Our Daily App Digest – March 20, 2012

Latest apps and updates to hit the iTunes app store today…

Action Block Buster

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Action Block Buster features a panel surface that can move 360 degrees around the screen, power-ups, bonuses, and innovative playing fields. Players get two balls and 180 seconds to complete each level and advance to the next. Loaded with power-ups, bonuses, and varied play fields, Action Block Buster revolutionizes the brick breaking genre.

Players must employ ball control and strategy to complete the timed levels and advance in Action Block Buster. Players earn points and stars, enabling them to advance levels and gain achievements. Unlike other brick breaking games, where players navigate the panel from left to right, Action Block Buster players can move the panel a full 360 degrees around the play area, opening up the field and requiring players to not only keep the ball from escaping from the bottom of the screen, but also through exit points on the side of the play field.

A built-in physics engine calculates all Action Block Buster movements and collisions. When the ball hits the blocks, they do not just disappear, but instead a force is applied to them, repelling them and creating the opportunity for the ball to hit other blocks. Unique power-ups such as the Speed Ball power-up utilize this feature in gameplay by increasing the force upon a collision with a faster ball. The twin lasers of the Laser Panel power-up hit the blocks with a force resulting in consecutive hits of many nearby blocks, creating a powerful effect that can decimate whole areas.
$0.99/£0.69/download

Mystery Lighthouse

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Digi-Chain Games today is thrilled to announce the release and immediate availability of its latest iOS game ‘Mystery Lighthouse’ .’Mystery Lighthouse’ is a classic point & click adventure game with a unique and charming hand-illustrated visual style.

In this family-friendly adventure game, players find themselves exploring Blackrock Lighthouse in search of their missing Uncle. The island hides many secrets and by piecing together the clues and solving the puzzles – a unique and exciting story is revealed.

‘Mystery Lighthouse’ recreates the atmosphere of the classic point and click adventure games of times gone by. With the use of colourful hand-illustrated imagery, gentle music and an engaging narrative that is suitable for all ages – this is a game that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Features:
* Classic point and click adventure gameplay
* Charming hand-illustrated visuals
* Many items to collect and use
* Atmospheric music and sound effects
* High resolution graphics optimized for retina display
* Auto-saves your position as you play
* iOS 4 compatible
$0.99/£0.69/download

Office to PDF

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Nexscience, a mobile applications company, has announced that its new application, Office to PDF 1.0 is now available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The new application is the latest in a series of apps released by NExscience for business users, students and professionals.

The new application allow users to Download, View, Store and Convert Microsoft Office Documents to PDF. It supports Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, Text and wide variety of image file formats. Users can download files from virtually anywhere : from the internet, from a computer in their wifi network, through a USB cable or from an external file management system like Dropbox or  Google Docs.

"Mobile Smart Phones are now capable of doing what we used to do with our desktop computers" said Faisal Faruqi, CTO for Nexscience and an Industry veteran. "Our new app is the latest in the series of innovative products we are planning to release for the business users and professionals"  
$4.99/£2.99/download

Ferries HD

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Independent developer, Thomas Busse today is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Ferries HD 1.1.1, a major update to his classical line drawing game for iOS devices. Players control a fleet of ferries & transport trucks or passengers from one city to another. This is done by simply drawing a line from a ferry to a target landing place. Version 1.1.1 of Ferries HD offers offers two more scenarios for "Underwater" and "Two Passages".

In Ferries HD, the task for the player is to deliver passengers or other freights with ferries to the right harbors. The game play has been improved by offering "Revivers" to continue the game after a crash and by adding checkpoints. A lot of other small details have been enhanced. Especially the new "Underwater" map with submarines and aquanauts adds a new experience to the game: "Underwater" introduces the side view perspective which is pretty unusual compared to other line drawing games.

Apart from the online Game Center integration Ferries HD now also offers the ability to tweet the newest high score from within the game.
Free/download

Star Serum

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Kc8 Studios today is thrilled to announce the release and immediate availability of Star Serum 1.0, its latest gaming title for iOS devices. Strike back against the Arcon Allegiance in this epic Space Opera! Star Serum offers light sabers, space flight, explosive Jenga and more.

They’re dead… they’re all dead… You awake as if from a dream. Images flash before your eyes, splinters in your mind, unclear, inaccessible, but for a few fragments.. A space battle above Iridis Alpha… the black void bursting with colour from laser blasts and forceful explosions… a fierce ground assault on the planet below… And your squad… all dead… because of you… Then nothingness… Until now.

You awake in a medical facility, tubes running from machinery keeping you alive. One nurse is your guide on your journey back from the brink of death. She tends to your wounds to rebuild you, for the sake of the Cine people in this long, bitter war agains the Allegiance. Before you can once again fly into the fray, she helps you regain the skills you lost to amnesia.

Step by step she restores you to your former war-hero glory, as you regain your laser sword skills against flying drones; manoeuvre through asteroid fields in your starship; use your mind as a weapon and increase your telekinetic power. Each stage provides a challenge, and when you’re ready, you’ll be sent on your final most perilous mission: to return to Iridis Alpha and recover the Star Serum.
$1.99/£1.49/download

SalaryBook

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Appsequence today released an update for SalaryBook 2.0, their time tracking app for iOS. SalaryBook tracks earnings of those who charge hourly. Users are able to track their worked hours and earnings on-the-go with SalaryBook, this will make sure that any billable hour doesn’t go unaccounted. SalaryBook allow you to enter time (or work schedule) and calculates the pay which will be displayed in a variety of formats for easy analysis. This will let them estimate their pay on payday and verify if their employer is paying the right hours.

SalaryBook keeps income and work time in perspective by allowing to quickly and easily view it in different time periods. It is perfect for freelancers, consultants & professionals who charge for their services on an hourly basis and who need a way to manage and keep track of flexible working hours and earnings.

Hourly workers enter their Hourly Rate, Working Days, Start & End Time (hours per day), and Unbillable Time into the Template Settings. Moving to the Dashboard, users may choose to automatically compute total earnings Today, This Month, or This Year. The Calendar window shows each day worked per month, and selecting any date displays a Summary of the hours worked that day. Selecting the Summary opens the complete Date record, which may be edited or notated. A template provides a way to set up a default work schedule quickly and efficiently.

Freelancers and professionals may easily set parameters to generate daily or monthly earnings reports covering any period of time. All data may be exported as a time-sheet overview or as a CSV file format via in-app email connectivity or through the user’s Dropbox account.
$3.99/£2.49/download

WonderCraft

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Chengdu jianlehudong tech. Co., LTD today is pleased to announce the release and immediate availability of WonderCraft 1.0.1, an update to their popular naval battle gaming title for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. WonderCraft supports multiplayer online combat and features great graphics, simple control scheme and rich props. Version 1.0.1 now adds a single player mode.

I love everything related to marine. At the first, I was attracted by its icon, a very cartoon ship. I have kept my eyes on it since it was released on 25 Feb. Then it went to free. I could not wait to download it and played till two o’clock in the morning. Great! It is really amazing.

In WonderCraft, it is easy to control the battleship by moving the iPhone left and right, up and down to change the direction. Then when I touch enemy battleship my ship will fire on it, but I can only sink it within certain attack range. And I found it could earn more gold to destroy big CPU controlled boats than other participants. If there is no CPU controlled boats and you really need money, you could fire on participants. But it is not very wise to do that, be careful, when other participants reborn, the revenge begins.

The game supports multiplayer synchronous fighting. Players of WonderCraft from all over the world connect to game company’s server. In fact, it is a big challenge. So sometimes it would fail to connection. Fortunately, they have released new version and there is seldom network connection fails. By the way, the new version gives me big surprise. Although it is a PvP game, it cannot combat in Novice Battleground, new version supports PvP function. Besides that, l like sits on my bed and plays games. Producers added 0, 30, 45 three operation angles in this version, it really convenience me a lot.

And there are more battleships and medals; I think I should sink more ships to buy a cool ship now. In the game I make some friends who also love naval battle. I was surprised to find that whenever I log in, they are online. I enjoy the thrill of sinking CPU controlled fleet. When special mission appears, all participants should better work together to destroy enemy fleets. It is fantastic to wipe out all of them.
Free/download

Jokes*

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A recently released iPhone app named Jokes* is adding value to the lives of users around the world by bringing smile back to their faces. This free app has been developed by Colombia based app development company 1tucan, and is available in English, German, Spanish, and Dutch. The fun-filled app has a remarkable stock of more than one thousand jokes, and users can receive a different joke every day. They can also effortlessly share these jokes with their friends and relatives via Facebook, Twitter, sms, and email. The app also allows users to submit their own collection of jokes for publication.

It is a common saying that laughter is the best medicine. Unfortunately, the modern day hectic lifestyle leaves us with very few reasons to laugh. Jokes are probably the best possible way to bring back those elements of fun that can reduce the stress of everyday drudgery, and improve the overall quality of life. This is where the initiative from 1tucan deserves strong applause because hundreds of iPhone users all over the world have been able to break the shackles of seriousness, and lose themselves in a burst of laughter, thanks to this app.

Talking about this app, Roger from Arizona states, "There is nothing nobler than making people smile. There is no better feeling for me than watching my 95 year old father, a cancer sufferer since last 4 years, laughing throughout the day like a child. I can not thank the company enough for coming up with this wondrous app". Like Roger, Jokes* has made it easier for many other users to cope up with the difficulties in their life with a smiling face. Talking about this extremely amusing iPhone app, the developer Camila Echavarria says, "We wanted to create something different from those hundreds of apps that are released almost every day. I am very happy to know that we have been able to make you smile. Keep smiling with us forever".
Free/download

Cat Wrangler

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Untethered Productions, LLC today is pleased to announce the release of Cat Wrangler 2.0, an update to its latest game for the iPhone and iPad. Cat Wrangler is a funny game for all ages. Players can name each cat in their herd, choose its breed and color and set off on a feline adventure in the old west.

Along the way, players will encounter daunting obstacles, wily mice, hopping frogs, devious raccoons, lizards, snakes and other vermin. When the going gets especially tough, they might find it necessary to pull out the super sprayer and really get those cats moving along the trail.

Players collect stars and points depending on how fast they herd their cats. Move the cats through different environments such as the forest, the desert, and maybe even outer space. Yes, cats in space. Don’t worry, in space you can still hear them meow. Not sure how, but you can.

Example Features:
* Customize your herd of cats with your own names and colors
* Earn points and stars as you complete each level
* Got an iPad? The game is optimized with high res graphics when run on the iPad

Version 2.0 officially changes name to Cat Wrangler to make app easier to find in the app store.
Free/download

Rain Secrets

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Bzya today is pleased to introduce Rain Secrets 1.0 for iOS devices. Watch as large drops of rain fall from the sky onto a field of grass and pink flowers in this beautiful, tranquil puzzle game. You are given 12 kinds of water drops, rather strange shape and contour of a certain puddle. You goal is to put all the drops into this puddle.

Drops can be rotated, it is done by double click. Pinch-to-zoom and move drops by fingers. The smaller movements you spend on a puzzle – the more points you gain. Gathering more and more complex shapes-starting from simple drops and progressing to animals and abstract shapes-is the goal of the game.

Enjoy beautiful graphics and sound. You’d like realistic water drops with different visual effects, such as the transmission of light, the overlay of drops, and other features. Helpful tips are featured throughout gameplay to assist the player in solving each puzzle, suggesting positions for new drops, and highlighting incorrect positions.

Game features:
* Create different shapes out of drops of rain in this beautiful and tranquil puzzle game
* Enjoy realistic visual effects such as dynamic lighting and overlayed drops of water
* Use helpful tips featured during gameplay to see suggested moves and incorrect drop positions
* By packages to get more levels
Free/download

GeoFlight USA HD

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TopoMonkey today is pleased to announce the release of GeoFlight USA for iPad. GeoFlight USA is the best iPad app to learn the USA geography in a fun and educational way. No boring quizzes or flag puzzles, but high speed arcade action.

GeoFlight USA offers a challenging learning environment which is very entertaining for kids, and even a challenge for parents. The goal of the game is to fly a cute little airplane as quickly as possible to the right destination on the map. A player can choose between states, capitals or large cities in the USA. Radar hints are available, but will cost valuable time. The game offers two exciting gamemodes:

1) Practice
Practice all 50 states, capitals and 150 largest cities in the USA without any time pressure.

2) Timerace
Fly within the time limit to as many destinations as you can. Earn extra time with every correct answer or loose time by using a radar hint.
$1.99/£1.49/download

Doodle Coins

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Solverlabs, an independent game studio from Eastern Europe, today is pleased to announce the release of "Doodle Coins" their new retina-ready Universal iOS Game. "Doodle Coins" is a physics-based line drawing construction puzzle game. Player needs to solve various puzzles by drawing sticks on the screen and guide the coins to the character of Irish leprechaun by turning the gravity on. User can join the sticks (lines) with each other by crossing them and build various constructions like triangles, beam balances and catapults in order to perform the trickiest catch of all coins. The main goal of the game is to collect 99 coins found in 40 diversified levels. Collected coins can be used to unlock solutions and to skip hard levels.

"Doodle Coins" features interactive tutorial on the few initial levels to help user get started. Player has to use drawing ink wisely as it is limited on every level. The less ink is used the highest score the user gets. Some levels have various mechanic objects which player can use to catch all coins, like rotating wheels, metal trolleys, springs, and stones. Almost every level can be completed using different strategies which gives creative freedom to the users. The complexities of levels gradually move from easiest at the beginning to hardest at the end of the game. However player can always unlock solution to any level using coins collected on previous levels as well as skip a hard level and move forward to the next one.

The app’s doodle style graphics, ease of use and challenging levels make it attractive to all physics based puzzle lovers who like to think out of the box and use their creativity and drawing skills to find optimal solutions. With over 40 levels of game play and more levels coming soon this app will guarantee tons of fun and great brain exercises for you and your family.
$0.99/£0.69/download

Kroco Gems

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Kroco Gems is a iOS game based on the Grandfather of all block-dropping games, Tetris. However, Dracoders expanded on an already great idea by developing their own unique game engine called Tettix that is a very fast game engine allowing for very complex logic, heavy 2D graphics all while loading fast.
This block dropping game, plays with a twist, literally that requires users to solve the block puzzles on each level with already filled game boards of various types of blocks.

Played in portrait orientation, Kroco Gems uses a game board grid 10 squares wide by 14 squares high. Each colored block is composed of 1, 2, 3, or 4 squares, and each square contains a single gemstone. Blocks containing 4 squares can have various shapes, such as: O, S, Z, or T. Blocks containing 3 squares can also have various shapes, such as: I or L. Players can move blocks left or right, or they can rotate blocks clockwise or counter clockwise. After being moved or rotated, the blocks fall into a new position. Creating a line or row of 10 contiguous squares horizontally, destroys the line.

Players must destroy as many lines as quickly as possible to gain the highest score and bring the large gem at the top of the stack to the bottom, allowing the Krocos to eat it. Each level is timed in Story mode as well as Classic game mode and once Story mode has been completed all difficulty modes will be unlocked in Classic mode. Kroco Gems is Apple Game Center enabled for leader board scoring and achievements and is available on the iTunes App Store for download.

"Just when you think the puzzle can’t be solved, one small move will change the entire game," stated Federico Bigliocca of Dracoders. "It has taken almost two years to create this game, and we are very proud to introduce it to all iOS gamers."
$0.99/£0.69/download

Knight Defense HD

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Knight Defense HD for Apple iPad has been updated to version 1.5.0, featuring retina graphics optimised for the new iPad. The random level generator, previously an in-app purchase, is now integrated into the base game. To mark the release of the new iPad the app is on sale at half price ($0.99 USD) for a limited time.

This strategy/action hybrid game features elements of tower defense and chess, dressed in bright, glowing neon graphics. In each level the player needs to keep their king alive at all costs through waves of attacking enemy pieces. The player’s forces fire at the enemy and can use special abilities such as shielding, freezing, healing and a laser blast. As the player gains points for destroying the enemy, they can choose to upgrade their forces to increase their attack power and health. The player is able to move their forces at any time to best adapt to the incoming waves of enemy pieces.

There are 32 hand-crafted levels grouped into easy, normal and hard difficulties, as well as an infinite amount of levels available via the included random level generator. As the levels become harder, the player will need to plan out the best positions for their forces, time their upgrades strategically, use special abilities at critical moments and even sacrifice pieces to keep the others alive.

Kotaku called it "catchy, unique and enjoyable". Slidetoplay gave it 4/4 and called it "creative and intelligent", while touchgen gave it an editor’s choice award. Localised into Japanese and French, it was the #1 paid strategy and board game in Japan in April 2011.

The update features remastered artwork for both the new iPad and older 1st and 2nd generation iPads. Double resolution textures suitable for the new iPad’s retina display offer crisp visuals at the retina display’s native resolution. The app is compatible with all versions of iOS 3.2 and above, and includes Apple Game Center and Openfeint integration for online leaderboards and achievements.
$0.99/£0.69/download

Smash Your Food HD

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Today Bellevue, Washington-based Food N’ Me announced the release of its award-winning, Smash Your Food educational game, now available for the iPad at $2.99 on the Apple App store. This fun and exciting mobile game encourages families to smash real foods – burgers, cola, French Fries and entire meals – to learn about nutrition, inspiring healthier food choices while providing parents with personalized emails filled with nutrition advice.

"Smash Your Food, an engaging, empowering tool, provides parents and educators a fun positive way for children to learn about the nutritional aspects of foods that contribute to excessive calories consumption – allowing them to make better food choices at home and on-the-go," said Frederic De Wulf, CEO and Co-Founder, Food N’ Me.

"Childhood obesity is a nationwide problem and our mission is to mobilize families to eat well," said De Wulf, whose vision for the game included smashing actual food in HD with vivid sound effects, and inspired a 10-foot, real-life robot called ”MASTER SMASH".

Recently lauded by the White House as a winner in First Lady Michelle Obama’s "Apps For Healthy Kids" National Contest, Smash Your Food was selected from hundreds of submitted games by industry leaders, including Mark Pincus, CEO Zynga (Farmville), and Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder, Apple Computer. Developers were challenged to "develop fun and engaging software tools and games that drive children, especially tweens (ages 9-12) – directly or through their parents – to eat better and be more physically active". Statistics show childhood obesity is out of control. Today, nearly one in three children in America is overweight or obese. In total, we are now eating 31 percent more calories than we were forty years ago – including 56 percent more fats and oils and 14 percent more sugars and sweeteners. (Source: Michelle Obama’s "Lets Move!" Campaign.)

Smash Your Food is a great way for kids to learn about what they’re putting into their bodies. When they smash common foods, they see and hear for themselves about the startling amounts of sugar, salt and oil in those foods. Kids say things like, ‘Whoa, I had no idea that there are 25 cubes of sugar in a medium milkshake!’ and ‘Eeeeew! Look at all that oil, I’m not eating that again!’ Best yet, ‘I’ll have fruit instead of fries with my sandwich.’ It’s that exciting moment of positive education that encourages kids to change their eating behavior on their own.
$2.99/£1.99/download

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About Joanne Carter

Joanne Carter is the Founder and Editorial Director of TheAppWhisperer.com. A Professional Photographer and Associate of the British Industry of Professional Photographers, BIPP, as well as a Professional Journalist, specializing in Photography. Joanne is also a Columnist for Vogue Magazine and is Contributing Editor to LensCulture.