If you approach Trials Frontier as a Trials game (capital “T”), then you’re in for disappointment. Although the game broadly echoes its console counterparts, its soul has been ripped out and replaced with the festering guts of a stinking freemium business model, and then spray-painted in mobile-friendly colors and cuteness. Yes, this is still a physics-oriented bike-balancer, set across ludicrously difficult-to-traverse tracks, but it lacks refinement and elegance.
Compared to most popular collectible card games, Blizzard's Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is relatively straightforward. Simple rules make it incredibly welcoming to new players, but they also allow for elegant strategies and varied tactical possibilities. Unfortunately, as a free-to-play game, Hearthstone runs into the same problems that have long plagued tabletop card games: it's hard to get worthwhile new cards without breaking the bank.
Given that a vast amount of music enjoyment happens in the privacy of a comfy pair of headphones (or less-comfortable Apple earbuds, unfortunately), we’ve always wondered if there was some way to give the overall experience a bit more of the sonic “space” created by the physical phenomenon called “crossfeed.” That is, the acoustic energy typically associated with the temporal characteristics of how each channel of a stereo audio signal reaches your ears through open air. CanOpener promises just that, and thankfully delivers in many respects.
Cloud sync with mobile devices is rapidly becoming mandatory for Mac and PC software as consumers increasingly prefer to free themselves from the desktop. Adobe is receiving this message loud and clear, countering with a new app that delivers the core functionality of Lightroom 5 for iPad. This isn’t just a tablet version of Adobe’s popular photo software—it’s a robust companion app allowing Creative Cloud subscribers to sync image collections and edit them using gesture-based tools specifically designed for touchscreen devices (an iPhone version is planned for later this year).
When Apple redesigned its apps for iOS 7, the iPad versions got something of a short shrift. Stale staples like Notes and Calendar were happily stripped of their skeuomorphism—but somewhere along the design process, they lost their character too, as Jony Ive sought to bring greater aesthetic harmony across the various iOS screens. Flexibits’ Fantastical 2 for iPad does well to avoid this trap. Instead of a dull port from the smaller screen, it sets a new standard for universality, reinventing its brilliant calendar concept with a streamlined interface that takes everything good about the iPhone app and makes it bigger and better.
Purchase an iPad for a loved one or family member, and without fail, the recipient will ask, “Does this work with Microsoft Word?” Thankfully, the answer is now a resounding yes—at least for those willing to pay for the privilege. With few exceptions, Microsoft Word for iPad is well worth the wait. While the iPad-only app doesn’t offer the same full-frontal feature assault of the Mac or Windows editions, the majority of the most frequently used, make-or-break tools (including track changes, charts, and rich formatting) are all present and accounted for.
Monument Valley couldn’t be much more different in tone and approach than developer ustwo’s first game, Whale Trail—a delightful, rainbow-filled float through the clouds as a marine mammal—but both excel at charming you with remarkable ease. In this case, it’s done with a quiet, contemplative trek through illusion-soaked puzzle stages, wherein spinning the perspective or tweaking a dial reveals new pathways to traverse. And it’s one of the most beautiful games we’ve ever played.
Death comes in many flavors in FTL: Faster Than Light for iPad. Will your crew slowly suffocate from depleted oxygen? Be eviscerated by carnivorous space spiders? Get caught by the heavily armed armada fleet that's always in hot pursuit—or something far worse, perhaps? An unpleasant fate is almost a certainty in this challenging strategy affair, but the push to survive and conquer the obstacles thrown your way with each light jump is where FTL's magic lies.
Our neighbors to the north have a long and colorful history of strong public funding of the arts, and NFB StopMo Studio from the National Film Board of Canada demonstrates that a government agency can indeed create something of true value for the creative minds of the world. It’s perhaps the single most usable, slick, and capable stop-motion creator we’ve seen on iPad, and it’s a truly unbeatable value for aspiring movie makers.
The latest iOS devices are capable of producing amazingly high-quality video footage, but the resolution tops out at 1080p HD. Thanks to Ultrakam, a new third-party camera app, the iPhone can squeeze out even more pixels—even if the current hardware isn’t quite up to the task. Ultrakam is capable of shooting video with up to 70% more pixels than standard HD. While there’s no denying that it manages to cram in a whole lot more pixels into each frame of video—and the additional detail is certainly noticeable—there are too many tradeoffs made to get there.