Outliner (iPad)

Version: 2.6.2
Compatible: iPad - iOS 3.2
Price: $5

Chalk this up to the big pile of regrets I have when it comes to App purchases involving money. It’s not a bad App, don’t get me wrong it’s just not something worth $5. It’s a glorified list maker. If you make a to do list, you won’t get any notifications saying when it needs to be due unless you open it, stare at it and check it off yourself.

Explaining it is rather simple. You have expandable/collapsable sections to your liking and you make lists in each of these groups. You can provide an explanation or even detailed text under the section if you’d like but it raises a little window and is separate from everything else. You can check off certain things for whatever reason and you can collapse the groups if you please to make everything neat and tidy.

The exporting options quite frankly are awful. There was a back up, sync account you can sign up for but I have no idea where it goes and signed up for an account. You can e-mail your outline as a simple text or full on text but from there on you can’t check things off or have any of the advanced options in the App nor is it compatible with any programs on any computer.

If you really love making lists and require a substantial amount of options, then don’t do it still because there are surely better options for $5. Run away. Run far away.

Bust a Move HD

Version: 1.0.0
Compatible: iPad - iOS 3.2
Price: $5

Jumping in and getting right to the point of the matter, Bust-A-Move HD is Tetris for the skilled hand. Tetris requires a little more thought and goes downwards, whereas Bust-A-Move requires more skill and goes upwards (and has dinosaurs.) I bought the game purely based on the name and reputation it holds, since my iPad goes with me everywhere I figured it’d be good for a laugh.

It’s an old tried and true game dating back several generations and iterations in the gaming world. There are islands of coloured orbs at the top of the screen and the intention is to knock them down by launching another orb of matching colour into them, making the island crash down. This is the core of the game and so far only has two game modes with more promised to come. Story mode has several curveballs that gets thrown into the mix to keep things interesting. Overall, it’s an action puzzle game.

It’s hard to review a game that is already established as a good buy so the only way I can approach this in my mind is to comment on the format it’s being applied to and that’s the iPad. When I played it up at first it took getting used to, taking my finger off the screen would make the planned direction veer off in an odd direction and mess things up for me. It’s a bit of a learning curve that can’t easily be ironed out with practice.

Fun game. Good graphics. Time killer. What can I say? The game’s tried and true.

Infinity Blade

Version: 1.3
Compatible: iPhone (3GS/4), iPod (3rd/4th), iPad - iOS 3.2
Price: $6

I once said I was blown away by the visuals of Planetarium. However impressive, it was clever use of the human mind to bestow wonder and awe through the small window into the Universe (that is the iPad.) Playing Infinity Blade will bring the Faithless to their knees and believe in the power hidden beneath the iPads sleek and elegant design. There isn’t anything I can say other than this game is painstakingly beautiful and amazing graphically. It is the very reason many are flocking to this game and for good reason.

Let me say this right now, the visuals are the biggest point of the game but it’s not without its merit. As much as it feels that you’re playing a painting rather than a game (seriously, you can view your surroundings and other than finding treasure and little secrets, you can’t help but feel the entire point is to see how detailed this game is) there is an iOS simplistic game underneath it all. I don’t mean that in a negative sense at all either, iOS games have a certain criteria which gives them an identity and that’s a positive thing.

The game goes round and round in an infinite time loop, you travel the path, fight numerous warriors, become stronger and work your way to the final boss. Two things can happen here, you die or you kill him. After your demise you’re taken back to the beginning (with your new strength intact as the next generation in that warriors lineage) and fight your way back to him with the hopes that you’ll succeed in obtaining the latter.

Combat takes the form of skillful swipes rather than having buttons or being told when to swipe. You can block or parry if you’re good enough, strike weak points if you’re quick enough or use magic if you’re patient enough. The possibilities are impressive as the variety of gamer that happens to pick this up can choose so at their own discretion. I being a more aggressive fighter hacked and chopped my way continuously to the end and have yet to defeat the Warlord. As much as I am aggressive, I’m also a bit of a completionist so I’d rather get as much as I possibly can before defeating him so that I can be prepared for whatever lies beyond door number two.

The best thing about this game is it’s not even one of the most expensive iPad/iPhone Apps however if you don’t have the power or capacity to play it then I advise against it as it does take a bit of the RAM. If you’re willing to devote the entire device and a space of your time only on it, then by all means. It started off as a Tech Demo and it still looks like one but it’s completed enough to be considered a full on game even by my ridiculous rules.

Stash Free/Pro

Version: 1.8
Compatible: iPad 4.0 / iPod 4G / iPhone 3GS+4
Price: Free / $4

This is an App that I learned a valuable lesson from and hope to share my wisdom with you. I’m just lucky the purchase wasn’t all bad but a sober mind and doubt argues otherwise. Story is I had Stash Free so I can store pictures and files of a fragile nature from the eyes of those who I may show things on the iPad. The free version allows for 20 pictures to be stored behind a cleverly hidden App that certainly doesn’t look enticing to younger eyes. This was all I needed and it does what it advertises extremely well. After all the photos App can be easily accessed and with my frequent use as a go between with Art Apps I needed a specific place for it to go.

But on a solemn quiet night with a beer and the App in hand, I tried to hide away a few more pics to which it says this is the end of the road for the free version. In a right mind I would have been able to choose the best of the best of the files but instead I plopped down $4 for the full version. I feel quite lucky that it’s not as bad as it could have turned out because the features of this App (as simple as it may be) are quite useful since the iPad (or Touch, whichever you’re using) has no ways of hiding videos or pictures. Once you’re past the home screen, the world is your playground. The lack of a strict file system takes away the safety of password protection of word documents and the like.

Stash has a nice file system and reasonable customization for the user at hand. For example, you could choose to retrieve it through the App and delete it later. Or you can get files straight from the in-app browser (another upgrade.) You can place it safely through iTunes as well. Another thing I found neat is that it can be a dead end or it can be accessed through the web although I’m unsure if that costs extra. I was happy with what I got, a simple, customizable file safe that I can access through iOS and it won’t lead you awry. 

So let this be a lesson to all of you, don’t drink and App shop or you just might wake up the next morning with a massive headache and *gasp* Angry Birds on your home page.


Version: 1.0.2
Compatible: iPhone, iPod, iPad - iOS 3.0
Price: $5

I must admit a sad fact as I delve deeper into the world of iOS that I believe to be an eventuality. Ive become somewhat of a casual gamer and its getting harder to tear me away from the dollar store of games. With traditional third party developers like Ubisoft and EA making really compelling arguments to stay on iOS gaming, Ive found it hard to tear myself away from casual gaming. Especially as it replicates its home console predecessors more and more as time goes by.

One such game I wanted to get for the 360 was NBA Jam, an old school favourite that I contemplated slamming down 60 bones for. My procrastination on making a decision paid off as the release of NBA Jam to the App Store arrived to much fan fare in my brain

What can I say? I freaking love this game. You lose the feeling of touch screen controls and get into arcade basketball jamming so fast its like a dream come true. Graphics are amazing and the sounds are vivid. I kid you not a very faithful version of a childhood memory.

If you have no idea what NBA Jam is let me attempt an explanation. 2 on 2 basketball with caricature versions of real and legendary figures (presidents included.) The game is farfetched and over the top with crazy dunks and bent rules. Its the best parts of the games and everything you always wanted to do with a basketball and net.

On the lighter/darker side its $5 however EA is one of the developers which has regular sales. Just a few weeks ago it was only a dollar. If you can spare the money, I say go for it. Not many iOS games I return to for more so quickly.


Version: 1.1
Compatible: iPhone, iPod, iPad - iOS 4.2
Price: $2

Wireless data transfer over wifi is an amazing convenience and until iDevices can sync over the air, we’ll have to settle for multiple Apps divided into several categories that can do it. Enter PhotoSync, an App that has a desktop Application on Mac/Windows that receives/sends pictures over wifi or bluetooth. The Client is free but the iOS App will set you back $2.

There’s other alternatives out there to doing what PhotoSync does but it’s difficult to ignore how well PhotoSync seamlessly sends your pics to your Computer or even receives pics from other phones or Computers. Putting pictures onto Dropbox is free (and a tedious experience I might add, selecting each and every picture and then waiting for each one to upload.)

Nothing else I can say other than it simplifies syncing pics down to a bodily function. Before this all my pics bunched up and gathered over time. Maybe I’m lazy, maybe I’m unorganized but every time I sync up my devices I have so much to manage with music, videos, books and each individual art Apps. It’s nice to just send the pics and then pick them up in a folder on your comp.

$2 that I was glad to part with. What about you?

Art Appstravaganza (pt.1)

Since I have a lot of Apps, getting to them one by one might get a little tedious. So the first Friday of each month will be Appstravaganza days. Several Apps of the same type, category etc etc will be rolled into one super review. They’ll most likely be terrible write offs that aren’t even worth sneezing on with some good stuff thrown in. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll watch me flip out on wasted money that could have gone to otherwise bettering my sad little life and you’ll definitely feel a lot better about yourself.

Remote Palette
Version: 1.1
Compatible: iPhone, iPod, iPad - iOS 3.0
Price: $1

Another unfortunate dollar lost due to my insolence and naivety. The dream of unifying my tech into one beautiful monster was still fresh when I got this and I really, really love the idea, believe me. It’s a simple concept. Get this App for the iPhone/iPod and the other for the iPad (or another iPhone/iPod it’s just best realized with the iPad.) Opening both, they connect to each other via bluetooth and communicate over that connection. The iPhone/iPod becomes a palette where you select your brushes and colours while the iPad remains solely as a canvas to be painted on.

The downside is that this App is used only as a toy. When it refers to everything as finger painting and even gives black and white drawings to colour in, that’s when it dawned on me that this App wasn’t meant for what I thought it did. It doesn’t even do that well. There’s no undo/redo, erase is hidden like a bitch, I lost my progress 3 times in the 30 minutes I spent using it to give a demo of what it can do because of its clumsy interface. You can’t even select the precise colour you want, you have a selection of 23 shitty colours.

You can only save it to pictures, no gallery, etc. etc. don’t get it, it sucks shit.

Inspire Pro
Version: 1.2
Compatible: iPad - iOS 3.2
Price: $8

Another one of my firsts. There’s an iPhone/iPod version but the one I’ll be looking at is for the iPad. This was in the time before SketchBook when I was looking for bargains to deliver what I wanted. Had I gave it more chance as something by itself, it’s a pretty good App surrounded unfortunately with sad menus and ugly logos. It has no layers but rather relies on a simplicity of painting for the love of painting.

If I were to use it again I’d simply paint because it has the replication of paint brushes down pat. It was quite educational in testing the physics of paint without getting your fingers smudged or making mistakes you can’t ever take back (not a fan of physical paint as you might have guessed.) The results I got from it are indeed impressive and it was a good start. However it’s an App that can be so much better but I’ve yet to see an update in the many months I’ve had it. Layers for one can make it easier to separate pieces of the painting so that I don’t have to worry about them clashing.

Then again maybe that’s the interest and appeal in it. If you’re a patient person it has my recommendation but be warned that it doesn’t work with you half the time.

ArtStudio for iPad
Version: 3.22
Compatible: iPad - iOS 3.2

Price: $3

The feeling that this’d replace SketchBook was very brief and optimism with me is like a dismembered thumb in the piranha tank. Always they have potential and this had all the features I was looking for, auto save and custom brushes (it maxes at 6 layers but I figured it’s probably a hardware thing.) Auto save does what it does no problem and custom brushes does exist, behind a metal curtain that is.

Navigating through the menus and getting through this App is like an obscure Olympic Event, there are so many rules and interface issues it’s not even funny. It’s nice to have the whole page just for doodling and painting, however I’m a fickle person and I can’t imagine someone using the same brush stroke, opacity, colour, layer, etc for more than a minute. As I said, it has the features but you have to find them and figure out how to use them.

My one complain with SketchBook that made it unappealing to use was the number of presses it takes to change the brush. This one requires more presses and a lot more thinking. It’s useable however only barely and you can do so much better for the price. The only two things I’ll give it is it has selection tool and it exports in .pdf which I didn’t know was so freaking hard to do. If you have layers, you should be able to export as a .pdf. Not complicated people.

Do NOT want. >:(

So there you go. My disappointment splashed on a word processor screen with a blinking cursor while I drink myself into a stupor. These are just my opinions but I like to think that other people will agree with me when they spend no more than 5 minutes with them. There’s so much better out there and I’ve found a few of them, yet my satisfaction isn’t quenched when I believe art on the iPad can be so much more easier and accessible.