Some weeks it's all about the games, and we've got at least one of those for you. And some weeks it is all about the productivity and utility apps kicking butt and making your life easier. This week is one of the latter. And as spring finally seems to be cracking through the world, here's a few apps to likewise inspire you to do some things.
When it comes to photo-centric social networks, some may shy away from the Facebook-owned Instagram if they prefer a quieter environment for sharing images. But what if you could dial out the noise and actually tame the Instagram experience instead? That’s the premise behind Gramatica for Instagram, a $0.99 app that serves up a handful of features currently overlooked by the photo sharing service. Want to quickly switch between multiple accounts? Prefer to filter out certain tags, photos, or even entire users? Gramatica has your back.
We're only a few days into the 2013 Major League Baseball season, and already we've some great (or almost great) moments – like the double home run performance from Nationals phenom Bryce Harper on opening day, and Yu Darvish's near-perfect game for the Rangers. It's been a long winter, but we all have about seven months of professional ball to look forward to, and a variety of great apps can make your baseball-loving experience even better this season. Whether you're looking for quick scores, detailed stat breakdowns, or live streaming games, check out these eight iOS apps for following the 2013 baseball season.
With an iPhone in my pocket, a trip to the grocery store isn't nearly as unpleasant as it used to be. Thanks to a slew of advanced features that have made my lists smarter and more powerful, I've learned how to save money at checkout and dramatically cut down on the return trips I used to make after forgetting to pick something up. Shopster wants to make the experience even easier. By eschewing common features like iCloud syncing, virtual aisles, and barcode scanning, Shopster focuses on what's most important: What you need to buy and where you need to buy it.
There's no denying that Ms. Splosion Man – a port of the 2011 console original – is an incredibly well-designed platformer. Its 50 lengthy levels are filled with inventively demanding puzzles, it's built around an incredibly fun gameplay mechanic (the heroine explodes to jump or attack enemies), it looks great, and it exudes a constant stream of goofy charm. So it's a shame that on iOS, an otherwise fantastic experience is hamstrung by a couple of key problems.
Yoga apps dominate the health and fitness scene in the App Store, but gaming giant Electronic Arts – best known for action-packed titles like Battlefield and Madden NFL – is something of an unexpected contender in this space. Despite the surprise launch, however, Yogify is an excellent option that makes it easy to pick a target and focus your workout, with various class bundles allowing users to customize the experience to fit their needs.
Handily poking fun at classic spell-flinging RPGs, Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet delivers a very silly iPad fantasy adventure full of tongue-in-cheek antics and self-referential humor. It blends side-scrolling brawling with puzzle-like spell mixology in a fun and fresh way that's not lacking in chaos or comedy. Cobbling together all manner of elemental wizardry – to blast inventive foes swarming in from all directions – gets a bit hectic in the heat of battle, but it's a craziness that's fueled by creativity as you piece together spells on the fly.
Combining a match-three puzzler with a role-playing game isn't an entirely new idea. After all, the popular Puzzle Quest series managed to accomplish as much over five years ago. But Dungeon Hearts adds a character party dynamic, tasking you with aligning jewels on a scrolling play field to launch attacks from four unique avatars. The concept itself is great, but the entire affair falls apart only minutes after the quest begins.
Sometimes the simplest of activities can be loads of fun. That's the case with Face Party, a stylish and goofy app that lets you create wild and wooly pictures of monstrous pals to tweak and share. Charm ultimately wins out over substance here, but that shouldn't stop you from tinkering with terrifying tomatoes, fidgeting with mega mustachioed men, or drafting evil cat-pigs to your heart's content.
Truth can sometimes seem much stranger than fiction, and Lie Swatter puts that idiom to the test in an amusing, quick-hit comedic trivia game. Developed by Jellyvision, the studio behind the hit You Don't Know Jack series, Lie Swatter serves up a series of seven statements in a certain category and challenges you to pick out the fibs. Do so while leaving the factual notes intact and you'll earn a stack of points in your turn-based competition with an online foe. Actually selecting the incorrect statements from each bunch is often much tougher than it seems, however.