Most guitar slingers tend to pick up the instrument and start emulating their favorite musicians, learning how to play by example and sheer brute effort. While this approach is valid, it tends to lead axe-wielders towards certain chord shapes, and limit the kind of music that emerges from the fingers doing the comfortable trip up and down the neck. Jamn is an innovative app that brings some much-needed musical theory to the fretboard, helping to figure out how chords connect with each other and thus lead the way to a more substantial range of musical possibilities.
Originality and weirdness often blend well in the indie sphere, spawning games that spark the imagination and sometimes spur you to scratch your head in equal measure. Incredipede is one such offering. Ferrying your ever-morphing creature through challenging obstacles and hilltops made of meat is indeed peculiar business in this unique puzzle platformer. Wonder occasionally mingles with frustration, however, given the trial-and-error nature of the game's more grueling stages.
Riding the success of Disney Infinity's huge console launch last month, the Toy Box app for iPad allows players to build and test their creations from inside Infinity's creation mode, and then transfer it all back to your console. It benefits from the intuitive nature of touch controls and portability that the tablet allows, but struggles with keeping a constant frame rate even when dealing with a low number of items in your world. That takes some of the shine off of the experience, especially when transitioning from a glossy home console game.
Hunting never felt so base and inhumane as in Deer Hunter 2014, the latest in a long line of titles that has evolved progressively far from its moniker and expanded now to include endangered animals. The core shooting and weapon upgrading experience is actually very well executed, albeit easy – assuming you can look past the ethical blunder is blasting near-extinct creatures – while its rapid-fire mission structure across three exotic locales makes for some compulsive gaming. However, there’s little by way of deer or realistic hunting on offer.
Angry Birds Star Wars II is once again a colorful, pull-and-fling interpretation of the films, this time focusing on the events and characters of the prequel trilogy. But while it's another amusing, well-produced nod to the Star Wars franchise, the quality of the core game experience lacks that inspired edge of its predecessor. In fact, it lacks nearly any edge at all, as the expected puzzle-solving aspect that typically defines Angry Birds is rarely seen throughout. More stages than ever can be cleared with a single and typically obvious opening shot, and while it's entertaining to watch the destruction, such an approach fails to tax the brain to any real extent.
Launching alongside a couple of other juggernaut releases – the iPhone 5s and iOS 7 – Infinity Blade III concludes the trilogy in expectedly slick fashion. The single-player quest trumps its predecessor as the best-looking iOS game to date, with fantastic detail throughout the environments and an array of wide, swooping camera shots to create the sense of an epic scale on even a small iPhone screen. And while the combat remains reliably enjoyable, the grinding nature of the series' campaign approach makes this third entry feel a bit more tiresome amidst the overall triumph.
The Apple TV makes it easy to show off pictures taken with the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPhone via AirPlay, but the built-in Photos app leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to managing how those images actually appear on screen. Enter PhotoPresenter, a universal app from the creators of iStopMotion that offers iOS device owners full control over how photos are displayed using a clutter-free, drop-dead simple user interface.
Over the last week, my work experience has been a much happier place. I’ve listened to my favorite artists and discovered new favorites. The secret to this happiness is Muse, a fantastic little $5 app that does one job—stream Pandora radio stations—extremely well.
Whether you’ve preordered a 5C or just plan on updating a scratched and dented 4S, iOS 7 will make your iPhone feel like a million bucks. Due to various UI tweaks, you'll likely find yourself swapping out your wallpaper a lot more often than you did in iOS 6. This is why we love Blur, which lets you create subtle backgrounds with incredible ease that fit spectacularly well with the iOS 7 aesthetic.
Tell us if you've heard this one before. In Dead Effect, you assume the role of an elite soldier aboard a spaceship, where an infection has turned everyone into zombies. Odds are, this setup is not unlike one you've seen numerous times before, and unfortunately it's not just the story that proves so familiar. The weapons, setting, music, and enemies are all equally uninspired, and the gunplay is too weak to compensate. As a result, Dead Effect is a thoroughly run-of-the-mill first-person shooter.