Building a new kind of obsessive virtual pursuit out of the various parts of two real-life ones, Super Paper Pool combines elements from billiards and miniature golf, challenging you to hit colorful pieces into their rightful spots with a cue ball. It starts simply enough, with early holes featuring just one piece to maneuver around a winding path, but hazards and multiple pieces quickly turn each round of tables into a sometimes-brutal gauntlet. Engaging as it can be, however, the requirements for progression begin to feel too intimidating far too quickly.
Thor Polysonic Synthesizer is a highly-programmable monster, and it doesn’t take much scrolling through the 1000 included presets to get a great taste of what it’s capable of – which is truly rich, thick sound, even when played polyphonically. From subtle bass and pad sounds all the way to animated, pulsing soundscapes, Thor packs a powerful punch. Listening to it through headphones or decent speakers is a must, as the tiny iPad speaker really can’t do it justice.
G.I. Joe fans no doubt remember their collection of action figures and the fun times they spent going on imaginary missions against Cobra’s army of evil. It's no surprise, then, that the action card game G.I. Joe: Battleground rekindles some of those memories as you assemble your squad and recruit your favorite soldiers for combat. It may not always be the most exciting experience, but it’s a quality card game that doesn’t require much effort to enjoy.
Depending on your feelings about the company's distinct brand of entertainment, Wake Up With Disney either takes a bit of the pain out of dragging yourself out of slumberland or ensures you’ll never want to sleep again. You’ll have to love Donald Duck and his propensity for tantrums to stand it for more than a few minutes, as he’s the one and only choice of companion in this playful interactive alarm clock. He’ll huff and he’ll puff, and he’ll either drive you insane or delight you with his wake-up-time antics.
Although it can’t reproduce the sounds or smells of classic developer, stop bath, and fixer chemicals used for processing photographic prints, Koloid is a mostly faithful interpretation of the 19th century collodion procedure where a flammable liquid was used to create wet-plate images within minutes of being taken. Think of it as the precursor to Polaroid, but a whole lot messier. Like making prints in the darkroom, Koloid offers the user complete control over the final black-and-white image.
The iPad is built for multitasking, but Apple's idea of it can be somewhat limiting. The ability to quickly switch between apps is nice, but what we're really waiting for is a Dashboard-style environment for widgets; if not to truly multitask, then at least to access our important data at a glance. Morning is a bit like a stripped-down version of Status Board, sporting a set of panels that present the information you need to start your day without jumping around to a bunch of different apps. It looks great, with bold fonts, bright color themes, and crisp graphics, but ultimately its interface is just too simplistic to be taken seriously.
Limbo begins in darkness and near silence and doesn't stray much from either over the course of the side-scrolling adventure. It also doesn't feature any text beyond the menu screen and credits, save for a gargantuan neon hotel sign that punctuates the quest, nor does it mention the controls or detail any of the puzzle mechanics you'll encounter along the way. What could feel aimless is instead thoroughly gripping, as Limbo's brilliant and atmospheric quest makes exploring the unknown feel thrilling, terrifying, and ultimately fulfilling.
To die-hard news junkies, word that Google Reader would be put down like a sick animal came as quite a shock. Developers instead saw this as an opportunity to fill that gaping hole with something fresh – a challenge the new owners of Digg quickly attacked with their own shovels. The result is Digg Reader. It's not a separate product, but rather a feature bolted onto the existing web service and now added to the free, universal iOS app. For existing Digg users, the app offers the best of both worlds: All the Top Stories they know and love, plus favorite RSS feeds rescued from Google Reader. Sadly, it's rather short on features and functionality for RSS power users.
Like many iPhone users, we were blown away by iOS 7’s completely overhauled, gesture-based method for organizing and viewing photo libraries. Apparently, the folks at PhotoSocial were equally enthusiastic, rolling some of Apple’s ideas into version 2.0 of its own Photoful app. As in iOS 7, Photoful displays images based on the date they were taken, rather than organizing them into albums the way current iPhones do.
Another year, another welcome iteration of Wizard of the Coast's venerable card-battling franchise. Last year's iOS debut of the delectably nerdy spell-flinging card game really hit the sweet spot for longtime fans itching for a portable version of Magic: The Gathering — Duels of the Planeswalkers. At a quick glance, Magic 2014 may seem like more of the same — and it is, to an extent — but many subtle refinements, tons of new cards, a fresh campaign to battle through, and a sealed deck mode (that finally lets you construct your own custom decks) makes this latest installment well worth another dip into your coffers.