It's becoming increasingly tough to squeeze into the tightly-packed puzzle genre in the App Store. With tons of tile-matching, piece-sliding, and color-swapping titles available in abundance -- albeit with challenge and mental stimulation often lacking -- sometimes the only puzzling thing is what is qualified as a puzzle. Enter Cubis Creatures, a game developed by the aptly named FreshGames, which has come to push staleness out of the genre and replace it with smart and satisfying gameplay.
For those who use their iPad as a central music hub, MyTunes Pro HD serves as a way to play and organize tunes, with a couple of basic features in the free download, including a simple player, DJ-style transitions between tracks, and custom album artwork options. Several other features are available via a $9.99 in-app purchase, though they can be used free for up to 10 minutes a day to give you a taste before you buy -- but I can't see why anybody would be compelled to pay for the app's premium content. Most prove to be flashy but insubstantial gimmicks that generally make music sound worse.
Showing a bit more ambition than its predecessors, N.O.V.A. 3 aims to be slightly more than a shameless clone of Microsoft's Halo, adding in mechs and jetpacks to the sci-fi shooter along with a bit more personality and environmental variety. It's also quite the looker, with the universal app's gloss shining through brightly, especially on the new iPad. While the campaign proves dull and buggy, the online multiplayer combat is a blast, thanks to varied play modes and added vehicles.
Baseball is the ultimate sport for stat junkies, and Topps Pennant is designed to feed into that obsessive curiosity, serving up 60 years worth of Major League Baseball game and team stats and breaking down box scores into a wickedly attractive little tool. Previously released for the iPad sans the Topps branding, Pennant is back in a brand new universal release that shines no matter which iOS device(s) you rely upon.
We're not sure the world needs another offshoot of Pinterest and Facebook, but the new Springpad is just that: the once-private personal aggregator has gone public, revamping its iOS app and encouraging its users to share discoveries with their social circles. At its core, Springpad is something of a cross between a secretary and assistant. As you go about your day, Springpad collects everything you throw at it -- including bookmarks, article clippings, notes, and photos -- grabbing and sorting your digital paraphernalia via a complementary web clipper.
Sunside Games' Crow puts you in control of the titular bird soaring above majestic environments and diving into on-rails combat segments. An admittedly gorgeous game, Crow's lavishly detailed environments and haunting audio design earn it plenty of points in the presentation department, but it suffers from stale gameplay that never really gets off the ground.
Cuban refugee Tony Montana emigrated to the United States in 1980. He soon dealt, murdered, and swindled his way to the top of Miami's booming cocaine industry. Before an infamous last stand alongside his little friend, Montana's reckless determination earned him all the pleasures of a king. It's a shame, then, that Scarface for iOS rejects the spirit of Brian De Palma's classic film, road-blocking anyone looking to dedicate time and hard work in pursuit of the virtual dream.
When historians inevitably attempt to make sense of this generation’s obsession with smartphones, they’re bound to be baffled by one ubiquitous trend: cutesy, physics-based, star-ranked puzzlers. Now that Angry Birds fruit snacks are being sold on the "impulse buy" rack at Walgreens, I think we can all agree that the strangely specific sub-genre has more or less jumped the shark, and anything released from this point on is retreading familiar territory. This may be why I was initially pretty quick to dismiss Shark Dash, Gameloft’s recent foray into the “fling-adorable-animals-at-stuff” formula -- and a game in which you quite literally make sharks jump.
After quietly lurking in the App Store, “read later” services have recently exploded in popularity. Apple even has a horse in the race with Safari’s Reading List, but one of the pioneers of the genre is Pocket (Formerly Read it Later), which recently bulked up its content-saving superpowers alongside the rebranding. Pocket saves web-based content and makes it available for later use from any web browser or via free apps for iOS and Android. No longer just for saving web articles for later reading, Pocket is also savvy enough to grab images or video as well.