Since the first time I saw this game's opening level flyby at the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote last month, it's been on my gotta-have list. The main point of this game is to guide liquid droplets from Point A to Point B, with increasing levels of difficulty. With each level, you're given the task of guiding liquid from its start point to its destination point, using a variety of tools and objects to help you do so.
This simple premise is extremely well implemented, providing brain-teasing fun and 50 levels to challenge you. The game itself utilizes positional audio, takes advantage of the iPhone's multitouch capabilities and 3-D graphics -- and ties it all together with an amazing physics engine.
This game's fun factor is right up there with the best puzzle-based games. Highly recommended.
Comic Touch ($4.99)
From the makers of Comic Life comes Comic Touch, porting some of the best features of Comic Life to surprising effect for a mobile device. Just like Comic Life, you can easily add dialogue balloons to pictures, as well as captions and even some Core Image effects. Unlike Comic Life, you do this on a 3.5-inch screen. The application is so well designed that manipulating photos and text with it feels completely natural. Kudos to the designers for creating an interface that uses the iPhone's capabilities without adding clutter.
When you first launch Comic Life, you're prompted for an image source. After selecting a photo from the Photo Library or Camera, you can then add dialogue balloons, captions and familiar Core Image effects like budge and squeeze. Once done, you can share the results with friends via e-mail, or save the image directly to your Photo Library.
Fans of Comic Life will be fans of Comic Touch, and this application may bring in new fans of Comic Life. If you like to manipulate photos of your friends and want to do so on the go, this is certainly the perfect solution.
Texas Hold 'Em ($4.99)
This nifty take on hold 'em style poker takes advantage of the iPhone's video capabilities, displaying impressive graphics, including footage of your computer opponents. Not only that, this game also allows you to play with your friends within a local Wi-Fi network. (I'm assuming it uses Apple's Bonjour services for auto-discovery, which means you can't play across the internet).
When you first launch this app, you're presented with two game modes (single-player and multiplayer), settings, statistics and help. There are options for play locations such as an Apple-themed garage, an aquarium and even a seat at a poker table in Dubai.
Your computer opponents are digitized humans, and they're very well implemented into the application. Their reactions during the game are amusing, but you can skip over their animations by touching the screen. The game itself uses great work of the touch screen, allowing you to check by double-tapping, fold by dragging your cards to the table, and go all in by doing the same with your chips. By turning the phone from portrait to landscape mode, the view is switched from a first-person view of the action to a table-top view. And when you tap on the Home button, the game is automatically saved until the next time you want to play.
One hint: Read the Help section, which offers up a series of pictures detailing what you can do with the interface and gestures. It may sound obvious, but as impressive as the graphics are for this game, there aren't really any visual cues to let you know what does what.
For poker fans, this game is highly recommended. Go ahead, see if I'm bluffing.