Anyone who’s ever been stuck at a nightclub, concert, or sporting event with spotty wireless connectivity knows the frustration of being unable to ping friends or family waiting nearby. That no longer has to be the case thanks to FireChat, a free messaging app for iPhone that takes advantage of the Multipeer Connectivity framework introduced with iOS 7. This service allows nearby devices to discover and communicate with each other using peer-to-peer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, even in areas where an Internet connection is unavailable.
Cartoon Network’s mobile division—particularly that behind its edgier Adult Swim-branded fare—has historically been a pretty good fit for goofy, whimsical little arcade-style titles that focus on simple game design while still managing to be fun. Globlins doesn’t really fit that criteria, despite looking decent enough at a glance, with colorful storybook art and a cute, kid-friendly premise involving blotting out tiny microscopic organisms. Most of the puzzles require little to no skill or thought, while the wildly difficult boss battles feel concocted to nudge you towards spending money on power-ups.
You can always rely on Crytek to push graphical boundaries, and the Crysis developer’s latest iOS outing is no exception, with detailed and realistic environments that sparkle in all the right places. But beneath the glitz and the glam—and beyond a strong core, top-down arena shooter design—The Collectables suffers from a toxic progression system, which forces you to spend big or grind repeatedly through already-completed missions.
Despite the support of nearly every Hollywood studio, cloud locker service Ultraviolet has failed to gain much traction with consumers. Ultraviolet holdout Disney thinks there’s a better way, and the company has released an app to prove it. Disney Movies Anywhere is a free, universal app serving up more than 400 Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movies (no TV shows yet) to any iOS device. Digital-only purchases made via the app are handed off to the iTunes Store, but now include the same kind of Disney Movie Reward perks that DVD and Blu-ray buyers are accustomed to.
You would be forgiven for mistaking Steller for a Storehouse companion, but in actuality they're independent variations on the same social storytelling theme: simple, elegant narration. Like Storehouse, Steller doesn't overwhelm you with design options, but it gives you just enough to get your creative juices flowing while inspiring you to turn your life into art.
Although the verdict may still be out on whether mobile devices actually make us more productive, there’s no denying that gadgets like the iPhone help take some of the drudgery out of our daily lives—including keeping a journal of what we’ve been up to lately. Such is the premise of Rove, a free journal/diary app that promises to automate the thankless task of documenting our lives in excruciating detail. Similar to last year’s excellent Heyday, Rove uses geolocation data to keep a running tab on where we’ve been, importing new photos taken with the device to put a visual stamp on those memories.
What initially seemed like a sleepy week for new iOS releases thankfully turned out some promising picks, including Crytek’s anticipated top-down shooter The Collectables, the dazzling space shooter Star Horizon, and even Cartoon Network’s virus-popping puzzler Globlins. And we’ve got several more notable releases profiled within if none of those strike your fancy. 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 travel bug can strike when you least expect it, burrowing deep into your psyche until you’re desperate to shoot off to a popular destination Rome or Paris—or somewhere more obscure, like Swaziland capital Mbabane. Taking in the sights and sounds of a different culture in a new place is a great way to recharge and unwind (or draw some fresh inspiration), and it’s easier than ever now to sort out the where, what, and how of doing so. If you’ve been thinking about jet-setting off to a faraway land or planning a round-the-world trip, these 10 apps will both help with inspiration and make the logistics easier to manage.
There's always a slight sense of fear when one of our favorite apps gets the iOS 7 treatment. Our finger hovers just a second longer over the flattened icon as we brace ourselves for what awaits us inside, hoping that the new guidelines haven't messed with any of the functionality. AccuWeather epitomizes these concerns. With a ground-up redesign that strips away everything that previously set it apart from its competitors, the popular weather app has reinvented itself with version 7, but far too much of its new identity feels cribbed and undeveloped.
First Strike grants a God's-eye view of the end of all things, and inadvertently shows us the beauty in chaos. Like trout leaping from water, nuclear bombs plop down to Earth, slaughtering millions. Mushroom clouds bud like fungi on lumber, and the stars, unjudging, watch Ragnarok in the inky blackness beyond. Were it not for radial menus popping up and shifting national boundaries, a passing observer might mistake it for a new feature in Google Earth.