Fresh iPhone Apps for May 23: Shine, Alice: Madness Returns, Candy Train, 7 Little Words

May 23, 2011
Games

It’s Monday, and that means a crop of new apps to help get you through the upcoming week. Most of today’s standouts on our Fresh Apps list are free: like Alice: Madness Returns, an interactive storybook that tells a weird, not-for-children version of the ever-creepy book; Candy Train, the latest to hit the App Store […]

It’s Monday, and that means a crop of new apps to help get you through the upcoming week. Most of today’s standouts on our Fresh Apps list are free: like Alice: Madness Returns, an interactive storybook that tells a weird, not-for-children version of the ever-creepy book; Candy Train, the latest to hit the App Store from PopCap’s new label, 4th & Battery; and 7 Little Words, an addictive word-scramble-like puzzler that’s free to play with some in-app purchases if you like what you see. And leading them all is Shine, an app designed to give you the weather forecast quickly and easily. The only catch is, you have to pay for the app.

Shine – Weather at a Glance (iPhone, iPad) $0.99

You get simple weather in an elegant display with Shine, and not much else – which is kind of the point, really. The second half of Shine’s title is “weather at a glance,” and a speedy, easy to read weather update is for the next 36 hours is exactly what the app is designed to deliver.

Shine includes more information than just a 36-hour forecast, though: in fact, it includes information from the National Weather Service to keep you updated on what’s coming in weather for seven days. The app includes info on conditions, temperature, and precipitation and wind speed, and it can even bring you hourly forecast updates of what to expect each day.

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Alice: Madness Returns (iPhone, iPad) Free

Alice: Madness Returns is a creepy but beautiful interactive storybook that puts a fairly adult spin on the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland. The app is actually a promotional tool for a video game of the same name coming to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which is a sequel to American McGee’s Alice on the PC.

An interest in the game and prior knowledge of the story aren’t really necessary to enjoy Alice: Madness Returns, though. The app is an interactive storybook that tells a story of madness and hallucination for Alice, who wind up in an insane asylum after the deaths of her parents and sister. Playing along with the book isn’t too tough and it’s kind of fun, while also dishing out a much more adult and spooky version of the children’s story with some great art along the way. The app also provides a $10-off coupon for the Alice: Madness Returns video game.

Candy Train (iPhone, iPad) Free

PopCap’s new game development label, 4th & Battery, made a splash in the App Store a couple weeks ago with Unpleasant Horse. Its newest offering, Candy Train, is far more pleasant, still free, and another solid and entertaining casual game. It’s all about building train tracks by tapping pieces of track to rotate them. They’re all over the screen at all times and your train is always moving, so you’ll need to keep out in front of it to provide a track for it to run on and keep it from crashing.

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Candy Train’s true goal, apart from survival, is to direct your train to additional cars that pop up around the screen as time goes on. Directing the train to these cars adds them to the engine, increasing your score but extending the train and making planning for track that much more difficult, as well as fun and hectic.

7 Little Words (iPhone, iPad) Free (with in-app purchases of $0.99 each)

A simple, free and fun word game is on offer in 7 Little Words. The premise is really easy to pick up: the game gives you seven clues for words, like ones you might get in a word search puzzle. Beneath the clues are fragments of words, usually consisting of two or three letters. It’s your job to figure out the words to which each clue pertains by taking a look at the word fragments, and arranging them in the proper order.

You don’t get timed or scored in 7 Little Words; the game is just about figuring things out at your own pace. There are 20 puzzles available for free within the app, with two more 50-puzzle packs available for $0.99 each.

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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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