New and Updated Games
Endless Wordplay (free) — Originator’s “Endless” series of educational apps are some of our – and our kids’ – favorites on the App Store; Endless Numbers was in fact one of our picks in the Best iOS Kids’ Apps this year. Now, the team at Originator is back at it with a fourth installment in the series. This latest app takes the user beyond simply spelling words into word building, rhyming, and spelling patterns and phonograms — teaching and reinforcing spelling rules and variations in a fun and entertaining way. An all-new character, the Alphabot, joins the crew of Endless monsters helping to encourage learning with entertaining and illustrative animations. As with Orginator’s other apps, Endless Wordplay is designed as an open-ended and self-paced learning environment, with no high scores, time limits, or other stresses. The free version includes three spelling lessons, with additional lesson packs available as in-app purchases.
80 Days ($5) — Another one of our Best of 2014 picks, Inkle’s Jules Verne inspired game gets a whole new section of the world to explore as you try to help your master make it around the world within the allotted time. Introduced as a “perilous expedition to the North Pole,” the new arctic route in version 1.1 adds an additional 30,000 words or so to the existing expansive text adventure, making a great addition to an already very replayable game.
AnyList (free) — Version 4.5 of AnyList, Purple Cover’s great grocery list and recipe management app, adds a new set of meal planning features. A new integrated calendar allows users to add recipes and notes for each date to help plan their meals and shopping trips accordingly. Users can quickly and easily review the calendar for planned recipes and add any necessary items to their shopping lists with a few quick taps.
Google (free) — Google’s core search app for iOS gets an update to version 5.0, allegedly completely rebuilt and now sporting Google’s “Material Design” motif. A new “Recents” section provides quick access to recently-viewed pages, and the new version integrates Google Maps for basic location lookups, although users will still be directed to the full, standalone Google Maps app for directions and navigation.
Google Wallet (free) — Google’s alternative to Apple Pay gets a useful update, adding Touch ID support and offline access to gift cards and loyalty cards.
Kindle (free) — Amazon has updated its flagship e-book reading app with support for its new Kindle Unlimited service, with a new Book Browser that allows users to download and read books directly from within the app. Users who don’t subscribe to Kindle Unlimited will still need to buy their books the old way – through a web browser – as Kindle still isn’t about to give Apple its cut of book sales. But at least those who have already paid for an unlimited subscription can now more easily search for and download new books. The app also now provides full Goodreads integration to share reading progress, quotes, and snippets with friends via the service, and now provides personalized recommendations and book samples for readers.