If you're an intergalactic space miner by trade, there are worse fates than getting stranded on a giant red planet rich with subterranean minerals, danger, and excitement. With nowhere to go but deeper and deeper beneath the planet's surface, Mines of Mars teases you along into its Metroid-style adventure by putting up subtle barriers and giving you a means to overcome them: mining. The balance between gathering, crafting, and exploring is well tuned to draw you in, even if other aspects of navigating the planetscape feel weak by comparison.
CarPlay was one of the biggest stories of the week, so all the revving of tech engines weren't just for tracking down the supposed founder of Bitcoin. But did you hear any of the news over the sounds of engines? In case you missed it, we've got you covered in this week's wrap up.
Yes, yes, we've got games for you, but first things first. Let's get the business out of the way here first, okay. So we'll hook you up with a great email app and a super clear to-do app (hint, hint) and then we'll get out gaming fingers on. Business before pleasure, little app sale fans, business before pleasure.
Without question, LEGO Legends of Chima Online is geared towards younger gamers. It is, after all, based on a toy line and a CG-animated TV show on Cartoon Network. But don’t write it off just yet — this is a massively multiplayer online action-RPG in which a driving motivation is to collect loot. In many ways, Legends of Chima Online is like a simplified Diablo, and that’s why it can work for older gamers, too.
As our iPhones have matured, so have our apps. What used to be a sea of simple utilities with very mobile mindsets has evolved into a rich landscape of powerful tools, which continue to amaze us with what can be accomplished on a 4-inch screen. Zippy is the sort of app that shows us just how far our devices have come. As a basic to-do manager, it does its job well enough for a recommendation, but developer Amit Wadhawan embraces the power and modernism of iOS 7 to pump a little pizzazz into the stale concept and put it over the top.
Some really great-looking games headline the week’s release slate. We already know Smash Hit is stellar — check out our review from earlier — but side-scrolling sci-fi adventure Mines of Mars is also intriguing, as are Wave Wave, Block Fortress: War, and the second episode of Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season Two. 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.
MLB.com At Bat was so ahead of its time, it felt as fresh during the 2013 World Series as it did upon launching in 2008, despite little more than a series of relatively minor updates between earlier versions. Still, Major League Baseball used the offseason to give the pro sports-leading formula its first major update. But while it brings a slew of visual changes that freshen things up for iOS 7, the overhaul is mostly cosmetic in nature, leaving a somewhat streamlined experience that doesn’t quite deliver the home run we hoped for.
It's amazing what you can make with your hands. With nothing more than a ball of yarn and a hook, you can create handcrafted fabrics and spin those out into all sorts of unique goods. The process of crocheting consists of the seemingly simple process of pulling loops of material through other loops, but by the time you're done, you can have a comfortable blanket, an ideal carrying bag, a hat and matching gloves, or any variety of creations. When you know the craft of crochet, there's little limit to what you can make. With National Crochet Week on the horizon this month, we’ve stitched together eight apps that’ll have you creating homemade works that are as beautifully crafted as they are practical.
Shattering a pane of glass can bring a moment of sheer joy — or abject terror, depending on intentions — but the resulting expense and hassle rarely balance out the fun. Smash Hit provides a remarkably vivid simulation of splintering glass, letting you toss metal balls at shiny digital sheets and watch the shards fly, but it’s not a gimmick app. That sensation instead forms the core of an entertaining and smartly balanced survival game, wherein precise timing and aiming let you continue crashing ahead through the colorful levels.
Sector is a totally unique, vastly powerful, and well-designed beat manipulation tool for iPad that stirs together audio and math in a way that astounds and delights. The description of a “stochastic sample slice sequencer” might scare some off, but fear not: this is a beauty of a beast. Imported audio files are mapped into a circular, looping display, and sliced into a specific number of sectors, or segments (from two to 32 chunks), each with its own color.