Me vs. You captures much of the competitiveness and fun of air hockey in an abstract, single-screen two-player game, though you should be wary of who you play it with. It’s actually three games in one, each with a distinct set of rules and interactions that could make or break a relationship, and all unified by an elegant minimalist aesthetic and a beautiful soundtrack. With both tactical and physical components to all three games, it's definitely one for competitive types.
MindSnacks has a reputation for quality foreign-language educational apps, but its latest release focuses squarely on the United States – or more specifically, learning just about everything there is to know about all 50 states. U.S. Geography includes eight games tailored for beginner or intermediate students, but it’s also perfect for immigrants, visitors, and citizens alike who want to brush up on their coast-to-coast knowledge. All told, MindSnacks delivers over 40 hours of interactive content, more than 600 hand-drawn graphics, and 1,000-plus trivia questions to keep players on their toes.
Every new to-do app that hits the App Store claims to be innovative. Most manage to put their own spin on things with a fresh interface or a clever concept, but for the most part they're all pretty much interchangeable, no matter how much we may favor one over the other. Tick breaks the mold. There are no new methods here – it's still just a place to keep your many lists – but Taphive has designed a unique interface built for speed and organization that puts the app in a class by itself.
The debut of Avira Mobile Security is something of a head-scratcher: iPhone owners generally have little reason to worry about the security of their device, at least on the software front. Apple works hard to keep its mobile operating system locked down tight (often to the dismay of developers), and quickly plugs any holes that do crop up. Avira’s app scans any device it’s installed on for malicious processes, along with offering tips on how to make the most of available storage and battery life conservation.
Codemasters has a seasoned pedigree when it comes to racing games, and it shows with F1 Challenge for iPhone and iPad. As the name suggests, F1 Challenge is an officially licensed Formula One game, but this top-down racer’s real draw is its unique control scheme. Instead of virtual buttons dedicated to left and right steering inputs, F1 Challenge uses a vertical slider to control the angle at which your speedster approaches each track’s hairpin curves.
One of the true rewards of playing a monster-training game is the ability to create your own cool-looking creature and customize it to your liking. Monster Adventures not only lets you decide what such a beast looks like, but its mash-up of role-playing and roguelike genre elements makes each play session an exciting and slightly addictive foray into its vibrant world. Monster Adventures starts you off with a basic creature, and it’s your job to train it and enter it into tournaments to bring pride to your village.
Survival and dependence take on new meaning in Duet, an abstract minimalist game of two tethered dots navigating a perilous world of unforgiving white shapes. It’s full of contradictions — the game is both brutally hard and beautifully meditative — and will leave you tearing your hair out, but Duet offers up something special beyond its intense challenge.
Crafting homemade costumes and prepping for nocturnal adventures to forage for sweets is a favorite youthful tradition every fall, and Double Fine's charming Halloween-themed role-playing game is well timed to get us all in the spooky spirit. Costume Quest expertly captures the sense of imagination and wonder that made trick-or-treating with friends back in the day such a blast. But far more than a grand fetch quest full of tooth-rotting bliss and crazy getups, this cartoonish romp throws giant robots, goblin warriors, and supernatural shenanigans in to sweeten the pot.
Virtual ANS is a happy aural mutation unlike anything else on your iPhone or iPad. While it bears a resemblance to the longtime Mac-only wonder MetaSynth, it’s a lot easier to fall into from left field, not to mention much less expensive. The app is a software recreation of an extremely rare Russian synthesizer (of which only one remains in existence) that used light and optics as the foundation of its synthesis engine. Time is plotted from left to right, pitch is mapped vertically, and onto this grid you'll use a variety of basic drawing tools to "paint sound," essentially.
Who expected one of the year's most intriguing games to be about fonts? Type:Rider features an odd premise, being an experiential side-scroller inspired by the history of typography, but it mostly soars due to excellent production values and inventive levels based on the fonts themselves and the processes and techniques around them. As a pair of dots, you'll roll through striking stages that spotlight paths built on the backbone of the fonts themselves.