We reviewed Mission Workshop’s Vandal backpack last year, and while we were impressed by the fact that it could carry a lot of stuff, we were not happy with its lack of protective padding for a MacBook. This time around, we appreciated how the VX Small Rucksack includes a little more structure for your stuff, but Mission Workshop missed the boat on the laptop padding once again.
No matter how far technology advances, some things manage to stick around. For Virtua Tennis Challenge, that means doing its best to convince the player that it's not just Pong in a fancy new package. While the graphics are impressive and Sega's modern offering serves up more game modes than the 70's classic, it also falls short in some areas where even the simplest of games have excelled.
Billed as the "Ukulele of the Future," the cleverly named Futulele does indeed deliver on its high-tech premise. This easy-to-use ukulele simulator lets you rock out Hawaiian-style, whether you're keen on busting out your best Tiny Tim impression or strumming more serious four-string grooves. As a virtual instrument, Futulele does a good job of emulating the real deal -- right down to the way you hold your iPad on its side like an actual ukulele to play.
The word “visceral” is thrown around the games industry an awful lot, but in the case of The Darkness II—a gore-filled shooter more than happy to cover your vantage point in digital viscera--the term actually works.
Checking in to a location within moments of stepping foot through the door has become such a familiar part of the iPhone experience that it's almost instinctual for many users. For me, though, that Foursquare familiarity turned to disinterest some time back, as I stopped caring about the points-based grind and whether or not I was still the virtual mayor of the ratty mini-mart down the block. Foursquare's recent 5.0 version reboot seems an attempt not only to pull back lapsed users, but also expand its reach and compete with myriad other social discovery apps.
Sure, they had a robot maid and a flying car, but that seemed like pure fantasy. The Jetsons’ ubiquitous video-calling, on the other hand, always fascinated me as a kid, even if Mr. Spacely was kind of a jerk. TelyHD brings that kind of futuristic Skype calling to your TV screen, no compute--or Napoleonic boss--required.
Card battling warfare and real-time tower defense make for a surprisingly great mash-up, but it's the hilariously gruesome moment where Alexandria Bloodshow's stylized Egyptian and Greek warriors start disemboweling one another on-screen in sprays of gore and flying appendages that sticks in my mind. This addictive sequel to Samurai Bloodshow certainly doesn't skimp on the over-the-top gore, though it's the underlying strategy of collecting cards and playing them to deploy units onto the battlefield at just the right moment that held me glued to the screen.
Building upon the slick, familiar interface it's tweaked to perfection with Djay, Algoriddim has expanded the definition of the multitouch DJ by bringing video mash-up creation to the masses. While certain to increase the ranks of unwatchable videos on YouTube, Vjay adds to a growing list of apps that take us down avenues of creativity we might not have otherwise turned onto.
There wasn't a lot of meat to it, but the original Defender Chronicles still managed to steal away hours upon hours of my free time with its alluring fantasy RPG vibe and vertically-oriented twist on traditional tower defense mechanics. Three years later, Defender Chronicles II: Heroes of Athelia essentially delivers more of the same, but in heftier, shinier portions. I'll admit: this sequel's lack of innovation is forgivable when the formula is so fun to begin with.
When it comes to iPad apps made for kids, how many of them are any good, let alone great? Viacom’s new Nick Jr. Play & Draw HD happily falls at the latter end of the scale, inspiring creativity while entertaining kids at the same time. Play & Draw HD allows children freedom to create in a colorful, intuitive, and educational environment that features familiar faces like Dora the Explorer.