Known simply as XCOM when it was first unveiled in 2010, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is a strange creature. Now on Mac (following a late summer launch on other platforms), the 1960s-set adventure — loosely related to the more strategic XCOM: Enemy Unknown — is at once an attempt to do something new and interesting with the franchise and a bid to capture mainstream success with a focus on action. It doesn't quite succeed at either of these, but it tries hard, and patient players will find that battling an alien invasion during the height of the Cold War can be immensely fun. It just takes a while to get to that point.
Where most video apps on our iPhones focus purely on Kodak moments, Lightt is kind of like a personal documentarian. With an eye for short clips that can be quickly captured and posted, the video-recording app stitches together your posts into an endless looping timeline that plays a bit like a disjointed flip book. Version 3 brings it up to speed with its filter-happy contemporaries, and a host of editing and audio tools make it a viable alternative to Vine and Instagram.
Many OS X plugins and iOS amps offer software-modeled versions of guitar amplifiers, but Bias - Amps! — an iPad-only app from Positive Grid — is the most impressive and totally realistic one we’ve ever heard. It’s so good, you might be tempted to sell your heavy old Fender Super Twin Reverb on eBay and buy a dedicated iPad to run it. And if you’re the kind of six-string slinger who’s not afraid to get under the hood, you can fine-tune your tone in ways we’ve never seen in software.
Winter is upon us, and with it comes the holiday traditions. We come back to our routine year after year because it's comfortable and we've created a precedent for it, but there comes a time to update those customs. We can help you bring the old holiday tales you’ve come to know, love, and learn by heart into today's technologically-powered world with the help of eight great apps. These apps put the classics on display in fresh ways on a new platform that’s perfect for reliving the stories, or even introducing them to a new generation. Hit the App Store and make your iOS device part of your holiday tradition.
Photoshop-style bitmap image editors work with pixels, and therefore require large file sizes in order to preserve resolution. By comparison, vector-based illustrations are lightweight and able to scale up or down without a loss in quality, but finding quality App Store solutions for creating and editing such files can be a challenge. One such option is Inkpad, which has now gone from paid to free with the most recent release – and not the kind of free that involves in-app purchases to be useful. Instead, developer Taptrix made the app open source, allowing others to build upon its work and contribute to future versions.
Somewhere in 1980s New York lives a hidden community of fairy-tale refugees, called Fables, who fled their homes centuries ago when they were invaded by the monstrous armies of a being called The Adversary. They've been living in the Big Apple since it was New Amsterdam, and in that time their old rivalries and grudges (as well as the stresses of day-to-day city life) have made them more than a little dysfunctional. The only creature tough enough to keep everyone in line (and safe from detection) is the Big Bad Wolf, who walks the streets in human form as Fabletown's sheriff, Bigby Wolf.
Q-Games' PixelJunk series has always strived for simplicity in both its mechanics and monikers, but the title assigned to PixelJunk Shooter has long seemed a bit off. First released on PlayStation 3 in 2009, the methodical, puzzle-tinged adventure lacks the kind of frantic, intense edge you might expect based on its branding, but the freshly-ported Mac experience still quietly captivates with its smart challenges and offbeat presentation.
For every snapshot we have of our kids, there are three screenshots cluttering our camera rolls and photo streams. But even if you're not a chronic app reviewer, you likely have more than a few web clips and Pinterest postings messing up your moments and collections — and if you don't want to delete them en masse, there aren't too many options for easy organization. Ember thinks there's a better way. Users of its pricey Mac app already know all about its slick navigation and organizational skills, but even web hoarders who haven't used Realmac's digital scrapbook since it was called LittleSnapper will want to check out the free iOS version.
With a subtitle like “The Next Generation Slicing Game,” KingHunt invites comparison to other titles in this done-to-death genre. Most slicing games — the definitive example being Halfbrick’s Fruit Ninja — are ostensibly endless: you’re free to keep playing as long as possible without failing. KingHunt’s hook is that it features all of the trappings of more traditional action games, like power-ups, life bars, distinct levels, and enemy bosses — but it lacks the timing and restraint to keep from feeling mindlessly chaotic.
Romancing socially awkward elves might be on the outs in this free-to-play spinoff, but Heroes of Dragon Age for iOS nevertheless manages to capture the spirit of BioWare's beloved dark fantasy series from consoles and PC. However, the familiar music and faces merely amount to a pretty show. Strip away the ambiance, the lore, and the heroes, and this could be any one of the better collectible card games crowding the App Store these days.