| Cult of Mac

Dark Guardians Delivers Beautiful Production Values And Endless Ass-Kickery [Review]

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Dark Guardians

I like endless runners as much as the next person (which works out well considering how many I review), but I’m not opposed to a developer trying something new with them.

Dark Guardians by Studio Baikin
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

Dark Guardians is one such attempt, adding rhythm-game elements and arcade twitch play to the well-trod genre. And it’s an experiment that pays off big, resulting in an exciting and all-around fun title.

It’s also smart and good-looking. And the music is excellent. Basically, I’m a fan.

Microtrip Sends You Sailing Down An Infinite, Repetitive Colon [Review]

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Microtrip

Alright, so I don’t know for sure that it’s a colon, but you’re definitely inside something’s guts.

Microtrip by Arthur Guibert
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $0.99 (promotional; reg. $1.99)

And you’ll never get out because Microtrip is an endless faller in which you guide a blob down into the bowels of the bowels of a creature. It’s more pleasant than you think, though, because everything’s all cute-ified and cartoonish.

It’s also a lot of fun, provided you don’t crave variety

Puzzling Rush Expects You To Figure This Sh*t Out Yourself [Review]

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Puzzling Rush

I really like it when a game doesn’t treat me like an idiot. It makes me feel smart and respected not to have to sit through a tutorial that explains the most basic tenets of the game like one character on CSI explaining to another what DNA is.

Puzzling Rush by Right Fusion
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

But this appreciation has limits, especially when the developer doesn’t even bother telling me what the backstory is and why I’m fighting these people.

Puzzling Rush is one such game, and while I know that I don’t need much of a refresher on how match-threes work, it’s still mostly up to you to figure out how the hell to play it.

Faif Combines A Lot Of Disparate Things Into Something Good(-ish) [Review]

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Faif

Faif is a weird game.

Faif by Beavl
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

It’s kind of like Bejeweled, only you’re not trying to match anything. And it’s kind of like a role-playing game, except you’re not really on a quest (or are you?). It’s sort of like gambling, but you don’t win anything, and it’s a smidge like a free-to-play game, but you don’t have to pay real money for the in-game currency.

All of these kindas and sortas add up to a unique experience that I think I enjoy, but I’m honestly not sure.

Top iOS Apps Of The Week

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Orient

Browsing the App Store can be a bit overwhelming. Which apps are new? Which ones are good? Are the paid ones worth paying for, or do they have a free, lite version that will work well enough?

Well, if you stop interrogating me for a second, hypothetical App Store shopper, I can tell you about this thing we do here.

Every week, we highlight some of the most interesting new apps and collect them here for your consideration. This time, our picks include a comparison shopper for books, a route-maker that factors in current traffic, and a couple things to keep your pictures nice and pretty.

Here you go:

It’s not likely that anyone consistently takes pictures that look like one of the supervillains’ hideouts in the old Batman TV show, but even a slight tilt can make a photo look strange. Orient is an app that will eliminate your photography’s chronic case of the skews by using your iPhone’s gyroscope to ensure that every shot you take is level and straight.

You can choose from a bunch of aspect ratios, and then Orient works almost exactly like your regular Camera app, complete with Instagram-style filters.

Just, you know. Straighter.

Orient: The Self Aligning Camera – Free | Ajit Katti

ETA

ETA is all about telling you how far you are from your favorite places. It’ll also point out which direction they’re in, in case you have to know that at all times.

But Maps will do that, too, so to distinguish itself, ETA lets you build up a list of your most-traveled spots, and it’ll tell you at a glance how long it will take to get there in current traffic. And with a couple taps, you can get directions from either your built-in navigator or Google Maps. And that’s really handy because I always like to know how far I am from sandwiches.

ETA – $1.99 | Eastwood

Shot and Find

I love living in the future, but sometimes I feel a little spoiled. This app wants you to find useful things, but it thinks that your iPhone or iPad keyboards are just too hard to use.

Shot & Find is a visual-search app that lets you quickly search YouTube, Amazon, Google, Wikipedia, or Spotify just by snapping a picture of a movie, video game, or CD cover. It works really well, too. I did a YouTube search from a DVD, and it pulled up the trailer. A Wikipedia search from a 12-year-old video game also worked just fine.

The app’s effectiveness is almost as ridiculous as its premise, but you can’t argue with results.

Shot & Find – Free | Arctic Toucans

Librarist

Now that you know where to find all those DVDs, video games, and CDs with Shot & Find, you might want something to read. All Librarist needs is an ISBN, a keyword, or a quick scan of a barcode, and it’ll let you compare prices from stores all over the world.

The scanning works really well, and it includes an impressive selection of stores to choose from. Now if only it actually had some way to give me more time to read, it would pretty much be the perfect app.

Librarist – Free | Droid Ltd

Photo Copy Level

Admit it: You have trouble keeping your camera level when you’re taking a picture of an important document. And then the text looks all weird, and it’s embarrassing.

Alright, maybe it’s not super embarrassing, but it’s nice to avoid skewing anything if you can help it. With Photo Copy Level, you just place your iOS device against the thing you’re shooting and set the level, and then a handy circle tells you when you’re shooting straight. The upgrade unlocks features like an automatic shutter.

Photo Copy Level – Free ($0.99 feature upgrade)| Yaroslav Mironov

‘ETA’ Will Give You Your … Well, You Know. It’s Right There In The Name

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ETA

ETA is all about telling you how far you are from your favorite places. It’ll also point out which direction they’re in, in case you have to know that at all times.

But Maps will do that, too, so to distinguish itself, ETA lets you build up a list of your most-traveled spots, and it’ll tell you at a glance how long it will take to get there in current traffic. And with a couple taps, you can get directions from either your built-in navigator or Google Maps. And that’s really handy because I always like to know how far I am from sandwiches.

Source:ETA – $1.99 | Eastwood

If Breaking It Isn’t The Answer, Smash Hit Doesn’t Even Want To Hear The Question [Review]

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Smash Hit

Sometimes, you just gotta break something.

Smash Hit by Mediocre Game Studio
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: Free ($1.99 unlock for full features)

But you probably don’t want to break your own stuff, and people get mad when you smash up their things. This is where gaming often enters the picture: It’s an environment in which you can demolish the crap out of things with no consequences. And it’s even more satisfying when the things break realistically.

Smash Hit is a game about literally that, and it’s incredibly satisfying.

Midnight Bite: A Cute Vampire-Stealth Title With Sucky Controls [Review]

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Midnight Bite

You know how it goes: You’re up late, feeling a little peckish, and you don’t have anything in the fridge. What do you do?

Midnight Bite by Milkstone Studios
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

I mean, I’d go to the store down the street and get some sour bears. And if you’re Draku, the star of Midnight Bite, you do the same thing. Except substitute “store down the street” with “village at the base of the mountain,” and substitute “sour bears” with “blood of the sleeping townsfolk.”

But he’s a little guy, and the humans are prejudiced against vampire children who stalk up in the night and murder them, so he has to be careful. And as the one controlling him, you also have to be careful because the controls are apparently also racist against the undead.

God of Light Presents An Elegant Metaphor For Puzzle Games [Review]

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God of Light

God of Light has a simple, fun concept. It has pretty graphics and some cool music by British electronica outfit Unkle. And it has realistic light physics. And all of these are great, but a lot of games look and sound good.

God of Light by Playmous
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

But God of Light is special because in addition to all of these good qualities, it also offers something else: a meditation on what puzzle games are, what they do, and how and why we play them.

And the best part is that the developer accomplishes this not by telling us, but by building all of these qualities into the gameplay and mechanics.

Enigmo: Explore: You Have 30 Seconds To Relax [Review]

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Enigmo: Explore

Developer Pangea Software’s well-regarded Enigmo series of puzzle games has been around for a while, and they’ve turned over development of the latest installment, Enigmo: Explore to a new team, but the idea is the same: See that liquid dripping from a pipe over here? Get it into that jar over there.

Enigmo: Explore by Team Chaos
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

The game gives you a suite of tools to accomplish this, including trampoline-like items that the drops bounce off of and little cannons that can send them even farther. It’s up to you to decide which items in which combinations to use to complete levels, which offers you a decent amount of freedom when you’re playing it.

But a couple other features work just as hard against you, and it’s kind of a shame.