The lengthy wait between installments could be taken as a sign of Sega's effort to make Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II a better game than its underperforming predecessor. In some ways, that's true. Improved physics, crisply-detailed environments, and a handful of interesting new gameplay tweaks give this second jaunt better staying power, but with speed and precision being crucial ingredients for a successful Sonic outing, Episode II's frustrating touch controls just don't keep up.
Apple may be turning its back on the DVD format, but developers are filling the gap with software for copying, converting, and creating discs. Unfortunately, this leads to buggy Mac apps of questionable quality. DVDFab is one such product, comprising 10 different apps, with access only to those you choose to pay for. The bizarre licensing scheme offers one- to four-year subscriptions or a non-expiring “lifetime” license for a few bucks more. (The “all-in-one lifetime” package is $299.)
Mirabile dictu! There's quite a bit of la francaise in this week's price drops, so if you're planning a trip to the Left Bank be sure to load these apps. And for the rest of you, let's just have a look at what we've got cooking in this week's Price Drop.
It's becoming increasingly tough to squeeze into the tightly-packed puzzle genre in the App Store. With tons of tile-matching, piece-sliding, and color-swapping titles available in abundance -- albeit with challenge and mental stimulation often lacking -- sometimes the only puzzling thing is what is qualified as a puzzle. Enter Cubis Creatures, a game developed by the aptly named FreshGames, which has come to push staleness out of the genre and replace it with smart and satisfying gameplay.
Despite the shift to a digital display, Ticket to Ride looks exactly as you’d hope, with the distinctive visuals pulled directly from the now-classic board game and perfectly presented in this new Mac release. And the menus are as stylish as they are functional, getting you to where you need to go while staying era-appropriate. Luckily, they get you right into the game itself, which is the real draw here.
The process of keeping the mind sharp and punchy is a lot like going to the gym -- except instead of lifting weights and working up a nasty sweat, some of us prefer to engage in a bit of clever wordplay to keep the brain firing on all cylinders. When mental gymnastics are preferable to good old-fashioned physical exercise, the App Store is a hot spot for hunting down the best puzzle games for getting the job done. Get ready to flex some mental muscle and scarf down some tasty word salad with these stimulating gaming apps for the orthographically inclined.
For those who use their iPad as a central music hub, MyTunes Pro HD serves as a way to play and organize tunes, with a couple of basic features in the free download, including a simple player, DJ-style transitions between tracks, and custom album artwork options. Several other features are available via a $9.99 in-app purchase, though they can be used free for up to 10 minutes a day to give you a taste before you buy -- but I can't see why anybody would be compelled to pay for the app's premium content. Most prove to be flashy but insubstantial gimmicks that generally make music sound worse.
Showing a bit more ambition than its predecessors, N.O.V.A. 3 aims to be slightly more than a shameless clone of Microsoft's Halo, adding in mechs and jetpacks to the sci-fi shooter along with a bit more personality and environmental variety. It's also quite the looker, with the universal app's gloss shining through brightly, especially on the new iPad. While the campaign proves dull and buggy, the online multiplayer combat is a blast, thanks to varied play modes and added vehicles.
Smell that fresh, pungent aroma in the air? That's the smell of gardening season rapidly approaching. Well, that and pollen allergies. Depending on your location, it might not quite be time to roll up your sleeves and dig your hands in the earth just yet. But if you've got tilling soil, planting seeds, and plotting out your veggie garden masterpiece on your mind, then the App Store has some cool picks to get those green thumbs twitching.