World War Z for iOS may not feature Brad Pitt or focus on specific events in the upcoming film adaptation of the bestselling novel, but it does create the ideal environment for drawing you into the apocalyptic world envisioned by author Max Brooks. Unlike most movie tie-ins, World War Z is more than interactive propaganda, and will please both fans eagerly awaiting the film and gamers looking for a solid mobile action shooter.
When I was a kid, I got this magazine called Penny Power, which was put out by Consumer Reports with the goal of helping kids grow wise to the concepts of money (mostly spending it) in age-appropriate ways. It's no longer published, but I still remember some of the lessons it taught me, because it made those lessons fun. Dinorama appeals to me for the same reasons, now as a parent myself. It's filled with teachable moments about money, wrapped up in a tycoon-style game where kids build and run their own dinosaur park.
Just how fast can the iPhone shoot, process, and share a digital photo? The makers of minimalist to-do app Clear decided to find out, and the result is the equally slick Analog Camera. While third-party camera apps usually try to pile on the features, Realmac Software goes in the opposite direction with Analog Camera. While using the app, you can almost imagine the developers hunched over an iPhone with a stopwatch, making sure each step can be done in a matter of seconds.
To make a great task manager, three criteria need to be met: Simple list creation, easy gestures, and effortless syncing. With a clean, flat design and versatile text options, Listacular for Dropbox hits every note and then some. Listacular sports a minimal interface subtly influenced by a sheet of loose-leaf paper, but what it lacks in color and pizzazz, it makes up for in intuitiveness.
Fancy yourself a comic book fan? If you've always dreamed of weaving together your own comics and image-heavy stories, but don't have the motivation (or ideas) to pursue the real deal, Halftone 2 for iPad can scratch that itch and then some. With more flexibility and features than its predecessor, this greatly improved follow-up lets you create elaborate and hilarious comics from your camera roll almost effortlessly – if you're willing to drop some green on in-app purchases, that is.
You’ll be nursing more than a bruised ego if your friends come out ahead in Bam Fu, an entertaining same-screen multiplayer game from the makers of Fingle that quickly turns into a full-contact sport. However, redemption won’t be so sweet when the novelty wears off. A free-for-all battle to turn virtual pebbles your way with kung-fu-like speed and precision, Bam Fu is best played on a full-sized iPad laid flat between a few friends, although you could get a decent two-player experience on an iPhone.
Remember Minesweeper? It was a semi-blind guessing game, and if you hit a mine, it was game over. No, it wasn’t exactly thrilling. Playing Blip Blup, a decidedly sleeker, more interesting, and modern puzzle game, it’s hard not to have Windows 3.1 flashbacks. Here you also have tiled grids that – when touched – send out a pulse wave that expands from your finger tap outward, sending color in every mappable direction. Thankfully, solving puzzles by coloring in grids is both more interesting and unsurprisingly much brainier than in Minesweeper.
One of the most amazing things about the App Store's offerings is the fact that you get so much punch for relatively few bucks; so when a drum app shows up that costs a whopping $49.99, it’s hard to think that it’s truly better than 10 existing $4.99 drum apps combined. While Different Drummer does indeed offer a unique take on the process of laying down a beat, it’s a bit rich at the current price, which is a pity – there's some real innovation to be found here. Different Drummer really lives up to its name: It’s a drummer, alright, but it’s radically different from any other iOS beat machine – or most plugins we’ve ever run into on the desktop.
Last fall's release of the HeroClix TabApp tried to bring together the worlds of physical and digital games, letting users place specialized figures from the HeroClix tabletop game series on an iPad screen and transport them into a game. Unfortunately, while it did a solid job of recognizing the figures, the game itself was an utter mess: Painfully repetitive, both ugly and filled with lag, and lacking the strategic spirit of the tabletop source material. The brand new HeroClix TabApp Elite forges a fresh path with distinct gameplay and much different figurine implementation, but while it's thankfully a much smoother experience, the game itself still isn't strong enough to warrant the investment.
Not so long ago, armchair astronomy used to involve lugging along stacks of charts and flashlights if you wanted to know the name of a star (aside from notables like Polaris and Betelgeuse). The advent of astronomy apps for iOS devices changed all that for the better, but until now, the best ones have emphasized utility over beauty. That all changes with Sky Guide, which achieves a remarkable balance of both.