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Top 5 Free Apps

Release Date: August 05, 2009
Genre: Games
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Genre: Games
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Genre: Games
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iTunes New Music Releases

Release Date: September 29, 2009
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Top 5 Paid Apps

Release Date: April 22, 2009
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Games

Review: Buggled and FriendZoo

The App Store is not even six months old, but there's already a wide range of software available, particularly in the games department. Entertainment titles run the gamut from first-person shooters to sports to cute little apps that sell for just a buck or two. You can file Aspyr Media's Buggled and FriendZoo in that last category. While neither one will set the world on fire, they're a good entry point for a company that has a long track record of porting games to the Mac but is still finding its way with original development.

Buggled challenges you, or a friend or two, to hold down some ladybugs while releasing others when told. The game starts by requiring you to hold down just two or three at a time before introducing the idea of releasing one while keeping the others under control. Release a ladybug too soon and you'll need to restart the level. You can think of it as Twister for your fingers.

Buggled

Buggled is best played on a flat surface. You'll need to develop strategies for which fingers to use, and in what order, since the ladybugs move around after you hold down or release one. It can get tricky, especially since you need to make contact with the fleshy part of your digit -- a fingernail doesn't count, thanks to the type of touchscreen used on the iPhone. It's a fun game, and for US$0.99 (the price as of this review), it's worth the money, even if there isn't a lot of depth here.

FriendZoo

FriendZoo is a little harder to justify, even with the same $0.99 price tag. It grabs your address book and has you assign a different animal to each person. There are 18 animals and five types of exhibits to choose from. Each time you call, text, or email someone, another visitor appears in their animal's exhibit, and it becomes happier. I discovered, however, that you need to take those actions from within FriendZoo -- if you initiate them through the Phone or Mail app, those people's animals don't get extra visitors at their exhibits.

Once you've contacted someone five times, however, you can't add anymore visitors to their animal's exhibit, so the allure of watching it get happier goes away. You can sort your contacts alphabetically or break them up by most popular and least popular, which lets you see how often you've gotten in touch with someone. I suppose it could be a good way to remind you to keep in touch with friends and family, although that aspect of it goes away once you've contacted someone five times. As far as I can tell, visitors don't leave an exhibit if you don't contact someone after a certain period of time.

If you need to add a contact or edit someone's information from within FriendZoo, the app redirects you to the iPhone's own software, so the two contact lists stay in sync with each other. That's helpful.

FriendZoo

I think there's a lot more Aspyr could do with this app, so perhaps we'll see additional functionality in the future, or a new version with more features. In the meantime, FriendZoo is only a buck, so you can't feel cheated if you're unsatisfied with it.

Just The Facts

Pros:

Buggled is a fun way to pass a few minutes

FriendZoo offers a unique way to track communication

Cons:

Buggled doesn't offer a lot of depth

FriendZoo's functionality is limited

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