Clumsy Ninja, which was featured in last year’s Apple media event for the fifth-generation iPod touch and iPhone 5, has finally made its way to the App Store as a free download. One of two high-profile game demos from Apple last year — the other being Infinity Blade Dungeons, which was shown at the third-generation iPad event in March 2012 and later canceled — Clumsy Ninja’s release was delayed for more than a year without explanation.
The freemium game lets users interact with a kid ninja, letting you teach him a variety of tasks. He improves, learning new tricks and moves through his training. Impressive kinematic animation and cartoony graphics add to the fun factor of the universal release.
An anticipated sequel, Epoch 2 ($3) from Uppercut Games offers more Terminator apocalypse-inspired robot battles. The third-person shooter will likely appeal mostly to fans of the first Epoch, but it may not expand the audience much more than that. New weapons and features have been added, most notably including moving backgrounds and varied types of simultaneous attackers to fight against, all within an Unreal Engine 3-generated environment. But the gameplay remains relatively shallow and repetitive.
Apple has finally updated its free Find My Friends app for iOS 7 with version 3.0. The new design is more iOS 7-esque, of course, losing the skeuomorphic leather stitching, and switching to a lighter, orange-accented design. Friends are now seen on the map in tiny picture circles, as opposed to just dots, and the prior version’s font excesses are gone.
A number of iOS users have noted that some of the photos they’ve taken with iOS 7’s Camera application have disappeared without a trace, an issue that we’ve confirmed firsthand. Posts in Apple’s number of Apple discussion forums show how some users are experiencing the issue, while struggling to explain why it’s happening. Based on what we’ve seen, the problem appears to be sporadic, affecting only a small number of photos shot over a period of time; the photos are taken as indicated by a snap of the device’s shutter, but then do not appear in the Photos application’s Camera Roll. An Apple community specialist suggested closing all apps and restarting the device to fix the problem, a solution that has not worked for us, with backing up and restoring the device as a next possible option.
Apple has released iOS 7.1 beta to developers. The download is available within Apple’s developer portal. Initial indications are that the software addresses bugs in the original iOS 7 release, however, additional features may have been quietly added.
All prior iOS 7 device models can run 7.1, however, the release is not yet intended for general consumption.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving ($6) from Loud Crow Interactive features everyone’s favorite sad sack, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts crew for this interactive book. Dialogue, music, and sound effects all come straight from the 1973 animated special, and the iOS interface has been substantially improved from prior Charlie Brown holiday apps. Three reading modes are available, and word highlighting and touch-to-speak technology are also included in the app.
SNK Playmore has brought its classic fighting game The King of Fighters ‘97 ($4) to iOS. The fourth game in the classic KOF series, the ‘97 edition features 35 characters and new teams — hidden characters Orochi Iori and Orochi Leona are included from the get-go. Both the extra and advanced fighting modes are available, as in the original game. Both a four-button and six-button control scheme are available, and it’s possible to move the controls around the screen, and change the joystick/button sizes as well. Due to a bug in the control-moving system, it’s harder to set the buttons up properly on an iPad, but hopefully SNK Playmore will fix the issue.
Google has released its Google Play Music app for iOS. The free app provides access to a standard music streaming service and All Access service, which costs $10/month. Google’s standard service lets users add up to 20,000 of their own songs, and listen to the music from all iOS devices and Google’s web player.
All Access lets users listen to unlimited songs, and includes an ad-free radio service. Radio stations are customizable, and there are no skip limits on listening. The app was originally expected to launch much earlier this year.
Modernist Cuisine at Home is indeed an $80 app, but if you’re a cook, you’ll understand why it’s actually a bargain. An interactive digital version of the $140, James Beard Award-nominated cookbook Modernist Cuisine at Home, the app from Inkling includes 260 more recipes and 359 more photos than the print cookbook; it’s also been reformatted to read more easily on screens much smaller than the gigantic original volume. The app also features 37 cooking technique videos, including how to execute the water displacement method or how to use a blowtorch on steaks, as well as interactive versions of Modernist Cuisine’s famous photographs, and calculators to let you scale recipes up or down for your needs. A free demo chapter is available through Inkling’s own app; the book can be downloaded in full through Inkling and added to the app’s library, or kept as a standalone version.
Sony’s free PlayStation App has made its way to the App Store just before tomorrow’s release of the PlayStation 4. The PlayStation App lets users interact with friends, receive notifications, game alerts, and invitations. An iOS device can also be used as an onscreen keyboard. Among other features, the app also lets users buy games from the PlayStation Store to push to the PS4.
Apple has released iOS 7.0.4. The update is listed as including unspecified bug fixes and improvements.
Notably, an issue that caused FaceTime calls to fail has been fixed within the update. The update is available now over the air.
Update: iOS 6.1.5 was also released for the fourth-generation iPod touch. The update fixes the FaceTime bug on the device.
IFTTT — also known as If This Then That — has upgraded its free IFTTT app to version 1.2. The updated app now has actions for iOS Photos and Reminders, meaning IFTTT can now automatically add photos to iPhone albums, and create new to-do items in Reminders. Swipe gestures have been added for iOS 7, as well as improved background syncing.
iTeleport ($25) updates its popular universal remote desktop app, giving it an all new layout for iOS 7. Hardware keyboard support has also been added, while version 6.1.8 fixes additional layout issues. The iPad-only app ($20) was updated, as well.
Chillingo’s Anomaly 2 ($5) has arrived on iOS after debuting on the Mac earlier this year. The graphically intense tower defense game has an online multiplayer mode which lets gamers play as the alien towers or attacking humans, as well as a standard offline single-player mode with “one million tactical combinations,” according to Chillingo. We’re pretty blown away by the fine detail on the Retina displays of iPads, and although the gameplay is very similar to Anomaly’s, developer 11 Bit Studios has added the ability of units to transform into different configurations for specific situations such as long- or short-range attacks, plus some other tweaks. It’s a very cool sequel to the prior Anomaly titles.
Cobra iRadar (free) from Cobra Electronics Corporation has a revamped map and a number of new features. A follow-me mode makes it easier to see alert locations on the road ahead. Simple navigation options and live traffic info have been added, as well as map controls and a macro map view. Some of the app’s features are only accessible when using a Cobra iRadar Detector.
Gameloft’s Asphalt 8 has gone free to play in version 1.1.0. The game has also added the Clio R.S., and Gameloft claims “new cars will appear at any moment.” New limited-time cups and boosters are now included, and a multiplayer world series introduces seven new reverse tracks. Touch controls can also be customized now, with the quiet addition of support for “Apple gamepads” also nestled inside the update.
Basecamp (free) from 37signals now supports iOS 7. The project management app lets team members access everything in a project from the app, from anywhere, providing comments while they collaborate on the project. Basecamp lets members view progress and upload files, as well. The latest version 1.4.1 fixes a blank screen bug.
Apple has updated its Remote app to version 4.0. The app has been considerably redesigned for iOS 7 and adds support for iTunes 11.1.
While users shouldn’t expect a huge number of new features, the revamped UI is cosmetically a big change. Remote is a free download and a universal app.
Infinity Blade III ($7) from Chair Entertainment Group has upgraded to version 1.1, bringing gamers Infinity Blade III: Soul Hunter. A new quest, location, and enemy await players on their journey to find the missing Infinity Weapons. More than a dozen new items have been added, and a new explore feature lets players return to unlocked areas to grab loot and boost XP. Those playing through Infinity Blade III a second time after beating the game will now be able to skip cinema scenes, credits, and the tutorial. Support and optimization have been added for the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.
PlayDate Digital’s My Little Pony: Party of One ($3) is an interactive iPad storybook app that uses the ponies to teach reading and vocabulary. Social skills are also a big part of the app as Pinkie Pie looks for friends to attend her party. All the popular characters are included, and the app’s content is aimed at children — primarily little girls.
The Federal Aviation Administration has reached a decision to allow airlines to expand in-flight use of electronic devices. Use of portable electronic devices will be permitted “during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions,” according to the announcement, which also notes that electronic items should be held or placed in the seat’s back pocket during the “actual takeoff and landing roll.” Separate FCC regulations, however, will still require that cell phones be placed into airplane mode, as they cannot be used for airborne calls. The FAA also notes that in “some instances of low visibility — about one percent of flights — some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant,” and users may still be asked to turn off their devices in such situations. Implementation will still be the responsibility of each individual airline, however the FAA expects many airlines to enact the allowance of electronic devices from “gate-to-gate” by year’s end.
Peapod Labs is back with another alphabet app — this time, it’s ABC Actions ($3). Unlike prior noun-focused editions, the latest ABC app concentrates on teaching children verbs and action words. More than 150 photos, 100 videos, 50 interactive games, and 50 action words are featured within the interactive app.
Delivery Status touch ($5), a package tracking app from Junecloud, recently updated to version 5.0. The app has been redesigned for iOS 7, and with the redesign comes a host of new features, including background notifications, calendar support, search, archive, AirDrop sharing, text and iMessage sharing, iCloud sync, and much more. Barcode scanning has improved, and 1Password can be integrated for easy password access. Delivery Status touch supports dozens of delivery services, including UPS, FedEx, USPS, and more.
A favorite of one of our editors, Frogmind’s Badland ($4) has received a Halloween update in version 1.6. The addictive physics-based side-scroller now has a Halloween theme and a new multiplayer level. Four new multiplayer characters have also been added to the game. Badland is $1 for a limited time, due to a special Halloween sale.
Gameloft has added a number of new features to Gangstar Vegas (currently $3) in version 1.2.0. The Gangstar Superhero update brings five new hero costumes to the game, in addition to nine new vehicles, and three new weapons. Gameloft also added 14 new missions and some limited-time events to the game.
Apple has released iOS 7.0.3, which adds iCloud Keychain and a Password Generator for Safari. The update features a number of bug fixes and tweaks, including an iMessage fix, the resolving of an accelerometer calibration issue, and a lock screen update that delays the display of “slide to unlock” when using Touch ID. The update is available over the air through the Software Update screen in the iOS Settings app or via the iTunes software update process.
ABC for Little Space Explorer ($2) from Common Extract is a new alphabet and science learning app for young children: A is for astronaut, B is for black hole, C is for crater, and so forth. Conceptually, the app is a bit odd — alphabet lessons are typically for kids aged 2-5, and the science content here is more for kids 6 and up—but parents who want their kids to learn about space might find it to be worth a peek. As tested, we didn’t always find the app’s interactive activities to be intuitive; in some cases, you’ll see 3-D cosmic maps or satellites that can be zoomed in on, while in others, the screen will flip to telescope and other views that don’t completely make sense. Even the alphabet selection screen is spread over two pages, which may confuse some kids. Our feeling is that Common Extract will benefit from polishing the app up a bunch, but the raw materials here are compelling.
Google’s standalone Hangouts has updated to version 1.3.0 with a major new feature — users can now make and receive telephone calls to land lines from an iOS device. The free app also now lets users send and receive animated GIFs, and it’s now possible to see which friends are using Hangouts, and who’s currently available.
StoryToys is back with another interactive pop-up book — Haunted House ($2), just in time for Halloween. Though the theme may seem scary, most kids won’t be frightened looking through this book with eight pop-up scenes. Haunted House includes full voice narration in English, French, German, and Spanish. A number of games are included within the pages, letting kids have the opportunity to seat at ghosts and mix a witch’s brew.
Microsoft’s brand new Microsoft Remote Desktop (free) app lets users connect to a remote PC to access Windows from anywhere. Users can access remote resources through the Remote Desktop Gateway. Microsoft promises a secure connection to data and applications, simple management of connections, and high quality video and sound streaming. An easy connection to external monitors and projectors helps those business types who need to make presentations.
Just released by Psyonix, ARC Squadron: Redux is a reboot of last year’s free Star Fox-style shooter, which puts you in control of a spaceship that flies through 60 levels of gun- and missile-firing action. Unreal Engine graphics optimized for Retina displays are an immediate attention-grabber, but the game has 20 different environments, and nine boss battles. Players can upgrade the ship and weapons as they shoot their way through the galaxy with tap and swipe controls. The music and voice samples are extremely impressive.
Batman: Arkham Origins (free) is a new one-on-one Batman fighting game from Warner Bros. Basically a sequel to Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, Arkham Origins offers new opponents, backgrounds and costumes. The game features swipe-and-tap gameplay, high-resolution graphics, and places an emphasis on increasing Batman’s abilities as you proceed through the game—not surprisingly, many in-app purchases are available to offset the initially free download, which uses a “stamina” bar to limit your play sessions. It’s also possible to connect the game to the console version of Batman: Arkham Origins for exclusive content.