When Temple Run hit the App Store in summer 2011, it didn't look like much -- no thanks to its pixelated, original PlayStation-level graphics and unremarkable visual design. But the old adage about not judging a book by its cover holds true with free iOS games, as well, as its genre-shifting 3D twist on the traditional side-scrolling runner made it an absolute sensation, racking up more than 170 million downloads in the time since. With new sequel Temple Run 2, Imangi Studios needn't worry about making a bad impression, thanks to dramatic visual improvements and welcomed gameplay enhancements.
A dark, moody atmosphere and a mysterious safe filled with complex puzzle-box curiosities lie at the heart of The Room, an enthralling puzzler that balances intrigue with challenge. Much like a set of Russian nesting dolls, cracking the outer shell of the massive iron box awaiting in the center of this grim abode only leads you deeper down the rabbit hole of mechanical conundrums to solve. Locked in single room and left with a peculiar note hinting at the powerful artifact tucked away within the huge safe, your task is to unravel the winding puzzle-filled path to this ancient device.
If you're going to try to beat Google at its own game, you need three things: good design, quick results, and an impressive algorithm. Izik, a new iPad-only browser from relatively unknown search start-up Blekko, performs so remarkably well in all three categories that Google might want to take notice. I was skeptical at first. Every now and again, some indie search engine threatens to knock Google off of its pedestal, only to crumble under the weight of lofty expectations. But Izik is the closest thing to a Google replacement I have ever used.
For sports aficionados on the go, ESPN's long-available ScoreCenter app is a handy resource for up-to-the-minute scores, game breakdowns, news updates, and video highlights. Essentially, it's the ESPN web package wrapped up in a solid mobile app. So how does the sports juggernaut's new ESPN SportsCenter Feed app vary in execution or otherwise supplement its existing option? Compared to the more robust (and obviously score-centric) ScoreCenter, ESPN SportsCenter Feed makes news its primary focus, serving up a simple listing of story links divided however you see fit.
Joe Danger was a pleasant surprise when it premiered on the PlayStation 3 back in 2010, mixing challenging vehicular platforming with the oh-so-addictive pursuit of the highest score. Since then, the cartoonish motorcycle stuntman has received a sequel and special edition on the Xbox 360. But the series' latest iteration and first on iOS, Joe Danger Touch, manages to ride wheel-to-wheel with its console predecessors, creating a new experience ideally suited for the platform.
The world would be so much more entertaining if a trip to the local cafe could be interrupted by goblins, and if chests of loot were stored around every corner. Life is Magic seeks to augment the real world by introducing location-based RPG elements, but in the process replaces our everyday grind with another kind of grind entirely. The game's location features are visually impressive, overlaying a fantasy filter over real-world maps wherein local stores become equipment warehouses and restaurants turn to taverns.
Let's face it, we could all use a little help realizing our myriad goals in life. Whether it's as simple as organizing your closet or something a bit more ambitious, it can be hard to muster the motivation to get things done. Everest aims to make those seemingly insurmountable mountains easy to scale. With a network of frustrated overachievers broadcasting their own triumphs, Everest encourages you to tackle your dreams in bite-sized chunks, as it tracks every step of your journey and pushes you to stay on track.
True foodies love to document each chapter of their culinary journies to enjoy later, which makes a service like Evernote a match made in heaven. The developer also recognized the potential for just such a marriage and the result is the slick, if occasionally inefficient, Evernote Food. It's a customized mobile solution for organizing recipes, saving favorite restaurants, and keeping a mealtime journal, all powered by the company’s popular cloud-based “second brain” service. And now it runs natively on iPad, in addition to iPhone and iPod touch.
Developing a spiritual successor to one of the most reviled licensed games in history might not be the best way to generate positive results, if ShaqDown is any indication. Like the laughable Shaq Fu before it, which transformed eccentric NBA star Shaquille O'Neal into a hand-to-hand fighter during the early days of his career, ShaqDown again turns the now-retired hoops legend into a violent warrior, this time tasked with pummeling zombies. And much like the game that inspired it, Shaq Fu is an occasionally amusing but mostly irritating experience.
Twitterrific was one of the earliest standout options on the App Store for mobile Twitter perusal, but the field has become incredibly competitive since. Cue the new Twitterrific 5 app – a fresh standalone release rather than an update to the existing Twitterrific – which comes across as a reboot for the popular tool, at least in terms of aesthetic. Rather than copy the likes of Tweetbot and the official Twitter app, Twitterrific 5 makes a bold statement with its minimalist, customizable design.