Welcome to this action-packed edition of App Recap, iDownloadBlog’s daily column which highlights some of the best new apps, games, updates, media and other digital goodies found on iTunes. Most developers release major new apps on Thursdays and today was no exception.
From noteworthy discounts and Facebook’s Slingshot update to Square’s food ordering app, a new and fully-themable iOS 8 keyboard, Tomb Raider II, the official Game of Thrones game and more, App Recap helps you make sense of it all via an easily digestible form so you don’t need to waste your precious time finding that needle in the haystack in the App Store.
New & Upcoming Arrivals
Game of Thrones [Universal: $4.99] — Based on HBO’s award-winning TV show adapted from George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy novels, Telltale Games’ six-episode game is out with the first chapter, “Iron from Ice”, included in the download.
High-quality graphics, voice acting by actors from the TV show, narratively driven gameplay and your decisions changing the story around you and the characters should be enough to keep you glued to the screen. Definitely our highlight of the day in the iOS gaming department.
Read our announcement article for more.
Caviar [Universal: FREE] — The Caviar web-based food ordering service now has the official iOS app thanks to mobile payment startup Square, which acquired the service earlier this year. Browse beautifully photographed foods, customize and order your dish from some of the top-rated eateries (availability limited) and track your order from counter-to-door with this nicely done app.
Themeboard [Universal: FREE] — Though most soft-keyboards on iOS 8 are generally a big meh, Themeboard is the best I’ve used yet. Not only does it support many of the features found in the Apple keyboard like text predictions, auto-correction, Caps lock, slide-shift to capitalize, quick delete with three speeds, custom shortcuts and more, but comes with a built-in repository of eye-candy themes created by some of the top designers and illustrators.
If you’re all about customization, Themeboard should be at the top of your to-get list. After testing Themeboard over the past few days, my detailed review with tons of gorgeous theme images is up so check it out now if you want.
Thermos [Mac: $2.99] — If you own a Nest, Thermos lets you set the temperature of your thermostat right from your Mac’s Notification Center, receive push alerts in case your Nest Protect detects smoke or carbon monoxide and more.
Tomb Raider II [Universal: $1.99] — Lara Croft is back in Square Enix port of the 1990s action-adventure game complete with “The Golden Mask” expansion. The enhanced iOS edition sees our intrepid explorer driving quad bikes, motorboats and other vehicles, using her trademark dual wielding pistols (and grenade launcher, M16 rifle and what not), exploring grand new locations from Tibet, China to Venice, Italy and more.
Read our write-up for additional tidbits.
Discounts & Deals
God of Light [$1.99 → FREE] — Playmous Games’ addictive and gorgeous puzzler is free for seven days as Apple’s latest Free App of the Week. You must project light through the darkness by lighting up crystals. The game has a 4.5-star rating based on nearly 400 ratings.
Acompli Mail 1.7.6 [Universal: FREE] — Hot on the heels of being snapped up by software giant Microsoft, Acompli email client gains an improved calendar layout (yes, there’s a built-in calendar) and can change calendar colors.
Angry Birds Star Wars II 1.8 [Universal: FREE] — Battle through 32 new levels set on Geonosis and Mustafar in a brand new chapter titled “Revenge of the Pork”. As a bonus, there’re 16 new Master Your Destiny levels.
Canabalt 2.02 [Universal: $2.99] — Remember Canabalt? The original endless runner is alive and doing well, thank you. In this update, Canabalt brings out full native resolution support for the new iPhones with a bigger map and more background art. It plays nice with iOS 8 and they’ve rebuilt the game engine to allow faster updates in the future – hoorah!
Check the Weather [Universal: $0.99] — The oversized iOS 8 widget gets substantially more dense (but still rich in detail) and loads way faster. Snow Accumulation display has been added to the iPad and iPhone 6/6 Plus dashboard views.
Crackle 4.3.2 [Universal: FREE] — Sony’s movie streaming app now lets you add Crackle to the Today view of iOS 8’s Notification center so you can instantly know when to watch a new episode of your favorite show.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft 2.0.7283 [Universal: FREE] — Long-expected ‘Goblins vs Gnomes’ expansion for Blizzard’s card trading RPG game brings 120 new cards, including the new Mech minion type (both neutral and class-specific).
You can control powerful Mechs with special weapons and volatile abilities, tinker with minions using spare parts and even watch your friends’ games in progress with the all-new Spectator Mode.
Instapaper 6.1 [Universal: FREE] — The once popular read-later app gains a redesigned iOS extensions allowing you to save directly to a folder, with support for offline saving. You can tell the app to show a badge with the number of saved articles and it’s now possible to start reading on one device and pick up exactly where you left off on another device.
Music Unlimited 2.2 [Universal: FREE] — The client for Sony’s ill-fated music streaming service now includes Push Notifications and has full support for iOS 8 and the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screen resolutions.
Slingshot 2.0 [iPhone: FREE] — Facebook’s would-be Snapchat killer gets a complete makeover with features like private reactions, photo filters, drawings, emojis, notably snappier performance, instant notifications on a per-contact basis and other enhancements. More here.
Text Expander 3.2.1 [Universal: $4.99] — Improves layout and font size for the iPhone keyboard in portrait mode, adds an option for capital letter key caps, adopts new email tips signup form, improves performance of Dropbox sync and fixes some minor bugs.
The Weather Channel for iPad [iPad: FREE] — The iPad edition of The Weather Channel app brings its popular iOS 8 widget to the iPad.
Three months of Spotify Premium for $0.99 — Spotify is offering three months of Premium service to new subscribers for just 99 cents. See if you qualify.
Under The Skin 99-cent rental — This 2013 science fiction thriller movie is available for rent for just 99 cents as part of iTunes’ Movie of the Week promo. And for a limited time only, you can purchase it discounted for $9.99 in HD.
Free coding workshops at Apple Stores — Like last year, Apple is celebrating Code.org’s Hour of Code with free workshops and seminars at its brick-and-mortar stores around the world next Thursday, December 11.
iTunes Connect shutting down December 22 – 29 — Apple’s iTunes Connect service used by devs to submit content is shutting down for holidays so no new apps, updates or App Recap from December 22 to December 29.
Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump at SoHo Apple Store — Apple will be hosting Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump at its SoHo New York store tomorrow as part of its Apps for (RED) promotion to benefit the fight against AIDS in Africa.
Nodus Access case — Our own Jim Gresham, who normally loathes smartphone cases, took Nomad’s latest Access iPhone case collection for a spin.
OS X 10.10.2 beta seeded to developers — Apple is prepping the second major Yosemite update and today released a beta to developers that promises to fix the annoying Wi-Fi issues that have been plaguing early adopters.
Starbucks launches “Mobile Order & Pay” service in Oregon — The coffee chain said customers in Oregon will soon be able to place an order using the Starbucks app on their iPhone and schedule it for pickup, with national rollout planned for 2015.
That’s it for today’s edition of App Recap. The column returns tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled for more app goodies and do send us your suggestions, wishes and submissions regarding future coverage to [email protected].