Capture your important moments and turn them into animated .GIF images with the help of Flixel. Rather than just making short, looped animations, Flixel allows users to animate just a part of an image to make cool still photographs. For March Madness watchers, or just sports fans in general, there’s a brand-new update to social sports app PlayUp. In games, we’ve got a couple of quality casual titles: Harry the Fairy, a tilt-based side-scroller, and Node.Hack, a speedy reaction-based title that has players hacking into networks and avoiding security programs.
Flixel (iPhone, iPad) Free
Photography app Flixel is in the business of creating animated .GIF files. Those are the images you see around the Internet that loop a few frames of still images together to make a very short animation. Flixel allows users to capture several frames of action using their iOS devices, then animate just certain parts of the still image – like birthday candles on a cake, for example.
What makes Flixel cool is how easy the animation process is. You just swipe a finger over the area of the frame you want animated, and Flixel adds the rest of the stills to that area. Once you’re done, you can share your image with one tap on Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter, or by email. You can also view well-liked Flixel images from other users, as well.
PlayUp update (iPhone, iPad) Free
Just in time for March Madness comes an update to social sports viewing app PlayUp. Already, fans could use PlayUp to keep track of scores across lots of different sports, ranging from Major League Baseball to the National Hockey League and everything in between. You can also engage in discussions with friends across the app about more 23,000 different games.
The updated PlayUp app includes a newly redesigned interface. It also includes tabs that can be used to quickly flip between different games and keep up with the action, and lets users add friends from different social networks quickly and easily. You can also message across multiple social networks at once from within PlayUp.
Harry the Fairy (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
There are stars to collect and fairies to free in Harry the Fairy, a tilt-based game in which you need to guide the titular Harry through various levels, carefully avoiding traps, obstacles and hazards. The game is deceptively simple – your only real goal is to reach the end of each series of tunnels – but the only way to pull down the best possible score in each level is to seek out stars and power-ups.
Those power-ups consist mostly of bubbles that protect you from harm, guaranteeing a second chance should you mess up and veer into a wall. Harry the Fairy excels with solid tilt controls and is easy to learn. It contains 28 levels and also packs Game Center support with achievements and leaderboards, which track how well you do in each level as well as how fast you complete them.
Node.Hack (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
Another casual game to start the week is Node.Hack, a game in which you take on the role of a hacker attempting to liberate some data from various networks and collect some cash along the way. The controls are extremely easy. On each grid-based level, you just tap the node you want to access, looking for ones that contain data you can download to earn various sums of money. Your goal is to steal a certain amount in each network.
Things get more complex as AI security programs join the game, searching the network for your offending programming. If an AI drone runs into your glowing circular indicator, you lose, so you’ll have to avoid run-ins as you quickly download as much as you can and get out of the network. Weapon power-ups can be used if you cross their nodes, but timing and careful planning, as well as fast reflexes, are everything.