This Week's Best iPhone Apps

In this week's proprietary app roundup: Cooking amateurs, schooled! Your depth perception, fooled! Smooth-edged drawings, sketched! Human communication, stretched! And more...

Jibbigo: I don't care if the speech recognition is a notch below Dragon Dictation. I don't care if the translations are just a notch above Google Translate. I don't care if the end result is an app that's just barely good enough to be useful in a foreign country. I don't care if it's expensive. The fact that I can speak a phrase into my iPhone, and have it awkwardly enunciate that same phrase back in a different language, even if it doesn't work every time, is enough to make even the most jaded tech writer grin like an idiot. $30 per language.

Babo Crash: You've probably played a match-3 game before (think Bejeweled), but Babo Crash throws in a welcome addition: power ups. Power ups! If you line up enough jewels, you can activate a handful of creatures, all of which destroy the board in different ways. Some vomit! Some zap! Some smash! Etc.

Anyway, if you only want to buy one rock-shuffling game, it may as well be this one. Game play will feel familiar to anyone who's played a match-3 game before, the power ups help spice up what is by definition repetitive gameplay, and an iPad version is included. $1.19.

MacGruber: The game's not great, but if you're excited about the MacGruber movie, the soundboard, mullet generator and ringtones are worth a fistful of chuckles. Free.

Nigella Quick Collection: The experience of watching a Nigella Lawson cooking show falls somewhere between getting drunkenly flirted with and learning how to cook: Neither is really happening, but the overall sensation is pretty great. Nigella's iPhone app loses points for simply not having very much video, but the recipes and interface are equally agreeable.

Icarus-X: If I had to sacrifice all other mobile games to save tower defence games and top-down space shooters, I would. Speaking of the latter, Icarus-X is a top-down shooter of the "DODGE DODGE DODGE WHOA HOW DID I NOT JUST DIE" school of design, for which I love it. Graphics are top notch, controls are plainly intuitive (though I wouldn't mind a bit more of an offset between my thumb and the ship), and the difficulty level is high, but not prohibitively so. $2.49.

Articles: Do you know what would give Wikipedia an air of authority? Better writing and editing. A close second, though, is a super-swish interface, like Articles. It's got maps integration, photo gallery functions and intelligent page formatting, which makes Wikipedia feel more like a unified, well-curated resource, much more so than the site's mobile interface.

How To Cook Everything: Mark Bittman's kitchen tome, How To Cook Everything, is as close to an amateur cooking Bible as there is. Now, more or less its entire contents - that's about 2000 recipes, as well as tons of useful guides for cooking techniques and tool use - have been crammed into this $2.49 (for now) app.

Extras include shopping lists and step-by-step timers, but the core value here is in the information: to that end, this app presents recipes and guides in a way that makes sense and requires a little user interaction as possible.

Holotoy: A 3D simulation toy that uses anamophosis projection to give the impression of real depth, which… eh, just watch the video. Seeing the effect is worth the price of entry; the minigames are pure bonus. $1.19. [via TUAW]

Adobe Ideas: This one made its debut on the iPad, where it is indispensable. It's a simple vector-based sketching app, with line normalisation, layers, a larger-than-screen canvas and PDF export. It's free.

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!

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