Every week, the editors and writers at iMore carefully select some of our favorite, most useful, most extraordinary apps, accessories, gadgets, and websites. This week's selections include an app for Londoners, a couple games, a wiki, a great photography app, and app for those who wish they were astronauts.
Two things in particular came together in finding this application. Firstly, I spend a reasonable amount of time in London throughout the year. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I drink too much coffee. And now, with this app, the two can go together hand-in-hand.
There's nothing complicated about it, as it's basically a directory of non-chain coffee shops throughout London. The app ties into Apple Maps, and wherever you see a dot near you, you can tap on it and get all the details of that particular coffee shop and a quick review. Opening times, the closest tube station, walking distance from your location, even whether or not it has WiFi. Best of all, it's been really nicely designed, and is an app that you will actually want to put to use. So, if you're headed to London anytime soon, give it a try.
Star Command is a great new game for the iPhone and iPad that sees you take command of a customizable starship as you fly across the galaxy doing battle with all manner of hostile alien races. You start with the ability to pick one ship hull, with other being unlocked as you play the game. Your ship has a number of configurable rooms that allow you to build different stations. After selecting and naming your ship and creating your captain, you can hire crew members to occupy rooms, which is required for the rooms to function. Red crew members operate weapons, blue manage scientific and medical equipment, and yellow engineers repair damage to your ship. You can also reassign your crew, so someone in a tactical room can be moved to an engineering room, for example. This way, crew can fill rolls as needed.
Combat is a big part of the game as well, and with a variety of weapons and defensive abilities at your disposal, which charge after each use. Selecting a weapon to fire brings up a mini game in order to determine the number of hits you score against the enemy ship. Since each weapon on your ship takes up a room, you must have at least one crew member staffing it in order for the weapon to charge. This can be difficult when enemy troops start boarding your ship, as only tactical and bridge crew can repel them, possibly leaving weapons unmanned. A fun game that challenges the player to manage their ship well, Star Command is a worth a look, and is available as a universal app for $2.99.
Trauma's what you might call experimental. The game takes a similar format as Myst in that you're navigating a collection of overlapping images in order to solve puzzles, in this case using a smattering of gestures at your disposal. The real kicker here is the premise. Players explore the dreamscape of a woman that's survived a car crash, and her narrative throughout your journey puts together pieces of her story. Though initially it seems like the images assembled are extremely simple, it doesn't take long for things to get a little on the weird side. Trauma is a surreal, ponderous game, and an altogether new kind of experience. If you've got an open mind, give it a shot.
There is a ton of Wiki's out there. If you're interested in something, chances are there is a Wiki for it. Video games, TV shows, movies, food, fashion and more. When you start looking for that much information, it can become a bit daunting. Having all that content in one spot and categorized would be awesome. Wikia Inc., which currently runs over 200,000 wikis, thought so as well and as such, they've created a great app called My Wikia and it offers up the best Wiki browsing experience I've used. Offering such features as the ability to search for and browse all your favorites right from within the app, drill down on only the content you want to see and filter out the rest, keep track of the most recent updates, follow trends and see what others think is popular. Did I mention it's free and beautifully designed? If you spend your time reading through Wiki's, then I suggest giving My Wikia a try.
If you've seen those awesome Instagrams by Safe Solvent then you've seen KitCam in action. It's a fantastic iOS app that not only gives you more advanced control over the camera than the built-in app, but also lets you add lens and film effects, and adjust things like contrast, brightness, color balance, and levels.
There are some spectacular camera apps on iOS, and some equally spectacular photo editing apps, but KitCam includes enough of just exactly the right stuff to make it an excellent, one-stop shop for photographers of all skill levels. And that's true whether you're running and gunning or taking your time and trying to maximize your artistic vision.
The base price includes a good collection of tools, and additional bundles are available via in-app purchase. There's a lot more to say, but I lack Leanna's camera savvy, so I'll save the rest for her inevitable review.
I love science. And space. A childhood dream of mine was to be an astronaut, and I still kick myself in the butt sometimes for not pursuing that dream. Alas, I must live vicariously through apps like NASA, instead. The NASA app for iPhone and iPad lets you explore photos, videos, missions, and more. If you like space, science, and NASA, definitely check it out.