Once again we've gathered together the best iPhone apps and best iPad apps and games released this week! We'll regularly dig up the best, freshest social, music, photography and productivity apps for iOS, not to mention action games, shooter games, puzzle games, and anything in between. Come on and dig in to see our favorite App Store releases over the last seven days!

The Ensign

The Ensign follows up on the bleak text-only adventure, A Dark Room. The Ensign takes place just before the events of the first game, and features similar survival-based challenges, including finding food, discovering new resources, fighting off enemies, supporting light sources, and managing inventory space.

The Ensign is as gritty and difficult as its predecessor. Give it a try if you're looking for something gritty and unforgiving.

The Firm

The Firm is a Timerbman-style swiping game for iPhone where players have to buy or not buy stock quickly enough as to not get fired. Over time, you can amass enough funds to get a few upgrades and maybe stay on the job a little bit longer than your predecessor.

In The Firm, you'll enjoy chunky 8-bit-style graphics and as much tongue-in-cheek socioeconomic commentary as you can handle from an iPhone game.

They Need to be Fed 3

They Need to be Fed 3 is an imaginative platforming game that plays around with your sense of physics. You'll jump between various mini-planets, slingshot around them, and avoid obstacles floating around in between. There's a distinct Mario vibe here which will tickle the nostalgia bone of any long-time gamers.

Swing Copters

Swing Copters is the latest game from Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen. Your goal is to guide a little orange dude with a propellor hat through gaps in girder that, for some reason, have hammers swinging through them. You do this by tapping the screen to make him switch directions before he careens wildly and crashes to the ground. Like Flappy Birds, Swing Copters is obscenely difficult, but not impossible.

Even seasoned gluttons of punishment will have to stop themselves from chucking their phone into a lake after playing this for five minutes.

Assassin's Creed Memories

Assassin's Creed Memories is a free-to-play card battler with RPG-style progression and online multiplayer. Locales range from renaissance Italy to colonial America to feudal Japan, and more. Battles can get as big as 20 vs 20 guild battles, with the best of the best leading the fray.

Fans of the Assassin's Creed games will likely want to pick up this casual title if they need their fix while on the go.

Photo Sphere

Photo Shere is a new camera app from Google dedicated to making 360-degree panoramas. Users just have to move the reticle in the center from target to target while staying in one spot, and Photo Sphere will stitch it all together into a big 3D-rendered photo that can shared out to your various social networks.

Though other apps have managed to do this for awhile, Photo Sphere will certainly benefit from Google's level of polish.

Free - Download now

Star Walk 2

Is the unadulterated natural glory of the cosmos alone not enough to stir you to personal revelations of the soul? Well, maybe this app that can name constellations as you point your iPhone app at them will help out. View 3D models of celestial bodies, chill out with some ambient music, and track stars in line with the current moon phase.

Casual and dedicated stargazers are bound to find some utility out of Star Walk 2.

Ncourage

Ncourage is a new social network built around supporting one another to achieve goals. It's surprising how much simply having someone on your side and rooting you on can do for getting things done. Goals can be set in a wide range of areas, including health, travel, kids, and lots more. Everyone sets up a personal profile with a short bio and a list of goals, and you can follow others that share your goals.

WeTransfer

WeTransfer allows you to send and receive files up to 10 GB in size. WeTransfer prides itself on presentation, and provides a slick user interface and flashy wallpapers when making your transfers. A premium subscription account allows you to password protect your files, remove file expiration, and more.

If you'e more interested in shooting off big files to your contacts rather than, say, storing everything in a cloud locker like Dropbox, WeTransfer is an interesting alternative.

Hooked on Phonics Reading Pro

The classic literacy education program Hooked on Phonics has introduced a new app for ages 5 to 10. Big words are broken down into parts so readers can put them together bit by bit. Reading exercises are layered with videos, non-fiction stories, and games to keep things interesting. There are 40 lessons spread across 4 stages, with the first available for free, and the rest available for a $19.99 in-app purchase.

Words are ideas, folks. Make sure your kids know how to use them.

Your favorite iPhone and iPad apps from this week?

A lot happens in the iOS App Store in a week, so feel free to leave a comment with your favorite recent release on iPhone and iPad! We're always looking for more, so don't be shy to drop us a line when you find something exciting!

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