Every week we select a new iPhone, iPod Touch and/or iPad app to be our featured app of the week. We announce each app in our newsletter. Here is the current app, and a list of all apps featured.
Made by MacMost’s parent company, Sudoku by CleverMedia aims to be the most elegant Sudoku game for the iPad. The screen can be no more cluttered than a Sudoku game in a book, yet you can tap to access advanced features like marks, hints, undo and mistake checking. Best of all it is free and unlimited.
Santa’s Christmas Ride is a free game holiday offering from MacMost’s parent company, CleverMedia. You play Santa trying to deliver gifts to children. No time to actually land and go down the fireplace, though. You have to toss the packages and hit the chimneys. It is a quick, fun play for all ages.
How about something a little scary for Halloween? Slender Rising is a simple game with excellent 3D graphics. You move around looking for signs in creepy environments. At any time the Slender Man can appear and you must look away and run away before he kills you. You know the scare is coming — it is always coming — but the tension builds up to just the right amount to cause a fright.
Here’s another game that is getting a second life on the iPad. The 7th Guest was one of the best games of the 90s, and is perfect for someone looking for a Halloween scare. Solve puzzles and enjoy the mystery.
I like games that teach you something while you play. Type:Rider is a fairly basic side-scrolling roller with some puzzle solving. But the backdrop to this game is the history of fonts and printing. You can skip the text, or read it and learn something. Plus, it looks beautiful.
Here’s another free game from CleverMedia, the parent company of MacMost. Hangman Deluxe is the classic hangman game, but with a ton of features. You can play a random word, or choose from a list of topics. You can also use news headlines or humorous quotations, then trivia question answers. There’s even a daily challenge set of 10 words you can try.
A new sub-genre of puzzle games that is becoming popular is the “escape the room” game. Doors & Rooms may be one of the best examples out there. Basically, you are shown a picture of a room and must interact with objects in the room to open the door. The game starts simply, and quickly gets to the point where you need to pick up and use objects in various ways to open the door. You feel compelled to keep going to the next level to solve another.
Finally there is a good way to edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents on your iOS devices. And, believe it or not, it is from Google. Quickoffice is an app that works with Google’s cloud file sharing service, Google Drive. You store the Microsoft office documents on your free Google Drive, and then you can open, view and edit them with this free app.
Sky Guide is a simple, but deep, app that allows you to explore the night sky. You can simply hold up your iPhone or iPad to the sky and what you see on your screen will match the stars. Then you can tap on objects to find out what they are and read more about them.
Terraria is a deep exploration and building game. You move around a side-view 2D environment, both on the surface and below ground. You build your home and create objects from raw materials. You can even build a town. The graphics are retro pixel images that sometimes make it hard to see what is happening, and the controls are far from perfect. But this game is worth every penny as it looks like you can play for days, months or even years.
The best apps are the ones that make life simpler and easier. GrubHub lets you order takeout from nearby restaurants right from your iPhone. You can see what places are in their system that deliver, browse the menus, and build your order. Then you pay through the app and wait for the delivery.
Here’s another role-playing game app, but this time with a refreshing new style of gameplay. Well, actually, it is an old style of gameplay, just new to apps. Knights of Pen & Paper is a simulation of a role-playing game, complete with character sheets, a table, and a dungeon master. You don’t just role-play the adventure game, you also role-play the person playing the adventure game. Add to that an environment where you travel around and go where you wish instead of following a strict storyline, and this game is a nice break from other RPGs.
If you played any of the original Ultima games, then the existence of a completely new game is very exciting. But add the fact that it is an iOS game and it becomes a must-try. Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar is kind of a sequel to Ultima IV, drawing from that early storyline. The graphics try to look good while remaining simple enough for enjoyable gameplay. It is basically a large RPG adventure with some multiplayer aspects. And it is free. Well, there are in-app purchases, but you can get enjoyment out of the game either way.
Rymdkapsel is an addictive strategy game were you build a platform in space while defending it against attacks. It is part city-builder: you need to create quarters and food to attract a population. It is part puzzle: you need to build platforms to extend to other parts of the play area. Don’t expect amazing graphics, as it is all pixels and shapes, but that doesn’t seem to matter as it is a much more interesting game than most of the stuff with cute characters and scenery.
Ever wish that in Angry Birds you could control the flight of the birds by dragging them around after they launch? Ever wish that the piggies were vampires instead, that can be killed by light? Ever wish that some of the birds could travel through glass or cause boards and rocks to become weightless? Well, that’s quite a coincidence because it pretty much describes Lums, a fun puzzler.
Here’s an interesting take on a calculator app. Instead of tapping out numbers on a keypad, you write them with your finger. But what is really interesting about MyScript Calculator is that you don’t have to write out straight forward formulas like 1+2=. You can write things like 7x?+10=115 and it will fill in the ? with the correct number.
Tiny Thief is a cute little platform game that presents you with very small puzzle levels instead of one massive world. You move a funny little Robin Hood-like character around to steal food and things while avoiding the gaze of guards and others.
The idea behind TripIt is that it organizes your travel information: flights, hotels, etc. But usually you would have to enter all of that data in first, which can be time-consuming and there is plenty of potential for error. Instead, all you need to do with TripIt is to forward your travel confirmation emails to the service. It then figures it out for you and puts all of the data into the app.
Here’s the problem: you want to watch a movie and you have iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, your cable provider and probably a few more choices. Which one has your movie? Maybe all of them do, but which offers the best price? Fan is the solution. You can search for the movie or television series and it will find it for you. Certainly beats look at each one individually.
Ever wanted to be Captain Kirk? In Star Command you play the captain of a starship. You build it out, hire crew, run missions, and fight battles. The retro-style graphics work well, and you use simple controls in battle rather than confusing 3D simulations. The story is fairly straight-forward, but it is well worth the price.
The Simpsons: Tapped Out is a variation on the long-term city-building game. But it is made especially for Simpsons fans with lots of sarcasm and references to characters and places. You are building your own Springfield, starting with the Simpsons’ house and street. Like other games of this genre, building takes time so you have to either play a bit each day or buy in-app purchases to speed things up.
The iPhone and iPad are wonderful devices for using maps. But almost all map apps require a constant and strong data connection. What if you are using your wi-fi iPad out of range, or traveling away from your data provider, or simply sitting on a plane or in an area without coverage? ForeverMap is a simple map app that has one great feature: you can download and store street-level maps and access them offline. The downloads do take up a bit of space on your device, but that’s to be expected.
The latest app from CleverMedia (MacMost parent) is Just Word Search for the iPad. You can choose a set of random words from the dictionary, a preset word list based on a theme, or enter your own list of words. You can also alter the puzzle size, colors and background. You can even decide whether words can be diagonal and backwards. Like most of CleverMedia’s games, this one is free.
Here’s a fun way to enjoy your music. The game Synesthetic takes any song from your Music app and builds game level around it. You simply tilt your devices left and right to avoid obstacles on a track as the song plays. It’s very colorful, even psychedelic.
Apple’s Cards app is a handy and fairly inexpensive way to send customized real-world cards to family and friends. You select a template and add your own photos and text. It only costs $3 to send a card inside the U.S., cheaper than many store-bought cards. And there are some nifty features like GPS location integration and the ability to send cards to multiple recipients, even after the original has been sent.
Here’s yet another game by MacMost’s parent, CleverMedia. Push Around is a puzzle game for those that want a tougher challenge than what is offered by most iOS puzzle games today. It could literally take weeks or months to play through the 100 levels in the game. However, learning how to play is simple: you move a robot around and push boxes into place. No complex controls to learn, no huge list of rules and complicated move combinations to master. Just push.
I’ve recommended many other Google apps before, but recently the one at the center of it all, the search app simply called Google, has been getting a lot of attention because of its superior voice recognition to Siri. While that one feature is impressive, it doesn’t quite replace Siri, which wins because of the variety of things it can do. Still, it is certainly worthwhile having the free Google app on your iPhone as it gives you nice voice web search ability and lots of built-in mini apps like Gmail and Google Calendar clients. You also get Google Goggles, which lets you search by taking a picture of an object.
Days is a photo diary app. You take pictures of things as you go about your day and it creates a little collage of images that tells the story of your day. You can then share it with others, or just use it for yourself. It has an interesting feature where you can take several pictures in a short timeframe and it will make them into an animated GIF.
Forty Thieves Solitaire the latest iOS app from CleverMedia (MacMost parent). A simpler version of this app has been out for years and is one of CleverMedia’s most popular. This new version has Arabian Nights-themed cards, Game Center high score boards, and scales to work on all iOS devices in both horizontal and vertical orientation. If you have never played Forty Thieves before, give it a try. It is similar to standard solitaire, but uses two decks and once you learn how to play you can win more often.
KitCam is a camera app that combines useful features like different shooting modes and sharing options with fun features like lens effects and frames. It gives you the option of seeing effects applied to the live image before you take a picture, or applying it in editing mode after. It also includes some interesting shooting options like multiple exposures, a timer, multi-shot and time lapse. Some of the effects are in-app purchases, but enough are included for free to make it worth the initial purchase.
Ever wanted to memorize a famous poem? Or perhaps you need to do it for school. Poems By Heart is a simple app that turns memorization into some mini-games. You can even track your process and record your efforts. It comes free with two poems, and then you pay for small packs of new ones.
When you start playing Little Inferno, it seems like a quirky little game toy where you obtain objects and burn them. But then when you reach level 2 you find out that it is actually a very dark, sinister game. You find out you are playing in a dark fantasy world. And in fact, Little Inferno is social commentary on mindless tap-and-wait game apps. Very weird but satisfying.
Huebrix is a fun puzzle game. You extend colored blocks to fill the board. There are plenty of special blocks that complicate the levels to make things challenging.
Here is another one of my own games. Poke Squares Solitaire is a game that should appeal to both poker players and solitaire players. It is a traditional game of poker solitaire where you place 25 cards in a 5×5 grid to build 10 hands of poker. You are awarded points based on the value of the hands. The game is hooked into Game Center, so you can compare your best score with your friends.
Block Fortress combines a reverse tower defense game with a Minecraft-like environment. You must build your fortress and defend it against the onslaught of enemies. You also get to control a fighter during attacks, adding a shooter-type game into the mix.
Curious as to which apps use the most power on your iPhone? Carat seeks to find out. It slowly samples energy use on your iPhone to provide you with a report showing apps that use a lot of power. While other apps that claim to do this actually only look at your installed apps and then make an education guess, Carat gathers data (it takes at least a week to give you your first report).
I’m not into running, but I’m thinking about it thanks to the iPhone app Zombies, Run! It is essentially a physical fitness app for tracking your runs. But it also motivates you by allowing you to pretend that you are being chased by zombies. It will interject apocalyptic news reports and zombie sounds into your music while you run virtual supply missions.
Here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know your iPhone could do: make floor plans by just using the camera and some taps. With MagicPlan you stand in the middle of a room and use your iPhone’s camera to create a floor plan by simply indicating the locations of corners and doors. The result inside perfectly accurate, but pretty close. You can add rooms and do your entire house or office.
With the Oscars coming up this weekend, it might be fun to pretend you are part of Hollywood with the simple but fun interactive adventure Stardom: Hollywood. You start at the bottom, unemployed and behind on your rent. Then you make choices and complete quests to facilitate your rise to stardom.
Vine is an extension to Twitter that challenges you to make interesting video clips, rather than tweets. You only get 6 seconds spread across 4 cuts. It is up to you to decide what to show.
The concept here is very simple and very useful. Color Assist uses the camera to show you the RGB color value of anything. For designers and graphic artists, this is really cool. If you see a nice color or set of colors in a book, poster, or a real-world object like a tree or cup of tea, you can capture and save that color value to use later.
Clash of the Clans combines the elements from a build-your-city game with those of a strategy war game. You get to create your village and defend it too. It is free to start, but you must purchase gems to speed up gameplay or you will want a very long time for things to happen. Still, it is fun and well made.
I created this app because I like trivia games, but hate what they have become in the app store. Each game has a complex system of levels or tokens, usually involving repeated in-app purchases. I wanted just a simple free game where you could answer trivia questions to test your knowledge. So I created Trivia Game, even using a generic name to underscore its simplicity. Answer 10 questions as quickly as you can and get a score.
Here’s a very addictive world building and exploration game. In The Blockheads you move around and explore a world while also building a home. There seems to be almost endless gameplay here, with only time being the limit — and there are in-app purchases that speed that up. It takes a few minutes to figure out how to do things, but once you get the hang of it you’ll find it is a lot of fun and very addictive.
Hundreds is a simple game where all you do is try to grow circles to build points and complete levels. But some clever level puzzles make it a challenge and worth playing.
Apple has been featuring movie trailers as content on their web site for years now. I think it started as a way to show off QuickTime. Now it has grown into a free iPhone and iPad app called iTunes Movie Trailers. But in addition to just viewing the trailers, you can also get movie times in a no-nonsense grid. There are even links to buying tickets, map locations, photo galleries, movie details and reviews.
Check out my latest game: Championship Solitaire. The idea here is that it is solitaire, but with scoring. You get points for every card moved to a foundation, but it costs points to start a new game. And you can compare your scores to others using Apple’s Game Center. You can also challenge your friends.
In addition to the scoring, I’ve tried to make this a smooth and easy-to-use solitaire game. It works with native screen resolution no matter which iOS device you have: iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPad, etc. And you can orient the screen any way you like. The game is free to play, so give it a try.
In addition to the scoring, I’ve tried to make this a smooth and easy-to-use solitaire game. It works with native screen resolution no matter which iOS device you have: iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPad, etc. And you can orient the screen any way you like. The game is free to play, so give it a try.
Whether you like the new Maps app, or miss the old Google one, it is worth it to get this free app as an alternative. The Google Maps app is for the iPhone screen, but works fine on the iPad right now in 2X mode and will hopefully be native soon. You can access Street View and also compare and contrast the maps, satellite images and voice directions to the built-in Apple app.
RPG fans have been waiting patiently for this landmark game to come to the iPad. Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is a massive 80-hour adventure that is deep and rich. The iPad version brings pretty much everything from the original game, but adds a new scenario and other new elements. In upcoming months we should also see a new Mac version of this game appear.
If you are looking to get a flight simulator for iOS, it looks like this is the one to get. Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy has great graphics, nice controls and a good set of levels. You can also play against your friends or collaborate with them on missions.
Been having a lot of fun this week playing Autumn Dynasty, a beautiful real-time strategy game for the iPad. It doesn’t have nearly the complexity of even the first Age of Empires, but it is well balanced and easy to learn.
Bastion is an action RPG that features beautiful graphics and animation, nice music and fast gameplay. The environment literally falls in place around you as you move. And the unique narration tells your story as you progress.
Letterpress is a deceptively simple two player word game for the iPhone and iPad. You are quickly and easily matched up with someone and place head-to-head, selecting letters to form words from a 5×5 grid. The winner is the one with the most captured letters when all 25 letters have been used. Moves can take a minute or can span days, so usually you have several games going at once.
Remember those really cool mechanical and electronic building kits of the 70s and 80s? Creatorverse feels like one of those, but it is on your iPad. You can easily create fun physics simulations by dragging objects on to the screen. This is from the makers of Second Life, so it has lots of sharing options too.
Who says that iPad education apps are for kids? With the Craftsy app you can take online courses for grown-ups for things like quilting, knitting, sewing, cake decorating, jewelry making, food, photography, gardening and more. Now you have no excuse not to do something constructive with your weekends.
Just Jigsaw Puzzles is another game from MacMost’s parent company. It is an iPad game where you can assemble a jigsaw puzzle right on your iPad’s screen. You can even decide how many pieces to cut the puzzle into, making it suitable for young children and adults alike. There are lots of options and the game is free. Give it a try!
If you were disappointed that the recent Pitfall app was not the original Pitfall, then it is time to rejoice: Activision Anthology brings the original Pitfall and many other classic home video games to iOS. It is a free app, and then you have to buy game collections, including the one with Pitfall. But one game, Kaboom comes with the app for free. That was one of my favorites too. There are a lot of games, so you may find one of your favorites as well.
Rebuild is a different type of zombie game. Instead of mindlessly destroying zombies in a fight-til-you-lose battle, Rebuild is a building game where you try to create a new city while holding them off. It is a turn-based strategy game where you have to play ahead and manage resources. You scout, scavenge, recruit and reclaim city blocks to rebuild civilization. The graphics and interface are excellent, but most of all it is a lot of fun to play.
The Room is an iPad game where you explore and solve puzzles. It is very well done with excellent graphics and music. This type of game certainly isn’t new, but with the iPad you can manipulate objects, turning, pushing and pulling them.
Every four years Americans get inundated with political phone calls and mud-slinging advertising. This is a good time to turn to “America’s finest news source” for some not-so-hard-hitting and not-so-real news. The Onion app brings together the print articles along with online audio and video. It won’t keep you informed, but it will make you laugh.
For most people upgrading to iOS 6, the new official YouTube app is a must-download this week. It replaces the old YouTube app that previously came with iOS. The new app has a sleeker, more up-to-date design with features like sharing and voice search.
While I was skeptical at first about playing SimCity again, I have to admit this touch version of the game sucked me in just like the original. SimCity Deluxe for iPad has that same addictive feel as you try to please your Sims by zoning and building. Felt good to be mayor again.
I was a huge fan of the original Atari game. So I’m a little disappointed that this 30th anniversary game is basically a clone of Temple Run. But that being said, Temple Run is a good game and Pitfall improves on it with different views and challenges. Plus, it gives us a reminder that the original Pitfall was an early precursor to today’s run-and-jump games. So worth getting, but I wish it came bundled with a version of the original game too.
Big Fish Casino is a very nice casino app that includes many individual games, like Texas Hold’em, that are done pretty well. It is nice to see an alternative to Zynga gaining some traction. If poker isn’t your game, there is blackjack, roulette, slots and a few others. They are all tied in to your “fake money” wallet, so yo you can build up your score on whichever games you like the most.
Yes, you can find old-school RPG games on iOS. Avadon: The Black Fortress is a fine example. Top-down 2D graphics, huge maps, inventory system, turn-based combat, and a long story told by countless NPCs that you encounter are all there. With so many point-and-click games masquerading as RPGs in the app store, it is nice to find something that has real depth to it.
With so many apps playing music that you already know you like, it is good to have some apps that let you discover new music. Band of the Day is just such an app. It is like a music magazine that publishes one review per day of a new band. Not every day will feature something you like, but that’s true of anything like this. On top of it, the design is one of those excellent iPad tap-and-explore interfaces that is a pleasure to play with.
The creators of Reason have come up with a good cheap music creation app for the iPhone. Figure is a fun toy that reminds you that while listening to music is fun, creating your own music can be even better. You just tap and swipe on colorful screens that make it easy to hit the right notes and beats.
We’ve been able to get Olympic results on the Internet for many years now, but it always seems to be difficult to find the result or score from a specific event. Hopefully this year will be different thanks to the free London 2012: Official Results App for the Olympic and Paralympic Games app. So far it seems pretty easy to find what you want and get detailed box scores as well.
One of the best games ever for iOS, and certainly the best tower defense game, is Fieldrunners. Now we have Fieldrunners 2, a significant expansion of the original game with a storyline, varied levels, new weapons and even better graphics. Although this is an iPhone game, it looks good on the iPad thanks to the retina display graphics.
If you prefer games with beautiful and unusual art and a slow exploratory pace, then Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is one you should check out. Beautiful pixel art screens and soft music will make you want to come back over and over to solve the puzzles and unlock the story.
Galaxy On Fire 3D is one of the nicer space opera games we’ve seen. The 3D graphics are good, and you don’t get lost too easily. The gameplay seems to be deep and interesting with lots of options for traveling around, making money, trading goods, finding adventure, etc.
Walking Mars is an adventure and exploration game where you travel through tunnels on Mars discovering new life forms and ancient artifacts. Each element you discover helps you solve puzzles and moves the story forward. The game has nice graphics and a leisurely pace that is a good change from some of the high-intensity games for iOS.
It is always nice to see classic arcade games come back to life, especially when they are near-exact duplicates of the originals, and not so “re-invention.” Midway Arcade includes games like Joust and Spy Hunter along with the app. Plus you can buy more depending on which are your favorites.
The ball and paddle game has been around since, well literally the very beginning of video games. Multiponk finally takes it to the next level with interesting variations and nice graphics. There are traps, bumpers and bonuses in the middle of the playing field. Play against the computer or up to three other people on the same device.
Bravesmart is a fun puzzle game where you create matches of three on a board to build better pieces. It is a single-player puzzle board game, but with a bit of a forced construction metaphor to make it a little more fun.
I’ve been using the Kinds In Mind web site for years to figure out whether a film is appropriate for the whole family. They break a movie down with easy-to-understand rankings which lets me make a determination instead of forcing an opinion on me. Now there is a Kids In Mind app, which will make it easier to get to their reviews quickly.
Like Microsoft, Apple and Google, Yahoo! now has its own browser — and it is an iOS browser as well as on Macs and PCs. The Yahoo! Axis browser has some interesting features such as visual search results and syncing your position across devices. It is free and worth checking out as an alternative to the built-in Safari browser.
Here’s a twisted strategy game that provides a unique challenge. In Pandemic, you control a virus or disease out to destroy the entire population of the world. Adjust its properties as the threat spreads and race against the hospitals and researchers of the world as they try to stop you.
While it is disappointing that the Pinterest app isn’t sized for the iPad screen yet, it still is worth having if you are a big Pinterest user. You can browse your friends’ pinboards while waiting in line at the bank and even update your own.
You know in sci-fi movies where they use little handheld devices to translate spoken language? Well the future may be here. The SayHi Translate app comes pretty close. Choose two languages and press one, then speak. The words you speak are translated into the other language and then spoken. The text appears on the screen so you know if it understood what you said first, and then you can see the translated result as well. This could become a must-have for travelers. It works like Siri in that it communicates with a server over the Internet for the heavy lifting.
Zaga 33 is an old school action puzzle game where you navigate one quick turn at a time while you try to make it through quick small levels and on to the next. For each move you make, your enemies make one, so plan accordingly.
With 162 games in a baseball season it is hard to catch them all in the stands or on TV. For those times baseball fans need to be away from the action the MLB.com At Bat is the app of all apps. You’ll get up-to-the-pitch scores and play-by-play, stats and video highlights while the game is in progress. This free app asks you for a serious $15/season in-app purchase to get all of the features, but that’s less than the price of a 3rd-deck right field ticket.
When the iPad first came out I couldn’t help thinking that the old Mac game Spaceward Ho! would be a great app for it. And here it is: Spaceward Ho! for the iPad. The is just as fun and addictive as always. The iPad version seems a bit rushed, with lots of interface glitches. But nothing to get in the way of playing the game, and I’m sure future updates will add some polish. This is a great space strategy game with just enough controls to make it interesting, but not so much that it bogs down gameplay.
Looking for an adventure game app with great graphics and immersive gameplay? Well how about using your imagination and playing Frotz instead? This app brings just about every text-based adventure game from the “old days” to your iPhone and iPad. It comes with a few freely available titles, like the original Zork. But you can search right inside the app for more, like the classic Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game.
Check out this promising new space strategy game, Astra Itinera. You move your fleet through space and battle for galactic domination. The interface is simple, but the game play is deep. Reminds me of some of the great turn-based strategy games of the 80s and 90s.
Word Spy is the latest word game from CleverMedia (MacMost’s parent). You have to find words in a unique grid before time runs out. If you are tired of the same old word games, check this one out for a change.
The new iPhoto app is more than just another way to edit and adjust photos. It is your link to the new iCloud photo journals feature. This lets you post pages of pictures on the web to share with others.
Here’s another one for the strategy game fans. Modern War is a pretty decent war strategy simulation. I still think someone will eventually figure out how to make a really good strategy game for the iPad, but until then games like this are worth a try.
We’ve certainly seen many new ways to move characters around in games with iPhone touch screen and accelerometers. Here’s a new one: in Beat Sneak Bandit you tap to the beat. The character moves only if you hit the beat right, and you can guide the character by deciding when to move and when to skip a beat. Add in some very cool artwork and you’ve got a nice game.
You can view your Gmail email through the built-in Mail app, and you can also use Safari to access it through the web. But the best way to use Gmail is through Google’s free Gmail App. This lets you get notifications, read threaded conversations, label messages the Gmail way and use special Gmail features like priority inbox.
Paper Monsters is a beautiful side-scrolling platform game. The controls are very natural and the gameplay is pretty deep. Give it a try.
If it is possible for an app to already be a classic, then High Noon would be it. The idea is based on a lot of the gunslinger games that predate it on computers and consoles. But with your iPhone you have to holster and then draw — you actually have to hold the device by your side and draw to start a duel. Then you need to move your iPhone around to target your opponent. This makes it much more challenging than point-and-click game.
A fun puzzle game is Where’s My Water? by Disney. Each level has you slashing at the ground to let water drain into a pipe to feed an alligator’s shower. While that metaphor is quite a stretch, the result is some good puzzle gameplay and nice graphics.
Ever want to drop a meteor or fire a missile at someone? Well, now you can do it, at least on video, with the Action Movie FX app. You shoot a few seconds of video and then it applies a dramatic special effect to it. Works surprisingly well and is at least worth checking out even if you don’t upgrade from the free effects that are included.
Another decent Texas Holdem poker game out there is the popular Zynga Poker. This is actually better known for being a Facebook app, but playing on your iPhone or iPad actually puts you in the same pool of people, I believe. You never know what you are going to get in terms of player styles and conversation, so be warned. But it is sometimes good to practice in this just-for-fun poker game.
Remember the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Art, when Indiana Jones runs away from the temple after stealing the gold idol? That’s basically the idea behind the very addictive and free Temple Run for iPhone and iPad. You run down a path jumping, sliding and dodging obstacles to see how far you can get before you trip up. A fun, quick play.
Skitch has long been a favorite on the Mac for snapping and annotating screen captures. Now there is a version of Skitch for the iPad and it’s free. While it can’t take screen captures, it can grab them from your Camera Roll and allow you to annotate them and post or email them. You can do the same with any photo on your iPad, or take new ones if you have an iPad 2. One cool feature is the ability to create and annotate a map right inside the app. Very handy.
The talk of the App world these last few weeks has been Waze. A social networking app for drivers. To begin with it is a free GPS navigation app with voice directions. But it also links you to others on the road and past history of the road. So you can also know about that accident or speed trap up ahead.
Now here’s a game that is highly addictive. Dragonvale is an ingenious game where you run a breed and raise cute little dragons. Before you know it you are building habitats, decorating your park and contemplating breeding combinations. This game is getting so popular that there are many sites now dedicated to it. It is a freemium game, meaning that you can download it and play for free, with in-app purchasing of items used merely to speed things up. At the very least you need to get this game and try it out, so you know what everyone else is raving about.
Ever wanted to design your own platform game levels? With the MakeQuest iPad app, you can. You drag building blocks and create rooms. Rooms link together to make a game. Design it any way you want. Add objects, treasure, weapons and monsters. Use signs to create a narrative. This is an interesting “experiment” from CleverMedia, MacMost’s parent company.
Here’s a fast-moving platform game that just became universal for the iPhone and iPad. In League of Evil has retro art and gameplay but still manages to seem fresh. You run, jump, climb and punch your way through level after level.
Here’s another free game from MacMost’s parent. Mah Jongg Solitaire is a very full-featured tile matching game. You can choose from many tile sets, backgrounds and layouts. It is a free ad-supported game, but similar to other games that you would need to pay for.
No doubt that Minecraft has a huge following among both casual and some hard-core gamers. It is amazing that it has taken this long for there to be a real Minecraft iPhone and iPad app. While the app is way behind the desktop application, it is still fun and worth the price. You get to basically just move around and build your own 3D environment in an extremely simply interface.
Another CleverMedia that just got updated Something Fishy. The new HD version for the iPad and iPhone has a complete new control system with an on-screen joystick. This is a fun game, especially for kids. You float around and eat fish smaller than you while avoiding fish larger than you. There are also some bonus games.
Apple has brought one of the most sophisticated and fun iPad apps to the iPhone and iPod touch. The new universal version of GarageBand gives you an eight-track recording studio in your pocket. You can also have lots of fun with the on-screen musical instruments.
CleverMedia (MacMost parent) has just updated its Word Spell game for iOS. It is now native resolution for this iPad, and it is now a completely free game. You get six letters and need to spell as many words as you can before time runs out. The new version also adds many performance enhancements.
With the World Series underway, you may want to check out Home Run Derby by MacMost’s parent company. This is a free game and a quick play. Just take some swings to see how many you can hit over the fence. A new version just out this week adds full screen iPad support.
Zig Zag is a simple puzzle strategy game where you connect two tiles. The tiles have to connect via a line with not more than two turns. And the longer the line, the more points you score. This creates some interesting game strategy where you have to remove tiles in the right order to score maximum points.
This game by MacMost’s parent company has just undergone a transformation. It is now a free app, and it works on both the iPhone and iPad at native resolutions.
This game by MacMost’s parent company has just undergone a transformation. It is now a free app, and it works on both the iPhone and iPad at native resolutions.
QR Codes are becoming common enough now that you probably want to make sure you have a free QR code reader app on your iPhone. The very simple Scan app works just fine and I have been using it whenever curiosity gets the better of me.
Shooters continue to get better and better on the iPhone and iPad. This week everyone seems to be talking about Shadowgun. It has some of the best graphics for this genre so far. The controls work well and the story is good enough to keep gameplay interesting.
Gaming on the iPad is starting to pick up steam. With new iPad-only games that are a level above what you typically find on the small-screen iPhone, the two platforms are moving apart in the gaming world. Crimson: Steam Piratesis an iPad-only game that merges the age of pirates with steam punk for some two-dimensional sea battle action. The corny story can be forgiven since the game is so much fun to play.
Yet another new game idea made possible by the iOS touch interface. In Continuity 2: The Continuation, you not only get a very intuitive and interesting way to move a character around the screen by swiping, but you also get a new game concept. You can move the character, sure, but you can also move the environment. You zoom out and slide sections of each level around. Bizarre, fun and addictive.
I’m not into cooking, but if I were, I wouldn’t use anything so old-fashioned as a cook book. Well, I would, but it would be on my iPad. Epicurious seems to be the ultimate next-generation cook book. 30,000 recipes, searchable, shopping lists, social features, etc.
Seems like everyone wants to figure out how to make a better news app. News360 is certainly a contender. It seems to bring in news from a ton of sources, and customizes to your interests. There is also a new exploratory mode that lets you see a collage of images and perhaps find interesting stories that you might have otherwise missed. Also good is the fact that to read full articles you get shown the original web page. So you don’t miss anything and the app respects the publications’ rights as well.
Recently while on vacation I was looking for a simple way to take pictures on my iPhone and upload them to one of the major photo sharing services, without much hassle. The official Flickr app does that. It makes it simple to upload pictures from my camera roll directly from my iPhone to Flickr.
Strategy games for the iPad are all over the place in terms of quality. Great Little War Game HD is one of the good ones, with many challenging levels and good graphics. It is also easy to learn with tips at the start of each level instead of a massive tutorial to digest. It is a basic turn-based strategy game much like the old Advance Wars that defined this genre.
Here’s a simple but fun and beautiful game that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. In Osmos you are a small cell trying to get bigger. You do that by simply eating things small than you, and avoiding things larger than you. But each level has a puzzle aspect to it that keeps it interesting.
While the realistic forward view and accelerometer controls of most racing games fantastic on the iPad and iPhone, sometimes top-down with on-screen controls works too. That is the case with the super-fun Death Rally. You race around short courses for the best time, while trying to destroy your AI opponents with weapons. It is top-down, but the graphics are excellent, so you quickly forget that. I like that the courses are short so you can play a quick race as a break at any time.
Google has launched its competitor to Facebook and with it a new iOS app, Google+. If you are using Google’s new social network, you can use the app to view your circles, upload pictures, and so on. Updates should be coming quickly to this new service and app, including an update to better support the iPad at some point. We’re still waiting for Facebook to do the same.
If you didn’t get a chance to play Sid Meier’s Pirates! on another gaming platform before, now is your chance. And if you have, you know that it is probably worth it to get this iPad version too. This is a great game that combines lots of elements and fun gameplay. You get to live the life of a pirate and chart your own course — no following a strict storyline. The game is deep with lots of new things to discover as you go along. You really get to make your own decisions and your own story, so you can play it several times.
Sure, there are plenty of app games that show you how to kill zombies. But what about one that gives you the task of keeping one alive. Or, undead. Or whatever zombies are. In My Pet Zombie you awaken your zombie and feed him. You can also dress him and make him dance. There are even mini games.
Another web-based game makes its way to the iPhone and seems like it must have been originally meant for it. Shift!2 is gamer’s puzzle game. You must move your character through seemingly impossible situations that require you to shift spaces — walls become open space and open space become walls. Its disorienting and pleasing at the same time.
I’ve been using an iPhone for years now and I still can’t type text messages very quickly on the screen. But with HeyTell I don’t have it. I can speak messages and send them to someone else who also has HeyTell. Then they can just hear my voice. If we both have the app open, it works like a walkie-talkie. You can even send your location and it works over 3G, so it is like walkie-talkies with unlimited range.
So many of the games in the app store are imitations of the arcade games of the 70s and 80s. So why not play the originals? With the free Atari’s Greatest Hits app comes with Missile Command, and you can buy many different games at 99 cents for groups of four including some of my favorites like Battle Zone and Star Raiders.
DropBox and services like it have become very important to Mac and PC users. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can get the free DropBox app and have access to your files on your iOS device as well. You can view documents, of course. But you can also upload photos and even save email attachments.
Pages is great for creating and formatting documents. But when you just want to write — and really concentrate on the writing — many writers turn to a simpler plain text editor. iA Writer is that app for the iPad. You can sync with Dropbox, and there is even a special keyboard with buttons more suited for writing.
There are a lot of musical instrument apps for the iPad, but what about the most fun musical instrument of all? Ukulele HD has just about every virtual instrument mode you can imagine. You can press buttons to play chords or finger the chords yourself in several ways. You can play individual notes too.
Sometimes an app idea can seem ridiculous, but after trying it, you feel compelled to use it again later. Then again. Then the next thing you know it is one of your top apps. Foursquare is a location game. You “check in” at a restaurant, park, airport or wherever and get points for your check-ins. You link up with friends and compete against them to see who gets around more. You can also share notes, tips and pictures of places with friends and the whole world. It goes without saying that this isn’t for someone concerned about privacy. With the right group of friends, you can have fun and discover new places.
Its fun to have a lot of your music on your iPhone and to be able to jump from song to song at a party, in the car or wherever. But when you want to do something better than cutting off one song to go to another, look into some of the cheap live mixing apps like djay. With this you can fade one song into another, match beats, play with loops and scratching, and so on. Lots of fun with your iPod music library. There’s even an automatic mode that is a better way to listen to your playlists and shuffle than the built-in iPod app.
Doodle God is a strange game of discovery. You start by combining two elements to make a new element, like earth and fire make lava. Then you continue to combine elements to build new ones until you end up with complex creations. Oddly addictive, definitely different.
I often use my iPhone to take pictures of pages or documents. It is easier than writing notes, or bringing a scanner with me. The different between using the Camera app and Genius Scan+ is that Genius Scan+ will usually recognize the border of the document and adjusts the perspective to make the document flat, as if it was scanned, even if I took the picture at an angle. Even when it doesn’t get it right, it allows me to adjust the corners so I can make it better. You can export single pages as jpeg images, and multiple pages as PDFs. You can send to services like Dropbox, Google Docs and Evernote too.
Spring is here and so is baseball. If you are looking for some action on your iPhone, check out Flick Baseball Pro. While it has a few bugs here and there, it is a pretty deep game that does just enough to put you in the action, while not making the interface overly complex. A lot of fun to play.
I’m surprised there aren’t more good trivia games for the iPhone. They are the perfect time-filler to have in your pocket. One of my favorite party games has made the transformation to the iPhone. Scene It? Movies Is better than a typical question-and-answer trivia game, with creative ways to present questions.
Remember when MapQuest was synonymous with web-based maps. Heck, it almost became a dictionary word. Well MapQuest is relevant again, but this time as a free GPS turn-by-turn iPhone app. The MapQuest 4 Mobile app beats Google Maps easily because it will speak the directions to you just like one of the expensive GPS devices.
I’ve never found mind-mapping to be particularly useful, but I’ve started to use them here and there since getting the MindNode iPad App. Something about combining this type of application and the large touch screen of the iPad makes sense. There is also an iPhone version but I don’t know if it will work on the small screen as well.
Battle for Wesnoth seemed like another turn-based RPG game for the iPad. But as a port of a large, mature PC game there is much more depth than a typical iPad game. I wasted many hours this week moving through the initial story. But there are actually 15 campaigns, so I’ve got plenty more to go.
Ever need to call a company’s customer service number for help? Then you get faced with a long wait until you get to talk with someone? With the FastCustomer app, you can have those companies call you. Just select the company from the list and enter your phone number. Then the phone rings with a real live service representative from that company on the line. What a great idea!
If you plan on watching the Academy Awards this weekend you may want to invest a buck for the official iPhone and iPad app. It is hard to say now whether it will be worth it, but the idea is intriguing. You get to view live cameras from the event, instead of being stuck with the one that is currently on your TV screen. It will be interesting to see how well it works. If it is a success, this could be the start of a new way of watching events.
We’re really starting to get console-quality games now on the iPhone. With Dead Space, you’ve got excellent graphics, 3D, gameplay and it is just as creepy as the console version. Plus the story is something separate from the console ones, so you aren’t replaying the same thing. There is also a separate Dead Space for iPad version.
Making a restaurant reservation using your iPhone is one of those cool things you see in TV commercials that you actually might need to do in real life every once in a while. The free Open Table app makes it easy. And you can also find nearby restaurants as alternatives if your favorite is booked for the night and read reviews.
In case you missed it, The Daily launched this week. This is an iPad-only daily newspaper. It is significant in many ways. It is a new publication, not a new version of an old paper. It is iPad-only with content not even available on its web site. It also is the first app to use a subscription payment model. After the first two weeks it will cost $0.99 per week to subscribe. Too early to tell whether it will succeed in changing how we think of newspapers.
It is amazing that we can still find new ways to simulate golf in video games. With Flick Golf you can probably guess how you control the swing. But you can also control the flight of the ball. Plus the game plays a little more like an arcade game than a traditional golf game, with bullseye targets and timers.
Brush off those 1980s programming skills and write some BASIC code on your iPhone or iPad. The Basic! app lets you type out some code and run it just like you would on an early computer or terminal. Besides being nostalgic, this could actually come in handy if you need to write quick programs to perform calculations. They have even added some touch screen functions.
Yet another innovative puzzle game. In Burn the Rope you turn your iPhone to keep flames burning upward along the ropes. Bugs crawling along the rope and flame colors add depth to the puzzles.
If you are in to the whole check-in craze, then you might want to check out the free app Instagram. This app lets you take a quick picture and then check in using Foursquare, Facebook and other systems all at once. I like how you can use filters on the photos to help make them more interesting.
Here’s another free game from CleverMedia (MacMost’s parent). Just Mah Jongg Solitaire comes from a long history of Mah Jongg tile games starting with Nile Tiles in 1999. You must find matching tiles and try to clear the board. This iPhone version is free, and contains more than 100 layouts, 5 tile sets and several backgrounds.
The iPad seems to be the perfect device for college students. What it has been lacking, though, is the perfect note-taking app. But finally the best Mac application for taking notes has come to the iPad. With Circus Ponies NoteBook for iPad you can write, draw, record audio and organize notes. I wish they had this when I was in school. But I can still get some use out of it today taking notes in meetings and brainstorming on my own.
Here’s another one of our own free apps. With the Snowman Construction Kit you can build your own snowman combining various parts to make a picture. When you are done, you can save it to your camera roll and send to friends or upload to sites. It is based on the web version which we first created back in 1997 and have updated many times since.
THQ has been giving us a steady stream of Star Wars games for the iPhone. The latest, Falcon Gunner, is reminiscent of the old arcade title. It works well on the iPhone with the accelerometers. You put yourself in the seat of one of the Millennium Falcon’s guns and shoot down TIE fighters. A special mode uses your camera to put your reality in the background. Not only is this entertaining, but you get quite a workout wheeling around to destroy all the TIE fighters in your living room.
Back in the 90s one of the coolest and weirdest pieces of Mac software was Rebirth. It simulated classic synth and drum machines. Lots of fun to play with. Well, now Rebirth is reborn with Rebirth for iPad. And it is just as much fun. You can also find Rebirth for the iPhone though it is much better on the large screen of the iPad.
Apple decided to take one piece of MobileMe and make it free this week: the Find My iPhone functionality. It actually works with the iPod Touch and iPad too. You use your Apple ID and register your iPhone. Then you can go on to your Mac and see its location on a map. Or, you can use the free Find My iPhone app on another iOS device to locate it.
Fans of Google Voice have waited a long time for this app. The free Google Voice app allows you to check your voicemail, send and receive text messages, and you get notifications of incoming messages. I like it because it is now the best alternative to AT&T’s text messaging plans. If you already have a Google Voice account, then this is a must-have app. If you don’t, then why not get one?
Can’t decide whether to get an action game or a real-time strategy game? Why not both with Cartoon Wars 2: Heroes. Unlike other tower defense games, you don’t have to wait for the enemy to come to you. You can send out soldiers to attack. There is hours and hours of fun here.
Here is another classic puzzle game genre done well on the iPhone. In Trainyard you build railroad tracks to guide colored trains to their destinations. It starts off simply, but later levels get challenging.
I never got to check out Alice in Wonderland when it first arrived in the app store to promote the new movie. But now that it is $0.99, I thought I’d give it a try. Good old-fashioned adventure game fun.
Another free game this week from CleverMedia (MacMost parent). Just Solitaire: Pyramid is your basic pyramid solitaire game. But the problem with pyramid solitaire is that different people play it different ways. Sometimes there is one waste pile, sometimes two. Some people play with reserve cards. This game allows you to customize the rules to play like you want to.
Here’s another innovative game that uses the touch screen in a way we’ve not seen before. In Cut the Rope you’ve got to slice ropes with your finger to release candy for a creature to eat. Then start adding multiple ropes, floating bubbles and spikes and you’ve got challenging puzzle levels that require both skill and dexterity.
If you like tilt-based puzzle games, vParticle+ is for you. You guide particles through complex and challenging levels with a huge variety of rules and features. A nice departure from the over-simplified puzzle games that clog the App Store.
Hard to believe that we’ve not gotten around to recommending Angry Birds yet. You sling various irate birds at the homes of these pigs that have somehow pissed the birds off. This game combines strategy and whimsy to create one of the best iPhone games out there. But if you can, play the iPad version of Angry Birds which is even more enjoyable.
Looking for a good match-three alternative the one with the jewels? Arrrgh! Gather pirate treasure instead with Pieces of Eight! This full-featured puzzle game has all the same bells and whistles, plus bonus games.
There are several solitaire games out there, but we’ve got to take the time to point to our very own (made by MacMost producer Gary Rosenzweig). Not only is Just Solitaire Klondike full-featured with lots of game options, but it is also free!
While the release of SimCity on the iPhone was nice, the graphics and gameplay are a little out-dated. Enter Virtual City, a more modern city-building game. The graphics are great and the task-oriented tutorial brings you right into the gameplay.
Yet another classic computer game is finding a new life on the iPhone. The Oregon Trail was one of the first attempts to use gaming as a teaching tool. It may not have succeeded in that, but it did find a place in popular culture. There is quite a debate on whether this new version is faithful to the original. But at last you can “die of dysentery” on the iPhone.
Prizmo turns your iPhone into a scanner. It uses the iPhone’s camera to take a picture, and then use optical character recognition (OCR) to read the text. For instance, you can take a picture of someone’s business card and it will read the text on the card and create a contact. The process isn’t automatic, as you have to check the data for errors. But it still beats tapping it in. You can also grab bills, whiteboards or any text document. There is even the option to purchase a “voice” and have your text read out loud.
Since the release of the very first iPhone I’ve used panoramic stitching apps. But this one is the best so far because it takes all the work out of your hands. When I’m somewhere interesting enough to take a panorama, the last thing I want to do is stare at my iPhone screen for minutes on end working with an app. Just take some photos and feed them in to AutoStitch Panorama and it will do everything for you. Then send to your friends while still enjoying the view.
Years of having nothing but Risk clones on the iPhone are over, as Electronic Arts finally gives us the real thing. Risk: The Official Game works on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad and also supports a local multiplayer mode. The options are pretty basic, but you can’t beat the original ruleset anyway.
It seems weird to spend money on an app that basically gives recipe ideas an grill times. But the On the Grill app from Weber becomes worth it quickly if you spend your summers grilling out back. Saving just one steak from being over or under cooked makes it worth it, and the rest is gravy — or, barbecue sauce.
It has been a while since I recommended one of my own iPhone games. Something Fishy is another port of a game that has been wildly successful on the Web. With the iPhone, you get to use the accelerometers to move Walter the fish around. I’ve also added some bonus games and music.
Funny how point-and-click adventure games built for 1980s computers seem to be made for touch-screen devices. Now we have the re-release of the classic Monkey Island 2 for the iPhone (and the iPad). Whether you played this years ago and want to re-discover it, or you just want a fun and funny game to play, you can’t go wrong with this classic. The graphics are all new and look gorgeous. And as a bonus you can switch to the original bitmap graphics for nostalgia.
Between playing games and messaging your friends, you can actually use the iPhone and iPad to learn something. It helps when the information is presented in a stunning way. The Elements for iPhone 4 uses the high resolution screen for great graphics. Though if you have an iPad, the iPad version is worth getting. What you get is a semester’s worth of knowledge in an app.
With so many apps in the store, rarely can any one app ever be called “highly anticipated.” But that is the case with Apple’s new iMovie app. It is only for the iPhone 4, but is sure to become a must-have app for those with the new phone. Editing and uploading video is now something that no longer requires a computer.
Not too long ago a device like the iPad that just ran something like Google Earth would have been worth a small fortune. Now you can add Google Earth to your iPad for free. It works as you might expect, allowing you to zoom in and around the planet looking at satellite imagery, photos and information. You can get a lot of education and entertainment from this app, and kill a lot of time. This app has been around for the iPhone for a while, but the new version adds native iPad viewing as well.
If you like strategy board games, along the lines of Risk, then Strategery is for you. It works on both the iPhone and iPad. You play on a random map with many rule variations to keep the game fresh. It only takes minutes to play most scenarios for a quick hit of strategy game fun.
Looking for some real-time strategy for your iPhone? Lost Empires is an RTS with a RPG flavor, nice graphics and gameplay. It shows that you can get a big game experience on the little iPhone for a little price as well.
The debate over which Twitter app to use is pretty much over. While third-party apps will always try to offer extra functionality, it will most likely be the new official Twitter app that gets the majority of users. It’s free, and coming from Twitter itself it will always have the inside scoop on the latest Twitter features.
You can understand why this hit XBox game never made it to the iPhone — it really needs a larger screen to do it justice. Well, since we now have an iPhone-like device with a larger screen, we also have Geometry Wars for iPad.
So the iPad doesn’t have a camera. But your iPhone does. With Camera for iPad you can link the two of them together and control your iPhone’s camera from your iPad. It can also be used with an iPhone and iPod Touch. It works using either the local wi-fi network, or bluetooth directly from one camera to the other.
If you like astronomy, or just things that look super-cool on your iPhone, check out Solar Walk. This app gives you 3D views of our solar system with up-to-date positioning and lots of info.
Have you ever need to store or enter data into your iPhone or iPad, but there just wasn’t an app that met the need? Bento for iPhone is a database program that also syncs with Bento for Mac. There is also a version for the iPad. A simple, versatile database app done right.
There are a few comic book apps available, and some are now both iPhone and iPad compatible. But the Marvel one stands out in that it presents clear, crisp graphics even on the large iPad screen. Plus, I like that they put their free samples right out front and don’t try to hide them. This app, like all comic apps, is a novelty on the iPhone and iPod Touch. But on the iPad it really can replace reading on paper.
If you love words and can’t get enough of word games, then you should try Etymologic! a game about the origin of words. What makes this game tough is the improbable origins of many words. Sometimes the least plausible answer is the right one.
I’m always trying to get the edge on my friends in our neighborhood poker games. One method I use is to play good poker computer games as practice. I’ve found several for the iPhone, but my current favorite is Apple’s own Texas Hold’em game. The graphics and features are excellent. But most importantly the AI is good, which means I’m learning to be a better player.
Here’s yet another game from CleverMedia (AKA MacMost): Home Run Derby. Even better, this game is free!
A new iPhone game from CleverMedia (parent company of MacMost) is Moon Lander. This is like the classic arcade game. You try to land a ship on a moon, past rocky terrain and outcroppings, before you run out of fuel. The main game has 25 levels, and there are two bonus challenges as well.
Whether you are in hollywood, community theater, a school play or make presentations, you can use Rehearsal to learn your lines. It is quite an interesting idea. You take script pages and load them on to your iPhone. You can then rehearse your lines, even with recordings of the other actors in place.
Yet another game in the store this week by me (Gary, the host and producer of MacMost). This week it is Free Style. I’m particularly proud of this game because it is an original design that I came up with years ago and a truly unique game. You move along a row of red and green blocks, trying to get them all to change to green while avoiding a marked block that changes. As you play, your moves mimic jazz improvisation, creating a little melody. Give it a try!
We’ve been on a roll here producing iPhone games. So we’ll keep featuring them. Hope no one minds. The next one is Add It Up. This is a math puzzle game that is not only fun to play, but deceptively challenging as well. Plus, it keeps your mind sharp as an added benefit. Take a break from Sudoku and try this faster-paced game.
CleverMedia (MacMost’s parent) has been busy taking some of its most popular Web-based games and bringing them to the iPhone and iPod Touch as apps. The next one to check out is Word Spell. You get six letters and have to make as many words from those letters as you can.
While MacMost is good for tech help with Apple products, the world is much bigger than Apple. When you need more help, Dave Taylor’s site is the one of the very best. And now you can access his huge database of questions and answers with the Ask Dave Taylor iPhone app.
Time to self-promote again. Gold Strike isn’t only one of the best games for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but it is my latest. I originally made this for the Web, but it has appeared as a downloadable and a mobile phone game before as well. This is the deluxe version with four game variations. It will only be $0.99 for a short while more before I raise the price, so get it now!
Tired of little 99 cent games and looking for something bigger for your iPhone? Try Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies. This long-titled game is also long on gameplay and graphics. It is pretty intense, though, so not for the kiddies.
Bummed that you have an iPhone 3G or older and can’t record video like your friends with the iPhone 3GS? Well, now you can. The iVideoCamera app allows these older phones to record video. The catch is that it is only 320×426, not the full 640×480 of the iPhone 3GS. And it is a pretty low-quality frame rate. But for 99 cents, you can at least record little videos and share them on YouTube, FaceBook, etc.
I always liked playing Skee-Ball at the boardwalk arcades while growing up. It was a skill game, as opposed to a game of chance like most of the rest. Well, now I can re-live the experience on my iPhone with the Skee-Ball app. It works just like you think it would, using a finger flick to simulate rolling the ball. But you don’t have to worry about the machine breaking down on you while spitting out little tickets.
While we are on the subject of password security this week, it is worth mentioning that 1Password has an iPhone version. In fact, it has two: a standard 1Password and a 1Password Pro with a few more features. And, you guessed it, you can sync your 1Password on the iPhone with your 1Password on the Mac, giving you secure access to your passwords while away from your computer. Unfortunately you can’t easily log on to Web sites in mobile Safari, but you can copy and paste your passwords across.
The iPhone’s has been a fantastic innovative space for game developers. Here’s another odd and creative game: Tipoli. You control two little guys one of whom is stuck to the surface and the other who is continuously bouncing. All you do is touch to switch them. Very very simple, yet also very interesting. Give it a try.
Want to get a taste of speech recognition for free? The new Dragon Dictation app lets you talk into your iPhone and it will translate your speech to text. It’s not perfect, but works surprisingly well, especially considering it is free. You can then edit the text on the iPhone and send an email
Taking notes on the iPhone just got easier. Thanks to Note Taker you can write on the iPhone’s screen instead of typing. It uses a clever method of shrinking your letters down to fit on a page, and a lot of other interesting features. It doesn’t convert your chicken scratch to real text, but for the purpose of taking notes it is well suited.
If you play in a neighborhood poker game you could probably benefit from a little practice here and there. Online poker is quite a commitment, but a good iPhone app like Poker Superstars III can provide you with quick little practice sessions to sharpen your strategy. The AI is decent enough to send you packing quickly if you don’t know what you are doing, which will only help to make you a better player.
Minim is one of those rare cases where you find a relatively new game concept in an iPhone game. This 3D puzzle shows you molecules made up of number atoms. You need to combine the atoms following a set of rules until you compress the entire molecule into a single atom. It starts of very easy, but soon the level of complexity makes it challenging as each level gets more difficult.
You’ve got an iPhone with a camera. In front of you in the store is a product with a bar code on the back. Why type in the name of the product and search the Web for prices when an app can do it for you? RedLaser will grab the bar code and search the Web for prices and information. Other apps can do this too, but RedLaser seems to be the best of the bunch.
Combine the facts that your iPhone is always with you, it has a GPS chip, and has access to maps, and you’d think that you should be able to use it to track your bike rides — distance, speed, time, and even plot your course on a map. But most apps that claim to do this fall short in one way or another. An exception is Cyclemeter, which does all of these things and more. It keeps track of your rides without requiring you to sign up for a Web service or leave your iPhone. And it is gentle on your battery compared to other apps. Plus, it is very geeky cool to be able to see your ride on a map when you are done.
The ability of the iPhone 3GS to take video is great, but it makes you choose been capturing moments as a photo or a video. Video is a good choice, but sometimes you also want to send out or post a quick picture too. Videopix allows you to select a frame from a video and save it as a photo to your iPhone’s camera roll. It is pricey, but if you use video a lot, it could come in handy.
If you like following the latest goings-on at NASA, then the new NASA App for iPhone is your new favorite app. This free app gives you lots of news feeds, pictures, video and other information about all the different missions and programs. So far it has been updated constantly, even with count-downs to launches.
MacMost has its second entry into the iTunes App store this week with Free Games. This is a simple little free app that lists the 20 free Web-based games at MacMost.com. It is simply an easy way to bookmark them as an app on your iPhone, rather than as bookmarks in Safari. As something extra, the app also lists some other free games recommended by MacMost.
The follow-up to the popular GeoDefense game, GeoDefense Swarm doesn’t disappoint if you are a fan of tower defense games. It looks like the original, but it is an open field game, as opposed to a fixed path game. In fact, it adds an interesting element as it is hex-based instead of grid-based.
Inkvaders gets our recommendation based on artwork alone. Where the average quality of art in iPhone games continues to decline, Inkvaders bucks the trend with beautiful graphics. It is a side-scrolling game with good action and plenty of gameplay to make the price worth it.
One of the most popular iPhone games of the year has been Flight Control. This simple game asks you to direct airplanes in for landing by drawing on the screen. It starts slowly, and then gets hard very quickly. You’ll find yourself playing over and over again.
It seems like tower defense games have found their perfect device in the iPhone. The touch screen is perfect for this sort of game. Probably the most talked-about tower defense game right now is GeoDefense. The graphics alone make it worth the price. Plus, it is a game that takes its levels seriously.
Since the launch of the App Store, Tap Tap Revenge has been one of the best free distractions. You play in a style similar to Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution, tapping on dots as they fly down your screen. It’s lots of fun, especially if you like these kinds of music games. And there are special versions in the App Store too, with music from Nine Inch Nails, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Dave Matthews, etc.
While Spades is usually a game for four players, it turns out to be a pretty good solo game against computer opponents as well. Multiplayer Tiki Spades offers both this single-player option and the ability to connect with others. Unlike a lot of other Spades games, the AI is pretty decent and the interface is excellent.
I’m surprised it took LucasArts so long to realize that its old Monkey Island games were perfect for adaptation to the iPhone. The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition for the iPhone is a re-hash of one of the old games from the series. If you have never played Monkey Island games before, you should get a kick out of it — a point-and-click adventure with both clever puzzles and a sense of humor. And if you haven’t played it since it was first released 19 years ago, it could be fun to re-live the adventure.
Sick of paying $1000+ per megabyte for SMS messaging on the iPhone. There are plenty of apps that will allow you to bypass AT&T and send and receive text messages for free. And some apps, like Textfree will use the iPhone’s notification feature to alert you of new texts even when you are not running the app. The full version allows unlimited text messages, while a free trial version limits you to 15 per day.
I think drawing on the iPhone is a lot of fun and a great way to pass the time or jot down quick ideas. The free app Doodle Buddy goes even further with the ability to connect two iPhones and work together. You can also select a background, like a tic-tac-toe board, which can come in handy. You can draw on top of your own pictures as well.
Here’s another game that simply wouldn’t work on any other device except the iPhone. Lifeboat is a game where you literally rock the boat. By moving your phone you can direct passengers into lifeboats. If they fall into the water, you can throw them a life ring. Did I mention there are sharks in the water?
Well the Wii might allow you to control your video games with motion, but can you use your own breath? With Air Sail you need to blow into the mic to propel a little sailing ship through different levels. You can even race against a friend using two iPhones connected to a wifi network. The only problem with this game is that it takes guts to play it on the subway.
You’ve probably seen this App featured in one of the iPhone TV commercials. Urbanspoon is basically a restaurant finder with reviews, but it stands out in a few ways. It allows you to do much more than just review a restaurant. For instance, you can use your iPhone to take a picture of the menu and upload it to Urbanspoon. This is incredibly useful, as so many restaurants still don’t get the Internet and still don’t provide online menus.
Instead of just being another breakout clone, Radial 50 makes things more interesting with a circular design, allowing your paddle to move all the way around the screen. There’s plenty of complexity here, but at the same time the game play is simply to reflect the ball. The design is interesting enough to keep you playing time and time again.
So sliding puzzle games are easy. Child’s play, really. But what if the image wasn’t just an image? What if it was a ball moving around as you tilt your iPhone? You’d need to figure out which pieces are supposed to go where before you starting putting them into place. Behold: Bedeviled.
This odd game is like tower defense combined with whack-a-mole. In Knights Onrush you defend your castle by picking up and flicking the attackers with your finger. Oh, and you can sacrifice some of them to dragons, or detonate the little bombs they carry with them. Lots of fun!
You’d think there would be a default drawing program on the iPhone. After all, with a touch screen, it should be easy to sketch out ideas and make visual notes. SimpleDraw fills in this gap. It is a free app that allows you to draw on your screen and save the image to your photo gallery.
While the iPhone is capable of good 3D games, rarely do you see this in use. In Vans SK8: Pool Service there are 3D graphics and gameplay, coupled with nice controls. Even if you aren’t into skating games, it is worth looking for the lite version of this game to check out the graphics.
Here’s a classic game re-imagined for the iPhone. In Westbang, you play an old-west sheriff guarding the bank against bad guys. The artwork and gameplay are simple, but excellent. It great for a quick play, and you will find yourself coming back again and again.
Time for some shameless self-promotion as we pick Chicken And Eggs as the featured iPhone app of the week. This is the first CleverMedia game in the app store and it is a version of one of the most popular Web-based games we’ve produced over the years. Give it a look.
Sometimes it is incredible to see how much 3D artwork goes into some iPhone games. International Athletics is one such example. In this game, you use the touch screen to compete in track and field events. It reminds us of the old Olympics games on the Apple II and in the arcade.
Are you up for a good tile-based side-scroller? Brave Dwarves is colorful and action-packed. It uses a very intuitive combination of touch gestures and accelerometers for controls. You definitely get a lot of gameplay for your money.
While not the most impressive or fun app, AT&T myWireless Mobile is essential for U.S. iPhone users because it is AT&T’s official app for checking your account status and changing some settings. You can pay your bill, check usage, and even add some features to your account.
If you are an astronomy geek than you have already probably used your iPhone to look up planet positions and star charts. Star Walk is a handy app that will do just that using your GPS coordinates. But its easy-to-use interface makes it fun for anyone who simply wants to know what constellation they are looking at. Just run it and hold it up to the sky and it is easy to learn a little something.
Want some good old RPG action on your iPhone? Underworlds reminds us of the excellent Baulder’s Gate series, but tinier and in your pocket. You’ve got all the standard RPG elements: you character, 2.5D views, combat, inventory, quests, and so on. So go ahead and kill a giant rat with your iPhone. Treasure awaits!
A simple travel and trading game would seem a natural for the iPhone, and Space Trader: Moon Madness fits the bill there. But it goes beyond that, with excellent 3D graphics that enhance the game without getting in the way. Basically, you travel around in space buying and selling goods and taking on missions. Great for a quick game or for extended multi-session play.
There’s finally a good way to use Skype on your iPhone to make calls, and it is causing a bit of a stir. The Skype iPhone app is free, but you get the most out of it with a paid Skype account. Of course you can only use it to make calls over WiFi, not the 3G network. Some are complaining that AT&T shouldn’t restrict data in that way. Regardless, it is still a must-have application for anyone who uses Skype.
There’s more than one way to listen to podcasts on your iPhone. Stitcher Radio turns podcasts into a radio station, streaming episodes and stitching them together according to preset categories or your own preferences. If old-fashioned radio isn’t already dead for you, then this will surely finish it off.
There are dozens of Tic Tac Toe games for the iPhone. Don’t mistake this for one of them. With a simple change in the rules, Tic Touch Toe is something very different. You have a 4×4 grid, and need to get 4-in-a-row. But that’s not the hard part. You only get 4 marks. When you make your 5th mark, the 1st disappears. Quite a challenge against a computer opponent.
ProCamera takes pictures just like the standard iPhone camera app. But it adds three important features. First, you can set a timer to take a picture. Second, you can have it wait for the camera to stop moving before it snaps the picture, very useful for eliminating blurry photos. Third, it gives you a level for taking photos that line up straight. All very nice if you take a lot of pictures with your iPhone.
In the crowded world of online reviews, Yelp is getting some traction. You can often find reviews of places that aren’t reviewed anywhere else. And with the Yelp iPhone app, it is quick and easy to find reviews of places near you, while on the go. A great way to see if that restaurant you are driving by is any good.
There are a lot of voice recording apps out there, but iTalk Recorder comes from a known brand (Griffin) and in two flavors: a free iTalk Recorder with ads at the bottom, and an ad-free version called iTalk Recorder Premium. YOu can record at high quality and then transfer the files to your Mac using a free application. You can add notes and play back your recordings on the iPhone as well.
Amazon.com’s electronic book reader comes to the iPhone, sort of. The Kindle For iPhone allows you to read books you purchase at Amazon’s Kindle store on your iPhone, but doesn’t really support other Kindle functions. But since those other functions include reading Web sited and blogs, which we already can do on our iPhones, it is a good option over carrying around two devices.
Have some spare time while waiting for a bus or in line at the bank? Explore the entire planet with the iPhone version of Google Earth. This free app is a lighter version of the Mac application of the same name, but there is something very satisfying about knowing you have satellite images of the entire globe available in your pocket. Plus, its free.
The genre of puzzle games where you build something to solve levels seems to be a mainstay of iPhone gaming. At the pinnacle of this genre is Fantastic Contraption, a game where you build mechanical devices to reach a goal. It is sure to bring out the engineer in all of us.
One of the most useful features of Leopard is the ability to connect from one Mac to another via Screen Sharing (VNC). You can do the same thing from your iPhone with the Mocha VNC app. While navigating a large screen on the small iPhone one restricts this to simply accomplishing a single task or two, it can be invaluable for someone who is frequently away from their computer. You can also try the free Mocha VNC Lite.
Here’s a great twist on a word game. Instead of just re-arranging letters, you have to re-arrange letters and pictures to form words. Stitch’em Words keeps you thinking in many levels and is pretty clever.
Six months ago I would have no idea how to tune the guitar my daughter got for her birthday. So iPhone apps came along just at the right time. There are a few guitar tuner apps out there, but I found TyroTuner to be the most straight-forward one. Just select the string and play it. The mic picks up the sound and you get a meter display to tell you how far off the string is.
There are a lot of Twitter clients for the iPhone, and many of them are overly complex while, at the same time, limited. But Tweetie seems to get it right. It is a Twitter app designed to look a lot like iChat. It is pretty easy to look at your incoming tweets, and also glance at replies and direct messages.