The Best New iOS Games: Lunar Flowers, HoPiko, Land Sliders, and More!

The Best New iOS Games: Lunar Flowers, HoPiko, Land Sliders, and More!

Carbo Review

If you find that writing or drawing your plans out by hand helps you to get them in order, you’re far from alone. But storing things digitally does tend to make them easier to find and sort. Carbo bridges the gap between these two, letting you take (or import) photos of drawings on paper or whiteboard, then digitizing them. It clears out things like the paper, leaving you with only the information itself. It’s not the first app to try something like this, but its results are among the most impressive we’ve seen.

Snap a photo and it will detect the lines, which you can then imediately make stronger or softer — our writing came out very weak at first, but tweaking the slider made it clear. Once you’ve grabbed the image, you can tag it, to make it easy to search for things relating to a certain project or topic, and you can store it locally or in the cloud to access from anywhere — all really easy.

In this core functionality, Carbo is very strong. Where it falls short is in the details of the other things you might want to do with your notes. There’s no handwriting support for adding to them within the app, nor is there OCR for extracting what they say to a text-editing app easily. You can export images to another app that will let you do these, but seeing as Carbo’s subtitle is “Handwriting in the Digital Age” we kind of expected it to step up itself.

You do have some editing options, including the ability to highlight portions of the notes, then tweak only the selected lines, making them thicker or thinner, moving and resizing them, or deleting them completely. Getting used to how the highlighting works can take a little while, but it’s potentially quite powerful.

Exporting is strangely hidden away too — you can’t do it from the main menu, and it’s not a direct option when viewing a note – you have to tap the palette icon, where you can apply some styles to your note before export. Again, nice, but inessential, and kind of just…in the way.

The bottom line. Its tech is great, but it could be much more useful.

Review Synopsis



AfterCam Review

Comedian W.C. Fields supposedly once said, “Never work with children or animals.” Decades later, neither subject is much easier to photograph or record on video, even for smartphone owners with the latest devices.

AfterCam acts as a kind of time machine, so parents won’t miss baby’s first steps or the winning touchdown. This third-party camera app starts recording video from the moment it’s launched, only saving clips to the Camera Roll when you instruct it to.

When something happens that you want to keep while shooting, tap one of the on-screen buttons at either edge of the display to save the last five, 10, or 20 seconds of recorded video. There’s also a shutter button to grab quick still photos without interrupting continuous capture, although these images are saved in the same resolution as video (1,920×1,080).

AfterCam can be a lifesaver for grabbing precious moments, but the app forces users to keep their own mental timer running while shooting in order to remember what happened when – was it 10 seconds ago, or 15? A better approach would be an on-screen progress bar or thumbnail strip that gives a clearer idea of which video segment will be saved once you tap a button, even if it’s only optional.

In addition, the app frequently overlooked the fact it had been used before, repeating initial launch tutorial and access prompts despite our best efforts. Here’s hoping this minor nuisance gets addressed in a future update, because it disrupts one of the app’s core features – the ability to start recording immediately.

the bottom line. AfterCam makes it easier to capture video of life’s fleeting moments that might otherwise be missed.

Review Synopsis



PhotoSync 3.0 Review

AirDrop and iCloud Photo Library make it easy to wirelessly move digital photos between Mac and iOS devices, but images need a passport to get to a more diverse range of travel destinations.

PhotoSync 3.0 is the absolute best way to shuttle photos and videos between a dizzying array of iOS and Android devices, Mac or PC computers (via the free desktop companion), FTP and WebDAV servers, cloud storage services, and a new generation of wireless storage devices.

Rather than rely on multiple client apps for services like Dropbox, Flickr, OneDrive, and Google Drive, PhotoSync can be configured to transfer photos and videos to each with a tap, and be set up to automatically transfer to a preferred service whenever you arrive at a predetermined Wi-Fi location, such as home or office.

With this update the list of available targets now includes Amazon Cloud Drive. It’s perfect timing now that Prime members can upload unlimited photos free of charge, although we initially had problems with a mysterious error triggered by a duplicate file check on this particular service. (The developer has a workaround on the way, but deleting empty files from a web browser also does the trick.)

In addition to supporting the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus properly, PhotoSync is also now fully compatible with iCloud Photo Library and OS X Photos, allowing users to create subdirectories, access image folders, upload burst mode images, and delete content directly for the first time. 

PhotoSync also offers the option to transfer original images or those with edits made in the Photos app already applied. This toggle switch is buried in Transfer Settings for each target, but offers an extra level of control you won’t get from native client apps.

We’d love to see future support for a number of off-the-beaten path targets, such as cloud photo services like Shutterfly and Adobe Revel, or lesser-known storage options such as Bitcasa or Copy.

The bottom line. Expertly and seamlessly transfers photos and videos between devices, computers, and the most important cloud storage services.

Review Synopsis


PhotoSync 3.0

Trulon Review

The words “strategy card-game RPG” get us as excited as some people get over sports, theme parks, and new Marvel films. Published by a Finnish company, Trulon is one of those: a game featuring a strategy card-battle element similar to that of successful World of Warcraft spin-off Hearthstone, as well as some rather attractive artwork that flits between colorful drawings and pixel sprites.

At first, Trulon doesn’t disappoint. Thrown into the world with naught but a deck of cards and your own spunky confidence, you travel off into the distance as Gladia, the game’s heroine. The towns and villages are bright, the music pacey and the dialog interesting — if not a little odd, teetering on the edge of nonsensical. As a monster hunter, your job is to rid the land of the pesky critters that are bringing people down, and as in other turn-based battle RPGs, you’ll come across these monsters in the field.

Unfortunately for a game that’s so centered on these card battles, the fighting is irritatingly tedious, preferring to focus on the slow, repetitive doling-out of battle animations while you wait for your turn. With cards dealt into your hand fairly sparingly, you’ll also find yourself in difficult-to-win battles, purely because of the luck of the draw — though you can create your own strategic deck with cards you’ve picked up along the way.

The monsters appear and reappear as slightly different versions of themselves, with horns, different colors, tougher defenses — but very rarely new tactics. The maps are convoluted, samey, and sprawling, turning traversal into filler content that requires you to drag Gladia around in increments.

The story itself is sweet, and it’s certainly reassuring to see a female lead in an iOS game, but there’s so little of substance in Trulon. The bits worth celebrating are found in between a great deal of padding, and frequent frame drops and the occasional crash did little to gain our affection. Not a completely terrible timewaster, but there are much better available for this kind of price.

The bottom line. Aesthetically attractive though it might be, Trulon disappoints with repetitive, tedious combat. There are better card battle games out there.

Review Synopsis



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