Cat Physics, Ol’ Man Yellor among this week’s free iPhone apps

Jul 27, 2010
Tech

I’m not trying to get all Shakespearean on you, but what’s in a name? It’s not immediately evident what to make of Cat Physics, Ol’ Man Yellor or OtoBlock from their titles, but that’s what I’m here for. So read on to learn more about those wonderfully free apps, as well as Chat The Game […]

I’m not trying to get all Shakespearean on you, but what’s in a name? It’s not immediately evident what to make of Cat Physics, Ol’ Man Yellor or OtoBlock from their titles, but that’s what I’m here for.

So read on to learn more about those wonderfully free apps, as well as Chat The Game and a free demo of Need For Speed Shift. And I promise to limit the Shakespeare references.

Heavy on physics, light on cats

If there’s one thing I like, it’s a solid iPhone physics game. If there are two things I like, it’s a solid iPhone physics game and cats. Of course, you can throw out your preconceived notions of cat apps when it comes to Donut Games’ Cat Physics – the app isn’t full of adorable kitten-filled YouTube videos and cats aren’t really a big part of this download. Instead, this is a surprisingly in-depth and entertaining physics game, with the goal of passing a ball from one cat to another across 50 puzzles. You are aided by arrows that propel the ball in a certain direction, and there are plenty of other twists that I won’t spoil in this review. The graphics are even great for a free game and there’s a scoring system that adds a good deal of replay value. Ignore the whole cats thing, regardless of how you feel about the animal — as long as you’re a physics game fan, you’ll love this one.

Mad libs meets the iPhone

Ol’ Man Yellor may not be the most useful app in the world, but there’s something to be said for an app that can give you a good laugh – or at least a smile. This simple app allows you to fill in six parts of a story, things like when the incident happened and what the offending creature was. Ol’ Man Yellor then tells the tale, and you have the option to email the audio file or listen to it as many times as you’d like. There are plenty of variables and, according to the app’s iTunes App Store page, more than 2 billion possible stories to tell. I’m not claiming this will end up on any “best of” lists, but Ol’ Man Yellor is a humorous app that is easy to use and that works well; for a free app, that’s plenty.

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The rhythm machine app

Admittedly, there’s a lot going on in OtoBlock that I don’t understand – that will happen when half the app is in Japanese. That’s also part of the beauty of this music app, though; while there’s no tutorial, it’s immediately clear how to work the app. It’s also immediately fun and addictive, as you put different blocks that represent different sounds into place to make various beats. Each sequence allows you to use eight blocks, and there are four sequences you can program in all. You can also change the speed of the rhythms, though more musically advanced iPhone users may find the options a little on the light side. While it definitely wouldn’t hurt my feelings to see some more sounds added, this is a great app for those looking to play with a basic rhythm machine.

Social networking and live sports

I’m mentioning Chat The Game because of the idea behind the app as much as the app itself. Anyone who’s played around with MLB At Bat’s Around the Ballpark feature will immediately recognize what this app offers – you chat with other fans about the game. There are two important differences with Chat The Game, though, as it’s not limited to baseball games (it covers the Cubs, White Sox, Rush, Fire, Blackhawks and Arlington Park Racetrack) and you don’t have to be at the event to access the chat. Of course it has its own limitations, namely the fact that it only covers Chicago sports and it only works if people are chatting. So while it’s far from the perfect app, it’s definitely the kind of idea that could take off – only time will tell if it does.

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Free lite game of the week

I’ve touted EA’s Need for Speed series as often as possible — even at one time referring to it as the best series of the iPhone’s best genre (racing games). But if I haven’t yet convinced you to check out one of the series’ titles, then hopefully a free preview will. Need For Speed Shift FREE is about as limited as lite games get, only allowing you to race one track on one of four difficulty levels. Fortunately, that’s enough to showcase Shift’s smooth gameplay, great graphics and wonderful controls. The full version has quite a few more features, including 20 cars, six game modes (including multi-player) and 18 tracks. The full game is down to $4.99, and though it’s been out for months, I’m still confident in my claim that it’s as good as racing gets on the iPhone. And now you don’t have to trust me — you can experience it for yourself.

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David Lister

David Lister is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is a former editor and writer at the NationalSportsReview.com and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. 

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