Weekly App Store Picks: March 14, 2009


Place your iPhone on the floor and prepare to dance a merry jig, it’s the weekend and that means I’ve prepared a selection of fresh picks from the App Store.

As ever, before we get stuck in to a hand-picked selection of the latest releases from the App Store, I’ve delved in to the week’s Apple happenings to bring you notable news from the past seven days.

First up, swiftly following the Watchmen movie release came the iPhone game. Featured in TheAppleBlog’s new App Review series, the game managed to earn our first Rotten Apple award. If this game were a person you’d be best off giving them a swift kick to the shins and walking away — it’s awful.

On Tuesday, the latest update of Tweetie — my fave app for tweeting — was blocked from release by Apple. It’s all to do with ‘objectionable content’ namely a very naughty word, our own Darrel Etherington explains everything.

Another column new to TheAppleBlog, Jailbreak, continued this week. Clayton Lai highlighted five must-know things about jailbreaking your iPhone. It’s all terribly informative, especially for those new to all this jailbreaking business.

And speaking of hacked iPhones, one thing that those with jailbroken devices might have problems using is the latest iPhone firmware. Version 3.0 of the iPhone OS is due to drop next Tuesday, March 17, at a special Apple event.

Finally, Apple released the latest version of iTunes, integrating several updates including a smart new DJ mix feature, and also squeezed out a brand new iPod Shuffle. The new Shuffle has been causing somewhat of a stir due to its buttonless design, moving controls over to the proprietary headphones.

On to the apps now, this week I’ve been looking at Remote, Eliss, Payback Lite and Topple 2.

picture-41Remote (free)
Strictly speaking this isn’t a new release — it’s the same old app from Apple that enables you to remotely control iTunes using your iPhone. However, the latest update to iTunes adds some interesting new functionality to remote — now friends with their own touch or iPhone can use Remote to request and vote for songs to be added to your iTunes playlist. It’s a fantastic concept, effectively transforming iTunes in to a social jukebox.

picture-32Eliss ($3.99)
Frankly I’m still not entirely sure how this minimal vector game works, but I’m pretty sure the satisfying bleeps triggered when I squish two planets together are a good thing. Steph Thirion has done just that with Eliss, a puzzle game with an ultra-retro look that involves blending planets to ensure galactic harmony. I’ll always get behind the indie game developers who are prepared to take risks and, in creating something a little different, design fun new experiences.

picture-21Payback Lite (free)
Then again, we don’t always need bold risk-taking to ensure that games are fun: Payback is a blatant rip of the Grand Theft Auto series, closely resembling GTA 2 in particular. The game packs in a suspension-bouncing soundtrack, big explosions and a selection of vehicles to speed about the city in while completing your illicit assignments. My favorite feature though is the poorly acted voice-overs, complete with awful cockney accents — it gives the whole game an endearing low-budget Guy Ritchie vibe. Try the free Lite edition before upgrading to the full game.

picture-113Topple 2 ($2.99)
The sequel to Topple — a totally weirded-out Tetris-esque game that involves balancing emotional blocks on top of each other — has just hit the App Store. The new version features some gameplay twists including Rescue and Power Tower, six different worlds with lush artwork and both Wi-Fi and email multiplayer. If you’re not familiar with the original, take a moment to grab the original — for free — from the App Store.

That’s all from the App Store for this week. I’ll return during the week with TheAppleBlog App Review and, as always, on Saturday with my Weekly App Store Picks.

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