In this week’s sadly-still-monotasking app roundup:
Villains and heroes, conjured from paper!
Comics, beautifully presented!
Things, climbed, forever! Car crises, mitigated! Calculations, calculated!
Turn-by-turn navigation, set free!
Sketch Nation Shooter: This is a game built around a fantastic concept: It's a top-down shooter in which you can draw your ship, your enemies, and elements of your levels.
Think Raiden, with your ship changed into a cartoon dong and your enemies into endless iterations of your boss's face. Perfect.
And hey, they actually executed this thing pretty well!
The core gameplay and control dynamics give you a good base to build on, and the experience of drawing assets on paper, scanning them in via the iPhone's camera and watching them turn into game almost instantly is intoxicating. It does take a while to get the hang of some of the creation tools, but the content produced by other users is nothing short of spectacular. $1.
Camera B: Use your iPhone as a live camera for your iPad.
The whole setup is really comprised of two apps (Camera A for the iPad, and Camera B for the iPhone), one of which you've got to shell out a dollar for.
MapQuest: The latest update to the free MapQuest app adds top-down turn-by-turn directions, with voice prompts.
It's not ideal, as far as turn-by-turn navigation goes, but it's good enough to get you where you're going without drawing your eyes away from the road, and again: free!
Mazda Assist: Do you crash cars a lot?
Then please, stop driving, you thoughtless jerk.
If you're not prepared to do that, at least download Mazda Assist, do you know who to call and what to do next time you plow into a mailbox at four in the morning, or get a flat tire after power drifting over the unidirectional tire strip at an Avis. Free.
Justin.tv: Lets you watch any Justin.tv stream on your iPhone, over 3G, with push notifications to tell you when a favourite channel goes live.
You can't broadcast video, which seems a bit dumb, but you can chat with broadcasters, which is the next next next next (next) best thing, basically.
Wolfram Alpha: Ha ha, remember when this app used to cost $50 or whatever, and nobody downloaded it, ever?
I will tell my kids that story one day, and they will not care. (They will also have iPhones for hands, iPads for heads, and apps instead of souls, because that's what things are going to like in 2020. I have this on good authority!)
Anyway, now it costs $2, includes an iPad version, and hasn't lost any features from when it was as pricey as an actual graphing calculator. It is now altogether less funny, and significantly more buyable.
ViewFinder Standard: Simulates all manner of focal lengths and lens/sensor configurations to give you a rough idea as to what kind of photos your DSLR will be able to take of a given scene.
It's a tough sell at $8, unless you've got a large lens collection, or even better, share lenses between full frame and APS-C cameras.
Marvel: Marvel's comic reader was one of the most exciting new apps for the iPad, and it shipped with a surprise iPhone version, which, well...
OK! Your reading modes are a bit constrained as opposed to the much larger iPad, but swiping through the panels with the app's movie-like transitions is pretty great. Free app, paid comics. (Though some sample issues are available for free.)
Above: One of those KEEP JUMPING HIGHER games, like Doodle Jump, except with a twist:
Your character never stops running from side to side, and you have to charge each jump up.
It switches the emphasis of the game from precision of movement to precision of timing, which can be frustrating at first, but grows on you after a while. $2.
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2: For all the times I've lamented awkward onscreen controls, I can't say they've been dealbreakers more than once or twice.
And again, here, they're just good enough not to ruin the game. THPS 2 will feel familiar to anyone who's played a Tony Hawk game before, and I'd getting use to the control overlay only takes a few minutes.
There are a lot of gameplay hours here.
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