Fresh iPhone Apps for Sep. 29: Shazam update, Shadowgun, Pixel Ranger

Sep 29, 2011
Games

Music identification app Shazam gets a big update today, allowing unlimited song tagging for its users. It heads up today’s crop of Fresh iPhone Apps, along with a couple of new games: Shadowgun, a beautiful third-person shooter in the vein of the popular Xbox 360 game Gears of War, built on the Unity engine, and […]

Music identification app Shazam gets a big update today, allowing unlimited song tagging for its users. It heads up today’s crop of Fresh iPhone Apps, along with a couple of new games: Shadowgun, a beautiful third-person shooter in the vein of the popular Xbox 360 game Gears of War, built on the Unity engine, and Pixel Ranger, an arcade shooter with an 8-bit aesthetic.

Shazam update (iPhone, iPad) Free

Shazam Entertainment is rolling out a big new change to its music identification app, allowing users access to unlimited song “tagging,” a previously paid service. With unlimited tagging, users of the free app can now use Shazam to identify as many songs as they want, as often as they want. The app works by using your iOS device’s microphone to “listen” to a song. Shazam then bounces the information out to the Internet using a Wi-Fi or 3G connection, figures out what song you’re hearing, and gives you the information back along with more options, like the ability to buy the track.

Unlimited tagging means users can now use Shazam to quickly and easily find music tracks, whether they know the songs or not, in order to purchase them through iTunes. If you’re riding in the car, say, and your favorite new song pops-up on the radio, you can use Shazam to grab it, purchase it, and add it to your iTunes Library almost instantly. The app also lets you connect with Facebook to see what your friends are tagging, and use that info to find even more new music.

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In celebration of Shazam’s new features, the developer is having a contest that enters users in a drawing to win $25,000 and a chance to meet singer Kelly Clarkson. All you have to do for a chance to win is tag songs using the app. Seems like a pretty good reason to use Shazam, as if you might need another one.

Shadowgun (iPhone, iPad) $7.99

Last week, console gamers got Gears of War 3, a cover-based third-person sci-fi shooter. This week, iOS players get a similar game, with lots of the same sensibilities, slick controls and plenty of bad guys to shoot. Built on the Unity engine, Shadowgun has some phenomenal graphics and feels quite a bit like a console game, requiring players to blast enemies with weapons like submachine guns, rocket launchers and shotguns, while taking cover behind walls and corners to avoid getting dropped themselves.

With a variety of enemies to take down, a few huge bosses to fight, and solid voice acting and production values, Shadowgun is yet another big reminder of the awesome stuff developers can do with smartphone games. It feels quite a bit like the console title it’s impersonating but on the small scale.

Pixel Ranger (iPhone, iPad) $0.99

An old-school arcade shooter, Pixel Ranger puts you in the role of an 8-bit cowboy fighting to stop evil pixel aliens. In each of the game’s levels, you’ll  fight a variety of enemies with your pixel-firing shotgun, then collect the pixels they leave behind to keep yourself in ammo. Get hit too many times or run out of pixels to fire back at your enemies, and it’s game over.

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Pixel Ranger packs a campaign mode with 50 different levels, as well as an endless mode in which you’ll see how long you can last against waves of enemies. You’ll need to gather power-ups to amp up your weapons as you fight. Pixel Ranger also includes Game Center support for achievements and leaderboards.

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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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