Ever since Apple revolutionized digital music with the iPod, we've been looking for faster ways to navigate our ever-expanding music libraries. Even with its iOS 7 overhaul, Apple's Music app still offers fairly basic controls, forcing us to focus on the screen and tap tiny buttons when we're on the road or out for a run. The aptly named Listen thinks it has tapped into a better method. With a buttonless interface that eschews digital controls in favor of simple gestures, the music player looks to change the way we listen to music on our iPhones by relying less on our eyes.
Can there really be one iOS email app to rule them all? Moscow-based Mail.ru thinks so, and is bringing its experience serving more than 100 million users in Russian-speaking countries to a new mobile email client for the rest of the world. myMail consolidates multiple email accounts into a free, universal app, and the service uses proprietary algorithms to detect settings for virtually any IMAP or POP email service, including Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL, and Outlook. All that’s required is the address and password.
This minimalist puzzler’s name is styled as LYNE, but we’re having none of it. Uppercase suggests someone’s getting all shouty, but Lyne (as we’re calling the game) is as reserved as they come. Lyne’s all about forming pathways between like-colored shapes positioned on a grid — you’re essentially joining the dots, but are restricted to 90- and 45-degree angles. As you work on each puzzle, abstract noises pleasingly chirp away in the background, confirming every connection like a panpipe-playing robot.
True Axis made all the right changes for the sequel to the 2009 hit driving game Jet Car Stunts, with a big visual upgrade, loads of new levels and play modes, a third difficulty level, and intuitive player creation tools added to an almost identical core experience of racing against the clock and navigating insane courses. Jet Car Stunts 2 pushes the challenge factor a bit far at times, but it’s a fine improvement on its predecessor and a fiendishly awesome game in its own right.
For all of its strengths, Fightback is a game that feels tuned to reward in-app purchases more than strategy or skill. Ninja Theory, the studio behind the '80s-tinged brawler, is known for big console projects like last year’s Devil May Cry reboot and 2010’s Enslaved: Journey to the West. Those games were great — underrated, even — which is why Fightback’s shortcomings come as such a surprise.
Every time a new photo effects app pops up, it’s often frustrating to see the same sepia toning filters, blur effects, and other reliable features that are all getting rather long in the tooth. This fact makes the appearance of Fragment all the more exciting, as it produces effects that nothing else in the App Store even attempts to mimic, yet remains exceedingly easy to use and explore. The app lets you choose from one of 46 built-in base effects, which are essentially distortion masks based on a variety of shape combinations, from simple frames to abstract designs – including crystal shards, geometric patterns, and circular constructs – which distort the image in any number of ways.
Sega’s first attempt to mine the Mario Kart formula worked out rather well on iOS with Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, though it already looks a bit weathered by time (especially without iPhone 5+ widescreen support). Luckily, console sequel Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed has now likewise made the leap to the App Store, expanding the arcade-style approach with the addition of flight and boating segments across an array of colorful tracks inspired by classic Sega properties. It’s once more an entertaining concoction, though slow-paced progression and paid power-ups slightly diminish the effect of this mobile port.
There's just something about a new calendar that makes us want to better ourselves. Every January 1, we set a series of seemingly attainable goals that we have every intention of keeping — but by the time spring rolls around, we've either forgotten, procrastinated, or just plain given up. But with the help of a few strategic apps, this year you can resolve to break that trend. Here are 10 such options that’ll help you stay on track in 2014.
When iA Writer burst onto the scene in late 2010, it was a game-changer. The first true alternative to Pages, its ultra-minimal interface introduced a new kind of word processor, one that eschewed underutilized features for a sharp focus on simplicity. Writer Pro for iOS attempts to build on that concept. With a completely new workflow designed to tightly organize your thoughts, Information Architects pushes its minimal interface to the max, but loses that trademark simplicity in the process.
Our monthly recap looks back at the games we reviewed during December, with a total of 22 iOS and Mac games presented here in bite-sized, to-the-point encapsulations. And if you want to read more, simply click the link on each slide to read the full critique and find the link to purchase each game. The year ended with a bang thanks to several notable releases, including the first episodes of République and The Walking Dead: Season Two, along with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Colossatron: Massive World Threat, and some surprising under-the-radar releases. Before the barrage of 2014 releases begins, look back on last month’s games and see what you missed!