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New iPhone apps worth downloading: Fantastical, Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas, Spaceteam

by Phil Hornshaw

The slick calendar app Fantastical, which provides a simple user interface to make scheduling as easy as possible, kicks off today’s list. For kids and parents, we’ve got Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas, a digital version of the famous poem. Finally, Spaceteam is a multiplayer game that lets players man the random controls of a doomed spacecraft, along with their friends.

Fantastical ($1.99)

What’s it about? Calendar app Fantastical is fast, simple and supports a number of handy features, like dictation, should your iOS device include that capability.

What’s cool? Fantastical’s user interface makes adding events extremely easy to do, and its intuitive nature means you can type things like “Meeting Paul on Friday at Wherever” and the app will plug it into the calendar quickly and easily. You can also import your Facebook events, dictate your events to the app if you have a newer device, and sync with iCloud and Google Calendar, among other services.

Who’s it for? Fantastical is for anyone who wants to be more organized and mindful.

What’s it like? PocketLife Calendar and Cozi Family Organizer are handy apps that have manageable calendar features.

Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas ($1.99)

What’s it about? Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas is a digital book adaptation of the Christmas poem, featuring Wubbzy and his friends.

What’s cool? Kids who enjoy the Wubbzy characters might enjoy this digital reinterpretation of “The Night Before Christmas,” and the app is one of those storybooks that makes it easy for kids to read by themselves. The app has Read To Me and Read & Play options. In the former, a programed narrator takes care of reading and in the latter kids read along with the words to help with reading comprehension. Kids can play mini-games, sing along with music videos, and interact with a coloring book section using their fingers to add color to the scenes.

Who’s it for? Wubbzy’s is for kids, specifically, and should be helpful to those who are learning to read. It contains a lot of features for a variety of age groups, though.

What’s it like? For more Wubbzy books, try Wubbzy’s Space Adventure, and The Cat and the Hat for a Dr. Seuss take on kids’ book apps.

Spaceteam (Free)

What’s it about? You know those scenes from shows such as Star Trek, where members of the bridge crew shout at each other and press various buttons on their consoles, all while streaming technobabble that doesn’t really mean anything to the viewer? Spaceteam lets you and your friends be those technicians!

What’s cool? If it sounds a bit goofy, it is. Spaceteam connects two to four players over Bluetooth and turns each of their iOS devices into a terminal on a fictional spaceship. Your job is to hit buttons and coordinate with one another to keep the ship from exploding – which, eventually, it does anyway. Each member of the team is being sent time-sensitive instructions, so you need to work together and coordinate to get everything done. Your control panel is also randomized, to add to the hectic confusion.

Who’s it for? Sci-fi fans and anybody who likes to play goofy games with friends should give Spaceteam a go.

What’s it like? Epic Astro Story is a sci-fi themed management game with a similar vibe, and Galactic Empires puts players on the path to galactic conquest.

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