Like Captain Ahab from Moby Dick, we relentlessly seek our own white whale: A way to curate digital photos on the Mac, sync them to the cloud, and make the whole collection accessible from iOS. All of the services we’ve caught in our net thus far have been tossed overboard, but another has now surfaced on the horizon. Picturelife may not completely live up to “white whale” status, but it’s definitely worth harpooning. With the right subscription plan, we can upload even a massive library to the cloud (with a few caveats), complete with automatic organization and duplicate detection while backing up images stored across multiple social networks.
We've got an army of Mac minis this week, as Apple opens the gates of Refurbia and gives you all the computing power you need in a little tiny box. We've got a few more surprises under the fold, but really, check out these minis. You just wanna squeeze 'em!
NimbleBit made its name on slower-paced simulations like Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes, which charmed with their retro-leaning pixel aesthetics and impressed with surprisingly friendly free-to-play models. Nimble Quest, the studio's perfectly-titled latest release, maintains those latter qualities but embodies a different and very active kind of spirit. The result is a mash-up of Snake and retro role-playing games that's uniquely enjoyable and ideal for one-handed amusement.
Poised to carve out its spot as one of the most adorable and enchanting point-and-click puzzle adventures of the year, Fetch spins a lighthearted storybook tale of a boy and his search to recover his best pal, a peppy dog named Bear. This charming, science fiction-tinged adventure packs plenty of pooches, perils, and puzzles to pursue, and its kid-friendly vibe makes it a good pick for a game to play with the family.
At this point, it’s easy to get lost in the endless stream of iOS photo apps that basically offer variations on the expected themes of color tinting, vignetting, posterization, and other usual suspects. While lots of them are nice, it all gets a bit repetitive and predictable. Every now and then, something unique and different pokes through the pack, and Tangled FX is exactly the kind of app we love to see. It might seem a little limited in scope, but it’s a darned good gag with enough flexibility to make it compelling, plus a look that is like nothing else we’ve ever seen.
Like all parents in the digital age, we have a couple of folders on our iPhones and iPads dedicated to our young children, filled with apps designed specifically for their growing minds. At first blush, Petting Zoo – an interactive picture book created by New Yorker cartoonist Christoph Niemann – seemed like one more cutesy app for our collection. But once we started playing with it, we realized that we were enjoying it almost as much as our little ones.
Like Bejeweled Blitz before it, PopCap's Solitaire Blitz takes a classic game premise – in this case, the single-player card game Solitaire – and emphasizes bite-sized play sessions with amped-up game speed within a free-to-play structure. And just like the Bejeweled variant, Solitaire Blitz is a Facebook favorite that's an excellent match for the iPhone and iPad, not to mention incredibly tough to ignore.
While Gameloft's past Order & Chaos games had players fighting off monsters in massively multiplayer online battles (Order & Chaos Online) or defending their bases in multiplayer online battle arena matches (Heroes of Order & Chaos), the new Order & Chaos Duels turns combat into a strategic game of cards. Featuring all of the lore and fantasy the franchise is known for, Duels offers plenty of rich card-dueling action, but is marred by a freemium structure that makes for a frustrating deck-building experience.
If you've ever dreamed of talking like a robot while warping at high speeds through hyperspace, then look no further: Vio lets you simultaneously fulfill both of those wishes. Part toy and part tool, this bizarre musical app takes a little tinkering to get a feel for, but it's a blast to play around with for a while once you figure it out. Using your iOS device's microphone, Vio transforms your voice and other sounds it picks up into a musical mish-mash of sci-fi robotic craziness.
Recording and synthesizer apps aren’t the only options in the musical arena. Tablets have inspired an entirely new type of musical app, and Chordion is an excellent, visually sophisticated example of this app genre. It's a creative tool that makes it easy to try out different musical shades and chord structures with maximum ease.