Twitter has long been a way for musicians to connect with their fans, but the standalone Twitter #Music app is something different: It's an opportunity for the social networking company to leverage its ubiquitous service to turn users onto new artists. The glossy iPhone and iPod touch offering pulls data from tweets and trends to build visual grids of artists in different categories, with iTunes audio samples just a couple of taps away. Twitter #Music looks the part, but while you might find some diamonds in the rough, it won't necessarily be due to the app's calculations.
On consoles, The House of the Dead: Overkill took one of the most well-trodden premises imaginable – shooting zombies in first-person, on rails – and used it to create one of the most memorably over-the-top games of all time. Taking tropes from grindhouse horror movies and cranking them to ridiculous levels, HotD:O was gruesome, hectic, and – as its characters awkwardly shoehorned f-bombs into nearly every sentence – so deliberately crass that it was impossible to see it as anything other than a comedy. The iOS version, subtitled The Lost Reels, scales all that back considerably.
Storm Raiders is the best entry yet in the Sky Gamblers aerial-combat franchise, sending you soaring through two separate World War II campaigns—the Battle of Britain and Asia-Pacific War—packed with diverse missions, intense action, and impressive visuals. Even more notable are the eight-player dogfights, which span a large number of play modes (like team deathmatch and capture the flag) and deliver ample competition whenever you want it. The Mac version doesn’t control quite as comfortably as the iOS version, but it’s still plenty enjoyable.
Getting from one place to the next is trickier than it seems in Hairy Tales, a colorful Mac puzzler that finds you moving and turning various tiles to send the hero safely toward a goal. Initially, this means little more than evading hazards and creating a safe path forward, but as the 70-plus stages progress, you’ll encounter new obstacles, like enemies and fixed arrow tiles. It’s solidly smart and only occasionally frustrating, though the samey puzzles turn a bit monotonous before too long.
Finding your way through elaborate and impressively rendered mazes is the goal in each of Shardlands’ atmospheric stages, and you’ll do so by clicking to make heroine Dawn move to a location, as well as dragging movable panels into position and clicking buttons. There’s a nice puzzle-solving aspect to the navigation, as well as a bit of action, as you’ll have to avoid hazards plus dispatch enemy beasts using your surroundings. But the thankfully deliberate pace lets you consider each move before you make it.
No matter how “first world” the problem may be, it’s still a drag when a friend calls you and a horrid, pixelated, grainy mess appears on your iPhone’s beautiful display. Ensoul Contacts (ironically, a Mac app) solves this easily.
Over the course of the past few OS X updates, Apple has taken to bringing some of the better features of iOS “back to the Mac.” PopClip adds one of the ones they left out. On our iPhones and iPads, selecting text automatically brings up a context menu, but when using our Macs, those options require an extra right-click. With PopClip, a customizable, iOS-style pop-up menu appears over selected text, allowing easy access to the actions we use most.
Sharing links is easy. Send them with Messages or email. Use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any other social network to share with your friends and colleagues. But what happens when you need to share a collection of stuff? Dropmark aims to simplify this process, allowing you to share not only links and images, but videos, files, music, and nearly anything else on your Mac.