In this week's legitimately purchased app roundup: Google Buzz, appified! Games, sold Costco-style! App Store meme marriages, consummated! Ragdoll physics, taken to its logical conclusion! And more...
This Week's Best Apps
Vlingo: Vlingo's updated their popular (well, BlackBerry popular) voice transcription app with a new interface. The core functionality - voice actuated calling, web, Facebook and Twitter updates and mapping - is still there, and the newly organised homescreen literally spells out how to use each function. The catch, though, is that to use the new features, like the email and SMS transcription, you have to pay either $9 each, or $13 for both. This feels steep, considering that equally capable transcription apps like Dragon Dictation are free, and offer shortcuts for copying transcribed text for pasting into emails or SMSes. There's still enough in the free version to justify a download, though.
Hot Tub Time Machine Soundboard: Step one: Watch this preview. Step two: Watch it again. Step three: Make your friends watch it, so they understand why you keep injecting this soundboard into your conversations. Step four: Bask, smugly, in your role as king of a miniature comedy empire that you created, and that you'll rule until the day this movie comes out. Then, it will crumble. But hey!
Buzzie: The first native iPhone app for Google Buzz sadly isn't free, but it's good enough to justify its $2.49 price for avid Buzzers (whoever you are):
As the first iPhone app for Buzz, Buzzie gets a lot right. The minimalist UI recalls the classier breed of Twitter apps, like Tweetie, why the local and map views are a treat to see rendered natively, in the app and on a Google Map, respectively. My only reservations? I don't see a way to post images in a new Buzz, which is kind of a big deal for avid users. That, and I've found that even when I check the "Remember Me" box, I'm sometimes logged out when the app starts up.
Fart Hero: Rhythm games are popular, and a lot of people resent this. Fart apps are also popular, and even more people begrudge that. So, it is a proud moment for me when I can present to you the most resentable app of all time: Fart Hero! It's like Guitar Hero, except instead of playing an imaginary guitar, you're playing an imaginary anus. You may max out the game's humour potential in a matter of seconds, but using it will bring you one broad step closer to understanding the ineffable essence of the App Store, as we know it today.
This game is philosophically problematic. Why must these poor human-like things be launched into dangerous situations? And in the service of solving a seemingly infinite set of puzzles? I don't know. The ragdolls don't know. It's a sad situation. It's also an extremely catchy game, especially if you appreciate a good physics game.
All-In-1 Gamebox: We've written about how there's massive pressure on app developers to hit rock bottom prices in the App Store, wondering, earnestly, how can a developer thrive in a $US0.99 economy? It is an interesting question! Well, ha ha, we were so naive. All-In-1 Gamebox is a single app with 25 unique games packaged inside. They're all distinct. Most of the are fine. Some of them are good. A couple of them are worthless. A handful of them could have easily been sold for $US0.99. And each is sold here for roughly four cents, minus Apple's cut.
Granted, it's not like 25 developers are going in on a single app here - the games all come from one source, as far as I can tell - but still, an app like this sets our price expectations hilariously low. Alas, you are not devs, so here's what you need to know: aside from the best of the best of the $US1 games, it's hard to imagine a better timewaster that AI1 Gamebox, at least for the price.
This Week's iPhone News On Giz
This list is in no way definitive. If you've spotted a great app that hit the store this week, give us your firsthand impressions in the comments. And for even more apps: see our previous weekly roundups here, and check out our Favourite iPhone Apps Directory. Have a great weekend, everybody!