E-mail while you walk and the new Star Trek game: iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps include a surprisingly good "Star Trek" movie-inspired game and a fun e-mailing app that keeps you from running into things as you walk.


The new "Star Trek" movie hit theaters last weekend and by the time the numbers rolled in Monday, it's become clear that apparently being a Trekkie isn't as nerdy as we thought. Though I'm not a costume-wearing, conference-going "Star Trek" devotee, I've been a fan since I was kid and watched all the movies and most of the TV shows surrounding the "Star Trek" universe.

This week, I decided to check out the Star Trek game for the iPhone, thinking it would probably be a cheap, simple game to provide just another way to bring in money during the movie release. But after playing for a little bit I realized it was a better game than I expected.

This week's apps include a surprisingly good "Star Trek" movie-inspired game and a fun e-mailing app that keeps you from running into things as you walk.

Email 'n Walk
You'll have to watch out for low-hanging beams and branches, but mostly this app works as advertised. (Credit: CNET)

Email 'n Walk (free for a limited time) is frankly kind of a silly iPhone application, but I couldn't resist talking about it here. The idea is simple: start up Email 'n Walk, type in your subject, and start typing a message. While you write, Email 'n Walk uses your iPhone camera to show you what's in front of you so you don't run into anyone. I took it for a test run outside our offices here in San Francisco and even though it felt a little silly, the app works as advertised. When you're done, hit send and you'll be transferred to the iPhone mail app to add recipients and send your e-mail.

Some of the comments from users I've read at other sites and at the iTunes Store have a grander vision for this "technology," saying it should be implemented into the iPhone OS. Just think, then everyone could be focused on their iPhones in any app, while they walk down the street. I'm not sure that's such a great idea, but since it's free right now, grab Email 'n Walk as one of those "look what funny things my iPhone can do" type of apps that's difficult to pass up. One glaring drawback is that it doesn't work for texting. I just hope they don't come out with Email 'n Drive--yikes.

Star Trek
Photon torpedos, phasers, and deflector shields make you almost unstoppable. (Credit: CNET)

Star Trek ($2.99) for iPhone is a surprisingly good top-down, shoot-'em-up game in the vein of classic arcade hits like 1943 and other iPhone offerings like iFighter and Sky Force Reloaded. Unlike most movie-inspired games, it looks like plenty of thought went into Star Trek for iPhone and it's worthy of a look for fans of this genre of shooters.

The object of Star Trek for iPhone, like most games of this type, is basically to blow away wave after wave of enemies while you use your finger to maneuver the Enterprise out of the way of countless bullets. The graphics are quite good, and though the gameplay is mostly pretty easy, what makes Star Trek for iPhone especially fun is the ability to upgrade your weapons and shields in between levels. There also are a lot of enemy drops to grab that make your guns and shields better for a limited time. You can choose between quickplay to jump into the action or campaign mode to follow the story from the beginning. Overall, Star Trek is a surprisingly good movie-inspired game, but even with clever additions like upgradeable weapons, may not be the best in the top-down shoot-'em-up genre for iPhone. Still, "Star Trek" fans will probably like this game.

What's your favorite iPhone app? What do you think of being able to see transparently through every app so you can walk? Do you still think "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" is the best "Star Trek" movie ever? Do you like the iPhone game? 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.