This is one complex life form reading this article one of which is human
The Nightjar by developer Somethin' Else is a science fiction thriller in which the player has been abandoned alone on a spaceship which is about to self-destruct. All the lights have gone out, so there's a lot of bumping into walls and following sounds. Thankfully, Benedict Cumberbatch is talking to you through an ear piece and knows how to get you safely off the ship... probably.
Balancing game offers incredible graphics and smooth gameplay
If we say platformer, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably a game like Super Mario Bros or Super Meat Boy, or maybe even the original Donkey Kong. Something classic and straightforward -- but the truth of the matter is that the platformer genre is almost as wild and varied as the puzzle genre. That's why we decided to tell you guys about Ball Alien, a quirky skill platformer that has you traversing platforms in space.
You have two fingers with which to solve puzzles, but only one brain
Two Fingers, but only one brain (2 F 1 B) is a series of 20 mini-games that are mixed and matched to appear two at a time on the user's screen. At first, we weren't sure we were going to like that, but we were pleasantly surprised. Our first encounter with 2F1B was last year, and we were saddened by what we perceived as ads that really got in the way of gameplay. We were recently prompted to give the app another chance. Happily, whether by design or accident, the ad situation has improved dramatically.
Charming roguelike features multiple characters and simple puzzle play
Roguelikes can be an intimidating genre. They're generally known for complicated stat management systems, complex maps, and for being absolutely unforgiving to new players. If you're looking for a gentler roguelike to jump into, we'll show you the pros and cons of The Nightmare Cooperative, available on (Steam and the App Store).
Discover a more efficent way to make sense of Wikipedia articles
Ah, Wikipedia, our torrid little knowledge love affair. Sure, it's not always the most accurate, but it's certainly the most convenient. We're not going to pretend like we're not the type to spend an evening hopping from article to article, reading as much as we can -- but what if there was an easier option, something that made sense of the complex information presented to you by Wikipedia? Now, there is, with Learn Discovery.
Excellent scanning app adds almost brilliant feature
There is no iPhone scanning app that will get you the same results you have from a desktop scanner like a Fujitsu ScanSnap or a portable document one like a Doxie. However, even portable ones need carrying around, and desktop ones need a desktop, whereas your iPhone is with you all the time and everywhere. What Scanner Pro 6 does is let you photograph a document, and calls that a scan. There are alternatives, and there have been five previous versions of this one, but developer Readdle adds improvements and one potentially brilliant new feature.
GarageBand gets expanded EDM library
Following the launch of Apple Music, Apple pushed out the latest version of GarageBand for both Mac and iOS. GarageBand, as you are likely aware, is Apple's entry-level music production software that ships free with all Macs. While the latest release doesn't do much to change the experience of using the software, it does introduce a range of additional content that can be used to create new music.
Super-minimalist puzzle game of interlocking pieces
Sometimes, we want to engage our mind, while at the same time turning it off. Hook by Maciej Targoni is a super-minimalist puzzler with simple controls for solving problems that can be fantastically complex. It's all about interlocking pieces that fit together in very specific ways. The player must figure out in what order the different pieces can be removed to clear the board.
Good enough to be a To Do app on its own
It's not even an app. The actual app is OmniFocus 2.5.3 for iOS, it's just when you get that, you get this. Yet the Apple Watch version of OmniFocus is good enough, and complete enough, that you could genuinely use it by itself. You'd be mad to, with the iPhone on your person or two feet away from you, but you could -- and it's a remarkable example of what can be done on the Watch right now.
Live out your post-apocolyptic dreams in this slick sci-fi shooter
We're not sure if anyone expected iOS to be home to so many shooters, but lo and behold, a quick search for shooters in the App Store yields thousands of results for tons of action-packed, gun-slinging adventures, but so few of them are done well. It's a gallery of poor mechanics We're here to change that, with today's offering of Xenowerk, a sci-fi shooter with some serious style.
Full of regret, hands to the wheel, players confront family moments missed
There are moments in the past each one of us wishes have gone differently. From an embarrassing scene we can't live down, to the regret piled on from a missed opportunity, we're reminded how fleeting time can be in hindsight. For some of us, these moments repeat in our minds as we attempt to find a scenario in which all the right things are said and done to alleviate the pain they cause. Bracket Games dives into this character flaw in Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition, a piece of interactive fiction centered on a family in the midst of a turning point. But is it worth reliving harsh times in order to grow, or is Bracket Games setting players up for a lifetime of hurt?
Our music library just got a whole lot bigger
It's been called over-complicated, it's been called confusing, but it's also been called the place where you keep all your music by nearly everyone in the civilized world. That last has now changed: it's the place you get to almost all the music ever created in the history of the world, and then some. Okay, maybe no,t but we had -- hang on, let's check -- 9,692 songs yesterday and today we have (counts on fingers) 30,000,000, give or take the Beatles. The new iTunes 12.2 for Mac brings some minor changes, and one massive one with the introduction of Apple Music to OS X.
High-pressure finance meets Tindr in this amazingly engaging game
The Firm by Sunnyside Games is an arcade-style game, where the user is settling in for their first day on the job as a stock trader. The poor guy doesn't even have time to put his plant on his desk before stocks start piling up in front of him. He needs to make choices, quickly; so he can make a lot of money for himself and his company, quickly. If he's not fast enough, he'll be fired. The gameplay is super simple, but imparts a sense of urgency that draws the player in and remains even once the round is over, compelling them to play "just one more round."
Smart navigation app adds Uber
We may have been looking at this the wrong way: previously, we've described this app -- now updated to Localscope 4.3 -- as a competitor to Where To?, and we've said that its rival wins. For apps you use to find a place and then get to it, Where To is better -- but maybe we were wrong to regard them as direct competitors.
Slay dragons and save the day with this reflex-testing game
We were born a few centuries too late to become knights -- the kinds that guard castles, tilt in jousts, and of course, slay dragons. That doesn't stop us from wishing for the glory days of yore, however. If you've ever wanted to protect a castle of your own, we suggest that you check out Dragon Jump, a game for all the modern-day knights out there.
An ambient sound app to relax by, sleep to, or make your own soundscapes
Remember those scenes in the 1992 comedy Cousin Vinny, where Joe Pesci's character couldn't sleep in the rural quiet of the small country town he was visiting. He didn't get a good night's rest until somebody sent him a recording of his New York neighborhood at night. Noise can either keep you awake, or lull you to sleep. White Noise by TMsoft is an app that provides ambient soundscapes, paired with an alarm clock and the ability to record and loop our own "perfectly quiet" environment sounds. We tried out White Noise for iOS on our iPhone 5, and we were often surprised and delighted by the experience.
Live out your dream of becoming a civil engineer
Building games are the best. Whether its a simple game like Minecraft or a more complex game like Besiege, we love games that give us a chance to flex our engineering muscles. Today we take a look at a game that does just that -- we checked out the cartoony physics title Poly Bridge, a game that allows you to try your hand at being a civil engineer.
Creepy and cute collide in this strange, tense platformer
We've been up on our high horses about platformers here before, explaining why the genre has some serious flaws on mobile platform -- but today, we think we found one that addresses the flaws the best. We urge you to check out Penumbear, a classic platformer with a creepy twist.
A travel router that doubles as an international plug adapter
In our experience, there are two things -- both of which cause frustration and discontent -- that most international travelers can agree on: hotel Wi-Fi, and the fact that one probably won't be able to just plug something in to fix it. Not only are there differences in what's coming out of the wall in different regions, but the standards for how plugs are shaped are different as well. We were very interested, then, when we saw the Satechi Smart Travel Router. Aside from creating a personal Wi-Fi network when it's plugged in, it also provides two USB ports, and acts as a plug adapter.
Excruciating and/or sweetly useful posture app
We'd thought the coffee meeting was going well until the person we were trying so hard to impress said: "You know your posture is really hunched over, don't you?" We didn't, and now we're worried about it. Worried enough to install Nekoze 1.3.2, but possibly not quite so worried as to keep it installed.
Explore the bustling city and discover all your favorite Toca Boca characters
If you've been around for a while, chances are you've heard us gush about Toca Boca, a company that makes creative, exploration, and role-playing-based apps for kids. The apps are gender-neutral, highly interactive, and they have some of the coolest, most colorful characters we've come across in a kids app. The developers continue this trend with Toca Life: City, an app that takes you inside the world of Toca Boca.
Quirky roguelike offers some serious challenges in a future-meets-past sci-fi setting
We've covered a couple of roguelikes here before, so we're getting pretty good at sorting out what elements make up a worthwhile roguelike, and what ones can sink an otherwise good game. Today we bring you a more traditional roguelike, with tons of retro flavor and a somewhat rare sci-fi setting. We're offering up Cogmind, a choose-your-own-adventure sort of roguelike that offers up lots of challenge.
An app that gives more options when printing from iOS devices.
It's happening. Mom is thinking about getting an iPad. The problem? Mom likes hard copies of all the cool table setting inspirations and recipes she finds online. Don't ask us where she files all those print-outs away, we don't know -- perhaps she has an extra-dimensional filing cabinet or something. The point is, we want to make sure it's easy to print stuff from an iPad, otherwise she'll just go back to her laptop, and the tablet will collect dust. Printer Pro by Readdle just might be the app we need to do that. It provides an easy-to-use and familiar set of printing options to send documents to a printer over Wi-Fi, as well as making sure they print up nice and neat.
Uncover the strange story of Hannah Smith in this game-turned-murder mystery
What comes to mind when we say "game?" Chances are, you've got fond memories of the first video game you played. Maybe it was Mario or maybe it was some sort of card game or arcade title. Maybe you think about current games like Halo or Call of Duty. If this sounds like what you think of when it comes to gaming, Sam Barlow, creator of Silent Hills: Shattered Memories is here to turn that idea around with Her Story (Steam | App Store), a murder-mystery with an unusual play style.
Leading e-reader software gets extremely overdue features
The latest release of Amazon's Kindle software for iOS and Macs is devoted to improving how text looks on your screen as you read. Excuse us? With Kindle 4.9.1, it's five years since the application came to Apple gear and only now it's concerned with how you read on it?
Make customized B&W images that do more than remove color
Most people who don't work with the medium of black and white (B&W) photography regularly often assume that a B&W photo is simply one in which the color elements have been removed. Nothing could be further from the truth. In addition to being able to change to emphasis and tone of a B&W photo by using color filters, there are as many "looks," styles, film stocks, and manipulations one can make to change the feel of an image in B&W as there are in color. MacPhun's Tonality app is a program that truly "gets" this.
An interactive book with a somewhat more modern take on a classic fairy tale
Green Riding Hood by Bobaka is an interactive story book that takes inspiration from the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, and gives is a more modern sensibility. The Wolf is still pretty horrible, and would very much like to eat the other characters, but (spoiler) nobody gets eaten, or has their belly filled with hot rocks. Plus, there are delicious recipes.
An adorable side scrolling puzzler about a boy and his combat bot
Okay, maybe not so much a "boy" and his combat bot, but more like "very short man" and his combat bot. Tales From Deep Space by Amazon Game Studios is a side-scrolling puzzler where the player, or players, switch between two characters to overcome obstacles and move forward in their pursuit of ... figuring out what's actually going on. The story centers around E, a shlubby put-upon interstellar traveling salesman, who gets saddled with an old busted-up droid named CASI. Shortly after meeting on Big Moon (home of the Meeks), E gets robbed, martial law is imposed, and the pair are denounced as enemies of the state for what appears to be no reason. Thus begins an adventure of running through corridors and questionable security practices.
Great resource adds collaboration and marking
You know that MacNN likes to go the extra mile and stress-test, even pummel every application that gets a Hands On review. It's not enough to tell us a list of features, we want to see that those features do what they say they will. It's partly diligence, partly that we've been fooled by Windows software before. Apple today updated its iTunes U educational service and iOS to version 3.0, and made some notable changes -- and this obviously requires that we join a university that uses the software so that we can fully partake of the semester-long new features.
Find and merge duplicate contacts on iOS
Gone are the days when you can't make any more friends whose names begin with E. Now there's no page to fill up and no reason not to just keep on adding everyone you come across. So we do. And it's a mess. Last year you added that fella your boss said you should get in touch with. This year the same guy contacted you and you cheerily added him again. Whatever you do and however fastidious you are, your address book is in a state and Cleanup Suite 5.0.3 is here to do something about it.
A rugged three piece polycarbonate and silicone case
We are often going camping and taking technology with us. While we always do our best to take good care of our things regardless of our proximity to nature, it didn't strike us that maybe we need better protection for our mobile devices until we dropped one of our tablets in the mud. So, we obtained a Griffin All-Terrain Survivor case for our iPad Mini 2. While we had a bit of trouble with it at first, it's proven to be very useful in keeping our tablet grime and moisture free when we take it out and about.
Relax into two hours of music with this medatative puzzle
We've discovered lately that there are more and more meditation puzzle games popping up in the App Store, and we couldn't be happier. These friendly, low- and no-stress games are designed to help you unwind, rather than stress you out or overstimulate you. We checked out a new title, Harmony 3, the third in a line of games that offer zen-style visual puzzles working in tandem with relaxing music.
Help a tiny cat and a mech traverse alien crystal mines in this runner-platformer
We've shared our opinions on platformers on mobile devices before, so we'll spare you the rant about bad mechanics and good intentions -- however, we did find a game that puts an interesting twist on a tired old formula. Today, we present to you WonderCat Adventures, a feline-themed platformer with some great solutions to the normal platforming pitfalls.
Cute puzzle shooter seeks to make you lose your cool with weighted mechanics
If you grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, chances are you have spent some time playing puzzle shooters. We grew up playing Puzzle Bobble on the SNES, and some of our first memories were pumping quarters into an Arkanoid machine in a dimly-lit arcade. Hue Ball, a simple little game we checked out, seeks to emulate those feelings -- but puts an interesting twist on the whole experience.
Responsive drawing app works wonders for those without a stylus
As we've stated before, the iPad has become a viable art tool in recent years, and there's no shortage of app developers who have taken notice. We've covered several different drawing apps, and they've all had their merits and disadvantages. Today, we take a look at Tayasui Sketches+, to see how it stacks up against the other apps that have come our way.
Walk, don't run to this update
Sometimes, Apple's automatic updating of apps is handy because there are versions you know you ought to have, but you'll get around to it later, or when they add something big. Google Calendar 1.1.0 for iPhone is not a big update. It's a good one, but it's not compelling. It's also still on iPhone alone, not iPad, which is a curious omission.
Turn-based war gaming with a collectible card twist in the 40K world on a mobile device
Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf by HeroCraft is a turn-based strategy game where the player's options are dictated by drawing from a deck of cards. The game is set in, surprise, the world of Warhammer 40,000 (40K for short). We're going to be honest, this reviewer hasn't played anything 40K-related until now. There were the occasional sessions of Blood Bowl, and a Warhammer Fantasy RPG campaign, where we played a Halfling cook just trying to get home in time for Pie Week.
Live your dreams of bringing home the gold with this hyper-realistic summer game simulator
Is there anything more inspiring than an Olympian? No, not a resident of Mount Olympus, but rather, an athlete that competes in the Olympics. We admire their strength, courage, and the ability to drag themselves out of bed before 9AM. For those of us who can't be bothered with cultivating those positive traits, we've got the perfect game: Justin Smith's Realistic Summer Sports Simulator.
Juggle fast reflexes and perfect timing in this difficult arcade game
Some of the best games are ones that juxtapose two opposing play styles. Games that require you to be bold, make decisions on the fly, but at the same time know when to strike; there's something to be said for games that can't be won with the bulldozer method of gameplay. One of these games made its way into our hands recently, a game called FireWhip that has you besting 8-bit enemies with brains and brawn.
A seven-port USB Charging Station keeps you from being powerless
Whether at home or at work, there's a lot of stuff that needs to be charged -- and sadly there's only so many outlets to charge them on. Even if the number of outlets isn't a problem, who wants to always have to answer the question, "have you seen the iPad?" with the answer, "have you checked the bathroom?" The Satechi Seven-Port Multi Charging Dock is a seven-port charging hub that only takes up one outlet, keeps everything together in a single location, and makes an effort towards the Herculean task of making the rat's nest of cables and devices look nice and neat.
Gorgeous weather app gets even more handy
We always feel old when we get excited by a weather app. Mind you, we're in the UK. Weather is what we do. If you live in an area where you get flood alerts because rain has been seen on an old TV rerun, you don't need this. If you've never seen the grass beneath all that snow, you're fine. For anywhere else, though, weather apps can be supremely handy, and Dark Sky 5.0.0 is at least among the best. It has to be: you've already got a weather app on your Apple Watch and your iPhone already; this has to be better, or no one would ever need it.
Nickelodeon brings kid's shows to iOS with kid-friendly app
More and more people are giving up TV these days in favor of online streaming, but a lot of these services often leave kids out of the equation. Sure, Netflix and Amazon Prime have a decent selection of kids shows, but shouldn't there be a better option out there? Well, the folks over at Nickelodeon came to that conclusion, too, and offered up Noggin, an app designed especially for preschoolers.
Sliding number puzzle packs personality into game
We've been a big fan of games like 1024 and 2048, not just for their fast gameplay, but also because they give us a fun mental workout as we try to reach the highest number possible. If you're fans of these games, allow us to point you toward Threes, a number-based puzzler.
Extend hotel Wi-Fi or make an impromptu media server anywhere
We tend to travel, we like to go camping, and we also enjoy using our technology while we're out and about. As such, we have a deep and abiding interest in external charging devices; if they do something useful besides charge our phones and tablets, so much the better. On a related note, we've often had not-so-great experiences with hotel Internet access. That's where the HooToo TripMate Elite travel router comes in.
Warhammer 40K brings wargaming to the iPad once again with Armageddon
Warhammer 40,000, or 40K for short, may have started out as a humble tabletop wargame in the late 1980s -- but since then has grown into a line of books, comics, video games, card games, and a tabletop game with tons of expansions that allow players to customize their game to fit whatever they like. If you're a big fan of this dystopian sci-fi universe, we suggest you take a look at Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon, a tactical turn-based strategy title for the iPad.
Turn Camera Roll photos into stylish sketches
The recent trend of coloring books geared for adults is intriguing to us. We don't consider ourselves particularly artistic in the area of drawing and painting, but we do occasionally like to dabble. Sure, it's been a while, but we're reasonably confident we can still stay between the lines. The downside is we would have to color in images other people choose for us. We'd like to make our own coloring book, and we think we've found the perfect app to help us make it: Tracing Paper by Hesham Wahba.
Vintage style speakers look great, fall short on audio quality
Let me paint an all-too-familiar scenario: You've got a stereo system that still works perfectly fine, but through a series of unfortunate events, you're stuck with speakers that don't work. Or maybe you just bought a brand new computer that lacks speakers at all, and you want to listen to Pandora while you surf the web without cutting off the outside world. Maybe the speakers of your favorite record player just don't do your albums justice. Whatever the reason, you're looking for new speakers ASAP. Allow us to introduce to you the Samson Meteor M2 Multimedia Speaker System, a retro-inspired speaker set designed to alleviate such problems.
A surprisingly relaxing and meditative game of space fleet command
Spacecom by 11 bit studios is a game where the user is in command of a series of space fleets protecting and expanding a series of planets and systems under their control. The graphics are elegant in their simplicity and efficiency. The role of the player is making decisions, and giving orders which are carried out by others; this provides for a serene experience, more like chess than an epic series of pitched space battles.
Visual tool for marking up documents and images
Pictures are worth a thousand words, and yet writers still hang on to the fact that sometimes you need a caption. Napkin 1.5 is a tool for rapidly marking an image with captions, with annotations, with notes, with doodles.
Deliver swift revenge in this ninja-based puzzle game
Is there any genre a robust as the humble puzzle genre? Probably not. You've got match-3's, word games, real-time puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, mysteries, and more. Today, we're here to examine another subgenre we've looked at in the past, the turn-based puzzle, with a little title called Green Ninja: Year of the Frog.