Four years after an uneven iOS debut with Ridge Racer Accelerated, Namco Bandai’s long-running drift-racing series returns to mobile in fine form. Ridge Racer Slipstream offers little that we haven’t seen in recent handheld and console offerings, but it handles well, looks great, and packs just enough features to keep you on board for the whole hog. Online, arcade, and career modes all earn credits needed to buy and upgrade cars to keep pace as the competition gears up, while series icon Reiko reprises her role as announcer.
Chaos is the defining element of Colossatron: Massive World Threat, the latest iOS original from Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride creator Halfbrick. At any given moment, your gargantuan, snake-like, robotic alien creature could span a couple dozen weaponized segments in length while a barrage of tanks, helicopters, and flying drones assault it from all sides — and that’s all wrapped within a delightfully cheesy local newscast design, with the anchor and on-scene reporter chatting while bits of info pop up on the display. It makes for an undeniably lively experience, and one that becomes more interesting as you really grasp the color-matching mechanics that drive the mayhem. But that chaos comes at an odd contrast to the game’s design and scope, which feel curiously restrained — as if this were a slick first draft that hadn’t yet been fully fleshed out.
Our iPhones have turned us all into amateur musicians. Whether we're composing rock ballads with GarageBand or dropping beats with djay, the apps we tap and swipe have given us the ability to make beautiful music without suffering through hours of lessons. Keezy is not one of these apps. With a ridiculously minimal interface that's as fun as it is frustrating, Keezy turns your phone into a capable eight-track sampler — but you'll have to bring your own beats.
For a lot of craft beer enthusiasts, the dream of homebrewing a few batches in your garage is easily attainable with some basic equipment, a few books, and a lot of patience. But scaling up your operation into a licensed brewery? That's a lot more involved. Thankfully, Fiz: The Brewery Management Game lets you dive into that fascinating world without the huge financial investment. This unique brewery simulator takes the many complexities that come with running a craft brewing operation and boils them down into a fun, accessible concoction that's authentic and absorbing.
Many iPad users have a love-hate relationship with Apple’s built-in Mail app, and there are certainly many things that it could do better — some of which can be found in MailDeck, a new app billed as “forward-thinking email.” While the developers have done a fine job of creating new and interesting ways to view and manage electronic missives, the app is curiously limited to the iPad, at least for now. That limitation aside, MailDeck allows tablet owners to add an unlimited number of email accounts with ease, keeping them from prying eyes with an optional user-specified password. The app is task-oriented, intelligently plucking dates and to-do items from emails with just a tap, which can be managed from the Tasks tab or Apple’s built-in Reminders app.
It's rare that you find a complex puzzle game as ominous and creepy as The Room, which is why the new layers of intricate depth and unsettling atmosphere worked into its spooky sequel make it a welcome foray back into the dark. The Room Two scales back the challenge of its predecessor ever so slightly while broadening its range of puzzles to keep things fresh. And yes, if you play it alone in a dark room with headphones on, you will undoubtedly get a few scares along the way.
The first thing you'll notice when starting up Lawless is the insane level of detail applied to the arcade-style shooter’s characters and environments. It’s seriously one of the best-looking mobile games this side of Infinity Blade III. But much like how an intriguing-looking book might be devoid of anything interesting to say, a game’s contents may not match its memorable sheen — and that's definitely the case here. The intense firefights and crew-based combat of Lawless quickly lose their shine, and it ultimately proves to be just another tepid free-to-play grind.
Even more so than the middling Angry Birds Star Wars II, Angry Birds Go! feels like an elaborate advertisement for other products rather than a purposeful game. The ever-in-vogue kart racer spinoff is tied into a series of marginally useful Telepods toys, and also tries to sell its soundtrack from the menu screens. But this free-to-play affair takes things much further via the introduction of sponsored boosts. Want to keep your kart from breaking down during a race? Use the State Farm Insurance power-up. Much more galling is the Goldfish-branded speed boost, which shoots a stream of virtual cheddar crackers behind your kart for the entire race. No, really.
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.