Apps of the Week: NASA, KitCam, Star Command, and more

Every week, the editors and writers at iMore carefully select some of our favorite, most useful, most extraordinary apps, accessories, gadgets, and websites. This week's selections include an app for Londoners, a couple games, a wiki, a great photography app, and app for those who wish they were astronauts.

London: Coffee Guide - Richard Devine

Two things in particular came together in finding this application. Firstly, I spend a reasonable amount of time in London throughout the year. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I drink too much coffee. And now, with this app, the two can go together hand-in-hand.

There's nothing complicated about it, as it's basically a directory of non-chain coffee shops throughout London. The app ties into Apple Maps, and wherever you see a dot near you, you can tap on it and get all the details of that particular coffee shop and a quick review. Opening times, the closest tube station, walking distance from your location, even whether or not it has WiFi. Best of all, it's been really nicely designed, and is an app that you will actually want to put to use. So, if you're headed to London anytime soon, give it a try.

Star Command - Joseph Keller

Star Command is a great new game for the iPhone and iPad that sees you take command of a customizable starship as you fly across the galaxy doing battle with all manner of hostile alien races. You start with the ability to pick one ship hull, with other being unlocked as you play the game. Your ship has a number of configurable rooms that allow you to build different stations. After selecting and naming your ship and creating your captain, you can hire crew members to occupy rooms, which is required for the rooms to function. Red crew members operate weapons, blue manage scientific and medical equipment, and yellow engineers repair damage to your ship. You can also reassign your crew, so someone in a tactical room can be moved to an engineering room, for example. This way, crew can fill rolls as needed.

Combat is a big part of the game as well, and with a variety of weapons and defensive abilities at your disposal, which charge after each use. Selecting a weapon to fire brings up a mini game in order to determine the number of hits you score against the enemy ship. Since each weapon on your ship takes up a room, you must have at least one crew member staffing it in order for the weapon to charge. This can be difficult when enemy troops start boarding your ship, as only tactical and bridge crew can repel them, possibly leaving weapons unmanned. A fun game that challenges the player to manage their ship well, Star Command is a worth a look, and is available as a universal app for $2.99.

Trauma - Simon Sage

Trauma's what you might call experimental. The game takes a similar format as Myst in that you're navigating a collection of overlapping images in order to solve puzzles, in this case using a smattering of gestures at your disposal. The real kicker here is the premise. Players explore the dreamscape of a woman that's survived a car crash, and her narrative throughout your journey puts together pieces of her story. Though initially it seems like the images assembled are extremely simple, it doesn't take long for things to get a little on the weird side. Trauma is a surreal, ponderous game, and an altogether new kind of experience. If you've got an open mind, give it a shot.

My Wikia - Chris Parsons

There is a ton of Wiki's out there. If you're interested in something, chances are there is a Wiki for it. Video games, TV shows, movies, food, fashion and more. When you start looking for that much information, it can become a bit daunting. Having all that content in one spot and categorized would be awesome. Wikia Inc., which currently runs over 200,000 wikis, thought so as well and as such, they've created a great app called My Wikia and it offers up the best Wiki browsing experience I've used. Offering such features as the ability to search for and browse all your favorites right from within the app, drill down on only the content you want to see and filter out the rest, keep track of the most recent updates, follow trends and see what others think is popular. Did I mention it's free and beautifully designed? If you spend your time reading through Wiki's, then I suggest giving My Wikia a try.

KitCam - Rene Ritchie

If you've seen those awesome Instagrams by Safe Solvent then you've seen KitCam in action. It's a fantastic iOS app that not only gives you more advanced control over the camera than the built-in app, but also lets you add lens and film effects, and adjust things like contrast, brightness, color balance, and levels.

There are some spectacular camera apps on iOS, and some equally spectacular photo editing apps, but KitCam includes enough of just exactly the right stuff to make it an excellent, one-stop shop for photographers of all skill levels. And that's true whether you're running and gunning or taking your time and trying to maximize your artistic vision.

The base price includes a good collection of tools, and additional bundles are available via in-app purchase. There's a lot more to say, but I lack Leanna's camera savvy, so I'll save the rest for her inevitable review.

If you like it, grab it now while it's 50% off.

NASA App - Leanna Lofte

I love science. And space. A childhood dream of mine was to be an astronaut, and I still kick myself in the butt sometimes for not pursuing that dream. Alas, I must live vicariously through apps like NASA, instead. The NASA app for iPhone and iPad lets you explore photos, videos, missions, and more. If you like space, science, and NASA, definitely check it out.

Your choice?

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!

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

  • Ridiculous fishing!!
  • KitCam has a crazy amount of features—to me it's the one app that gives Camera+ a run for its money. I reviewed it on my site when it was first released, but would love to hear Leanna's take!
  • Where can I read your review please? I bought KitCam and really liked it, but had to uninstall it for the overheating and battery drain it caused. Has that changed?
  • So the London: Coffee Guide app says: "...a directory of non-chain coffee shops..." and you have Starbucks cup in the photo? Shameful ;)
  • It's the biggest and best coffee mug I own ;-)
  • Love the NASA app. There's also a NASA TV app, BTW.
  • Leanna, you're a photographer correct? I was wondering, do you edit typically on a computer (desk or laptop) or mobile device (iphone or ipad)? Or both for different things say ipad for instagram, desktop for something more professional like imore or work? And what software are you currently using if doing? I'm just curious what someone more serious is using. I don't shoot much more than with my iphone but hey i occasionally take a nice pic ;). But some time soon i may buy a beginner dslr.
  • When shooting with my DSLR, I use a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop to edit my photos. I calibrate my monitor and give every edited photo a lot of attention. This is for all photos taken for iMore, paying clients, and some pics of my kids. For photos taken with my iPhone, I typically take the lazy route and just use Instagram, haha. That's not to say there isn't any great editing apps out there, just that I don't use them. I'm at a stage in my photography where I need extremely powerful software to do what I want at the professional level. And I, frankly, don't have time to spend time editing photos taken with my iPhone. If you're looking for something on the desktop that isn't as expensive as Photoshop CS, check out Photoshop Elements. It's a lot more affordable and is extremely powerful.
  • Wow. Thank you for the response. Thanks for giving me the context. I kinda thought you might simply not have time to edit you're phone photos so i'm glad i asked. By the way Snapseed is decent to do some quick adjustments on a phone or ipad. I think it's free now too. It's funny you mentioned Lightroom as i saw that on a friend's computer, messed around with it a bit, and that experience was what prompted me to ask the questions.
  • Addicted to Coffee... and always in the look out for trying out new brews. Unfortunately, don't have much coffee places here in Pakistan but they are growing slowly/eventually with the likes of Gloria Jeans, Coffee Planet, Cheeky Joe's, and a few others... but no Starbucks yet! (though you can find their beans as well as grounded coffee offerings at various shops here at reasonable prices. Anyways... from this week's offerings; Trauma might be it. Though I usually don't install much games on my iPhone unless and until they're the sort that you can play to kill some time as well as enjoy to the full (the likes of Where's my water, etc.), the mention of MYST is what's making me consider purchasing Trauma. I LOVEDDDDD Myst back in the day (my eternal love for point-and-click games is undying - Hopkins FBI & Broken Sword) and just for the mention of Myst will probably end up purchasing this one... Ironically I won't get to play much of it though given that it's been a crazy busy couple of weeks at work where I'm finding it difficult to find time to scratch my head even at most times! ;)