Every week, the editors at iMore carefully select some of our favorite, most useful, most extraordinary apps, accessories, gadgets, and websites. This week's selections include a few games, an app for storing videos in various formats, a game based off a Disney movie, an app for viewing photos on your favorite social networks, and an app for storing all your kids' art projects.
While updating my new and improved best free iPad games feature I stumbled upon RAD Soldiers. I remember hearing about the game back in the spring before launch, but it apparently went live while I was off gallivanting on Android Central over the summer. This turn-based tactical shooter is absolutely great. It has a cartoony, Team Fortress 2-feeling art style, lots of unlockable characters, equipment, and get-ups, plus the gameplay itself has a ton of depth. There are a variety of maps in both offline challenge and online multiplayer varieties, though there's just the one King of the Hill game type for now. . There's a slight dash of in-app purchasing, but I've been able to enjoy RAD Soldiers plenty so far without paying a dime. If you're into Hero Academy, definitely give this a shot.
This week’s pick is an app called Air Video. Air Video lets you watch videos stored on your PC or NAS in just about any format on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. To get it to work you must install a small piece of software on your PC or Mac and point it in the direction of your stored video files. The files can be on your PC or Mac or on a shared folder on a NAS device or even a portable hard drive.
Once you have installed the software, fire up the Air Video app and you will now see the folders that you setup to view in the PC or Mac install. You will now be able to play any of the videos no matter what format they’re in; some obscure formats may struggle. It works because the PC or Mac converts the video files on the fly and streams them to your iPhone or iPad; it works perfectly and the video quality is excellent.
If you have a large pool of videos on your PC, Mac or NAS and want to access them on your iPhone or iPad, Air Video is the best app to do it. It comes in a free version and a paid version; the difference is that the free version will only display a small number of files in any given folder.
Wreck-it-Ralph is the new Disney movie, and like all movies these days, there's an iOS game to go with it. (There's actually two, one called Fix-it-Felix, which seemed to suck, and another called Wreck-it-Ralph, which is the one I'm picking). Wreck-it-Ralph harkens back to the classic gaming era when kids would have to travel to arcades and shove whatever quarters they could get their hands on into ginormous cabinets just to lose themselves for a few minutes in 8-bit wonder.
There were no polygons or orchestras to hide behind, no particle effects or immersion tech to distract from poor gameplay. These simple suckers had to nail it each and every time, or no quarters for them. And nail it they did, over and over again.
Now Wreck-it-Ralph is no Donkey Kong, but it does capture the spirit of that time and those games. You start as Fix-it-Felix. Wreck-it-Ralph breaks the windows of your building. You have a tool. You jump from window sill to window sill fixing the panes. Flower pots block your way up. Shutters block the sides. It becomes like a maze. And Ralph keeps trying to drop stuff on your head and knock a life out of you. Once you fix all the windows, you go on and up to the next level.
There's more to it, of course, but I don't want to spoil either the game or the movie for you. If you love classic games but you itch for something new, give Wreck-it-Ralph a try.
While having several social networks is considered the "cool" thing to do nowadays, that doesn't mean that browsing content across a bunch of them is fun. Cooliris attempts to fill the gap by allowing you to view photos from popular networks all in once place. It can integrate your iPhone or iPad native photos with Facebook, Instagram, and Google images accounts. It doesn't share them but allows you to view photos all in once place.
I personally detest the Facebook app and the loads times you have to endure to view photos. Cooliris shows me all my friend's and my own Facebook images all in once place quickly and seamlessly. I can also flick to my Instagram and Google photos just as easy. The conversation feature lets you share selected photos with friends who can then jump on Cooliris and comment and interact. It's somewhat like Photo Stream but across several services.
The only thing I'd like to really see in a future update is the ability to integrate and pull photos from your Twitter friends as well. Those can be a pain to weed through and there are a strikingly low number of apps that pull out photos well. That would really send the app over the top. But for now, it's a good start and with a price tag of free, it's definitely worth checking out.
From the moment your child picks up their first crayon and scribbles out a masterpiece, the question of what to do with all of that priceless art comes up. If you're like me, it's hard to part with anything they've created, and now that my kids are a bit older, I have boxes of their artwork saved. Luckily, I found an app to help me out with not only being overwhelmed by all the art, but also preserving the memories for years to come without fear of them being damaged by time, water, etc.
Art My Kid Made allows you to take a picture of your child's art and socialize it by sharing to Facebook or Twitter or uploading to the Art My Kid Made gallery. You can do some simple effects like crop, enhance, add stickers and effects, or rotate before uploading. My favorite feature is the Evernote setting which allows you to automatically back-up each image so you can access it on any device and rest easy knowing you have a copy of all those precious drawings, paintings and collages. Beyond the social aspect of the app with the Twitter and Facebook integration, the Art My Kid Made gallery allows other parents to 'like' uploaded images and check out the Artist of the Day.
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Hill Climb Racing is a physics based driving game where the goal is to drive as far as possible. Many games of similar style (like Jetpack Joyride) require you to avoid obstacles and enemies along the way, but Hill Climb Racing takes a different approach. Instead, you must use the gas and break to control the speed of your car to prevent flipping on hills. If you flip your car (and hear the cringing sound of the driver breaking his neck), then you lose (or win, if you're breaking a record). Hill Climb Racing turned out to be more challenging that I was expecting which is why I like it. I also like it because it's a game that you can just pick up for a few minutes without getting sucked into hours and hours of wasted time.
Now that we've chosen our favorites for the week, we want to hear yours! Did you pick up a killer app, accessory, or game this week? Let us know in the comments below!