Over the years, learning to play songs on the guitar by way of tabulature (or tab) have certainly become more interactive. What used to be an exercise of finding books and sheets of music for your favorite songs, chords and tabs rapidly made their way onto the web. Nowadays, dozens of sites host extensive libraries of tabs to help guitar players of all levels perfect that catchy riff or solo. One such site is Songsterr, which started back in 2008. Besides being an archive of over 500,000 tabs for the guitar, bass and drums, it’s highly unique in that it’s also an online tab player that lets users follow along each tab as the song (with audio) is being played. The Songsterr app for the iPhone and iPad works much like its web counterpart and practicing tabs on-the-go doesn’t get much better than this.
Apparently I spoke too soon last week when I cried that the Christmas like flow of games had ended for now. I could probably write double my normal size article this week and still have games I’d want to cover to spare. Anyway, Tiny Death is a new platform game that’s sure to resonate well with former – or current – console gamers. Cute graphics, decent level design and a nice sense of humor may not make this game worth dying for, but it would certainly be prudent to check it out. Disney has upped the ante for cute physics puzzlers once again with the release of Where’s My Water? 2. You can expect more game play elements, additional quirky characters and I even hear rumors of gravity manipulation. If you can’t get enough of infinite runners you’ll definitely want to check out Infectonator : Hot Chase. This sequel to Infectonator takes the action to an infinite side scrolling format, but you still get to turn people into zombies.
The feeling that we were having some sort of Christmas season in the middle of summer is finally starting to recede, but there are still some developers turning out cool new offerings in the game department. Three years after the original was released the premiere vehicular zombie smashing franchise is back with Zombie Highway: Driver’s Ed. You still have some gadgets to make life a bit easier, but this time around you need to prove your driving mettle instead of just blowing away the undead with cool weapons. On the completely absurd side [adult swim] has released their latest title called Giant Boulder of Death. The story is silly and the objectives mainly revolve around rolling over as much as you can, but it sure is a lot of fun. The winner in the retro revival of the week is Ultima IV: C64. You’ll know if this is for you just by reading the title, but for those that know this is an incredible blast from the past.
The retro craze is in full swing, with many developers making games that look, sound and often play like games that came out 20 years ago or more. In some cases they have even made modern versions of those games that try to retain the “flair” of the originals. Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy takes an entirely different approach to the concept. It poses the question “What would Warcraft look like as an LCD game?” If you don’t know what that even means you can either count yourself fortunate or underprivileged depending on your perspective. Either way the developers have done a fine job of recreating a brand new “classic”, though a true fan of Warcraft would have to tell me if it captures the essence of that universe or not.
This week was full of exploding cats, martial arts chickens and zombies that think humans are the infection. Zombie Farm Battles is a card game based spin off of the Zombie Farm series featuring all the zombies you’ve come to love plus a bunch of new ones. Build up your undead horde, mutate and combine to create the ultimate army and wreak havoc on those annoying humans. On the other hand, maybe you just want to help Dr. Mouse rid the world of cats. In the Pipes inspired game Ice Cream Cats – Control the Pipes Flow Puzzle Game it’s up to you to make sure each cat gets fed the ice cream they love until they can’t hold any more and end up exploding. Perhaps you just want to master one of those arts that are supposed to be designed for defense and not offense. If you don’t mind stepping into the feet of a chicken there’s Tiger & Chicken, a fun action game with giant crabs, floating elemental spirits and Shaolin trained poultry.
With school back in full swing, Mobile Systems – one of the largest publishers of dictionary apps on iOS – is offering Concise Oxford English Dictionary with Audio for the iPhone and iPad completely free. Normally sold at $19.99, this popular dictionary has over 240,000 words, phrases, and definitions, and over 50,000 audio pronunciations of both common and rare words. Suffice to say that this is probably more than adequate for the average person. To compare, the non-concise version ($49.99) includes over 350,000 words and 75,000 audio pronunciations. This freebie offer is only good for today (Sept 3rd), after which the price will stay at $0.99 until Sept 9th.
Mikey’s been a busy boy. He’s still looking for shorts and fighting bad guys, and now he’s added grapple hooking to his repertoire. This sequel to the game Mikey Shorts feels very similar to the first installment, but sometimes that’s okay, as is the case here. The levels are quick, the challenge builds up nicely over time, and you can decide whether you want to make it about the stars, the cash or simply getting to the finish line. Plus there are a whole lot of costumes to collect for those of you that like collecting things.
There were some pretty interesting releases this week, and I think this list presents a decent cross-section of the lot. After bringing us a quirky puzzle game in the form of Tiny Story!, On5 takes us in a totally different direction with Indie Pixel. In this online only game you are a pixel, and you must work together with other players to form certain shapes before time runs out. If you prefer a more serene approach to things you might want to give Cloud Spin a try. This high flying adventure will test your skills if you want, but you can just as easily enjoy it by indulging in Free Flight mode and just enjoying your surroundings. Then there’s American Greetings, who didn’t so much provide the community with a solid set of games as they offered gamers a new way to pay. Buy an App Coin to unlock the game, and even folks without an iTunes account can “gift” specific games to their friends.
Macphun’s Snapheal, an extremely easy to use photo editing software for Mac and highlighted by Apple as “Best of 2012″ in the photography section, is now Free until September 3rd. Normally priced at $14.99, Snapheal lets users remove objects, blemishes, text and other unwanted distractions from photos - as well as perform general image enhancements - with just a few clicks. It’s certainly not as feature laden or powerful as Photoshop, but for what it does, it does it well and fast. To score your free copy, head over to Snapheal’s giveaway page and enter your name and email. Then share it either on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ and the download link and activation code will be sent to your inbox. Check out more info and the app in action after the break.
Gamers are always clamouring for that next big thing that they’ve never played before. I would hope that at least once in a while something new would come along, but I don’t hold my breath for it. Instead, my main concern is that developers focus on ways to take the styles of game play that we have grown to love and make them even more interesting. Personally I feel Rejected Games has done just that with An Alien with a Magnet. I find myself loading it up even when I had the intention of playing something completely different, simply because I want to take it for another spin. You might almost say it has a magnetic quality about it. But we don’t go for those bad puns around here.