Strike Force Heroes: Extraction is a noble – if uneven – attempt to replicate the classic side-scrolling console shooter. Likely due to the complexity of its control scheme, the genre hasn’t often been particularly well served on iOS devices, but Strike Force Heroes (HD iPad version reviewed; also available separately on iPhone) has found a few clever shortcuts. The result is fun to play in short bursts, even if the smoothness of some controls makes some of the weaker spots more glaring.
Running a clandestine agency devoted to fighting diabolical alien invaders is tough, but as XCOM: Enemy Unknown taught us, it gets a lot easier if you can steal things out of the enemy's playbook. And when those things include extreme genetic modifications and hulking robot exoskeletons — two of the biggest features introduced by the Enemy Within expansion — the fight doesn't necessarily get easier, but it does get a lot more interesting.
So many of the little details surrounding Google Play Music for iOS suggest that the tech giant isn't so eager to win over iPhone owners as recent overtures might suggest. Never mind that six months passed before its iOS launch, but the in-app keyboard retains the design of iOS 6 and the skeuomorphic icon stands in stark contrast to its updated brethren. It's a shame, because there's a really well designed music app lying in store once you make it through such chaff.
If you appreciate the Beatles and John Lennon, you will simply adore this lavish, lovely app-based work of art devoted to the last truly creative period of Lennon’s life: the crafting of his final album, Double Fantasy. With truly innovative use of the iPad and iPhone as an entertainment consumption device, it’s one of the finest multimedia attempts we’ve experienced on the platform.
PikPok’s latest Flick Kick game offers the most complete and varied experience in the series so far, with the whole gamut of basic on-field soccer situations backed by team building, a curious tale of revenge, and a multi-division league structure. But you’ll have to battle through a barrage of ads or pony up some cash to make the most of Flick Kick Football Legends’ solid gameplay.
The Shivah opens with a question, simultaneously straightforward and cosmic: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Lead writer and designer Dave Gilbert attempts to answer it with fuzzy pixel art, a jazz soundtrack, and the restrained and cynical story of Rabbi Russell Stone, who takes it upon himself to investigate the murder of a Jewish businessman. Gilbert is well versed in noir-tinged mysteries, but The Shivah is understated and realistically grounded when compared to Wadjet Eye’s science fiction games (like the great Gemini Rue). The Shivah dispenses with many of the adventure genre’s more cumbersome traditions, too, leaving room for investigation to drive the plot forward instead of awkward, arbitrary puzzles.
With version 4, popular news aggregator Pulse fully embraces its corporate branding, with a new name, a fresh iOS 7-inspired interface, and a re-imagined way to read and find content. The first release may have been met with a loud backlash, but Alphonso Labs quickly responded to users’ complaints with a 4.0.1 update — and while it fixes many of the major gaffes, it still feels like a downgrade from the previous take.
Billed as a “modern creativity tool,” Curator is a virtual, iPad-only notebook for organizing websites, images, or text into beautiful, visually rich checkerboards. Up to 25 tiles can be opened full-screen or relocated anywhere on the screen (using just a finger) into a single board. The free app can be used to create up to five such projects, each with a unique name, and move between them with a swipe. Create a sixth board, however, and you’ll be prompted to pony up $6.99 via in-app purchase, which enables you to create an unlimited number of boards.
We’re big fans of Evernote, the “second brain” service where you can throw nearly any scrap of paper into the cloud until it’s needed again. For certain types of personal data, however, this approach often means that you’ll spend more time searching than accessing information. Mustbin is a free app geared toward life’s most precious data – credit cards, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, and more. However, the developers have also empowered the app as a kind of digital jack-of-all-trades that can be used for sorting photos or even password-protected accounts into digital “bins.”
There’s a strong sense of déjà vu that comes from playing Oceanhorn. This mobile adventure stars a brave boy that sails to different islands, overcomes puzzling dungeons, and gains the tools necessary to combat evil and essentially save his kingdom. Despite not featuring princesses or golden triangles, there’s no denying that the game draws heavily from Nintendo’s iconic The Legend of Zelda series, particularly Wind Waker. However, instead of merely giving us a facsimile and porting it to iOS, Oceanhorn handpicks what it borrows and creates an experience well worth playing.