Bustin Beaver and his beaver bandits have stolen your wood, and being the cartoonish lumberjack that you are, you must punch them to get it back – or something like that. It doesn’t really matter; the motivation behind the fast-paced, hard-as-nails lumber-fueled platforming isn’t important. What matters is that Lumber Jacked delivers plenty of quick-hit fun, which it accomplishes via a mix of speedy sprinting, colorful action, and charming presentation.
Sparrow may have blazed a trail for acceptance of third-party iOS email clients, but there’s a new kid on the block: Mail Pilot, a universal app that attempts to infuse slick organizational talents into traditional IMAP email. Mail Pilot’s creators should be applauded for native iPad support out of the gate, a feature still missing from popular alternatives like Mailbox. For those who spend their evenings at home with the iPad, the ability to move between iPhone and tablet at will is a big plus. Sadly, IMAP compatibility issues make this pricey app a tough recommendation.
Gemini Rue is a relic. At least, that’s how it appears. It’s a game that’s unapologetically old-school, designed with players that cut their teeth on Sierra and LucasArts’ point-and-click adventures of the ‘90s in mind, right down to the janky way a character’s walking animation may stutter as you click across the screen. For a 2011 indie PC title that's just made the leap to iPad and iPhone, this kind of attention to retro-detail is worth taking notice of.
Take the electronic stylings of the cult Swiss electronic band Yello, stir in the visually interactive approach of iOS, and you’ll end up with something as profoundly cool as Yellofier, a free app for taking sampled sounds – including your own – and turning them into radically cool and wild musical passages. A commercial app of this depth and breadth would be a revelation, but for free, it’s just short of miraculous.
With each passing year, the need for a computer diminishes as enterprising developers contribute additional superpowers to iOS devices. One of the latest to arrive on the iPhone is optical character recognition (OCR), courtesy of Pixter Scanner. While there are plenty of solutions for turning an iPhone into a mobile scanner, few allow captured text to be converted to editable text – let alone translate it into 70 different languages. Pixter Scanner OCR does just that, recognizing typewritten (and in some cases, even handwritten) text in 32 languages. In our tests, OCR worked quickly with nearly 100 percent accuracy, even with a variety of different type styles.
If you've ever wondered whether there's a magical formula for how to suck out nearly every last ounce of fun from an otherwise pretty great game, Dungeon Hunter 4 is a shining example of the quickest way to get it done. Gameloft's latest slick entry in the venerable iOS dungeon crawling hack-and-slash series is absolutely rife with over-aggressive pitches for in-app purchases. Granted, some level of that is expected in free-to-play offerings of this caliber, but Dungeon Hunter 4's approach borders on the insidious. It's a shame, really, because the game itself is quite good – at least during the few brief moments when it's not prodding you incessantly to spend more and more cash.
Understanding classic poetry is hard enough, but memorizing it can be downright cruel. With archaic language, tricky rhymes, and unexpected rhythm variations, trying to remember the exact way William Shakespeare felt about the woman he loved can pretty much suck the beauty right out of it. Penguin Classics' Poems by Heart makes it easy (well, easier) to commit the classics to memory by turning the whole tedious process into a game, with level-ups and progress achievements that unlock as you learn.
Looking for the next great iOS brawler? You won’t find it here, but the free Injustice: Gods Among Us is still well worth downloading, especially for comic book fans. Playing as 18 of the DC Universe’s most popular heroes and villains, you’ll battle Flash, The Joker, and company in frantic, surprisingly addictive 2D-style bouts.
If there’s one thing that all musicians tend to fret over, it’s pitch. That's a little easier to hear than to try to describe, but when you’re listening to your favorite song being tortured at a local karaoke spot, you’ll know when it’s not being kept in tune by some buzzed bar patron. There are more than a couple of competent iOS apps that use the built-in microphone and/or incoming audio signal, sample it, and check to see if it is indeed in tune, but Tunable puts a truly new, innovative spin on the overall concept. In the process, it delivers on the promise of being a one-stop tuning shop.