Riding the success of Disney Infinity's huge console launch last month, the Toy Box app for iPad allows players to build and test their creations from inside Infinity's creation mode, and then transfer it all back to your console. It benefits from the intuitive nature of touch controls and portability that the tablet allows, but struggles with keeping a constant frame rate even when dealing with a low number of items in your world. That takes some of the shine off of the experience, especially when transitioning from a glossy home console game.
Hunting never felt so base and inhumane as in Deer Hunter 2014, the latest in a long line of titles that has evolved progressively far from its moniker and expanded now to include endangered animals. The core shooting and weapon upgrading experience is actually very well executed, albeit easy – assuming you can look past the ethical blunder is blasting near-extinct creatures – while its rapid-fire mission structure across three exotic locales makes for some compulsive gaming. However, there’s little by way of deer or realistic hunting on offer.
Angry Birds Star Wars II is once again a colorful, pull-and-fling interpretation of the films, this time focusing on the events and characters of the prequel trilogy. But while it's another amusing, well-produced nod to the Star Wars franchise, the quality of the core game experience lacks that inspired edge of its predecessor. In fact, it lacks nearly any edge at all, as the expected puzzle-solving aspect that typically defines Angry Birds is rarely seen throughout. More stages than ever can be cleared with a single and typically obvious opening shot, and while it's entertaining to watch the destruction, such an approach fails to tax the brain to any real extent.
Launching alongside a couple of other juggernaut releases – the iPhone 5s and iOS 7 – Infinity Blade III concludes the trilogy in expectedly slick fashion. The single-player quest trumps its predecessor as the best-looking iOS game to date, with fantastic detail throughout the environments and an array of wide, swooping camera shots to create the sense of an epic scale on even a small iPhone screen. And while the combat remains reliably enjoyable, the grinding nature of the series' campaign approach makes this third entry feel a bit more tiresome amidst the overall triumph.
The Apple TV makes it easy to show off pictures taken with the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPhone via AirPlay, but the built-in Photos app leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to managing how those images actually appear on screen. Enter PhotoPresenter, a universal app from the creators of iStopMotion that offers iOS device owners full control over how photos are displayed using a clutter-free, drop-dead simple user interface.
Whether you’ve preordered a 5C or just plan on updating a scratched and dented 4S, iOS 7 will make your iPhone feel like a million bucks. Due to various UI tweaks, you'll likely find yourself swapping out your wallpaper a lot more often than you did in iOS 6. This is why we love Blur, which lets you create subtle backgrounds with incredible ease that fit spectacularly well with the iOS 7 aesthetic.
Tell us if you've heard this one before. In Dead Effect, you assume the role of an elite soldier aboard a spaceship, where an infection has turned everyone into zombies. Odds are, this setup is not unlike one you've seen numerous times before, and unfortunately it's not just the story that proves so familiar. The weapons, setting, music, and enemies are all equally uninspired, and the gunplay is too weak to compensate. As a result, Dead Effect is a thoroughly run-of-the-mill first-person shooter.
Apple’s built-in iOS apps are quite good, but let’s face it: The Calendar app leaves a lot to be desired. Readdle has attempted to remedy this situation before, but the latest incarnation of its Calendars app has us seriously considering ditching the built-in app in favor of this third-party solution. Calendars 5 is an entirely new universal app that feels right at home on iOS 7, with a flat, more streamlined UI than Readdle’s previous Calendars+. It also upstages Apple by offering natural language input, so users can type or dictate in plain English.
Two thoughts will probably consecutively enter your mind upon first booting up Strata: first that its visual design is beautifully, almost sinfully elegant, and second that you have no idea what’s actually going on. Don’t panic. Like many of the artfully abstract-chic brainteasers that often pop up in the App Store, Strata is conceptually pretty simple, even if its confusing layers of colored lines might have you initially thinking otherwise. The easiest way to describe Strata is to say that it’s essentially a visual logic puzzle.
Using your device’s front-facing camera, Go Dance turns your iPhone or iPad into a motion-capturing sensor, providing you with a dance game experience like you’d normally find on home consoles. While the game looks and plays like the popular Just Dance titles, it only comes with two songs and lacks distinct features to choose from. Go Dance may not be very robust, but its simple controls and cheap price tag make it easy for any iOS device owner to get up and groove.