MacLife

Wave Trip Review

It's tough to believe that Wave Trip would exist in a world without Sound Shapes. Like that brilliantly experiential PlayStation 3 and Vita platformer, Wave Trip merges music-making with a new take on a well-worn gameplay style, with both allowing users to create and share their own stages using the existing level elements on a simple grid-based layout. The similarities extend into music styles and visual design, but using that framework with a side-scrolling runner makes it feel like more than just a noteworthy imitator, with a stronger focus on skill creating a much different overall tone.

Wave Trip actually plays a bit like another presentationally memorable iOS side-scroller, Whale Trail, with a hero that slowly bobs up and down based on whether or not you're touching the screen. Here, though, the goal is to amass the highest possible score in shorter stages by accumulating both orange and blue icons, with the former increasing your score tally while the latter multiplies the added points. All the while, each collected icon adds a beat to the backing track, creating electronic soundscapes with nearly every minuscule action. Avoiding the enemies that fly into view or move around the screen is key to not only keeping your multiplier intact, but also keeping the beat alive, though a tap on the left side triggers a limited-use shield to ward off nearby aggressors.

Screen 34

The resulting experience locates the fine line between soothing and stress-inducing; the myriad blips and audio effects create catchy beats while the boldly colored icons and backdrops tease the eye, but all the while you're tensely attempting to dodge fast-moving foes and topple the global high scores. And the 20 included stages quickly ramp up in difficulty, so don't let the initial breezy introductions fool you. Stringing together a long chain in the later stages feels like a real accomplishment, particularly since the sluggish movement controls come with a learning curve.

Each pre-made stage can be remixed, or you can create your own from scratch using the various icons and enemies seen throughout the game. They're easily placed upon the level creation grid, which plays back your in-progress aural composition while you add and tweak elements, and completed stages can be freely shared online for others to play. That unlocks a wider world of possibilities and significant replay value, though the sharing interface could use a bit more life. Due to randomly-generated stage names and a lack of previews, tapping each user-created stage listing feels like embarking on a blind date, unsure of whether the outcome will prove fruitful or frightening.

The bottom line. Wave Trip may feel derivative in spots to multiplatform players, but it's nevertheless an exciting and engaging musical odyssey.

Review Synopsis

Product: 

Company: 

Lucky Frame

Price: 

$1.99

Requirements: 

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later

Positives: 

Wonderful audio and visuals. In-game actions create catchy backing tracks. Can create and share your own stages online. Challenging high-score chase.

Negatives: 

Sluggish movements come with a learning curve. No preview or details for the user-created stages. Looks and sounds a whole lot like a recent PlayStation hit.

Score: 
4 Great

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Swipe Review

Most image editing apps for iOS are built to enhance photos or add artistic flourishes such as filters and frames, but what about using text to get your message across? Swipe makes it fun and easy to adorn your pictures with type and quickly share them with the world.

Swipe is a model of simplicity: Merely swipe your finger across the screen wherever you want to add text, tweak to your liking, and then whisk the results off to most anywhere you’d like. Images can be loaded from your device or taken right inside the app, and sharing options include email, Camera Roll, and popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and Instagram). Text can be laid out using more than 100 available fonts, with control over size, color, transparency, rotation, and alignment. To place additional type in a different style, simply swipe again in another part of the image. Texted photos are saved in full resolution, and the app is optimized for the iPhone 5 plus universal for native iPad support.

Screen 35

While the premise of Swipe is deceptively simple, the UI occasionally makes editing harder than it needs to be. While landscape images can be edited in Swipe, the app is locked into portrait mode only. Because the text editor takes up half of the iPhone screen, adding type to the bottom of landscape images was occasionally a challenge. Likewise, we found the text editor less helpful than we’d like. Color can only be selected by moving your finger across the palette, making it a challenge to pick exactly the right hue on smaller screens. Aside from the inability to rotate the display, none of these issues were a concern on my 3rd-gen iPad.

Although the typography is crisp and font choices abundant, I found myself longing for individual stroke and drop shadow tools. Swipe does include a glow tool at the bottom of the text editor, but even at the highest setting, type laid over brighter parts of an image tends to blend into the background too much.

The bottom line. Swipe is a lot of fun for adding multiple layers of text before sharing images with friends. With just a few improvements to the text editor and better support for landscape images, Swipe has the potential to become an indespensible tool for your photos.

Review Synopsis

Company: 

Dana Shakiba

Price: 

$1.99

Requirements: 

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later

Positives: 

More than 100 quality fonts. Wide variety of sharing options. Sharp typography while retaining full image resolution.

Negatives: 

Landscape images must be viewed and edited in portrait mode. No individual tools for stroke or drop shadow. Text editor tends to obscure images on iPhone.

Score: 
3 Solid

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