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.
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.
We love Dashboard on our Macs. It feels like a bit of iOS on OS X, with tiny apps that look pretty and perform simple functions amazingly well. With a beautiful interface and a dynamic set of customizable widgets, Panic's ambitious Status Board attempts to bring that experience to our iPads, with at-a-glance access to your most important data and a fantastic new playground for coders.
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.
With each passing year, the need for a computer diminishes as enterprising developers contribute additional superpowers to iOS devices. One of the latest to arrive on the iPhone is optical character recognition (OCR), courtesy of Pixter Scanner. While there are plenty of solutions for turning an iPhone into a mobile scanner, few allow captured text to be converted to editable text – let alone translate it into 70 different languages. Pixter Scanner OCR does just that, recognizing typewritten (and in some cases, even handwritten) text in 32 languages. In our tests, OCR worked quickly with nearly 100 percent accuracy, even with a variety of different type styles.
If you've ever wondered whether there's a magical formula for how to suck out nearly every last ounce of fun from an otherwise pretty great game, Dungeon Hunter 4 is a shining example of the quickest way to get it done. Gameloft's latest slick entry in the venerable iOS dungeon crawling hack-and-slash series is absolutely rife with over-aggressive pitches for in-app purchases. Granted, some level of that is expected in free-to-play offerings of this caliber, but Dungeon Hunter 4's approach borders on the insidious. It's a shame, really, because the game itself is quite good – at least during the few brief moments when it's not prodding you incessantly to spend more and more cash.