Tag Archive: cool apps


Best iPhone Games of 2013

I love year-end lists! It’s my favorite thing about turning over the calendar. Here are my picks for the best iOS games on iPhone and iPad of 2013.

Ridiculous Fishing ($2.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Ridiculous Fishing is my vote for Best iOS Game of the Year. A ridiculously (no pun intended?) simple concept had me hooked (again with the puns!) for hours. The game asks you to cast your line and avoid fish as long as you can on your way down. Once you hit the bottom – or once you hit a fish – you start to reel your line in and try to snag as many fish as you can on your way back up. When you make it to the surface, blast those fish out of the sky with shotguns and rocket launchers! If you’ve ever played a mobile game that’s had you saying, “Just one more run. I promise,” Ridiculous Fishing is for you. It’ll have you casting your reel just one… more… time… in the goal of getting that top-tier weapon to blast more fish to smithereens.

Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time (free for both the iPhone and iPad version)

In just about any other year, the amount of time I put into Plants vs. Zombies 2 would have far surpassed any other game; that should tell you how much I love this game. The first Plants vs. Zombies game is one of my favorite computer games of all time. This mobile-only sequel works perfectly on the iPad, and makes me forget about playing with a mouse altogether. The game has you defend your house from increasingly tougher hordes of zombies by using plants to ward them off. With dozens of plants and even more zombies, there’s no end to the variety you’ll encounter. Since it’s free, there’s no reason for you not to check this game out. Plus, PopCap is doing its part to help keep this game around – every couple days, I get push notifications to return to my game for new levels, new challenges or new seasonal upgrades.

Knightmare Tower ($2.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Knightmare Tower is like Fruit Ninja, except the fruit fight back. And instead of fruit, it’s monsters. You’re tasked to rescue a dozen princesses from an evil overlord, and progressing through the levels earns you coins to unlock new stronger weapons, bigger bonuses and better potions. And once you beat the main game, you unlock a Survival Mode where you can keep playing forever… if you’re good enough to survive. The great art style, addictive gameplay and easy-to-understand controls will hook you instantly and keep you coming back for more. I loved this game.

Hundreds ($4.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

What year-end best list would be complete without my first favorite mobile game of the year? This game came out waaaaaaay back in January and occupied most of the time on my flight to and from CES. If you’re looking to show off your iPad’s multi-touch abilities, check this out. This is game is deceptively difficult; you’re asked to make circles grow until their combined total hits 100. The first level is one circle with nothing around it. Hold down your finger and beat the level. Sounds easy, right? Not when you have spikes popping your circles, or when the circles are dancing all around. This made my five-hour flight to CES much more tolerable, and it can do the same for you.

Rayman Fiesta Run ($2.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Rayman’s returned in a big way the past few years. The franchise has seen two awesome platformers make their way to home consoles, and two on-rails platformers – that might be even better! – make their way to mobile. Fiesta Run is the sequel to Jungle Run, which launched a few years back. It’s very approachable for anyone who picks up an iPad, but can really ramp up the difficulty if you want a challenge. Collecting all the lums throughout the levels will require timing, skill and a whole ton of patience. Plus, the game is gorgeous to look at, so even if you’re frustrated, you can sit back and enjoy the art!

Best (of the Rest) iPhone Games of 2013

BEST OF THE REST: Games I Haven’t Tried Yet

My video game backlog is obscene. I buy far more games every year than I could ever get through. There are a handful of games on the iPad that I think I’ll totally love – I just haven’t played them enough (or at all) to recommend them. If you’re looking for some more games to check out, here are a few I’m looking forward to playing.

  • Badland ($3.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • Cut the Rope 2 ($0.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • DEVICE 6 ($3.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • Pathogen ($0.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • The Room Two ($4.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Uber Taxi

Uber, the San Francisco start-up that gained something of a cult following by helping people summon a luxury sedan with a smartphone app, is trying something new for people who ride with friends. It said on Monday that it would add the ability to split fares between multiple passengers with a few button taps. The fare-splitting feature will become available when iPhone and Android users download a software update. To split a fare, a user requests a ride and then taps an arrow next to the driver’s information. An option labeled “Split fare” will show up, and the user can select friends from his or her address book. The friends then receive a text message from Uber with a link to tap on. Those who are registered with Uber will be directed to the app, and those who are not will be asked to downloaded the app, sign up for an account and enter their credit card information. The app will take care of the payment at the end of the trip.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

Google Maps

Poor Apple Maps. While we see very minor improvement from Apple’s year-old Maps application, Google continues to improve its world-class offering pretty rapidly. Why, Wednesday, in fact, Google launched an update to the Google Maps for iOS app, adding support for the iPad, indoor maps, and a slew of other features that were released with the recent Android Google Maps update. Google Maps 2.0 now fully supports the larger screen sizes of the iPad and iPad mini, as well as offering indoor maps with walking directions for transit stations, airports, malls and other large buildings. Past that, you’ll also notice that the Google Maps iOS app now offers better navigation with live traffic updates and incident reports. Meanwhile, Apple Maps still hasn’t figured out transit directions.

Read the full story at TechCrunch.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp, the popular mobile messaging app that eschews advertising in favor of a paid model, is getting ready to bring its iOS app in line with the apps it makes for other platforms by turning it into an annual subscription service. Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s CEO, says that the company is planning this year to shift its iOS app to one where new users would pay annually to keep using, taking it away from a one-off download fee and bringing it in line with how it is distributed on the Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Phone platforms. The comments were made to Dutch journalist Alexander Klopping, and reproduced in part in two Dutch blogs, Tweakers and Techtastic. Klopping also provided us with recording of the interview, in English. The new subscription model would apply to new users, Koum said, and would likely follow the same pricing structure as its other apps.

Read the full story at TechCrunch.

Best Apps for Preschoolers

As many preschoolers today are younger than the iPad itself (which debuted in April 2010), educational apps to them are as commonplace as pencils, crayons and building blocks were to their parents. Here are five of our favorite apps for the preschool set.

Learn with Homer (free)

Designed with parents in mind, Learn With Homer is a fantastic app for teaching foundational reading skills to children. If you’re looking to prepare your youngsters for the rigor of the Common Core Learning Standards, this is a must-have app! The target audience is children ages 3-to-6. Right off the bat, it’s easy to see that the bright and colorful graphics will grab their attention, while the fun characters and easy-to-use interface will keep them focused. For context, Learn with Homer is made for children with little to no foundational skills who are just starting off their reading adventures. Instead of practicing skills they already have, children will learn how to read by learning letters and sounds.

(Curated by: Monica Burns)

Toy Store Delivery Truck (99 cents)

There are toddlers and preschoolers who will stop everything just to watch a delivery truck park, unload and deliver its cargo. This app is for those children. The gentle, methodical pace does not rush as child players have time to imagine themselves as the one in charge of this color coded and inventoried cargo. In this truck company, the inventory is only 0-10 and comes in the three primary colors of red, blue and yellow to ensure clarity. It’s a self-contained kids app with separate online access for interested parents. We would suggest that developers refine one set of illustrations showing inside the loading truck (midway into the game), since these do not offer complete precision, but the rest of this app is “10-4 good buddy”!

(Curated by: Frances Judd)

BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week (free)

BrainPop has great videos on topics in many curricular areas, including life science. The video content is very engaging, and the follow-up quizzes provide great feedback on the content. Each week, a free video is provided along with quizzes of different levels. The content stimulates critical thinking skills and provides great topics for discussion. Students are able to make connections between the videos and the related concepts in the real world. Students can enter their names in the quiz results to keep a record of their success.

(Curated by: Julene Reed)

Toca Band ($2.99)

This app is a delight. Children are presented with a stage, and a whole cast of characters appear across the bottom of the screen. When a child places a character onto the stage, the character begins their part of the act. Stage placements higher on the band platform have the character playing at an increased tempo. The starring role is the top center spot. Any character placed here is made into a solo act, which the child can experiment with and control: changing pitch, playing new notes, etc. Children get to play with music and sound in a very fun and engaging way.

(Curated by: Gail Lovely)

Photo Safari! HD ($1.99)

Children adore animals and are especially curious about animals they don’t see very often (or at all). This app gives children a quick introduction to familiar and unfamiliar animals which will lead to hours of great conversation and rich language with you. Having background knowledge and an interest in animals will allow children to make connections to books being read to them and will inspire lots of creative play away from the screen.

(Curated by: Audrey O’Clair)

(This content was originally posted at appoLearning.com.)

When diagnosing neuromuscular problems in patients – when they age or get a concussion, for example – doctors typically make conclusions based on information that is qualitative, or subjective. But a tablet app developed by researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering may be able to quantitatively measure neuromuscular performance for the first time. In a clinical study of the technology, called “NeuroAssess,” 150 people used a stylus to trace a moving target around a circle on a tablet. Their performance – that is, how often they deviated from the path – was measured, and then analyzed based on age, sex and handedness. From this, a number that shows differences in performance between people or conditions can be produced, according to a release. “It is portable, repeatable, quick to administer and easy to perform,” said Lei Stirling, a Wyss senior staff engineer who led the study.

Read the full story at Mashable.

%d bloggers like this: