The App Store is a busy place, and every week brings a slew of new apps. Keeping up with all the new releases is almost impossible at this point. To that end, we're going to be starting a weekly round-up of five new apps that have caught our interest for one reason or another. Hopefully, you'll be interested in each member of the "Friday Five," too. Please note that this list is not at all exhaustive, so feel free to chime in with your own suggestions!
We Rule by ngmoco
There was no way that We Rule wasn't going to make this list. ngmoco is the powerhouse behind popular games ranging from Rolando to Eliminate, and like most of their recent games, this one is freemium. We Rule is a kingdom-building game that bears something of a resemblance to the Facebook hit Farmville. The goal is to build up your kingdom as much as possible, which involves planting and harvesting crops among other things. There's also a strong social aspect, as you can visit friends' kingdoms and interact using ngmoco's Plus+ network.
Yahoo! Sketch-a-Search is a recent release from the well-known search engine. Instead of web search, however, this one's for restaurants. The app narrows in on your location, and then you can "sketch" a boundary line with your finger. The app will return a list of restaurants within your sketch. Though it might seem gimmicky, this could actually be useful—all too often, a simple radius search won't cut it. For most of the listings, the app also provides phone numbers, ratings, directions, photos, and menu pricing.
Flick Bowling 2
Freeverse is another studio that's had a lot of strong hits on its hands: Skee-ball and Flick Fishing come to mind. Their latest title is a bowling game with a decidedly bizarre story mode that involves travel through time and space. If you can grin at the game's spontaneous and nonsensical plot twists, you'll also be able to appreciate the improved touch controls. Flicking the ball with your finger gives you a surprising amount of precise control. If you've tried the original Flick Bowling, be sure to check out this sequel!
Group Text is a free app that does what you'd expect: it lets you text a bunch of people at once! Like many other texting apps, it gives you free, unlimited texts by using your data plan, but the main draw is that you can hold "chat" conversations via text even if your friends don't have iPhones (or the app, for that matter). When one person replies, everyone receives a text with the update. Group Text certainly isn't a new concept, but it's free...so why not check it out?
And here I thought that Digg was getting old. Digg is a community where users can "digg" links that they deem to be awesome and worthy of promotion; the idea is that, theoretically, the best stuff rises to the top, whether it's from a major news site or an obscure blog. If you're still using the website, be sure to grab the recently-released free app. It actually does a lot of what the full-fledged service does: you can browse the usual popular categories, digg stories, save stories for later reading, and more. And besides...it's free!