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Ten Unfortunately Underrated Apps On The iOS App Store

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on July 12th, 2013

Hey, there are over a billion apps out there, you know? There are only a few featured each week by the App Store, only a tiny fraction make the top paid and free charts, and fewer still are included in Apple's Essentials collections.

What that means is that there are a ton of great apps and games out there that just don't get discovered. Let's remedy that, at least a little bit, with our choices for ten of the most underrated apps on the App Store.

Bird Zapper - Here's one of the more ridiculous match-three offerings out there, with a solidly pleasant presentations, control set, and game mechanics. If you're up for some wacky bird torture and like the zen-like state of mindful repetition, this one's for you.

Epic Win - You know what's boring? To-Do lists. Even worse? Completing them. Chores suck, but Epic Win turns them into a game, offering you experience points and level ups to keep you interested and motivated. I still rock this app on my iPhone.

Hard Lines - Take two time-honored video game genres, the dual stick arcade shooter and Snake, and mash them up. You'll get something like Hard Lines, one of the stickier games out there, one in which the resulting app is greater than the sum of its parts.

The Blocks Cometh - This retro-flavored platformer/jumper should have made a longer lasting splash, what with its look, sound, and solid controls. Regardless, it's a game that you should grab for your iOS device right now; it's that good.

Match Panic - Originally titled Critter Panic, this match three game has it all: pixelly artwork, retro chiptune soundtrack, and the addictive nature of time-based pattern matching. Get ready to bliss out with your iPhone and a set of headphones when you play this fantastic game.

Mint - Honestly, I don't know how I lived or did taxes before Mint, the mobile app version of the award-winning financial web service. I find it surprising, though, how few people know of the service or the app. I'm here to right that wrong, now, by recommending you give it a try.

CardMunch - This LinkedIn-sponsored business card scanning app is probably the best of the ones I've used, but I doubt you've even heard of it. Eclipsed by apps like Evernote Hello, CardMunch seems to do a better job recognizing funky card designs. It also connects right to LinkedIn, which makes a lot of sense for those of us that rely on that for business contacts.

Camera+ - Maybe it's just me, but I have a hard time replacing Apple's built-in apps with third-party ones. Part of it is the inability to set other apps as default, and part of it is that Apple's apps work well, and simply. Camera+ is one of the exceptions, as it does so much more to take iPhone photography to the next level. Seriously, get this app.

Knights of Pen & Paper - If you're a closet Dungeons & Dragons fan, you'll already warm to the alliterative title of this smart, tongue-in-cheek homage to fantasy role playing of the analog sort. My kids and I pass the iPad back and forth with this game all the time, even to this day.

Rdio - Poor Rdio, it never gets much love. When I see streaming music mentioned in any type of press, it's always Pandora and Spotify that are mentioned. Rdio is a brilliant internet radio platform, organized more by album for us older music lovers. It's got a great catalog of both popular and more indie music, and just gets better each day. Give it a try for free and see if it works for your brain.

Zap Birds and Free the Power Lines with Namco's Upcoming Game, Bird Zapper

Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on March 15th, 2011

Namco Bandai's newest game sounds...well, a bit wacky. Entitled "Bird Zapper!", the game enlists players to help Skippy the Squirrel, who is enraged by the birds who short-circuited his music player. A bit of a complicated premise, yes, but the end result is easy to understand: the birds are squatting on the power lines, and with a swipe of your finger, you can knock them off!

Swiping like-colored birds will send them toppling from the power lines, and some birds will provide special bonuses or attacks. The more birds you dethrone, the higher your score. The power lines, and their birds, are set up in a grid-like arrangement. (Be sure to look at the screenshots; the graphics are bright and detailed, despite just featuring cartoon birds.) Because of the way the power lines are laid out, Bird Zapper! actually resembles a match-3 game like Bejeweled more than anything else, which is somewhat unfortunate. How many Bejeweled clones do we need? However, Namco hopes that it will still stand out.

Bird Zapper! will ship with three different play modes. In Survival, you swipe as fast as you can until your "power meter" is depleted. In Blitz, the goal is to reach the highest score in sixty seconds. Finally, Zen mode has no restrictions or time limits.

While Bird Zapper! has not yet been released, the website lists it with a "March 2011" release date, so we expect to see this new title take flight soon. Namco plans to release Bird Zapper! as a universal app with both iPhone and iPad versions for $0.99, while an Android version will ship later for the same price.