App Review: Mass Effect Galaxy

[appreview]
title=Mass Effect
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/08/appicon-masseffect.png
price=$2.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=320095701&mt=8
rating=avoid
[/appreview]

For its latest title, EA (s erts) has brought Bioware’s Mass Effect to iPhone. This installment builds on the story from the original critically acclaimed console game.

Set in the same universe as the original console game, Mass Effect Galaxy features a rich story peppered with action-packed gunplay.
As you’d expect with a game set in the Mass Effect universe, the game is driven by a strong plot, leading you from one shoot out to the next. Imagine an episode of 24 set in outer-space featuring feuding alien races, with you as an intergalactic Jack Bauer. Read More about App Review: Mass Effect Galaxy

App Review: Phaze — Futuristic Racing Action

[appreview]
title=Phaze
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/07/phaze_icon.png
price=$4.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=317439506&mt=8
rating=silver
[/appreview]

Years ago I discovered a little futuristic hovercraft racing game on the PlayStation called Wipeout. The concept was simple, and in many ways it was pretty much the same gameplay as Mario Kart or Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart. What set it apart was that there were no cartoon graphics, and no toy weapons, just stunning futuristic graphics, unique craft handling (being hovercrafts) and the most important element: speed. These crafts could go really fast.

So as an avid fan of the Wipeout series, when I found out about Phaze I immediately had to try it. Phaze is pretty much a Wipeout clone for the iPhone (s aapl). There’s nothing new added, it just takes the concept and translates it. This suits me fine. The question is how good the implementation is. Does it capture the magic that got me hooked to Wipeout all those years ago? Read More about App Review: Phaze — Futuristic Racing Action

App Review: oMaps — Offline Mapping for iPhone

[appreview]
title=oMaps
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/06/appicon_omaps.png
price=$0.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=318954474&mt=8
rating=silver
[/appreview]

Due to hefty 3G roaming rates, Apple’s (s aapl) Maps app just won’t cut it when you’re out of the country. The oMap app lets you download maps for offline viewing — dodging a shocking bill post-vacation.

The iPhone is an almost perfect companion for travels to distant lands. With a bit of foresight and time set aside for planning, it’s possible to mix and match the perfect blend of vacation apps, ensuring you make the most of your journey.

My own package of essential travel tools includes Evernote, QuadCamera, Gengo Flashcards and HearPlanet. Without a 3G connection overseas, though, Apple’s Maps app proves utterly redundant — if I can’t connect, I can’t use it.

oMaps brings offline mapping to the iPhone. The app includes GPS, multiple zoom levels, map bookmarking and search functionality. Read More about App Review: oMaps — Offline Mapping for iPhone

App Review: GyPSii — Social Networking For Digital Nomads

[appreview]
title=GyPSii
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/05/appicon_gypsii.png
price=FREE
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=305089145&mt=8
rating=avoid
[/appreview]

GyPSii brings GPS-fueled social networking to the iPhone, but do we really need to sign up for yet another network?

Any effective social-network connoisseur will already have a bevy of accounts to frequently check. Aside from the regulars — Facebook, Twitter, and so on — there’s already a stack of networks I’ve tried and duly abandoned, including fading giant MySpace and location-centric services Dopplr and Brightkite.

GyPSii is a social-networking app for the iPhone which, similar to Loopt and Brightkite, is based around your mobile lifestyle. The app makes use of the iPhone’s GPS, camera, and on-the-go connectivity. Read More about App Review: GyPSii — Social Networking For Digital Nomads

App Review: Quick Voice Pro — Voice to Text Email for iPhone

[appreview]
title=Quick Voice Pro
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/05/appicon_quick_voice_pro2.png
price=$0.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=285877935&mt=8
rating=bronze
[/appreview]

By converting your voice messages into text e-mails, Quick Voice Pro could be a time-saving boon for busy iPhone owners.

Empowered by our emails, tweets, IM conversations, and blogs, we’ve become modern-day information conduits. We collect knowledge, then discharge it into the ether, spurting out a constant fountain of fact, fiction and entertainment.

Quick Voice Pro is a new tool that could make sharing your thoughts even easier. The app converts audio recordings into text-based e-mails, using an online voice-recognition system. Read More about App Review: Quick Voice Pro — Voice to Text Email for iPhone

App Review: Rockchinko

[appreview]
title=Rockchinko
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/05/appicon_rochinko_.png
price=$1.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=314329575&mt=8
rating=silver
[/appreview]

A bag of metal balls, a rockabilly soundtrack, exploding pegs: Rockchinko is the pachinko machine from hell.

Harking back to the old American parlor game Corinthian Bagatelle, pachinko has captured the imagination, and yen, of Japan. While the game may not have invaded Western casinos, there’s a steady stream of pachinko apps arriving for the iPhone.

Rockchinko gives pachinko an injection of rock ‘n’ roll, featuring physics-defying tilting, plectrum powerups and tons of guitars across more than 40 levels. Read More about App Review: Rockchinko

App Review: Amplitude — Your iPhone as a Covert Surveillance Tool

[appreview]
title=Amplitude
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/04/picture-2.png
price=$0.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=307580587&mt=8
rating=bronze
[/appreview]

Amplitude pushes the iPhone (s aapl) in a new direction, transforming the device in to a hand-held James Bond-style surveillance tool. An intriguing concept indeed, but would Q approve?

Setting aside the more recent Bourne-esque gritty romps of the latest Bond movies — which are, for the record, utterly brilliant — I’ll be forever enchanted with the classic laboratory scenes where Q presents 007 with an array of innocent-looking yet lethal gadgetry.
Amplitude transforms the iPhone in to a surveillance device, allowing you listen in on distant conversations.
Read More about App Review: Amplitude — Your iPhone as a Covert Surveillance Tool

App Review: RelationTips — A Relationship Counsellor In Your Pocket

[appreview]
title=RelationTips
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/03/picture-124.png
price=$3.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=306421823&mt=8
rating=bronze
[/appreview]

Music, Internet, Google Maps, telephone calls, taking photos, and now fixing your broken relationship… is there anything the iPhone can’t do?

For most of us, the iPhone makes life better — it’s like a gorgeous bio-mechanical addition to our bodies: augmenting almost everything. And, in an odd sort of way, I suppose it seems natural that this super-device — this digital deity — should turn its attention to our relationships, in an effort to make life better. To make our relationships just work.
Available for iPhone and iPod touch, RelationTips aims to proffer advice and helpful suggestions for your close relationships. Read More about App Review: RelationTips — A Relationship Counsellor In Your Pocket

App Review: AudioBoo — Twitter for People Who Want Their Voice Heard

[appreview]
title=AudioBoo
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/03/picture-28.png
price=FREE
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=305204540&mt=8
rating=silver
[/appreview]

Do you tweet? Then maybe you should Boo! It’s like a multimedia Twitter, designed especially for iPhone users.

Over in the UK back in 2008, Channel 4 (Britain’s edgy TV channel) launched a unique funding program entitled 4IP. Cut to 2009 and, having just announced a dedicated iPhone 3.0 fund, the suits over at 4IP seem particularly keen on Apple’s (s aapl) device as a platform for pushing interactive wares. In fact, 4IP has announced a fund for developers, with almost $150,000 up for grabs at a maximum of approximately $40,000 per app.
Made possible by 4IP and developed by BestBefore, AudioBoo is among the first of Channel 4’s original iPhone commissions to hit the App Store. As developers ready their funding proposals, AudioBoo is set to be a showcase of the kind of app 4IP will be looking for — making use of various media formats, community-focused, and integrating with the most popular social platforms.
Designed to work alongside Twitter and iTunes, AudioBoo is an audio blogging platform created especially for iPhone. Read More about App Review: AudioBoo — Twitter for People Who Want Their Voice Heard

App Review: Tumblr — Collect Every Moment Wherever You Go

[appreview]
title=Tumblr
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/03/picture-120.png
price=FREE
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=305343404&mt=8
rating=bronze
[/appreview]

Developed by Mobelux, and formerly known as Tumblrette, the official Tumblr iPhone app has now arrived.

Tumblr is essentially the short ‘n sweet side of blogging: Posts are ultra-snappy, comprised of mixed-media uploads such as images, quotes, audio and video. The service is free, via Tumblr.com, and, since the site is so intuitively designed, it’s incredibly easy for new users to dive straight in.
The result of this platform, paired with such a simple and effective interface, is the ultra-diverse Tumblr community. Browsing through various tumblelogs is like sifting through the Lost and Found Department of the entire Internet. It’s a beautiful mess of everything and anything, from the shocking to the spectacular.
Over on the iPhone, the official Tumblr app integrates all the features of the main site, plus a couple of unexpected welcome additions. Read More about App Review: Tumblr — Collect Every Moment Wherever You Go