Pixelmator 1.1.4

Instant Filters: This Zoom effect takes time to render in Photoshop, but happens instantly in Pixelmator, thanks to Core Image. Apple loads iPhoto ’08 as standard issue onto every Mac sold, and while the app makes sharing and organizing photos a super-cinch, iPhoto doesn’t offer much of the power of Apple’s real-time Core Image technology. So is there room for a Core Image–savvy contender in the sub-$100 category of image editors? Pixelmator seems to think so. The Pixelmator app offers a $59 alternative to Photoshop. While we love the real-time filter effects, there’s a quite a bit that does not thrill us with this initial offering.

The Omni Group Omnifocus 1.0.1

OmniFocus helps you figure out what to do next, when it’s due, and where to do it.  Mark Twain wrote, “The well-organized man can be comfortable anywhere, even in hell.” But getting your life in order is easier said than done, and dozens of systems promise salvation. OmniFocus, which implements techniques from David Allen’s popular book Getting Things Done, is the newest weapon in the Omni Group’s arsenal of organizational apps. OmniFocus, which utilizes the project manager OmniPlan and information repository OmniOutliner, builds on the Omni Group’s impressive understanding of how people work, making it a useful tool once you’ve figured out (and bought into) its underlying system.

Apple Aperture 2.1

Adjustment settings can be saved and quickly applied to new photos.  We have thousands of digital photos, but still feel nostalgia for the days of leafing through prints crammed willy-nilly into dented shoeboxes. Wouldn’t it be nice to get your jumble of digital images out of their virtual shoeboxes? Blow up that favorite, or frame that one from last year’s family reunion and send it to your sister in St. Paul. Aperture 2 handles these tasks and more without the nagging clutter—or sneeze-inducing dust clouds—of those old shoeboxes. Meanwhile, it lets you nudge exposure levels and retouch problems. It essentially manages your photo library from import to export, keeping track of your changes and making the daunting task of cataloging hundreds or thousands of photos much easier than you ever thought it could be.

The Tuttles Madcap Misadventures

Barbara Tuttle, voiced by Jamie Lee Curtis, jumps through one of the colorful levels.  The Tuttles Madcap Misadventures has a lot going for it: big-name character voices, gorgeous graphics, several top awards. Plus, half the retail proceeds are donated to charity. But if you strip all of that away, you’re left with a pretty standard side-scrolling platform game. Then again, why would you strip all of that away? 

Ableton Live 7

Live's interface is a single-window affair, clear and uncluttered despite its depth.  The market for audio recording software is vast, ranging from GarageBand to Pro Tools, with a lot of stuff in between. Now in its seventh iteration, Ableton Live started as a tool designed primarily for—surprise—live performances, but over the years, has morphed into a popular tool for studio and recording work as well. Ableton Live 7 is not revolutionary but evolutionary. With this latest version, Live has matured into a well-rounded, integrated environment with extensive automation and a unique approach to the musical process.

Eschalon: Book I

Twelve hours of rest? Your character must be a teenager.  Eschalon: Book I, the first title from indie developer Basilisk Games, is branded as a traditional RPG, a stereotype fulfilled here with a vengeance. Unfortunately, problems with skill choices and movement, and an uninspiring story line may turn that vengeance into slaughter for anyone who might not be a hardcore RPG fan.

Avernum 5

Its looks are basic, but its story and crazy amount of options will keep you coming back for more.  Avernum 5 is like a steaming plate of diner meat loaf—the presentation ain’t pretty, but it fills you up and leaves you satisfied. With an intense and engaging story smothered in traditional RPG gameplay gravy, it will thrill role-playing fans, as long as they don’t expect fine-dining flourishes like 3D graphics or multiplayer modes.

Susie Ochs's picture

Master Kick

Foosball Rules!Haven’t you always wanted to play foosball on your Mac? Come on, sure you have. Foosball rules. And this is a light, practically brainless, stress-relieving, palate-cleanser of a foosball game, perfect for breaking up long stretches of...whatever it is you do all day. 

Zack Stern's picture

The Sims DJ

Stereotypical, shallow DJs have more depth than this iPod game.  Imagine you’re spinning turntables in the hottest nightclub in the city, keeping the party rocking until the fire marshal shuts you down. The role of the fire marshal will be played by The Sims DJ. This iPod game is spun around the winning idea of a DJ simulator, but the result is just a repetitive series of mini-games wrapped around boring rules.

Zack Stern's picture

iPod Monopoly

iPod game wins second prize in a beauty contest, collects $10  iPod Monopoly is just as fun as the capitalist board game, minus the joy of throwing houses and hotels at your sibling after a three-hour stalemate. For better or worse, almost nothing has changed from the physical game, with the iPod version sporting the same rules and play. You can even customize more than a dozen “house” rules; we never realized that putting tax money on Free Parking wasn’t in the official game, but iPod Monopoly let us add that jackpot to that space.