Remember summer nights when you were young, lying in the grass and finding patterns in the stars? (There’s a country song in there somewhere…) Pictorial runs along those lines; it's an educational/puzzle game where you take seemingly random stars and drag your finger until the stars become lines and eventually form a picture.
If your iPod feels a little stale, Discovr might be a good way to freshen it up. Enter the name of any artist and their icon appears, surrounded by icons of six similar bands. Double-tap an icon to learn more about that artist; to spawn more bubbles of more artists, a single-tap will do (and honestly, that seems backwards -- we’d like it the other way around).
Decades ago, in the United Skates of America roller rink in Rumford, Rhode Island, I was introduced to the joys of dual-stick shooter arcade games. Here, my lone robot warrior faced off against thousands of less-friendly robots, the only tactic being to dodge, refocus your fire in the direction needed and pray that the next available power-up would boost your weaponry or atomize the opponents on your screen entirely. This tradition lives on in Infinity Field, a new dual-stick space shooter developed by ForzeField Studios and published by Chillingo.
Not all writing is created equal. Sometimes you're trying to pen War and Peace; other times you just need to jot down an appointment. Notebooks for iPad aims to deliver the best of both worlds, combining extensive document management and syncing with basic text-editing and task-scheduling features. It’s not perfect, but Notebooks hits a middle ground that will be especially appealing to writers who need to edit plain text and organize multiple files.
With all of Suda 51’s penchant for socio-political psychobabble, surrealism and punk-rock sensibilities, universal Frog Minutes is not the kind of game one would expect from his company, Grasshopper Manufacture. Frog Minutes is Grasshopper’s iOS debut, and when it was announced as a charitable project whose proceeds would aid victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami to hit the developer’s native Japan, all that was known about it was its name and amphibian-based logo. With Grasshopper’s pedigree and following, they probably could have released a game about navigating Japanese tax software and people would still buy it, and in some ways the quiet Frog Minutes is almost as mundane -- it’s an unexpected little app that involves, you guessed it, catching frogs.
If you weren’t rocking a Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis in the early '90s, chances are you got your game on with a TurboGrafx-16. Or maybe you didn’t -- the console never matched the popularity of rival systems, but offered plenty of nifty original titles and sturdy translations of lesser-known arcade games. Those days are here again with the TurboGrafx-16 GameBox, a free app that lets you browse, buy, and play these grunge-era favorites emulated on your iPhone or iPod touch.
War has broken out on the moon -- again! -- and Allied victory is up to you in Military Madness: Neo-Nectaris, an iOS sequel to 1990’s venerable turn-based strategy game, Military Madness. True to its old-school roots, Nectaris delivers hours of simple yet deep solo gameplay and occasionally punishing difficulty. Despite a clunky presentation, die-hard touchscreen generals will find plenty to like.
Digital music lacks one important element from the analog days: romance. Contemplating album art and reading lyrics on jacket sleeves was a wonderfully tactile experience that only enhanced the listening. Aweditorium -- a free, iPad-specific app from global indie music community thesixtyone -- offers that with an online twist.