This was a good week for apps and games. Not only were there some new console-quality additions to the list, but also some of our old favorites received major updates, making them even better than ever. If you are looking for something new that didn’t necessarily show up on the radar this week, we’ve got a list of apps and games that we think are still worth talking about.
I know it isn’t exactly a hardcore game or anything, but I love having the ability to play video games right from my Notification Center. This simple flying game lets you work on beating your top score right from your Lock screen on iOS 8. In the app, set the background and types of blocks. Then, go to the Today view in Notification Center to fly your paper airplane through a run of ever-changing obstacles. You can even compete globally on the leaderboards through Game Center. This app is available for $0.99.
What do you get when you combine an epic role-playing game with an action-packed tower defense game? Something pretty cool. This iPad-only game lets players control their character on the battlefield against hordes of monsters. At the same time, you can place and activate a number of towers to rain bullets down on the enemy. Explore the landscape to discover ways to thwart attacks, like busting bridges to block paths or setting off an avalanche to crush incoming waves. You’ll even get to loot the bodies after you’ve defeated your enemies. This game is available for $4.99.
While most people have built up a Grinch-like resistance to the holiday season, there are still some of us that find Christmas to be a magical time for celebrating with friends and family. This single-function widget shows you a countdown until Santa’s arrival. Watch the snow drift lazily by on the Today view of your Notification Center and keep track of when Christmas is coming. You can increase or decrease the display size, choose the font, and switch from days to hours as the big day draws near. Too bad you can’t choose what you are counting down to. This app is available for free.
I’ve never been able to understand the joy in playing golf. I know it has to be entertaining to some or it wouldn’t be so popular. I can, however, hold my own in a game of put-put golf, which is what this game is more like than traditional golf. In it, players aim their shot, adjust the speed, and swing. The courses are thin pathways with intricate obstacles. Using realistic physics, the ball will bounce off of walls, ring holes, and other frustrating, action. Although the courses are similar to the put-put golf at your local game center, the minimalist design keeps out the riffraff. This game is available for free.
Another activity you might be surprised to discover you enjoy participating in is running a corporate airline. In this simulation game, players build up an airline into a major International corporation. Similar to Transport Tycoon and other such simulation games, players must manage the daily workings of their business to make customers happy, stay on budget, and grow at the right time. There are 92 different models, dozens of flight routes to learn, and airport terminals to maintain. You can start your business in 1955 and watch as flight travel changes over the next 65 years. This game is available for $2.99.
This is another one of those apps that isn’t new, but because of its recent update, belongs on the list. This app is one of the favorites for iPhone Photographers because of the subtle use of filters and ability to fine-tune the adjustments. This week, the company updated VSCO Cam with iPad support, something I feel was its biggest weakness. Now, you can edit and publish your images using all the pixels of the iPad’s screen. Plus, the new Journal feature allows users to create photo essays including multiple images and texts. Thanks to the universal update, you can sync photos right within the app instead of having to save them to your camera roll. This app is available for free.
I think it was the monochrome 8-bit graphics that pulled me into this game at first. What makes me come back to it over and over again is that Flappy Bird style of one-more-try addiction. Players control a dove using up and down buttons to keep the bird in flight. You’ll be traveling through narrow pathways, avoiding pipes and trying to maneuver sharp turns. Collect birds as you travel and use them to unlock new fowl in the Aviary. The chiptune soundtrack rounds the whole game off and makes me want to pull out my Gameboy Advanced. This game is available for free.
More apps you should check out
- Jump your way out of the path of evil in Avoid It
- Dracos will pull you back in, again and again
- Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition finally hits iOS
- Groupon launches new ‘Getaways’ app for travel deals
- Ubisoft releases official companion app for Assassin’s Creed Unity
- A Mechanical Story review: get the gears spinning to solve these puzzles
- Big fingers? ThickButtons enlarges keys you’ll most likely tap next
- 2K releases ‘XCOM: Enemy Within’ expansion as standalone game
- Call of Duty: Heroes launches globally on iOS
- Random Heroes 3 guns its way through the App Store
- Type Nine keyboard lets you type like it was 1998
- Halfbrick’s ‘Monster Dash’ goes free as Apple’s App of the Week
These apps have been updated
- Paper by FiftyThree updated with push notifications, Adobe integration and more
- Notability updated with iOS 8 compatibility, iPhone 6 support, new light/dark themes and more
- Instagram updated with caption editing, people finder, faster search and more
- Airbnb updated with Apple Pay support and more
- Mailbox for iOS updated with new interactive notification options
- Twitterrific 5 gains large image previews, another new font, Today view improvements and more
- SoundHound gets iPhone 6 support and fresh new look for faster music discovery
- Living Earth gains universe simulator, adds weather essentials to iOS 8’s Notification Center
- Walking Dead: The Game – Season 2 goes free for the first time on App Store
- Netflix’s iOS 8 refresh adds 1080p playback on iPhone 6 Plus and support for iPhone 6 screens
- Overcast podcast app updated with iPad and CarPlay support
- Box updated with Touch ID support and Notification Center widget
- Dispatch iOS email client gains Touch ID and 1Password support, WhatsApp actions and more
- Monument Valley ‘Forgotten Shores’ expansion arrives with 8 new levels
- Business Card Reader Pro gains vCard and Salesforce exporting [bonus: giveaway]
- Rdio lowers family subscription plans to $5 for each extra member
- Target app updated with support for Apple Pay, reviews and more
- YouTube app update adds new music homepage with YouTube Mix
- Scanbot for iOS goes free, Pro edition 40% cheaper
- Sunrise gets iOS 8 widget, Google Tasks and Eventbrite apps and iPhone 6 support
- Numerical, a beautiful iPhone and iPad calculator without the equal button, goes free
- Penultimate 6 is out with new UI design, improved search and more
- GoodReader introduces advanced text-to-speech for PDF and TXT documents