Version: v.1.4
Compatible: iPad iOS 3.2
Price: $5

My first writing app for the iPad was ia Writer which was hardly fair for all the other word processor apps. I mean really? It's got Dropbox syncing and controls for convenient editing. The only other one I'd consider to get is Pages but what else is there? Surprisingly a lot and sadly my curiosity is piqued. Writings is my first entrance into the soirée of alternate writing apps for the iPad.

The first thing I'd like to mention is that it has absolutely zero personality. It has nice esthetics and standard features but if I had to pick it out in a line up of screenshots I'd have trouble pointing it out. What does it have? Word and character count, textexpander, e-mail, Dropbox sync and AirPrint. On top of that it is able to have control over font and colors of text or the background. If one does choose to take the plunge and get this App they couldn't go wrong the problem is its so adequate and standard to the point where if I have something mind this is just a waste of space.

For the price, ia Writer does it better.


Version: v1.14
Compatible: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad iOS 3.1
Price: Free

I can't really review this app without reviewing the service. This is the case for most of the app library since they create an accessible form of their website which moderates the iOS medium. Crunchyroll is an anime streaming service. It's quite premium offering fresh content from the land of the rising sun for a subscription fee which is more or less affordable. Gone are the days waiting months for the localization team to get the rights, draft a translated script, gather up some shitty voice actors, record, edit and broadcast. I dunno actually, that stuff might still be going on. To butcher a cow is a long and strenuous process right?

The Crunchyroll app is basically the iOS version of the website allowing you to stream episodes directly to your phone or pad over wifi (or 3G if you are a paid subscriber although that'd be painful on your data plan.) Ads are only for freeloaders and only appear once before the episode plays as opposed to in frequent bursts like I've seen in some other TV station based apps. It's better than average.

Where this app really shines? True Airview. I know it's a hard thing (supposedly) but when I want to tech the episode on my Apple TV, I can. Shocking I know. This is an example for other apps to look to. If you're app is about streaming or showing videos, it better well do Airview properly damn it! How easy it is to throw an episode onto the TV is beyond meager explanation, it's Heaven and fits into my 'no wires no stress' mantra.

Bottom line? This app = good.


Version: v.1.3
Compatibility: iPad iOS 4.2
Price: $10

When it comes to task lists, having one always near at hand is as important as making them in the first place for effective daily to-do scheduling. And for many of us, smartphones are our virtual to-do list notepads and calendar. This week we share a few of our favorite task manager apps we think will help you stay on track throughout the day...

Next! has a little bit more of a learning curve but is an integral part of the iPads app arsenal when given the chance. It doesn't flood the screen with unnecessary buttons and prompts but rather makes smart use of gestures to bring everything within reach. The best thing about this app is how it feels like there's a birds-eye view over all projects. There's also the option to store reference material so information is never too far from reach.

I use it to as my go to clipboard app with my schedule, to do, lists and tasks. It's simple and beautiful to look at while making good use of the bigger screen. The only thing however is the price. For ten bucks it's got to be giving a lot with other apps costing as much. So is it worth it? To have all tasks and keeping life together in one neat little app sounds worth the price of admission then I say go for it. 

Brain Exercise

This may be fundamental for my dissatisfaction but I loved the Brain Age series on the DS. It was fit perfectly in the form of a small digital book. It felt natural in your hands as you wrote answers and played through the quizzes. Its only natural Id anticipate such an experience on my iPhone.

Brain Exercise take after the brain development studies of Dr. Kawashima whom is well known for games such as Brain Age on the Nintendo DS. I didnt think itd be exactly the same after all I loved the book design with the DS and the difference in hardware couldnt be perfectly emulated. I dont have a problem with the tests although playing them requires more precision now than ever, my problem lies within the games menu design.

Every time before a new it explains (in rancid detail mind you) what the task is. If youve taken the same exercise before your natural reaction is to skip it. At the end of that line of 'next page' is a countdown. At this countdown the next page button (the exact same place) turns into a cancel button. If you cancel a Brain Test, you cant do it for the rest of the day. Now thats fucked up.

The 'games' are fun but I found more stressful than enjoyable to the point I let this game settle down until I eventually delete it. Maybe my expectations are too high when I compare it next to Brain Age and it is a fraction of the price. However the game requires an entirely different type of precision compared to shooters and racers. You'll find very often your thumb selecting the wrong answer.

If you dont know what Brain Age is, you'll probably get more fun out of this. Unfortunately for thise who want Brain Age for their phones, keep walking cos this isnt it.

Street Fighter IV

I'm late to this review I'll admit and apologise for that. This game gets it right and I'll shamefully admit this again, this is my first Street Fighter game. That's not to say I've never played Street Fighter before I've just never dived into buying one. When it's this close and done this well, it's hard to ignore.

Street Fighter IV for those who don't know is a fighter game that dates far back and has gone through several evolutions. Featuring famous characters like Ken, Ryu, Chun Li who have move sets that are known before even getting into the game. Punch, kick and combo your way to victory in a 1 on 1 battle. These games are done in waves and the market is flooded with them but if you're looking for the original and best, this is where it's at.

Hitting, missing and blocking all feel fluid and satisfying when done right. Losing can be frustrating but getting past an annoying level is cause for cheer and celebration. Theres a lot of meat to this game and it goes well beyond than just some iPod Touch game. It looks beautiful, sounds great and is fun to play even if you get it for just an hour or two, its well worth the money.

Chicken Balls HD

Chicken Balls HD
Compatible: iPad iOS 3.2
Price: $1

With the golden glory story of Angry Birds and its rise to multi million dollar levels of credibility in its bank account, there are those who seek to replicate its climb to power. Replicate it exactly.

The point of Chicken Balls is to collect the eggs on screen by launching chickens around for collecting. There are aliens trying to stop you but the plot isnt anything to get into. Launching curiously spherical birds around the screen to collect eggs, if you mentioned that to anyone they wouldnt jump up and shout Chicken Balls thats for sure.

The best thing to be said about the game is its charming graphics and little else. Sound and gameplay is forgettable and was done better by Angry Birds which (imo) is a more worthwhile purchase in comparison to Chicken Balls HD.

Pac Man Championship Edition

Pac Man Championship Edition
Version: v.1.2.2
Compatibility: iPhone/ iPod Touch / iPad iOS 3.0
Price: $5

If you've played the XBox or PS3 versions, its EXACTLY the same. If you dont know what it is, let me explain. Its Pac Man on crack. You get combos for eating ghosts in bulk, it makes High Scores cool again. And now Im going through it all again on my iPhone. Hit it!

Its exactly as I said with some small exceptions. They made several modes, one of which is missions which is like Angry Birds elevating levels. These missions consists of several objectives, reach a certain score by a certain time or get a combo or use an alternative control scheme. As for the controls there are several although they all seem the same. Theres swipe, joy stick, virtual game pad, all screen game pad (bottom is down, bottom left is left etc etc.) and pointer swipe.

The games slick style and addictive game play is all here and is definitely recommended over the classic Pac Man with the various game modes and multi player interactivity (beat your friends high score with the level/goal of the week.)

Are they any problems? The game is hectic enough that the gap between you and the controls looks like a gorge. However this was the same case between me and the XBox version so I cant really blame touch screen controls (this time.)

Card Star

Card Star
Version: v.3.6
Compatibility: iPhone/ iPod Touch/ iPad iOS 3.0
Price: Free

On my trip to New York, I emptied out several cards that I believed unnecessary for the trip and felt a significant difference in weight and comfort in the wallet department. With all of them freed from my pocket I thought it was time to put them all into my Card Star App and indeed lighten the load indefinitely. I got most of them on the Card Star App but are they functional in this form?

I was inspired by my Scene Card App which even without the card managed to scan off my phones screen. 'Why shouldnt others do this?' said I and I invested zero dollars on this App. Unfortunately on several occasions it failed to scan at check out and instead I just got into awkward, fumbly situations unlike the ones at the cinema. In fact there was not one successful use of this App to scan at check out. Though I will continue to try I am still disappointed in this Apps performance.

Other features are coupons and deals associated with your cards which is a helpful feature for places I frequent so much that I have cards with them. So its not an entire disappointment. Scanning barcodes from the cards is amazingly easy and quick. Card Star uses the camera and in no time makes a reference. Catalogued are a myriad of pre existing card templates, it had all the ones I use in its database so its quite reliable in that department.

All in all its not everything I wanted but didnt fail entirely. Give it a shot and if the check out line isnt too long and youre not in a rush, see if it goes through.

Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle
Version: 3.0.1
Compatibility: iPhone/iPod Touch/ iPad iOS 3.0
Price: $1

Alarm Clock Apps are a somewhat irritating affair. They charge ridiculous prices for the simplest task of exchanging the integrated alarm with its own look and the option to choose your own song from your iPod. If theres something I want from an Alarm App is to wake me up. But who knew there'd be an App thats smart, efficient and best of all cheap to take on the task.

Sleep Cycle is an alarm App like no other. It works by setting it on the corner of your bed face down overnight (while plugged in for best results). The reason for all this is to use the accelerometer to record our sleep progress judging how much we move around in bed. It determines how well you're sleeping and will find the optimal time to wake you calm and easy.

On top of that it has several nice alarm sounds of its own as well as the option to use your own songs. It will also track your sleep patterns so you can look back and see some sort of consistency (or just find fascination in seeing how well/bad/ordinary you sleep.)

Whats more is that it works. It replaced the default Alarm App within two days (while I was still weary about it, it detected I woke up once every hour in paranoia. It was a restless night but I quickly trusted the App and it works like a dream (lol.)

My only gripe is that I have to keep it plugged in. The reason is the accelerometer doesn't work when the App isnt open let alone while on standby. I dont recieve many texts or calls at night but if you answer any, it will disrupt the App however it does save your progress, you just have to resume the App and return it facedown. With the phone plugged in regularily every night could have long term effects on the battery life but otherwise these are my only gripes.


Version: v. 1.4
Compatible: iPod Touch/ iPhone/ iPad iOS 3.2
Price: $1

Another Gamevil stand alone classic which is a shame seeing how much Id like to see more. More improvements that is!

Its a simple side scrolling (think Zelda 2) version of Zenonia with a different story and universe. Instead of navigating maze like environments in a birds eyes view, you have to scroll through maze like environments from the side perspective while navigating over platforms. Platforms that are the bane of this games existence. Navigating from point A to point B is an exercise of frustration, anger and giving up.

Maybe it wouldnt be so bad with physical controls but when you fall through floors or miss a jump and return to the beginning of the level for the fifth or sixth time, theres a problem. Half the time I was wondering out where the Hell I was supposed to be going and the other half endlessly fighting respawning unimaginative baddies. Which brings me to round two.

This game is repetitive to no end. Its either be bored or frustrated and neither option is an appealing feature of the game. Ive played about two and a half hours and Im still at the beginning of the game before the Hero leaves the freaking village. I keep getting sent on fetch quests which leads me through mazes and endless enemies.

Graphics are amazing (Gamevil never disappoints in that department.) Music is atrocious. Not one of Gamevils best.

Zombie Appstravaganza!

October is here and I think I have to do an obligatory Appstravaganza dedicated to all things spooky and what not. Despite in me believing in the classier way of things, I'll bite despite believing that the month of the impending New Year should be adhered to accurately. Without further ado, I present to you the October Zombie Appstravaganza!

Zombie Smash HD
Version: 2.1
Compatible: iPad iOS 3.2
Price: $4

Drag and throw zombies before they knock down your fort. Killing zombies via flicking? How can it go wrong? I agree, it's a good premise and it is extremely entertaining at first. But the difficulty takes a huge dip within the first hour of play. But I digress, more information needs to be provided. You start by flicking but you gain power ups gradually such as guns, falling boulders, dynamite and all that good stuff. Nothing is more satisfying than zombies and dynamite especially when they gather in big numbers. The problem is as I said that the difficulty jumps so quickly. It starts off with shambling zombies, then goes to running crazy chick zombies, then to shooting gangster zombies and then to the hulking behemoth tank zombie. Okay, I can take a challenge but the basic weaponry lies with the problem. You have to earn the boulder and big weapons like that by biding your time. The handgun is slow, precise and weak. To kill all the zombies (except for the hulk) you can throw them into the sky one at a time. When time is of the essence I'd expect to pick one up and slam him into a crowd of zombies to satisfying effect.

Fun. For a dollar. Not $4.

Zombie Highway
Version: 1.6
Compatible: iPod Touch/ iPhone/ iPad iOS 3.1
Price: $1

This game was a dollar. Can you believe that? I played more of this game than ones that cost five times as much and I want to slap myself for that fact. This game is amazingly fun, aggravating and ultimately satisfying. I'll say this now, I HATE racing/driving games where you have to tilt the device, they are beyond comprehensible control for me and avoid them like all Hell. Zombie Highway gets it right. It's basic, ride your armoured zombie tank down the highway and take down any that jump on the side by either shooting them or ramming them into roadside debris. The variety of enemies (strong/fat zombies) is strong and there are many panic moments when it comes close to them taking down the tank. Generally amusing and enjoyable. Earning new weapons and achievements is thoroughly satisfying.

Zombie Gunship
Version: 1.2
Compatible: iPhone (3GS/4), iPod Touch (3G/4G) and iPad iOS 4.1
Price: $1

Surprisingly enjoyable although the graphics were something to laugh at. You'll be staring at huge blurs of dark grey and black to search for zombies to gun down who are fortunately in a more visible colour thanks to thermal goggles. Not much to stay other than you gun down zombies, protect survivors and the bunker to earn money to upgrade guns and ability. Good for a laugh. Otherwise not much to say.

Looking at my library I notice I have a surprising amount of zombie games. Plants v. Zombies, Dead Rising, these three, Call of Duty: Zombies, Paper Toss with annoying Zombie coworker. What I'm trying to say, I like killing zombies.

Page Once

Version 4.6
Compatible: iPhone, iPod, iPad 4.0
Price: Free ($13 Pro)

Every bank by now has their own App and on top of all that there are virtually dozens of budget/money management Apps. So with my eyes closed and my finger randomly poking at the map, I pulled a few free ones out my ass. A lot are forgettable. A lot arent fully compatible with all banks. A lot are just plain bad and unencouraging. Page Once is the first that I favour and have taken to heart. Heres the review!

First I have a lot of messy finances and money owing so there are a lot of things here I couldnt use. But the gist is very much there when I applied my Checking account. At this moment of time, my finances are very much razor thin so it goes in and out of my pocket on payday quicker than you can say 'Poor Fuckhead'. I put my money into savings, pay off money owing or purchase weekly necessities. Its not uncommon for my account to hit overdraft from bank fees or hit discrepencies when these transactions clash.

When this happens, I get a notification opposed to what native bank Apps do. I can understand this since they have a lot more control and features and need to guard my account more vigilantly. Page Once helped me to jump onto problems as soon as they happened.

It manages every manner of finances possible. Bills, bank accounts, credit cards, loans etc etc. If it doesnt have the institution youre trying to fix it up with (it may not support it now but the Page Once program is growing) you can input a crude version where you out in all the information yourself. If you have a minimal amount of bills the free version will serve you well. The Pro version allows for unlimited amount of bills, no ads and a refresh all feature.

One other thing to mention is you have to create an account with Page Once in order to use it. Another account in a sea of accounts online.

It has a myriad of options such as customizable security (I turned it off so I didnt have to type a password all the time in my native bank App) and transaction history which combines all your accounts into one place so you can figure out exactly where all your digital cash is going.

A visually pleasing interface on top of a simple, elegant system makes this an easy to recommend App.


Version: 1.2
Compatible: iPhone, iPod, iPad - iOS 3.0
Price: Free

There are a lot of small, free Apps that are either a waste of space, fun or a thing to show off. Handwriting is one of those types that I downloaded and forgot about until today. This wont take long.

It was free and is like Penultimate jr. Best used with a stylus unless you're a finger paint pro. The purpose is simple however, a small template of three or so lines is given to you. It zooms enough for you to handwrite a word and you two finger scroll across the page. When your note is done you can send it via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook.

Its pleasant and cute but hardly viable enough to be useful. Maybe to send little notes to friends but recieving them is an inconvenience if done on a daily basis.


Version: 1.0
Compatible: iPad - iOS 4.0
Price: $2

I'm still looking for the iOS substitute to Hexic, a game I very much enjoyed and wreaped the full extent of my initial XBox 360 purchase. I don't know how it'd play or if it'd be even possible but I still have some sort of remnant of hope and belief that I'll open the App Store to my amazement one day. However I will say that the search provides fruitful results and that brings me to the next in my line of sight. Fractal is a new hexagonal tile based puzzle game for the iPad that shows a lot of promise.

Fractal takes place on a board filled with hexagons and blank spaces, the objective being to push the pieces to make a floral pattern or 7 tiles altogether. The learning curve is jumpy seeing as the instructions were absolutely useless but with a bit of tinkering, the rules become obvious. The concept is definitely a recipe for success seeing as it requires more thought rather than a quick finger (like our good friend Hexic.) Mix an engaging gameplay element with styled graphics and a soundtrack that clicks into place and you have an experience that rivals that of Lumines and puzzle games of that caliber.

There are several modes to choose from. Campaign (play through the levels and scenarios,) Arcade and Puzzle (both of which I hope require no explanation.) I enjoyed this game and found great satisfaction from dropping myself into its world. The biggest problem and I'm probably bitching since it's a little newborn but it crashes. To high Hell it crashes when it's getting good or when I progress through the Campaign to the point where I'm terrified to play. And when I do play I'm begging to the little iOS pixies to see me through to the next level but they simply laugh at me and kick me back to the home screen.

I'm sure it's a matter of an update or two to bring it back to speed but for now give it your support so it can get there because this is a game that has a great amount of potential.

Dead Rising

Dead Rising
Version: 2.00.01
Compatible: iPhone (3GS/4), iPod (3rd/4th), iPad - iOS 4.1
Price: $2

Call me a dedicated fan of Dead Rising. It's a game that follows me around and twists my perception of reality. Going to any mall I look at all the prospective weapons all around me. In a crowd of people I put myself in the shoes of Frank West and wonder if push came to shove if I had the strength to clear the way to safety. Its a classic game on the XBox 360 and is one I highly recommend.

I walked into this mess expecting a disaster and what I got was a catastrophe of bullshit compressed to the point of pixels and megabytes. The name sold me, the impending screenshots and trailers were horrifying and disgraceful. In fact the name alone did not sell me at first, I waited for a sale and for this ridiculously priced pile of turd to be laughed at rather than to be regretted. $2 was still not low enough.

Lets start with the scenario. Its the same as Dead Rising 1, even using the same opening sequence. But as soon as the game begins you know you're in for some shit. The mall is nothing like Willamette which isnt necessarily a bad thing but its not like anything. Its forever cast in a murky fog of darkness. There are stores and randomly placed weapons but so few and in between. It only is recognized as a Mall because it's what you're told.

The story is a sandbox survival only, go wherever you please and take up random small missions in the horribly designed mall which is vacant and full of invisible walls. I say missions though I have yet to encounter anything beyond 'Kill All the Zombies' in the assigned area. Sandbox is fine but its not until I realized they implimented some sort of hunger system. It took me a few deaths to figure out that Frank West was starving to death virtually moments after his arrival. Brilliant.

Gameplay? Shit.

Next I'd like to rag on the controls. They are stiff, painful and more torture than fun. Moving Frank in this game is reminiscent of Lara Croft in the original Tomb Raider minus the satisfaction and gymnastics. Looking and playing the game wouldn't have been so bad if it was at least satisfying to kill these zombies. It's like everything is working its damndest against you which should be the case but not the damned controls too. That gives the computer an unfair advantage especially when you can't see enemies around you as well as where you're going in the first place. Send me to fight zombies with a bucket on my head, my hands hand cuffed in front of me and give me some ridiculous concrete boots and that'll give you an idea what playing this game is like.

Controls? They give me nightmares.

On top of all that it looks and sounds like a cake baked from turds, turd related fertilizer and salty piss. Frank looks like a block man and every step he makes, makes the same two hollowed out stepping sounds. Without fail. There are some mall songs taken from the game which is good but on top of all that selective hearing brings those hollow 'taps' over and over.

Graphics and Sound? They make me sad.

So whats good? I liked the menus. They reminded me of Dead Rising.

My Writing Spot (iPhone/iPod)

My Writing Spot
Version: 1.8.4
Compatible: iPhone, iPod - iOS 3.0
Price: $3

Previously I went on about ease of writing on the Mac platform, turning any MacBook or iMac into a free range, open minded page where all the user has to think about is the writing. I have the iPad and Mac covered and never ever imagined that the iPhone/iPod Touch could do the same. It does make sense however that it should but I never thought that it could be up to the task so well.

When I write I usually dedicate time after work at a coffee shop and create a mood. And even then I usually max out at 2 hours after getting settled in. Still I never thought that the iPhone, the one little know-it-all that always can to be so effective. My Writing Spot is an App in the same spirit as iA Writer but has the small developer feel (sometimes clumsy interface and odd graphics.)

Make a file, start writing and go with it. Easy as that. There are no folders but you can tag each piece with a coloured… spot? If you make Project A red then select red and it'll show all of Project A. It's odd but it works. Maybe this'll teach me to move further away from folders.

There are a fistful of fonts (3) and font sizes (also 3) as well as a reverse mode (white font on black) and an App lock mode to secure your files. Back up is done through Google which is hit or miss, I have an account but all I used it for was Gmail so now I've added another purpose to its reportoire. You can access it through the web at mywritingspot.com/write. If you want to add some of your already written files, prepare for a fair bit of copy and pasting.

When I started using it, I found that I started making further progress with my writing projects. It wasn't comfortable but somehow I had gotten lost in them. I used to use the iPad on the bus and such times but still found it to be uncomfortable so I began sketching instead. Having My Writing Spot available in those small pockets of time was surprisingly effective at maximising my efficiency rather than browsing or checking Facebook for the 10th time. It quickly moved onto my Dock and into one of those daily Apps that I'm finding difficult thinking about living without.

On the other hand if there are any other Apps as effective or even more effective than this I think that there is opportunity for discovery here for Apps in the same bane. As it stands now this App is absolutely incredible and will blow you away. Easy, dedicated back up and a writing template that will suck you in. Usually I put on a playlist solely for writing (lyricless, serene) but I didn't even notice I had some rock blaring in my ear when I'm writing away on this App and that's saying something.


Version: 1.4
Compatible: iPhone, iPod, iPad - iOS 3.0
Price: Free

Not all the games on the App Store are mindless fun, some are mindfully fun. Ignore mindfully for a second because I swear I'm good with words despite not laying down any foundations of proof on this blurb here. There are a small percentage of games that require a bit more thought whether it be word games or puzzle games that requires a sit down and think it through approach. Jangle (formerly Squabble) is a word game taking random letters and turning them into words.

You can either play and pass or play online against other players, taking turns to see who can make the better arrangement. The scoring is Scrabble words, just there is no Scrabble board to play on. As a result the game comes off as a quick fire round of Scrabble without the bickering and arguing over whose turn it is. There is also a 1 player mode against the computer for those ‘Forever Alone’ types.

There's not much to say other than that. It has a scoring system like on Yahoo games where each win or loss has your overall score going up or down. There is no Game Center support and it plays well on both Pad or Pod/Phone. Me and my Fiancee use it as a time killer when waiting for a bus, movie etc.

Here's the bottom line. Love word games? Got someone in the vicinity? Looking for a quick laugh. GO!


Version: 1.01
Compatible: iPhone, iPod, iPad - iOS 3.0
Price: Free

I love retro games. The new age of technology allows us to replicate games from two decades ago and without a hiccup in processing even on phones. On top of that they don't rely on graphics but rather use the sprites to a clever degree to get an eye pleasing look.

X-Baseball impliments this well. The sound as soon as you turn it on makes the living room NES from childhood come rushing back. Simple one button gameplay mechanics, hit the ball as much as possible without getting struck out. Bananas fly from the crowd, hit them and you'll lose one strike against you.

It plays well, short and sweet as most iOS games go. But it's not without its problems however. As bare bones as it gets it neglects the simplest essential that is absolutely inexcusible to exclude. A High Score save system. The way it functions is that it saves your highest score under your Game Center id to be measured against the rest of the world. It's absolutely bizarre that it lacks this but can't really complain since after awhile it never strays from the point of the game which essentially is to be a one off mini game where you just hit the ball.

Can't go wrong. I keep coming back for its visual charm and 8 bit sound.


Wunderlist / Wunderlist HD
Version: 1.2.3 / 1.1.2
Compatible: iPhone, iPod - iOS 3.2 iPad - iOS 3.2
Price: Free

Although I'm reviewing the Wunderlist iOS Apps, this is more a look at the Wunderlist service as a whole which can be accessed via the web, a desktop Mac or Windows App, Android App as well as the following. Although I have not used those variants (with the exception of the desktop Mac App) I can be fairly certain they do all the same things seeing as what Wunderlist does is an extremely simple and capable service.

Wunderlist is a task master App and isn't extremely complex. You set a project (folder) and within that folder set the objectives, goals or tasks you wish to achieve with them. You can set dates when they need to be done by and it will remind you when the deadline is nearing. When you finish a task, you check it and its done. Boom. That's it.

What places this App on my Dock on my iPhone and iPad is the syncing done right aspect. As I was adding tasks when starting it up and getting used to it, I let the desktop and iPad variants download and install. When they were done all I had to do was sign in and they updated double quick. Update one area and the rest get updated too. The cloud done right.

I could bitch about little things but I don't know what little things there are. It's free. It's social with other peoples wunderlist accounts, sending over tasks of their own saving from you inputting it yourself. There's detail options so it's not a brief summary task. Lord, I'm looking here and can't find any concievable errors I might have ignored or graced my mind.

What I'm saying is it's a good App to have even if you didn't want to sync it across numerous devices. It's a good App even if you're just making a grocery list. It has no boundaries too big or small and it does stuff I would pay to integrate over all my computers but it does it for free. All you have to do is sign up for an account.

Short. Sweet. Like the App.

Discovr Apps

Discovr Apps
Version: 1.3
Compatible: iPhone, iPod, iPad - iOS 4.0
Price: $1

The App Store is a deep well which has a cave at the bottom of which leads to many smaller, deeper crevices. You might find gold in these crevices. Or you might find a nest of hungry bats waiting to devour you or shit all over you. Browsing the App Store can be somewhat tedious and following those that aren't recommended or too well known occasionally leads to a regretful purchase. Genius as good as it is never has any good suggestions for me so I tend to stop using it. The top charts are usually all the same except for a new App which everyone is already all over but that usually gets the top anyway despite being on the What's Hot page. Tried and true Apps get boring sometimes and there's always the thrill of finding something new, exciting and somewhat unknown. But browsing the App Store is as fun as the actual Apple Store on a Saturday in a crowded mall… Hell.

Discovr isn't something new or unknown and is completely contradictory to all that I said before. What it does however isn't. It makes App Shopping somewhat amusing, exciting, even fun. And it's all very simple and quick. You start with an App, it can be one you already own, are recommended or one you search for. From there it recommends several just like it that you might like. If you're a veteran, you'll be likely to have some of them already. Tap one that interests you and it'll provide more options that are similar. This leads you to a web of options and possibilities, like a visual version of the App Store without the clutter and load times.

What I especially love is that double tapping the App brings up its info and screenshots. It doesn't take you to the App Store or stops the experience to force a purchase page on you, instead it accesses it through itself. You do have that option if it's what you're looking for so everyone wins. There are such features as recommendations, wish list and view by ratings/price/device which make the App all the more lovable.

My only problem is the recommendations aren't so good but that might be because I've gone over a lot of these recommendations from the actual App Store loads of time. What I do appreciate is that its made the search all the more bearable. Come on, who doesn't love that? Better than window shopping.

Appstravaganza Showdown: Byword v. iA Writer v. Ommwriter

Appstravaganza Showdown!
Byword v. iA Writer v. Ommwriter

The battle for simple, mind clearing word processors is here and the claim for your souls will be made here. All hell breaks loose as the three contendors for the best of the best of these giants of text Apps crawls from the charred remains of this broken earth to claim the title of GOD!

As stated in my previous review for Byword, Pages, Microsoft Word, OpenOffice and the myriad of brothers and sisters that spawned in their wake are all good for word processing. That is they are good at processing words to a great degree, editting them, designing them, pasting images around them (and so on and so forth). For those who want to return to those typewriter days of yore and just write, there is a growing market which paves the way for simple Apps which takes away the tool bars, margins, fonts and strips it down to the bare essentials. A God send if you ask me.

Or maybe I’m just too lazy to put Pages into full screen and zoom in on the paragraph I’m working on. But there’s a lot more to it with these Apps. They have a certain charm in their appearance which brings serenity to the mind. Relaxation releases the tense entangled thoughts which strangles the core ideas before but now slip out and slide out through the fingers.

Feels good man.

Version: 1.3.1
Price: $10

I reviewed this before but it went through an update to keep up with the big, furry cat. The changes aren’t noticeable since it always had the fullscreen support and it taught me about versions which threw me for a loop. Whether its because I was grounded and instilled with Windows or that I’m absolutely anal about my files, I thrive by Finder and saving my own back ups. With these reviews (written with Byword I’ll add here) I have a blank template so I fill in the version, compatibility and all that jazz, however when I saved over that blank template I didn’t realize the change. I didn’t see any sort of save as and got a little lost.

Shortly after reading up I found that I have to open the blank template and go to a previous version. It’s not really the App but the new OS I have to get used to and change my system up and around a bit. Otherwise all I stated before is still there, a fantastic interface, faithful and easy to use. At the center of it all that’s what you’re here for despite a price that could be better.

iA Writer
Version. 1.0.1
Price: $18

iA Writer definitely has an unusual name that I keep mistaking over and over again and was a long time coming since I'm a huge fan of it's iPad cousin. I eagerly anticipated its arrival for months, hoping and waiting to link the two as a sort of family business I'd be faithful too but lost hope and sunk my money into Byword. Pricewise I don't regret it at all. For the purpose that it serves I don't believe I'm missing much.

What iA Writer does well however is its interface and appearance. It has a lot of neat options, functions and commands even I can remember, clearly there was a lot of work put into this App to design in a way that strings out your cranial functions to bring out the best in your work. It advertises that all you need is the keys and no mouse and now that I think about it, such a thing is incredibly liberating. Scrolling between sentances is as simple as cmd + left/right. It may sound tedious to move between large spaces of text but surprisingly its like scrolling a typewriter wheel to gather the full extent of the page.

Appearancewise, I personally prefer it. I love the flashing blue line and dig the perfectly sized text that fills just the right amount of screen capacity. Somehow I just get lost in the writing task at hand which is a surprising feat for a simpleton such as myself who easily gets distracted by menial doubts and such. I can't take my eyes away and I just get lost.

What I severely regret is the price. It costs almost as much as the full Pages application. In contrast to that however we are looking for something unlike Pages, and as the saying goes 'You get what you pay for'. I can say you're paying for work paved to be completed which will save time and maximise efficiency. Coming from me that's saying something.

Side note: After seeing how iA Writer filled out the page well with bigger, more eye pleasing text, I tested the same for Byword and found that the text editting features make it possible to replicate the overall look to a personal degree. However that makes a personal journey of finding the best look and feel while iA Writer has it set up you from the get go.

Ommwriter Dana II
Version: 1.0
Price: $5

A strange App that I immediately overlooked when it was between Byword and Ommwriter. The screenshots were strange and I only had one shot with the purchase. $5 here or $10 there? Bywords advertising was simple, words (that's it). Ommwriter had a little bit more to say by offering an experience of serenity that seemed off putting. I have my own music. I have my own methods. It showed a text box in the screen shots which were all over the screen. Was it a text editor or a post card/poetry writer? I wanted a bit more control of the writing and not the other senses. After obtaining the big dogs, I had to see what all the fuss was about.

My first impression was as stated at first. I had to test things to see what they do. My first thought was the interface was well done. In the middle is a text box which you can expand/shrink or move about over the blank screen as you please. When you move the mouse the interface appears and shows the options I just mentioned as well several little buttons which have a few but simple tasks.

1- Choose text font
2- Change text size
3- Change between several backgrounds
4- Choose background music (looping serene/meditational songs, there is an option to turn it off)
5- Keyboard sounds
6- Export/saving options

The first four are as obvious as they sound. As for the keyboard sounds, they were definitely a big miss for me. Right now I'm alternating between them and they are really bugging the hell out of me. The first one I can't hear, or maybe it's just blending with the background music naturally. But for the second, it sounds like dripping water. I'm a fast typer and that's a lot of dripping water. The last thing I want when writing is to be constantly nagged that I need to pee. As for the last one, it sounds like crickets chirping or popping or something. This one makes me feel like there's a gasious lump in my throat or that I have to crack my knuckles. Either way, sound off.

The music's not so bad if you're open minded or into the yoga/nature/white noise backdrop. I personally liked it but found it straining over time. But of course so does selecting my own music when I get into a frustrated block.

My final verdict is it's not as bad as I originally thought. It's certainly capable and all the options I mentioned with the sounds and backgrounds can be shut off to make it virtually identical to the others. The price is definitely a big plus in its name.

So who is the best of the lot? Put on the spot I’d say iA Writer definitely.  But if the price is definitely wrong then there is absolutely not a huge loss in going with Byword or Ommwriter. All are very capable machines and if you’re in the market for a writing App, choosing either of the three won’t lead you wrong but I don’t recommend more than one. If you have one bullet in the chamber, iA Writer is the way to go and it will not disappoint.


Version: 1.0
Price: $5

There was a storm brewing when I was searching for a minimalist word processor. Before Ia Writer there was a decision to be made, OmmWriter or ByWord. The fact that I’m writing this in ByWord speaks volumes but I’ll give my full insight to the matter because using OmmWriter has been an eye opening experience.

What turned me away from it in the first place despite it being half the price was the look, from the screen shots it appeared you could move around your text box and have a background and other such things which gives it the illusion that its not just a word processor. This is a mistake I made as it was just a method to increase concentration that I now respect since despite the background being there, it doesn’t distract surprisingly. 

My first experience with it was mixed due to the options, though limited were somewhat intrusive. I tried all it had to offer with music, sound effects and fonts and found it to be a unique and pleasant experience. For once I turned off my music and had white noise in the back while I focused on writing after selecting where the text would stand on the screen. Sometimes I turned on the sounds that play whenever I typed but found all of them to be annoying or distracting though this is my personal opinion. I rather the vague pidder-padder of my keyboard anyhow. 

For half the price I can see it working for people. If I started with this instead of going for ByWord I also wouldn’t complain seeing as how it is also what I was initially searching for. ByWord does it better if you can live in silence or have iTunes in the back but it is a worthy adversary. The Zen production is a huge sell in my book if I really wanted to shut everything out and to have a natural, in-touch experience with my writing. Luckily I now have that option but for now ByWord and my writing playlist are my main tools for getting the written word writ. 

Groove Coaster

Version: 1.0
Compatible: iPhone (3GS/4), iPod (3rd/4th Generation), iPad - iOS 4.2
Price: $3

New addition to the App Store and a tasty little number to satiate my inner nerd. Rhythm based games on the iOS are nothing new especially when its awakening came during the time of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Tap Tap made Tapulous a million dollar company and a success story for Indie Game Developers to strive for. So what makes Groove Coaster hot shit? Well have a seat and a brew and I’ll tell you.

From Taito comes a new age rhythm game with old school elements. Essentially it doesn’t push your iPhone 4 or iPad but the visuals are eye pleasing in the same bane as fireworks. What really stands out is the music selection which digs deep within the Taito music collection of DS games and remixes of games from the days of arcade cabinets. Follow on screen instructions along to the beat of the songs.

It starts off easy enough, tap the screen when the cursor gets to the mark. But then it increases in difficulty with varied inputs such as tapping, holding or swiping. But no matter how high you set the difficulty or the speed of the song, it’s never so difficult that us who are musically challenged cannot fall behind or lose interest. It feels like you are part of the song and fills you with a satisfying feeling. The songs are catchy, vibrant but don’t go on so long that it gets boring or tiresome. 

If you’re sick of these types of games, this won’t change your mind however as its just another variation of the genre. It looks good, plays good and is good for a laugh but the price is a bit steep for this type of game. It has a lot of meat to it but the core of the game doesn’t stray very far. My recommendation is to wait for the sale price.


Version: 1.9
Compatible: iPhone, iPod, iPad - iOS 3.1.3
Price: $1

A surprising little punch to the gut this one was. Although its not much in the looks department it’s a fun number for the Pictionary loving bunch. This is another one of those mysteries I cannot for the life of me remember how in the Hell I obtained it but don’t really care as long as I’m having fun which I am. 

The game is simple (and dependant on an internet connection for maximum fun) guess what others are drawing from a selection of 6. The faster you answer the more points you get. Everyone gets a turn and gradually you’ll be able to draw what is requested of you so that everyone else in the game can guess too. If you don’t have an internet connection, you can either play with friends in the vicinity or play against the computer which I found to be no fun at all.

What else can I say? It’s a dollar, it’s Pictionary, it’s fun. I thought there was more but that’s all there really is. If you suck at drawing or hate Pictionary, back off because you won’t have any fun. If you want to feed your ego on how everyone can interpret what you draw, then step right up. Cheaper than Cafe Coffee.


Version: 2.2.3
Compatible: iPhone, iPod, iPad - iOS 3.1
Price: $2

When I upgraded from the iPhone 3G to the 4, it was a tremendously satisfying jump on so many levels. One of those was the combination of screen clarity and a 5 megapixel camera that made the photographer in me want to piss about and take photos of everything imaginable. At first I was worried when I took pics with it because it stored them within the App and would release them to the Photo Album when I said so. So how did it stack up in the field test?

At first when I played with it, this App crashed. A lot. I would be taking pictures or looking through what I did take and it would be too much for it to take apparently despite being used by a freshly activated iPhone 4. It took a bit of time loading up and taking pictures with a 5-10 second burst started off okay but it took longer and longer to be able to take another picture. Needless to say there were some bugs but I put it through its paces when I made it the main photo taker on my New York weekend and I was pleasantly surprised.

If you take the picture saving limitation in mind and take longer bursts you’ll be fine. Slowing down and moving at a steady pace offers a better experience and more satisfying pictures. In the immediate menu you have the option to have a stabilizer, timer, burst, zoom in/out, flash options and a clicker. Additional menus as well as the photo album are also available from here. Initially you start off with an auto focus but pressing the screen gives a customized focus.

Where this App shines however is the options in the light box (album) menu. After a day of taking pictures and you’re ready to go through them, you have a ton of post production options. You can add borders, crop, add effects, rotate and adjust the lighting to a wide set of options. I found this particularly useful since it saved me the time of doing it myself in another App and makes it more worthwhile than the native iPhone Camera App. It has the standard sharing options as well, nothing hugely fancy over the usual Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, SMS or e-mail.

There were times when it crashed still when I was in the heat of taking pics on vacation and had to say ‘Well I got a few’. It was lucky it saved the ones prior to crashing otherwise it would be entirely useless. Saving grace is that it works with older iPhones but with obvious picture taking features lost. Do I recommend? Certainly if you don’t mind spending the money for convenient features, however you can easily use the free Photoshop App to pictures taken with the native Camera App. Its the long way round but thats what Camera+ is, convenient. It does a lot of really neat stuff while being beautiful and productive. The big problem are annoying bugs that cause it to crash. Go easy on it and it’ll be a loyal friend to you.

Tiny Wings

Version: 1.1.0
Compatible: iPhone, iPod, iPad - iOS 3.1
Price: $1

There’s something about iOS gaming and birds that have flooded the market like high tide on shallow isle where the moon hangs just right to drown out any other games without West Nile. Whether or not Angry Birds started the trend or if others are all big, unoriginal copies are closed off from these procedings so I can sing and dance the praises of Tiny Wings.

Tiny Wings is the tale of a delightful land-penguin-like bird with the inability to fly in the old fashioned sense. Instead it takes to the air ramping off of conveniently placed hills. The objective is to get as far as possible before the sun goes down, reaching the end of each island stage bides you more time. The better you time your slides, the farther and higher you go meaning more time and a higher score. There is only one power-up in the form of speedcoins which provides strong boosts which come in handy frequently.

Controls are as simple as any, one button makes the bird dip whether in the sky or land to maximise the jump. It all depends on correct timing. The graphics and sounds are all sickeningly adorable and that’s all I’m going to say. Pleasant towards all the senses I’ll summarize. 

For the games sense of progression, there are three objectives tied to nests. Complete the three and you progress to the next nest in a COD ranking system all wrapped into a surprisingly rewarding and encouraging experience. Needless to say what I’ve seen, played and the fact that this game has stolen from me the greater part of a fortnight must be saying volumes. It must be perfect, right? Close.

There aren’t additional game modes beyond the one. There’s no survival mode, coin mode, see how high you can go mode or even a zen endless mode. Sad but it’s what stops this game short of perfect. But that’s just picking straws from the dollar well spent.

Brushes (iPad Version)

Version: 1.2.1 
Compatibility: iPad iOS 3.2 
Price: $8

When it came to looking for Art Apps for the iPad there was a myriad of options but two names clash back and forth at the top. SketchBook and Brushes. I got SketchBook first because I was blown away by the presentation back when the iPad was first announced. However when I got intimate with the Art experience I felt like expanding my wings so I dipped my fingers into the world of bigger iOS spending and took the plunge.

I love the interface, Brushes is absolutely gorgeous with all the icons being seen but not intrusive. The erase icon is always there and it enhances the experience of being sucked in and losing yourself in the immersion of creation. So kudos to the interface for doing everything right. Aside from that we’ve got the usual features; layers, customizable brushes and a well versed undo button. Seriously you can undo yourself way back to the beginning of your session if you wish to. This power is a side effect from one of the features I had no idea it had until after the purchase was made and it was a fantastic shock. It records your paintings progress.

Once saved and in the gallery, press play and it shows you how you got from point a to b. It’s quite a rewarding thing to see and was virtually without a problem to initiate. Other sketching Apps have the same type of thing but it records a video of your progress rather than mapping out each and every move you make. They require pressing record and going through the menu which isn’t bad but when its as seamless as being built into the background and watching without your knowledge it’s just that much better with Brushes. 

It’s like going on stage and singing a song in perfect pitch and your Mum didn’t record it at all but then your friends hot Mum comes up to you saying she has the whole thing in High Def and proceeds to give you a well placed hug that never ends. It’s not integral to the production but it endows a sense of satisfaction seeing how you work, what you do well and what can be improved. 

Other than that there really isn’t much to say. You can name your pieces and the menus make it easier to dive in but thats what you get. What really disappointed me was the crippling lack of exporting options that I can’t exactly fathom. Add to Photos, copy, mail the image, mail the actions or send to Flickr are your only choices. If you’re keen on taking what you made on the iPad and sticking it onto the desktop to put onto Photoshop, the option doesn’t exist for you. 

Also clearly lacking is the ability to draw straight lines, circles and shapes. I know its not the most artistic thing but sometimes I needed the feature and didn’t want to use a ruler against my iPad. 

SketchBook or Brushes? I personally love using Brushes over SketchBook but use SketchBook more simply because I want the freedom to be able to carry it over. As a painting App it’s far superior and is a dream to use, it’s a tragedy but with an update it can all go away. It’s the little big things that hold it down like the others but it doesn’t stop me from using it every now and again to remind me that there are beautiful things in the App Store well worth the money.