iPhone App Roundup: America, F&$% yeah! edition

app-roundup-7-3-09Ahh, 4th of July. A welcome day off work in the midst of summer. Seems like everyone’s on vacation these days and that means grueling airplane rides and long road trips with the family. If you aren’t lucky enough to be on JetBlue or Virgin, you’re probably stuck without in-flight entertainment, meaning you’ve got nothing but your iPhone and a book to keep you from strangling the guy next to you. Have no fear! In this week’s edition of the App Roundup, we’ve got a host of games that will help you get through whatever your vacation travels have in store for you.

iphone-pics-003App #1: Nowadays nobody does any hard work anymore. All we do is sit on our computers all day and complain about developing carpal tunnel (I know I do). But who wants to roll up their sleeves and actually make real stuff for a living? I Dig It offers the best of both worlds: you can feel like you’re doing real work but still just sit on your iPhone playing games. In this mining game, you are a cash-strapped farmer looking to tear up the earth underneath you to mine for “diggins,” which are like virtual goods. You dive deep into the ground below and search for loot while making sure you don’t run out of gas or overheat from the pressure. Its an enjoyable game, and rivals Digital Chocolate’s California Gold Rush. In I Dig It, (made by InMotion Software) you can upgrade your mining vehicle through the money you earn from selling diggins, which provides depth to a game that would likely get old otherwise. At $3, its not a bad buy, though I’m not ranting and raving about it, either.

iphone-pics-002App #2: What better way to celebrate America’s birthday than to play America’s favorite pastime on your iPhone. And for $2.99, you can! With Com2Us‘s Baseball Slugger: Home Run Edition 3D, you can swing for the fences in a classic home-run derby. I was definitely disappointed that this wasn’t a full-fledged baseball game, but still enjoyed the game nonetheless. It is simple as hell and takes advantage of the iPhone’s accelerometer brilliantly. You tilt the iPhone to control where you want to aim your bat, and tap the screen to swing. The hitting is extremely well-done and you really feel like you earn it when you knock one over the fences. Also, the graphics are impressive and the Arcade Mode is surprisingly addictive. Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but wishing I could steal some bases or try my hand at pitching.
UPDATE: Hot dogg! I just tried out the online play and spent the last 2 hours thumbing away on my iPhone trying to out-home-run-derby various Japanese, Canadian and American players. Definitely moves this game from a decent buy to a fantastic gaming experience.

iphone-pics-013App #3: 4th of July is a great time to hit the theme parks. But if you can’t make it to one, then download 3D Rollercoaster Rush by Digital Chocolate. Or don’t. This has been a top app on the App Store, so my expectations were high – but I was sorely disappointed. Your task is to control a cart of crazed theme park goers along a series of high-flying rollercoasters. The graphics were stunning, but the gameplay fell far short. All you do to control is tilt your iPhone right or left to speed up or slow down, respectively. If you screw up, the cart crashes and you watch as the boys and girls on the coaster fall to their doom. The game just didn’t have enough depth to be worth the $5 you have to pay for it.

iphone-pics-004App #4: Puzzle games abound on the iPhone, but few are as involved and challenging asToki Tori, published by Chillingo and developed by TwoTribes. Brought to you by the same guys who published Knights Onrush, Toki Tori is a puzzle platformer that will keep your mind going full speed as you try to tackle its 80 challenging levels. Your goal is to collect all of the eggs in the level. You direct Toki Tori by tapping on his destination, and move him around the landscape to collect the eggs. It’s tricky, though, because one wrong move and you could be stuck – forced to replay the level. To help you along the way, Toki Tori has a limited number of special abilities (such as teleporting or building a bridge) that are necessary to completing each level. For just $1, you get hours and hours of gameplay. If you enjoy puzzle games, you’ll love Toki Tori.

iphone-pics-006App #5: We’ve talked about Brain training games before. Here’s another one to add to the list: Brain Tester 24 Pack by Digital Chocolate. All 3 are great, but if you want the most bang for your buck, the decision is between Brain Genius Deluxe (23 mini games) and Brain Tester 24 Pack. Brain Tester’s games are easier to play, and that was a big plus for me because it prevented the controls from hampering my ability to score well. At the same time, Brain Genius Deluxe provided better analysis for tracking your performance over time and it was much easier to understand what aspect of your brain each game was exercising. For $3, you can’t go wrong either way, and I’d definitely recommend either to someone looking to sharpen their mind on the go.

If you have an app worth checking out, shoot us an e-mail at gaganATcrunchgearDOTcom (with the obvious substitutions in place, of course).