In theory, an app-based social media platform for creating shareable stories — by stringing words, animated images, and audio together — sounds pretty cool. NARR8 aims to do all of this and more, but it fumbles the process so badly that the intriguing idea alone won't warrant your time. The overall quality of the available reading content through the app (both user- and developer-generated) is lacking, and building your own stories is an unintuitive process rife with unnecessary hoop-jumping and technical issues.
RunBot (out this Thursday) is a game about urgency and immediacy that tests how well you can multitask under pressure. Playing as a fugitive robot running away from his creators, you must dodge obstacles, lasers, and enemy drones, all while picking up batteries to ensure you don’t run out of power. It’s an endless runner that rewards you the more you play, and its easy controls and fast-paced gameplay luckily make it difficult to put down.
There are plenty of free iPad apps for entertaining toddlers, but few have much real educational value. This isn’t a problem for Learn with Homer, an app created by top literacy experts that overflows with well-crafted early learning content. Aimed at ages three to six, Learn with Homer makes reading fun and instructive. Upon launch, up to three different little ones can customize the app with a photo from the front-facing camera, which is then decorated with one of several virtual “thinking caps.” It’s a fun way to set the stage for what lies ahead.
PopCap's original Plants vs. Zombies – a streamlined twist on tower defense that put the fate of a suburban home in the hands of undead-fighting foliage – debuted before the freemium craze, and it was a huge hit on numerous platforms, even becoming one of the best-selling iOS apps of all time. As a free-to-play affair, Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time expectedly strikes a different tone than its premium predecessor – and it's not the time-travel theme that most strongly defines the direction of this initially iOS-exclusive sequel.
Radio isn’t dead yet, but it has evolved to be something that you listen to on your own terms, picking and choosing programs to check out at your convenience. AGOGO gets this, bringing you personalized audio programming with a slick interface and a number of curated channels. It pulls in the latest radio and newswire archives, podcasts, your local and online music collections, and other audio selections across many different areas, establishing itself as an excellent one-stop shop for your mobile listening needs.
Just as Disney has long made drawings come to life with its many classic animated films, the Disney Animated app makes what could have been a solid, static book feel exuberant and entertaining as an interactive experience, full of behind-the-scenes footage and touch-based activities. The iPad app explores the long history of Disney's in-house animation efforts, breaking down the process step by step while explaining its many aspects using more than just words.
For many years, the venerable line of Akai sampling drum machines has enjoyed nothing less than cult status in certain musical production and engineering circles — hip-hop owes a lot to these devices — and legions of musicians have looked forward to iMPC on iOS, which is available in separate iPad and iPhone releases. While it comes with loads of sounds, we found some major omissions that severely limit the overall usefulness of this drummer, especially compared to other iOS alternatives.
Getting any serious medical procedure done can be a terrifying experience, and we can only imagine what goes on once you're put under on the operating table. While Amateur Surgeon 3 taps into our worst surgical nightmares in horrifying ways, it's as hilarious as it is grotesque. Removing organs with a chainsaw and pizza cutter, suturing cuts with an office stapler, and cauterizing wounds with a Zippo? That's par for the course with this wildly imaginative and comical – if somewhat gross – take on pressure-cooker medical mini-game scenarios.
BeaverTap Games gained notoriety for its speed-centric platformer, Mikey Shorts, as it was one of the rare side-scrolling iOS action games to nail a control scheme without compromise. Now the titular lead is back with a new mechanical twist in Mikey Hooks, and while his latest move doesn't feel quite as polished in use as his old ones, the game still shows impressive platform-action chops.
There are dozens of audio players available in the App Store to fit any taste, but for the most part, they pretty much do the same thing the original Music app did. Splyce is different. It still plays the songs that are stored on your device, but there's a focus on transitions that puts your tunes in a whole new light, turning the most eclectic of playlists into a mix worthy of being played at the hottest of dance clubs.