iPhone Apps of the Week

July 10, 2009

Everything

Before we get into the app reviews for the week I want to share some photos I took of why there wasn’t an article last week (hint…it involved $700 in fireworks).

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I love that we have a national holiday based around blowing shit up! (and yes I know the holiday is about WAY more than that, but tell it to the 4 year olds in the crowd)  So on to the apps of the week.  The two I settled on reviewing are “Sportacular” and “Galcon Lite” which are both free.  Hit the link to read on….[photoxhibit=5]

“Sportacular” is provided by Citizensports and is just what it sounds like-an app that tracks sports.  And man, it does that very well too.  Nearly every league/organization is covered with the one notable exception of auto racing.  You want the PGA leaderboard?  You got it.  How about MLS? (that’s still around??)  Covered.  It also allows you to set up your favorite teams so you don’t have to go navigating all over the place to see the latest news on the Chiefs and then checking in on Tiger.  If the event is live you have about a minute delay between updates which is about the norm for anything other than ESPN.  Since baseball is about the only thing really active right now I can’t comment on what the live stats are for NFL or college sports, but for MLB it does a terrific job.  All the stats you want at your fingertips are there in a pretty snazzy interface to boot (pitch count, batter, runners on base, and every play of the game are there to be seen).  Sure, “MLB@Bat” is a little more polished but it only handles one sport.  And anything other than the basic version (which is really limited on what you get) is not free.  So for any sport fans out there not wanting to spend anything to track their sports, which is me, this is the app to get.  ”Sportacular” gets a solid 8/10.

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If you’re looking for a game that takes less than 60 seconds to play, “Galcon Lite” might be for you.  ”Galcon Lite” can best be described as a real-time “Risk” set in space.  The object is pretty simple…eliminate the enemy forces before they eliminate you.  After selecting the difficulty (which there are a ton of) you start off with both you and your enemy occupying one planet.  All the planets have a number on them which represent how many of your ships it will take to make the planet yours.  Green are your planets, yellow are enemy controlled, and grey are netural.  Things take off REAL quick at the start.  You send your ships to occupy different planets by touching the planet they’re on and then touching where you want them to go.  You can select how many ships you want to send by touching the percentage on the lower right of the screen (25-100%).  What if you end up sending ships to a planet that isn’t going to matter?  You can re-direct the ships mid-flight by touching them and then touching whatever the new planet you want, which is great when you find your home planet suddenly under attack (which happens A LOT).  If you’re controlling multiple planets you can highlight as many as you want and then send ships from them all to a specific target, but the game moves so fast that any sort of deep strategy will probably end up as a loss.  Graphically it’s very simple but thanks to the highly contrasting colors the game never looks bad.  And because it moves along so fast you never really have to spend the time staring at the sole triangles that represent your ships.  This is what I’d call a perfect game for when you don’t have time to really play a game.  The full version of “Galcon” is $0.99 and adds online multiplayer to the mix which I can see being loads of fun/frustration.  I wasn’t expecting this much fun for free and was really surprised at just how challenging it can be on the higher difficulty settings.  A challenging, fun, and free way to pass a few minutes.  7/10.

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