Getting marooned on a spooky alien world full of creepy crawlies and other unfriendly inhabitants might sound terrifying, but it turns out to be a welcome detour from the dull depths of space in Capsized+ for iPad. Exploration and survival in this beautifully hand-drawn 2D platform shooter make for a satisfying balancing act, one made all the more interesting by the diverse ways you can traverse and interact with the harsh planetscape.
Developed by Angry Birds creator Rovio, The Croods is a village-building game inspired by DreamWorks’ latest CG animated film. With these two studios behind it, you might expect the game to be a sure thing, both as a promotional tool and as a fun iOS game for all ages. Instead, this freemium title isn’t the least bit charming, and all it seems to want is your money. Your objective is to create resources for the prehistoric Croods family by trapping, taming, and caring for wild animals, but the game downplays its characters in favor of a hollow gameplay approach.
Like Angry Birds Star Wars before it, Star Wars Pinball pairs the beloved sci-fi franchise with a proven mobile framework. In this case, it's the excellent Zen Pinball, which serves up original digital tables that look and play like the real thing. Available as a universal standalone app, Star Wars Pinball delivers a great table based on The Empire Strikes Back, complete with moving sections that take after film scenes. Additional tables are sold within, and all can be purchased and downloaded within the main Zen Pinball app, though this is the only way that iPhone 5 players can currently experience the tables in full screen.
NightSky is the kind of game that drops you into its world without a whole lot of explanation. Start a new file and you'll see a luminescent sphere, your charge that must be navigated over various physics-based environmental challenges. But you don't need much else to go on, really. In the opaque opening, you wonder over the origins of this mysterious object. Is it alive? Is it a crystal? The answer is unknown. You'll soon find out how effective a premise it is for the game’s atmospheric, ethereal tone.
Keeping up with comic books has been utterly transformed by apps like Comics by Comixology, as you no longer have to hit the comic shop weekly to snap up new issues, wait for graphic novel compilations, or read on your computer screen. Nearly every new notable comic is right there on day one, ready to be purchased and read wherever you please in sparkling digital quality. Marvel Unlimited acts as a complementary kind of service, eschewing new releases and individual purchases in favor of all-you-can-read access (via subscription) to much of the publisher's deep archive of books older than six months. It's a novel and promising approach, though where and how you can read the offerings are current roadblocks to its success.
It's amazing what a simple change in perspective can do. Dropping the third dimension of typical sims in favor of a side-scrolling approach made the original Super Stickman Golf a revelatory mobile experience, both with its puzzle-platform single-player courses and the raucous speed-based multiplayer showdowns. Considering the ample success of the debut, Super Stickman Golf 2 expectedly doesn't mess with the formula too much, employing the same mechanics while adding fresh courses, customization options, and another gripping multiplayer mode.
As the saying goes, the best camera is the one that’s with you. In our case it's an iPhone, so we tend to pounce anytime a new and potentially better camera app pops up on the radar – although few can top the modest simplicity of Apple’s built-in Camera paired with a good third-party image-editing app. The latest to land on the App Store is Zitrr Camera, an oddly-named but feature-packed solution that claims to do it all for little money, but stumbles when it comes to the one thing we want most from a camera app: Retaining original resolution from start to finish.
The endless runner genre has been particularly well-plumbed on Apple's devices. Some of the App Store’s best-selling games are not only endless runners, but sequels, spin-offs, and imitators of existing genre entries. This environment leaves very little room for plucky upstarts like Danger Boat, as it accents similarities and demands innovative differences for a title to really stand out. Danger Boat is, at its core, very much like others in the genre. From an overhead perspective, you'll use tightly responsive tilt controls on your iPhone or iPad to steer past obstacles such as missiles, rocks, and depth charges.
Those who live and breathe presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote have little trouble working up great-looking slide decks with minimal effort. Meanwhile, the rest of us struggle to find the right backgrounds, graphics, and fonts for effectively conveying our message – a task now made effortless with Haiku Deck. Available free for iPad, Haiku Deck uses slick themes to help users create stunning presentations in as little time as possible.
For avid gamers who clock major hours in virtual worlds, getting the opportunity to see the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes work that goes into making these intense interactive experiences is a rare treat. Pulling back the curtain on the inner workings of the game development world, veteran game journalist Geoff Keighley digs deep into the Tomb Raider franchise and unearths some fascinating stories in The Final Hours of Tomb Raider, a multimedia app for iPad.