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.
Button-mashing brawlers make for a great time when you've got real buttons to mash, but they don't always translate so well to iOS touch screens. Rather than attempt to shoehorn all of the intense fighting action into a traditional arcade-style control scheme, indie studio The Game Bakers concocted a fresh touch-centric battle system for its quirky new face-pummeling fighter. Combo Crew's fast-paced fisticuffs and streamlined combo system hinges on simple swipe controls that are far more satisfying to wield than you'd expect from an iOS beat-em-up.
Sometimes you want all new Mac goodness, and sometimes you want a little upgrade or accessory action for that Mac. We've got you covered in both cases this week, along with the usual bevy of iOS accessories, one of which is especially useful if you drive a car from the 1990s.
Google+ is a hit-or-miss proposition for many socially connected folks, so the company’s first Hangouts attempt — originally part of the Google+ app — passed by largely unnoticed. Now available as a standalone app, Hangouts appears hell-bent on reinventing the messaging wheel, but winds up leaving too many spokes off to make this a smooth ride.
The Fast & Furious movie franchise has gathered a cult-like following of fans who enjoy the intense action and tricked-out vehicles, with the sixth entry expected to dominate the box office once more this weekend. Fast & Furious 6: The Game is true to the elements that made the film series such a smash, with beautiful graphics and plenty of extras relating to the films – though the actual racing in this free-to-play affair can get a bit dull and repetitive after a while.
There are many iOS music creation apps, but very few that are designed primarily as real-time multi-FX units. Turnado instantly takes the throne as the king of iPad audio processors. It’s a powerhouse of 24 different audio effects – all highly programmable and sonically luscious – resulting in a monster effects unit suitable for both studio and live performance that sports excellent audio quality and some truly insane sound mangling potential.
A slick cyberpunk vibe with a futuristic neon glow sets the stage nicely for Frozen Synapse's brain-twisting tactical combat encounters. When it first launched on Mac and PC, this cool indie strategy game garnered high praise for its unique asynchronous take on turn-based combat and play-by-email style multiplayer matches. This iPad port gloriously packs all of the clever strategizing and insane resolutions of the original – and even lets you play against desktop users – without losing anything in the jump to the portable format.
If you have kids, you have photos. And if you have an iPhone, you have lots and lots of them in your pocket at any given time. There are plenty of apps that'll help you personalize your favorite pictures by adding captions, colors, and effects, but they all require a hefty dose of effort – especially if you've let a lot of birthday and vacation shots pile up. Disney's Story understands that most parents probably have a couple hundred photos and videos sitting in their Camera Roll, but don't know where to start with organizing them. With an emphasis on speed and simplicity, the app will help you effortlessly create personalized stories out of your favorite moments without having to pore over dozens of unrelated pictures.