New Apps + Games
Auxy (free) — Users with even a passing interest in making their own creative music will definitely want to check out Auxy. A recently released free modern beat making app, Auxy focuses on providing an incredibly simple, fun, and intuitive interface for laying down beats, bass lines, loops, melodies, and more. Everything gets selected and adjusted with intuitive tap, touch, and swipe gestures, and the final compositions can be recorded and shared/saved via all of the usual iOS 8 export methods, from e-mail to AirDrop and across any supported third-party apps you have installed.
Golfinity (free) — Nimblebits’ latest offering is a deceptively simple golf game, but don’t let the basic graphics of the courses fool you—there’s a lot more going on here than you’d expect, with three-dimensional ball physics that can actually allow you to jump over obstacles and even send the ball flying off the course and into the void. As the name suggests, there is seemingly no end to the number and variation of courses available. Reviews suggest that the ad-supported nature of the game might be a concern, but oddly we’ve played through a couple dozen levels and have yet to see an ad.
Space Age ($4) — A nice throwback to the classic adventure games of yesteryear, Space Age takes you back to the retro-futuristic sci-fi world of 1976, when a group of intrepid explorers have landed on a seemingly uninhabited planet. With charming retro graphics that will appeal to anybody who came of age in the Space Quest generation, the game features an engaging and amusing storyline and a great orchestral score. Best of all, it’s a classic “pay-once-to-play” game—a pricing model that’s becoming increasingly rare in the App Store’s modern era of freemium offerings.
Monument Valley ($4) — As we noted in our Best iOS Games of the Year, the biggest downside to the visually interesting and challenging Monument Valley was its relatively short gameplay, so we’re excited to see a new set of eight chapters emerge in this latest update, which is being offered as a $2 in-app purchase. Dubbed Forgotten Shores, the new chapters can be played non-sequentially, and they take Princess Ida on a new journey of optical illusions that even M.C. Escher would find stunning and dizzying.
FlightTrack 5 ($5) — When Mobiata debuted FlightTrack 5 last year, many were disappointed to find that integration with the TripIt itinerary planning service had been left out of an otherwise great update. While the issue was clearly tied to the two companies failing to come to some agreement, Mobiata promised that it was working on a solution, and although it took longer than most would have hoped for, this latest update reveals a new Tripdeck flight management service baked right into the app. Mobiata appears to have partnered with Expedia, so you’ll need to have—or sign up for—an expedia.com account in order to take advantage of it. Once configured, however, you can forward your flight itinerary e-mails right into an Expedia-based Tripdeck e-mail address and have them show up ready to go within FlightTrack 5. It’s a free feature, and Mobiata promises to continue to extend it beyond basic itinerary import, making one of the best flight tracking apps on the App Store even more usable, especially great for frequent travellers.
YouTube (free) — Google’s YouTube iOS app gets a music-focused update, with a new Music Homepage that users can hit to focus specifically on music videos, presenting endless YouTube mixes based on favorite artists, songs, and more. Albums can also now be played right from the search results. It’s a nice update for the many users who use the YouTube app primarily as a music library, although background audio playback is still notably missing—you’ll need to keep the app open and the videos streaming to keep listening.