As winter approaches, I’ve begun the time-honored tradition of spending large chunks of my time sitting inside, sipping on a warm coffee- or tea-based beverage, and getting addicted to as many games as possible. These days, we tend to put most games into two main categories. First, you have your longer, in-depth games that you can really sink your time into. Second, you have a subset of games that the iTunes App Store lovingly refers to as “5 Minute Fixes,” or games that you can pick up for a few minutes at a time, perhaps in line at the store or while riding a bus.

What is often overlooked in the area of game reviews (particularly for platforms like iOS) is that quick-fix games and time-sucking games are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Today I’m going to look at Esoteric Development‘s puzzler Box 2 Box — a deceptively simplistic game whose level-based design makes it good for short, segmented bursts of play, but where the increasing level difficulty can make for maddening, time-sucking fun. (more…)

Pandora has all but become synonymous with Internet radio over the past decade. For those unfamiliar, Pandora is an automated music discovery service that is built on the Music Genome Project, an initiative to catalogue music using various elemental analyses with intent of being able to recommend music you might like based on music you already know you like.

Pandora has been around for quite some time, launching way back in the year 2000 and spending most of its life as an open tab on browsers everywhere. It arrived relatively early on iOS, but since then hasn’t undergone much in the way of visual or functional updates. However, Pandora recently added support for the extra screen real estate on the iPhone 5, so we think that this is a perfect opportunity to check out the changes that the app has seen. Grab your favorite pair of listening headphones and let’s dig in. (more…)

If you have an iPhone, had an iPhone, have thought about having an iPhone, known someone who had an iPhone, or even are only vaguely aware of the existence of the iPhone, it’s unlikely that you’ve escaped without some sort of cursory awareness of Angry Birds, the physics-based phenomenon whose popularity has hung around only slightly too long to still be considered a “fad.” Rovio first released Angry Birds in 2009, and has since pushed out all kinds of updates and new chapters, but the premise has more or less always been the same: load a bird into a slingshot, and launch it in an attempt to topple a piggy-inhabited edifice of questionable structural integrity.

Well today, all of that changes. The piggies want the spotlight now, and Rovio has given it to them in a brand new iOS game called Bad Piggies. Bad Piggies is very much set in the same world as Angry Birds, but the game is quite different. Grab a cup of coffee and hit the jump to take a look at this brand new physics-based puzzler. (more…)

It is true that there is an increasing number of tools being developed to help you and your team collaborate and get things done efficiently. There is a tried and true champion of this realm however, and that is Basecamp, developed by 37Signals. A lot of people are aware of Basecamp, but what you may not know if you’re not a regular user is that it recently underwent a massive redesign, to the point where the service was rebranded as “Basecamp Next” and functioned separately from the original (with a separate API and everything).

As a user of Basecamp Next nearly since it’s launch, I’m pleased to say that the first iOS app to support the new service has finally been released. Today, we’re going to look at Lodge, developed by Rounded Development, and see how well it brings Basecamp Next to the iPhone. (more…)

This won’t be the first time I geek out over Wikipedia or a related app. I’m a huge advocate for the repository of all human knowledge (I will go toe-to-toe with any high school teacher over the veracity of Wikipedia as a source), as both an academic utility and a great way for those of us who learn for fun to expand our knowledge. Wikipedia is a vast and powerful outlet of information, and lately it has been really exciting to see how app developers come up with new ways to navigate and grasp that information.

Today we’re going to take a look at Wikiweb, an iOS application from Friends of The Web whose unique approach to Wikipedia aims to help you visualize the relationships between various topics and pages. Grab some coffee, sit back with your iPad and get ready to learn something new after the jump. (more…)

Almost a year and a half ago, in February of 2011, Andreas Illiger released what would become one of the most popular iPhone games on the app store: Tiny Wings. It seems like only yesterday that I was spending entire lunch breaks and bus rides with our locomotion-deficient avian friend, but after 18 months, I’m pleased to report that Tiny Wings 2.0 has finally arrived.

If you’re not already aware of Tiny Wings, the premise is that you play a relatively plump little bird who is ill-equipped to generate the lift necessary to fly on his own (read: tiny wings). However, his world is populated by a series of frictionless hills, and with your help he can gain speed and take to the skies using pure inertia.

Let’s dig into 2.0 and see what’s new, shall we? (more…)

Our friends at Web.AppStorm covered the relatively recent changes that Google made to the Google+ web interface. As has become standard for changes made to major social services (I’m looking at you, Facebook users), there was a boisterous fanfare of praises and curses alike (mostly curses). I personally enjoyed the changes that Google made to the interface, but that’s neither here nor there.

Somewhat more quietly however, Google also updated the Google+ iPhone app. The changes are obviously intended to parallel the recent changes to the web interface, but does the style and grace of the web interface translate effectively to the iPhone screen? Let’s find out. (more…)

It’s no secret that the Internet is getting more social, and that some of the most recognized individuals are the people who are able to leverage their social authority to become tastemakers and thought-leaders. If you take a step back, you can even tell that the social media networks that were once thought to be designed to keep you in touch with your friends are now more obviously serving a different purpose: linking you with various (or your own) brands and catalyzing word-of-mouth advertising.

But without a definitive metric with which to measure this influence, improving your social dominance can be confusing and frustrating. There have been several attempts to quantify social media “influence,” but one of the most successful thus far is Klout. Klout is a service that aggregates your social media interactions across various services, and uses a set of algorithms to give you a score based on how influential you are.

Klout recently released their long awaited iPhone app, so let’s take a look. (more…)

One of the most talked about subjects in all of app-dom (and one of my personal favorites) is gamification. The idea that we can use software (usually mobile) to change the way that we think about our everyday activities by turning even the most mundane tasks into a game. One of the first, and arguable still the most persistent, examples of gamification is Foursquare, the app that award you points for simply going places. Experiencing the world outside of your apartment was all of the sudden a competition amongst you and your friends.

Since Foursquare, we’ve seen many attempts to gamify your everyday life. Today, Fitocracy aims to motivate you to get fit by turning your visits to the gym into a game. The web app and it’s companion iPhone app let you discuss with your friends, compare point totals, complete challenges and quests, and more. Let’s dig in and see how it works. (more…)

It seems as though payment-revolutionary Square has been quite busy these last few weeks. With a revamp of their web app, a new iPad app and now a Card Case replacement named Pay With Square for iPhone (and Android, I suppose), Square continues to innovate and change the way we do business.

If you weren’t already familiar, Card Case was Square’s first attempt at a mobile app that was designed to allow you to locate businesses utilizing their technology, gather information about them, and then pay via a tab system. While Card Case was great, Pay with Square is a huge update to the app, complete with new icon, interface and functionality. Let’s dig in and see what’s new. (more…)

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