Apps of the month

Apps of the month

Guides by Lonely Planet
(Android/iOS)

The latest app for travellers from Lonely Planet, this does a good – and free! – job of transferring some of the city guides from its books to the small screen. Dozens of cities are available at launch, with maps that you can store offline – a useful touch.

Airmail (iOS)

Many Mac users have known about Airmail’s slick desktop email software for a while. Now it’s got an excellent version for iPhone. It works with many popular email services, has plenty of features to speed up your inbox management, and even has a neat Apple Watch app.

Metamorphabet (Android/iOS)

This wonderful children’s app has been out for a while on iOS, but is new to Android. It’s an interactive alphabet designed for touchscreens, with animations illustrating words for children as they tap and swipe their way through the letters.

Kickstarter (Android/iOS)

Another app belatedly making its way on to Android, this belongs to crowdfunding service Kickstarter. It’s a great way to browse new projects trying to raise money, as well as seeing what friends are backing.

Movesum (Android/iOS)

There are plenty of apps and gadgets – and often gadgets with apps – for tracking your steps and helping you get more active. Movesum is a smart twist, showing how many calories your walking has burned, and encouraging you to revise your daily goals.

Music Memos (iOS)

A brand new music app from Apple, but for recording songs rather than listening to them. Aimed at songwriters of all levels, it helps you record songs or short ideas, add a virtual drummer and bassist; tag the clips to find them later; then export or share them.
ONCE: One match per day

(Android/iOS)

Tinder isn’t the only app in town for dating. Once’s schtick is that it recommends you one match every day: you can only see one another, with the promise of human matchmakers rather than just algorithms helping out.

Playlist a Day (Android/iOS)

“One a day” is clearly a theme this month. This app comes from Warner Music Group, delivering a new music playlist every 24 hours. You’ll need to be a paying Spotify subscriber to use it, and expect plenty of Warner’s artists to feature.
Millie Marotta’s Colouring

Adventures (iOS)

Look away now if the trend for adult colouring books gets your goat: this takes the idea to iPad. The pictures that you’re colouring are beautiful, though: nature images from the work of illustrator Millie’s popular books. Other apps do it, but this feels the most like real colouring.

Mimicker Alarm (Android)

It’s not all work at Microsoft: the tech giant’s experimental apps team has a new way for you to wake up. To turn off the app’s alarm clock, you have to “mimic” something: from pulling a certain face to saying a certain phrase. Silly? A bit, but it does wake you up.

GAMING APPS

Crashlands (Android/iOS)

Its description as a “crafting RPG” may remind you of Minecraft, but Crashlands is a different beast. After crash-landing on an alien planet, you have to forage for tools, battle wildlife and build your base while uncovering a gripping story. A real treat.

Twofold Inc (Android/iOS)

If you like puzzlers but are tiring of the match-three “Saga” formula, Twofold Inc is the antidote. It sees you tracing lines of coloured squares with your finger to fill up bars at the top of the screen, against increasingly tough “moves” limits. Original, and very addictive.

The Westport Independent
(Android / iOS)

Papers, Please remains one of the most thought-provoking mobile games, and this is cut from the same cloth. You edit a newspaper in a “postwar” country sliding into dictatorship, and have to swap headlines and censor stories as you see fit. Or, if you’re brave, leave them alone …

Downwell (Android/iOS)

If you grew up in the era of the Spectrum home computer, Downwell’s retro graphics will bring pangs of nostalgia. But even if not, its simple but clever falling-down-a-well gameplay will soon cast a spell on you. Power-ups play a key role as you play, die and repeat.

Exploding Kittens (iOS)

Exploding Kittens is a quirky card game that was funded to the tune of $8.8m on Kickstarter. That success has helped its creators turn it into a mobile game, which is just as fun. Be warned: you need two players with it installed on their iPhones to even play.

Adventures of Mana (Android/iOS)

Fans of the Final Fantasy console RPGs have had plenty of chances to play older games in the series on their mobile devices. Adventures of Mana is the latest remake – of a game that more casual players may not know – and offers a colourful slice of RPG history.

Countdown (Android/iOS)

Plenty of people play Countdown on their sofas – by playing along in their heads with the TV game show. Now there’s an alternative: this official mobile game, with letters and numbers rounds as well as conundrums to solve. It works well, including a two-players-on-one-device mode.

Pocket Mortys (Android/iOS)

You’ll get most out of this game if you’re already familiar with Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty cartoon, but it’s fun for newcomers too. Unashamedly inspired by Pokemon, it’s packed with humour as you catch and train different versions of the Morty character.

Circa Infinity (iOS)

Want a new twist on a platform game? This provides it: your tiny stick-character runs and leaps around a series of circles, working your way into the centre while avoiding enemies. It seems tough at first, but as you get used to the rhythm, it becomes a compelling challenge.

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