GUY BYTES 5/17/12
Angry Birds of a Feather Flock Together
I can’t tell you how long I’ve dreaded writing this review, simply because the most popular game in mobile app history—anywhere in the known multiverse—is a source of contention at Chez Duncan-Sainte. My better half, Proculus, loves to play Angry Birds at all hours of the day and night—he is likely playing it on his computer even as I write this—to the point it has become the 2012 equivalent of birth control (assuming either of us was capable of popping one out), or at least late, late night TV.
The basic plot of this highly addictive game app is that a group of rotten Pigs (with apologies to Ramrod) has been working the last good nerves of a gaggle (flock? rookery? swarm?) of angry birds, whose part the player takes in an act of sweet revenge against the Porcine Perpetrators who have kyped the avian acrobats’ eggs. The physics-based game play is accomplished using a slingshot to propel the birds towards the pigs’ fortresses, killing the Hammy Horde in the process and propelling the birds’ player towards higher levels of play (over 300 of them) and greater glory! The app is free for the Google Play Android and a whopping 99 cents for iPhone. DON’T DO IT: the relationship you save may be your own. (You can never say you weren’t warned.)
We’re Your Weather, Gurls
I like to pretend that my Weather Channel app has a full staff of meteorologists and techie
weather geeks miniaturized inside my smartphone (especially that hunky Rob Lopicola!), and that’s exactly what the program does, which will be especially important as we move into the summer months and try to plan a social calendar around the rain days.
Much like its online counterpart, the Weather Channel app provides interactive maps with animated radar, offers severe weather alerts for U.S. locations, as well as hourly and 10-day forecasts, video of breaking news and spectacular weather coverage, an iWitness function that lets you upload and view photos and videos of weather in your area as well as to your Facebook profile, and lots more. The 4.3.0 version includes pollen push alerts to let you know where you’re most likely to get the sneezys—how’s that for sexy? Forecast: Free (with a slight chance of showers).
Let There Be Flashlight!
Who among us hasn’t used the display on your smartphone to illuminate a dark place? The problem with this bit of “MacGyvery” is that the weak light on your display does more damage to your retinas than it provides a decent light source. The Flashlight app by i4software uses your iPhone’s own camera flash to deliver a sharp beam of light that you manage with screen-centered power button. The beam’s level of brightness can also be adjusted, or set to strobe.
The Number One top paid utility app (and Number Five top paid overall app) in the U.S. is up to 10 times brighter than the iPhone’s screen and up to three times brighter than most D-Battery flashlights. Bright Spot: $1.99 (At press time, the app is on sale for 99 cents. Light one up.)
In spite of the name, this cool app has nothing to do with the lesbian couple next door and their roly-poly Lithuanian adoption baby (cute though the little žavinga might be). The monsters are waiting for you in this fun romp through 11 animated worlds as you feed the beasties (literally—these cute blobs have an appetite for You Know Who) from a 360-degree gravity platform. Each of the 11 world scenarios has seven levels and secrets to unlock, and while fun and ever-so-slightly-campy, constantly shifting surfaces and obstacles make this a real challenge. This universal app is now optimized for both iPhone and iPad, and includes Retina support for the iPhone 4 and the iPod Touch 4G. Gobble it up: 99 cents.