iOS paved the way for apps we couldn’t have dreamed of just a few short years ago, allowing users to work, play, and dream bigger than ever. But can an app actually motivate users to improve their lives? That’s the single-minded mission behind Tortoise, an achievement-oriented app that meticulously dictates the changes we need to make in order to realize success. It may sound like something out of Scientology, but Tortoise: The Life Planning App frowns upon taking shortcuts through life, attempting to make the most of a “slow and steady wins the race” philosophy through slick graphics and a comprehensive, well-designed user interface.
God games typically thrive on giving you the power to mold vast civilizations however you see fit. Unsurprisingly, juggling too many moving parts can sometimes be more stressful than fun. To that extent, Pixel People lets you lord over an adorable pixelated city realm, but it never quite lets go of the reins to give you complete control. For some, this streamlined take on SimCity-style games will be a welcome change of pace.
Since its early beginnings as a game platform, iOS has seen its share of racing titles. Amazingly, each year seems to find some developer upping the stakes with smoother controls and exciting, new features. Table Top Racing is not one of those games. More like a plodding journey into an almost forgotten time when Micro Machines were still interesting, Table Top Racing is a great-looking game without much substance.
For pyromaniacs on the mend (or rise), Little Inferno might seem like a dream come true, as the oddball iPad app allows players to burn more than 100 distinct digital items within a virtual fireplace free of soot and real-world ramifications. For everyone else, the simple and repetitive act of buying items and using your finger to set them ablaze might initially seem pointless, but a mysterious back story, ample style, and a dollop of humor keep this compelling curio interesting long enough for it to show what's beyond the somewhat banal interactions.
CloudClipboard is a clever app designed to save whatever you’ve copied into the memory of your iOS device or Mac (using that version of the app) and sync it effortlessly through your iCloud account to all your other devices, be it iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. The way it works is really simple: copy something – be it text, a URL, image, or a web-clip (part of a section of a webpage you can copy) – and then switch to CloudClipboard and that content is automatically added to it.
Launch Turnplay and you're greeted with a gorgeous knockoff of the Technics 1200, long considered the gold standard among DJ turntables. If you missed out on the chance to own one, this richly rendered iPad version might just scratch the itch. However, if you put "The #1 vinyl record player for iPad" in your app title, you've really got to deliver. Unfortunately, this iPad music player isn't quite the equivalent of the classic wax it tries so hard to emulate.
Gimmicky apps certainly have their place on our iPhones. At some point, we've all been suckered into plunking down our hard-earned pennies for an app that seemed like a great idea (iBeer, iSteam, etc), but ultimately they end up in one of those folders that rarely gets opened – or worse, deleted outright. Cycloramic might not seem like it belongs in that class, but after a few attempts to make a panoramic photo, it becomes clear that this phone-spinning app is mostly a short-lived diversion.
We've seen so many slick and beautifully manicured iPhone apps over the years that it's rare to be wowed by a newcomer. However, Vine does just that when you first pop it open, immediately launching a brief shared video clip without hesitation. And assuming you have a half-decent Wi-Fi or cellular signal going, it simply doesn't stop as you scroll down the feed, with each subsequent six-seconds-or-less clip loading quickly and without prompt, giving you a very small window into the life of whoever was on the other side of that iPhone. Finally, somebody nailed the Instagram-for-video concept. Granted, that "somebody" is Twitter.
Most image editing apps for iOS are built to enhance photos or add artistic flourishes such as filters and frames, but what about using text to get your message across? Swipe makes it fun and easy to adorn your pictures with type and quickly share them with the world. The app is a model of simplicity: Merely swipe your finger across the screen wherever you want to add text, tweak to your liking, and then whisk the results off to most anywhere you’d like.
It's tough to believe that Wave Trip would exist in a world without Sound Shapes. Like that brilliantly experiential PlayStation 3 and Vita platformer, Wave Trip merges music-making with a new take on a well-worn gameplay style, with both allowing users to create and share their own stages using the existing level elements on a simple grid-based layout. The similarities extend into music styles and visual design, but using that framework with a side-scrolling runner makes it feel like more than just a noteworthy imitator, with a stronger focus on skill creating a much different overall tone.