Weekly App Store Picks: March 28, 2009


Welcome one and all to the weekend, a time for rest, relaxation and fresh pickings from the App Store.

Before checking out this week’s apps, we’ve got seven days worth of Apple (s aapl) happenings to run through.

First up, the week kicked off with a scathing review of the Daniel X graphic novel — an utterly dull comic-book barely improved by its leap to iPhone. Later in the week though, I took a look at Tumblr’s official iPhone app, turns out that it’s a brilliant tool for capturing moments while on the go.

On Tuesday, there was a curious new addition to UK retailer Play.com’s store: the 16GB iPhone 3G. Apparently taking advantage of EU regulations — ensuring the availability of SIM-free mobile phones — the device’s are retailing at a hefty $900.

Midweek, Apple introduced cross-border shopping for twenty different countries via their online store. Unfortunately, our own Darrel Etherington was less than pleased to discover that Canada has been left out of the International shipping fun. Plus, owners of the unibody 17″ Macbook Pro were also treated to a firmware update fixing graphics issues with the system.

Bringing an end to the week’s Apple happenings, over at GigaOm.com, Om Malik received a tip-off concerning a new app for iPhone: Skype. That’s right, there’s rumored to be an official Skype iPhone app, due for release very soon. Unfortunately, for me, it may be too little too late: I doubt that it’ll be feature-packed enough for me to swap over from Nimbuzz.

Moving on the apps, this week I’ve been looking at Bowman, Gengo Lite, AudioBoo and Elemental Monster TD.

Bowman iPhoneBowman (99 cents)
The original version of Bowman is an excellent little physics-based Flash game, controlling an archer, you simply drag back on the arrows to launch them at your target. Back in February, I mentioned an unofficial 99 cent Bowman game that hit the App Store, for iPhone and touch. Now it seems that the official Bowman game has been released, alongside updated graphics, it packs three different modes: Single player, Multiplayer and Bird Hunt. Try the Flash game first and then, if it hits your target, grab the iPhone version.

gengolitefinnishGengo Lite: Finnish (free)
Last Sunday I made the epic move of packing up shop and moving from my apartment in central London to Finland. As I don’t speak the language here, I decided to hit the App Store in a bid to find out if my iPhone can help me learn the local lingo. The Gengo Flashcards apps are particularly special — featuring both a plain old flashcard mode and a more exciting game mode. Plus, there’s a wide range of languages on offer: alongside Finnish, there’s Spanish, French, Italian and even Hindi, Farsi and Turkish among others.

audioboo-app-iconAudioBoo (free)
Occasionally an app comes along that has the potential to change the way we use our iPhones on a daily basis. Both Tweetie and Evernote fall in to that category, the former giving me beautifully stream-lined access to Twitter and the latter enabling me to take notes and stay organized wherever I may be. AudioBoo is another one of these potential game-changers. It’s an app that plugs straight in to Facebook and Twitter allowing you to record tweet-style audio messages. Quick to set-up, easy to use and certainly very good fun, this is definitely one to check out. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting a full review to TheAppleBlog next week.

elementalmonster-td-app-iconElemental Monster TD (99 cents)
Over the past few weeks, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with Tower Defense (TD) games. If you’re not familiar with the genre, it’s essentially a type of strategy game where you build offensive towers on a map to attack waves of enemies. It’s over-simplified real time strategy gaming: more immediate than Command & Conquer and easier to learn (with much less depth) than Warcraft 3. Elemental Monster TD moves the genre forwards: introducing trading card collection alongside action-packed tower defense. What results is a game with stunning graphics, ultra-strategic gameplay and a few added twists to the tower defense genre. Normally $3.99, the app is on offer at 99 cents until March 30.

And that’s your lot for the week, I’ll be back next Saturday with more picks from the App Store. Plus, drop by TheAppleBlog during the week for the latest app reviews too.

In the meantime, what apps have you been using this week?