Although the verdict may still be out on whether mobile devices actually make us more productive, there’s no denying that gadgets like the iPhone help take some of the drudgery out of our daily lives—including keeping a journal of what we’ve been up to lately. Such is the premise of Rove, a free journal/diary app that promises to automate the thankless task of documenting our lives in excruciating detail. Similar to last year’s excellent Heyday, Rove uses geolocation data to keep a running tab on where we’ve been, importing new photos taken with the device to put a visual stamp on those memories.
There's always a slight sense of fear when one of our favorite apps gets the iOS 7 treatment. Our finger hovers just a second longer over the flattened icon as we brace ourselves for what awaits us inside, hoping that the new guidelines haven't messed with any of the functionality. AccuWeather epitomizes these concerns. With a ground-up redesign that strips away everything that previously set it apart from its competitors, the popular weather app has reinvented itself with version 7, but far too much of its new identity feels cribbed and undeveloped.
First Strike grants a God's-eye view of the end of all things, and inadvertently shows us the beauty in chaos. Like trout leaping from water, nuclear bombs plop down to Earth, slaughtering millions. Mushroom clouds bud like fungi on lumber, and the stars, unjudging, watch Ragnarok in the inky blackness beyond. Were it not for radial menus popping up and shifting national boundaries, a passing observer might mistake it for a new feature in Google Earth.
Glorkian Warrior: Trials of Glork is what would probably happen if a quirky cartoon series was suddenly invaded by a host of goofy aliens trained by the kamikaze pilots from classic arcade blasters Galaxian and Galaga. The hero of the hour—a bipedal, three-eyed fellow wearing a talking backpack with automatic weaponry—must defend his asteroid from countless terrors intending on blowing it to bits. It’s here where you come in, guiding the purple protector left and right, blasting pulsating alien formations and occasionally having him leap about a bit in order to avoid swooping foes.
Getting a major surgical procedure is serious business. Most folks don't want to think about all of the crazy things that can potentially go wrong, but Surgeon Simulator mines this common source of anxiety for comedic gold by cooking up outrageous what-if scenarios that are equal parts horrifying and hilarious. Imagine getting a heart transplant or tooth extraction from someone who has no clue what he or she is doing—that's the order of the day in this malpractice-prone operating room, except you're the one with the scalpel, bone saw, and needles. The promise of catastrophic failure is indeed a huge part of the messy fun.
Dudeski asks just one question: are you rad enough to be a Shred Lord? Evoking fond memories of classic Windows game SkiFree (or MacSki for veteran Mac-heads), the game at its core is an arcade-style take on downhill skiing. Red and blue gates check your progress against a pursuing avalanche and a host of gnarly obstacles waiting to trip you up, while fast-moving pixel graphics and cheery chiptune music lend a light, playful air to what is an inherently difficult game.
With the deluge of cool audio and synthesis apps on iOS, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the pack—but the long-awaited iVCS3 is raising eyebrows and potentially blowing out speakers across the land. While it’s billed as a software simulation of an analog synthesizer that found favor with bands like Pink Floyd and The Who, iVCS3 is really a virtual laboratory of sonic mayhem and aural outrageousness. It’s not useful for playing standard musical riffs, but is infinitely capable of generating insanely complex, dynamic, and downright chaotic soundscapes that will amaze, delight, and terrify, all at once.
Even if you have no musical abilities, your iPhone gives you the tools to create lush, multi-layered tracks in an instant, thanks to the proliferation of simple, speedy interfaces that require neither practice nor patience. Crossfader might be the best representation of this fact to date. With a brilliant concept that uses the iPhone's accelerometer to mix and mash popular tunes, the app won't teach you how to be a world-class DJ, but it will get your next party started quickly.
If the goofy portmanteau of a title—plus the sight of a masked wrestler pummeling demonic creatures—didn't make it clear, then let us assure you: Guacamelee! is indeed a very odd, offbeat game. Styled after Metroid and the modern Castlevania games, this side-scrolling adventure finds you accruing various powers and abilities as you explore its interconnected stages. However, it does so with a ton of humor and panache, and the end result is an entertaining and challenging game that succeeds in part by not taking itself too seriously.
For such a relatively compact game, developer Ice-Pick Lodge’s Knock-Knock is often unwieldy, mixing and matching elements from survival horror, point-and-click adventure, and 2D side-scrolling games with a bizarre, metaphor-heavy narrative about mental health. The results are scary enough, but Knock-Knock suffers from a lack of clarity and focus.