App of the Week: Lie Swatter

Developer: Jellyvision Games

Compatible with: iPhone (optimized for iPhone 5), iPod Touch, and iPad

Requires: iOS 4.3 or later

Price: Free

Available Here

 

It’s hard to find good humor in games, but one title that always got it right was the “You Don’t Know Jack” series, which gained popularity in the 90s for its chaotic, bizzare, irreverent, yet extremely intelligent form of trivia.

Sporting some off the wall categories like “Elephant, Mustard, Teddy Roosevelt, or Dracula?,” and college grad level questions (“Suppose Jackson Pollock had become a sandwich artist at Subway. What would his supervisor have noted about his performance?”), there has never been a game with same sense of humor or style that “You Don’t Know Jack” has, which is why it was great to see it make a fairly recent comeback on systems, mobile platforms, and even Facebook.

If you’ve already tried that series and just can’t get enough, then you’ll be happy to know the creators of “You Don’t Know Jack” have a new game out that takes everything great about the YDKJ series, and applies it to a new, yet familiar concept.

mzl.pvwoauhn.320x480-75 (1)

Called “Lie Swatter,” it tasks you with choosing a category and an opponent (who can be selected amongst your friends or at random), then looking over  a series of flies and bugs, each with a statement on them. To win, you have to swat the ones with statements that are lies.

Sound simple? Well then you truly don’t know jack, as the catch here again is that these categories and statements are all incredibly obscure and absurd. Often, every single statement will read like a bold faced lie, due to how outright bizarre they are. Choosing the right one often comes down to luck and deductive reasoning as much as direct knowledge of the subject.

It can be tough then trying to push ahead, but its helpful that the humor and the styled presentation of “YDKJ” are back in full force, as you’ll not only laugh your ass off reading and sorting out the statements, but learn something about each topic along the way. While not as diverse in its questions, themes, round types, or general gameplay as “You Don’t Know Jack,” it does provide a condensed experience of the best that series offers, with only a few app related hiccups (go for the ad-free and unlimited play $1.99 option to save yourself most of the trouble).

Trivia apps are a dime a dozen, or often cheaper, on mobile platforms, but “Lie Swatter” gets those crucial lightning round bonus points in the competition by being deceivingly simple, incredibly addictive, and most importantly drop dead hilarious. In a game all about separating lies from truth, there can be no doubt “Lie Swatter” is the app of the week.

  

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

App of the Week: Hater

image_00

Developer: Hate App Inc.

Compatible with: iPhone 3GS and up, iPod Touch 3rd Gen. and up, iPad

Requires: iOS 4.0 or later

Price: Free

Negativity is a tricky concept.

On one hand, you can’t possibly be expected to like everything. Everybody gets irked by certain things, even if the majority of others seem to enjoy them. On the other, nobody wants to be “that guy.” The one whose just a real downer, or takes the wrong moment to publically express their dislike of something that is generally agreed upon, or even something in general.

Recognizing the cramped space your everyday hatreds are working with to run free, one developer has created an app that allows you a digital soapbox for which to air your grievances in “Hater.”

It’s billed as the “Anti-Facebook Like,” which is a perfect summary of its functionality and purpose. With Hater, you can use a combination of photos and text rants to sound off on the things that annoy you most and, much like the infamous like button, allow others to share your grievances with you.

While topics are of course endless, popular suggestions by the developers include annoying people, what your ex is up to, too many Facebook posts, duckface photos, long lines, celebrities, traffic, school and many more. So the mounds of hate don’t overwhelm you and lead you to the darkside, there is a handy function that shows you some of the most hated topics currently being disliked.

You don’t have to rack your brain to picture a world where this kind of thing can get out of hand pretty quickly, and have you hating on hater for all of the hate, but this is a concept that’s time has come. As anyone who has spent any time on internet message boards can tell you, the mobile world is filled with at least as many dislikes as likes, and an app that allows you a place to share that which you despise is a potentially therapeutic breath of fresh air.

For providing a playground of pessimism and serving as a champion of cynics, I’ve got nothing against giving Hater my app of the week.

  

App of the Week: MTA Subway Time

Developer:
Metropolitan Transit Authority

Compatible with:
iPhone 3GS and up

iPod Touch 3rd Gen and up

iPad

Requires:
iOS 5.0 or later

Price:

Free

Available here

My app this week is really only for residents of NYC. Everyone else, please feel free to proceed to the nearest sexy lady picture you find on this site.

Are they all gone?

Good.

So you know how annoying it is trying to catch your subway train on time right? Even though they stick to a supposed schedule (unless it’s the C train, the slacker of the transit system) sometimes your morning bagel takes a little longer to toast, or you have an unexpected stop and chat, or it’s raining and you debated for too long to call in or not, or maybe (as you told your boss) the train truly was running late, and your morning is now officially in peril.

It happens far too often, and even though the MTA has updated platforms with arrival estimates, and support a host of apps to help, it wasn’t until the recently released MTA Subway Time app, that straphangers now have the ability to get real time train schedules.

The app currently supports 7 lines (1-6 and the 43nd S), and provides updated arrival times of the major lines as they occur. The arrival times include trains running in both all directions, and has data for both arriving and upcoming trains. Along with that, you also get the usual train routes, work updates, and all other information you would need in actually organizing your commute.

It’s not the world’s prettiest app, and is very basic in its current stage, but should still be immediately downloaded by any commuters of those lines, and really by all straphangers in anticipation of additional lines being added. Never before have commuters had this kind of accurate information available to them at any time, and the only reason it doesn’t feel more impressive is because it seems like something that should have been done long ago.

You can’t overstate how welcome this app is, and as the MTA chairman Joseph Lhota described it, represents a “day that generations of dreamers and futurists have waited for”. While I wish the app could give false updates to my boss that are more in line with my current, personal schedule, this miracle program arrives right in time to be named by app of the week.

  

App of the Week: Cook, Serve, Delicious!

Developer:
David Galindo

Compatible with:
iPad 2 and up (including iPad Mini)

Requires:
iOS 3.2 and up

Price:

$2.99

Available here

While some will disagree, cooking is often a rewarding, useful, and relaxing endeavor that all should have some measure of skill in. Not only is it a great creative outlet, but the end result of a well done meal is rewarding in several ways. The same, however, can not always be said of cooking in a high profile, high volume, high pressure kitchen where the work is grueling, thankless, and sometimes cruel. Yet many in the business will tell you the challenge of it is strangely addictive, and that there is no greater satisfaction than a well done shift, and consistently making the perfect meal.

Now there is an app called “Cook, Serve, Delicious!” that perfectly captures that mix of emotions. The iPad version of the PC title of the same name, “Cook, Serve, Delicious!” is a restaurant management game that separates itself from the sizeable number of similar titles out there by being insanely detailed, and ridiculously tough.  The very basics of the game see you taking incoming orders and building them via the simple recipe prompt. As the orders pile up, you’ll find yourself having to manage several meals at once (done through a upper corner quene), prepping some while others finish,and always being careful to get to everyone in time without ruining a meal.

It would be an intense enough experience, but where the game separates itself is in the almost anal nature it takes towards its subject matter. You don’t just cook and serve meals, but you also must handle back of the house work like setting rat traps, washing dishes, and taking out the trash. It’s not all grunt work though, as since this is also your restaurant, that means you are the chef, owner, and manager. This is where things get really exciting, since you are tasked with buying food for the day and building a menu that must be familiar, yet fresh, and always evolving. You must deal with food costs, menu changes, special requests, challenges (including “Iron Chef” like competition invites), and even the occasional robbery all while running the day to day activities of your restaurant (a day in the game takes 6 minutes in real time). Ultimately your efforts are in the pursuit of increasing your restaurant’s star rating and public buzz level (and of course purchasing restaurant upgrades) in order to move on to bigger, better, and more challenging venues.

Nothing comes easy in “Cook, Serve, Delicious!”, and during the game’s rush hour moments, things can seem downright impossible. While the actual cooking mechanics aren’t as detailed and interactive as games like “Cooking Mama”, it’s the fact that you are tasked with managing everything, and that everything is so richly detailed, that makes the game so very worthwhile. Building a popular, yet inventive, menu in your own style, and being able to eventually serve it almost instinctively is one of those gaming nirvana feelings that never grows old, because it is always difficult to achieve. Thankfully the challenge doesn’t derive from the touch controls (which are well implemented), and the game’s appetizing graphic style and catchy soundtrack are a constant and welcome presence.

In many ways “Cook, Serve, Delicious!” reminds me of the recently released starship simulator “FTL” where your dream of running a starship (or restaurant in this case) is quickly burdened with the reality of doing so. Yet thanks to some ingenious design, and a well implemented balance of challenge and reward, “Cook, Serve, Delicious!” provides a long journey that proves the thrill that comes from overcoming true adversity is often greater than that of any pre-conceived fantasy notions you may have had on the subject. It goes beyond your ideas of the genre, and serves up a tasty app of the week.

  

App of the Week: Fantasy Football Edition

So I’d like to take this time to admit that I have a fantasy football problem.

That’s right, I’m that guy. The one with multiple teams, and a small fortune invested in their outcomes. The one who will watch every game to follow my players, and root against lifelong favorite teams if one of my guys needs to get be an extra point or so before the late games. Hell, I once introduced fantasy football into a conversation about a friend’s dad being hospitalized due to malpractice by saying, “Hey, speaking of dropping the ball, what do you think about Dez Bryant against the Eagles this week?”

Luckily I live in a football and fantasy crazed society that supports this sickness. More than support it, they allow it to successfully infiltrate other aspects of your life by providing awesome mobile apps so that you never have to sit through another social obligation or work day without having the ability to request trades, and change you roster for the 5th time in a week. Of those apps, here are the most essential ones that you will need come time for the new season.

For Your Overall Needs – ESPN Fantasy Football 2012

Available for iOS here, and for Android here

So, there’s a lot of sites you can play fantasy football on, but I say if you’re going to spend a disturbing amount of your life during football season watching the same SportsCenter over and over until the new one kicks in, you might as well stick with ESPN. Quite simply, this app allows you the full range of features you would get by logging into your ESPN league (trades, roster movements, league news, etc.) but of course here you have all of that power in the palm of your hands. Best of all is the notification alerts, so you’re never behind on an injury update, or smack talk opportunity ever again.

If you’re going with fantasy football through ESPN this year, then this is the most essential app you can download (and if you’re not, be sure to snag your host site’s alternative). Just try not to spend the whole day considering your WR loadout for the week, just because you have the ability to change it at will.

For Your Draft – Rotowire Fantasy Football Draft Kit 2012

Available for iOS here

If the draft isn’t the most important part of your fantasy football year, it sure is the most exciting. Watching your roster come together from the all star impossible selections of the first few rounds, to the vital sleeper picks of the late rounds, all while trying to beat your friends for the most bragging rights is the best part of any season. As my 2010 year proved, however, sometimes flipping a coin between tough decisions is not the best way to go. In that case, I have to recommend the unrivaled help provided by the Rotowire Draft Kit.

This is a smart draft app of sorts, as it allows you to set recommendations based on your preferences, and can actually adjust player rankings based off of your league settings and your needs according to the draft progress thus far. You’ll also find the usual range of stats, recommendations, and upset picks all tied together by a clean interface that allows you to smoothly navigate the various app features while keeping up with the draft thus far.

While this app won’t prevent you from picking the sure thing player gone bust, or keep your first two running back picks from blowing their ACL’s in week one, it is otherwise the closest you will come to a fool proof draft day.

For the Compulsive – Fantasy Football 12’ HD

Available for iOS here, and for Android here

From Bignoggins Productions, this is one of the most popular fantasy football apps available. It offers the same add/drop, roster changes, news updates, and trade abilities as the host site apps, but the difference here is you can manage your ESPN, Yahoo, and NFL.com teams all via this app without having to move back and forth. Plus, since you will be second guessing your every move throughout the year, this gives you another available outlet for recommendations and news.

If your fantasy obsession has taken you to the darken back alley that is owning and managing multiple teams over multiple leagues, then there is no more essential app available then this one.

For the Hell of It – Paper Football 3D

Available for the iOS here, and for Android here

Look, it’s quite possible that every one of your star players will go down and you’ll miss out on every great free agent pick up of the year leading to the dreaded winless season. It happens.

It’s at times like this that you need something to remind yourself that football is supposed to be fun. And since the official NFL Madden app will probably just remind you that Darren McFadden just will never stay healthy, and you should probably just stop drafting him already (sorry…still working through some stuff here), why not dial it back another notch and go back to the simplistic days of paper football. It takes the basics of the game (points, mostly) and gives you a reprieve from the brain crushing numbers of fantasy ball, while providing your methadone fix of the game that you most desperately need.

While I can’t guarantee that these apps will make you a lock to win your league this year, with Calvin Johnson most assuredly going down to the Madden curse, we could be looking at another topsy turvy anything can happen kind of season. Which is why you may soon find yourself needing my first four picks in this round of app of the week.

  

Related Posts