The Week in iOS Apps: Fun and games

This week's roundup of new releases features games for jocks, games for fantasy fans, and apps for dancing, getting in shape, and storing your favorite photos.

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Fun and games

This week's roundup features games for jocks, games for fantasy fans, and apps for dancing, getting in shape, and storing your favorite photos.

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NBA 2K15

NBA 2K15 costs $8, but it’s one game that does everything it can to be worth your time and money. The look and feel of this game stayed pretty much the same for several years, but the newest version boasts overhauled graphics and animation to make it look and feel like you’re really on the court with the NBA’s best players. A warning: Only the most recent-generation iOS devices are built to handle this game.

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Fitness Builder

The free FitnessBuilder app for iPhone has launched been overhauled for iOS 8—including integration with Apple’s HealthKit—but with a few older features missing for the moment:  My Stats, Client Stats, and Progress Graphs. Fitness Builder says those features will be restored “ASAP.” For now, you’ll have to choose between the new app looking great on your new iPhone, or a older version that also looks good and has more features.

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Alien Blue

Alien Blue has long been one of the more beloved Reddit apps for iPhone, and why not? The app lets you browse all of Reddit, including pictures, original stories, and news; it even lets you upvote content and sbuscribe to subreddit communities. So what’s changed? Just this: It’s now Reddit’s official app for iOS. A seal of approval is always nice.

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DROP by Jawbone

Jawbone pitches this free music app for iPhone as a “social DJ.” It spins playlists of your favorite music from your Spotify Premium or Rdio accounts, and adds to the list when your friends Tweet the name of a favorite song at you. Jawbone says “It's a fast, fun way to enjoy the music you love through a playful interface that lets friends surprise you with new tracks.”

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After years of iPhone availability, Flickr has an iPad app. Now you can see all your pics in their intended glory.

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Gerty is a book-reading iPhone app for EPUB books that puts an emphasis on reader engagement: Features include the ability to journal about the books you’re reading, adding notes, photos, and maps to complete your thoughts, as well as the ability to share all of this via AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and iMessage sharing. Now you can read like the whole world is watching.

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The Lord of the Rings: Legends of Middle-earth

After he had spent a dozen years of his life composing the books that make up The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to a friend: "The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like 'religion', to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism. This will make an awesome video game." One of those sentences we made up, but it’s still true.

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Skype Qik

Video chatting has long been possible on Skype’s iOS app, but it has never been the main purpose of that app. Not so with Skype Qik (pronounced “quick”), a free iPhone service.  This isn’t make for long talks with the grandparents, though—Qik seems designed more to compete with offerings like Vine or Snapchat. You can create groups, send them short snppets of video, then erase your contribution to the conversation when you’re ready to make it go away. No logins, usernames, or passwords are needed.

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Others of note

Instapaper (pictured) has updated with a number of tweaks … Fantastical now offers a Notification Center widget … CBS has updated its app to include subscription-based access to its full library of shows and live-streaming.

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