The Week in iOS Apps: Badland 2 expands a beautiful universe

This week's roundup includes Badland 2, a sequel to one of the best games ever made for iOS. Plus, apps for productivity, reading, and more. Read on!

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Badland 2 is beautiful, too

This week’s roundup includes Badland 2, a sequel to one of the best games ever made for iOS. Plus, apps for productivity, reading, and more. Read on!


Badland 2

The first Badland game was Apple’s Game of the Year back in 2013, and deservedly so: It was challenging and hauntingly beautiful, with an intricate sense of physics that made gameplay pure fun. Now the $4 sequel, Badland 2, is here, with more of the same, and expands the universe with online events designed to turn solo gameplay into a community event.



Bing’s newest update features a nifty feature: A barcode scanner, to enable on-the-spot comparison shopping with 12 major retail stores, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Macy’s. Another new feature: Real-time data from Uber when you tap the app’s “Get a ride” icon.


Gods of Rome

We’ll defer our explanation of Gods of Rome to the game-makers: “Begin your quest to defeat the dark demon Tenebrous, an ancient evil who has unearthed the artifact known as the Chaos Vessel. As he threatens to enslave the world’s greatest warriors with its power, only the mighty summoners known as ‘The Ascenders’ can rise up against his new regime!” You’ll get to crush your enemies and see them driven before you.


Google Play Books

Google Play Books has a new feature: “Night Light,” which eases bedtime eyestrain by gradually filtering blue light from your screen, replacing it with a warm, amber light as the sun sets. The idea? Read to your heart’s content without losing sleep over it.



Headout is an “on-demand” concierge—it basically shows you what’s going on around town, offers last-minute discounts to some events, and lets you make reservations right from the app.



Pixelmator has added 30 new brushes to its feature set, and they all support the “tilt” feature on the Apple Pencil if you’re working on the iPad Pro. Other improvements make it easier to work on large images, including a smoother application of multiple effects to those images, and the upgrading of distort tools to work faster with them.



Stringify is an “if this, then” app that works with the physical world. An example from the makers? “When it’s after 4 p.m. and I open my front door…Then turn on my lights, play my Sonos, and set my Nest to my temperature.” The separation between the digital world and IRL gets smaller every day.


Toca Blocks

Toca Blocks is somewhat reminiscent of Minecraft, in that it lets you—or, ahem, your kids—build worlds and then play games within those worlds. The blocks are the basic building unit: “Some are bouncy, some are sticky, all are unique.” Once you’re done building, you can set out on an adventure.


Others of note

Microsoft Outlook has been updated with 3D Touch, as has Facebook Messenger, as well as Sidetrack (pictured) … Adobe Post lets you create “social graphics” on your iPhone.

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