Apps: Google Maps 3.0, Intake, Republique 2.0 + Tumblr 3.6
Google has updated Google Maps (free) to version 3.0.0. The major update includes many new features, including lane guidance within turn-by-turn navigation. Offline maps can now be saved for use when traveling or when dealing with a slow connection. The app also works in conjunction with Uber — users with the Uber app can open it straight from Google Maps. Users can now view travel time, distance, and estimated arrival at the same time in navigation mode, and transit results display total walking time and the next scheduled arrival of a bus or train. Additional new features include filtering business search results by rating, price, and opening hours, searching using Google Voice Search, and more.
Cipher Prime Studios has released some of the most visually appealing action-puzzle games we’ve seen for the iPad — Pulse, Splice, and Fractal among them, all solely for Apple’s tablets rather than pocket devices. Intake: Be Aggressive ($3) is its latest title, and a very interesting, retro-influenced experience, even though it’s not the company’s best effort in the gameplay department. The gameplay is extremely simple: two colors of pills stream from the top of the screen to the bottom, and you need to tap every pill of at least one of the colors to keep playing; a glow at the bottom of the screen shows you which pill color will be absorbed by a shield if they’re missed, rather than instantly ending the game with a fatal dosage. You can tap every pill if you want, but you get combo bonuses for focusing on a single color pill over and over; you’ll only advance to the next level if you repeatedly hit the right color. While the gameplay is changed up a little by the eventual addition of neutrally-colored pills and unlockable powerups, what will hook you or not are the glowing special effects, the cool electronic soundtrack, and the increasing pace at which the pills drop over time. Intake’s goal is to hook you with small but thoughtful aesthetic and gameplay elements; if you’re intrigued by this description, you’ll likely be pleased by the game.
Camouflaj’s Republique, an action-adventure game that first hit the App Store last year, recently released episode two in version 2.0. Republique is a stealth-action game — a genre that’s seen a lot of good entries into the App Store recently—controlled through taps and switching between different cameras as the main character is monitored from afar. But Republique is clearly more of an investment, as the game’s developers describe the title as “one of the most ambitious games ever developed for iOS.” Episode two is titled Metamorphosis, and includes new puzzles, a new environment, a new guard type, and a 3D map feature that works in both the first and second episodes. The game costs $5 — though it’s currently on sale for $3 — and the new episode will set you back another $5. A season pass for all future episodes costs $15.
The newest update to Tumblr (free) gives you control of your blog’s look directly from the app. Prior to version 3.6, a Tumblr’s appearance could only be edited on the web. Now, users can change backgrounds, colors, fonts, and pictures all from the iOS app. When paired with the already existing ability to post updates from the app, Tumblr users now have even less reason to visit the web-based version of the site.
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