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Favorite Four: Strange, Bizarre iOS Games

Posted by Rob Rich on July 17th, 2013

The past five years have seen the App Store’s library of available titles grow from a respectable 500-800 (July, 2008) to an almost inconceivable 1,000,000-plus. Of course the larger a software library gets, especially on a platform abundant with independent developers, the more likely for things to get weird. I mean really weird. With that in mind, here’s a list of four of the App Store’s most bizarre releases spread out over the last five years.

Tomena Sanner (2009)
It’s not the first runner to show up on the App Store, but it’s definitely one of the weirder ones. Guiding an energetic business man through levels filled with cowboys, dinosaurs, and even stranger obstacles is interesting enough. However, he doesn’t just leapfrog over robots and aliens and such; he dances with them. He dances with pretty much everything. And if he makes it to the end of the level in time, he dances there, too.

Enviro-Bear 2010 (2010, obviously)
Anyone who’s familiar with Enviro-Bear 2010 should know that it’s impossible to create a list of off-the-cuff weird iOS games and not include it. I mean it looks weird enough as it is. Actually playing it is a whole other bundle of weird as players control a bear’s hand as it attempts to drive around the woods gathering food for the winter. Food that falls in through the car’s sunroof as the bear runs into things, that then has to be eaten using the bear’s one and only paw that’s needed for accelerating/steering/braking/everything else.

NOM 5 (2011)
NOM 5 is basically the App Store’s most disjointed and surreal runner. It’s running and obstacle avoidance coupled with complete sensory overload, and the plot makes about as much sense as trying to imagine the personal relationship between a squirrel and the tree it’s climbing. Even that would probably make more sense than anything to be seen here. If you’re looking for something that makes so little sense it’s actually a little unnerving, look no further.

Quadropus Rampage (2013)
Rounding out the list is a game about a very angry four-armed octopus on a quest to destroy Pete, the evil god of the sea. The bizarre creatures that make up Pete’s army aren’t about to make things easy, though. You’ll have to grab whatever weapons you can find (including flaming swords, guitars, sticks, and frogs) and make good use of your starfish companion if you’re to have any chance of reaching Pete at the bottom of his ocean kingdom. It’s probably the most “normal” game on this list, but the story and the world are still surreal enough for it to count.

Favorite Four: Apps & Games To Enjoy Wimbledon

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 26th, 2013

With tennis season in full swing, thanks to Wimbledon's arrival this week and the US Open in the near future, tennis fans will be understandably keen to try out a variety of great apps and games related to the subject. So, we've taken a look at what's out there and rounded up our four favorites, comprising of a mixture of gaming and factual experiences.

Stickman Tennis
Starting on a light hearted note, don't expect realism here. Do expect fun, though. Stickman Tennis is a simple yet enjoyable tennis game, offering an almighty battle between stickmen people. Despite the cartoonish looks, it's still possible to hit top spins, slices, lobs and all the other correct shots. The complete season offers 64 tournaments so there's plenty to do, too!

The Championships, Wimbledon 2013
Official apps aren't always that great, but this one certainly bucks the trend. Besides offering the usual supply of live scores, results, statistics and a schedule of events, The Championships, Wimbledon 2013 also includes on demand video previews, daily radio coverage, and time-lapse photography from the grounds. For those who want to see everything to Wimbledon, it's even possible to check out 360 degree photos and videos of the grounds.

The Tennis App
Inspired to take up tennis or improve your skills? The Tennis App has it covered. Detailed instructions are offered for every stroke here, from topspin to volleys and overhead shots. A video overview of each stroke is included, along with an animation sequence and focus on key components of the move. It works just as well for left-handed players as it does right-handed, too.

TouchSports Tennis
Offering a more realistic look to Stickman Tennis, TouchSports Tennis is a fun 3D interpretation of the sport. 3 courts are available to choose from, as well as 6 different players. It's easy to learn to play, thanks to a combination of touch and tilt controls keeping things intuitive throughout. More importantly, it's really rather fun.

Favorite Four: Soccer Games

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 19th, 2013

As a soccer fan, I'm getting twitchy. The Confederations Cup might be helping a little, but I miss the English Premier League week in, week out. This is where I sink time into FIFA 13 on my console in order to counteract the problem. What about while on the move, though? Here's a look at my favorite 4 soccer games, each offering a slightly different take on the beautiful game.

New Star Soccer
The current King of sleep deprivation causes, New Star Soccer is a soccer fan's dream game. Instead of managing an entire team, players focus on one person: themselves, as they build up their skills and talents, hopefully working their way up from the lower leagues to great success. The controls are simple yet rewardingly satisfying, with the winning goal consistently sweet to score. There's life simulation included too, with the need to keep the boss happy as well as spend some hard earned money on fun leisure pursuits.

Active Soccer
Older gamers will remember before the days of FIFA's hold, when graphics weren't so great but gameplay was King, courtesy of the likes of Kick Off and Sensible Soccer. Active Soccer encapsulates that spirit and brings it to the iOS format. It's the controls that shine through most here, keeping it simple with minimal virtual buttons and a virtual joystick that allows players to curl shots in without any AI assistance. It'll take a bit of practice to master, but it's enjoyable stuff.

Football Manager Handheld 2013
The master of soccer management, the Football Manager series has been highly addictive for many years, and caused many a sleepless night. The handheld variety has improved year on year, with 2013 proving quite the fascinating title. Besides the full career mode, it's possible to dive into the Challenge Mode for more bite-sized gaming, offering a clear goal. For those wanting to take on the mantle of Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourhino, Football Manager Handheld 2013 is an unmissable game.

Score! World Goals
Ever wanted to be responsible for a match winning goal? Score! World Goals skips past all the build up play, focusing on the bit that counts. Taking players through a large selection of historical matches, Score! World Goals is part puzzle game, part arcade line drawer. Success is dictated by the player's ability to draw the correct route between players on the pitch, in order to pass appropriately and eventually score. Things start out pretty simple, but it gets more complicated thanks to more advanced stages, as well as the quest for the 3 Star completion record, so beloved of puzzle games.

Favorite Four Apps For A Happy Pre-Christmas

Posted by Lisa Caplan on December 14th, 2011

As Christmas fast approaches there are gifts to be bought, lists to be made, and of course children, old and young, whose anticipation needs to be kept in check. As always, during a holiday season the App Store gets a slew of half-baked themed offerings, so we've put together our favourite four apps for getting through the pre-Christmas madness for you here.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! - Dr. Seuss
The beloved Dr Seuss Christmas book-turned tv-holiday-special comes to life in this digital rendition for young and old alike. For the little ones there is a read-to-me as well as a read-to-myself option. For everyone else, there is wonderful narration, classic illustrations, and the timeless tale of a decidedly green Scrooge, a town full of friends awash in Christmas spirit and Cindy-Lou Who to open the Grinch's very small heart.

An all-purpose seasonal app and a classic of sorts, Christmas!! is a countdown and Advent calendar full of surprises. But, the app also has games to keep kids occupied, jokes, songs, holiday wallpaper to dress up your iPhone and even a shopping list.

The website, by the same name, known for helping make all group holiday gift-giving and ecard-sending a breeze is now an app. Elfster keeps gift lists for anyone, has hot gift ideas, and is ideal for planning office or school parties and Secret Santa exchanges.

Robot Unicorn Attack Christmas Edition
For those of us who are a bit older but still find ourselves wishing the big day would arrive, Adult Swim has a new version of its hit endless runner, Robot Unicorn Attack, all dressed up and ready to race us through the holiday season. If this offering proves as much fun as previous ones in the franchise, players will still be addicted right into the new year.

Favorite Four iPhone Utilities

Posted by Lisa Caplan on November 30th, 2011

It’s surprising sometimes, after accumulating so many apps, to see what we actually use on a regular basis. While setting up so many new iPhones recently, we really had to think - in a post iOS 5 world that rendered many staples obsolete - which of the dozens of utility apps we've stockpiled we still actually use. Here are our favorite four "classics" that we can’t get through most days without.


If you have an iPhone or iPod touch with a front-facing camera, no flashlight app we have seen is better or simpler than this one. The app uses the LED camera flash and a simple slider as a switch to provide bright reliable illumination in dark parking lots, while stumbling for door keys after a late night, or when trying to make a quiet escape from a dark room.

Mobile Mouse Pro

Many people use larger widescreen iMacs as TVs, alarm clocks or to manage urgent morning reminders. We've tried pricey wireless controllers that work with no flat surface, say from a bed, but none are more comfortable, much less so affordable - particularly for browsing and playing media - than Mobile Mouse Pro. Setup is so simple and the interface so intuitive, using it feels like something Apple would, or more aptly should, have made. The shake-to-toggle keyboard feature is wonderful, particularly when a locked screensaver kicks in after a period of inactivity. An iPad version is sold separately.


While not iPad native, we use Pastebot on all our Apple gear, and can’t imagine getting much done at all with out it. Aside from being a robust iOS clipboard manager, it integrates seamlessly with Macs so users can instantly send copied links, text or anything else including images, back and forth from pad to phone to 'puter with no effort after simple set-up.


We’ve all set up iCloud and like what we’ve seen, but when it comes to simple file sharing there is still no better app around than Evernote. The cloud storage app and its integration both into iOS and OS X are so smooth, users will forget it's not just part of their hard drive that they can share with anyone, anytime. For work, for sharing photos, or just to send notes to oneself, it’s still our go-to cloud app and the GUI is as gorgeous and intuitive as ever.