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.
Cut the Rope remains one of the most popular and best-loved App Store titles more than two years after its release, with ZeptoLab's sensational physics-based puzzler racking up more than 100 million downloads across platforms in the process. Expectations are unsurprisingly high for the studio's first totally new release since, but much as Pudding Monsters employs a similar aesthetic and trial-and-error approach to gameplay, these gelatinous blobs deliver their own solidly enticing experience.
It's a classic science fiction construct: revolutionary new technology promises the world, brave (and/or foolish) pioneers dabble in the unknown, and the unexpected results bring dire consequences. Upgrade Soul – a standalone graphic novel app with 3D elements and a soundtrack – hits a couple of familiar notes in that regard, but its tale of a so-called medical miracle and the people it affects captivates in its early chapters. Written and illustrated by Ezra Claytan Daniels, Upgrade Soul spotlights Hank and Molly Nonnar, an elderly pair of well-off science aficionados who decide to undergo a bold and highly experimental medical treatment.