It's no secret that games are the App Store's bread and butter, and this week we've got a whole slew of games that are free or cut down to the nubbins on price. This week's freebies are enough to keep you gaming long into the night for weeks to come and that's before you drop dime one. And if how-to is more your speed, we've got a handful of tutorials that'll make you sharp and tie you down to eat. So let's dive right in.
A pair of highly anticipated games finally hit the App Store today: FTL: Faster Than Light, the tough but thrilling spaceship management sim ported from Mac and PC, and Monument Valley, an iOS original puzzle-adventure that looks absolutely magnificent. We’ve got several other intriguing releases on the list, though, including several free-to-play offerings. 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.
On the eve of the launch of Microsoft's three signature Office apps for the iPad, several critics were still suggesting that it was too late for their appearance to make much of a difference. According to today's Twitter report from Microsoft, however, they couldn't have been more wrong. Just one week since Word, Excel, and PowerPoint came to Apple's tablet, the apps (combined with OneNote) have been downloaded a stunning 12 million times.
March may be all about the madness of college basketball, but for baseball fans, April is the start of seven glorious months of excitement. With so many connected screens and apps, we know you won't miss a minute of action when your favorite team takes the field. But if you're a true die-hard, it's not enough to follow just one club—you’ll want to catch as many balls and strikes as you possibly can. And since we're pretty sure you've already secured your MLB.com At Bat season subscription, we've found eight other apps that’ll help you soak in the thrill of the game all season long.
Despite a plethora of fun and colorful interactive elements and engaging animations, Incredible Numbers isn't a dumbed-down app for the digital generation. Rather, Professor Ian Stewart uses the iPad's boundless teaching tools to take the mystery out of some of mathematics' most difficult concepts, including factorials, Fibonacci numbers, and heptadecagons. An attractive menu of eight circles—plus a bonus section dedicated to brainteasers—guides you to your chosen lesson, but the simple one-word headings hardly prepare you for the wealth of information inside.
Despite its flashy neon lights and comic book-style interstitials, Flashout 2 is a pretty straightforward sci-fi-tinged racer: you'll zoom around a futuristic track, earn cash, upgrade your podracer, and repeat. Here’s the catch: each hovercraft comes armed with a machine gun, rockets, and mines, and a quick trigger finger is often the difference between first and last. While decently fun, it ultimately proves insubstantial and lightweight, with control quirks and a lacking balance between racing and combat.
Supercell's Boom Beach sticks close to the basic formula established by mega-hit predecessors Clash of Clans and Hay Day, but it brings an enticing new combat system that grants you greater control over your own fate. It's war of oceanic proportions, as you work to liberate the natives of one island after another from the evil Blackguard (as well as from rival players). Your goals boil down to two needs: keeping your headquarters protected from invaders—with help from an assortment of mines, defensive buildings, and strategic placement—and building up an army strong enough to take down the headquarters of any island not under your control.
Following the release of Microsoft's Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for the iPad, Apple is drawing attention to its own office suite with a visual overhaul of the online versions of iWork. The iCloud and Mac versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote all resemble their iOS 7 counterparts after today's update, bringing a common visual aesthetic to the Cupertino company's productivity suite regardless of which platform you prefer.
Like the complicated father-son relationship between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, the marriage between the Star Wars franchise and card battling games has been a tumultuous one at best. Last year's Star Wars Force Collection was a hands-off snooze affair bogged down by heavy micromanagement. The latest attempt at shoehorning a galaxy far, far away into a collectible card game format, however, is a vast improvement over what we’ve seen before. Star Wars: Assault Team packs all the polish, accessibility, and strategy that were sorely missing in Force Collection, even if it's not an entirely fresh spin on collectible card combat.
Marvel Comics’ latest film adaptation, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, has been receiving rave reviews in the run up to its release this Friday. Gameloft’s universal iOS beat-‘em-up of the same name has a fair bit going for it, as well, with solid presentation and quite a bit of content, but ultimately doesn’t captivate over the long haul. Spreading a small number of game mechanics and levels as thin as possible muddles what could have been a pretty strong action affair.