From turning your photos into gifs to riding buffalo for a sky zoo, and from shooting virtual-reality videos to learning to code, this month has a varied selection of new apps and games for iOS devices.
As ever, prices are correct at the time of writing, and IAP indicates that an app uses in-app purchases in some way.
If Android is your platform of choice, there’s a separate monthly roundup for that, which can be found here.
Motion Stills (Free)
Have you been using the Live Photos feature on iOS? Strangely, this app from Google is the first to make it useful, through the way it turns your few-second clips into gifs that can be shared on social networks and messaging apps. Clever, simple and fun.
Splash – 360 Video Camera (Free)
Virtual reality isn’t going to be just about experiencing 360-degree scenes: you may be making your own. Splash is definitely worth trying if you’re itching to get creative with VR, turning your panoramic videos into 3D clips that can be viewed with the Google Cardboard headset. You can also browse the “splashes” of other users from around the world.
Blue Plaques of London (Free)
This official app from English Heritage is a guide to the blue plaques scattered around London explaining where famous historical figures lived. The app will help you find more than 900 plaques, and plan a route to take in the most interesting spots.
Lip-synching app Musical.ly has become something of a craze on smartphones, but this new spinoff is different: a direct rival for Periscope, YouNow and other live-streaming services. You can use the app to broadcast live video while chatting to viewers. It has rocketed up the App Store chart in its early days.
RunGo (Free + IAP)
Another app designed to help you find your way around a city, although in this case, you’re expected to be running not walking. RunGo is a collection of jogging routes with voice navigation to make sure you don’t get lost, and tools to track your times and calorie-burning.
Box Island (Free + IAP)
There’s a lot of talk about encouraging children to learn to program, and a fair few apps aiming to help them do it. Box Island is the latest: a series of programming puzzles based around slotting commands together in sequences to control the game’s boxy hero. It’s accessible and fun.
Another Google app: this time a keyboard replacement app for iOS. There’s a Google search button built in and, this being 2016, gifs and emoji are brought to the fore as well. The Swype-style “glide typing” is also useful, even if this isn’t the only place you’ll find such a feature nowadays.
Gideon AI – Smart Home (Free)
It’s still early ideas for the idea of a “smart home” to become truly affordable and mainstream, but there are plenty of devices and technologies out there pushing in that direction. Gideon AI is worth a look if you’re ahead of the crowds – it aims to make it easier to manage your connected home.
Toca Life: Vacation (£2.49)
The latest app from children’s developer Toca Boca, this is almost like a virtual doll’s house: a collection of holiday-themed scenes, characters and items that children can play with at will, making up their own stories and even recording them as videos. An open-ended digital toy box, and delightful with it.
Screen: Netflix UK Video Discovery (Free)
Keeping up with what’s new on Netflix can be a difficult task, but if you don’t want to rely solely on the video-streaming service’s own recommendations, this is a handy third-party app to try. “Get rid of the crap, find content you’ll like,” it promises, warning you when shows are about to disappear as well as highlighting new content.
Rodeo Stampede – Sky Zoo Safari (Free + IAP)
Aka Crossy Rodeo, with visual inspiration taken from mobile hit Crossy Road, although the game itself is no copycat. You have to lasso and ride a range of animals, hopping from back to back and taming new ones for your “sky zoo”, which you can upgrade as you play.
Pixel Cup Soccer 16 (£2.29)
England may have crashed out of Euro 2016, but if the football bug is still strong with you, Pixel Cup Soccer 16 is a marvellously oldschool arcade game to try. Viewed from side on, it sees you pinging the ball from player to player, with simple controls and retro graphics to enjoy.
CSR Racing 2 (Free + IAP)
The original CSR Racing was a popular and original driving game: short, sharp drag races rather than lengthy lap-fests. The sequel looks bolder and better, with absolutely spiffing graphics, lots of car customisation, and some well-thought-out multiplayer features to keep you competing.
Human Resource Machine (£3.99)
More programming skills here – “programming is just puzzle solving” explains the App Store listing, encouragingly – in a game that sees you solving a series of logic puzzles with your nascent coding skills. Unlike Box Island, this is aimed at all ages and offers some challenging puzzles to figure out.
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Free + IAP)
Released alongside the console version, this is the latest Lego co-branded game, with the latest Star Wars movie its source. It’s a polished mix of battling and building, with plenty of Legofied characters from the film to play as, and a “season pass” that’ll ensure you get all new levels and characters as they’re released in the coming months.
Pocket Arcade Story (£3.99)
Developer Kairosoft had a cult hit with its Game Dev Story game, which simulated a games development studio. There’s no sequel (yet) but the company’s latest release is in a similar vein. You run an amusement arcade, installing games, keeping customers happy and taking on rival arcades. It’s very addictive.
Adventure Company (Free + IAP)
This is an utter treat for anyone who loves action or RPG games. It sees you creating a party of characters then sending them out to fight, discover ancient relics and level up, with all manner of weapons and enemies to keep the action fresh.
Transformers: Earth Wars (Free + IAP)
Can this be better than the (genuinely great) Angry Birds Transformers game? It’s certainly a faithful take on the universe of the Autobots and Decepticons, as you build a team of robots-in-disguise then send them out to battle, while building up your own fortress.
Sky Force Reloaded (Free + IAP)
You can’t beat a classic scrolling shoot ’em up, and Sky Force Reloaded is one of the best mobile examples of the genre. Crisp, clear visuals and a pulsating soundtrack accompany the expected barrage of bullets, with the ability to collect new planes and upgrade them providing the strategy.
Farm Heroes Super Saga (Free + IAP)
King is still going strong with its “Saga” games, although adding “super” is a new move for the Candy Crush company. This will be familiar to anyone who has played the original Farm Heroes Saga game: swap colourful crops to make matches, while using boosters to help when you get stuck.
That’s our selection, now how about yours? The comments section is open for your thoughts on the apps above, or your recommendations for those we’ve missed.
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