Real-time simulation/strategy game allows micro-management of resources
War games may have originated from the need to boost military logistics and planning, but they have since become popular with civilian gamers. Risk and Chess are two popular war games most people are familiar with, as are Civilization and Hearts of Iron. How does newcomer Supreme Ruler Ultimate, by Battlegoat Studios, stack up to the classics?
Train yourself to live a better lifestyle with a little help
They say it takes 21 days to make a good habit or break a bad one, which seems simple enough. Logically, most people should be able to clear the three week hurdle with little effort. However, most of us can get a little absent-minded, especially when we get busy. That's why Habits Pro, by Track & Share Apps, exists -- to help people stay on task in their quest for self-improvement.
Quick wits win out in this single-player word game
Word games have been around for a very long time. Most people grew up playing Scrabble or Boggle, and many have moved on to similar games like Words with Friends. The one thing most word games have in common is that they require, at minimum, two players. But now there's Moxie 2, by Blue Ox Technologies Ltd, a intuitive single-player word game.
Open and save documents faster with a utility that remembers where you go
If Apple has its way, then one day we will never save another document -- and we will never think about where it went. It will just be there when we want to open it again. That's nice. Until then, we open and save documents nearly as often as we check Facebook. Which makes it a shame that OS X rather fights us. You can open a document from this folder on that network drive and you can then save it on that folder on this USB stick, but it is a pain. Not much of a pain, let's not get carried away here, but try doing it twice and see how you feel. That's where Default Folder X comes in.
Library syncing software for iTunes packed with features at a great value
Apple's iTunes media player has been around since 2001 -- meaning that for many users, it's likely that their library has traversed multiple system upgrades, duplicating and splintering across a variety of drives and mobile devices along the way. For this, there is SuperSync, an app designed to provide access to all your music in one location, allow libraries to be accessed via the Internet, and organize multiple music libraries as to stay organized. Aimed at DJs, avid music collectors, and anyone with multiple libraries, SuperSync aims to get all your tracks in a row. Pricing is organized by license packs, starting at $23 for 2 computers. We took a look at SuperSync for ourselves, and took some of its features for a test run.
Touchscreen interaction in the dead of winter, without freezing hands
It shouldn't be a secret that normal, cheap knit gloves actually don't contain enough fabric to prevent a persons finger from interacting with a capacitive screen. This means that, yes, normal knit gloves are technically touchscreen gloves but normal cheap knit gloves also don't contain enough fabric to keep a persons hands warm in most cold weather. That's where Refined Touchscreen Gloves by Mujjo come in - promising to let us interact with all our touchscreen devices while keeping our hands toasty.
Manage all your videos in one speedy and convenient place
We all have more videos than iTunes Store ones, we all have more videos than we can ever remember getting. They're from our digital cameras, they're from our iPhones, they're Vimeo files we wish we could remember how to download again. However we got them, we have them now, we can't find them very easily and they are all clogging up our hard drives. Plus, we have to to somehow remember that this movie will play in iTunes but that one needs the extra VLC video player. Cinematica 2 does a smart job of solving this by giving you one place to see everything it possibly can.
Quick movie editor makes it easy to send video to social media
Try as you might, you're not going to revolutionize how video is edited: whatever application you're using, the process has been roughly the same since we ditched celluloid and razor blades. Equally, you're not likely to easily replace Apple's iMovie for ease of use, nor Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro X for high-end professionals. Movavi Video Editor, an editor for Windows that has just made the jump to OS X, definitely aims at being very simple to use -- but it's also intended for the ever-growing number of us who just want to quickly get video out to people.
Take a stroll through the most notable art galleries in the world
Whether you're an art connoisseur or completely new to the world of art, there's something to be said about having a personally guided tour through a museum. Now, thanks to Art Authority by Open Door Networks for iPhone/iPod touch and iPad, users can have their own personally guided tour of the worlds most famous and influential pieces of art, right in the palm of their hand. The $5 app ($10 for the iPad version) is packed full of important pieces of artwork, with over 20GB of art available to download at a moments notice.
Platformers and mazes combine in a perspective-based puzzler
Most of us remember doing mazes as children, working from one edge of a puzzle to another, trying to figure out how to get to the objective as quick as possible. What if there was a game that reminded us of the mazes of our youth, while simultaneously making them more challenging and interactive? Edge Extended by Mobigame, combines the mazes of our childhood with the challenge of a modern puzzle game.
Keep your to-do lists on hand across iOS and Mac with Things
Productivity apps are often complicated, and host myriad extra features that make the apps unpleasant to use. Often, some of the better apps follow the old adage "less is more." Things, by developer Cultured Code, is a simple to-do list and reminder app for OS X and iOS that allows users to create organized lists to help them keep on track.
Keep a journal on hand at all times with Momento
While not as common as it used to be, there are many people who still like to keep private diaries and journals to remember the ins and outs of everyday lives. Carrying around a journal to write in isn't always convenient, but most people have smartphones and tablets perpetually on hand. Bridging the gap is Momento, by d3i, an app that purports to turns mobile devices into journals.
One dollar app ensures you don't hear the same song too often
There are at least several apps that come to mind that aim to accentuate your iTunes experience. One that we're taking a look at today is Altunenator, a budget-friendly, $1 app that ensures the listener isn't subjected to the same songs (or other media content) too frequently. Altunenator skips tracks for you based on preset parameters such the duration between the last time a song was played, which is particularly suited for playing a large playlist or your full library on shuffle. Is it worth checking out?
Kids take the wheel in a fun pre-K game
Keeping younger kids entertained on long road trips isn't always easy. Parents often sacrifice their sanity by employing kids-themed entertainment, forcing them to choose between a fussy toddler or ten different renditions of "Old McDonald." Instead of attempting to distract kids with the same ten songs they've heard since birth, why not try Sago Mini Road Trip, by developer Sago Sago, and allow kids to take control of the wheel?
Jump, slide, and dance your way through this retro-inspired platformer
Bit.Trip.Run is a game set in the universe of Bit.Trip, a popular app by developer Gaijin Games that debuted on the Wii back in 2009. A total of seven variations came along, with Bit.Trip Runner meeting with great success that quickly went multi-platform, with releases on both the Nintendo 3DS as well as Steam. Bit.Trip.Run is not to be confused with Bit.Trip Runner, which begs the question: how does Bit.Trip.Run distinguish itself from the others in the series?
Embark on an epic journey to toast a slice of bread
Bossa Studios hit the market earlier last year with their hit game Surgeon Simulator, which challenged players to successful complete levels by hacking and slashing their way through surgeries. In December, the company released the highly anticipated game I Am Bread to early access on Steam. I Am Bread is the strangely emotionally-charged narrative that follows a slice of bread as it attempts to become toasted.
Create high-quality time lapse videos with Time Lapse with HDR
Photography and filmmaking is becoming popular again, thanks to the era of "iPhonography." Now, thanks to apps that can control the frequency at which pictures are taken, time-lapse videos are also making a notable comeback. Time Lapse with HDR, by Lucky Clan, is one of the apps that is helping novice photographers create their own time-lapse videos.
Sci-fi and suspense collide in this 'choose your own adventure' game
Choose-your-own-adventure games are cropping up all over the App Store these days, and it's become apparent that there is a market for text-based adventure on iOS. One of these games is Heavy Metal Thunder by Cubus Games. The game, which has won a Pocket Gamer silver award, is an adaptation of a book by sci-fi novel writer Kyle B. Stiff. How well does it make the transition to interactive fiction?
Clean-up app for your iTunes library makes organization light work
An iTunes library is rarely the most neat and tidy area of one's files -- especially if you've amassed your music from a mixture of ripped and online sources. Enter Leawo's Tunes Cleaner for Mac, which aims to get your library into an organized, structured state with little user intervention. Priced at $20 on the App Store and starting at $40 on Leavo's site, the question is: is a straightened-out iTunes worth the cash?
iBank offers thoroughness and clarity for taking a cold hard look at your finances
Even when things are looking pretty good in your bank account, attempting to keep finances on the straight and narrow tends to lean toward the harrowing side. Among the money management tools out there, IGG Software's iBank allows users to aggregate and track their finances from one location. Featuring the ability to directly connect to bank accounts, as well as the option to download and import account data manually, iBank can create reports, help visualize and maintain a budget, and more. Available for iOS as well as OS X, we gave iBank v5.2 for OS X a trial run to see if the $60 app is a good buy.
Matchstick Memories: text adventure and match three story
It wasn't long ago that the match-three and puzzle genre were thought to be one-trick ponies. Games like Bejeweled are popular, but lacking for long-term play. However, developers are now using these overlooked genres to create new games with deep story lines and interesting game mechanics. One such game is Matchstick Memories by CH Buckingham.
Pay your bills on time with Chronicle bill reminder
Going paperless is smart. Less clutter in your mailbox, and less waste in landfills, is a win-win situation. Still, it has it's downsides. Probably one of the biggest issues, without having a paper letter with big red type hanging on the wall as a reminder, is that it can be very easy to forget when bills are due. That's why developer LittleFin created Chronicle -- to help users never forget a bill again. Does it work as advertised? Read on for our verdict.
Alarmy, the annoying morning alarm clock
Waking up is a difficult feat for some. It certainly doesn't help when most alarms require only a simple tap to activate snooze mode. Some people become so adept at serial-snoozing that they don't even have to wake up to do it. Alarmy (Sleep If U Can), by Delight Room, promises to put an end to the phrase "just another ten minutes."
Take control of your own rugby team with Rugby Nations 15
Sports games have existed for about as long as video gaming has, and have been popular whether played on arcade cabinets or on the Xbox One. While most would agree that sports games tend to thrive on consoles, Rugby Nations 15, by developer Distinctive Games, makes a strong argument for sports gaming on mobile platforms.
Hit the gridiron with the Peanuts gang
Cupcake Digital is a well-known name in the ring of games for elementary-age children. To date, they've created games for children's entertainment titles such as Yo Gabba Gabba, Wow! Wow! Wubbsy, and Strawberry Shortcake. The company is now tackling two American classics, Peanuts and football, in Snoopy's All Star Football. Is the game worth handing to your little ones, or is it the digital equivalent of Lucy pulling the football away at the last minute?
Motivational app mixes virtual 'boss' with to-do list
For those who would welcome robot overlords, Carrot, by Grailr, promises to keep you on task! We've all been there; those days when absolutely nothing seems to get done. But what if there was a to-do list that actually encouraged the act of doing things. Wouldn't that be helpful? After all, most to-do lists are little more than polite and easily forgotten suggestions of what should be done. Supposing, however, that there was an app that actually pushed people to get out there and do them? Well, as it turns out, there is.
A race of interstellar cephalopods need your help
It's not unusual for everyone to be looking for the next popular iOS game. We've seen it with the many clones of Angry Birds, FlappyBird, and 2048. While no one will deny that these games are fun, sometimes a user might crave something with a little more thought and care behind the design. That's where Hungry Squid by Michal Malewicz comes in, promising to enchant those who play it.
Minimalist note-taking app uses Apple's new Widget technology
At this point, there's a good chance that most iPhone users are using their devices to quickly jot down notes and reminders on the fly. It's extremely convenient, especially since most people keep their phones on them nearly all the time. However, there are times when a user has so little time to take notes, that going through the process of unlocking their phone and digging for the app they need is simply too cumbersome. That's the exact problem that Neato, by Mohammad Khoman, is trying to remedy.
Reference tool keeps up-to-date, offers options to avoid redundant writing
Are you a budding wordsmith? Then Thesaurus Rex is your new best friend! Thesauruses used to be big, clunky books, that were often found covered in dust at the back of any public or academic library reference section. But as more and more people write, these useful books have managed to find a way into the pockets of millions of people. One such entry is Thesaurus Rex by Dictionary.com, an app which promises to help users find the perfect word for any occasion.
Not sure how to go from miligrams to ounces?
As even casual students of the sciences have learned by now, it's apparent that there's a lot of differences between disparate measurement systems. Be it miles to kilometers, Fahrenheit to Kelvin, or cubic centimeters to gallons, there's a good chance there's going to be a conversion that can't be a done off the top of one's head. With the proliferation of the smart phone, there's no reason to not have a pocket converter at the ready. Unit Converter Infinity by Incpt.Mobis is a choice that stands out.
Time management desktop app successfully improves concentration
We all feel it, especially those of us working from home -- there is never enough time to get stuff done. Or, perhaps more accurately, there is not enough time in a day to get everything done that you should ... while also procrastinating with endless sources of distraction an Internet-connected computer has to offer. Enter Vitamin-R 2, an app for OS X (and also available for iPhone) that asserts that it can promote the optimal conditions for your brain by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly-focused activity alternating with opportunities for renewal, reflection and intuition.
Bite-sized strategy title makes users breach and clear bad guys' lairs
Frequently, players' allegiances to strategy games fall in one of two categories: either real-time strategies or tactical turn-based play. But what if there was a game that aims to please both sides? Potentially, now there is. Door Kickers, by KillHouse Games, is a real-time strategy game that gives players the ability to undergo tactical interventions while leading their own SWAT team. While the game itself is in fact a real-time strategy, the tactical elements and the ability to pause are likely to please gamers who enjoy more tactical play.
The gut-wrenching toll of war is put on display, forcing brutal choices to grasp at hope
Stepping into This War of Mine speaks a lot about the experience a player should expect, as there are no frills or explanations. The stark, desaturated palette explains everything about the world people are thrust into -- it's void of the color and spirit of life, with choices living in shades of gray. It tells a tale of people, stranded in the middle of a city devastated by war, forcing them to press on until a ceasefire is secured. This War of Mine isn't about entertainment or escape. It's about the elasticity of human nature and the will to survive.
Ever want to be a rampaging Capra aegagrus hircus? Now's your chance.
When most people think of video game protaganists, chances are a goat isn't the first one that comes to mind. Generally, we tend to think of mustachioed plumbers, camo-covered commandos, or spiky blue hedgehogs with a penchant for hoarding gold. However, Goat Simulator by Coffee Stain Studios has, through the cult status of its previous releases, changed all that. In this game, a player takes control of a lively goat, and is set free to do whatever they wish in this quirky sandbox simulation game.
Notepad replacement brings to-do lists, contact info capture
One of the biggest problems with apps that promise to help a user jot down ideas is that they tend to be bulky, poorly designed, or too distracting. No one wants to fight with an app that is slow, or takes too long to find exactly what they need. Sometimes the simplest solution really is the best one. Quick Drafts, by Sebastian Obentheuer, is a slimmed-down, fully-functional notepad app for those who crave simplicity.
Digital cookbook curating app tries to help with recipe organization and storage
If there's one thing that the Internet is good for, it's teaching us how to cook meals we never thought possible. While Pinterest does a good job keeping a collection of links to our favorite recipes, it certainly doesn't do much to hold the recipes themselves, which may be lost behind a morass of links anyway. This is where SavouryPot comes in, an app by Anton Zehrdev, that promises to help organize anyone's unruly collection of recipes, regardless of source.
Guide to perfect picture taking encapsulated for the iOS
Let's face it, photography is daunting. With a slew of terms and techniques that are less than user-friendly, and an ever-increasing amount of gadgetry to attempt to master, it's not exactly something one can jump right into and do well out of the gate. However, The Great Photo App by Baglan Dosmagambetov is aiming to make sense of all photography has to offer, and pass this information on to the user -- with Apple's handheld devices as the teacher.
Alternative music player brings style and functionality to iOS
Listening to music is a very personal thing for most people. As a whole, we generally tend to think of our music collection as an extension of ourselves. Music fanatics often tend to demand a lot out of their personal music players, allowing them the ability to customize their experience fully, from playlists to organization to artwork and beyond. TunesFlow, by Hector Ricardo Garcia Peña, aims to meet and exceed the needs of the average music enthusiast.
Digital asset catalog tool allows for in-depth organization
Data, like everything else in life, needs to have at least some semblance of organization to make better use of it, particularly when you get into situations involving our digital information. For keeping track of files that may be scattered about on various physical storage modes, NeoFinder has been created. A digital asset cataloging app, NeoFinder reads and imports information on the user's selected file data, and provides tools for creating an organized catalog that also includes storing size, creation and modification dates, version information, comments, metadata, and more. Priced at $40 for a single license, this detail-focused app is geared towards the individual or small business that has a need for a formal library system for all of their media.
No strangers to games, Avenged Sevenfold has a decent dark fantasy title
Generally, we don't tend to think of bands as being capable of creating much more than music, but Avenged Sevenfold aims to change that with their action-adventure RPG title, inspired by the band's own lore. Hail to the King: Deathbat by Avenged Sevenfold is an overhead dungeon crawler, not dissimilar to that of Diablo. The player takes the role of Andronikos, the King of the Underworld, tasked with reclaiming Hades from the game's main villian, Dark Andronikos. In order to do this, the player moves through various dungeons, collecting items, defeating monsters, and besting bosses.
New music player app seeks to supplant Apple's own player
While there's no doubt that Apple's built-in music player certainly does its job well, those who love music might find it a little basic for their needs. But what does one do when they want to find a music player packed with features the default music player lacks? Developer Christopher Lim has built the ffwd player, a music player for iOS that aims to create a better overall experience while listening to music.
Versatile pixel color grabber offers 24 color formats
Visually creative professionals have long been in favor of using OS X to get their job done, in part because of simple, included utilities, like DigitalColor Meter. This utility allows users to magnify screen contents and copy the RGB pixel components, suited for those who seek a specific hue for their own design project - web, graphic or otherwise. This included tool is great, but for those who seek a more integrative alternative, we decided to check out ColorSnapper, priced at $5, to see if more features made a better pixel color picker.
Boom audio boosting app increases file volume, optimizes OS X audio
The speakers included with Mac laptop and desktop systems and portable devices typically suffice for basic audio needs. For more power behind your sound, Global Delight offers its audio app Boom, a volume-optimizer for OS X. Boom's central functionality is that it can create "boosted" media files and playlists, so that audio is easier to hear when listening on a device's speaker such as iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. On an OS X system, Boom optionally includes a volume booster and equalizer for additional sound control. Priced at $7, does Boom effectively achieve its aims?
Desktop publisher offers tools suitable for beginner and experienced users
Standalone desktop publishing software fills a need for those who want to create a variety of printed projects, particularly if seeking a structured, template format. Launched earlier this year, Printworks for OS X is an all-purpose page-layout and desktop publishing app that offers templates for a wide variety of documents, as well as the option to design a document from scratch. A comprehensive app currently available for $30 (regularly priced at $50), Printworks' attention to detail throughout the creation process of a document is suitable for personal use or for small businesses who are seeking software specifically for this purpose. Is it worth the pricetag?
Note-taking app synchronizes audio recording with manual notes
It's pretty safe to say that most people feel like they could improve their note-taking, whether for classes or work purposes. Among the various apps available for improving notational efficiency is Luminant Software's AudioNote, which combines notepad functionality with voice recording. Focused on synchronizing notes and audio, AudioNote aims to assists users in documenting all the information they need, with review of notes supplemented by the audio, and vice-versa. Does it simplify note-taking, or complicate it?
Unobtrusive tool can improve efficiency for those who work with text
Since the release of iOS 8 and the upcoming launch of OS X Yosemite, a cohesive workflow between iOS and OS X is increasingly apparent. PopClip further accentuates this experience for OS X users by adding a non-invasive, iOS-like toolbar when one selects text, providing quick access to context-specific actions. Initially released in 2011, the app received an update last week, fixing various minor bugs. Developer Pilotmoon's PopClip's default offerings are copy and paste -- much like what can be found on iOS -- but with over 100 additional extensions that can be added.
Kickstarter RTS game Planetary Annihilation shows considerable polish
In August 2012, a team from Uber Entertainment launched a kickStarter campaign, aiming to raise $900,000 to make a new real-time strategy game called Planetary Annihilation. After two years of work and raising over $2.2 million, as well as other funds via "early access," the game is finally released outside of beta, and gamers can finally try out what backers have been playing for some time during the game's development.
Non-collectible card-game arcade fighting game spans genres, fan bases
Apple's iOS and other mobile platforms have occasionally been criticized for offering relatively few "deep" gaming experiences, with simplified versions of complex titles being big movers. The iPad came into its own about six months after its release with titles such as Ticket to Ride and other board game adaptations, with a bevy of other releases following. Card games, mostly of the collectible variety, are popular -- with the recently-released Hearthstone by Blizzard taking top honors. But what about deep card games without a collectible mechanic? Game designer David Sirlin has released Yomi, a genre-spanning card-based game, drawing on arcade fighting games like Street Fighter II and the like for inspiration. Does Yomi live up to its promises of a deep, strategic experience, without "pay to win" being a factor?
Chunky Comic Reader blazes a path in a crowded iPad comic consumption field
For every file format, there are a hundred iOS apps that will read them. We've already discussed what we feel is the pre-eminent reader for PDFs: GoodReader. What about comic books? Sure, many of them are distributed as PDFs, making GoodReader a solution, but there are other formats. For that, we're examining one of the best reader apps out there -- the free Chunky Comic Reader (CCR).
Formula One comes to OS X with adrenaline fueled simulation, challenging gameplay
When gamers have ever wanted to get into the seat of a race car without spending millions of dollars to do it, they've turned to games to get the experience. From NASCAR, dragsters, rally cars and everything in-between, gaming has covered much of the realistic side of racing. What about players, however, that want a game that touches on simulation aspects, but pushes them to gain a little as a tenth of a second each time around the track? Codemasters' F1 2013 is the title that will set the pace for a proper racing experience.