Recent App Reviews
I have nothing against simple games. I don’t even necessarily care if the look or sound the best (as long as they look and sound better than something I could do). However, when a game doesn’t play well all the rest sort of really doesn’t matter much. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case with Alien Strike. What could have been an all right Defender clone has such a wonky control scheme that it’s almost not playable unless you set it to indestructible mode, at which point it’s no longer any fun anyway.
Translate Now! is a new free app that uses Google Translate to let you do translations between 36 languages. You can easily paste text into the translation window and copy the translation text to the clipboard. Plus, you can e-mail translated text from within the application. The application automatically increases the text size for languages such as Hindi or Japanese. It works with iPhone 3.0 software and requires an Internet connection. Also available is Free Translator, which also uses Google Translate and which is ad-supported.
My first experience with Mina’s adventures, which are loosely based on the stories of Jules Verne, was with Return To Mysterious Island on a Windows Mobile device. It was one of my favorite portable adventure games, and the iPhone version proved to be an even slightly better experience. Imagine my delight, then, when I found out that there was going to be a sequel on the iPhone. I couldn’t wait for this game to come out, and now that I have it I’m not quite as excited. It’s nice to be back in Mina and Jep’s life again, but I’m not finding this adventure quite as engaging as the first time around. I also still don’t see some much needed tweaks to the game engine from the first time around. Still, Secrets Of Mysterious Island should provide some thoughtful game time for true adventure gamers. As a bit of advance warning, there might be a spoiler or two in this review, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
You probably have people who are hard to buy for and could use a bit of inspiration for ideas. Try 2,100 Gift Ideas ($1.99). It offers gift ideas from hundreds of online stores. The gifts range from electronics and jewelry to things you might not even have known existed. You can choose gifts from various categories, such as Mom, Dad, Kids, Him, Her. Plus, you can sort by price so that you only see suggestions in a particular price range. You give your iPhone a shake, and it then starts serving up gift ideas.
[Edited this 12/9/09 to reflect the app's new name.]
WorkSnug is an Augmented Reality application for the iPhone 3GS which connects mobile workers to the nearest and best places to work.
The company has sent people into the field to personally review hundreds of places to work. Observations include information about power provision, atmosphere, noise levels and even the quality of the coffee.
Launching first in London, with San Francisco, New York, Berlin, Madrid and two other cities expected in the early weeks of 2010.
I badly want Waze to be a success because the idea is just so perfect: a free navigation app that integrates user-generated traffic information. So, you're stuck in traffic someplace, you whip our your iPhone, and let the world know that they ought to take a different route if they're traveling the same road that you are. It's a wonderful example of crowdsourcing. The trick is to get lots of people to use it. And increasingly people are. But if you live someplace where there's not much coverage, the app has less value than other places where it's really caught on.
Apple has recently added a new listing in the App Store called Top Grossing apps. It appears in the right margin under the listings of Paid Apps and Free Apps. Simply put, the top grossing apps are the ones that are making the most money — an indication of how much they're valued. If somebody's willing to plunk down $9.99 for Call of Duty, the current top-grossing app, it must be pretty good. If you look at the ratings for the top apps in this category, they're typically very high.
RedLaser ($1.99) is currently one of the top-selling apps, and for good reason: It's a great aid to shopping. The concept is very simple — the app uses your iPhone's camera to scan a barcode, and then the app does an online product search to find the lowest price among hundreds of thousands of retailers. Maybe you're in a mall and you scan an item and find that a different store in the same mall has it for a lower price. Features include the ability to limit your search to lower prices in nearby stores, e-mail a results list, e-mail a barcode, and a favorites feature for keeping a wish list of products.
Want to know what's new on the iPhone? Want to research an app? Now you can get all the news you want related to the iPhone right on your iPhone - anywhere, anytime!
From the iPhone Life app, you can access current news related to the iPhone, read iPhone app reviews, and learn a variety of tips and tricks for making the iPhone work for you.
Mall Maps is a definite keeper on my iPhone!
This app contains more than 1,000 malls, shopping centers and plazas in all 50 states. You can locate malls by browsing your current location (GPS) or by browsing a list of states. Alternatively, you can input the zip code of the area you are planning to visit.
The app displays the malls in your selected location, as well as a store list and floor plan for each selected mall.
You can even get directions to the mall by selecting "Get directions," which provides directions to the mall on Google Maps.