It was difficult slogging through all of the holiday-related apps this week to find the goodies, but I managed to root out a couple of amazing games, some great interactive books for kids and more.
WORLD OF GOO ($9.99)
My 15-year-old daughter has been hunched over her computer playing World of Goo for weeks now, and it’s finally arrived on the iPad. I’m afraid to tell her -- and I can’t believe I’ve been ignorant of this awesome game! It’s based on physics, and requires that you build structures to help goo balls get from one place to the next. It’s gorgeous, full of character and humor, and I’m completely addicted to it. I’m over you, Angry Birds Seasons -- World of Goo has replaced you in my heart.
COSMIC TOP ($1.99)
When the iPad first came out, it seemed there was no end to the interactive-bright-lights-black-background-funky-sounds apps. Cosmic Top is one of those brightly-colored games with an interesting soundtrack; a variety of 3-D shapes will absolutely hypnotize you. Spin them with your fingers, rotate your iPad to see them from all angles, and listen as their sounds whirl with the motion.
BERT AND ERNIE’S GREAT ADVENTURES ($2.99 EACH)
No disrespect meant to Kermit, but Bert and Ernie were always my favorite Sesame Street characters. They’ve landed on the iPad with three interactive storybooks based on the Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures series (“Ahoy, Pirates!”, “Dinosaur Days” and “What’s Cooking”). Listen to Gordon read the story, read it yourself, or record yourself reading it (the app will allow for 10 different recordings). There’s even a coloring book featuring favorite Sesame Street characters.
ANIMATION DESK FOR iPAD (99 CENTS, 70 PERCENT OFF FOR LAUNCH)
My artistic ability never moved beyond stick figures, and I used to spend hours when I should have been listening in school creating little stick figure flip books. While more accomplished artists will certainly get more out of it than I, Animation Desk for iPad brings my flip books to life on my iPad. Draw on onion skin paper, layer another sheet, draw the next movement, and so on. Tap the play button and watch your drawing come to life.
CIRCUS PONIES NOTEBOOK ($29.99)
I’ve decided to include Circus Ponies Notebook ($29.99), even though I think it needs a little bit of work (particularly better syncing with documents in one’s Mac Notebook app). In my opinion, it is by far the best iPad notebook app. It includes multiple templates (including writing a book, writing up a recipe, planning a trip and more), allows for different fonts, sketching within the app, adding photos, voice annotation, adding and annotating PDFs, built-in outlining tool, and displays great organization. It is feature-rich, and I’m confident that future updates will make it even better.