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Title: Post-it Plus

Cost: Free, with in-app purchases

Platform: iOS

From LiveScribe to Moleskine, there have been a number of visions on how to capture the physical process of notetaking in a digital incarnation. Like many with a love for stationary, I had played around with the digital sticky note applications, but when a student raved about the Post-it app, it sounded like something more than a mere yellow placeholder.

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There are two methods for creating notes. You can add them with a click, as you might in decades-old Windows programs, or your can photograph your actual physical notes. The in-app photography mechanism is among the easiest I've seen, coaching you on light levels and holding your device steady. But it's what happens when you take that picture that sets this app apart. Read More →

Space Age LogoName: Space Age: A Cosmic Adventure
Price: $3.99
Platform: iOS

Combining 8-bit-style graphics and a mysterious foreign planet, Space Age by Big Bucket offers players an opportunity to explore a new world while trying to solve puzzles and find a way home. Set in 1976, the game follows a small band of interplanetary explorers who are exploring Kepler-16. On the planet, they find a variety of alien life forms, including plants and insects, but no intelligent life. Or so they assume. Navigate a map to accomplish missions, move back in time to learn more about how the characters came to be on Kepler-16, and try to solve the mysteries of this alien environment.

This game gives you control over a variety of characters and an opportunity to explore a planet with only small segments of the landscape revealed at a time. The game alternates between exploration, puzzles, and characters’ interactions, which can range from fighting to conversing. The levels vary significantly so that some are easy to complete and others are more challenging, which I found made the game more engaging and kept it from being too short. Though I played Space Age on an iPad, it is also available for iPhones and I think that it would translate well to the smaller screen, though the images are more impressive when larger.

Space Age will appeal to video gamers who fondly recall 8-bit arcade games from their childhood, but it will also appeal to teens and tweens who like games that bring together appealing artwork and compelling storytelling to create an immersive experience. The puzzles will challenge even those who play a lot of mobile games, though the app remains approachable for those who are not dedicated gamers. Unlike many mobile games, I feel that Space Age manages to carefully walk this line between “serious” and “casual” gamers, in a way that I think will make this a popular game. If all of this intrigues you, you can learn more about the game by watching the trailer below.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know. And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog's App of the Week Archive.

Name: Adventure Time Game Wizard
Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: $4.99    atgw3

Fans of Cartoon Network's Adventure Time series can choose any number of games from just about any app store in order to continue their adventures in the Land of Ooo, but the show's latest app, Game Wizard, gives players the power to design levels of game play as well.

At it's core, Game Wizard is a typical 2D sidescroller game that follows favorite characters from the show as they collect coins, battle villains with their awesome swordplay, and jump from level to level.

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True Legends LogoName: True Legends
Price: Free
Platform: iOS

True Legends is a very interesting and, fortunately, free app that I can best describe as a combination of a short story and an animated short. The app first asks users whether they would like to use the app in Hebrew or English. Once you have made a language selection, you are presented with an opening screen that looks very much like the front cover of a book with credits for the writer (Alex Epstein) and the illustrator (Tsach Weinberg).

At this point, the app also demonstrates the swiping motion that is required to advance through the story. Rather than turning pages, users swipe as if zooming in to trigger motion and animations throughout the story. Sometimes these animations are, in fact, zooming in to see details, but they also include movement and scenery changes. While there is only one path through the story, this does add an interactive quality to the app and makes for an impressive user experience. The soft and meditative music that plays throughout also adds an immersive quality to the app.

True Legends Screenshot

The story, and therefore the app, are quite brief, but the beauty of the artwork and the haunting and fable-like nature of the story makes up for that, at least for me. In the end, I think this app is an interesting example of how the app format can allow artists to change the way that they present stories and artwork and it is an example of the types of innovations that we will hopefully see more of in the future. Especially given the fact that it is free, I think this is a great app to load on library iPads for demonstration purposes or to show to those who are disappointed that ebooks are so frequently simply text presented on an electronic device.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know. And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog's App of the Week Archive.

Space Station Research Explorer App LogoName: Space Station Research Explorer
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS and Android

Space enthusiasts rejoice! At the beginning of last month NASA released a new (and free!) app that brings users aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with a particular focus on all of the research that is conducted aboard it. The app is divided into five sections: Experiments, Facilities, Benefits, Media, and Links. Read More →

Title: Nuzzel
Cost:: Free
Platform: iOS 7 or later

nuzzel logo creatureNuzzel is a great way to aggregate specific aspects of a Twitter or Facebook feed. The app pulls together posts from your feed(s) that include links and creates a stream of just those posts. The stream includes posts from those you follow, friends of those you follow, and news you might have missed. It also will keep track of articles that you have recently read within the app - when you've clicked on a link in a post from a friend or a friend of a friend.

Settings in the app allow you to sort posts within a particular period of time - say just the past 24 hours - and to display the posts by most popular - say Tweeted five times by those you follow on Twitter - or by most recently posted/Tweeted.
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Title: Duet Display
Platform: iOS 7 and All Macs (Windows is in the works)
Cost: 14.99

duet display logoI don't know about you, but I often like to work in a dual screen environment. One in which I can be looking at a document to refer to on one screen and look at or work on a related document on another screen. I'm also a fan of dual display environments in which I can easily interact with both screens and in which the two screens actually talk with each other. I haven't been able to do that between my MAC and iPad or iPhone, that is until Duet Display launched. Now with the app on all of my devices - laptop, iPad, and iPhone - I can work between screens easily.

To get started with Duet Display you have to download the app to all of your devices. (You don't have to pay for the app each time, purchase it once and it's downloadable across devices.) Once installed open up the app on the two screens you want to work with - a laptop and iPad for example. Plug the iDevice into the MAC USB port - using the same cable used for charging your iDevice, voilå your iDevice is reading your MAC computer screen.
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Title: Aa

Platform: iOS and Android

Cost: Free, with in-app purchases

I discovered this addictive "waiting game" after watching our students staring, seemingly blankly, at their iPads, ready to spring when they see an opening. It might look like something out of The Manchurian Candidate, but while the central wheel twirls around, the player must gauge the perfect moment to add another spoke in the spaces remaining without knocking any of the existing elements. Any error sends you back to the adding all of the elements all over again.

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Like Dots, the underlying gaming concept behind Aa couldn't be simpler. Any gesture on the screen inserts a spoke at the bottom of the spinning radius. But, by adding an element as you advance through each level, it quickly builds into a challenge as it becomes more difficult to insert a new one given the scant room available. Avoiding the impulse to "fire" spokes in a rapid-fire manner is the real test of patience and hand-eye coordination.

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Aa is free, but the ability to skip and unlock levels are available as in-app purchases, as is a nominal charge to remove ads, which appear every few levels (just when a break can be welcome). The highest level you've mastered appears numerically in the center of the wheel, providing an immediate talking point based on skill.

General Adaptive Apps has a range of similar games using different shapes and objectives, but this seems to be their most popular incarnation. I think it might appeal to novice gamers getting new devices over the holiday, too.

For more apps for teens and the librarians who serve them, check out the App of the Week archive. Have a suggestion for an App of the Week? Let us know.

Throughout the year, YALSA's App of the Week bloggers review what's new and interesting in the app world for teens and the library staff that work with them. In this end of the year App of the Week post, we look at the top four apps that stood out to bloggers in 2014.

Canva
A favorite of YALSA Blogger Jen Scott Willis

canva logoGraphic design is a tricky business, and one that many of us don't realize is part of our job description until we're faced with a blank document and a list of almost-but-not-quite-right font choices. ' Canva, a free, web-based application' that lets you easily produce' professional-looking' designs, made this part' of the' job much easier for me when it debuted over a year ago. ' Now, with the introduction of the iPad app, the possibilities are both endless and mobile.
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Name: Dungeon Runner: Fitness Quest
Cost: Free
Platform:  iOS

Dungeon Runner: Fitness Quest

The creators of Run, Zombies! Are back with another app that encourages players to exercise in the name of game play. This time, players control the fate of a small, pixilated knight with the help of their device's forward-facing camera and some fairly basic calisthenics.

Set the device six feet away and follow the old-school instructions at the bottom of the screen to help the knight navigate his way past five levels of baddies in the dungeon. Exercises -- including burpees, punches, jumping jacks, squats, and side-to-side shuffles -- all correspond to actions on the screen and the knight's success can depend on the speed in which the exercises are completed.

While the motion tracking isn't as seamless as an Xbox Kinect, and the number of calories burned during a session seems a little dubious, Dungeon Runner did get this player up and moving when all I wanted to do was eat seasonal pies and read books in front of the fireplace.  And for that, it gets all the stars.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know. And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog's App of the Week Archive.