John Woo’s reputation as a director and filmmaker was built on graceful action set-pieces and high-stakes melodrama. Unfortunately, his first foray into mobile gaming — Chillingo’s thuddingly titled Bloodstroke — has neither. You play as a private security contractor, codenamed Lotus, whose task is to escort a brilliant, nervous doctor through a series of levels stretching from Hong Kong to Beijing — all while dispatching the roving bands of gangsters, hitmen, and thugs trying to kill him.
With a name like Marvel Run Jump Smash!, it’s fair to expect something lively and exciting — which isn’t typically a tall task for the iconic Marvel Comics heroes featured in this side-scrolling endless runner. But despite taking its cues from genre greats like Jetpack Joyride and Punch Quest (and pairing that blend with a cute cartoonish aesthetic), this licensed affair can’t help but feel dull and dopey, thanks in large part to its laboriously slow progression system.
Dark Sky’s daring interface, sense of focus, and precipitation predictions have won plaudits, making it a favorite weather app with iOS users in the know — but the app’s streamlined nature ensured it remained a niche player. With the recent 4.0 version release, the developers are aiming for the mainstream. The app has moved beyond primarily being concerned with imminent rainfall and conditions, and now boasts a greater range of forecast content; this echoes the developer’s online effort, Forecast.io, plus the interface has been "Jony Ived," so to speak.
The number of differentiators between iOS and Android has gradually evaporated over time, but one cavernous gap remains: Apple won’t allow third-party developers to create alternate keyboards — a hurdle that hasn’t stopped a longtime favorite on Google’s mobile platform from trying anyway. SwiftKey Note might sound a lot like Fleksy, an alternative keyboard for iOS that actually attempts to build a better mousetrap than Apple’s own. But this is something else entirely: A note-taking app that instead improves upon Apple’s standard touch keyboard.
Handwriting apps are hardly novel anymore. There was certainly a time when we would download the latest digital whiteboard or notebook just to marvel at the realism of its pen strokes, but these days we're more interested in usefulness than newness. But despite its cringe-worthy name, INKredible grabbed our attention. With a clear focus on work rather than art, developer Viet Tran distills the fantastic ink effects of his popular Notes Plus release into a simple, elegant app that just might make you forget you're not using a pen.
If you’re in an area currently blitzed by heavy snowfall, you’ll likely appreciate the distraction offered up by the frantically challenging Dawn of the Plow. Taking the wheel of a pixelated plow in a lo-fi world of cars, snow, and asphalt, you’ll battle to keep the roads clear for the never-ending influx of traffic. It’s at once silly, hectic fun and frustrating brutality, punctuated by chirpy chiptune music.
Venerable music gear maker KORG has already brought some very cool audio apps to the iOS universe, and it continues the onslaught with Gadget, a slick, lovely-sounding iPad app with 15 synth devices — each capable of some true sonic mayhem, and all wrapped into a productive sequencing environment. It’s not hard to quickly whip up some pounding electronic dance music (EDM), especially once you get the hang of the interface, but there are significant holes in the slick veneer.
The original Dungeon Keeper series on PC turned the tables on old-school fantasy conventions. Rather than being the do-gooder hero, you instead took the role of a dark overseer tasked with carving out a vast subterranean realm and populating it full of insidious traps, not to mention evil minions primed for slaughtering virtuous warriors. Opening the floodgates and sending the good guys to their doom was a great change from the norm, which made for lots of fun and oft-hilarious moments. Dungeon Keeper on iOS — a free-to-play reboot of sorts — streamlines things enough that it's a different beast from its predecessors, but the series' trademark humor and absorbing lair crafting remains blissfully intact.
With so many life-logging apps out there, it may be difficult to find the right one for you. OptimizeMe doesn’t just keep a log of your daily activities — it also tells you how to improve them and how each one affects one another. If you don’t mind manually inputting all of your data, OptimizeMe is true to its name and can help you optimize your life. OptimizeMe organizes your activities into four separate categories: health, creativity, routine, and pleasure.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch reconstructs the tried and true gaming tradition of inescapable challenge in a new, orange cephalopod body – and a three-piece suit. It's exactly as endearing as it sounds, occasional irritating objective aside, delivering a pleasantly confounding stumble through mollusk fatherhood.