Looking back on 2013 TMO found several iPhone and iPad apps that really stood out to us. There were apps to help our productivity, keep track of passwords and private stuff, and get your social networking on, too. We also found games we liked. Lots of games. Read on to see what some of our favorite picks from the year were.
Tweetbot Tweetbot for the iPhone and iPad are popular Twitter client choices, and you can get pretty much the same experience on your desktop with Tweetbot for the Mac. Tweetbot supports multiple accounts and timelines, mute filters for temporarily hiding posts from specific users or hashtags, it can send links to Instapaper and other services, and it syncs your current timeline position with Tweetbot between your iPhone and iPad, and your Mac, too. Really, if you're going to spend as much time on Twitter as I do, you might as well have a great app.
1Password Managing all of your passwords doesn't have to be a total pain thanks to 1Password for the iPhone and iPad, and there's a Mac version, too. It lets you sort and organize your logins any way you like, stores other sensitive information like bank account and credit card numbers, can generate secure passwords for you, lets you know when it's time to change passwords for better security, and syncs your secure database with 1Password across all of your devices so all of your logins are available no matter where you are. I can't imagine using a single password for all of my Internet logins, and I can't imagine keeping them all straight without 1Password.
1Password: Keeping all your private stuff private
iA Writer A simple text editor with a clean interface: That's iA Writer. No need to worry about a steep learning curve before you can focus on your notes, articles, and other important text documents. It supports Markdown, offers a focus mode that lets you see just a couple lines instead of the entire document, and it doesn't include text formatting options so you won't get distracted by trying to find just the right font. It also supports Dropbox and iCloud with real time syncing between your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Everything you write available on all your devices in real time? It's like we really do live in the future.
iA Writer syncs in real time across all your devices
Fantastical 2 Apple's Calendar app is functional, but it doesn't offer the slick features you'll see in Fantastical 2 for the iPhone. The app lets you enter appointments with a more natural feel, like typing "Lunch with Dave on Thursday." It shows your appointments and tasks in an easy to read list view, and rotating your iPhone switches to a week-at-a-glance view. Fantastical uses the same database as Calendar, so iCloud handles syncing with your Mac, and if you really want you can use it along with Apple's own app.
A better way to view your appointments. Thanks, Fantastical
Kingdom Rush Frontiers Kingdom Rush is simply the best tower defense game franchise on the iPad. New in 2013 was Kingdom Rush Frontiers, a game that builds on the awesomeness of the original with new maps, new heros, new towers, new monsters, and even more challenging gameplay. There are different levels of gameplay for every level of player, and it's fun, fun, fun. I don't even want to tell you how much time I've spent playing this game—you'd be embarrassed for me.
Melissa loves Kingdom Rush Frontiers, too. She says it's THE tower defense game and the finest example of that genre ever to grace an iOS device.
Space Cadet Defender: Recon Invaders This side-scrolling shooter is the sequel to Space Cadet Defender, a reimagining of the 70's classic arcade game, Space Invaders. It's tons of fun, challenging, and with an endless wave after you finish 23 waves (a second invasion is coming, too), is guaranteed to keep challenging even the best side-scroller enthusiast. It's free to play, but if you want improve even faster, you can buy in-game medals for real-world dollars. But this game is so well-designed, you really can play for free. I love this game.
Angry Birds Star Wars OK, this game was released in November of 2012. I lost track of time because I was playing Angry Birds Star Wars, so I'm going to include it in this Best Of list. Come on, it's Angry Birds mixes with Star Wars. That's really all I should have to say, but on the off-chance you're that one person who needs a little more coaxing, this is the best Angry Birds yet. Each Angry Bird character has been transformed into a Star Wars character—Luke Skywalker wielding a Lightsaber, Princess Leia with unexplained telekinetic powers, Han Solo shooting a blaster, Chewie being Chewie, C3PO, R2D2, a rebel pilot...plus all the villains. And Rovio did such a great of adapting everything into the Angry Birds universe. It's a genius game.
Forever Lost: Episode 2 Forever Lost: Episode 2 from Glitch Games is a variation on “escape-the-room” adventures, the Forever Lost games require you to look for clues, tools, and secrets in the places you find yourself to solve puzzles and advance the story. While I enjoyed the original a ton, the sequel is even better. The puzzles are still quite difficult, requiring you to brainstorm creative ways to use your item inventory, but I felt that the second game had a greater variety of challenges without getting the player stuck too often. It does have in-game hints if you get frustrated along with a very cool camera to take pictures of clues (so you’re not spending time running around the map to look at what you’ve already found). The settings are gorgeous, with a creepy storyline thrown in to keep you interested in the outcome. If you’re looking for an adventure that’ll force you to think through what you’re doing rather than tapping aimlessly around until something happens, this is it.
Is there a clue under the bed? Is it up the stairs? What's that noise?
The Room Two Fireproof Games’ The Room, with its list of accolades as long as my arm, was incredible, so it’s really not a surprise that its sequel is excellent as well. Unlike the other titles I’ve listed, though, I feel that The Room Two is slightly less amazing than its predecessor due to some repetitiveness, but it’s still a masterful game. The night it debuted on the App Store, The Mister and I spent the whole evening playing and didn’t put our iPads down until we finished it. That’s how absorbing it is.