Sector is a totally unique, vastly powerful, and well-designed beat manipulation tool for iPad that stirs together audio and math in a way that astounds and delights. The description of a “stochastic sample slice sequencer” might scare some off, but fear not: this is a beauty of a beast. Imported audio files are mapped into a circular, looping display, and sliced into a specific number of sectors, or segments (from two to 32 chunks), each with its own color.
Here we find that most elusive of creatures: a 4X (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) strategy game for iOS that's not compromised by a free-to-play model. Autumn Dynasty Warlords scores a victory on that front alone. This tale of martial ambition in ancient China may have a harder time conquering on some other fronts, but its simple strengths usually suffice to rout its flaws. It's essentially Shogun: Total War Lite, delivering a compact take on that PC favorite. Warlords is designed for conquests on 10-minute subway rides, and thus it lacks the depth of, say, Sid Meier's Civilization – though what's here does the trick.
Arithmetic has never been so strangely fun as in Calculords, a collectible card game from developer Ninja Crime and comedy writer Seanbaby that puts math calculations at its very core. It has a bit of a learning curve, and its NES-inspired retro art style may prove divisive, but there’s a lot to like once you get over that initial hump. Computer-controlled opponents give as good as — or even better than — they get, complete with snappy taunts and humorous sci-fi-referencing one-liners, and you can easily find yourself locked in battles for hours without noticing how much time has passed.
If there's one thing that playing Out There expertly imparts, it's that space can be a cold, lonely, and rather depressing place. The dangerous homeward journey of a cosmic explorer lost amongst the stars proves pretty grim in this turn-based sci-fi explorer. With fuel, oxygen, and ship repair materials in short supply, every light jump in the right direction also pushes you closer to the potential for a premature demise. It's gloomy stuff to be sure, but it pairs well with the intensely moody atmosphere and comic book presentation, which make the experience feel distinct from what's come before.
While we can generally figure out how to operate most new apps with little instruction, Peek Calendar required a trip to the tutorial before we got started — one of several we made during the course of reviewing the app. It's not so much that Peek is overloaded with powerful features or intricate gestures, but rather it rarely led us in any logical direction. Peek Calendar pushes the iOS 7 human interface guidelines to their limits with its ridiculously minimal, gesture-heavy approach, but while it tries to limit the amount of time you spend interacting with your calendar, its unique concept is ultimately too smart for its own good.
Social networking is a great tool for groups or businesses to communicate with the masses, but getting the message out across multiple services can be like pulling teeth. Like most everything these days, there’s an iPhone app for just such a purpose — no toothache necessary. Postcard is a free app for iPhone that simplifies the task of cross-posting to multiple social networks at once. Rather than switching between different apps or services, you'll simply tap out your missive once and then sit back as it’s posted to the relevant websites of your choosing.
Our monthly recap looks back at the games we reviewed during February, with a total of 18 iOS and Mac games presented here in bite-sized, to-the-point encapsulations. And if you want to see more, simply click the link on each slide to read the full critique and find the link to purchase each game. The App Store produced a pair of 5/5-rated games in February, thanks to the amazing Threes! and Eliss Infinity, but other iOS titles — like redone classic Final Fantasy VI, plus Bug Heroes 2 — also impressed in recent weeks. And on Mac, the month was headlined by the great revival of Tomb Raider, which luckily comes in at a very appealing price.
By the time you read this, Clear will undoubtedly no longer be free (go check!), so if you missed that Price Drop news and didn't score the app that changed to-do lists everywhere we can't help you with that. But what we can do is hook you up with a ton of apps getting their price tags slashed and this week there's a few that are app families that are on sale, so if nature or Dr. Seuss are your thing, this'll be a big one for you.
We’ve got a diverse array of intriguing new releases to scope out this week, from sci-fi drama Out There to the wacky, retro-stylized card-battler Calculords and NimbleBit’s free-to-play Disco Zoo. Be sure to keep an eye out for full reviews of some of these titles in the coming days, and then check back next Thursday for an all-new list of notable games to consider.
The origins of yoga date back to ancient India, but the craft is still widely practiced today. There's a reason it has stuck around for so long: it's one of the most flexible disciplines you can take part in. If your goal is to stretch your body, lose weight, or rest a worried mind, you can find a routine that suits your needs. One of the great things about yoga is it uses your entire body and no additional equipment, so it's easy to practice just about anywhere. You can sneak in a quick session no matter where you are with the help of these eight apps designed to make your practice fully portable.