Bit Dungeon brings together The Legend of Zelda’s top-down dungeon stomping, Diablo’s loot lust, and the unforgiving difficulty of roguelikes within a slick retro-style quest. Fresh from developer Kinto Games, this hack-and-slash action RPG distills the allure of classic gaming into an addicting mobile adventure. Between the simple mechanics and incredible challenge, you may find Bit Dungeon's stat-building pull difficult to resist, even if a couple of issues rear their head at times.
When Temple Run hit the App Store in summer 2011, it didn't look like much -- no thanks to its pixelated, original PlayStation-level graphics and unremarkable visual design. But the old adage about not judging a book by its cover holds true with free iOS games, as well, as its genre-shifting 3D twist on the traditional side-scrolling runner made it an absolute sensation, racking up more than 170 million downloads in the time since. With new sequel Temple Run 2, Imangi Studios needn't worry about making a bad impression, thanks to dramatic visual improvements and welcomed gameplay enhancements.
If you're going to try to beat Google at its own game, you need three things: good design, quick results, and an impressive algorithm. Izik, a new iPad-only browser from relatively unknown search start-up Blekko, performs so remarkably well in all three categories that Google might want to take notice. I was skeptical at first. Every now and again, some indie search engine threatens to knock Google off of its pedestal, only to crumble under the weight of lofty expectations. But Izik is the closest thing to a Google replacement I have ever used.
Accountants aside, no one looks forward to tax time -- but the folks at Intuit have been trying to make the task less painful for years with their TurboTax software. For your 2012 taxes, you now have the option of buying the software in the Mac App Store, and it's absolutely free to download and get started. Ready to find out more? Then read on...
The world would be so much more entertaining if a trip to the local cafe could be interrupted by goblins, and if chests of loot were stored around every corner. Life is Magic seeks to augment the real world by introducing location-based RPG elements, but in the process replaces our everyday grind with another kind of grind entirely. The game's location features are visually impressive, overlaying a fantasy filter over real-world maps wherein local stores become equipment warehouses and restaurants turn to taverns.
True foodies love to document each chapter of their culinary journies to enjoy later, which makes a service like Evernote a match made in heaven. The developer also recognized the potential for just such a marriage and the result is the slick, if occasionally inefficient, Evernote Food. It's a customized mobile solution for organizing recipes, saving favorite restaurants, and keeping a mealtime journal, all powered by the company’s popular cloud-based “second brain” service. And now it runs natively on iPad, in addition to iPhone and iPod touch.
Developing a spiritual successor to one of the most reviled licensed games in history might not be the best way to generate positive results, if ShaqDown is any indication. Like the laughable Shaq Fu before it, which transformed eccentric NBA star Shaquille O'Neal into a hand-to-hand fighter during the early days of his career, ShaqDown again turns the now-retired hoops legend into a violent warrior, this time tasked with pummeling zombies. And much like the game that inspired it, Shaq Fu is an occasionally amusing but mostly irritating experience.
It's staggering to think that Hundreds began life on anything other than a capacitive interface, but this multitouch magnum opus has unexpected origins as a mouse-based web game. Granted, the ball-expanding puzzler has been revised and refined significantly since that inauspicious debut, resulting in an experience that is perfectly centered around the touch of a finger. Brought to the App Store by a dream team of indie designers, including those behind favorites like Canabalt and Gasketball, Hundreds is one of the smartest and most satisfying touch-based games I've ever played, particularly on an iPad.
Foldify brings papercraft figure creation to the iPad, and while the idea is simple, the way it's implemented makes this app truly great. Choosing from 10 available shapes, you'll then see the editable cutout section on the right and a 3D representation on the left. As you decorate the shape, the 3D model is updated in real time, making it easy to see how your creation will look once complete.
In the world of console gaming, the Skylanders franchise – spun off from the once-popular Spyro the Dragon series – has been one of the biggest surprises over the last couple of years, enthralling kids and adults alike by letting them collect physical figurines that can be imported into the game using a portal peripheral. Following a couple of digital-only iOS entries, Skylanders Battlegrounds finally brings a similar experience to iPhone and iPad, though while the toys and process are much the same, the game built around it struggles to captivate.