Double Fine is a studio known (and beloved) for incredibly eccentric affairs, like Psychonauts, Costume Quest, and Stacking, but by contrast, Dropchord seems remarkably straightforward. It's an arcade-style high-score game released under the guise of a music game – which makes sense given its fantastic electronic dance soundtrack and visualizer-inspired look – but the beats and gameplay feel disconnected. So it's not a rhythm game; that's not a problem. However, the game approach itself never provides as strong of a hook as the presentation, feeling more like something to occupy you while you watch and listen rather than a central pull of the experience.
With a 24/7 news cycle constantly spitting headlines every which way, staying informed can be a daunting task. A bunch of apps have tried to solve this problem in unique ways, but the better they are, the quicker they seem to get acquired, shut down, and folded into other services. Wibbitz just might be the next candidate for a headline-grabbing mega-sale. With a delightful interface and spot-on article summaries, Wibbitz creates beautiful mini-videos of the day's news, combining photos, graphics, and fonts into a stunning package.
As August begins, and the insane heat subsides from much of the country to give way to a more survivable warmth, the window to celebrate the longer days begins to close. The time to seize your summer is now! Barbecues! Beer! Driving with the windows down! Forgoing socks! Well, that's not for everybody. These are some of the quick hits from the the app store worth checking out while you're in the shade or in beach traffic.
Riptide GP2 is a straightforward racing game on a platform full of them. Piloting jet skis – called “hydros” in the game – is a fun twist on the typical four-wheel affair, but the structure will be familiar to anyone who’s browsed the iOS racing scene. Luckily, the water effects contribute a real sense of speed and pace when combined with Riptide’s responsive controls, and there's loads of single-player content to enjoy.
Each week, we highlight a selection of the most interesting, exciting, and unique new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch titles released on the App Store. Intriguing indie releases anchor the week's lineup, notably Double Fine's pulsing Dropchord, challenging endurance test Pivvot, and dazzling minimalist strategy game Rymdkapsel. Plus there's The Drowning, a first-person shooter with an innovative new control scheme, and My Muppets Show, which puts the lovable characters at your command.
Prince of Persia has been through more permutations than most game franchises, but even though three radically different visions of its characters and universe have appeared on platforms ranging from the Apple II to current game consoles, the originals still hold up reasonably well. Well enough, in fact, that a remake of the first game (Prince of Persia Classic) was ported to iOS last year, and it's been followed by a similarly styled remake of its 1993 sequel, Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame.
It might seem counterintuitive to rely on a device so associated with the comforts of civilization for survival in the wilds, but a well-prepared iPhone could mean the difference between life and death when stranded in the great outdoors. When you're stuck miles from a strong signal to call for help or pinpoint your location on a map, these eight apps will help you find your way back to safety. For maximum effectiveness, be sure to combine them with a good solar iPhone charger or a rechargeable backup battery (or both, to be safe).
If you could reduce the 20th century optical artist Victor Vasarely to his essence and jam him into your iOS device, you’d end up with Isometric, a sparse design app with a single creative element: the rhombus. There’s an old design adage, “less is more,” that seems to be the underlying philosophy of this universal app, which presents an almost Zen-like simplicity (in terms of interface and toolset), challenging you to make the most of its one basic building block. While this limitation is meant to be a creative motivator, we found it to be a little, well, limiting.
If Cold War is any indication, the Sky Gamblers series may have reached maximum altitude with last year's stellar Storm Raiders. Sure, there's still plenty of high-flying dogfighting action to be found in this latest entry, but there's a legitimate question as to whether this fourth outing on iOS is running on fumes after so many entries in a relatively compact span of time. Thankfully, Cold War does bring some fresh ideas to the table, and the online multiplayer still provides the best aerial combat on the App Store. But the core campaign experience of Cold War is a bland and tired-looking stroll through what is an otherwise fascinating portion of American history.
Easily one of the more adorable iOS game offerings of late, Sky Tourist certainly doesn't skimp on innovation. A young boy's airborne journey through a diverse medley of colorful cosmic realms – while tethered to twin rockets – proves to be a wild and imaginative ride. But beneath its bubbly charm and unique ideas, frustration lurks throughout this upward adventure, waiting to pounce right at the moments when you're starting to have fun.