Fun game allows kids to build on the go!
We're quite familiar with Toca Boca apps over here, and we've loved every app we've gotten our hands on. Between the fantastic free-play atmosphere, the well designed graphics, and the fun game play mechanics, we've come to expect greatness from them. When we found out about Toca Builders, we knew we had to check it out immediately.
An iOS clipboard manager you didn't know you needed
If you don't happen to know what a clipboard manager is, you need one. If you do and you've also tried out a couple, you know why you need it and you know just how hard it will be to make you give them up. Not to rub it in if you haven't tried one yet but they have been around for a very long time – or at least they have on Macs. With iPhone and iPads, it's really taken until iOS 8 for them to be possible. Clips is a free clipboard manager for iOS and it is just about as good as Apple allows it to be.
What if Blooper from Super Mario Bros had its own game?
Zoidtrip by Arthur Guibert is a game about a squid-like sentient kite ... or something. It's a simple arcade-style scrolling game of avoiding walls for as long as you possibly can. It's free-to-play with advertisements, though an in-app purchase unlocks all the possible Zoids and removes the ads. Long story short, we found it to be a cheerful time-waster with a boppy soundtrack, and we're really bad at it.
Quickly create affiliate links for your website
There is an argument that Blink is a single-use app for a very specific and therefore limited market: it helps you quickly make App Store links with a code in to get you some money. If you don't happen to know how affiliate links work, you just sat up. If you do, you didn't. It is not a road to making a lot of money but when it's done in a way that benefits your website audience then then it is a good thing all round.
E pluribus shoot'em
Trial of the Clone by Tin Man Games is an iOS-based Gamebook adventure of the book by the same name by Zach Weinersmith of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal fame. Much like the other Gamebook adventure we recently covered, Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be, the story is presented by the app in a choose-your-own-adventure like format. However Trial of the Clone makes better use of the Gamebook engine with inventory items, stats, and random number generators. On top of all that, it's read to you by Wil Wheaton, so if you don't like reading you're covered. Don't like Wil Wheaton? That's okay, you can turn him off in the settings. If you dislike both reading and Wil Wheaton at the same time, turn to page 7.
MacNN and Electronista daily deals for March 27, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, our regular look at the discounts, offers, sales, and other money-saving items for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, we recap the still-active deals from over the last week, as well as introducing new items, including a cheap Disney Infinity entry point, a Microsoft Xbox One to play it on, and 3TB WD Red hard drives.
It's like Tinder for your camera roll!
The app's full name in iTunes is "Flic – Delete & Manage Camera Roll and Easily Delete Photos to Increase Disk Space", but we're just going to call it "Flic" from here on out. Lifehack Labs says it's like Tinder for your camera roll (or Grindr, or whatever "swipe right for yes, left for no" dating app you prefer). In spite of it having a very simple function and interface, the developers -- Lifehack Labs -- put a lot of thought into Flic.
Turn-based strategy war game about winning hearts and minds as well as battle set in the Drang Valle
Vietnam… '65 by Slitherine is a turn-based strategy war game set in, you guessed it, Vietnam in 1965. Specifically the Ia Drang Valley, right near the Cambodian border, where the player is in charge of a counterinsurgency effort. The enemy is sneaking in across the border, and the job gets more difficult when the player visits local villages to win hearts and minds, and constructs bases in the area.
Look out Hypnotoad Look out Glow Cloud ALL HAIL TICKLEFLUFF
Attempting to describe Ticklefluff by Liger Games so as to properly prepare a person for what they're about to experience is a daunting task. It's a game where the player is given commands by an adorable tuft of fur. When we described it as that, and handed off our iPhone 5 or iPad Mini 2 with the game to other people, the reaction was usually the same. It would start with confusion. The chin tucked back, the eyebrows furrowed, and the lips pursed into a thin line. Then, like the sun coming through parting clouds, a smile begins to spread across the face. Then the giggling starts. Finally, they make their first mistake, displeasing Ticklefluff, and they pout.
A puzzler with a narrative that's either hilarious or chilling depending on your point of view
TouchTone by Mikengreg is a cloak-and-dagger themed puzzler where the player "hacks" into communication streams to spy on your fellow citizens for an organization that recruited you. Presumably, this organization is part of the government in some way, but they never really say. The data streams are represented by various colored waving lines and corresponding receptors. The player slides shapes around on a grid to redirect the lines and make connections.
Amazon expands Prime Now one-hour deliveries to Dallas
Amazon Prime Now, the retailer's high-speed delivery service, is opening up in Dallas. Just as with its other Prime Now locations, Prime subscribers in the fourth location will be able to use a mobile app on iOS and Android to place orders for groceries and household goods, between 8am and 10pm seven days a week, with TechCrunch reporting it still costs $8 for one-hour deliveries, while two-hour deliveries are free.
Follow a funny retelling of Shakespeare's masterpiece of tragically awkward family conflict or go co
Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be by Tin Man Games is a quirky presentation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet ... or at least that story as presented by Ryan North, and illustrated by a veritable who's who of web comics. The app is one of Tin Man Games' Gamebook Adventures, a platform for stories told in a choose your own adventure style, or "find your own fate" if you had the Indiana Jones versions of those kinds of books. Choices that more-or-less match up with Shakespeare's version of how things shook out are marked with an adorable little Yorrik skull.
Unscramble letters on a beautiful game board and a relaxing soundtrack
Alpha Omega by BorderLeap is a puzzle game where all the letters in a series of intersecting words are mixed up, except for the first and the last -- hence the name. We enjoyed the clean style of the game boards and tiles, as well as the "relaxing soundscapes" vibe of the accompanying music. We tried it out on an iPhone and an iPad Mini, and it looked great on both -- and provided a lot of entertainment.
A single player boardgame with tabletop RPG style flair
Paper Dungeons by Valverde Stephane is a board game in the time-honored fantasy tradition of rolling dice to kill monsters and take their stuff. The app provides adorable art, nice sound design, and lots of board game action using a pay-once-and-play model. The look and feel of the game invokes the graph-paper mapping of table top RPGs. Everything about the art style is ... we're pretty sure the word is "adorkable." It's cute without being cutesy. Well, except for the female warrior death screen, that's pretty cutesy, but we think it's okay in that case.
Your favorite RSS feeds in the iOS Today widget
Breaking by Robocat adds your RSS feeds to the iOS Today widget. The user can have between two and five of the most recent stories from any number of RSS feeds available with a simple downward swipe. There's a bit more to the app than just that actually, and we'll talk about that. The app doesn't give you a full run-down of all the stories in the feeds you have listed; it's only for breaking information, as the name implies. We tested Breaking for iOS on an iPhone 5, and an iPad Mini 2.
Adorable game offers casual play, cute art, and relaxing music
Casual gaming gets a bad rap these days, but there's something to be said for a game that allows you to sit back, relax, and experience it as a whole. Ferry Halim could be regarded as one of the grandfathers of casual gaming, as he launched his Flash-based game website, Orisinal, back in 2000 -- and has been hard at work creating games for it ever since. Luckily for us, some of his games, such as Orisinal Rainmaker, have made it to iOS.
Apple launches web page offering free Apple Pay decal kits for businesses
A new webpage is offering merchants who support Apple Pay compatibility free decals and a guide to placement to help them make customers aware that they accept Apple's mobile payment technology. The free kit offers both window and smaller register decals, can now be ordered online for quantities up to five. For larger orders, merchants must call a special toll-free phone number.
Devilish platform promises to challenge
We love games across every genre. We like tactical games, shooters, survival games, and puzzle games. Sandbox games? Sure, we're in! But if there's one game that we love the most, perhaps even more than open-world RPGs, it's probably platformers. Yes, your basic, run-of-the-mill platformer, capable of invoking nostalgic feelings from our childhood. That's why we checked out Mr. Jump, as we were expecting a fun trip down memory lane, but instead we found a surprisingly brutal foray into the world of digital free-running.
Safe alternative to jailbreaking allows for customized icons on iPad, iPhone
The dream of every design enthusiast out there is the idea of having your own, personalized icons. Up until recently, it was a pipe dream if you weren't willing to jailbreak your iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone -- but fortunately, things have changed. Thanks to a handy little app called App Icons by Apalon Apps, you can now have the custom icons you desire, with zero of the risks associated with jailbreaking.
Battle for the land of Gilrand in this complex, immersive tactical wargame
It seems odd, considering how the hobby started, but fantasy war gaming is a welcome addition nowadays to the world of an overload of World War II-based games. There's something familiar, almost cozy, about being able to rally the troops to defeat the dragon. We took a look at Hell: Fight for Gilrand, a tactical war game by Slitherine, to see how it stacks up to other war games we've played.
Disrupting industries is the new black, great apps and fair app prices, bad jokes
The MacNN Podcast episode seven is now available, and this week we looked at the rumor that Apple is preparing to revamp the Apple TV and sweeten the pot with an optional package of channel offerings that don't require a cable subscription; Google's entry into the MVNO space; the recent Microsoft announcements about Windows 10; Facebook getting into inter-site payments; the return of Launcher to the App Store, and the removal of so-called "anti-virus" iOS apps; our latest "Living With" column; and our favorite apps of the week.
Customize your phone to be every bit as unique as you are
Phones are personal, which is probably why we spend such a large amount of time fussing over them. When it comes to personalization, we take our phone cases, our styluses, and our screen protectors very seriously, so it only makes sense that we'd think just as much about our wallpapers. That's where
Pimp Your Screen comes in, an app that offers hundreds of high-quality wallpapers to help you make a statement with your iPhone.
Our favorite robot overlord rises up again in well designed weather app
Ah, Carrot. She's our favorite of a wide array of choices for robot overlords, and the mascot for the Carrot series of apps. If you weren't aware, we had checked out Carrot To-Do a while back, which is a productivity app that keeps you productive with a strange mix of death threats and achievements. Currently, there are quite a few Carrot apps, and they're planning to add more to their collection, but today we'll take a look at Carrot Weather, because maybe your meteorologist should be a murderous robot.
A cute little puzzle-adventure-platformer involving eyeballs and tentacles
Swing Tale by FDG Entertainment is 100 levels of adventure for an unnamed cyclopean creature from whom tentacles suddenly sprout to grab onto things and swing its bouncy spherical body around the world. That may sound terrifying, but it's actually all quite adorable. We enjoyed the personality of the game, and playing around with the physics inherent in the use of tentacles as a means of transportation.
Daily deals for Friday March 20, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where we scour the Internet's major retailers to uncover the finest price cuts and discounts on technology and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today's recap of deals from earlier in the week is accompanied by a bunch of new additions, including a heavily discounted gaming laptop, a waterproof HTC digital camera, and a MSI mini-PC!
Easily download, find, manage, and play back podcasts
Devices come and go, generally every two years when your cellular plan comes up for renewal, but a good utility app transcends hardware. Downcast by Jamawkinaw Enterprises is one such app for this reviewer. We first downloaded it back when Apple spun Podcasts off into a separate app, which we didn't find very intuitive at the time. Downcast is very intuitive, and we've never looked back.
Atari offers a new way to get in shape with their personal training app
Video games are great, but they don't exactly get your blood pumping most of the time. Sure, you have your Wii Fit games and your Dance Dance Revolutions, which certainly do get you up and moving, but the genre is still somewhat lacking. Atari, creator of famed titles like Pong and Breakout, is attempting to get you up and moving with its new app, Atari Fit.
A wing-suit game that's free-to-play but also pay-to-play
Yeah, that's right. It's a game called YoloDude. Developed by Roberto Salas and produced by South Rocket Droogs, it's a survive-as-long-as-you-can arcade game. The titular "YoloDude" is a wing-suit flyer, and the player's job is to keep him in the air as long as they can. Each YoloDude, just like all of us, only has one life: hence, the name. The developers acknowledge there are people who believe in reincarnation, but state it doesn't count for the purposes of their game.
This paired down attractive fitness app is perfect for minimalists
Fitness apps are a great invention for anyone interested in keeping an exercise routine. They help us keep track of our endeavors as we strive to accomplish our goals. Some apps are so full of features that they're practically bursting; for a lot of users, that can be intimidating. If you're looking for a streamlined app that isn't going to bog you down, we might have just the app for you: Fitastic.
Notification Centre app launcher returns
When is an app not an app? When it's really there primarily to make a Notification Center widget work. Also, when is an update not really an update? When there are bug fixes, but the only true update is that the app is back in the App Store after a long gap. That's what has happened with Launcher, a widget that gives you quick app-launching direct from the Notification Center on your iOS devices. It's a simple and smart app that should never have been at the center of controversy, and it's good that you can finally get it again.
Fantastical 2 for Mac arriving March 25, only hint is revised Yosemite look
The well-regarded calendaring program, Fantastical for Mac, is about to receive a major upgrade. Version 2.0 will be launched on March 25, and will feature a revised look more in line with the Yosemite aesthetic. The company isn't saying anything about what, if any, new features the update will include, but has indicated that while there will be no upgrade pricing for existing users, a limited-time launch sale price will act to fill that role.
Powerful To Do app gets better with age
Software is personal and when an app is right for you, its impact on your working life -- or even just your life -- can be extraordinary. You don't get that impact very often, though, and unfortunately even when you do, it doesn't tend to last. I've had moments of it with Apple Maps, but my enjoyment of that has grown hand in hand with annoyances. I got quite a bit of it with Evernote, and that is now a staple of my every working day, but somehow it's become too familiar, I no longer see what was so special. You know where this is going, though. It's going to the point where I enthuse at you about OmniFocus.
Learn about the history of the space race, or create your own history
Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager by Slitherine depicts the Cold War space race from the perspective of those on one of the front lines. While populated with soldiers and military, this time, we're talking about NASA and the Soviet Space Agency. This game isn't about artillery barrages or submarines lurking about, but one of managing departments, selecting and training personnel, and balancing budgets.
Speed-boosting update to image editor free to existing users
The Pixelmator Team today released Pixelmator 1.1 -- a major update to its image editor for the iPad. Pixelmator 1.1 comes with a unique watercolor painting technology, a collection of artist-designed watercolor brushes, a new Color Picker, and stability and speed enhancements.
Embrace your inner consumer with this rapid-reflex game
Twitch-based games are games that require players to make quick decisive movements in order to complete objectives. The array of games found within this genre are fairly broad -- most shooters are twitch-based, and a lot of classic arcade games are known to employ similar rapid-reflex strategies as well. We checked out Moneygrabber, a twitch-based arcade game with a weird, consumerism-driven spin, just because it seemed so quirky.
A little fine-tuning will result in delightful listening
Apple's iTunes Radio is one of those things that is criminally underused by most Mac and iOS users, and its a shame: the service is really very good -- and with a tiny amount of effort, can be as, or more, enjoyable than even Pandora One or the other subscription streaming music services, not to mention cheaper. In this post, we're going to show you how to create, and then fine-tune, a custom station that features music you love and compatible new discoveries.
Big China carriers now offering latest LTE-capable iPad models for first time
Apple's sales in China are set to further increase now that the country's second- and third-largest carriers will offer the Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the latest iPads, the first time China Unicom and China Telecom have been able to do so. The special iPad models, which vary slightly from the North American and European versions, will support China's proprietary TD-LTE and FDD-LTE standards, as well as other LTE versions.
Free app builds on acquisitions, provides easy 3D printing of built models
Autodesk has announced the launch of Tinkerplay, an app designed for kids of all ages that introduces creative play through 3D design and 3D printing. The Tinkerplay app allows users to design and customize characters and creatures digitally, with the option to 3D print afterwards.
Eradicate humanity with your own personalized epidemic!
There's something fascinating about disease, a fact that's reflected in our obsession with medical dramas and certainly in our obsession with zombies. While we would never take the stance in real life, occasionally we find ourselves rooting for the disease in our favorite TV shows and movies -- and that's the point of Plague Inc. It's a resource-management game that puts you in control of your own budding epidemic, bent on wiping out the human race.
HTTPS bug still just a proof of concept, no proof of any successful wide attacks
Researchers at FireEye have continued looking at FREAK https attack vulnerabilities, and have found a number of top apps on Apple's iOS app store and Google Play Android apps remain vulnerable to the vector, despite a system-level patch being available on both platforms. The company found 5.5 percent of iOS apps it surveyed were still vulnerable on iOS 8.1 but only seven apps under 8.2, which contained Apple's patch. However, even with current patches, 11.2 percent of the top Android apps were susceptible.
Luck and skill combine in slick match-3 puzzler
We like match-3 games over here, including everything from the classic Bejeweled, the unique choose-your-own adventure Matchstick Memories, and even the quirky dungeon-crawler-meets-RPG Gunspell. We pride ourselves on knowing what can make such a simple concept fun, which is why we checked out App Store newcomer Dotello, a simple and streamlined match-3, to see how well it fits into the genre.
Meet the new, fendishly simple lateral thinking puzzle ready to test your skill.
Sometimes the best games are the most simple. There's a lot to be said for games like Solitaire, classics that have clearly-defined rules and a simple win condition. We enjoy simple games, especially ones that are so simple that they seem to have emergent complex properties. We found one such puzzle game, Rop -- a game that will challenge your ability to recreate what you see.
Puzzle combines turn-based action with platformer in this treasure hunting game!
We check out a lot of puzzle games here, and one quick glance at the App Store will tell you why. The sheer amount of puzzle games that are out there is staggering, and we feel a lot of them get lost in the crowd. However, every so often we stumble across a little gem of a game that we're genuinely glad we found. Today, that game is Zuki's Quest, by Arnold Rauers, who also made Card Crawl, another game we've recently enjoyed.
The best whimsical silly awkward mobile device dancing game we've ever seen
Bounden by Game Oven is a game for two players, and a reasonable amount of room. The developer's mission statement is to create games that encourage people to play together while being silly and awkward. Most of us here at MacNN are frequently awkward and often silly, so this is something we can definitely get behind.
Showing a week's worth of weather in bar graph form
Week Weather by Wolfgang Augustin shows a seven-day forecast in a series of columns set to show what the weather will be like on each day, for a 12- or 24-hour stretch. The layout is very clean and easy to understand, though we think it works best on devices with a larger screen. We spent a week with WeekWeather's most recent update, v1.0.1, using it on an iPhone 5 and an iPad Mini 2.
Pared-down app offers stunning black and white results
There's something about black and white photography that we really admire. Maybe it's the boldness, maybe it's the implied vintage feel, or maybe we're just photography snobs at heart. Whatever the reason, we decided that we'd check out Black + White Camera HD by SixAxis, which is an app solely devoted to taking only black and white pictures.
Learn a second language easily with this smartly-designed app
Have you ever been suckered in to some sort of "learn language quickly" scheme? Audio tapes that you listen to in your sleep, expensive software that requires hours of use in a single setting, classes that require a large amount of physical effort? Don't worry, most bilingual-curious folk have. We caught ourselves using a demo of a big-name software -- and while it worked, it would have cost hundreds of dollars and still required 45-minute sessions multiple times a week. Enter Duolingo, a slick little app that aims to help you make quick work of picking up a second (or third, or fourth...) language -- for free.
Send audio from one device to another wirelessly
Audreio lets multiple iOS devices connect through Wi-Fi, sending audio input from one to be played back and recorded on the other. Our first impulse was to leave an iPad sitting discreetly on a shelf in one room, and use an iPhone in another to freak out our friends ... but there are many more uses than that. Just make sure you have a good router, and don't forget your headphones.
Is your device plugged in or is it not?
Circuit Mouse is a cheeky little app that answers a very simple question. "Is your device plugged in, or isn't it?" That might seem like a silly question -- devices tend to make a noise when plugged into, or removed from, a power source. Plus, there's usually a little lightning bolt on the battery indicator to show if it's charging, for example. Nevertheless, there are some clever ways to use that information, and Circuit Mouse provides several methods of showing it.
The writing app beats Scrivener to the iPad
It's not as if this were Mac versus PC, not Word versus WordPerfect, not even Aperture versus Lightroom. Still, Ulysses vs Scrivener, a war of word processors, is a thing -- and Ulysses just took a big step ahead. These two applications give writers a complete and single package of tools for writing, research, and then publishing. What they have not given writers before was the ability to pick up an iPad and carry on where you were.