Fresh iPhone Apps for June 1: Maps+, Leafsnap, Popstar Physics, Anodia

Jun 1, 2011
Games

It’s the middle of a shortened week and the start of a new month – how’s about some free apps? We’ve got three freebies on offer this Wednesday, starting with Maps+, a handy app that will likely replace your iPhone’s shipped maps app. After that, we’ve got Leafsnap, an app designed to help users identify […]

It’s the middle of a shortened week and the start of a new month – how’s about some free apps? We’ve got three freebies on offer this Wednesday, starting with Maps+, a handy app that will likely replace your iPhone’s shipped maps app. After that, we’ve got Leafsnap, an app designed to help users identify trees by snapping photos of their leaves. In the games department, the follow-up to the awesome physics puzzler Save Toshi DX is here: Popstar Physics. It includes zombies, and it’s also free. Finally, there’s brick-breaker game Anodia. It’ll run you $1.99 and it’s the only entry on our list that’s not free, but it’s totally worth the price. Read on below.

Maps+ (iPhone, iPad) Free

An alternative to the native Google Maps that comes on your iOS devices, Maps+ features a lot of additional features that take it above and beyond what’s already available on your iPhone when it comes out of the box. The app supports several map types and allows you to create and edit GPS tracks while you’re on the go, as well as check out your location, altitude, coordinates, and other useful orienteering-type information.

Maps+ can allow users to export bookmarks or pins they place on their maps to iTunes or email, allowing you to share location and map data with others if you should need to. It also supports integration with Twitter, so you can actually plot your friends and followers’ tweets on your maps.

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Leafsnap (iPhone, iPad) Free

All you amateur botanists and hikers out there will want to snag Leafsnap, a free app that’s a collaborative effort by the Smithsonian Institution, Columbia University and the University of Maryland. It integrates several field guides’ worth of data in one place to help users identify and discover trees they see in the wild. The app actually uses visual recognition technology to identify trees by their leaves: snap a picture, and Leafsnap will try to figure out the kind of tree at which you’re looking.

In addition to figuring out what tree it is you’re looking at, Leafsnap contains a lot of information to help you once you’ve made an identification. The app contains all kinds of high-resolution, tree-related images, helping you to learn about a tree’s leaves, flowers, fruit and more. While the app is limited to trees in the Northeast United States at the moment, its developers promise updates of tree species from all over the country in the near future.

Popstar Physics (iPhone, iPad) Free

Ever play Save Toshi DX? The physics puzzler required players to shoot tennis balls at stacks of objects in order to break or move them. The idea was to use physics to push Toshi, a Japanese pop star usually standing on all those breakable and movable objects, onto a dance floor – she’d forgotten how to walk for the purposes of puzzles. Regardless of how weird it sounds, Save Toshi was a fun and intuitive physics game. Popstar Physics, the follow-up to Save Toshi, is more of the same, except this time, you don’t have to save Toshi, you have to kill zombies.

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Each puzzle in Popstar Physics includes zombie Toshis, and you have to destroy them to save Toshi from demons, I guess. Regardless of any logical reason, the same mechanics from Save Toshi are back and in great form, requiring players to strategically break and push objects in order to collapse them on the Toshi zombies. Popstar Physics features 20 3D levels, and if Save Toshi is any indication, updates will likely bring more in the future.

Anodia (iPhone, iPad) $1.99

Pong-style brick-breaking games are spread all over the iTunes App Store, and many are passable at best. Anodia, on the other hand, feels like a brick-breaker with some creativity in level design, making it feel like a much more modern take on a classic game. Each level offers an interesting challenge in bouncing a destructive ball off a moving paddle, be it smashing hanging lamps or disrupting a grid of erratically moving orbs.

Like any brick-breaker game, Anodia packs lots of power-ups that can give the player an edge (or take it away) and mix up the title’s gameplay. It also includes Game Center support, which provides Anodia with achievements and leaderboards that players can use to measure their successes in its two game modes and 50 levels.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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