Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Top Apps of the year . . . Yes, Angry Birds is on here, sue me.

I’m a huge proponent of anything that keeps me from cleaning my house.

This includes television shows, movies, video games and even iPad, iPod and cell phone Apps.

Now there are literally hundreds of thousands of Apps out there for public consumption – but the key to a really great App is that you can spend six hours playing with it and not even realize an hour has gone by.

To be considered a good App – you have to have a decent price and solid game play for the dollar amount.

To be a truly great App, though, you must transcend time and work your way into the public zeitgeist.

That’s what ‘Angry Birds’ has done, for example.

It started out as a simple computer App that allowed users to fling birds at ugly little green pigs in an effort to essentially “capture the castle.” That was two years ago. This year, there are ‘Angry Birds’ stuffed animals, hats, costumes and apparel.

Not every App can be ‘Angry Birds’ – but there are a lot out there that are just as entertaining.

So, without further ado, the top Apps of the year:

10. My Sketch – This is a photo App that took up a lot of my time a few weeks ago. Essentially, you can take any snapshot – new or old – and turn it into a photo that looks like it was hand drawn by some really great artists. You can choose from blunt pencils and fine pens. I’ve taken a lot of my old childhood pictures and put them through the App and come up with some really terrific photos that are now modernized with a new twist (and make great Christmas presents).

9. Jaws Revenge – I love shark movies. Heck, I love a lot of movies that have Mother Nature’s finest taking a bite (literally) out of unsuspecting humans. I’ve even been known to watch those really bad Sci-Fi monster animal movies. That’s why ‘Jaws Revenge’ appeals to the teenager in me, I think. In the game, you’re the shark and you have to keep him fed if you want to survive. Level after level offers you the chance to snack on scuba divers, water skiers and, my personal favorite, sunbathers. Yes, Jaws can jump out of the water and slide along the deck of a boat to eat the denizens before moving on. What’s not to like about that?

8. Pandora – This App is a free radio program that only plays music that you like. So, for example, if you like rock and roll but would rather deafen yourself with Q-tips than listen to, say, Nickelback – Pandora radio can help you weed out the groups you hate and create a unique radio station just for you.

7. SleepMachine – I’m one of those people who needs perfect conditions to sleep. It has to be pitch black and I need the sound of fan to truly send me off to Neverland. I cannot fall asleep with a television on in the room or the sounds of music being played too loud. This App, by SleepSoft LLC, actually gives you 100 ambient sounds, like thunderstorms, crickets, the ocean, and even faux fan sounds to help usher you off into sleep. In addition, you can mix the sounds with music from your own playlists and set a time period when the sounds will shut off. I still sleep with my fan every night, but I enjoy adding the thunderstorms from this App for a truly good night’s sleep.

6. Royal Envoy – I came to the world of time management games late. I mean, I had played ‘Diner Dash’ and been entertained for a few days, but I had never really been enveloped by the medium. On a whim one night, I downloaded this PlayRix game. Ten hours later it was 6 a.m. and I hadn’t been to bed yet – nor had I gotten the game up to 100 percent. I have since played the game a couple more times – and each time I get just as obsessed. I’ve downloaded a decent amount of games that are “kind of” like ‘Royal Envoy.’ None of them have the addictive qualities of the original, though.

5. Harry Potter Lego – Most video games originally created for traditional platforms don’t translate well to your iPad. ‘Harry Potter Lego’ is the exception. Not only did the game developers switch up the game play enough that those who had the actual video game and the App weren’t bored, but they also give you a lot of game for your $4.99. I was immediately drawn into the action, thrilled when I got it to 100 percent, and then immediately started it all over again. That’s the mark of a good game in my book. I only hope that the rumored second part is still coming to IOS and is just as entertaining.

4. Strange Rain – This App isn’t for everyone. If you’re one of those people that hates mystery and intrigue and needs a set beginning and end for a game, then just ignore this App completely. For those that like a little mystery and intrigue, though, ‘Strange Rain’ is one of those ambient sound Apps that actually tells a haunting little story. For those intrigued by literature and love the sound of rain (who doesn’t right?) ‘Strange Rain’ is probably one of the most enigmatic Apps of the year.

3. Pixlr-O-Matic – Everyone likes taking pictures – especially given the ease of phone cameras these days. Once you have the photo, though, that’s when the fun really begins, especially when you have an App like ‘Pixlr-O-Matic’. The program allows you to change the hues in your photo, as well as its overall appearance with a bevy of different special effect features and cropping options.

2. Angry Birds – Ah, I’m sure you thought this was going to be number one. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the Rovio Mobile game and everything it represents. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy flinging birds at green pigs? Anyone who says they don’t is just un-American in my book. The thing is, while I used to sit and wait for a new update – it really doesn’t matter if it’s the original game, Seasons or Rio, I own them all – my interested has waned somewhat. Don’t get me wrong, I still get giddy when I see an update has come in but there is one game that I get more excited about.

1. Cut the Rope – Developed in 2010 by ZeptoLab, ‘Cut the Rope’ looked to be one of those games that was just trying to ride the ‘Angry Birds’ bandwagon right to the bank. The thing is, when you actually sit down to play the game you realize that’s not really the case. Both are ‘puzzle solving’ games but ‘Cut the Rope’ is actually more thought provoking. Much like ‘Angry Birds,’ just finishing the game isn’t the ultimate goal. If you want to be truly satisfied with your game play, you have to get three stars in each level and, trust me, that’s not an easy feat. Of course, that could be why I continue to come back for more. Since I have something of an obsessive personality, I can’t rest until that game is up to 100 percent – and since they keep adding levels, the odds of it getting to 100 percent are slim to none.

And, of course, here’s a few honorable mentions for the year:

Sonic CD – I just got this App, but from what I can see so far it’s phenomenally fun. It’s the actual first Sega Genesis game featuring Sonic the Hedgehog. For those that played the game on a cartridge player all those years ago, it’s a nice nostalgic reminder of when games didn’t look like real life.

Pages – I know a word processing App doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but when I wrote my book I couldn’t believe what a relief it was to have this App. In addition to blank pages and a unique scroll method for documents, the program also has a lot of fun templates for recipes, resumes and business cards – among a bevy of other offerings.

Scrabble – I know this isn’t exactly young and fresh, but it is addicting. The graphics are great and – given the level you set the game at – it can be very challenging.

Drawn The Painted Tower HD – This is one of those hidden picture/puzzle games that most people will tell you only geeks play. Well, I loved it, and the graphics were truly engrossing. Does that make me a geek? I have an office done in ‘Star Wars,’ what do you think?


Blogger Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

Words with Friends. Period. End of Story.

January 6, 2012 at 1:29 PM 

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