Halo: Spartan Strike ($6) + Halo: Spartan Assault ($6) — Microsoft has been putting a lot of effort into the iOS platform lately with significant updates to its Office suite of apps and the introduction of an entire family of MSN lifestyle apps, so it was probably inevitable that we’d eventually see the company enter the gaming side of things. This week, Microsoft released two of its Halo spinoffs, the original Halo: Spartan Assault, and the new Halo: Spartan Strike. Set in the Halo universe, both games have players taking on the role of a Spartan across 30 missions against the Covenant. Spartan Assault takes place just before the events of Halo 4, and lets players explore the background of the Spartan Ops program, while the second game is more of a prequel set in the Halo 2 universe. Both games let players use a wide variety of weapons, vehicles, and armor abilities to customize their Spartan, and the UI in both is well-optimized for the iPhone touchscreen, with the left thumb used for directional control and the right used for a variety of weapon actions from charging plasma rifles to firing assault rifles to lobbing grenades. The games are $6 individually, but you can pick up both in a Halo: Spartan Bundle for $10.
Cut! (free) — This game tests your movie trivia knowledge with hundreds of clips and thousands of contextual questions that range from actors, directors and titles to identifying arcane points in key scenes. Players watch short clips that show classic movie moments and then go head-to-head either against friends or random opponents to answer questions about the film — sometime from the displayed scene, sometimes more general questions. Players can choose questions from a multitude of categories such as Awarded Movies, Dancing Scenes, Marvel Superheroes, Bad Guys, Monsters, and more, and each clip can present any one of dozens of questions, making the game eminently replayable.
Sago Mini Toolbox ($3) — The latest addition to the Sago series, Mini Toolbox lets young kids strap on their tool belts and play with a whole plethora of virtual on-screen tools to complete a variety of tasks. Cut fabric, hammer in nails, drill holes in a 2×4, turn a wrench to screw in a bolt, and more. The game includes the usual cute animations and sounds we’ve come to expect from the Sago Mini app collections, inspiring young builders and makers to work at projects alongside their Sago Mini friends.
Chrome (free) — Google’s alternative to Safari gets an interesting update, adding support for App Extensions such as 1Password and LastPass for looking up and filling in passwords (a feature that was previously only available in Safari), some slick new UI gestures allowing you to pull down and slide left or right to open a new window or close the current one, and a handy new Today Widget that lets users open a new tab, access voice search, or open a link that’s on the clipboard just by pulling down the Notification Center.
System Monitor ($1) — While many people are content to just use their iPhone, if you’ve ever wanted a better look at what’s going on under the hood, apps like System Monitor have you covered. An all-in-one health check app, this elegantly designed tool lets you check your battery status — including health — as well as free memory, background processes, CPU utilization, and more. The app now gains a redesigned UI, full support for the iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air, and improvements to the battery health check, along with battery tips.
Tumblr (free) — If you’re active on Tumblr, as either a follower or blogger, you’ll appreciate what the company has done in its latest iOS app, making it even smoother and more usable than before. Version 4.0 includes the ability to create whole new blogs from right inside the app, make video posts using nothing more than a Vimeo or YouTube URL, make submissions to other blogs (assuming they accept submissions), and even see what’s trending today from right in your Notification Center Today screen. Additional new features include filtering by post type, a sticky search bar to ensure that you can always easily get back to it, and a new design for the iPad version.