ios Archive


Mailbox For iOS

Anthony Wing Kosner for Forbes:

Email is a constant stream of triggers, and the means to act upon these triggers can be present in the tool through which you receive it. This is why Mailbox’s mobile first approach is so important. Increasingly we get our mail messages on our mobile devices without the time, attention or full-size keyboard to make a complete response. These half-read, half-considered messages become work to take care of later—but that later never comes. By being able to structure your responses even if you don’t have time to make a full response you reduce the residue and mental overhead associated with your inbox. So when you do sit down at your desk or laptop or iPad, your work is cut out for you and ready to engage with the actual content you have to consider.

It took me a week to decide to take the plunge with Mailbox and allow it to archive all of my email on Gmail. All of my mail has been in my inbox basically since I signed up for the service years ago, a situation I imagine most people have been in as well. I can say it’s been a pretty good experience so far, my inbox is pretty clear, but I’m still getting used to the workflow of sorting my mail.

It’s a shame that there’s no Exchange support for the app, because for me, that would be the true test for Mailbox’s workflow – work emails. Nevertheless, I’ve definitely cut down on the bulk email lists I’ve subscribed to on my personal account. When you see the emails streaming in on an empty inbox, it’s pretty easy to see what’s necessary and what isn’t. Having 100,000 emails in the same place over the last 9 years or so just ended up being a big pile of eh.

via Mailbox App Revolutionizes Gmail Productivity, Will Google Or Apple Buy It? – Forbes.


Infinity Blade 2’s ClashMob Mode

Donald Mustard, Chair Creative Director talking to Douglass C. Perry for Kotaku:

“This is part of the great social experiment,” said Mustard. “We live now in an asynchronous world. Here’s an example. My wife and I love to play Scrabble, but with our kids and schedules, we don’t have enough to play together. So we play it, turn-based, on our phones.”

I’ve been having a ton of fun with “Infinity Blade 2’s” ClashMob. It gives me everything I want from a mobile game – bite-sized action, great graphics, tangible rewards, and reasons to check back every so often on my own schedule. Basically imagine “Tiny Tower” except you actually play a game and get rewards. The cherry on top is that you feel like you are a part of something more epic by taking on a boss with a billion hit points alongside people across the world.

Like real life, though, it’s kind of deflating when you contribute a lot to a seemingly doable task and find out that your teammates couldn’t do the same. While I think the mode could definitely use some tweaking, Chair is really onto something here in creating a truly great unique mobile gaming experience that combines the best of all worlds – skill, graphics, time commitment, and rewards.

via Kotaku – It Takes A Global Effort To Drain New Infinity Blade II Boss’ Billion Health Points.


New Apple iOS Maps App Is Something You Will Want

Sources describe the new Maps app as a forthcoming tentpole feature of iOS that will, in the words of one, “blow your head off.” I’m not quite sure what that means, and the source in question declined to elaborate, but it’s likely a reference to the photorealistic 3-D mapping tech Apple acquired when it purchased C3 Technologies. C3 did use missile-targeting technology to develop its gorgeous 3-D models of major cities, so …

“Missile-targeting technology”? Well, it’s a good thing Google’s not the company with that tech. With all of the personal data they’re collecting on us, “blow your head off” might have a more literal meaning. *rimshot*

But seriously, the Maps iOS app is something that needs to be overhauled, given that no truly significant functionality has been added to it since the launch of the original iPhone. I’m not sure 3D mapping is something that’ll be practically useful on a day to day basis, but I would love some more turn-by-turn navigation and localized search capabilities at the very least.

via AllThingsD.


Infinity Blade: Dungeons

An Unreal Engine-powered dungeon game on my iOS devices? Why, yes, please take my money as fast as possible.

(I imagine that the game will have enhanced graphics on the iPad 3 that it won’t on other devices. Infinity Blade has quietly become the key “wow” gaming franchise for new Apple device launches.)


Ghost Trick Now Available on iOS

The only thing keeping Nintendo and Sony handheld systems relevant in the age of iOS/Android gaming is the fact that they offer high quality game experiences that can’t be replicated elsewhere. Of course, there are certain console titles that play just as well, if not better, on touch screen only devices, Scribblenauts Remix being one of them and Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective being another.

Capcom’s finally released Ghost Trick on iPhone/iPad as a universal app (with iCloud saved games enabled!) today. I haven’t actually played through the original version on Nintendo DS yet, but hear it’s a pretty good game. It’s a detective adventure game where you try to solve your own mysterious deaths as a ghost. There’s a bunch of parallels with the Phoenix Wright series, if you’ve ever played those.

You get the first two chapters of the game as a free download, and can purchase the rest in app for $9.99. It’s a pretty good steal, given the fact that Ghost Trick just came out barely a year ago as a $29.99 retail Nintendo DS title. Plus, you’re arguably getting a better gameplay experience as you don’t need to use a silly stylus or carry around a Nintendo DS with you.

I’m midway through the first chapter now and will most certainly be buying the rest.

Updated Protip (2/3): The iCloud interface is really ambiguous and scarily written. (“There is a chance that you might lose your progress” on both options?? Come on Capcom!) I’ve tested it, though and you want to hit “Sync iCloud backup data” to upload your current save to the cloud. Tapping “Sync this device” brings the save from the cloud down to whichever device you are using now.

Download on iTunes


Steam Releases Mobile App

Well, well well, Steam. Look who’s decided to join the mobile apps party.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before Valve jumped into mobile. Right now the features list looks pretty basic, offering only friend status updates, chatting, and access to the Steam store. While good for impulse buys or checking up on deals, I was actually hoping for at least an achievement viewer. There’s nothing I like doing more when I’m away from my computer than wistfully reflecting on all of my gaming accomplishments.

Obviously, the mobile app’s functionality will only grow from here. After all, Steam itself started off as a pretty basic client, too. It’ll be interesting to see if Steam expands its tendrils into the mobile gaming distribution arena, given that both Android and iOS already have exclusive channels for that. Perhaps Steam will become more of a content curator? There’s certainly a lot of trash to wade through in those marketplaces.

Though the app is still in an invite-only beta mode right now, you can still download it and poke around the offline mode. If you’ve used the iOS Gmail app, the Steam app UI looks very similar.

Download on iOS and Android




Hero Academy Is My New Favorite iOS Game

The chaps over at Penny Arcade turned me on to a great new asynchronous turn-based strategy game for iOS called Hero Academy.

Tycho’s description:

There’s plenty of asynchronous tactics games available on mobile platforms, but this one hits the sweet spot in so many tradeoffs that each turn is like munching a little stack of Pringles.  For example, the “playfield” is small, like a boardgame.  It could be bigger, but it’s not; at the same time, it’s not so small that positioning is minimized.  Each turn consists of five – and only five – actions, and you can play your turn over and over again locally until you’ve found the optimal investment of those actions.  Maybe a single unit takes all of them.  Maybe it’s a turn you use to equip for the countercharge.  Turns are never onerous, they always consist of some scientifically optimized volume of input.

Simplifying the description of the game further, you might just call it “Tactics With Friends.” It plays like a very polished, welcoming version of your favorite turn based strategy game (Final Fantasy Tactics, Advance Wars, Jeanne d’Arc, Fire Emblem, etc.) combined with a little card game intrigue. See, in addition to commanding different kinds of units, you always have a “hand” that you can use to either deploy new units, equip them with bonuses, or play effects on the board. Some tricky schemes can be set into motion by playing out unseen resources.

It’s a free download and though it’s got some microtransaction upselling and interstitial ads, it’s never onerous. As if you needed another reason, the game’s developer, Robot Entertainment, consists of some of the people who made Age of Empires and Halo Wars from Ensemble Studios.

Give it a shot. Keep in mind that it’s a “multiplayer only” game, though. There’s no single player campaign, but random opponents have proved to be worthy adversaries.


Review: Judge Dredd Vs. Zombies (iOS)


What could be a more fun iPhone game than shooting the crap out of zombies as a badass postapocalyptic British lawgiver? Turns out, there’s quite a bit of alternatives. I had the opportunity to review Judge Dredd Vs. Zombies for Comics Alliance late last year and while the core gameplay was competently fun, it was sucked dry by the hollow presentation and shameless difficulty due to a freemium model-friendly unlock system.

If you’re looking for an epic Judge Dredd gaming experience based on the comics, let’s stop right there. This is not the game for you. While the word “zombies” in the title could imply a tie in to Garth Ennis’ epic “Judgment Day” zombie storyline, Judge Dredd vs. Zombies involves nothing of the sort. The closest you get to a story is a single briefing screen telling you that Zombies have infested Mega City-One and that Judge Dredd is the “Solution.” In fact, other than scattered badges and the occasional logo in each level, the only sights you’re going to see are Judge Dredd, zombies, and generic looking building interiors. To be fair to the developer, though, it’s what was promised in the title and by golly that’s exactly what’s offered.

Read my full review on Comics Alliance here


Microsoft Releases Xbox LIVE iOS App

I’ve been playing with the new Xbox LIVE iOS app this afternoon and have to hand it to Microsoft – this thing looks slick. It’s got the new Metro UI that’s on the new Windows Phone and now the Xbox 360. The app looks and performs wonderfully even in iOS, especially on the iPad where it literally turns your iPad into a mini Xbox 360 dashboard. If you use Xbox Live with any sort of regularity, there’s no reason not to get this app asap.

Currently, it’s got the basic functionality of things you’d want to do away from your Xbox, like check/send messages, achievements, and friend activity. You can even check out some streaming video content from the Xbox LIVE team. You can’t, however, browse the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and make downloads or purchases. This would be the logical next feature add and I’d be surprised if Microsoft didn’t implement this sooner rather than later. After all, allowing players to impulse purchase content on the go can only do good things for Microsoft’s bottom line.

Here’s a list of features from Major Nelson:

Some of the features include:

Read and send messages to friends
Manage your friends list, invite new friends
Read and Edit your full LIVE profile (name, bio, motto)
Change your avatar features/items with the avatar closet
View and compare your achievement progress with friends

Download the iOS app here for free

via Xbox Live’s Major Nelson


Review: Infinity Blade

I’m just going to go ahead and say it:

Infinity Blade is the best gaming experience I’ve had on the iPhone.

Seriously. You can take your Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, and all of your lame tower defense game clones and shove them in your favorite orifice because this game makes those look like amateur hour. From the time I downloaded Infinity Blade on my phone last Thursday, all I’ve wanted to do is play it nonstop.

To put this in perspective, you’re talking a guy who has all of the video game consoles, a gaming-ready PC, a Kindle, a Blu-Ray player, Netflix, a backlogged DVR of TV shows, and a sports fan. Needless to say, I’ve got a lot of entertainment that I could/should have been plowing through instead.

Nope, I had to max out my Infinity Blade character first.

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