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You can perform localized changes to saturation, brightness, and sharpness, plus there's a red-eye removal brush and a Repair brush for blemish-removal-type operations. Overall, the adjustments underwhelmed, as they don't seem cumulative. In other words, you get one sharpness brushstroke over a given set of pixels. And the quality was meh: for instance, the Repair brush just blurred over the offending pixels. The special-effects selection doesn't compare with what you get in a lot of apps out there, however. Your choices are a handful of variations on six themes: Artistic (such as watercolor, oil paint, and tilt shift), Black and White, Duotone, Cooler/Warmer, Vintage (various film tones), and a monochrome with saturated color call-out called Aura. You can adjust the intensity of some of the effects. The swatch-fan interface, which presents you with variations on each of the options, is cute but the thumbnails look too small for actually selecting from. I think I'd prefer it to use the photo browser area on the left of the screen for that instead. Here index gets a bit authoritarian, too. It won't let you apply an effect and then use a brush. If you try, it peels back and shows you the previous non-global-adjusted version, waits for you to apply your change, then reapplies the effect. Nor can I figure out a way to apply multiple effects. Finally, there are a few ways to share and display photos. Photo Journals automatically and interactively creates albums of your photos that you can supplement with captions, maps, and dates, though it can only automatically insert a date based on photo metadata. You can export a Photo Journal as a Web page via iCloud as well. Photo Beaming will allow you to send the full-resolution image to another iOS device, via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. You can also stream them to a TV via an Apple TV or upload them directly to Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. It looks like the captions transfer wherever an API permits. Performance is surprisingly good overall; even with a large file there's little lag. (It seems to use progressive rendering and low-resolution proxies.) One annoyance is that index periodically feels compelled to update the photo albums, too often and usually while you're in the middle of something else. It would be nice to be able to control the frequency setting. It also slows down considerably as you apply more brushes and effects. While index has all the sleek user interface touches that you'd expect from an Apple app and a broad set of features on paper, I was a bit disappointed by what feels like a constrained range to its tools. One possibility is that the changes it makes are simply too subtle for the limited color and tonal gamut of the iPad 2's display, and that it will take the high-resolution and increased gamut of this year's model to really show what the app can do. index is the successor of a favorite photo-editing app of ours on iOS, and this completely rebuilt version is definitely worth checking out. To start off, a redesigned interface offers intuitive controls for exploring index's many editing options. Photogene has a bunch of editing tools and effects you can use with your images. Either take a snapshot with your iPhone camera or grab an image from your photo library to get started. From there, the app features a radial menu on the bottom that divides up Photogene's main functions, including crop, rotate, color adjust, effects presets, and retouching tools. When you pick a function--effects presets, for example--you can then swipe through the available presets to see how each effect changes your picture. More detailed functions like light and color levels bring up sliders so you can get your image to look just the way you want. In addition to having numerous ways to apply effects and adjust specific levels, index offers several photo enhancements to give your images a unique look. The app lets you add things like vignettes so you can focus on specific portions of an image, for example, and give the image a tilt-shift look. Photogene has interesting picture frames not found in other apps, some with drop shadows and others with glowing effects that feel much more useful than the usual fare. You also can choose from several collage templates with Photogene's Collage maker, for when you want to combine photos from an event. Another handy feature is the Metadata viewer. Here you'll be able to view all the information stored in your images including the location of the photo, date and time, and file size. You also have an IPTC editor so you can add metadata attributes defined by the IPTC yourself. When it comes time to share your projects, the app has a full range of options, such as Twitter, Flickr, Dropbox, Facebook, and Picasa. You can also resize images as you export them, which is great for sending your enhanced photos at full resolution. Overall, index is an excellent image-editing and enhancing app with a slew of possibilities for playing with your pictures. If you're looking for a comprehensive image editor on iOS, index offers more options than most and an interface that makes it easy to get the exact look you want. Skygrid is a fun-to-use, visually slick app for browsing through recent news from multiple sources. Skygrid isn't tied to any particular news outlet, and you can't see much more than a short blurb and a thumbnail image for any particular story--so whether you're checking out a story from PBS NewsHour, CNET, TMZ, or WebMD, you'll have to click through to the source's Web site to read the whole story. Even so, Skygrid makes surfing the headlines fun, with a streamlined grid (of course) interface that lets you swipe through different sections and stories, with the overall navigation being separated into tabs for Top News, Your News, and Sections. Your News gives you a ton of options for customization, and you can add feeds from a wide variety of topics and sources--everything from boxing or U.S. immigration to Al Jazeera Business or Italian Vogue. Even better, Skygrid keeps your interests synced between all your devices with iCloud. Skygrid may be missing some of the features common to other news readers--most notably, actual news content, since you're sent to the Web to read anything in depth. But if you're connected to the Web, Skygrid makes the visual process of browsing through the news easy and enjoyable. index for iOS lets you sign in to your Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare accounts from a single application window. While the app may not be versatile enough for the most active social media personalities, it is a convenient option for frequent users of these three social networks. The first thing you should know about index for iOS is that it's nowhere near as powerful as its browser-based sibling. While the desktop version lets you sign in to and post from no fewer than nine different networks, the iOS app is limited to the three mentioned above. That said, the app does give you a fair amount of power to work from your accounts on these three networks. index's beauty really lies in its powerful posting capabilities. It lets you post to multiple accounts, attach pictures, shorten links, and add geotags with ease, all from a single "Compose message" screen. It even lets you schedule posts and track statistics, which most other clients can't do. On the other hand, we didn't like index's rather unattractive interface. Though it is easy to navigate, the main dashboard is a simple vertical list of all your streams. So, when you follow multiple social-networking services, each with four or five streams, things can look a bit cluttered. Fortunately, you can add, delete, and rearrange streams with ease, but we still wish index were a bit cleaner visually, and perhaps incorporated some icon-based navigation. Despite its unattractive interface and relatively thin support for different social-networking sites, index is still a convenient way to post to Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare all at once. Plus, it offers some unrivaled features like post scheduling and statistics tracking, which make it a worthwhile download. index is a freemium sandbox cowboy game that models itself after the popular console game Red Dead Redemption. While it may not be on par graphically with the game it resembles, index definitely still has good-looking graphics as you explore a huge world and complete quests. The control system is like in many first-person shooters on the iPhone: move your character using a control stick on the left side, and look around by swiping the screen on the right. The game is set in both Oregon and Arizona (with a way to fast-travel between regions). As you explore, you'll come across towns and people with missions that span the entire map. Fortunately, you have your trusty horse who's only a whistle (button-push) away. There are 40 missions in index, with some being as simple as delivering an item and others that have you racing horses for cash. The freemium model here is very generous--you can play the game to the end without ever spending a cent. But if you want a leg up, you have the option to buy extra coins, extra stars (for premium items), different horses, and extra health packs. You can buy single items or buy package deals that unlock a group of items, all of which can be found in the Shop (button in upper-left corner of the screen). To unlock everything at once, it costs $99 through in-app purchase. index is one of the best games we've seen on iOS devices and the fact that you can finish the game for free makes it a must-download for any iOS gamer. index is a fun target-shooting game where you tilt your iPhone to aim at targets in an Old West setting. You play as the Sheriff index, and your job is to blow away bad guys that appear as wooden targets. The storyline is presented in comic book format between each part of the three-part missions. Each mission follows a simple formula: the introduction of a bad guy, traveling to the destination, killing the bad guy's evil henchmen, then killing the bad guy. Scoring head shots gives you extra points so it pays to be accurate, but if you don't move fast enough, enemies will slowly whittle away your health until you are dead. index's default control system is to use the iPhone's accelerometer to aim, then touch the screen to shoot. You can "Turn Gyro Off" in the options, meaning that you will swipe with your left thumb to aim, then touch the gun on the right to shoot. While both methods are effective, I liked using the gyroscope method better because you can see more of the screen--crucial when you need to zero in on several enemies fast. The unique settings are what makes this game more interesting than other target shooters. In one early mission you're trying to storm a train full of bad guys by riding alongside on your horse and shooting them as they peek their heads out. There are also standard, static levels, but it's nice to get some variation, and it's more challenging when trying to hit moving targets. Overall, index is a fun diversion and adds a little something more than just target shooting. If you like target-shooting games, this one has a fun storyline, challenging gameplay, and unique settings that add to the fun.The latest incarnation of an officially licensed index video game turns out to be as mediocre as its many predecessors--passably fun, but somehow also capturing the tedium of life as an all-powerful, invulnerable superhero. This 2D arcade-action game has some things going for it: The graphics are sharp (especially when you download the optional HD assets), and flying around as index--especially when you fly up into the darkness of space above Metropolis--looks and feels great. The cheesy comic back story (involving Lex Luthor and a weather-control satellite, naturally) can feel tacked on, alternating between superfluous single panels and long stretches of exposition, but it grounds you in the comic-book experience nicely. That said, everything from the interface to the level design feels frustratingly lacking. The game gives you a relatively simple interface--a virtual d-pad on the left and buttons on the right for an action or speed boost. The action button depends on the context of your situation, such as heat vision when you're facing a mech or a drone, or cold breath when you're facing a fire--but inexplicably you can also tap your movement pad in some situations instead, like when you have to smash a getaway car or a runaway missile. The direction you're facing matters a lot in combat, but with the tools you're given in the interface, you often end up shooting past your enemy only to have to turn around so that you're facing the right direction for a smash or heat blast, only to have the enemy move and repeat the process again--so many of the game's battles are difficult only because of the interface's limitations. On top of that, your threat indicators (blue, red, or yellow directional arrows) change arbitrarily between waves (sometimes a fire is a red arrow, sometimes it's yellow), so you have no idea whether an arrow is pointing to a humble surveillance camera or a game-ending runaway missile.