When you can't help but whip through a couple dozen attempts each time you open up a game, it more than likely has its hooks plunged quite deep into your psyche. Luckily, Impossible Road is a game worthy of such obsession, as the unflinchingly difficult quest to guide a ball along an endless roller coaster track into the abyss rewards persistence, and wastes no time in getting you back into its dazzling world upon inevitable failure. And trying to circumvent the typical rolling approach to maximize your score? Well, that's just part of the appeal.
Everything about Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles -- from its overhead camera to its unit building mechanics -- resembles a real-time strategy game. The adorable characters and familiar Star Wars iconography could have made this free-to-play affair a worthwhile introduction to the genre for newcomers, but for a game with all the trappings of a strategy title, it curiously lacks any real strategic decision-making.
Angry Birds Friends brought the fowl-flinging sensation to Facebook, and unsurprisingly, it proved hugely popular in that format. Now the socially-connected spin on the franchise makes the return trip to iPhone and iPad while maintaining the distinct, free-to-play approach that defined that browser-based take. On a platform that already hosts five distinct Angry Birds games packed with several hundred total levels, the prospect of playing in one six-stage tournament per week may not seem remarkable, but it's the competitive aspect that puts an interesting tweak on the usual formula.
iPhone users rarely have any need to envy their Android-toting friends, but the introduction of Google Now certainly gave them one reason to do so. With the feature finally available on iOS with the latest update to Google Search, does it actually live up to expectations? Google Now gathers weather, places, travel, and customized interests into neat stacks of virtual “cards.” Related entries are grouped to minimize clutter, but users can temporarily eliminate unwanted entries by swiping them off the screen, or permanently toggle off entire categories in Settings.
After utilizing an open-city design for its premium Iron Man 2 movie game – complete with the requisite array of screen-cluttering virtual buttons – Gameloft opted for something simpler, swifter, and certainly cheaper for the next tie-in. Released in advance of the latest live-action Marvel Comics romp, the free-to-play Iron Man 3 sends Tony Stark soaring ahead through multiple locales, with alternating sequences that find him swiftly dodging traffic and aerial obstacles, zapping waves of foes, and even fighting through narrative-led boss battles. Blazingly fast and initially quite fun, this gratis game easily warrants a download from fans, though the thrills are short-lived.
It's fair to say that the original Robot Unicorn Attack was built on a gag concept. Its hard-edged riff on the hearts-and-rainbows style of artist Lisa Frank offered an amusing visual contrast, while the looping synth-pop classic "Always" by Erasure only cemented its absurdist intentions. But the game itself was no joke, as the rousing endless runner became a genre favorite that even spawned a couple of spin-offs. Robot Unicorn Attack 2 is an all-new entry, though, and while maintaining the fundamental elements of the debut, it makes the previous titles seem downright prehistoric by comparison. And it also offers one of the friendliest free-to-play models we've seen in any iOS game to date.
In a marketplace chock full of free-to-play word games, Bookworm Heroes plays like a clear attempt to take back the mantle. PopCap didn’t invent casual word puzzles, but its Bookworm franchise certainly had a hand in its popularity. This asynchronous multiplayer entry boasts spritely animations and well-balanced word fighting mechanics, and serves as a nicely modernized successor to the franchise's name.
Little about the act of slicing strands seems terribly appealing in our everyday lives, but that simple premise is responsible for one of the App Store's biggest sensations. Cut the Rope's diverse and colorful physics-based puzzles have made green alien creature Om Nom a household name across two entries – the original smash and the even-more-whimsical Cut the Rope: Experiments – and now Cut the Rope: Time Travel aims to push the formula further ahead by looking to the past for thematic inspiration.
Not too long ago, undertaking academic research away from your desk involved what felt like outfitting yourself for a long expedition. Those days aren't completely behind us, but today's scholars are fortunate in that iOS devices fill many of the same roles once provided by those piles of notebooks, recorders, and books, thus allowing you to take your research everywhere. Apps like Dropbox and Evernote are great options that help with research alongside many other potential tasks, but when you're specifically looking to improve your research habits, these eight apps will make your work easier and more portable regardless of your field.
Something about the great American pastime brings out the best in app designers. MLB.com At Bat's breathtaking ballparks and pitch trackers are the gold standard for professional sports apps, Topps Pennant turns lifeless box scores into beautiful works of art, and iScore reimagines the dull, antiquated scorecard with lush textures and vivid charts. Race to the Pennant makes a strong case for joining that list. With a simple, colorful interface, the app offers a slick visual interpretation of baseball standings that makes following your favorite team a lot more fun – whether they're headed to the playoffs or stuck in the cellar.