 4.2 on the Mac platform.

    For more details, visit the Mark/Space website.