In this week's bipolar app roundup: Foursquare, squared! Videos, easily streamed! Street Fighter fans' high standards, met! Twitter apps, set free! Your entire life, documented! Your every plan, shared! And more...
This Week's Apps
Foursquare: If you've never used Foursquare, here's how it works: Whenever you go somewhere, like a restaurant or a hot-dog cart, or hell, your friend's apartment, you check in. Your Foursquare friends can then see where you've gone, and vice versa. You can even become the Mayor of a place by going there enough! It's weird. It's aggressively internet-y. And now, it looks different: the app's been redesigned to be, in my mind, a bit more sensible. Your friends' activity is now displayed in a more feed-like way, and the whole app just feels… different. Still free.
Fourface: Again with the FourSquare! Except this time, your local check-in options are displayed as pretty - though not entirely practical - visualisations. It might not be apparent to new FourSquare users, but serious addicts will understand the value of a little variety in their relentless check-in routines.
Street Fighter IV: Bring Street Fighter to the iPhone could, and probably should, have ended in tears. But it didn't:
It's a gorgeous port of Street Fighter IV, from flaming dragon punches - when you can pull them off - to ultra moves, which retain the quick cut scene close-up as a prelude to beating the unholy crap out of your opponent, to the booming, overly enthusiastic announcer that no Capcom fighting game is complete without. If you remember the days of Mortal Kombat on the Game Boy, it's kind of awe-inspiring how richly they've translated the audio and visual experience, even if the framerates do get a little choppy on anything pre-3GS.
And the controls?
You have a sparse selection of buttons, at first glance, just four onscreen, plus the virtual joystick: punch, kick, special attack (which can be used for fully automatic specials, or just be the button you tap after performing the full movement for EX specials), and saving, which is used for focus attacks and counters. What you didn't know is that the ultra and super meters are buttons themselves, which you can tap to unleash ultimate destruction, if your meter's filled. Truthfully, this layout is as good it could get.
So, they're fine. $12.99 is reasonable, if you're a SF fan. If not, it's probably a bit steep.
Brizzly: Oh, the mixed emotions! Brizzly ate Birdfeed, which was one of the prettiest, slickest iPhone Twitter apps available. The bad news is, Brizzly isn't as visually striking as Birdfeed was, nor is it as fluid to use. The good news is, it's still a great Twitter app, and it's free. Free! Birdfeed used to be, like, five dollars, so this is great news for everyone except diehard Tweetie fans.
Springpad: Grabs, records and archives little scraps of information from pretty much any source. Photos get tagged and saved. Barcodes get scanned. Notes get taken and filed. Locations get memorised. It's like a scrapbook for everything, or like Evernote, with broader ambitions. Free.
Tweet Defense: So, what you've got here is a solidly entertaining tower defence game, with a nice little twist: Twitter integration! Not spammy LET'S PLAY THIS GAME TOGETHER AND BUY SOME APPS Twitter integration, but a more subtle type: Your Twitter stats, like your number of followers and tweets, help make your weapons more powerful. $1.19.
Air Video: Not the newest app, but man, this thing is basically magical. Says Joel:
I downloaded the Air Video server software to my first-generation unibody MacBook Pro, pointed it at a local folder full of video, and activated it. (It's also available for Windows.) Then I opened up the Air Video iPhone app to find a simple directory listing. Within about three minutes from first discovering Air Video I was watching a 720p episode of a television program on my iPhone, streaming over my local Wi-Fi network.
It even works over 3G. And all for $3.99.
Tony Hawk Something Something Something: This one isn't up for download yet - in fact, the only proof we have of its existence is this blurry shot posted on Tony Hawk's Posterous - but the iPhone really, really needs another decent skateboarding game. Soon, maybe!
Plancast: Like FourSquare, except instead of broadcasting your location to people, you're broadcasting your plans, which is sharey and modern and all, sure, but it's also practical. (!!!) Free.
This Week's iPhone News on Giz
(Video of the upcoming Sword and Sworcery EP)
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!