Fresh iPhone Apps for June 22: SpyCam+, TextGrabber, Paper Munchers, Escape From LaVille

Jun 22, 2011
Games

Find some new uses for your iOS device’s cameras with today’s offering of fresh apps. SpyCam+ will record video of anyone in the act who tries to grab your phone and look at it without your consent, and TextGrabber uses your iPhone’s camera to scan text and port it directly into the app. In the […]

Find some new uses for your iOS device’s cameras with today’s offering of fresh apps. SpyCam+ will record video of anyone in the act who tries to grab your phone and look at it without your consent, and TextGrabber uses your iPhone’s camera to scan text and port it directly into the app. In the games department, there’s physics puzzler Paper Munchers and the point-and-click adventure title Escape from LaVille, which boasts the toughest puzzles on the App Store. So good luck with that.

SpyCam+ (iPhone, iPad) $0.99

Smartphones are home to a lot of sensitive information, and not everyone wants whoever just peeking around in their phone whenever they leave the room. SpyCam+ isn’t just for keeping people out of your phone – it’s for identifying who’s trying to get into your phone. The app secretly video records anyone who accesses your phone when it’s enabled, catching them very much in the act and allowing you to make decisions about keeping your information private.

In order to do the whole secret video trick, SpyCam+ packs one other cool idea: It mimics your iOS device’s home screen so the owner of the prying eyes can’t actually access your device or information, while still grabbing any video evidence you might need. You can even change the wallpaper in the background on the app to further sell the deception.

TextGrabber (iPhone, iPad) $1.99

Making use of your iOS device’s camera, TextGrabber is a great idea with a so-so track record. The app lets you snap a photo of text and then recognizes the words and interprets them. You can then edit the text and email it to yourself or others, all from your phone, and you don’t even need an Internet connection to translate the text to begin with.

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TextGrabber is a touch hit-and-miss. It supports 60 languages and in English, it works well when the text is very clear and large – so good for notes or fliers, not so good for things like dense text. Still, TextGrabber is an interesting idea that will hopefully get fine-tuned as time goes on to become more practical and useful, but it still works reasonably well right now.

Paper Munchers (iPhone, iPad) $0.99

The title of Paper Munchers refers to both its papery art style and its primary puzzle-solving mechanic – each level in the game is filled with little paper creatures, and your goal is to knock them into the waiting jaws of several stationary monsters positioned around each stage. To do that, you’ll tap the screen to explode bombs that will send the little creatures flying; the trick is to use knowledge of physics and carefully place your bombs to use as few moves to clear the stage of creatures as possible.

Each stage of Paper Munchers provides a certain number of bombs, and more bombs can be earned by getting multiple creatures in a single mouthful. If you run out, though, you’ll have to tap into your non-renewable batch of bombs, which is limited and carries over into each new level. You get 75 levels for your buck, as well as Game Center support for leaderboards and achievements.

Escape from LaVille (iPhone, iPad) $0.99

Point-and-click adventure title Escape from LaVille claims to have “the toughest puzzles on the App Store,” and if that sounds like your bag – along with a narrative about figuring out the cause of a zombie outbreak – then you’ll want to drop a buck and give this one a go.

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Like other adventure games, Escape from LaVille is all about story, immersing players in characters working to solve a mystery. It’s also carries a dark tone (it’s about zombies, that’s generally pretty dark) and an accompanying graphical style and soundtrack to go with it. Overall, though, this one sounds engaging and spooky, so you’ll probably want to play with headphones.

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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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