Freemium games are very popular in the App Store at present, allowing people to experience a major title without necessarily making a purchase. One such title to came to my attention is Wonder Zoo — an app that draws you in with its well-designed graphics and intriguing storyline.

In Wonder Zoo, a poacher has snuck into the reserve and stolen all of the animals. Whilst making his escape, his vehicle broke down and the animals have fled into the wilderness and are unable to be found. Now the Ranger needs your help in bringing them back home where they belong. Are you up for the challenge? Let’s find out!

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Outlines dominate the teaching and note-taking landscape. Many PowerPoint slides consist of an idea header with organized bullets that go into additional detail. High school teachers often required students to submit paper outlines prior to the first draft. Tony Buzan, the self-proclaimed creator of mind maps, argues that the brain doesn’t develop ideas in this traditional outline format; instead, ideas develop radially, starting with the central point and branching out into detailed topics and subtopics. According to Buzan, mind maps are more efficient and useful for capturing and developing ideas. The increased use of colors and images also helps the creator to retain and express ideas in an enhanced capacity.

Mind maps have several advantages over outlines. They provide a beautiful way to visualize data, especially for presentations and papers. Mind map topics can have complex dependencies and relationships that move far beyond the limits of a hierarchical outline.

Users looking for a mind mapping application will find a slurry of choices, from simple subscription-based solutions, to complex cross-platform behemoths. iThoughtsHD by CMS is a feature-rich mind mapping solution that supports many export and import options.

How well does iThoughtsHD stand up against the competition? Read on to find out.

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It’s great to find innovative games for the iPad, but I also love to find games that put a new spin on some of my old favorites. The App Store has been kind to board games, but if you’re a devotee of niche tabletop games — games that are less popular than a With Friends app — you’re out of luck.

That’s why I was so happy to see my favorite Spaghetti Western card game in the App Store. Bang! HD preserves all the fun of being in an Old West shootout — don’t tell me it wasn’t fun to have pulmonary tuberculosis and cholera at the same time — but now I’ve got it on my iPad. But can a card game against a computer live up to the fun of playing Bang! with my friends? (more…)

Reports of kids racking up huge bills through in-app purchases (IAP) is certainly en vogue in the mainstream media at the moment. The tech media, too. When the story ingredients include young children, the (on occasion) largest company on the planet and mammoth credit card bills for normal, hardworking parents then you’re guaranteed eyes on the page. The conclusion being that Apple is, after all, evil.
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If there was one game I never understood growing up, it was the 2D overhead Zelda games on the original NES and SNES. I never thought they were bad, but they weren’t for me. As much as I liked the idea of attacking bizarre creatures with a sword, I preferred the side-scrolling world of Mario to Zelda any day of the week.

That’s why I was thrilled to discover Swordigo. Swordigo is a universal iOS game that is basically a combination of the RPG world of Zelda and the side-scrolling world of Mario. You’ll jump, run and attack your way through multiple worlds of side-scrolling, shore-wielding action. And I think it’s a blast.

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This week we’re asking: what do you use your iPad’s side switch for? Of course, you’ve got the standard offering between locking the screen rotation or muting your iPad, but if you’ve jailbroken your iPad then you’ve got almost infinite possibilites with it! It seems like a pretty mundane question but one that will be sure to divide our readership community! So go ahead and let us know what you use your side switch for in this week’s poll on the right!

Process: An Image Editor With Big Ambition

In every category of the App Store, there are one or two top-of-the-range apps which attempt to elevate themselves above their competitors. They are usually a joy to use, both because of their feature set and because they are pleasing on the eye. This quality and exclusivity often brings with it an inflated price, but often enough, users are happy to pay more.

At $14.99, image editor Process is clearly attempting to fall into the category of apps mentioned above. In fact, the App Store profile of Process tells customers directly that this app is different from its competitors — providing a large selection of presets and editing tools as well as rapid processing.

Based on the price alone, you might reasonably assume that Process is immeasurably better than Snapseed, Photoshop Touch, or Photogene – but is it? Let’s find out for ourselves.

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Thanks to Our Weekly Sponsor: DraftCode

This week’s weekly sponsor is DraftCode, a fantastic new PHP development tool for the iPad.

DraftCode features built-in code execution which allows you to develop PHP offline without requiring access to a server or the internet. The app includes standard PHP 5.4.10 and supports a growing list of popular PHP extensions, POST and GET forms, includes and linking to other PHP files in your project, along with a whole host of other features. With its easy to use workspace for all your files, the option to hand over your code to other apps like Dropbox and an extended iPad keyboard, you can take PHP development into the creative and casual habit field of an iPad.
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Traktor DJ: Portable Performance Workstation

To the music making world, few companies are as recognized and revered as Native Instruments. The German group have been at the heart of the electronic music production and DJ scene for years, and while their contributions to the iOS world have been few, they are always an event worth waiting for.

Their latest unveiling is Traktor DJ, a powerful performance-focused companion to their industry-leading Traktor line of products and a remarkably intuitive tool for new and experienced DJs alike. Is it worthy of the Native Instruments brand? Find the answer with me after the jump.

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I’m particularly excited about this week’s collection of new releases. It seems there are so many excellent games that have just hit the market or released big updates, so it was incredibly difficult to choose just five, but I hope you’ll agree we have some good ones here.

Meet a mischievous vampire named — what else — Le Vamp; a tiny helicopter with big personality; a hive of baby aliens; a crystal sphere traveling against the backdrop of a NightSky; and a Pangolin.

What’s a Pangolin, you ask? Click “more” to find out!

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