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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Best iPad and iPhone apps in October 2013


Solstice Arena
Price: Free | Developer: Zynga | FromApp Store
Zynga is best known for multiplayer games like Farmville and Words With Friends, peaceful games in which conflict is rarely heated.
Solstice Arena is something of a departure — a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game in which you play with or against friends in armed combat to the death.
I haven’t played many MOBAs, so I can’t really
judge whether this one is better or worse than others, but on its own merits, it’s fun.
The combination of simple controls and sophisticated gameplay make for an engaging experience, and the graphics are most impressive for a mobile game.
As with so many games these days, eventually you’re asked to chip in some cash to upgrade your ‘Hero’ in order to win battles and advance, but I got quite a while of gameplay in for free before that happened.

Great British Chefs Kids HD
Price: Free | Developer: Great British Chefs| FromApp Store
Great British Chefs is a series of apps based on a popular TV cooking show. Kids is well-produced, with a slick interface.
It includes plenty of recipes, as well as background info on the chefs who designed them. If you’re in the UK, you can also design meal plans and shopping lists based on what’s available at your nearest Tesco.
The Kids app touts itself as featuring recipes designed to be kid-friendly; they feature plenty of ways in which kids can help with the cooking (instructional videos are included).
The interface is maybe a bit unintuitive, but there’s a good search function to get around that.
Some of the recipes are a bit baffling: why does a chicken and chickpea soup call for four glasses of wine?
My kids don’t drink nearly that much. However, the majority of the recipes are indeed kid-friendly, so if you’ve got kids, it’s a great place to start.

On The Way to Woodstock
Price: $5.49 (iPad) | Developer: 955 Dreams | FromApp Store 
I have to admit slight disappointment with On The Way To Woodstock, as I expected it to include video footage of at least some of the actual performances from that legendary concert. If it does, there’s not much of it. But it’s still a worthwhile app anyway.
It’s a sort of timeline, showcasing the years leading up to and immediately after August 1969, with a focus on the three days of the Woodstock Festival.
The idea is to give a context — socially, politically and musically — for the event itself. There’s a lot of useful information, heaps of photos (warning: there’s some nudity) and indeed music to keep you informed and educated.
Unfortunately, a lot of the video content relies on links to YouTube, so if things have been removed for copyright reasons or blocked geographically, you’ll come across quite a few blanks.
If the app had included downloadable videos it would have been better, albeit also more expensive.
It’s not the app to get if you want to get the Woodstock ‘experience’, but if you want to know why Woodstock happened, it’s groovy, man.

Flow Free
Price: Free | Developer: Big Duck Games | FromApp Store
Flow Free is incredibly simple — draw lines between dots of like colour on a grid and make sure the lines don’t cross — but maddeningly addictive.
It starts ridiculously easy, but gets progressively harder as the grids get bigger and more coloured dots appear. It’s a terrific casual game and a terrifying time-thief.


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