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 — Kingdom Hearts Unchained X
With all the attention Square Enix has gotten over the last couple of years in bringing Final Fantasy games to mobile, you had to know it wouldn't be long before we saw some of the lesser Kingdom Hearts titles make their way as well. Instead of the Nintendo titles that fill in some story between the proper KH titles, Square Enix beings us a remade browser-based Kingdom Hearts χ[chi].
The focus in this game is less constant action, and not a single card in sight. Instead you're one of many working to eliminate the Heartless with your Keyblade. Solo gameplay includes some turn-based RPG-ish combat, with a group event system where those who chose the same alignment as you can join in to eliminate raid bosses.
You are dropping down on a squad of Heartless and Nobodies with Sora and his dual-wielding badassery, but it's a fun game all the same. Who knows, it might even keep you busy until the next real Kingdom Hearts game drops.
2. Simon Sage — Hammer Bomb
Hammer Bomb is a fun cross between endless runner and rogue-like games with a Crossy Road art style. Hack and slash your way through a variety of dungeons, gather loot, and collect keys to move on to the next stage. Your hero strides heroically forward regardless of what's in front of him, so use swipes, taps, and the minimap to get around. Boss battles test your reflexes, and if you manage to survive, you can spend your hard-earned gold coins on upgrades. Every stage has a goofy quest, like finding a can of pop, which can yield additional phat lootz. Once you succumb to flying eyeballs, deadly traps, or any of the other dangers lurking below, you've got to start over from scratch. Hammer Bomb is free to play, but has the occasional ad and supports in-app purchases.
3. Daniel Bader - NBA App
With the playoffs beginning in a couple of weeks, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the dramatic improvements brought to the official NBA app this year. Not only has it received a full Material Design overhaul, but the NBA app now offers high-quality game recaps and condensed versions of full games every night, not to mention live streaming of regular season and playoff matches with a League Pass. As with other sports apps, the NBA App offers detailed scores, videos and news posts along with stats of every player in the league.
League Pass, which provides streams of all playoff matches, has been discounted to $31 for the rest of the season, or just $8 if you want to follow the inevitable champions, the Toronto Raptors!
4. Alex Dobie — Agenda Widget
I'm using Samsung's calendar app on my Galaxy S7, which — due to the lack of any built-in alternative — means I've been hunting for a decent widget for showing upcoming events. The one I've landed on is Agenda Widget by Milan Sillik. It's a simple, highly customizable widget that lets you see an overview of upcoming appointments, along with the ability to add reminders. By far the best thing about this widget its simplicity, combined with the fine control you get over the look and feel of things — from colors, fonts and transparency — to the information shown — week numbers, daily highlights and details like location and remaining time.
You'll need to pay to unlock all features, but if you're looking for a tweakable, productivity-centric agenda widget for your home screen, this one's definitely worth a look.
5. Andrew Martonik — Stash Invest
We should all be investing for the future. But sadly, very few of us are actually doing it. With the ubiquity of smartphones and mobile apps the idea of saving and investing your money is just a bit more accessible now. Stash Invest is just one of many apps that aim to bring proper market investing to your phone, and it does a pretty good job of it.
You can load as little as $10 into Stash Invest, and start buying into the market at varying risk levels, as determined by your preferences. You invest into groups of stocks, bonds and other instruments that Stash has rolled up into groups, which helps you stay diversified. Invest by industry, or just based on the recent returns.
Stash doesn't charge any deposit, withdrawal or trade fees, but the one downside here is how long it takes to make those transactions. You're dealing with EFT bank transfers, which take a couple days on each end, and sales can take a few days to settle. But if you're someone who has a little extra cash and wants to get in on some lightweight investing, mostly for fun, Stash is a cool way to do it.
6. Ara Wagoner - Disneyland
I spent my birthday at Disneyland, and there were two apps I relied on for wait times, layout, and other park info. Of the two, Disneyland's official app was the more reliable and more beautiful of the two.
This app gives you the park's layout, current wait times for rides, and information on where to find bathrooms, food (including menus for each location), character meet and greets, and park entertainment like the Disneyland Forever fireworks and the Paint the Night parade. You can even use your GPS to navigate the park with the interactive map showing where you are along whichever winding path you're taking. While Mouse Wait may list single rider times and how crowded the parks are, the app was glitchy and slow to respond. The Disneyland app is not without faults, but at least it's stable and feature-rich.