Review: Sky Force 2014 for iPad

Sky Force 2014 for iPad

I don’t tend to play iPad games for very long unless I’ve volunteered to review them. I tend to feel compelled to play just so my coverage is more comprehensive. Sky Force 2014 is one of those rare cases where “business as usual” has been flipped on its head. This game is so good that I feel I have to talk about it.

Sky Force functions like a lot of top-down “bullet hell” shooters: you weave your plane in and out of enemy fire while firing your own salvos back. Some stages end in boss fights, while others just throw waves of enemies at you.

This all sounds very vanilla, but it’s executed very well. The touch controls are surprisingly tight, which is great, since top-down shooters like Sky Force require fine-grained controls in order to play properly. The game offers the option of tapping on the screen to move your plane, or sliding your finger and having your plane trace a similar path. One other nice touch is what happens when you take your finger off the screen: everything in the game slows down to a crawl. This isn’t in lieu of a pause button (that’s in the top right corner), but rather for taking a moment to see how much is on screen and how you could weave your way through it. I love this feature.

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Trials Arcade for iPad is motorcycle trick-riding fun with only one flaw

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Trials Frontier is a fun arcade-style motorcycle stunt riding experience. The whimsical graphics, unique bike controls, and intricate courses make the riding interesting, and you’ll find yourself laughing at your own crashes. Even at the very beginner levels, the bike responds well to inputs and you’ll quickly become more expert in jumping, wheelying, and flying through the air without landing on your head.

Trials Frontier is set in a dusty desert town. You play the part of an aspiring motorcycle trials rider. (For the uninitiated, motorcycle trials is the sport where you try to get you and your bike up, over, and around obstacles without falling or putting a foot down.) The town is populated with various characters, some friendly, some nefarious, and some who want your help. In order to help them you take part in motorcycle competitions, sometimes against the clock, and sometimes against one of the bad guys, collecting rewards for good performance. You’ll need those rewards to upgrade your bike and remain competitive as you pass through the many levels. Characters include a map-maker who needs your help charting desert territory, a bad guy named Butch who’s been terrorizing the town, and a damsel who needs your help to get rid of Butch and reclaim the town.

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Air Race Speed for iPad-An Entertaining Space Flyer

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Air Race Speed is a fast and fun way for you to test your space-fighter pilot skills like Luke Skywalker in the famous trench-run finale to the original Star Wars movie. You use the iPad’s motion sensor or on-screen controls to guide a series of faster and faster ships through tunnels, past obstacles, and around moving barriers.

Air Race Speed is a perfect combination of easy to pick up, but challenging to get good at. While the object of the game is immediately apparent, and the controls self-explanatory, getting higher speeds and therefore lower lap times takes skill, practice, and luck. As a beginner, you start with a slow but easy-to-control ship. Your mission is to guide your ship through a series of tunnels and around obstacles without crashing, and get the lowest possible time on each course. The ship is set to coast at a slow speed without any interaction from you. You speed up by firing your afterburners: the increase in speed is quick and significant. There are time penalties for crashing, so you need skill to get though the courses quickly, constantly measuring the trade-off between speed and control.

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Review: Due 2.0 for iPad

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In the world of increasingly cross-platform services, there are very few apps that really tether me to iOS. If I left for Android land (or perhaps Windows 10? Hah!), I know that my 2000+ Evernote notes would follow me. My photos and videos could go into Dropbox and my calendar and contacts would sync through Google. However, if I left iOS, I’d be leaving Due behind, and that would really suck. A lot.

If you aren’t already familiar with Due, here’s the elevator pitch: it’s a gorgeous system designed to bug the crap out of you until you finish what you said you’d do. One of the awesome things about Due is that it usually gives you a few ways to manipulate its UI.

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Spout is the Prezi for social network feeds

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I was introduced to Spout at the start of the week and it was one of those apps that I was immediately wowed by. Pictures won’t really do it justice, it’s the movement and animation that really sell this app. The way to describe it is it is rather like watching a Prezi of your social network feeds.

Upon launching the app, you can configure your social network feeds and attach Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Instagram. Within this you can opt to display certain hashtags. If, for example you put #ipaded into the stream, Spout will only display tweets with this hashtag. As well as this, you can add custom text which will animate. It could be used as a message if your iPad is connected to a screen for example.

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Quick Look: Evernote’s Scannable App

As much as I love using Evernote, I’m often a little wary when I try out one of their new apps. Penultimate has never worked well for me, and other apps like Evernote Food and Evernote Hello are good concepts, but their data formats aren’t easily editable, and so I find they run counter to […]

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My New Favorite News App: Yahoo! News Digest

In today’s busy world it’s hard to find time to keep current on the top news stories. When you do (finally) find time to open your favorite news app, it can be hard to navigate a maze of stories. Yahoo has found a solution to this problem – News Digest. News Digest is a simple app that […]

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Studying French? Triomphe iPad Review

We had our family summer holiday in France this year and although I have plenty of French words stored in my head (thanks to my grammar drilling French teacher Miss Chettle), my pronunciation is terrible. In fact, it’s a bit like watching one of those comedy movies where someone totally out of their depth tries […]

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Quick Look: Fleksy Keyboard for iPad

Here’s the dream I’ve had for the iPad for a few years now: I head to a café and pull the tablet with its Smart Cover out of my bag and start to write. I don’t just mean write emails, but write little stories and blog posts over a period of an hour or two. […]

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