We're back with the latest and greatest iPhone and iPad apps that launched in the last month. Some fantastic new photography apps came to iOS in August, namely from Google and Instagram. There are also some outstanding new games for casual players as well as the hardcore. In fact, Swing Copters started as one, and turned into the other.
Ready? Crack open the App Store and let's get downloading.
Rules is an imaginative and fresh reflex game with adorable graphics. Players have a set of tiles in front of them, each with some kind of animal face on it. Players are given a rule for what order to tap the tiles in, such as "green ones first". After finishing a screen, players continue to a second, where they're given a new rule and have to remember previous ones to execute afterwards. Players are on the clock while they're doing this, making for a frenzied memory challenge with shades of the classic game Simon.
Godus is a casual god sim game with classic mobile city-building mechanics. Players need to guide a fledgling population through the hoops of an evolving civilization, including new housing, developing relationships with one another, and all-out war with neighbours. The usual freemium tropes are present, such as limited faith points which are gathered from the dwellings of worshippers periodically and spent on most deific tasks, including basic terraforming. The pared-down, textureless art style allows vibrant animation with lots of personality shine through.
If you're looking for something like Clash of Clans or Farmville with a touch of visual class, Godus will serve you well.
The premise of Alone is simple: drag up and down on a the screen to pilot an escape pod through a deadly gauntlet of galactic debris. You get two levels of shields that can soak up a bit of punishment. Go for as long as possible in order to unlock higher difficulty levels. The controls are razor-sharp. You drag behind the ship to push it up or down (the direction is inverted by default and feels great, but you can flip that in the options). The sensitivity for this is really high, so you're just rolling your thumb on the screen rather than swiping. This is perfect for playing on small screens, but scales up to tablets just as well.
Alone is a modern, fast, and polished endless runner you won't soon forget.
BioShock is a classic first-person shooter set in an underwater dystopia called Rapture. Players descend into a crumbling city after a plane crash, and have to survive vandals and the well-known deadly duos: Big Daddies and Little Sisters. Every time, you get to pick to save a young girl, or trade in a chunk of your soul for supernatural power. The 20s vibe combined with the underwater setting and absolute state of ruin make for a remarkable world to explore.
The price is steep for a game beaten up by the ravages of time and a cross-platform port, but for those with a soft spot for the franchise or haven't had the chance to ever try it, BioShock for iOS is worth grabbing.
Swing Copters is the latest game from Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen. Your goal is to guide a little orange dude with a propellor hat through gaps in girder that, for some reason, have hammers swinging through them. You do this by tapping the screen to make him switch directions before he careens wildly and crashes to the ground. Originally Swing Copters was as insanely difficult as Flappy Bird, but an update following the launch made the game much more accessible, or too easy, depending on your threshold for punishment.
Photo Sphere is a new camera app from Google dedicated to making 360-degree panoramas. Users just have to move the reticle in the center from target to target while staying in one spot, and Photo Sphere will stitch it all together into a big 3D-rendered photo that can shared out to your various social networks.
Though other apps have managed to do this for awhile, Photo Sphere will certainly benefit from Google's level of polish and social reach on Maps.
Is the unadulterated natural glory of the cosmos alone not enough to stir you to personal revelations of the soul? Well, maybe this app that can name constellations as you point your iPhone app at them will help out. View 3D models of celestial bodies, chill out with some ambient music, and track stars in line with the current moon phase.
Casual and dedicated stargazers are bound to find some utility out of Star Walk 2.
Hyperlapse is a new video app from Instagram which stabilizes and speeds up longer videos. Follow your subjects, or set your iPhone up to shoot while you're on a ride, and Hyperlapse will condense it all into a buttery smooth, fast-paced video clip.
Endomondo, which has long been doing fitness tracking through GPS and accelerometer readings, has released a new app exclusively for the iPhone 5s which aims to emulate a lot of what wearable fitness trackers do. The iPhone 5s has an M7 coprocessor which can quietly hum along all day with minimal battery impact while it's tracking movement, Endomondo life uses that in order to estimate how many calories are burned throughout the day. Endomondo Life will track how close you are to meeting daily goals, the ability go over the past week's data, and keep tabs on burned calories. Your performance is also compared to the previous day and provide notifications when you've met the step goal for today.
Somebody is an imaginative and unique take on messaging that adds a personal touch. Instead of sending a text directly to its recipient, you send it to a nearby volunteer messenger, who speaks the message, complete with emotional queues, to its recipient. The sender, deliverer, and recipient all need to be using the app, since the app has to figure out which messengers are close to the final destination, and they need a picture of the recipient to find them. Ultimately it's a fairly convoluted process, but Somebody is described more as a "far-reaching public art project" rather than some bleeding edge, hyper-efficient messaging system.
Even though it's unlikely that Somebody will gain any kind of critical momentum in any of their major hotspots, it's an interesting idea that puts the way we communicate into a new perspective.