Our weekly app picks
It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.
Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!
1. Russell Holly — Angry Birds 2
Apparently I'm not as sick to death of Angry Birds games as I once thought, because as soon as the sequel to the game that put weird little birds on everything you can buy was announced I downloaded it. The basic idea is the same, flinging birds to kill pigs and rack up a high score. What has changed is the way the levels are laid out and the way you actually choose which birds are available to you. Additionally, the levels are now procedurally generated, so muscle memory will not be enough to get you through the many puzzles that now exist.
It's Angry Birds, but it's surprisingly good. It's also free, but beware of in-app purchases and ads if you find yourself stuck on a puzzle.
2. Andrew Martonik — Amtrak
Up here in the Northwest I don't have as many chances to ride Amtrak as other regions, though I do ride when I can and keep the Amtrak app installed on my phone for the occasion. A few weeks back it picked up a really nice update with a new design that's easy to look at and really simple to use, making it a snap to check out ticket prices and pick up some good deals.
As always the app makes it super easy to manage your account and get checked in at the station with just your phone. The app was lagging behind modern design before, and it's nice to see it up to speed once again.
3. Justin Duino — Ticketmaster - Event Tickets
Ticketmaster is one of the most used and easiest ways to purchase tickets for events. While it is great for finding and buying tickets, I recently found out that you can have your tickets sent directly to the Ticketmaster app installed on your phone. This functionality is perfect because you no longer have to worry about remembering to bring your ticket to the venue.
When I used the Ticketmaster mobile application as my ticket, I was going to a minor league baseball game. Right after I purchased my ticket within the app, I instantly had it available to me. Once I got to the game, I simply opened the app on my phone and the person scanning everyone's physical ticket was able to scan my phone just like any other ticket. Ticketmaster is all about convenience and their mobile application makes the entire process easier than ever.
4. Alex Dobie — BBC Weather (UK only)
This is a favorite of mine that's recently undergone a Material Design-influenced revamp. BBC Weather's latest update brings full-screen backgrounds, overhauled fonts and an entirely new design for Android tablets. At its core, though, it retains its useful balance between simplicity and functionality — create and scroll through weather in chosen locations throughout the world, in addition to wherever you are right now. There's support for alerts for UK-wide flood alerts, along with other useful metrics like wind speed, pollen and UV levels.
BBC Weather available for free on the Play Store, but you'll need to be in the UK to download it.
5. Jerry Hildenbrand — TheoTown
If you like city builders (think SIM City classic) that are full of micromanagement and intricate, TheoTown is a game you'll want to look at. Declare residential , industrial and commercial zones, build out your infrastructure and watch your city take shape.
It's still in Alpha, so it's a bit buggy at times, but I found it to be pretty playable in the current state. I do have to say I'm thinking this is a bit much for a phone (you have to run utility wires and water pipes, and precisely place your zoning boundaries) and may be more suited for a tablet. I'm going to keep trying it though, and see if more familiarity and muscle memory will help build out a complex city.
It's a free download that does have ads, but they're not terribly done. You can also disable them completely in the settings, without spending a penny. Since they aren't obtrusive, I'll leave them active so the developer makes a buck or two.