Draw Something 2 is exactly the kind of sequel we'd expect from a casual gaming juggernaut like Zynga: It's slickly refined, nicely expanded, and slathered with silly marketing tie-ins. Seriously, when will pop starlet Carly Rae Jepsen continue the game that it made us send "her" during the tutorial? All the same, this follow-up builds upon the sketch-guessing sensation by adding more social features and ways to interact, while wrapping everything up in a flashier package.
The gang's all here for LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes, a decidedly goofy clash between iconic comic-book superheroes and villains modeled with digital plastic bricks. While Batman and Robin are the centerpieces of this silly iPhone and iPad romp through a LEGO-fied Gotham City, they're joined by more than 80 unlockable characters that add tremendous variety to your quest to stamp out evil. The silly antics and block-smashing fun found throughout this original adventure will feel familiar if you've played any of the other recent licensed LEGO games, but it's an amusing time nonetheless.
For those who were looking for a better iPhone email experience coming into the new year, it's certainly been a good few months so far. Mailbox and Mail Pilot helped us regain control over our inboxes with varying degrees of success, Tempo helped organize our messages by date and appointment, and even the Gmail app was updated with a faster, cleaner interface. But Triage might be the most radical of the recent newcomers. With a focus on your unread messages, it aims to help clear out overwhelmed inboxes with a simple, refined approach that will change the way you tackle your incoming mail.
Your iPhone’s camera is fantastic, and not because it has the best lens or the widest array of features, but because it’s always there with you, ready to take a shot in seconds. What if you have a little more time to get just the shot you want, frame it right, and set the focus, but don’t want to carry around another device just for snapping photos? For those who want to control more parameters and apply filters before clicking the shutter – or have the app do it all for you – Blux Camera Pro is a very good option to consider.
Although the MacBook Pro with Retina Display is my main computer, it spends most days tethered to a Thunderbolt Display. Mini Display promises the luxury of dual displays from anywhere, as it's a universal app that extends a Mac desktop onto an iOS device on the same local Wi-Fi network, but it’s not yet ready to replace the real thing. Avatron’s Air Display, which has been around for quite some time, actually does the same for a few dollars less, and works with both Mac and Windows.
Most platform games are known for their difficulty in having players master the art of running and jumping over large gaps and onto hard-to-reach platforms. Taking this concept and turning it on its side, Illusion Labs’ latest game is a vertical auto-running title that simply requires you to know when to jump. Mr. Crab’s controls may sound easy, and its colorful visuals might seem a bit pre-school for some, but this friendly crustacean offers plenty of challenge to keep players of all ages coming back for more.
Bustin Beaver and his beaver bandits have stolen your wood, and being the cartoonish lumberjack that you are, you must punch them to get it back – or something like that. It doesn’t really matter; the motivation behind the fast-paced, hard-as-nails lumber-fueled platforming isn’t important. What matters is that Lumber Jacked delivers plenty of quick-hit fun, which it accomplishes via a mix of speedy sprinting, colorful action, and charming presentation.
Sparrow may have blazed a trail for acceptance of third-party iOS email clients, but there’s a new kid on the block: Mail Pilot, a universal app that attempts to infuse slick organizational talents into traditional IMAP email. Mail Pilot’s creators should be applauded for native iPad support out of the gate, a feature still missing from popular alternatives like Mailbox. For those who spend their evenings at home with the iPad, the ability to move between iPhone and tablet at will is a big plus. Sadly, IMAP compatibility issues make this pricey app a tough recommendation.
Gemini Rue is a relic. At least, that’s how it appears. It’s a game that’s unapologetically old-school, designed with players that cut their teeth on Sierra and LucasArts’ point-and-click adventures of the ‘90s in mind, right down to the janky way a character’s walking animation may stutter as you click across the screen. For a 2011 indie PC title that's just made the leap to iPad and iPhone, this kind of attention to retro-detail is worth taking notice of.
Take the electronic stylings of the cult Swiss electronic band Yello, stir in the visually interactive approach of iOS, and you’ll end up with something as profoundly cool as Yellofier, a free app for taking sampled sounds – including your own – and turning them into radically cool and wild musical passages. A commercial app of this depth and breadth would be a revelation, but for free, it’s just short of miraculous.