App of the Week: Niko and the Sword of Light

nikoTitle: Niko and the Sword of Light
Cost: Free download (first three chapters), 3.99 for full comic
Platform: iOS, Android, Kindle Fire

 

 

This fully animated comic stands on the line between comic book and cartoon. It tells the story of Niko, a young warrior, in an archetypal struggle between good and evil, portrayed in this world as light and dark. Niko has sworn to avenge his people by fighting the dark beasts and ridding the land of evil. Along journey he comes across strange creatures who help and hinder his progress. Continue reading

App of the Week: Color Zen

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Title: Color Zen
Cost: .99
Platform: iOS and Android

Color Zen occupies a special place in my gaming heart right near games like Flow (which I reviewed for the YALSAblog App of the Week here), Boomshine (which you can download for iOS or play online here) and my favorite game that is for some reason not available as an app, Alchemy (from the people who brought us Plants vs. Zombies). These games are colorful, easy to learn, and relaxing on the early levels. By the later levels, they cause your brain to wrench, twist, and try to flip itself over as you attempt to develop increasingly sophisticated strategies to solve increasingly’  difficult puzzles. Continue reading

App of the Week: NightSky

nightsky

Title: NightSky
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: 4.99

 

This game is really pretty. It’s also really hard. NightSky begins with the premise of a mysterious glowing orb found on a beach. The nameless narrator’s text tells us that upon bringing it home he or she began to have strange dreams. This, combined with a soundtrack that is quirky bordering on eerie, sets the tone for a strange dream of a game.

photo(8)‘  photo(13)

Continue reading

App of the Week: Shadowhunters

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Title: Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: Free

 

Happy Teen Tech Week! This week’s app is a great example of technology and books coming together.

Cassandra Clare writes books about a race of’  demon hunters called Shadowhunters. She currently has two series with equally compelling ensemble casts: The Mortal Instruments which takes place in a contemporary urban fantasy setting, and The Infernal Devices which is set in a slightly steampunky nineteenth century. I’m getting pretty excited about her upcoming releases. Clockwork Princess, the third and final installment of The Infernal Devices trilogy’  is coming to a library or bookstore near you this Tuesday, March 19. The City of Bones movie opens in theaters this summer, on August 23. And City of Heavenly Fire,’  the sixth and final book in The Mortal Instruments is due to be released next year. Clare will continue to write about Shadowhunters in forthcoming series The Dark Artifices.
Continue reading

App of the Week: Flow Free

Title: Flow Free
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: Free, with additional paid content

 

 

Who knew connect the dots could be so compelling? Flow Free is my new favorite addictive puzzle game. It starts out easy on a five by five grid with five colors. You must connect the dots and cover each square on the grid without crossing over paths, or flows, between dots. As you progress through the levels the game becomes increasingly more complicated, adding more dots to connect and more space in the grid to connect them.’  Bright colors on a black background resemble an 80s arcade game, but, unlike most arcade games there is no pressure of a time limit if you don’t want one.’  In free play mode, you can spend as long as you need on each level, and make as many moves as you like. You can even take back all of your moves and start over. The fewer moves you need, the more points you get, and if you solve a level perfectly you’ll get a star. Or you can up the tempo and play against the clock in time trial mode. Continue reading

App of the Week: Carrr Matey

Title:’ Carrr Matey by Lionebra

Platform:’ Android 1.5 and up /’ Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later.’ Android 1.5 and up

Cost:’ Free for Android / The iTunes App store says this is Free for a limited time.

Just in time for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19 for ye scurvy land-lubbers.), my favorite GPS locator app has been released for the iPhone! If you commute to work in a busy city, drive to school,’ use a park and ride system, find yourself headed to a theme park, or just do a lot of shopping at busy malls, this app will make finding your car at the end of an exhausting day much simpler. The pirate-themed app by Lionebra Studios allows you to save the location of your parked car, you can also:

  • Get map directions or use the compass to get back to your vessel
  • Share the saved location with your friends
  • Make notes about your parking location. Continue reading

App of the Week: Temple Run: Brave

Title: Temple Run: Brave
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: .99

I’m excited to see Pixar’s new movie Brave. I have plans to go on Friday. ‘ One of the things that makes Pixar’s movies great, is that they have such broad appeal. Kids, teens, adults, everybody wants to see the new Pixar movie. And everybody will have an opinion about it so we can use it as a conversation starter for the rest of the summer. ‘ If you are not already excited about Brave, go watch this trailer, and then come back here and have a look at this game.

While I was being excited about Brave, I was chatting with one of the teen pages who work at my library. She recommended the new Brave inspired version of the immensely popular Temple Run. ‘ “The graphics are like ten times better,” she said.

If you’re not familiar with Temple Run, it is a fast paced game that’ demands quick reflexes as you guide your Indiana Jones-esque jungle adventurer in his escape from ravenous monkeys. You control his movements by swiping your touch screen left or right to turn, up to jump, or down to slide. You must also tilt your device to collect coins that may balance precariously on the edges of your path. ‘ You need to be quick or you will meet a brutal end by falling in water, crashing into an obstacle, or getting eaten by monkeys.

In Temple Run: Brave, you’ are transported to the Scottish Highlands in lush detail, guiding Merida and her wild red hair through the twists and turns of the game. ‘ Your pursuer is the giant bear from the movie, adorned with the spears of its fallen enemies, and eager to catch you and eat you. Epic music sets the tone for your run. The controls are the same for the most part, but an added archery feature adds flavor and challenge. ‘  The graphics are indeed stunning, almost as detailed as what you’d expect from the big screen, and the gameplay is just as exciting and frustrating as the original. ‘ Check out a trailer for the game here.

A great summer game for waiting in line to see, what I hope will be, a great summer movie.

Welcome back to the YALSA blog. ‘ For more app recommendations, visit the App of the Week Archive.

App of the Week: Bump

 

Title: Bump
Platform: iOS, Android
Cost:‘ Free

 

One day a teen I know came barreling into the community room for a program shouting to her friend, “I must bump with you!”‘  Was this a new dance craze? A euphemism? What did it mean?’  The two pulled out their iPods, tapped at their touch screens, and then, with iPods in hand, bumped fists. They had just shared photos between the two devices. I wanted to try it.’  So, I downloaded Bump on my iPhone, and had the teens show me around.’  Bump is an amusing tactile way to share pictures and contacts between two devices. It’s quick, it works cross-platform, and it inspires smiles in the people doing the sharing. Continue reading

Wreck This App (of the Week)

Title: Wreck This App
Cost: 4.99
Platform: iOS, Android
(this review refers to the iOS version)

 

 

Based on Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal, Wreck this App is a collection of activities designed to awaken creativity through the power of destruction. Don’t worry no iPhones were harmed in the process of writing this post. The destruction this app inspires might take the form of defacing a photo, repurposing text, or using the various drawing tools to smear ink, cut up an image, or scribble all over the page. Other times the activities are more wacky’  rather than actually destructive, designed to shake up your brain, like putting your fingers in your ears and touching your nose to cure hiccups. For example, you will be asked to draw a picture of something you dislike, connect a set of dots from memory,’  and make a collage of photos of stickers found on fruit. Continue reading