20 best iPhone and iPad apps and games this week

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Our weekly roundup of the best new iPhone and iPad apps and games is back, after an ill-advised attempt to take it monthly – imagine trying to sort through more than 400 “possibles” on the last day of the month, and you’ll know why.

This week’s selection is as varied as ever, spanning Big Bird, news aggregators, period and fertility tracking, and a Very Hungry Caterpillar – as well as an entertaining crop of games.

Prices are correct at the time of writing, with “IAP” indicating whether in-app purchases are used within the app or game. The roundup of the best new Android apps and games is also reverting to a weekly post – it will be published later on in the day.


Sesame Street S’More! (Free + IAP)

Big Bird, Elmo, Zoe and the gang are all here for Sesame Street’s new interactive magazine, aimed at preschoolers. It offers a mixture of games, creative activities and education, with plans to offer a new issue every two months. Parents can buy individual editions or subscribe.

Medium — Everyone’s Stories (Free)

Medium is trying to put a purdy new face on blogging platforms, and now the company has released its first mobile app. It’s not for writing, though: instead, this is an app for reading the best articles on Medium, with personalisation features promising to serve up pieces relevant to your past reading habits.

NFB StopMo Studio (£0.69)

This app’s the work of the National Film Board of Canada: an iPad app for shooting and editing stop-motion films, then exporting them as MP4 files or sharing to YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo. It’s one of the most user-friendly stop-motion apps I’ve seen – accessible for children as well as adults.

Newsbeat (Free)

Nothing to do with Radio 1’s news programme, although there is a traditional media angle. Newsbeat is the work of veteran media company Tribune: aggregating news stories every day from a range of sources, then reading it out along with localised weather and traffic reports.

Groove - Period & Fertility Tracker (Free)

For now, this appears to be only available in the US, although it surely has global appeal. It’s an app for tracking the periodic cycle, whether you’re trying to get pregnant or most definitely trying to avoid it. Charts are used to make the resulting big data as clear as possible.

FireChat (Free)

FireChat is a messaging app that’s certainly technically innovative, although whether there’s a demand for it remains to be seen. It’s an app for messaging people nearby, even when offline, built using Apple’s under-the-radar Multipeer Connectivity Framework feature in iOS.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – Play & Explore (£1.99)

This isn’t the first mobile appearance for Eric Carle’s famously famished caterpillar, but it’s a very good one. Aimed at preschoolers, it’s a mixture of games and creativity based on the Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Carle characters. Complete with pop-up-style visuals, it’s a treat.
iPhone / iPad

999: The Novel (£2.99)

Here’s an interesting idea: part game and part novel, written by Kotaro Uchikoshi. The fictional setup is good too: nine people trapped on a ship that’s going to sink in nine hours’ time. Your job is to solve puzzles and help them escape, while ensuring none of them get blown up by bombs hidden within their bodies. The link above is for iPhone, but here’s the iPad version.
iPhone / iPad

Bookspotting (Free)

The name is one clue to what Bookspotting is all about: "We're mobilising Scottish literature," as its App Store listing explains. It's a recommendation app for Scottish books and authors, including the ability to browse by themes, and find real-life locations that have appeared in the books.
iPhone / iPad

Race for Life (Free)

This is an app from charity Cancer Research here in the UK, based on its annual Race for Life event. The app enables you to keep tabs on donations from friends sponsoring your efforts, post images and updates letting them know how you're getting on, and get quick information on your upcoming race.

Let’s Do Mental Maths for Ages 6-7 (£1.99)

This children's app is based on a series of books from Bloomsbury Publishing, offering a series of maths quizzes to complete against the clock, complete with audio. Children take the tests to track their progress. And for older kids, there's a separate Let's Do Mental Maths for Ages 10-11 app too.
iPhone / iPad

Checkmark 2 (£1.99)

This is the sequel to an impressive lists / to-do app, which enables you to set reminders by date, time and even location. What's new is a spiffy new design for iOS 7, and more features to keep your life organised. It's the location aspect that stands out: setting reminders triggered by specific places.


World Cruise Story (£2.99)

World Cruise Story is the latest game from Japanese publisher Kairosoft, which specialises in super-addictive simulations of various real-world jobs and industries. Here, you're running and expanding a cruise liner. Fans will have seen the structure before in previous Kairosoft games, but it's still fun to play.
iPhone / iPad

Braveland (£1.99)

Braveland is great fun: a turn-based strategy game in a fantasy setting, as you work your way up from "humble warrior's son" to an army chief. The gameplay includes building your force and developing your character, with neat graphics and simple controls adding to the appeal.
iPhone / iPad

Lost Light (£1.49 + IAP)

It may be lacking the big cartoon stars, but this is the latest mobile game from Disney: a match-puzzle game starting out with 100 levels, and the promise of more to come. Also features power-ups, Beasties and a cutesy squirrel.
iPhone / iPad

The Collectables (Free + IAP)

Heaven knows what Sly Stallone and the rest of the Expendables crew will make of this: the movie seems to have served as inspiration for the new game from Crytek and DeNA. It's an action/strategy game with a team of grizzled mercenaries, impressive visuals and lots of explosions.
iPhone / iPad

Monster Legacy (Free + IAP)

While Nintendo continues to resist the idea of bringing its big games to mobile devices (e.g. Pokemon), other developers are trying to make the catch'em'all formula a hit. This example has bags of monsters, quests and critter evolution, wrapped in free-to-play dynamics.
iPhone / iPad

Cuckoo Corner (£0.69 + IAP)

This is fun, but also serious. On one level it's a virtual pet game where you look after a cuckoo, grooming it and playing mini-games. But there's a real-world impact too: 50% of the money spent on in-app purchases will be donated to wildlife charity the RSPB, with the game aiming to raise money as well as awareness of the declining cuckoo population.
iPhone / iPad

Battle Gems (Free + IAP)

More monsters here, as well as gems, in the latest freemium creature-battling mobile game. There are more than 450 quests and 150 monsters to explore, as well as multiplayer battles. Whether it can unseat Puzzle & Dragons in this genre remains to be seen, though.
iPhone / iPad

Video Game Comics: The Adventures of Shadow Cat (£0.69)

Developer J-Lynn didn't quite hit its crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo back in 2012, but the project went ahead anyway. It's a blend of games and comics, with the story focusing on a "vigilante super hero cat". The graphics may look rough and ready in places, but it's an interesting idea.
iPhone / iPad

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Friday 21st March 2014 13.05 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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