A sense of mystery can be a strong force that connects you to a place. Kairo relies heavily on mysteriousness, and a thick layer of atmosphere too, to draw you deep into its minimalistic realm. For such an empty place, the blocky architecture and dark corridors hold a lot of intrigue. Who built them? What happened to the people here? Why am I here? These and other questions pop up as you explore and solve abstract puzzles during your colorful trek through this desolate landscape. It's a journey that's strangely compelling, despite a distinct lack of excitement.
In the past, Kairosoft has brought us cartoonish simulations of what it's like to be a video game creator (Game Dev Story) or shopping mall proprietor (Mega Mall Story), among many others, but its latest iOS affair has you catch and train various elemental critters and then use them to explore your surroundings. While all this may sound a lot like a Pokémon game, you’ll soon realize that Beastie Bay is a civilization management game first and a monster-catching game second.
There are so many different ways to interact with our photos on iOS, we barely need our Macs anymore to create refrigerator-worthy projects. Just about anything can be done on our iPhones and iPads, with countless filter, layout, caption and effects apps each opening wonderful worlds of creativity at our fingertips. Tiles - Photo Framer, the latest entry into the collage fray, brings enough to the table to set it apart from the crowd. Neat, modular frames keep your project clean, but Tiles still gives you the freedom to make your work your own, with a fun, gesture-based interface that offers boundless possibilities.
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.