A retro camera app and a zombie-killing FPS: iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps include an image-editing app that puts cool retro effects on your pictures and a zombie-killing first-person shooter that is among the best in its genre.


You may have already checked it out, but for my last iPhone app post of 2009, I listed most of my favorite games of the year. I tried to have something for everyone and I think it went over pretty well, but I didn't get everything. At the end of the post, I asked if anyone caught any glaring omissions and readers were quick to remind me of some of the best games last year and also tipped me off to a few I never had the chance to check out.

For my first few posts of 2010, I think it's worthwhile to call out some of these great games in case you missed them, too. If something really big comes out I'll write about it here, but expect to see some hits from last year that will hopefully also be new to you.

This week's apps include an image-editing app that puts cool retro effects on your pictures and a zombie-killing first-person shooter that is among the best in its genre.

My coworker, Cat, graciously let me take these photos to show off some of the retro effects. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Hipstamatic ($1.99) turns your iPhone's digital camera into an old-school single-shot camera of the past to give your images that grainy, washed-out (in a good way) retro look. The interface is a bit confusing at first, but you'll soon figure out how to switch between different types of retro film, different types of lenses, and even effects for different types of flashes. You can switch between each of the different variables with a swipe of your finger, with dramatically different results depending on the combination you choose before taking your snapshot.

I've reviewed image-enhancing apps here before, but Hipstamatic is the first that gives you control over which lens, film, and flash type you're using for each shot. When you're done taking the picture, the app lets you view your images side-by-side to see how each effect changes the result. Like many apps these days, Hipstamatic offers more lenses, film types, and flashes you can purchase from within the app, so if you like what you see in this download, there's plenty more to play with. Overall, if you want that retro look or just like to play with your images, Hipstamatic is a great choice.

Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies
Once a zombie gets this close, you may need to use the knife at the bottom-middle of the screen. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies ($9.99) is a reader favorite of 2009 for its zombie-killing action and smooth 3D graphics, and it is quickly becoming a favorite of mine as well. Choose between three different control types with variations that rely on the iPhone's accelerometer and the now-familiar onscreen control pads. To get used to the controls, Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies provides a short tutorial with instructions for loading, firing, and switching your weapon and some of the commonly used controls in the game. Once the tutorial is over, the game lets you know you're on your own, adding to the drama of the coming zombie apocalypse you're about to experience.

There are several great first-person shooters available for the iPhone, such ase Eliminate Pro, N.O.V.A., and Modern Combat: Sandstorm, all of which I included in my favorite games of 2009. But Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies does a particularly good job of dropping you into the action, with smooth 3D graphics and creepy music and sounds, to make it a uniquely engrossing experience. The game also features multiplayer over Wi-Fi at this time, but the developers promise more multiplayer options and new maps to be released as downloadable content in the future. If you like FPS games or just like blowing away zombies (who doesn't?), I highly recommend this game.

What's your favorite iPhone app? Do you think Hipstamatic is true to the cameras and lenses of yesteryear? Is Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies the FPS to rule them all? Let me know in the comments!

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.