New iPhone apps worth downloading: Moving Christmas, You Choose!: PIRATES, City Conquest

by Phil Hornshaw

We’ve got a few entries in today’s apps worth downloading that are geared specifically toward kids. First up is Moving Christmas, an interactive storybook app for iPad users that tells the story of Santa attempting to move his workshop to the South Pole. You Choose! Pirates is also a title for kids, focusing on letting kids make choices about how the story turns out and solve puzzles along the way. Finally, City Conquest brings tower defense and tower assault together to give players an interesting turn-based strategy experience.

Moving Christmas (iPad) (Free)

What’s it about? Moving Christmas is an interactive storybook app for kids, featuring a story about Santa and his operation dealing with the effects of climate change.

What’s cool? The story follows the exploits of Frank, who is hired by Claus & Co. to move Santa’s Workshop from the North Pole to the South Pole to escape melting ice. It communicates the climate change issue without being preachy. The book also includes voice-over narration, allowing kids to read to themselves at their own speed, or have the app’s narrator read the story to them.

Who’s it for? Kids in the early stages of reading and parents looking for some modern Christmas stories.

What’s it like? Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas also provides kids learning to read with a book that can read itself to them, as does How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.

You Choose!: PIRATES ($1.99)

What’s it about? Another game/story geared toward kids, You Choose!: PIRATES is something of an interactive choose-your-own-adventure.

What’s cool? In You Choose!: PIRATES, kids follow along with the app’s story and are asked to make decisions about what they would do in given situations – like whether they should join a pirate crew or take a chance at stowing away on the pirates’ ship. The game also includes a number of puzzles to solve around the way, making it something of a hybrid adventure game-story book. Players earn a number of badges along the way, which adds more challenges and will make your kids feel more accomplished.

Who’s it for? Children should get a kick out of You Choose!: PIRATES, but the app is geared more toward being a storytelling game and less about learning to read, like many similar titles.

What’s it like? MacGuffin’s Curse is another title that’s heavy on puzzles and story.

City Conquest (Free)

What’s it about? Turn-based strategy title City Conquest has players fighting in a futuristic civil war, summoning troops and artillery to take down the cities of their enemies.

What’s cool? City Conquest feels a bit like a mix between tower defense and turn-based strategy titles. You don’t directly control your units each turn. Instead, you deploy soldiers, tanks and other forces, which follow set paths across the map to fight off your enemies. Your opponent sets up defenses along the way in a similar fashion to tower defense games, and you need to do the same on your side of the map to defend against enemy troops marching toward you. City Conquest includes a decently length campaign, plus both online and hotseat multiplayer so you can engage with others, be they your friends or total strangers. The full campaign and a few other features require an in-app purchase of $4.99 to unlock.

Who’s it for? Tower defense and strategy game fans will find City Conquest has a lot of what they like, with a new take on familiar ideas.

What’s it like? Tower assault title Anomaly: Warzone Earth has players sending troops into battle against enemy towers, Defenders of Ardania for iPad also has players taking on the roles of both defender and attacker.

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