When it was released in mid-2012 for the iPhone, Launch Center Pro promised a better way to navigate between apps, utilizing URL schemes to unlock the hidden shortcuts our favorite apps already use to make calling, texting, and emailing seem so seamless. Now that Launch Center Pro has arrived on the iPad, we can finally unleash its full power. With a familiar interface and a tremendous library of supported apps, the productivity app feels right at home on the larger screen, even if it doesn’t always take advantage of it.
On the surface, Paper looks a lot like what might have happened had Facebook invented Flipboard before Flipboard got the chance, and then slapped on a moniker rather too similar to an existing hugely popular (but entirely different) iOS app. Move beyond the snark, though, and you realize something surprising: Paper makes using Facebook almost pleasurable again. Facebook on desktop ceased to be fun a long time ago, and even the once-streamlined mobile app is increasingly full of cruft. The idea with Paper appears to be to strip everything back, bring stories to the fore, and turn the Facebook experience into a kind of edited newspaper.
Eliss Infinity hurls you into an abstract universe where you sort planets for obliteration. They materialize somewhat randomly on the screen and must be manipulated by your digits, making them a suitable size to dump in “squeesars” that periodically appear and wink said planets out of existence. Naturally, there are twists that hamper any thought that you’ll be done with your planet disposal within mere minutes. This upgraded and expanded version of one of the App Store’s best early games remains fresh, tactile, and truly terrific today.
Number-merging original puzzler Threes! is today’s standout debut, though it’s not alone — Final Fantasy VI, Eliss Infinity, and Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse are other notable releases, though we’ve got 10 in total to shine a light on this week. 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 Winter Olympics are once again upon us. The world’s finest athletes are gathered together for two weeks in Sochi, Russia, where they will test their skills against top competition from around the globe in 98 events across 15 sports. These competitors have trained for years for a chance to take home a medal — that's a lot of preparation time. Luckily, it only takes a few minutes to download all of the apps you'll need to follow the games. We've compiled eight of our favorite options to follow the happenings in Sochi over the next couple of weeks. Grab these apps and treat your favorite chair like the first-place podium, because you’re sure to bring home the gold in Olympics-watching.
The art of color grading film or video typically involves expensive hardware out of reach to the average producer, assuming he or she could figure out how to juggle all of those buttons and trackballs to begin with. Thankfully, manipulating all the colors of the rainbow can now be done from the palm of your hands. ColorTime 2.0 isn’t a true replacement for costly color grading hardware, but it does let iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch owners manipulate color using a gesture-based interface that deftly tackles even 1080p HD video content in real time.
You wouldn't know it from the screenshots – what with that clean, minimal design and little faces on the number tiles – but behind Threes!' delightfully cheery exterior lays a complex and calculated puzzle core. Its number-blending mechanics are simple on the surface and incredibly easy to pick up, yet careless play is quickly punished and low scores prove inevitable without constant consideration for each and every move made on the board. Success is often elusive in Threes!, yet seeking it has quickly become our favorite new single-minded pursuit.
John Woo’s reputation as a director and filmmaker was built on graceful action set-pieces and high-stakes melodrama. Unfortunately, his first foray into mobile gaming — Chillingo’s thuddingly titled Bloodstroke — has neither. You play as a private security contractor, codenamed Lotus, whose task is to escort a brilliant, nervous doctor through a series of levels stretching from Hong Kong to Beijing — all while dispatching the roving bands of gangsters, hitmen, and thugs trying to kill him.
With a name like Marvel Run Jump Smash!, it’s fair to expect something lively and exciting — which isn’t typically a tall task for the iconic Marvel Comics heroes featured in this side-scrolling endless runner. But despite taking its cues from genre greats like Jetpack Joyride and Punch Quest (and pairing that blend with a cute cartoonish aesthetic), this licensed affair can’t help but feel dull and dopey, thanks in large part to its laboriously slow progression system.
Dark Sky’s daring interface, sense of focus, and precipitation predictions have won plaudits, making it a favorite weather app with iOS users in the know — but the app’s streamlined nature ensured it remained a niche player. With the recent 4.0 version release, the developers are aiming for the mainstream. The app has moved beyond primarily being concerned with imminent rainfall and conditions, and now boasts a greater range of forecast content; this echoes the developer’s online effort, Forecast.io, plus the interface has been "Jony Ived," so to speak.