The gang's all here for LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes, a decidedly goofy clash between iconic comic-book superheroes and villains modeled with digital plastic bricks. While Batman and Robin are the centerpieces of this silly iPhone and iPad romp through a LEGO-fied Gotham City, they're joined by more than 80 unlockable characters that add tremendous variety to your quest to stamp out evil. The silly antics and block-smashing fun found throughout this original adventure will feel familiar if you've played any of the other recent licensed LEGO games, but it's an amusing time nonetheless.
After utilizing an open-city design for its premium Iron Man 2 movie game – complete with the requisite array of screen-cluttering virtual buttons – Gameloft opted for something simpler, swifter, and certainly cheaper for the next tie-in. Released in advance of the latest live-action Marvel Comics romp, the free-to-play Iron Man 3 sends Tony Stark soaring ahead through multiple locales, with alternating sequences that find him swiftly dodging traffic and aerial obstacles, zapping waves of foes, and even fighting through narrative-led boss battles. Blazingly fast and initially quite fun, this gratis game easily warrants a download from fans, though the thrills are short-lived.
It's fair to say that the original Robot Unicorn Attack was built on a gag concept. Its hard-edged riff on the hearts-and-rainbows style of artist Lisa Frank offered an amusing visual contrast, while the looping synth-pop classic "Always" by Erasure only cemented its absurdist intentions. But the game itself was no joke, as the rousing endless runner became a genre favorite that even spawned a couple of spin-offs. Robot Unicorn Attack 2 is an all-new entry, though, and while maintaining the fundamental elements of the debut, it makes the previous titles seem downright prehistoric by comparison. And it also offers one of the friendliest free-to-play models we've seen in any iOS game to date.
For those who were looking for a better iPhone email experience coming into the new year, it's certainly been a good few months so far. Mailbox and Mail Pilot helped us regain control over our inboxes with varying degrees of success, Tempo helped organize our messages by date and appointment, and even the Gmail app was updated with a faster, cleaner interface. But Triage might be the most radical of the recent newcomers. With a focus on your unread messages, it aims to help clear out overwhelmed inboxes with a simple, refined approach that will change the way you tackle your incoming mail.
Shoehorning an expansive online space combat sim experience onto the iPad isn't without its challenges, but the tablet version of Vendetta Online delivers a faithful and surprisingly functional port of the long-running massively multiplayer online game. For players used to the more casual thrills offered on the App Store, Vendetta Online's exhaustive depth and complexity poses a steep learning curve to master upfront, though carving out your niche in the galaxy is undeniably absorbing once you open up the throttle.
Your iPhone’s camera is fantastic, and not because it has the best lens or the widest array of features, but because it’s always there with you, ready to take a shot in seconds. What if you have a little more time to get just the shot you want, frame it right, and set the focus, but don’t want to carry around another device just for snapping photos? For those who want to control more parameters and apply filters before clicking the shutter – or have the app do it all for you – Blux Camera Pro is a very good option to consider.
In a marketplace chock full of free-to-play word games, Bookworm Heroes plays like a clear attempt to take back the mantle. PopCap didn’t invent casual word puzzles, but its Bookworm franchise certainly had a hand in its popularity. This asynchronous multiplayer entry boasts spritely animations and well-balanced word fighting mechanics, and serves as a nicely modernized successor to the franchise's name.
Photoshop and Painter might still rule the roost for digital cartoonists, but Manga Studio by Smith Micro is gaining ground quickly. Designed for the more specific needs of sequential artists, it includes multiple panels, speech balloons, and pens and pencils that behave just as they would in the real world.
Little about the act of slicing strands seems terribly appealing in our everyday lives, but that simple premise is responsible for one of the App Store's biggest sensations. Cut the Rope's diverse and colorful physics-based puzzles have made green alien creature Om Nom a household name across two entries – the original smash and the even-more-whimsical Cut the Rope: Experiments – and now Cut the Rope: Time Travel aims to push the formula further ahead by looking to the past for thematic inspiration.
Although the MacBook Pro with Retina Display is my main computer, it spends most days tethered to a Thunderbolt Display. Mini Display promises the luxury of dual displays from anywhere, as it's a universal app that extends a Mac desktop onto an iOS device on the same local Wi-Fi network, but it’s not yet ready to replace the real thing. Avatron’s Air Display, which has been around for quite some time, actually does the same for a few dollars less, and works with both Mac and Windows.