Wizards, elves, dwarfs: If it’s not Tolkien, it’s probably Dungeons & Dragons. Underneath the Neverwinter Nights 2 videogame interface, the ghost of Gary Gygax rolls d20s to determine your success. These tested underpinnings and an almost paralyzing range of choices make Neverwinter Nights 2 an entertaining journey. Unfortunately, regular glitches and weak graphics keep the game from excellence.
If you’re like us, your iPhone bookmarks folder is filled with sites that provide an array of live sports score updates --- MLB.com, NBA.com, NFL.com, Scores Pro, ESPN, et al. Being a sports fan is a full-time business, and iPhone has made it easy to keep on top of our game, whether on the road, at work or at the beach.
And now, thanks to a little-known Web app-turned standalone native app, it’s easier than ever.
Feeling the need for speed? Find another game. Wingnuts Moto Racer will bore you to tears if it doesn’t frustrate you silly first. If that sounds harsh, it’s only because competing racers like Cro-Mag Rally and Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D offer better graphics, more varied gameplay, and fewer interface problems.
Missile lock? That sounds like a bad thing, right? Teamwork and online multiplayer spice up this first-person shooter.
Giant walker robots blast rockets at your teammates. Enemy turrets rotate and rattle off machine-gun fire. A Star Wars laser beam—à la Reagan, not Lucas—etches a line toward opposing forces. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is a futuristic first-person shooter that shares little with other hits named Quake. Instead of having you run down cramped hallways engaging in solo bouts against demons, Quake Wars requires teamwork and coordination to control objectives and win rounds. It’s a refreshing change, and few Mac shooters give the same sense of collaboration.
Read on the run with eReader. The app is free; the books will cost you.
When boredom strikes, nothing beats a good book at your side. eReader makes it possible, turning any iPhone or iPod touch into the next best thing since the Amazon Kindle. Granted, it doesn’t endow your device with all the Kindle’s features, but it does make reading on the run as easy as swiping your finger.
Would it surprise you to learn that the coolest Mac software out there wasn’t created by Adobe, Microsoft, or even Apple? We expose the most useful but least-well-known apps you should be running on your Mac to get more done, have more fun, and make more of the time you spend in front of the computer.
When it comes to software, using a Mac is an exercise in irony. On the one hand, Apple famously includes 90 percent of the software most users need right out of the box. On the flip side, no other platform enjoys such a thriving, clever community of third-party software developers. Everybody knows about the Mac desktop heavyweights—Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office for Mac, and so on—but we wanted to uncover the best unsung creations from lesser-known developers. Some of these apps offer low-cost or free alternatives to Mac system defaults like Mail or iChat. Others improve system applications by tweaking existing features. And still more expand the boundaries of the Desktop by adding wholly new capabilities. So find a comfortable chair. You’ve got some downloading to do.
For baseball junkies who absolutely need to be on top of the latest scores, standings and stats at all times, the iPhone is a godsend. Second only to ESPN MVP, the iPhone puts every ball and strike into the palm of your hand, thanks to a very decent mobile MLB site that provides a speedy blow-by-blow rundown of every pitch.
But the stakes have been raised with MLB.com At Bat. Through a simple, sleek interface, MLB boils down its stat-intensive WAP site to a quick-reference scoreboard that provides an up-to-the minute rundown of base-runners, pitch count, hits, errors and runs for every game across the league. What’s lost in the box score, however, is gained through in-game video updates, 30- to 60-second clips uploaded from MLB.com within moments of the live highlight.
SlappingTurtle Software’s iAlertU is a software-based alarm system for your Mac. When tripped, it blares very loud sound effects that mimic a car alarm. The screen also flashes at regular intervals, simulating a car’s flashing headlights. And you can arm and disarm the software using your Mac’s remote control.
Put a monkey in a ball, put the ball in a maze, and put the maze in your iPhone or iPod touch. Very little of that concept makes rational sense, but Super Monkey Ball’s absurd style and simple premise work well together. You’ll gently tilt the iPhone to steer one of four monkey characters around obstacles and through a circular goal. The 110 mazes vary in complexity, but nearly all of them seem fair, even when challenging. The novelty of rolling the character by tilting the phone might wear off quickly, but the surprisingly agile game will hold your interest beyond the fad.
The physics-based iPhone game, like Tiggers, is made for bouncing.
Enigmo salutes those who "fix" ceiling leaks by placing a bucket underneath, making this mechanic into a game. A faucet drips a steady stream, and a vase waits some distance away, often obstructed by walls and other blockades. You’ll have to route the water to its goal by bouncing it off drums and other objects. Originally released on the Mac, Enigmo works well on the iPhone and iPod touch; you just drag parts to reposition them. We usually enjoyed the game’s pace and challenge, but an inconsistent difficulty progression and a lack of a tutorial keep Enigmo from fully riding its wave of potential.