Saturday, December 22, 2012

Best Apps of the Year – Angry Birds just keeps on clucking

There are all kinds of Apps.

There are map Apps, book Apps and game Apps.

It’s not surprising that most of my favorite Apps of the year happen to be game Apps. No one likes a good time suck as much as I do.

Still, there were some decent educational Apps out this year – and I tried to include a few.

Still, just in time for Christmas break, here’s a few games that will keep your kids busy for hours.

10. The Sonnets – This is a weird one. It’s not for everyone. Basically, a bunch of actors got together to perform Shakespeare’s sonnets.  This is basically a fun way for people to introduce teens or even older children to the world of Shakespeare. It’s obviously not for everyone – but it is a fun way to introduce new fans – or reintroduce old ones – to a beloved genre. It is kind of fun to see the enthusiasm the actors weave into the sonnets as well -- and I don't even like Shakespeare.

9. Where’s My Perry? – This is pretty much a way to waste a few hours (or days, if you're so inclined) before you even realize you’re doing it. This is essentially Where’s My Water? – with a twist. It’s definitely fun. It’s definitely addictive.  It doesn’t have the same lovable storyline as Where’s My Water? Still, it’s definitely a must buy for anyone that likes games of this ilk.

8. The Room – This is one of those mystery/puzzle games that shouldn’t be fun – and yet it is. The Room has a genuinely spooky atmosphere and a decent storyline.  The music is genuinely creepy – and there’s an element of harrowing time management at play here, too. My only problem with games like this, though, is they’re not endlessly re-playable. Once you’ve solved it, it has kind of lost its luster. Still, at $1.99, it’s not overly expensive like other games of this ilk.

7. Clash of Clans – This is like Farmville – but with raging warriors that need to be fed and housed. Essentially, you can build your own village, train your own troops and then unleash them on a bunch of other people across the internet. I'm not a big fan of playing cooperative games -- but this one is kind of fun. Still, when it comes down to it, I'd still rather play most games alone -- but that's just me.

6. London: A City Through Time – This is one of those Apps that can really catch your imagination, especially if you love the city, which I do. Basically, the user can take a 3D trip through London – in various time periods – and explore the city’s history (and present). There are videos, photos and virtual tours here to make just about everyone happy. For London fans – or even basic travel fans – this is a great App. Not only are the videos and photos beautiful, but the travel tidbits dispersed throughout the App are also extremely interesting.

5. Royal Envoy 2 -- I like time management games. I can’t help it. Royal Envoy was the game that made me fall in love with the genre – so I was naturally excited to see the follow-up. At first, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. Instead of upgrading the homes multiple times you were limited to once. Instead of having bill collectors, you had to collect the money yourself. Instead of a workshop you had a dove aviary. As I played through the game, though, I realized that I was enjoying myself a great deal. I still prefer the first edition, but this is definitely a nice follow-up. It gets bonus points because it takes forever to finish. There’s nothing worse than an App that takes less than an hour to solve.

4. Angry Birds Space – Angry Birds is on this list twice. I can’t help it. Both entries in the universe were stellar this year. While the original Angry Birds will always have a special place in my heart, I have to admit that the outer space levels are more fun because of the logistics of navigating the gravitational pull from planets. Angry Birds is about entertainment – but there’s also a learning factor in the App. Kids have to think about the best way to solve the game. Sure, it’s not going to make your kid smarter, but it is better than a lot of other Apps out there.

3. Where’s My Water? – I tend to shy away from Disney Apps for some reason. I find them expensive – and boring most of the time. I finally broke down and bought this because people kept telling me I didn’t know what I was missing. Boy, am I glad I did. This is another strategy game that makes the user think as they play the game. The essential premise is to make the liquid travel through the maze at precisely the right time and moment to solve the puzzle. It sounds weird, but it’s totally addictive. There are also hidden prizes in a lot of the levels.

2. Cut the Rope: Experiments – Truth be told, there are days that Cut the Rope is my favorite App. Last year, the original game got the top spot on my top Apps list. This year, though, I’m a little miffed. First off, there was that whole snafu where owners of the original iPad were cut off from the games for months. That irritated me. What’s worse, though, is that there hasn’t been an upgrade in I don’t know how long that actually includes more levels. Here’s a tip guys – work faster. Take a cue from the Angry Birds developers. Still, I am addicted to the games. If they came out with timelier upgrades, it might have garnered the top spot on the list.

1. Angry Birds Star Wars -- You knew this was coming. Angry Birds is one of my favorite games of all time. It melded with my favorite movie franchise of all time. There was no way this thing wasn’t going to be all kinds of awesome. And it is. Angry Birds Star Wars is an interesting mix of the original Angry Birds and Angry Birds Space – but it’s got the great graphics of Angry Birds Rio. Star Wars fans are going to love this game. Angry Birds fans are going to love this game. So far, Han Solo is my favorite character – although I’m looking forward to exploring other Star Wars worlds. Anyone really interested in seeing Cloud City? Or is that just me?

What do you think? What were the best Apps of the year?


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