Apps: After Burner Climax, Little Mermaid, ProCutX, Twitter 5.3
When Sega ported the latest version of its classic arcade jet shooter After Burner to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 for $10, we downloaded it immediately. Now After Burner Climax has arrived as a universal iOS app for only $3, and though it doesn’t quite live up to the arcade or console versions, it’s not bad. You still get most of the surprisingly detailed forced 3-D stages, complete with Retina resolution, music and sound effects from both Climax and After Burner II, and the unlockable bonus content found in the console version. On the other hand, the action intensity level has dropped markedly, the controls don’t feel quite right, and a variety of other little issues really need to be addressed in a post-release patch. Given the quality of the visuals alone, After Burner fans should consider a day one download, but everyone else should wait to see if Sega fixes the title. As quickly beaten as the game is, the price is right, and with a little work, this will be a thrilling game for short-burst playing.
With a half-dozen classic Grimm fairy tale apps already under its belt, StoryToys is expanding its lineup with a Hans Christian Andersen story that Disney previously all but claimed as its own: The Little Mermaid - 3D Interactive Pop-Up Book ($5). Parents familiar with this developer’s earlier book apps will find the interface extremely familiar: text pages are presented flat for easy reading, interrupted when the book shifts to a dynamic 3-D angle for charmingly illustrated interactive mini-games that move the story along. But StoryToys has done a better job here of balancing out text, still images, and interactive scenes, notably making the story portions easier for young children to enjoy, while preserving the colorful and light activity sections we liked in its prior books. The audio’s very good, too: gentle voice narration is accompanied by cheerful music and sound effects. Don’t expect references to Ariel, but the Little Mermaid story’s otherwise as expected, and a fun book for kids.
New iPad app ProCutX, allows users to control the Mac video production suite Final Cut Pro X from their iPads. For $25, users get control of numerous Final Cut Pro X editing tools in a drastically simplified interface, alleviating the need to click through all the Final Cut Pro X menus. A large dial is included in the middle of the interface, allowing users to scan a project’s timeline by moving the wheel with one finger. Quick retiming, auto-correct color, color grading, compound clip editing, and fast access to tools are also key features.
Twitter (Free) has updated to version 5.3, which now pushes all “Discover” content — including tweets, activity, trends, and suggestions on which accounts to follow — into a single stream. Search gets the same treatment, as it now includes the a mix of tweets, photos, and accounts in one stream. Additionally, the iPhone/iPod interface lets users search from anywhere within the app, just like the iPad interface, and the Connect tab now shows all “interactions” by default, including new followers, retweets, and mentions; you can change this in Settings to “mentions only.” Additionally, users can now access links quicker, as one click on a URL goes directly to that website. They’re small tweaks, but make Twitter 5.3 better for iPhone and iPod users than before; here’s hoping the company overhauls the iPad interface some time soon.
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