If the word “beat” quickly leads you to "tab," "bat," "ate," "bet," "tea," and "eat," you’ll probably do just fine at Writer Rumble for iPhone and iPad. Proving the pen is mightier than the sword, combatants in Writer Rumble duel not with fireballs, but word tiles. Dragging your finger across the grid of letters to spell words creates not only terminology but also projectiles, which are flung at the opponent to cause damage. The longer and more complicated the word, the more powerful the attack. Think Boggle, but more violent.
J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is a fount of inspiration, and beyond upcoming Hollywood blockbusters, there's sure to be no shortage of tie-in video games. But considering the amazing reference material – a tale of adventure with dwarves and goblins – it's a shame The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth is so unabashedly boring. It's a typical, free-to-play conquest sim with a veneer of Tolkien influence.
When the world has gone to hell, scavenging bullets and supplies is the only thing left to do in the fight to stay alive against an endless mob of mindless, flesh-eating atrocities that roam the decimated streets. The Walking Dead: Assault delivers a stylish action-focused take on survival in the zombie apocalypse that pays homage to the original comics, all while cooking up something a little different than what we've seen from other series tie-ins.
There are drum machines, there are beatboxes, and then there’s Impaktor, an entirely original iOS drum synthesizer that uses your fingers and a tabletop to make the rhythm happen. It’s an odd approach, but one that really works for quickly making some nice beats, so long as you have headphones as well. It’s totally fun, but there’s also some real audio-sculpting depth under the hood.
Our lives are on our iPhones. Gone are the days of fishing through boxes of old photos and unlabeled Super 8 videos; now, we can reminisce just by reaching into our pockets. But even the most obsessive parents can lose track of their favorites in such an endless sea of snapshots. That's where Lifetime in My Pocket comes in. A photo organization app that focuses on individual pictures rather than full events, Lifetime filters your photo library into a single stream of moments that tracks every milestone and precious memory in a sleek chronological portrait.
Playing to the powerful pull of both puzzle solving and card playing, Chip Chain mashes up match-three puzzles with poker aesthetics in an inventive way that's highly addictive, yet accessible to folks who have no clue what a royal flush is. While the gameplay itself has very little to do with the actual game of poker, it scratches a different kind of itch that carves out common ground between card sharks and casual players alike.
HERE Maps is powered by NAVTEQ mapping data, which Nokia trumpets as a “world-class” product used in 90 percent of in-car navigation systems worldwide. While that may be true, we found it little more accurate or helpful than iOS 6 Maps, despite HERE covering more than 200 countries, many enhanced with user-published community maps. And beauty may not be everything, but Apple runs circles around HERE Maps in the looks department.
Flea Symphony is the new iOS game from The Odd Gentlemen, which previously developed the Victorian-styled Xbox Live Arcade puzzler, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom. Like Winterbottom, Flea Symphony seems delightfully preoccupied with a bygone era, but its gameplay feels surprisingly fresh. In each level, you need to save the fleas flying out of the bells of musical horns by catching them in basket. The trick is figuring out how to do it in time to a set percussion beat.
Produced by the same creative geniuses behind the wildly popular ThumbJam app, DrumJam is a fully-featured iOS beatbox and drum sample collection, which includes a wide variety of programmed rhythm styles that span a range of world music. It also features an interface that provides both instant gratification and loads of musically useful results, which can then be used in actual music-making endeavors.
In its past life as My Xbox Live, Microsoft's companion app allowed Xbox 360 users to lightly interact with friends, view their created Avatars and Achievements, and have a mobile way to stay looped in on the home console gaming service. Following a radical transformation, the new Xbox SmartGlass goes beyond mere surface-level synergy to become both a touchscreen input device for the console and a second screen for expanded game and media experiences.