November 21st, 2017

Apps of the Week

ipad App of the Week

Goat Simulator 10000000
What do you get when you decide to mash together the three game genres of Match-3 Puzzles, RPGs, and Endless Runners, then render it all in low res 8-bit graphics? Why, 10000000, of course! This unique game casts you as an intrepid adventurer trapped in a castle inhabited by monsters. The only means to achieve freedom is by collecting 10000000 points by adventuring through the endless hallways. In order to defeat the monsters in the hall, as well as unlock doors and treasure chests along the way, you need to play a fast paced Match-3 game to match swords or magic wands to attack, shields to defend, and keys to unlock. You can also collect gold, wood, stone, and experience. The 4 collectables are key to unlocking higher abilities for your character, and items which will aid you on your quest. The whole process of puzzle adventuring is great fun. The “run” portion is fast paced, as you frantically need to share attention between what your player is encountering in the hall, and what objects you are trying to match. It’s highly rewarding to have a great run that allows you to unlock further upgrades and items, which allow you to do even better on runs! It’s a simple, fun, and inexpensive time-waster with plenty of replay value.

Price: $2.99

Goat Simulator Valiant Hearts
“You no longer have to fantasize about being a goat…your dreams have come true!” So says the tag line for Goat Simulator, one of the most talked about game of 2014, which is now available in mobile form for iOS. The tag line pretty much says it all. Goat Simulator boasts “the latest in goat simulation technology” to create a very weird and sometime hilarious game that has to be seen to be believed. For gamers out there, think Tony Hawk skateboarding crossed with Grand Theft Auto, and then make the main playable character a goat, and you might begin to understand the wonderful ridiculousness of Goat Simulator. You basically play the titular goat, and are loosed upon an open game world where you basically wreak as much havoc as possible. Your indestructible goat can run, jump, lick things, and charge, causing all sorts of destruction and chaos. It’s not the most intelligent of games, but it’s a unique flavour of goofy fun that makes it quite memorable.

Price: $4.99

Valiant Hearts Valiant Hearts
There is an interesting border between entertainment and art. Great media, be it a film, photograph, novel, or even a video game, can blur or even erase that border, so that a piece of media is both entertaining to consume, and genuinely artistic. Valiant Hearts: The Great War, is one of those games. Built using UbiSoft’s beautiful UbiArt2D graphics engine (seen in Rayman Legends, and Child of Light for Wii U), Valiant Hearts is essentially a playable graphic novel that tells the story of four characters living through a dramatic story set around events in World War I. The game uses a puzzle adventure format that really sets a great pace for an interactive drama. The art style is gorgeous, and highlights the grit and tragedy that the heroes encounter very effectively. The story and characters feel human and all too sympathetic. It’s a wonderful experience to sit down and take in such a beautifully crafted game and story as Valiant Hearts.

Price: $4.99

sprout Sprout
For expecting or new mothers that are looking for a resource to help them track every minute detail of their baby’s development, Sprout is just the thing. Sprout bills itself as “the definitive pregnancy app”, and for good reason. It’s hard to see what features they could add to make it do more! The list of features is far too long to describe in detail here, but starting at your first doctor visit, you can track every little bit of data that pertains to development in the womb, and that crazy amount of data and detail continues after birth. Growth charts, feeding schedules and charts (for breast, bottle, and later solid foods), sleep tracking, tracking of cognitive development, medical records, diaper changes…it’s ALL here. Sprout even manages to present the data in a friendly format, with nice looking graphs, and a “home page” of sorts that present everything you might want to know about your child’s progress in a newsletter format.
If you want one tool to schedule, track, and report on just about everything to do with your baby’s life, Sprout is definitely for you.

Price: $0.99

Bonza Bonza
For word puzzle lovers out there, Bonza is a new and addictive take on crossword puzzles. The game is actually kind of a unique mash-up of crossword and word search that is very easy to learn and plenty of casual fun to play. Bonza presents you a clue for the puzzle, and then displays a variety of letter tile combinations. The player’s task is to arrange the tiles in such a way that they form words in a crossword layout that relate to the clue. The controls make perfect sense for the iPad touch interface, as it’s easy to simply drag the tiles where you want them. The graphics are simple yet attractive. Included with the base app are dozens of free puzzles in a “general” category, plus they add a “puzzle of the day” every day to keep things fresh. For the players that just can’t get enough, there are a variety of themed puzzle packs available for a dollar each. If you enjoy word puzzles, Bonza is a can’t miss.

Price: $0.99

untappd Untappd
A social network specifically for beer drinkers? Untappd is exactly that. Often referred to as “FourSquare for beer lovers”, Untappd aims to tap (pun intended) into the ever-growing craft beer market by enabling a community to share their experiences with a wide variety of brews and locales. The experience is straightforward for users of other social networks. You can create a new account using your existing Facebook, Twitter, or Google account. Untappd will scan your current contacts from any of those networks to see if any of them already use Untappd, and add them to your contacts (they can be manually added or searched for, as well). Once there, you use Untappd to “check in” whenever you drink a beer. You can rate the beer and post comments on it’s taste. Add a location if you like. Browse top-rated brews, and connect with nearby Untappd users. Create a “wish-list” for beers that you’d like to try, and earn “Badges” for a variety of beer-related tasks. For example, earn the “Great White North” badge for drinking 5 different Canadian beers. The experience is engaging and interactive, plus, can open you up to new and interesting brews that you may not otherwise have experienced!

Price: FREE

MineCraftPE Minecraft: Pocket Edition
In the gaming world, there are few phenomena that parallel that of the building and exploration program known as Minecraft. While a mobile version has been out for some time, the newest update finally brings Minecraft: Pocket Edition very close to the amazing and immersive experience found on the desktop version. In Minecraft, you live in a world made of pixelated blocks made of a variety of materials. You can place blocks as you wish, and “mine” blocks to obtain the materials that they are made of. You can then “craft” these materials into a variety of objects to open up new possibilities. For those not initiated, think of Minecraft kind of like a digital LEGO world. Survival mode puts your skills to the test, as aggressive creatures come out at night to attack you if you aren’t properly sheltered. The experience is highly addictive, and enjoyable by any age. Consider Minecraft: Pocket Edition a “must have” for any mobile gamer, casual or hardcore.

Price: $6.99

FTL Parks Canada – Learn to Camp:
Summer is here! Why not enjoy it in one of Canada’s glorious national parks? Perhaps you aren’t sure where to start with planning a camping trip? Well, Parks Canada has just the app for you! Parks Canada – Learn to Camp is a very handy and informative app that has plenty of resources for the beginner to intermediate camper. Start with the planning guide which will help you with the tasks that you should do before, during, and after your trip. Follow one of the provided checklists to make sure that you’ve got everything you need. Plan out your meals using the provided camp cookbook, containing several tasty and camp-friendly meals. And, of course, you can find a park and all sorts of information about location, activities, and amenities. Being focused squarely on National Parks, you won’t find Provincial Parks like Cypress Hills or Writing on Stone, but Banff, Waterton Lakes, Grasslands, Yoho, Kootenay, and Elk Island are all within an easy day’s drive of Medicine Hat, and there is plenty of useful information about each of these wonderful national treasures in the Parks Canada – Learn to Camp app.

Price: FREE

FTL FTL:
Fans of BattleStar Galactica will recognize the term “FTL”, which is an abbreviation for “faster than light”, denoting a spaceship’s ability to travel at speeds above the speed of light. Subset Games’ FTL has been a hit game on indie game distribution platforms like Valve’s Steam for a while, and is now available for your iPad! The game plays as something of a sci-fi “roguelike”; a term for games with randomly generated levels that require the player to restart from the beginning should they fail in their mission. FTL has you controlling a spacecraft that can “jump“ between way-points in a sector of space, until you reach an exit to another sector. Each waypoint can result in a variety of space travel events like rescue missions, gathering fuel stores, and much more. Eventually, you will have to engage in combat missions where the game switches to a space combat simulator. Over the course of the game, you can unlock additional ship types to the one you start with, and upgrade your ship in a variety of ways. Like most roguelikes, FTL is hard, but it’s also quite rewarding, and has garnered plenty of accolades. The price tag is a little high for an iPad game, but the experience can be well worth it.

Price: 9.99

Threes HopScotch:
In today’s workplace, a base knowledge of programming concepts is arguably the most useful thing students of today and tomorrow can have in their toolset. With that in mind, HopScotch is designed to teach some of the very core ideas of programming to kids of almost any age. HopScotch uses friendly cartoon characters, which the child can assign tasks to that depend upon an input. For example, an alien robot can breakdance when you shake the iPad! You set the input trigger, the type of action the input produces, and also parameters for the action such as speed and distance, or even if multiple actions will occur. No coding is required. Everything is achieved through an exceptionally simple touch-based workflow will plain language. Through exploration and play, HopScotch is slowly teaching the user how a simple program works. Children will be delighted when they find themselves creating ever more complex tasks for their little cartoon characters to perform. Some of the best kid’s apps are fun and educational, and HopScotch is both.

Price: FREE

Threes Circa 1948:
Modern technology can do many things. It can help us communicate. It can be a tool to create art. It can preserve our memories. It can assist in advancing the progress of science and medicine. In the case of Circa 1948, it can allow us to explore history in a way that we previously could not. Developed by Canada’s National Film Board and renowned artist Stan Douglas, Circa 1948 offers a unique glimpse into a small period of Canada’s history. This app, described as an “art app” by its creators, places the user in post-war Vancouver, described as “a young city in the midst of urban planning, but divided along lines of race and income.” Circa 1948 allows you to explore two locations that no longer exist as they were; an old hotel in the affluent West Side, and the ethnically diverse Hogan’s Alley in the working class East Side. Both locations are rendered in painstaking, historically accurate details. The music and audio are period authentic, and you can listen in on many conversations that would have been indicative of the era and location. It plays a little like a highly immersive game, but it’s non-linear, allowing the user to explore and learn as they wish. It’s a beautiful app, and offers deep insight into a small segment of Canada’s past.

Price: FREE

 

Threes HearthStone:
World of Warcraft fans numbers in the millions, and now they have yet another way to waste endless hours in a game related to the WoW universe. HearthStone: Heroes of World of WarCraft is a card battle game in the tradition of Magic: The Gathering that features popular elements of the WoW mythos. As far as card battle games go, HearthStone is very much designed to be accessible to new players, yet deep enough that experienced players won’t tire of it. The basic rules are simple enough, and can be learned quickly through a couple of practice matches. The game’s setting puts you in the role of one of WoW’s “Heroes”; powerful characters that feature prominently in the game’s storyline. You battle a competing hero using a deck of cards that each represent a particular kind of minor character that you control, or a special ability. Typical of the genre, each card has stats or powers that will affect the battle, so it’s important to learn them all to be able to play them properly. HearthStone adds a fairly unique element in that each Hero has an ability of their own, which has the potential to drastically alter the outcome of a match. The graphics and sounds are all polished and nice to look at, and the controls are simple and logical. The game is free to play, and most of the game can be enjoyed totally without additional funding, but you do have the option to fork out cash for upgrades or additional cards that can help out your deck. HearthStone is a great card battle experience, and stacks up well against more established games in the genre.

Price: FREE

 

Threes Monsters Ate My Condo: Once in a while, a game comes along that is so incredibly off-the-wall crazy that it just has to be seen to be believed. Monsters Ate My Condo by developer Adult Swim is absolutely one of those games. The core of Monsters Ate My Condo is a simple “Match-3” action puzzle concept, but it’s the presentation that makes this app worth the price of admission. In a city that we can only assume must be Tokyo, colored condo floors fall from the sky onto a stack perched precariously between giant cartoon monsters. You can swipe floors out of the way into the eager mouths of a monster to create matching color patterns; a requirement to keep the condo from reaching the top of the screen. You have to match the color of the condo and the monster, or else you risk angering the monster, who will smash your condo tower to the ground. In typically action-puzzle style, the difficulty and speed ramp up the longer that you go. The experience is like an outrageous mix of Japanese Monster Movie meets Japanese Game Show, and it’s not to be missed.

Price: $0.99

 

ThreesThe concept behind Threes! is a pretty simple one. You get a 4×4 grid of number cards, and you need to “stack” the cards by sliding them into each other using a pretty simple math rule; the cards have to add up to 3, 6, 12, 24, and so on. To spice things up, the cards have cutesy little faces, and “talk” when you play, giving the game a nice friendly feel. The execution is top notch, with a clean interface that’s easy on the eyes, good controls, and friendly little touches like the aforementioned card faces and the catchy music. The game mechanic, although simple at first, is downright addictive. Threes! is a simple, beautiful touch game for your iPhone or iPad that can be learned in seconds, but can provide countless hours of simple math card fun. Delete Candy Crush now, and get Threes!

Price: $1.99

 

CBC Sochi 2014Badland is an award-winning side-scrolling action adventure located in a gorgeous forest full of various inhabitants, trees and flowers. Although the forest looks like it’s from some beautiful fairy-tale, there seems to be something terribly wrong. The player controls one of the forest’s inhabitants to discover what’s going on. Through his journey he discovers astonishing amount of imaginative traps and obstacles. Controls are simple, you simply tap, hold, or swipe with one finger to perform any required action. The overall design aesthetic of a silhouetted foreground over a colored background will feel familiar to fans of other excellent mobile games World of Goo and Contre Jour. What sets Badland apart from other mobile games is the atmospheric feel. The graphics, gameplay, and audio all have a high level of immersion and polish. A one-device multiplayer feature is also very unique and works well. With such excellent polish, it’s no wonder that Badland was awarded Apple’s Design Award for 2013!

Price: $3.99

 

CBC_Sochi_2014

CBC Sochi 2014CBC Sochi 2014:
Vancouver 2010 was probably the first “Internet Olympics”, where virtually every event was streamed or covered online in some fashion. It was done well, for the most part, and the media coverage is even better for Sochi 2014. The CBC Sochi 2014 app is the absolute cream of the crop for Canadian Olympic coverage. It has everything you would expect; results, schedules, commentary, analysis, athlete profiles, and more. The real highlight though, is the quality and extend of the video streaming. Basically, every event in which a Canadian is competing is streamed live, and archived to watch later. Provided that your internet connection is of decent quality, the HD live streaming is excellent, and there’s no need to rush to the nearest television if your mobile device is on hand. CBC Sochi 2014 has everything you need and delivers it to you in style. Go Canada!

Price: FREE

 

UnstuckUnStuck:
Everyone, at some point or other in their life, will encounter personal obstacles that feel difficult to overcome. It might be personal issue or a professional block. You might feel tired, angry, frustrated or confused. In a word, you’re “stuck”. Realizing you’re stuck is the first step in getting unstuck. The next move is figuring out how. Through a series of questions and answers, the Unstuck app pinpoints the type of stuck moment you’re in. With that information, Unstuck feeds you a variety of interactive tools and advice based upon proven methods from experts, as well as an online community of other people facing stuck moments. Unstuck’s interface is simple and directs you through the entire process, making it easy to input your situation and feelings, and then walking you through the tools to get to the root of the issue, and work through it to achieve a positive result. It’s a novel approach, and can be very useful.

Price: FREE

 

The ScoreCBC Story Corner:
Believe it or not, but Canada maintains a strong presence in the Apple App Store. There are a variety of excellent Canadian-made mobile apps out there. One long-standing Canadian organization that seems to regularly release quality mobile apps is the CBC. In particular, Kid’s CBC is impressively strong on the multimedia front, with great web content, and equally impressive mobile content as well. Story Corner is an excellent early reading app from Kid’s CBC for ages 4+ that engages early readers with beautiful artwork, good stories, and the ability to personalize those stories if they so choose. Like other great early reading apps, Story Corner has many interactive elements in each book, which keeps readers engaged and entertained while they learn. The app is so good that is won the 2013 Award of Excellence from the Youth Media Alliance! Parents will also enjoy that the content is 100% free, with no annoying ads or in-app purchases to worry about. There are two excellent books to start with, and CBC promises that more will be available in time, all at no cost.

Price: FREE

 

The ScoreBitStrips!:If you use Facebook, chances are that in the recent past you have seen BitStrips. This novel app lets you create a comic-strip avatar of yourself, and places said avatar in daily comic strips with the avatars of friends and family. The results can be comical, downright hilarious, and almost always charming. BitStrips will supply pre-made comics with you and your friends in them, or you can customize comics and greeting cards through a very intuitive and simple interface. Once you are finished with your little cartoon masterpiece, it’s a snap to share it with the world on Facebook, or through email and even to your Twitter feed. If all you want to see is comics from your friends, BitStrips has its own social media feed, with nothing but comics for your daily amusement! While its practical applications are certainly questionable, BitStrips is quick and amusing entertainment for you and all your social media acquaintances.

Price: FREE

 

The ScoreLose It!: One of the largest and most popular groups of apps is those dedicated to health and fitness. It makes sense! Since your phone or tablet is with you throughout the day, it’s always at hand to help with tracking your nutrition or fitness activities if you are looking to keep tabs on your overall fitness. Lose It!, by FitNow, is a nice app that makes it very simple to input your existing body stats (gender, height, weight, age), set a fitness goal for yourself (ie – lose 10 pounds over 4 months), and set calorie and activity budgets to help you achieve your goals. There’s a log section to input your food intake and your fitness activities. The app calculates the calorie burn of your activities against your food intake, and let’s you know if you are over or under target. It can send you push notifications to remind you stay active, and you can easily track your results over time. The food and activity database is already large and impressive, but if something isn’t already in there, you can easily create a new item. Lose It! Is one of the easiest and yet comprehensive weight loss apps out there.

Price: FREE

 

The ScoreDuolingo: Ever felt like picking up a second language? There are apps for that! One of the most popular apps to emerge both online and in the mobile app space is Duolingo. It has become successful because of three main factors. First, it boasts a very high success and satisfaction rate. Studies are showing that Duolingo’s system often bests even University-level language courses in success rate for language learning! The second factor is because using Duolingo is actually fun; it doesn’t feel like work or school. Basically, the app uses long-standing video game mechanics to “game-ify” the experience. You have hearts that you don’t want to lose by being incorrect. You can play against the clock. You “level up” when you succeed. It’s fun! Lastly, Duolingo is free. They pull off this trick through an interesting business model. At higher levels, you are actually helping Duolingo translate books and websites. It’s a remarkable idea and an equally remarkable system.

Price: FREE

 

The ScoreThe Score: Since the release of iOS7 to the masses, many developers have been updating their apps to take advantage of the new colorful and flat visual style that Apple has designed. In many cases, this has resulted in some nice improvements in usability of popular apps. In essence, you could argue (and we’re sure that Apple will), that iOS7 “makes good apps great”. One good example is the already popular sports news app The Score. Developed by the TV cable network of the same name, The Score has long been an excellent choice for sports fans to get their regular dose of sports news, scores, stats, and standings. The newest update for iOS7 brings a new, cleaner layout that requires much less navigation effort to find your way around. An easy first-launch setup wizard allows you to pick your favourites sports and teams so that the app can feed you the items that it believes you will care most about. A simple cascading left navigation menu lets you browse popular pro sports (and even some more niche sports), and view everything from team schedules, team/player stats, league standings, league/team news, and much more. One great new feature is the ability to follow individual players. You can track them and get alerts when they score, for example. It’s a must for hardcore fantasy sports fans!

Price: FREE

 

Ski SafariSki Safari: Many mobile game players may be familiar with the genre called “endless runner”, a staple of the industry which typically involve essentially endless levels where you are chased until you get caught or fail to avoid an obstacle. Ski Safari takes the concept and makes an “endless skier”. You control Sven, who is awakened from a slumber in his mountain cabin to an unstoppable avalanche barreling down upon him. His only choice is to try and out-ski the snow for as long as he can. At first glance, the game-play couldn’t be simpler. You automatically accelerate down the hill, and you simply touch the screen to perform a jump. Holding when you touch throws Sven into a back-flip. That’s it, and the simplicity of the controls makes the game easy to pick up and play for just about anyone. Ski Safari’s greatness lies in the imaginative variety of the game, despite its simple premise. There are obstacles galore, including cabins, rocks, and trees. There’s plenty of wildlife and vehicles, which can all be ridden, and the control dynamic changes for each one. The snowmobile is very fast, but heavy and doesn’t flip easily. The eagle is a great way to gain some quick ground, but watch where he drops you! Typical of mobile games, there are plenty of unlockables or optional in-app purchases, including extra levels, upgrades, and costumes for the hero. Ski Safari makes for hours of easy-going fun for anyone.

Price: $0.99

 

The Human BodyThe Human Body: One of the areas in which mobile apps are perhaps the most impressive and impactful is in education. Often educational apps for kids get overshadowed by ever popular games, but done right, these interactive apps can inform and hold the attention of a child in a way that really isn’t possible with just a textbook or a classroom video. The Human Body by Tinybop is a great example of this. An interactive anatomy lesson for kids starting as early as 4 years old, The Human Body uses kid-friendly art, animations, and interactive tricks to demystify body parts, functions, and processes, while having some fun along the way. There are 6 interactive “layers” to explore each of the bodies major systems, as well as detailed interactive organs such as the heart, brain, eyes, mouth, and more. Kids will love the clever use of the iPad’s camera and audio system to demonstrate how seeing and hearing work, as well as the accelerometer to help demonstrate the effect of gravity on the body. Tinybop even baked in a nice system for children and their parents to share conversations about what they are learning. For under $5, it’s an amazing value, and could find a home on any child’s iPad.

Price: $2.99

 

MagicPlanMagicPlan: Great mobile apps do something interesting. While it’s certain that technology is infiltrating virtually every aspect of our lives to further degrees every day, great apps can make you say “Ah, this is why we let that happen”. MagicPlan from Sensopia might be one of those apps. Home renovation is something that virtually every home owner will do at some point, and despite the best efforts of cable TV shows and the prevalence of advice on the internet, some tasks are still difficult to do. Converting the floor plan of your house to something that you can manipulate digitally is one of those tasks no longer! MagicPlan’s ace in the hole is that you can literally map your house just by taking photos. It’s surprisingly accurate, with most users verifying that you need only spend about a minute in each room to get accurate results. Once you are done mapping, export your plan to popular CAD software like SketchUp to play with your plan and visualize those reno’s before you start demo-ing!

Price: FREE

 

TieRightHDTieRightHD: It’s one of those “guy” things. For many of life’s occasions, you may be required or expected to wear a neck tie, but have only a rudimentary idea (or no idea at all!) of how to properly tie one, and little or no practice at doing so. TieRight HD is a simple and elegant iPad app to help the “average guy” with getting that tie tied just right. There are easy to follow picture based instructions for a variety of common styles, starting with the basic Half Windsor, Four in Hand, and Small knots. Feeling good about those? Then move on to the more advanced Pratt Knot or Windsor Knot. There is even a guide for the Bow Tie! All steps can be viewed in “Head On” mode which is like looking in a mirror, and “Top Down” which is what you would see from your own perspective looking down. Basically, TieRight HD isn’t overly complex or fancy, but it helps get the job done, which is what matters. Chances are, you’ve got your hands full with that Windsor anyways.

Price: $0.99

 

OffCourseOffCourse: I love to play golf, and I am always trying to get better. Sometimes, just knowing your tendencies can help lower your score.

OffCourse is just that app to help you improve your game and understand it better. Particularly if you are a member at a specific golf course or tend to golf the same courses frequently.

OffCourse takes a different approach to the typical golf GPS tracking apps. It keeps track of your in-round stats, shots and scores on a hole by hole, round by round basis, so you know which areas need tweaking. It automatically pulls up the Golf Course you’re playing and you simply input the score after each hole. Along with that, you identify if your tee shot was fairway, left or right. When you approach the green you identify if you hit the green in regulation, or if you were short, long, left, or right. Also input your number of putts and whether you took a penalty stroke or sand shot. The app totals things as you go and then uses the slope and rating of the course at the end of your round to help you track your handicap.

Co-created by Calgary radio host, Roger Kingkade, OffCourse is an IOS app with plans for releasing an Andriod app later this year. And the best part? Its 100% free.

Price: FREE

Extra Info: http://www.offcourse.co/

 

Scanner ProScanner Pro: Ever go looking for a receipt for something you purchased, or an important document, and you just can’t find it? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to easily scan those important little papers and access them easily on all of your devices, without having to purchase a dedicated scanner? Developer Readdle has a nice solution to that requirement with Scanner Pro, an app for iPhone or iPad that uses the built-in camera to “scan” paper documents into PDF form for digital storage and sharing. There are a few apps out there for this task, but Readdle’s offering is the highest rated, and for good reason. It has very nice border detection, which can be adjusted manually if required. It’s quick and accurate, with most scans taking only a few seconds. Support for a wide variety of popular sharing a cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Evernote, Google Docs, and iCloud Sync is baked right in, making quick storage and sharing a breeze. Scanner Pro is a great little tool for anyone that would like to store and easily access those pesky yet important bits of paper in their lives.

Price: $6.99

 

Ace PatrolAce Patrol: Sid Meier needs to introduction to gamers. His resume includes strategy mega-hits like Civilization, Railroad Tycoon, Alpha Centauri, and Pirates! His latest offering, Ace Patrol, is his first to be exclusively on mobile platforms. Ace Patrol enlists you in the role of famous WW1 fighter pilots, including the Red Baron himself. Ace Patrol is essentially a hex-board strategy game with an aerial combat twist. Based upon your choice of pilot skills, plane, and plane upgrades, you can perform a variety of moves between hexes on a board to maneuver, attack, and evade during combat missions. Like many of the best mobile games, it’s easy and quick to get into and out of a game. Missions are not overly long, and there are a wide variety of skill levels to accommodate casual and hardcore strategy gamers. Using a typical “Free to Play” sales model, the game itself is free, but have your credit card handy if you want to unlock additional perks and upgrades. While you might need to fork out a few dollars for peak performance, the game itself is enjoyable without paying a dime.

Price: FREE

 

Sketch Book ProSketchBook Pro: The market for art apps is highly competitive, and there are plenty of great options out there. It’s not an across the board decision, but the current King of the Hill for art software on iPad is probably Sketchbook Pro from AutoDesk. It’s one of those great apps that goes as deep as you ask it to. It’s simple and intuitive enough for anyone 8-80 years old to use in moments, yet it’s powerful enough to accommodate the needs of professional graphic artists. The list of features is too long to address here, but highlights include support for layers, PSD files, large canvases up to 6.2MP, up to 150 brush choices, and even synthetic pressure sensitivity! Add on great built in support for top notch capacitive stylus products like the Adonit Jot Pro, and SketchBook Pro is the app to beat for all your digital painting and sketching needs.

Price: $4.99

 

coloccoloc: It’s an amazing thing when art meets science. Such is the case with coloc. What is coloc? Well, it’s a clock, but it’s a beautiful clock, and the beauty is based on the science it uses. coloc is a beautifully designed RGB clock that displays its main screen as a constantly evolving colour field according to the hour, minutes and seconds of each day. The main screen contains eleven touch related changes to the overall form of the screen. The aim is to discover these intuitively and has a choice between displaying four fonts native to iOS in either black or white, a flow diagram of how coloc works, a brief description of the fonts used as they are related historically in pairs to each other and a ‘physics’ screen where ornaments from the Bodoni font are randomly generated and collide with each other and the boundaries of the screen. The overall effect is both mesmerizing, peaceful and informative. If you like to use your iPad as a desktop clock, or just as a decoration, coloc is worth a look.

Price: FREE

 

TheRoomThe Room: In its simplest form, The Room is a puzzle game. That’s fair to say, since The Room really is a simple game at heart. You solve a series of puzzles to proceed forward in the story in order to hopefully solve a mystery. Where The Room sets itself apart from other puzzlers is presentation, and The Room has it in spades. Exquisitely detailed graphics, atmospheric sound, and great 3D touch controls are highlights of a game that has been cleaning up at awards shows around the globe, including being named Apple’s Game of the Year for 2012. The premise is simple, yet mysterious. You enter a room (surprise!) in order to investigate the disappearance of your research partner. The only thing in the room is a cabinet, with a variety of puzzles built in to it that need to be solved in order to get inside, which only furthers the mystery, and the puzzles that go with them. The game is a little short in length, but luckily, the developer has promised a free expansion to double the length sometime in 2013! Some advice…wear headphones for the most immersive sound. It’s worth it!

Price: $1.99

 

Ticket To RideTicket to Ride: Sometimes, the best games are the old games. The ones that came before the digital revolution happened. The ones you actually sat down and played with bits and pieces. Games like Board Games! Many board game enthusiasts will rave about the legendary Ticket to Ride series; generally considered one of the best board games ever created, and loved by players all over the planet. The Ticket to Ride iOS app is a faithful and wonderful adaptation of the beloved board game to your iPad. The authentic artwork and rules will keep existing Ticket to Ride players happy, while the well-crafted tutorial will help new players quickly get past the newbie learning curve and into the game quickly. It’s a great example of an app which really does take the best of an existing game and not try too hard to “improve” it for a digital world. The touch controls are a natural fit, the simple yet lovely sound effects add a nice ambiance to the game. The best part of the digital version? No cleanup! (Ticket to Ride fans will know exactly what I mean).

Price: $9.99

 

WeatherEyeWeatherEye: One of the most convenient and practical uses of your iOS device is to easily check on the weather. There are countless weather apps for iPhones and iPads. But the consistently popular is WeatherEye, and for good reason. WeatherEye is The Weather Network’s official app for iOS, and while it maybe isn’t as eye-catching as an app like Beautiful Weather, or as clever and unique as Swacket, it does all of the important things well. It offers comprehensive weather information and forecasting in a clear presentation, and let’s you easily access in depth information like hourly forecasts, radar and satellite imagery, historical trends, and air quality reports. You can set up multiple locations for travelling, and even view Weather Network videos from right in the app. If you only want one weather app on your device, WeatherEye deserves to be it.

Price: FREE

 

SongzaSongza: According to the New York based start-up Songza is a free music streaming and recommendation service “curated by music experts”, including musicians, music publication editors, enthusiasts, and DJs. Songza lets you listen to PlayLists, much like radio stations, as no charge on virtually any internet connected device. It’s all music with no chatter, or audio ads! Songza’s most distinctive feature has to be its “Concierge” feature, which creates curated playlists based on things like time of day, setting, and mood. In this respect, you might select a playlist like “Upbeat Morning Workout”, or “Casual Workplace (no lyrics)” depending upon what your current situation is. Like similar services, you can like or dislike songs or playlists, so that the service gets better the more you listen. There are also plenty of social tie-ins, with connections to Facebook and Twitter. The best part? No annoying ads! Price: FREE.

Price: FREE

 

The Brain StormerMyScript Calculator: There are a plethora of calculator apps for iOS. Many are perfectly suitable for simple functions, and many more have good support for scientific or even graphing functions. There is one unique feature of this week’s “App of the Week” that sets it apart from the rest; Vision Objects’ MyScript Calculator will actually recognize equations that you handwrite on your iOs device and help you solve them! You simply use your handwriting (using a fingertip or capacitive stylus) to write out virtually any mathematical formula in an intuitive way, and watch the app convert your writing to digital text and deliver the result in real time. Redo and undo functions are supported, as well as “Scratch-Out” gestures. Supported operators include basic operations, as well as percentages and fractions, powers, exponentials, brackets, trig, inverse trig, logarithms, and constants! Given that it’s free, it should be an essentials part of any student’s digital toolkit.

Price: FREE

 

The Brain StormerSword & Sworcery: From Toronto’s Capybara Game Studio comes Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, an adventure game quite unlike anything you have played before, yet inspired by nostalgic games of the past. As iTunes’ iPad Game of the Year Runner-Up from last year, it is a game that could only exist in today’s world of touch devices. Everything about SBSSEP is a work of art; from the gorgeous throwback pixelated graphics, to the mysterious storyline, to the innovative and lovely use of sound and music. It’s mostly exploration through the mythical story, with nice dashes of puzzler, and “Punch-Out” style swordfighting thrown in. There is even a cool Twitter tie-in to make the adventure social, but only if you choose. For five bucks, iPad gaming doesn’t get much more engrossing than this. Make sure to wear headphones to really appreciate the sound!

Price: $4.99

 

The Brain StormerThe Brain Stormer: Billed as “Kindling for the Creative Mind”, The Brainstormer is a good example of how a simple tools meant to solve a particular problem can become an amazing app. The story goes that concept artist Andrew Bosley, after reading that all story plots could be roughly broken into 50 categories, designed a physical Brainstorming pinwheel, which allowed him to randomly combine a plot, a subject, and a setting or style for his drawings. He quickly realized that this tool worked well for creative writing as well, and adapted it to suit. Friends of his at school then commented that they would love a digital version that you could touch and interact with, and programmer Joel Davis help turn it into the beautiful iOS app that it is today. An absolute “must have” for any creative types that could use any extra dose of inspiration; maybe to get past that pesky writer’s block?

Price: $1.99

 

FONTBOOK logoFONTBOOK: For designers of many disciplines, it’s imperative to be able to able to identify and choose the proper typeface for a project. Whether you work in web design, software design, marketing, or just have a keen interest in the unexpectedly interesting world of fonts, FontBook is an app that strives to be a quick and lovely resource to explore fonts and purchase them if required. With over 36,000 typefaces from over 8000 font families, there is always the perfect font for your project. You can browse by font class, font name, usage scenario, designer, design foundry, or even year of development. Bookmark your favourites for quick access, compare similar fonts, and even share selection through social media. With its polished, intuitive layout, FontBook is always a pleasure to browse, whether you have an urgent project requiring a typeface, or are just passing type…I mean time.

Price: $0.99

 

JAMIE OLIVER'S RECIPES logoJAMIE OLIVER’S RECIPES: For starters, the app is beautiful. It has the look and polish of a high-grade celebrity cookbook, plus it adds lovely step-by-step instructions paired with high-resolution photos, and even instructional videos featuring Jamie himself. Like many cooking apps, this one allows you to search recipes by theme or ingredient. Jamie Oliver’s Recipes’ selling point is clearly presentation; there simply isn’t another cooking app that is as much of a delight to see and touch. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the recipes themselves are very good, being selected by the Chef. The app itself is free, and comes with a sample pack of recipes. Additional recipes are purchased in theme packs like “Date Night”, or “10 minute meals”. At about $2 for a pack of 10-20 high-quality recipes, it’s money well spent.

Price: FREE

Zen Pinball logoZEN PINBALL: While there is no doubt that the iPad is a great little gaming platform, one often overlooked genre is that of pinball gaming. Zen Pinball is, without a doubt, the king of pinball apps for iPad. The app itself comes with a single free table, “Sorcerer’s Lair”, which on its own would make Zen Pinball one of the best pinball games around. However, there are currently 13 tables and counting that you can purchase in-app, for either one or two dollars. Unique tables such as “Tesla”, are great, but the jewel of Zen Pinball is their licensing of Marvel comics property. The “Wolverine” table is amazing, as is the “Ghost Rider” table and tables for each of the “Avengers”. With great graphics, easy gameplay, and an attention to table design that most actual pinball tables don’t match, it easy to waste away hours playing pinball on your iPad with Zen Pinball!

Price: FREE

Zite App logoGRAFIO: As a productivity tool to create diagrams and flow charts on your iOS device, Grafio is a wonderful blend of aesthetics, practicality, power, and ease of use. Developer Ten Touch seems to hit all the right notes with this app. The interface is easy on the eyes, with the light wood trim lending a sense of ease and warmth. The app boots into an optional series of tips and hints, all of which are friendly and useful. In the tradition of the best apps for iOS, Grafio’s user interface is simple enough to pick up and start using right away, and powerful enough to produce drawing, charts, and graphs that look like they came out of a high-end desktop app. The possibilities are many; flowcharts, diagrams, brainstorming, infographics, project planning, and much more!

Price: $8.99

Zite App logoALIEN BLUE: Attention Reddit-ors! The most beautiful and functional Reddit browser for your iOS device has to be Alien Blue. From acclaimed app developer Jace Morrisey, who also designed the stylish YouTube client ?Jasmine? the we recommended earlier, Alien Blue makes navigating the depths of the Reddit website system easy and pleasing to the eye. Power user tools are present for a variety of searches and posting of items to the site, subscribing to Redditor feeds or subreddits, and much more. If the $3.99 price tag seems a little step for a Reddit client, consider the free app iReddit. It?s similar in function, although not as pretty to look at. And if you don?t know what Reddit is, check it out at http://www.reddit.com so you know what you are getting in to. Beware! You may never be the same?

Price: $3.99

Zite App logoTUNE IN: Why pay for music when radio has been playing it for free for years? TuneIn lets you listen to over 70,000 live streaming radio stations from across the globe, as well as 2 million on-demand radio programs! TuneIn can suggest stations by genre, location, artist, or song, so it’s always easy to find what you want to listen to, and also find more content that you might love based upon what you already like. Plus, if you hear a song that you find you love and have to have for yourself, you can jump directly into iTunes with a tap of the finger to buy it! Easily bookmark your favourites. If you want to record what you are listening to, you can purchase the “Pro” version of TuneIn for 99 cents to do just that. There’s also a sleep timer and alarm clock to wake up to your favourite station!

Price: FREE

Zite App logoPOCKET: Formerly known as “Read it Later”, Pocket is one of the best ways to gather content as you browse the web for later consumption. On whatever device you are using, you can add web pages, news articles, images, videos, and more to your “Pocket” that you can view later. Pocket features a simple and stylish interface, and supports just about any web format that’s out there. Use Pocket when you discover an interesting article, video or web page, but don’t have time to go through it. Once it’s in Pocket, it’s on your phone, tablet, or computer. You can read an article during a flight, see a web page while you wait in line, or watch a video while relaxing at home!

Price: FREE

Zite App logoJASMINE: One interesting aspect of Apple’s recently released iOS 6 software for iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads is that it abandons the previously included Google apps like Google Maps and Youtube. There are plenty of ways to continue watching Youtube apps on your device, but if you want a dedicated player, you will have to download one from the App Store. Our favourite is Jasmine, a beautifully designed, simple, and thoughtful Youtube player. It’s arguably much better than Google’s own app, and it’s free! Designer Jason Morrisey named it after his own daughter, which probably shows how much he thought of it. Our guess? He’s awfully proud of both of his creations.

Price: FREE

Zite App logoZITE:There are many iPad apps that lay out news and social feeds in a friendly format. As Apple’s choice for #1 overall app of 2011, Zite, the “Personalized Intelligent Magazine”, can claim to be among the best. Zite’s unique feature is the “intelligent” part. After you have selected your primary news topics and sources, Zite watches what sort of content you prefer, and evolves to suit your preferences. If you read a lot of sports stories, you will see more sports. It’s smarter than that, too. Key trends in words in articles will trigger other articles. It’s a pretty amazing process that you don’t even have to think about. Zite literally gets better at feeding you content you like the more you use it! Add in a well thought out newspaper-like interface, and Zite is a stellar news app!

Price: FREE

 

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