Recent App Reviews
The SnapMyLife app for the iPhone lets you take pictures and share them with family or friends via the SnapMyLife photo site. You can share your day in photos, keep up with friends or family, or check out someone’s life on the other side of the world. Post a photo, comment on pictures, or make a “friends” list of people whose pictures you like. New features are added frequently—check it out!
I also played with Imagine Poker Touch, a crazy game that lets you play Texas Hold ‘Em with Lincoln, Napoleon, Mona Lisa, Little Red Riding Hood, and other historical or fictional characters. You compete as one of the initially-unlocked characters, with a stake of $200. When you beat the players at one table, which isn’t always that easy, you move on to another.
Virtual Pool is a great 3D pool simulation that’s available for a variety of platforms, now including the iPhone/iPod touch. Although it’s pretty easy to get started, you still have to get used to the look of the table. The cue ball always appears slightly larger than the ball you’re aiming it at, and you have to develop a “feel” for how hard or soft you have to hit it. You don’t win at your local pool hall by simply flicking your thumb over your phone—you have to figure out how to wield that cue stick!
Texas Hold ‘Em is Apple’s version of the popular poker variant. It includes near-lifelike videos of each player’s tics and tells as they decide whether to call, raise, or fold. Unfortunately, after playing with the same dozen or so characters, I still have no consistent feeling for who’s bluffing.
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The only drawback that I could find to Firemint’s Real Racing is the iPod’s small screen. The game graphics and special effects are so good that I was wishing I could play it on a much larger screen. The sights, sounds and detailed racing scenery are all exquisite. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read more to find out why you will want to grab this fabulously intense racing game with on-line leagues, YouTube video syncing, WiFi head-to-head action and more.
I saw some decent reviews for this one in the App Store, and the price was low, so I figured I’d check it out. Armageddon Squadron is a decent game overall, and I warmed to it more with time. It offers a lot of play options and scenarios that are engaging. For example, gameplay is not restricted to a front aerial view. Some of the missions require you to switch to a top-down bomber view so that you can accurately place bombs on targets below.
Armageddon Squadron: Bogie at 12 o’clock (left), and bombing a supply factory (right).
Hellfire takes you back to the cold war era, when the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. were locked in an escalating race for military supremacy. The original Hellfire game for the Windows Mobile platform came out around 2004, and was dubbed Hellfire: Apache vs. Hind. The title is misleading—it makes it sound like an air-to-air combat game between two helicopters. It’s listed in the category of strategy games by the vendor, but most of the game involves direct combat between a helicopter you control and “bogies” controlled by the computer. (You choose to pilot either the Apache or Hind.) The original game was nicely executed and fun to play, and so is the newer version.
Hour of Heroes begins with an awesome preview sequence of the game. When the scenes first rolled, I thought I was watching a movie. The game itself is not quite as vivid as the promo, but it’s close.
The animated actions and effects are smooth, and the shading is quite realistic. From plumes of smoke to an enemy being shot, the game graphics are simply amazing—the highest quality I have seen thus far on the iPhone or Touch. In addition, the sound is very realistic. You can hear your squad buddies and German Army units shouting amidst the crack of small arms fire and the rumble of armor and artillery.
Years ago, when I got my first PDA, I imagined a day when I could speak to any person on the planet using a personal language translator. Future Apps, Inc. has nearly fulfilled that dream with its series of iSpeak language translation references, including iSpeak Spanish shown here. The user still has to peck away on the onscreen keyboard to enter the word or phrase, but iSpeak will display the translation and “speak” it accurately. Translations work in either direction (English to Spanish or Spanish to English). The output is very accurate. This is a self-contained app.