Sunday, April 29, 2012

Amazon Appstore's Free App of the Day, 4/29/2012: Link has promised to make a paid app free every day in the Amazon Appstore, and today's app is Link.

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Link is priced at $0.99 in Google Play, and it is normally priced at $0.99 in the Amazon Appstore. As we've noted before, there are sometimes differences in pricing between the two marketplaces.

Link is described as follows:
Spanning a Continent

Link is a modern take on a classic bridge-building game from the 1980s. Build bridges using wood and steel girders, and in more advanced levels, with stone blocks and rope cables. With 100 levels, Link will provide you with days of enjoyment and frustration.

As a 19th-century industrialist, you're building trains across the great West. The expansion of America depends on the delivery of coal, lumber, crates, animals, and of course passengers across a variety of valleys, ditches, waterways, and canyons.

Decisions, Decisions

Link uses principles of civil engineering to create stable structures. Creating bridges using randomly-connected materials will probably result in a lot of casualties. Instead, you'll need to think like a designer. Will a rectangular or triangular girder structure provide less strain on the girder joints? Does it make more sense to attach cables near the ends, or near the middle? If there is no place to attach cables, what type of structure can you build on which to attach cables?

Choose Wisely

You should also consider the physical properties of wood vs. steel. Steel is heavier and sturdier, while wood is lighter but probably not able to handle as much stress. Concrete is the heaviest and sturdiest of all construction elements, but you have a limited number of blocks to use and a limited number of places to put them. Cables provide some additional support from above, but they are also limited, and in some cases you will need to build a support structure for them.

In each level, you have a limited number of construction elements and structural anchors. On levels with concrete blocks, the tops of blocks also provide additional anchor points. Use these blocks carefully though! An improperly placed anchor can make all the difference between success and failure.

Tools of the Trade

Several user controls are available, including zoom in and zoom out, grid overlay toggle, show or hide bottom controls, reset the entire level, undo, and delete (the "X" icon). This should be fairly obvious based on the icon. At the far right, bottom corner is an up and down arrow to toggle the bottom control bar display.
Link is rated at 3.9 stars in Google Play. It is rated at 3.4 stars in the Amazon Appstore.

We'd say Link is a solid mid- to high-3 star app. Some of the negative ratings relate to its similarity to another construction game, X Construction.

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Those who are considering "buying" a Free Amazon Appstore app might want to consider what it means to developers. opened up the Appstore despite a lawsuit by Apple, which has previously trademarked the term "App Store." Microsoft has filed an appeal against that trademark, saying the term is too generic. has responded to the lawsuit in the same manner.

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