Album Flow Helps Your iPad Get Its Groove Back

Reviewed By: Luke Patrick

iTunes

 

Price: $2.99
Rating:

If you’ve spent many a night lamenting the lack of true cover flow on the iPad—that’d be the eye-candy included in iTunes whereby your album covers float past like levitating LPs—it’s time to stem those tears and head to the AppStore: Album Flow, by developer Imre Katai, has everything you need to scratch that musical itch.

Function

If you’ve spent much time with Apple’s stock iPod app for the iPad, you’ll notice one obviously bizarre omission: There’s no cover flow, as in both the iPhone and iTunes for desktop. Considering the iPad’s larger screen size and incredible resolution, this seems like a real spanner in the gears. Thankfully, Album Flow has taken it upon itself to cure Apple’s oversights, bringing full cover flow style music to your iPad at long last.

Album Flow’s main draw is, of course, its excellent album art, so we’ll start there. All of your albums are arranged along the bottom, and look exactly as you’d like them to. Album art is crisp, with the current album enlarged and centered while the others are tilted to the side. You can sort the cover flow via artist and album, but if that still doesn’t do it for you, you’re welcome to use the included search bar to look for individual tracks. Once selected, tracks from each album are shown along the top left, while Album Flow’s media player sits at the top right. Playback within the app is extremely simple, and offers all the functionality you’d expect: There are buttons to loop, skip, pause, and shuffle tracks, while sliders for volume and song location sit nearby. It’s simple, familiar, and it works like a charm.

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Grove Keeper: Elemental Physics Defense Game Gone Wild!

Reviewed By: Philip Chan

iTunes

 

Price: $.99
Rating:

Tired of the repetitive nature of Angry Birds and want something with a little more variety, yet similar physics-based gameplay? Grab Grove Keeper, on sale now for only $0.99 (iPhone and iPod Touch and $1.99 for the iPad), with a great blend of physics, tower defense and puzzle gameplay today!

In a faraway land, two mystical men bend the forces of nature to create a living, breathing, beautiful and peaceful world. However, one of these individuals turned to the darkside, and began using his powers to destroy, annihilate and control the entire world. The other, known as the Grove Keeper, must use his powerful elemental forces and ragtag army to defeat the evil hordes of his onetime accomplice.

Gameplay:

Describing itself as a “casual, physics-based action puzzle” game, Grove Keeper defies simple attempts to categorize it just one genre. However, I’ll try to describe it is simply as possible: Think Angry Birds, but  with the tables turned. Imagine playing as the pigs in Angry Birds, but with the ability to launch elemental attacks and launch physics-based projectiles at the incoming army of birds. Ontop of this, add in some crazy boss enemies that show up and try to take down your fortress, and you have the basic premise of Grove Keeper. While the array of action on screen can be a little intimidating at first, Grove Keeper walks the first-time user through the basics of gameplay, keeping everything at a stable learning curve. The main defense you’ll get to use is a cool “rock wall” that is activated with the swipe of your finger. However, as you progress through levels, you’ll get NPC allies, cool new attacks and more to keep things interesting. You’ll need all your wits to defeat the crazy bosses that come out in some of the later levels, so be ready!

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AP Economics: Time to Put Down Angry Birds and Pull Out a Calculator

iTunes

Reviewed By: Luke Patrick

Price: $2.99
Rating:

 

Oh, Advanced Placement tests, how you make the high schooler inside us all cringe! Your academic tendrils send shivering fears into almost everyone, but not CheongShim International, who took it upon themselves to build an AP Economics study guide worthy of any would-be tester. The result is largely successful with a few, shall we say, flaws in the numbers.

Function

As stated by the developer, AP Economics features a point-by-point analysis of some of the heftiest concepts in both microeconomics and macroeconomics. I have to tip my hat to the developer for offering both fields, as I’m sure it’s a handy addition for almost anyone needing a review. The section on microeconomics features seven different learning units, each with separate sub-lessons that help the user study. Likewise, the section devoted to macroeconomics is hefting around a 14 unit payload, which should be more than enough material for any tester.

It’s worth noting—I feel odd saying this, as this is an app titled AP Economics—that a lot of the review given is based around graphs, overall stability, and equations. Presumably, the user will have had a course in economics and will know what’s what within these short reviews. However, if you’re like me and have never set foot in an economics course, you might appreciate a bit more textual information for each point. Obviously no one as clueless as myself will need AP Economics, but I’m sure a little more info would be appreciated across the board.

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Animal Alphabet HD: Loads of Letters for Littles

 

Price: $1.99
Rating:

Reviewed By: Luke Patrick

 

We never tire of seeing good education apps for iOS, and Animal Alphabet HD, by Fish The Mouse Media, is certainly no exception. This iPad app features beautiful hand-drawn paintings and an intuitive learning system to teach your child the alphabet. If you’re a parent looking to enliven your child’s learning experience with modern technology, Animal Alphabet HD is a great place to start.

Function

The primary function of Animal Alphabet HD is extremely simple: To teach your child the alphabet using animals whose names begin with the letter in question. For instance, talking about the letter P produces an illustration of a porcupine, all while the narrator talks (very) alliteratively  with that letter to illustrate its sound. Your child can either pick a letter from a large spread of the whole alphabet, or skip from one to the other by pressing two lady bugs that rest along the bottom right and bottom left.

Each animal offered is gorgeously hand drawn by artist Norm Magnusson, and the paintings are fully interactive. Your child will have a blast poking and prodding the animals to uncover new animations and engaging elements, of which there seem to be an infinite number.

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ZOOLA Left the Barn Door Open to Learning

Price: $1.99
Rating:

ZOOLA Video App Review


 

ZOOLA, by developer Best Kids Apps, doesn’t just offer a funny name, but a load of animal entertainment for your youngster. The app’s simplistic layout and ease-of-use guarantees your child will be entertained, but also ensures they’ll learn, as well. In fact, if you click on the speaker icon, the name of the animal is said aloud, furthering the learning elements of the app. ZOOLA is yet another example of how quality education apps for iOS can make a difference in childhood development. Because of that, we give it a four-and-a-half star rating, plus a hearty recommendation.

ZOOLA iPhone app requires iOS 3.2 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

The iPhone app reviews rating:

 

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Weekly iPhone Apps Roundup: Top 5 for May 6

Reviewed By: Luke Patrick

Whew! Another busy week done here at The iPhone App Review. We were pretty busy celebrating May the Fourth be With You (not to mention Revenge of the Fifth) but we didn’t slack off on our app reviewing duties, no sir! We’ll get to our Top 5 for May 6 in just a second, but before we hit the main course, here’s a sneak peek at some of the fantastic apps we reviewed this week!

This Week’s Stand-Out Apps

We kept our gaming thumbs busy this week, offering up a stream of quality game reviews for iOS. One of our favorites was Notebook Ninja, a new up-and-comer in the AppStore that offers unique (and papery) gameplay for both the iPhone and iPad. We fawned all over New Sokoban, too, which offers one of the deepest puzzle mechanics in the business. For a change of pace, check out Plane Rush, a game that’s one parts Speed Racer and two parts spelunking.

Rounding out the week, we also showed you how cool CCGs can be on iOS with Shadow Era (no game board or card-protectors included) as well as how easy it is to keep a live-tweet style record of your day using Koodja.

There’s your sneak peek as promised, but I’m sure you hungry minions want some real tucker now, right mates? Orders heeded, Captain: Skip below to see what our Top 5 Apps for May 6 were.

Top 5 Apps of the Week

Magic Piano

Magic Piano – Free

We’re coming out of the chute classical this week by taking a look at Magic Piano for iPhone. This app has been around for a while on the iPad, and is brought to you by Smule, the same people responsible for I Am T-Pain, Ocarina, and Leaf Trombone. Magic Piano is just now making its way to the iPad’s older brother, and is one-hundred percent free in the AppStore.

Magic Piano offers all the musical trappings you’d expect from Smule, including the ability to play freestyle on a number of keyboards, or tap beams of light to produce some of your favorite tunes. We say your favorites, but you’ll actually be limited to what’s in Magic Piano’s store: There’s a lot of free classical music here, as well as some popular titles, but we’d still like to bop along to our entire Cher collection.

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