Welcome to the Friday App Wrap, where we share with you some of the standouts from the mobile phone apps that we find each week.
Friday, 18 January 2013
2013 has opened with a bang: the launch of Hundreds, a puzzle game with simplicity at its core, where you hold down on the circles to bring the score up to a total of 100. The problem? The circles aren't allowed to touch while you're holding them ... and they move around. Tremendous, tricky fun.
Temple Run was copied a heck of a lot, and was starting to look a bit shabby amongst all the new, shiny competition. No longer: the sequel is out, and it looks gorgeous. New gameplay features — including zip-lines, traps and a Pitfall-style mine cart — keep things fresh, while retaining the Temple Run we know and love.
Wipeout-style hovercraft racing is all the rage, it seems. In Repulze, though, you're not racing against other craft; instead, you have to beat the clock. It makes the game rather more zen, without removing the challenge.
Grammar nerds are going to love this one. The idea behind it is so strange and so brilliant: you're proofreading homework to earn money to pay off your student debts. It's American, so some spelling might be a little unfamiliar, but if you consider yourself a language whiz, then give it a try.
From Aussie developer Kumobius — the developer behind fun platformer Bean's Quest — comes Time Surfer. At first glance, it looks a lot like Tiny Wings, with the same core mechanic of holding down in valleys to gather momentum to fly high, but the addition of various obstacles and the ability to rewind time make it quite a different game indeed.
In recent weeks, Squenix has really been ponying up the releases, with several designed specifically for a mobile interface. Final Fantasy: All the Bravest is kind of like Final Fantasy on drugs. It has a bunch of well-loved characters from across the Final Fantasy franchise, fighting monsters using Final Fantasy's turn-based battle system ... only amped up to ludicrous speed. We're not quite sure what to make of it, but at least it's cheap by Squenix standards.
If none of the multitude of to-do lists on the App Store float your boat, then perhaps Finish will be the droid you're looking for. You can sort your tasks by how much time you have to complete them — short, mid and long term — set a completion date and a reminder date, and the app won't bug you until it's time for that reminder, moving up in the queue as the deadline looms. Completed tasks are automatically filed away, too.
The Sydney Festival is half over now, but you can still get some mileage out of this free app. It has a full listing of all events, searchable by date, category, alphabetical order, keywords and mood, and even includes an interactive map of Sydney so that you can find what's happening near you.
Hands up if you think Evernote could use a few more food-specific functions. Well, here it is. Joining Evernote's stable of apps comes Evernote Food, an app that lets you take detailed notes on what you eat, where you eat it, what you want to eat and how to cook it.
We love a good roguelike, and Dungelot ticks most of the boxes: easy to pick up and play, clear graphics and lots of loot. It just needs the health to drop a little more often. Nevertheless, its simple addictiveness makes it a solid addition to your app drawer.
What if — stay with us here — you could play Portal ... on your Android? Mobile dev Rexet Studio has kind of made it happen, with a game that involves a Portal gun, companion cubes and a bunch of mind-bending puzzles. Also, Rexet has a lot of other great games, including one based on The SCP Foundation, so we kind of love it now.
You guys, it's Lode Runner! Officially ported! Classic, 8-bit gameplay, with 150 levels that are unlocked from the get-go, so you can access any level at any time, and collect the gold while dodging the foes. It includes two different game modes, adjustable game speeds and colour schemes and multiple control systems. There's been no mention of the 1983 game's level editor, though.
I have Robot Invaders' Wind-up Knight on both my Android and iOS devices; I keep it in a folder labelled "Best games". So the arrival of the developer's second game was a moment of glee for me, and one that paid off. It's a colour-matching game combined with a tower of Babel-type deal, and Tetris, kind of: you lob fruit into jelly blobs of matching colours below to stop them from climbing up and taking over the world.
Imagine Mario Kart with online multiplayer via your mobile device, and a steampunk theme that allows you to upgrade your vehicles with all kinds of fancy weapons and power-ups. From the maker of Tiki Kart 3D.
This absolutely gorgeously designed little game is a very relaxing take on planetary exploration, mining and space shooting — one of those games that will have you playing for hours. Or until your battery runs out.
Exercise can be pretty boring. Cue Fitocracy, the program that socially gamifies your workout. It allows you to set programs, level up, unlock achievements, beat quests — and share it all with your friends. It's one of the coolest ideas for a fitness tracker we've ever seen, and now Android users can get in on the action.
As far as its function as a calendar, diary and to-do list goes, we're not entirely sure that Zime is all that great at execution — but it looks really stylish while it's doing what it does. Let's hope that it can iron out the kinks.
If you're looking for a good video player for your Android device, you could do a lot worse than Archos. The app that lets you play pretty much any video file type has had a big update, fixing a bunch of bugs on a variety of devices.
This game is presumably named the way it is because it's a side-scrolling shooter where your ship is actually a dragon, which is pretty sweet. It's also nicely designed; it's a not particularly deep, but nevertheless fun little arcade game for Xbox Live.
We love this particular flavour of puzzle game. You have to connect same-coloured squares on a grid, completely filling in all the squares — but without letting the coloured lines ever overlap. It starts off pretty easy, but gets challenging very quickly.
This beautifully designed puzzle game surprisingly comes from a first-time developer. It sees you navigating a little Tron-like wheel around a space filled with obstacles in a sort of cell-shaded 3D landscape.
As far as newsreaders go, Fuse is brilliant, allowing you to collate all of your feeds in one stunning interface. It includes Google Reader integration, in-app YouTube support, download for offline reading, Instapaper and Pocket support, categories for grouping your feeds and three different themes for an interface that suits your style.
It never hurts to have this type of app, although it's also the type that you hope never to have to use. It allows you to connect immediately with your loved ones in the case of disaster or emergency via text or email, and to update people with an emergency post to your Facebook — all with just a few taps.
Got a hot app tip to share? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Behmor's app controlled coffee maker links to the Web for better brewing
The $329 Behmor Connected Coffee Brewer boasts the guts of an SCAA-approved drip coffee maker melded with a Wi-Fi radio, plus Internet links and mobile app control all in the interest of creating better pots of java.