In this week's churlish app roundup: Fruits, thwacked! Fingers, hacked! Golf balls, smacked! Quiz questions, cracked! Three dimensions, tracked! Your personal translator, sacked! These apps are fantastic: Fact.
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Qrank: Bar quiz-style trivia played against other people, in real time, online. You can play against strangers or friends. The app is well-designed an easy to use, in that it kind of disappears as you use it—the questions become the focus, and the games, which don't last terribly long, are engrossing. That said, the questions, which are added daily, could stand to be a little harder. Free.
FixPix: A simple puzzle game by pixel artist eBoy, best described by video. Honestly, it's less of a game than it is an interactive art app. Which is fine!
Converse: EXT. LAKESIDE DOCK, NIGHT:
PROTAGONIST and LOVE INTEREST sit quietly by the lake, a slackly moored rowboat brushing against the swamp reeds. They stare into each others' eyes, unsure as to what to say
PROTAGONIST: I'm so glad I met you.
LOVE INTEREST: QUE?
PROTAGONIST: I'm… I'm so glad I met you.
LOVE INTEREST: QUE?
PROTAGONIST sighs, and gazes, without focus, onto the moon's reflection on the ink-black lake. Then his eyes light up. He pulls out his IPHONE, and opens an app called CONVERSE. He puts LOVE INTEREST's hand on the top of his phone, and keeps his on the bottom.
PROTAGONIST: Just type!
LOVE INTEREST: QUE?
PROTAGONIST types it out on his side of the screen, and it shows up on hers, translated into Spanish. He types his second message.
PROTAGONIST, TYPING: I'm so glad you're here.
LOVE INTEREST, TYPING: What?
Scene. Follow @Converseapp to see when the app is available.
Swine Attack: Says Rosa:
While I love bacon, I hate pigs. They're smelly, loud, and occasionally give me nightmares. This means that I absolutely adore this cheesy little iPhone game that lets me throw knives at piggies to turn them into bacon.
First things first, who the hell hates pigs? Have you ever seen a happy piglet?
It's ridiculous, has goofy graphics and sound effects, and will set you back a buck. But I found SwineAttack to be a great waste of a couple of minutes as well as a fun way to unleash some pork-related wrath.
Manuscript: I don't know if I'd be down to write an entire book on an iPhone (or on a computer for that matter, or with a pencil, or, errr, ha, who am I kidding?) but the idea of importing manuscripts and using this app to take notes, divide chapters, map and catalog characters—I don't know, that seems like a useful tool, right? Authors: let me know. $4
Hand of Greed: More slicing! Except this time, instead of fruit getting sliced by you, it's your fingertips getting sliced by spinning, spearing blades. The objective is to tap treasures without getting cut, and while the animations are somewhat cartoonish, they're realistic enough to make me wince while playing. And ugh, that cutting sound. $1
StoryCorps: A noble nonprofit project to collect an oral history of, well, pretty much anyone, StoryCorps, which you may have heard on NPR, deserved an app. The stories, collected by thousands of people across the country, span just about any subject you can imagine, and the ones presented for listening on the app are invariably spectacular. The app also lets you record your own stories from friends and family, which can be shared—or with a little effort, committed to the Library of Congress.
Gigaputt: An augmented reality golfing game that builds a course around your neighborhood using Google maps, and actually has you physically run to where the ball would have fallen. Games like this are almost always fun if you can commit yourself to the idea in the first place, and this one's no different. $2
ReBirth: An iPhone port of legendary Mac OS synth software, which was itself an emulation of three famous drum machines and synthesizers. If you're not familiar with the name already or well-versed in music production, this app might a be a bit esoteric or specialized for your taste, but even I could create some interesting little loops with this thing.
This list is in no way definitive. If you've spotted a great app that hit the store this week, give us a heads up or, better yet, your firsthand impressions in the comments. And for even more apps: see our previous weekly roundups here, and check out our Favorite iPhone Apps Directory. Have a great weekend, everybody!