All day long, our phones tell us what to do. Even before we turn them on each morning, a constant stream of badges, banners, and alerts keeps us apprised of our appointments and deadlines, pestering us with so much information that it becomes all too easy to tune it out. Begin attempts to cut through the clutter with a unique take on the to-do list. Instead of collecting tasks and prompting you when a due date is near, Begin boils your life down into 48-hour chunks. By focusing only on what you're doing today and tomorrow, it might actually help you accomplish something.
Despite securing the official (and lucrative) NASCAR license, Eutechnyx’s most recent offering on the App Store isn’t a racing game, strictly speaking. Instead, NASCAR: Redline is more like a career management sim: as a fresh-faced rookie in the Sprint Cup Series, you must win races to finance new car parts and pit crew training sessions to climb to the top of the standings. Unfortunately, some of the mechanics feel unclear, while in-app purchases for this premium game seem unnecessary and frustrating.
Designers and Photoshop pros from an earlier generation will remember the venerable Kai’s Power Tool Photoshop plugins, and even though they’ve been M.I.A. for years, one of the wackiest of those plugs – the Fractal Explorer – has been reincarnated as Frax, a seriously cool graphics toy and perhaps the single most impressive bit of graphics code we’ve yet seen on iOS. Available in separate iPad and iPhone versions (iPad reviewed), Frax is a full-screen, interactive fractal playground, with a very fluid, straightforward interface and a decent amount of customization possibilities for generating a wide variety of truly attractive fractal graphics.
Strategy games may be popular on iOS, but too many perform a tired juggle of microtransactions and abstract gameplay that cranks out forgettable games that mainly differ by setting. Machines at War 3 marks a welcome departure from all of that. Its tactics may be simple, but its Command and Conquer-inspired real-time strategy (RTS) stands so far apart from similar offerings on the App Store that it's well worth the price of admission.
"Level 22" is not a glamorous name. It’s generic. It doesn’t inspire excitement. Without context, it could mean practically anything. So it’s the perfect way to reference a floor of an equally generic corporate tower, which also happens to be where you work. The trouble here is that it’s a weekday, and after a night of heavy celebrating for your birthday, you’re not at your desk. If the boss finds out you’re late, you’re fired. How do you keep your job? If you’re a fan of Hideo Kojima’s classic, quirky stealth-action series, Metal Gear Solid, you probably already know that your only recourse is to sneak all the way back up to your desk on the 22nd floor through increasingly complex scenarios.
From its days as a pedestrian tab in Music to its clunky, crashy standalone app, Apple has never given podcasts the attention they deserve. A number of top-notch developers have expertly picked up Apple's slack, so when we heard that the makers of the popular RSS reader Feed Wrangler had taken a crack at it, we naturally couldn't wait to check it out. There are essentially three main things that make up a decent podcast app: clean navigation, easy discovery, and seamless listening. Pod Wrangler dutifully checks off each of these boxes, with an utterly simple approach that gives it a leg up on its competitors.
Brightly colored Spandex and match-three puzzling might seem an odd pairing at first, but digging into Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign yields addictive super-villain smashing fun in abundance. Between collecting virtual comic book covers to unlock new heroes and leveling up your posse with RPG-style enhancements, this free-to-play battler hits the nerdy sweet spot without going overboard in the in-app purchase department.
Following a stellar effort last year, it feels like 2K Sports phoned in the latest mobile edition of its highly regarded basketball simulation series. NBA 2K14 is essentially NBA 2K13 (minus the commentary), albeit with updated rosters and a new mode focused on superstar LeBron James. It feels incomplete, thanks to awkward gaps in the presentation where you'd expect commentary, plus a host of other minor glitches and issues. But, as with last year's effort, there's a decent – albeit barebones – basketball simulation under the hood.
Bucking the annoying trend of freemium apps that bait and switch users into paying for initially free digital goods, JellyBus has wisely chosen to maintain two separate versions of its photo editing app: The free (but limited) PicsPlay, and a more robust Pro edition priced at only $3.99. While the free release is no slouch, PicsPlay Pro unlocks the developer’s full arsenal of 200 filters across 10 different themes, along with a wide range of editing features from basic crop and rotate to more sophisticated Color Splash, Tilt-Shift, Text, Stamp, and Border tools.
It's been relatively quiet since the last high-profile security breach of a technology company, but that silence ended Thursday with Adobe's announcement that the company had fallen victim to a cyber attack.