30 best iPhone and iPad apps this week
(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A little later than usual, here's our weekly roundup of the most notable new apps for iPhone and iPad, following Friday's publication of the weekly best Android apps roundup.
As ever, the price in brackets refers to the initial download: often (Free) means (Freemium) with in-app purchases. Read on for this week's roundup: Temple Run 2 (Free) Dealt with at more length in the full review last week, Temple Run 2 is a logical sequel to the hugely-popular endless runner, bumping up the graphics, adding a mine-cart section and more customisation for the characters.iPhone / iPad NewsWhip (Free) I'm still thinking about raising VC money for an aggregation app to aggregate all the news aggregation apps. It's an aggregation play... Flippancy aside, NewsWhip is an interesting addition to the massed ranks of such apps, claiming to scan "a billion people on Facebook and Twitter" to see which stories are popular right now, then serving them up in category-based streams.iPhone / iPad Rolling Stone Magazine (Free) Only available in the US for now – a shame given its global reputation – Rolling Stone magazine finally has its own iPad app. Charging $1.99 a month, $19.99 a year or $4.99 per issue, it's a replica of the print edition with added streaming samples of songs and iTunes Store links.iPad Kingdom Conquest II (Free) Remember when Sega's Super Monkey Ball was the first big hit in the App Store's early days Now the veteran publisher is finding its way in the free-to-play market too, with strategy game Kingdom Conquest having been a sizeable hit. This sequel mixes up card-battling, real-time strategy and 3D dungeoneering, with in-app purchases funding your ambitions.iPhone / iPad Herd Absurd! (£1.99) Herd Absurd! is a characterful take on those children's books where you flip sections of the page to put different heads, bodies and legs of characters together. Here, it's animals that your kids will be mixing and matching, with suitably-cheeky animations making them smile along the way.iPhone / iPad Final Fantasy All The Bravest (£2.49) I have mixed feelings including this game. It's certainly notable: a brand new Final Fantasy action-strategy game designed for mobile. Yet it's also one of the more controversial exponents of in-app purchases in recent memory: not just charging 69p to unlock "premium" characters – there are 35 to collect but you get a random one each time – but also charging for hourglasses needed to re-enter battles quickly when you get defeated.iPhone / iPad Car Jack Streets: Directors Cut (Free) Openly inspired by the original top-down Grand Theft Auto games, Car Jack Streets was an early hit on the App Store. Now it's been rebooted as a free-to-play game, as you drive around Jack City completing nefarious missions to pay off your Mob debts. iPhone / iPad Riven for iPad (£3.99) Several games out in the last week will be giving gamers of a certain age a nostalgic glow. Riven is the sequel to adventure game Myst, with a similarly-enormous footprint on your iOS device – 1.93GB. It looks an accurate conversion of the original PC game, which sees you exploring a beautiful-looking world.iPad Britain in 2013 magazine (£3.99) Britain in 2013 Freezing! But thankfully Immediate Media's new app has its sights set on loftier topics than a spot of snow. It aims to showcase "the state of the nation through the realm of social science", from climate change (okay, a bit on snow) through to police behaviour, our ageing society and educational reforms.iPhone / iPad PinYinPal (Free) iPad app PinYinPal looks a lot like Words With Friends (well, Scrabble, obviously) but it's actually got even-more educational ambitions. It's actually an app for learning Chinese through play, as you use letters of the alphabet to spell traditional Mandarin characters. A clever idea that looks good for anyone learning Chinese.iPad American Idol Official (Free) It's a little while before X Factor fever strikes again in the UK, but over in the US the viewing public are already gearing up for the new American Idol series. It's got a very slick second-screen app too, with voting, social feeds, video clips and news on the contestants and judges.iPhone / iPad GroupVox (Free) A few years ago, the idea of Push-To-Talk (PTT for short) was all the rage among some mobile operators, who thought adding walkie-talkie features to phones was The Future. It wasn't. Can the idea make a comeback with apps GroupVox hopes so: it's a walkie-talkie app for talking to your Facebook friends, including the ability to record messages for people when they're offline.iPhone Conor Maynard (Free) Increasingly, music artists' apps are going beyond pure news, tweets and iTunes links, which is good. In the case of youthful star Conor Maynard, his app's twist is a photo-sharing feature that puts him in the photo with you, lets you scribble your own messages on top (OMG!) then share to social networks.iPhone Pitchero (Free) A few companies have had a bash at creating connected sports apps, with Fanatix being the most high-profile here in the UK. Now Pitchero is entering the market, but with a wider focus on sports clubs at all levels, including non-league. Its app offers news, fixtures, tables, photos and videos and other content from more than 10,000 clubs. iPhone Jongla (Free) More messaging, but this time the instant variety. Jongla is a new cross-platform messaging app with hopes (even if they're slim hopes) of taking on WhatsApp and the like. Sharing photos and locations is included, and the app uses push notifications to ensure messages aren't missed.iPhone Heroes and Castles (£1.49) There are more orcs, goblins and giants than you can shake a (great big flaming) stick at in this impressive castle-defence game, which throws in action-RPG elements to put you in the heart of the battle. It sees you taking on hordes of monsters while upgrading your castle walls and buildings to keep your army in spiffing condition.iPhone / iPad The Land of Me - Shape, Size and Colour (£1.99) British startup Made In Me has been exploring interactive children's fiction with its The Land of Me apps, scooping a BAFTA nomination in the process. This latest example focuses on, yes, shapes, sizes and colours as kids create monsters, animals and vehicles.iPad Five Little Monkeys Play Hide and Seek (£1.49) Here's another app for kids, this time from US publisher Oceanhouse Media (of Dr. Seuss apps fame). It's a digital version of a book starring five cheeky monkeys trying to get out of bedtime by playing games. Expect rhyming text, lots of chances to practise counting, and a mixture of voice narration and word-highlighting to help young readers.iPhone / iPad The Sun Smile (Free) Also covered last week in a standalone story, this is a new appy spin-off from The Sun newspaper, serving up "the day's funniest stories" in a free app, tying in with News International's latest marketing campaign.iPhone Crazy Blind Date by OKCupid (Free) Better when used in the US than in the UK by all accounts, but still an interesting launch. Released by dating website OKCupid, this strips the idea of online dating down to suggesting a time and place, then seeing who's in the area for a speedy blind date there.iPhone Amazing Alex Free (Free) It seems harsh to criticise Rovio's Amazing Alex for not being an Angry Birds-sized hit, given that nothing has been an Angry Birds-sized hit apart from Angry Birds. Now the puzzler is getting a second lease of life as a cut-down free title, with 16 levels to play before deciding whether to upgrade to the full version's 100+ puzzles.iPhone / iPad Medical Recorder (Free) There are all sorts of hurdles to jump before new technology can be adopted across the board by doctors and the medical professions. Still, some individuals – and medical students in particular – may be attracted by this app, which helps them take voice notes, text and images when treating patients.iPhone Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan (£1.49) Dublin developer bitSmith games has a hit on its hands in its native Ireland with Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan, but the game deserves a wider audience too. It's an action-RPG with plenty of monsters and puzzles to negotiate, but its appeal is as much in its lovely hand-drawn graphics.iPad D.O.T. Defender of Texel (Free) Here's a game from Japanese social games giant DeNA (well, its Mobage subsidiary) which sees you doing battle with robots and dragons in a pixelly 8-bit universe. Your job is to explore the world, evolve your characters and tinker with battle formations to get the best results.iPhone Tomo Garage (£0.69) There are dozens – if not hundreds – of independent developers making quirky, fun apps for children. Thats Junior is one of them with Tomo Garage, which sees kids playing a letter-blocks game to collect virtual items, which they can then play with. No in-app purchases involved.iPhone / iPad Blue Stage by Sennheiser (Free) Blue Stage is an iPad magazine for audiophiles, created by audio firm Sennheiser. With a new issue due every month, it'll offer a mixture of features, videos and music promising to "turn you from the average sound buff into a fully-fledged sound connoisseur".iPad Underground Kingdom (£1.99) We've covered retro games, but what about retro game-books Underground Kingdom is an attempt to rethink the Choose Your Own Adventure books that were all the rage in the 1980s. That means a story – complete with artwork and animation – with choices for you to make along the way to decide how it progresses.iPad OrSaveIt (Free) This is a great idea for anyone whose new year's resolution is "stop blowing my salary on booze / fags / CDs / other consumable goods that, let's face it, aren't going to make me happy in the long run (possibly)". The idea: you choose an amount of money that you want to save, and then tell the app every time you DON'T spend money on a range of things – which counts up against your saving goal.iPhone DataMan Next (£0.69) DataMan Next could also be a handy money-saver, but this time to track data usage on your iPhone in real-time, so you know when you're in danger of going over your limit. Colourful alerts make it even clearer when you're at risk of slamming into per-MB charges.iPhone Chromasphere (£0.69) Steering balls around multi-levelled, ahem, levels has a long and rich history on all gaming platforms, so Chromasphere has a reassuringly familiar feel. It uses the accelerometer to guide its sphere through a series of obstacle-strewn levels.iPhone / iPad That's our selection, but what have you been using on your iOS device recently Make your recommendations with a comment, or pass judgement on the apps above.
(c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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