Recent App Reviews
Some of my favorite action games are scrolling shooters, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t include at least one in this lineup. As with the platform games, scrolling shooters have been somewhat ignored on the
iPhone. Like Ignite, iFighter does a decent job of overcoming the lack of physical control buttons and even provides the user with three different control schemes from which to choose.
Platform games are not as popular on the iPhone because of game control issues. You have to use the accelerometer or touch screen to move and shoot, and these controls can’t quite re–create the feel of a physical joypad. Still, some of these games exist, and it’s a shame when a good one comes along—one that circumvents most of the control issues—and goes largely unnoticed.
This nice, little, Gauntlet clone does a great job of capturing the look and feel of older RPG games being played on graph paper. Given the retro premise of the game, the graphics in SketchDungeon are quite well done. The sound effects are also good—you get some unique and unexpected grunts and groans from some of the creatures. (I chuckle every time the main character says “yum” after gobbling up a piece of food.) The combination of using the accelerometer to move and screen taps to shoot works amazingly well. You can also pinch the screen to zoom in and out, but be careful when you do this.
In a market that seems to thrive on Bejeweled clones, it’s surprising that this one didn’t make a bigger splash in the iPhone and iPod touch community. Its graphics and music alone make it worthwhile, but the goofy-looking monsters really set Gemmed! apart. On each level you must guide the different colored monsters to exits by feeding them gems, all of which have to be of the same color. As the monster consumes the gems, its power meter at the bottom of the screen increases. When the meter is full, the monster gets an increase in power. The game has four game modes, with the “Classic” mode alone containing 75 levels. All this makes Gemmed!
Strongholds is one of the best of the few, true strategy games in the App Store. Your challenge is simple: destroy the enemy’s command center or build up yours to the required number of points.
All of your buildings are already constructed, and there are no troops to control. Instead, everything is played out using action cards that you purchase using resources you acquire as you play the game. (The cards you purchase are randomly distributed by the computer.) The action cards affect factors of either or both of the camps.
I didn’t think I’d enjoy a game in which a fuzzy, red creature juggles other fuzzy creatures; however, this one is surprisingly addictive. It lets you juggle one, two, or three of the fuzzy little “Uggles,” and the longer you keep them in the air, the faster they go. (It gets downright frantic when you have three Uggles going at full speed.) In the beginning, you get to choose from three types of Uggles, but as you earn points you can unlock others. The different types have no effect on game play, but they look cool. In fact, the graphics in general are very nicely done.
You may think you’ve played this game before. Worse yet, you might believe you’re good at this game. You’d be wrong. While taking a cue from games such as Snood and Bust-A-Move, Eyegore’s Eye Blast is probably the most creative variant of this game I’ve played in a long time, or possibly ever. The game is challenging, frustrating and fun, all at the same time. And once I learned the secret to controlling your destiny even more, the game rose to a whole new level of cool.
People have some pretty amazing photos stored on their iPhone, and some of them are very personal—to be shared with a loved one only, or with no one at all! In addition, some people keep sensitive work-related photos on their device. The iPhone is a very portable device, easy to lose or leave lying on a table at your mom’s house. Private Pics provides a password protected area on your iPhone to store sensitive or very personal photos. (Also check out Find My iPhone, a new OS 3.0 feature that will help you locate your device if you ever lose it.)
Whether you’re moving into a new apartment or doing a living room makeover, one of the most important decisions you make will be the selection of the right color of paint. As luck would have it, you’re visiting a friend’s house and you see the perfect color. Unfortunately, he doesn’t remember its name or where he got it. What do you do?
Even the best of us have had laundry accidents. Whether it’s a red towel in with the whites or a wool sweater shrunk to mini-me proportions in the dryer—we’ve all “been there, done that.” Laundry Pal is like a decoder ring for clothing tags. Located on all clothing are tags with fabric care symbols that tell you how to wash and dry the item. Laundry Pal tells you what the symbols mean and how to properly handle the article. If you’re ever on the fence about whether that new cardigan should be washed with the rest of your delicates, consult your Laundry Pal!