20 best iPhone and iPad apps and games this week

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Welcome to this week’s roundup of the latest, greatest iPhone and iPad apps and games.

All these apps have been released for the first time – ie not updates – since the last roundup.

All prices are correct at the time of writing, with “IAP” indicating use of in-app purchases.

You can read the previous Best iPhone and iPad Apps roundups for more recommendations, but if Android is your platform of choice, check the Best Android Apps roundups. On with this week’s selection!


Google Photos (Free)
Google had been rumoured to be breaking out photos from its Google+ service for a while, but last week it happened. Photos is a cloud-storage service with 15GB of free space, promising the ability to quickly find images with text searches; and clever editing and sharing features.
iPhone / iPad

MixRadio (Free)
MixRadio started as Nokia’s streaming music app for Windows Phones, but now it’s available on iPhone too. It’s not full Spotify-style “on-demand” listening, but rather a collection of crafted playlists by theme and mood, as well as the ability to whip up stations on the fly based on the artists you type in.

Make My Day by Lonely Planet (Free + IAP)
Make My Day is the latest app from travel brand Lonely Planet, focusing (for now) on six cities: London, Barcelona, New York, Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo. It promises to help you “plan your perfect day” with things to do in the morning, afternoon and evening – chosen by experts to go beyond the obvious tourist hotspots.

Inbox by Gmail (Free)
This smart email app has been out for a while, in truth, but last week Google opened it up to everyone, not just people with an invite. It’s the latest attempt to tackle email mountains with clever filters, and the ability to see “highlights” without opening emails up. You’ll need a Gmail account to use it.
iPhone / iPad

Korg iM1 (£14.99)
If you love making electronic music, this is 15 quid well spent on Korg’s appy reworking of its M1 music workstation, which launched in the late 1980s. The company has painstakingly replicated the device’s hardware as software here, complete with its expansions and the ability to plug in a MIDI keyboard.

Moleskine Timepage (£3.99)
Don’t Moleskine make things to write on in the real world? Well, yes, but now the company has taken a new turn into calendar apps. This is a well-designed example too, from typing in appointments to integration of travel time, directions and weather. An Apple Watch extension puts your diary dates on your wrist too.

Google Cardboard (Free)
One of Google’s announcements at its I/O conference recently was the expansion of its Cardboard virtual reality initiative to iOS: you can now get a cardboard VR headset to slot your iPhone into, with this app helping you set it up and find a few things to watch in 360 degrees.

Spark (Free)
Readdle is the latest developer trying to crack the problem of email overload – a sentence I feel I’m writing every fortnight at the moment – with this app aiming to help you work through your inbox, search its archives and quickly reply to messages. It too comes with a companion Apple Watch app.

Endless Spanish (Free + IAP)
This is the latest children’s app from Originator, which makes the excellent Endless Alphabet and Endless Numbers apps. Here, the emphasis is on learning Spanish – key words accompanied by characterful animations from the “Endless” troupe of monsters to help children remember them.
iPhone / iPad

GifLab (Free + IAP)
People are watching animated gifs in their hundreds of millions, but creating the things hasn’t always been easy. GifLab is one of the apps hoping to change that: a slick tool to turn your own video clips into gifs for sharing via social networks.

iPhone / iPad


Capitals - Free Word Battle (Free + IAP)
I’m still working my way through developer NimbleBit’s Letterpad word-puzzles game, but Capitals may trump it. It’s a multiplayer word game that, like Words With Friends, is designed to play asynchronously with different friends at once. You have to find words from a hex-map of letters, defending your capital and attacking your rival’s. Hugely moreish.
iPhone / iPad

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (£3.99)
The first Geometry Wars game was a console hit, but this action franchise is just as suited to touchscreens. This latest version is a frenetic shooter that sees you working your way through 50 levels in its adventure mode, and testing your reactions in its separate battle modes. It’s colourful, challenging and a treat for the eyes.
iPhone / iPad

Til Morning’s Light (£4.99)
There’s a new mini-boom in haunted-house games on mobile devices, with this – from Amazon’s in-house Game Studios – one of the best around. You play teenager Erica Page, finding her way through a genuinely-spooky cursed mansion solving puzzles and fending off creepy enemies.
iPhone / iPad

Skiing Yeti Mountain (Free + IAP)
In the list of efficient ways to search for a Yeti, skiing down a mountain surely isn’t high. In this game, though, it’s your method of choice as you swoop down pixelly slopes in search of a monster. The developer has got the feel of its touchscreen controls just right: this is fab.
iPhone / iPad

Biz Builder Delux (£3.99)
This is the latest mobile game from Kairosoft, the Japanese developer that made its name in the west with Game Dev Story, and has since honed its addictive simulation-game formula into a fine art. Here, you’re building a business, developing products and attracting shoppers. You’ll happily run your battery down to nothing playing it.
iPhone / iPad

Lara Croft: Relic Run (Free + IAP)
Mobile hit Temple Run was arguably influenced – at least a bit – by Tomb Raider. So now it’s fun to see Lara Croft returning the favour in a new endless-runner game that takes its cues from Temple Run. Vehicles, weapons and boss battles mean it has plenty of its own ideas to add though.
iPhone / iPad

Desktop Dungeons (£7.99)
This is one of the best roguelike games I’ve played on tablets: a well-balanced mix of hardcore dungeon-exploring and mobile-friendly session times as you explore its single-screen levels. There’s a lot to enjoy here: as good for newcomers to its genre as hardened looters.

FarmVille: Harvest Swap (Free + IAP)
A lot of people will turn their noses up at the sight of social games firm Zynga slapping its FarmVille brand onto a Candy Crush-style match-three puzzle game. I suspect plenty of other people will be keen to try it out: a familiar-but-polished take on the swapping genre – with the usual in-app purchases.
iPhone / iPad

Chaos Rings III (£14.99)
Square Enix’s Chaos Rings games have plenty of fans on mobile, so while this may seem expensive (by app standards) it will find a decent audience. It’s a meaty RPG that looks to have the same quality of story and combat that made its predecessors hits.
iPhone / iPad

Sproggiwood (£7.99)
It’s a good week for roguelike fans (if not for their wallets) with the mobile port of PC game Sproggiwood. Based on Finnish myths, it has the genre’s usual procedurally-generated dungeons, battling and looting, but does a good job of wrapping a story around the action.
iPhone / iPad

Those are my choices, but what have you been impressed by on iOS in the last couple of weeks? The comments section is open for your recommendations.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Monday 1st June 2015 10.50 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010