Remember Minesweeper? It was a semi-blind guessing game, and if you hit a mine, it was game over. No, it wasn’t exactly thrilling. Playing Blip Blup, a decidedly sleeker, more interesting, and modern puzzle game, it’s hard not to have Windows 3.1 flashbacks. Here you also have tiled grids that – when touched – send out a pulse wave that expands from your finger tap outward, sending color in every mappable direction. Thankfully, solving puzzles by coloring in grids is both more interesting and unsurprisingly much brainier than in Minesweeper.
Button-mashing brawlers make for a great time when you've got real buttons to mash, but they don't always translate so well to iOS touch screens. Rather than attempt to shoehorn all of the intense fighting action into a traditional arcade-style control scheme, indie studio The Game Bakers concocted a fresh touch-centric battle system for its quirky new face-pummeling fighter. Combo Crew's fast-paced fisticuffs and streamlined combo system hinges on simple swipe controls that are far more satisfying to wield than you'd expect from an iOS beat-em-up.
If you have kids, you have photos. And if you have an iPhone, you have lots and lots of them in your pocket at any given time. There are plenty of apps that'll help you personalize your favorite pictures by adding captions, colors, and effects, but they all require a hefty dose of effort – especially if you've let a lot of birthday and vacation shots pile up. Disney's Story understands that most parents probably have a couple hundred photos and videos sitting in their Camera Roll, but don't know where to start with organizing them. With an emphasis on speed and simplicity, the app will help you effortlessly create personalized stories out of your favorite moments without having to pore over dozens of unrelated pictures.
Pizza may be the delivery food nonpareil these days, but there remains a certain charm in exploring an unfamiliar city and stumbling across unforgettable pizza parlors hidden on side streets known only to the natives. Pizza Compass wants to introduce you to these parlors, and it usually manages to do so. Under the right conditions, it's a fun little novelty app that delivers a few smiles and new culinary experiences for less than the usual price of a slice.
Classic Note doesn't exactly bring anything new to the world of iPhone text editors, but as a magazine with "Mac" in our name, we couldn't ignore it. Basically, it's an homage to the early days of the Mac System Software, with monochrome accents, bitmapped corners, and crude springy animations. There's a delightful simplicity to its interface that harkens back to a time when docks were still control bars and dogcows roamed our screens, and anyone who fondly remembers extensions and longs for the original Chicago typeface will adore it.
Geocaching is not for the casual urban adventurer. The concept is simple enough – seek out a hidden treasure by following a specific set of GPS coordinates – but there's a reason why it never caught on in the mainstream. Not only does it command a giant commitment of time and energy, but there's also a pretty steep learning curve for new users. Wonderground is geocaching for the rest of us. Created by General Electric (yes, that one), the scavenger-hunting app challenges users to explore their favorite cities with the promise of the ultimate reward: Knowledge.
Known for console and computer heavy hitters like Civilization V and XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Firaxis’ latest strategy game is the unexpectedly kid-friendly and cartoonish Haunted Hollow for iPhone and iPad. Starring familiar monsters like vampires, ghosts, and witches, this free-to-play game offers a surprisingly rich level of depth and enjoyment that is sure to please any fan of the genre.
Though it draws heavy inspiration from a particular sci-fi franchise well known for boldly sending a spaceship full of uniformed crew where no one has gone before, Star Command doesn't fiddle around with any namby-pamby prime directive. The galaxy is full of danger and backstabbing aliens looking to get a piece of your sweet tech. Sure, diplomacy is sometimes an option with the strange crafts you encounter in this slick pixel-based quest, but it's just way more fun to blow your adversaries out of the stars or die trying in an often intense and chaotic adventure through the cosmos.
Twitter has long been a way for musicians to connect with their fans, but the standalone Twitter #Music app is something different: It's an opportunity for the social networking company to leverage its ubiquitous service to turn users onto new artists. The glossy iPhone and iPod touch offering pulls data from tweets and trends to build visual grids of artists in different categories, with iTunes audio samples just a couple of taps away. Twitter #Music looks the part, but while you might find some diamonds in the rough, it won't necessarily be due to the app's calculations.
The Lytro camera is an amazing way to add perspective to photos, but at $399, it’s beyond the financial grasp of many amateur shutterbugs. Thankfully, a new iPhone app promises to deliver refocusable, ready-to-share images for a whole lot less. FocusTwist takes a page from the Lytro playbook, creating images where the key focus can be changed to another object with just a tap.