Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.
Friday, 2 November 2012
iOS App of the Week: Need for Speed Most Wanted
Need for Speed Most Wanted has finally arrived, and the iOS version is one torqued-up mobile game, really hitting the outer limits of what we've seen the platform do. One thing we absolutely loved was vehicle damage in real-time — a first for a street racer of this calibre.
All around, though, the graphics are stunning — which, admittedly, doesn't count for much if depth and gameplay aren't there. Luckily, they are. The title controls smoothly and intuitively, and once you've collected all 35 cars and raced the single-player tracks, you can go head-to-head against your mates in an online multiplayer mode. As we expected from the recently-minted Firemonkeys, it's a highly polished title and a must-have for fans of racing games.
Heads Up! Hot Dogs describes itself as "The most realistic hot-dog-head-balancing game ever". You know, we probably have to give it that. It's certainly the most realistic out of the dozens we've played. For some reason, it's raining hot dogs around the world; you have to drag them to safety by placing them on the heads of passers-by, unlocking new cities as you go. The faster the passer-by, the more points you get for the hot dog. It's not our favourite Adult Swim game to date, but it's not bad for whiling away five minutes here and there.
We've all seen those little puzzle games where you slide squares around a grid until you've reassembled the image. This is a little bit like that, but a lot trickier; instead of moving individual squares around, you slide columns to reconstruct an image that is broken into squares. It starts pretty simply, but as the game progresses, lining up the pieces without breaking the parts of the image you've already assembled can be quite difficult. Because it's so beautifully drawn, though, it's worth continuing, just so you can keep looking at it.
Disney's recently-released Wreck-it Ralph, an animated film about a video game villain who just wants to do good, is going back to his roots in this tie-in title for iOS — and it's not half bad at all. The best part is that it's three arcade games in one title. In the first, Fix-it Felix Jr — the game in which Ralph plays the villain in the film — you can play the game as featured in the film, fixing apartment buildings as Ralph tries to mess them up. In Sweet Climber, Ralph goes Doodle Jump in Candyland; and in Hero's Duty, you play a top-down shooter as Agent Cy. The latter two have to be unlocked, and though we're not sure how, it's not a bad deal.
Usually when yet another retro photo-filter app enters our radar, we give it a cursory glance before sending it on its way. But here's one that makes a nice change from the legions of Instagram clones. Retromatic lets you apply masks to your pictures to make some really striking posters and glamour images. It has a number of templates and funky little stickers you can apply, as well as filters and the ability to add text in retro fonts. And, naturally, you can export to Facebook, Twitter, email, Flickr and Instagram.
If you want to get some fitness going on, there's a brand-new suite of Pro workout apps from runtastic — PullUps, Squats, SitUps and PushUps. They give you a set training plan, then help you count through your reps using your iDevice's accelerometer, then offer you statistics so that you can track your progress.
Following hard on the heels of the news that Square Enix is considering lowering the prices of its mobile games, Chrono Trigger has finally been released for Android — but it's still pretty pricey at AU$10.49. However, a title like Chrono Trigger may be justified, considering its massive fan following.
The sequel to the ultra-tough platformer has arrived — and it's a doozy of a game. Levels are short, which is fantastic. You are going to die, and die a lot, transporting you back to the start of the level to try again. You're exploring an underground temple, and it's riddled with traps and challenges. You can just run through as fast as you like, if that's your thing, but there are three goals at each level: firstly, to finish it; secondly, to finish it under time; and thirdly, to nab the hidden gold idol. It's frenetic and fantastic, and nigh impossible to put down.
This is a match-three game, but unlike any we've seen before. It's played around a three-dimensional cube, made up of coloured blocks and empty spaces. You have to add coloured blocks to the empty spaces where they match the surrounding blocks in order to clear them from the cube; when the cube is bare of all blocks, you've won the level — but you're racing the clock to do so. It's quite challenging, yet somehow relaxing at the same time.
This little indie game has a great gameplay mechanic at its core: drawing reflecting panels so that your avatar can manoeuvre around the on-screen obstacles and get to the exit. The artwork is pretty, too — a bit Twilight Princess, all strange and fey. A little more direction would be nice, and it can be hard to play on a small screen because of the fine details, but it's well worth a look, at least — and we imagine that it would be spectacular on a tablet.
One of life's many small frustrations: trying to remember where you parked your car. Park Me Right hopes to help eliminate that. Using maps and augmented reality, it can help you not only remember where your vehicle was parked, but the fastest way back to it. It can also help you locate parking lots and find your way back to a hotel, train station or bus stop when you're in a new place. Sounds like a pretty handy thing to have in your pocket.
What if you could enter your favourite apps from any place or program on your Android device? FlipLauncher puts a discreet ribbon of six tabs down the side of your screen (right or left, you choose), with the capacity to put four apps per tab. No matter what you're doing with your phone, you can just flip open a tab to find your favourite apps and shortcuts, and launch them directly; no need to exit your current task and find your way back through the apps menu.