With the new year well underway, and, many people excited about this year’s new health and fitness resolutions, I thought it would be a good idea to review a wonderful gem found in the App Store. When it comes to staying fit, our gadgets and some well chosen apps can actually give us the edge or the push needed to reach higher levels of athletic performance. If, like me, your goal is to attain better overall health while using an app that’s not going to break the bank on your iDevice — and having fun at the same time — you must read on. I completed some intensive testing of an app called ‘MyFitnessPal‘, which integrates both nutritional and physical performance metrics, turning your iPhone or iPad into a powerful training tool.
I’m all for the latest trends in technology. In the end, though, I just want my games to be fun. If there’s one thing the METAL SLUG series has proven over and over again it’s that you don’t need the latest 3D accelerated graphics or quad core processor to make an enjoyable game. In fact, as a whole it seems like ports of older games provide some of the most intense scrolling shooter experiences available on the iOS platform. Besides, there’s something about awesome pixel art and classic 90’s video game tunes that’s hard to beat these days.
This week had a lot of titles that were both entertaining and cute, starting with the new puzzler Goats and Gadgets. Your task in each of the 40 levels is to get one goat to the desired apple, mastering all the different gadgets at your disposal and dealing with things like yetis and trolls. If platform action is more your style you might want to give Burt Destruction a shot. Spending just a little bit of time with this game was enough to realize the developers have some familiarity with classic platforming romps, and the sense of humor is actually quite funny. Now if you want something that’s just downright silly the Bunny Hill is the game for you. This 2D side view racer takes place between a bunch of cube shaped animals, and while there’s really not a whole lot to it before long you’ll find yourself tilting your device in a vein attempt to make your rabbit go faster.
While iOS’ autocorrect feature is fairly competent, there are undoubtedly times when users have wished that its text prediction was much improved. Enter Fleksy, the iOS app released last year where the developers called it the “most powerful text prediction engine out there”, has been embraced by thousands of users who are able to type on their iPhones and iPads without having to even look at the keyboard. The app was after all designed with the visually impair in mind. With its most recent update (new gestures, new menu and increased accuracy), the devs have also announced that the app has gone free (the full version was previously $4.99) – now and forever.
I’ve always been partial to turn based strategy games because I tend to have difficulties processing everything that’s going on all at once when the action is real time. However, I began taking an interest in the real time side of things again when I was introduced to what I call “strategy lite” games where you basically have one screen full of stuff to deal with and the action is mostly relegated to simply trying to take over your opponents’ structures. With no resource management, no complex troop management and advanced quests providing fun but unnecessary diversions, games like Mushroom Wars still provide a decent level of strategy but supply it in a nice pick up and go package.
To celebrate both the successful launch of Pixel People and Valentine’s Day, Chillingo and LambdaMu Games have released a fact-filled Pixel People Infographic. The highly addictive town building sim (which Eric touched on in the recent New Games roundup) is the latest on the block to drain the iOS population of their productivity. If you’re already deep into the game, you’ll appreciate the numbers found within, like how in the past 2 weeks, 232 years were spent playing Pixel People, or 19,680,022 clones were spliced. And as a V-Day’s special, all in-game Utopium prices have been slashed for a limited time. If you’ve yet to check it out, you have nothing to lose (other than your time) as the sim builder is completely free to play.
One of my favorite titles released this week is actually a fairly straightforward port of an almost 15 year old game. Metal Slug 2 hit the App Store with guns blazing, and just like its predecessor proved that you don’t need 3D to enjoy lots of things blowing up. The action is intense, the visuals are quite detailed and turning into a zombie temporarily never gets old. For the puzzle aficionados we have Stick To It!, a game about knowing when to hold it and when to let go. Instead of swiping or launching or otherwise interacting to get your character from point A to its mother’s arms you simply touch the screen to make him stick and let go to let him roll. If you prefer your action in the sky instead of on the ground you should give After Burner Climax a try. This is a port of a 2006 game whose roots go back to the late 1980’s, and gives you the chance to pilot one of three sleek jets as you take on tons of enemies across more than 20 different landscapes.
It’s that time again. Actually, 2013 is going to be a big year for Tin Man Games, and they’re kicking it off with the release of Fighting Fantasy: House Of Hell, the next in their line of Fighting Fantasy adventures. This one takes place in a creepy mansion and in addition to all the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect adds the element of fear to keep you on your toes (literally, it’s a new skill that gets tracked). Racing fans that like something besides the traditional Daytona type fare should check out Table Top Racing. This over the top racer actually takes the micro machines approach to the genre with 8 tracks, 10 different cars to unlock and upgrade and several multi-player options. If you’re looking for some lite strategy Monsterra could be just the game for you. The rules are simple, individual games go quite quickly and you can either play against the computer or another player depending on your preferences.
Skype for iPad has been updated to version 4.5 and with it, comes several new additions:
- The app automatically reconnects a dropped call when wifi or 3/4G network reception is poor
- Add money to your Skype account from within the app to call mobile/landlines worldwide or send SMS (currently only available in US, UK, France, Sweden and Estonia)
- Swipe from left of the screen to open a new sidebar of your recent conversations
We’re working together with the team at Free App Alliance to highlight a great free app for you to check out.
This digital iPhone adaptation of the best-selling Ticket to Ride board game (now free for a limited time) features four different game modes: Solo, Pass-and-Play, Local, and Multi. That last one allows you to dip in and out of multiple asynchronous matches against opponents from around the world.
For those of you who’re unfamiliar with Alan R. Moon’s classic board game, you have to build profitable rail networks across Europe and North America before your opponents do the same. A brief walkthrough of how the popular board game’s played after the break.