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 — Lampshade.io for Hue and LIFX
While Philips makes a perfectly serviceable app for their smart lights, it's missing a lot of features that are important to me and the way I use my bulbs. Lampshade.io has always been the most powerful Hue app on Android, and with its last update the app is rocking a Material Design makeover. By far the coolest part of this app for me is the ability to create what are essentially light sequence scripts, making it possible for me to trigger a sunset as I enter my bedroom at the end of the day or tap my phone to the NFC sticker on my coffee table and have the living room shift into cinema mode as the lights go down.
2. Ara Wagoner — Cinderella Free Fall
I'm not gonna lie, when I first saw this game pass through our site, I thought it was a simple rebranding of Frozen Free Fall. And in many respects it is, except the one that really matters: this isn't jewel-switching, this is jewel-connecting. And that makes a world of difference when you actually try to play it.
Cinderella Free Fall has the same power-ups and helpful character bonuses to try and help you get through levels, but in Frozen Free Fall you could at least count on some jewels to fall into place and clear themselves. That doesn't happen in Cinderella Free Fall. Unless you use a Wish Magic jewel or a power-up there is none of the cascading awesomeness that Frozen Free Fall overflowed with. This didn't stop me from playing far, far longer than I should have.
Another small complaint is that while Cinderella Free Fall easily covered up the status bar, the nav bar at the bottom remained. As someone who has lost two phones to burn-in and already has random light bars on her screen, any game that expects me to play for hours on end with the nav bar exposed loses a few points. Last week's pick — Angry Birds Stella POP! — used immersive mode to let me fling bubbles across the whole screen and more importantly hide a bar I wasn't going to be using.
While it's far from perfect, Cinderella Free Fall was definitely a lot of fun, and having you click through an in-app warning at the beginning at least gives users an idea of what they're getting into. You're going to have to exercise a lot of restrain to get through this game purchase-free, but there's a lot of fun to be had before you run into the paywall of nearly impossible levels.
3. Phil Nickinson — PBA Bowling Challenge
We all have those games that put us in a special place. That place where we can shut down our brains for a few minutes. That happy place. For me, for some strange reason, bowling games have always seemed to do the trick. Maybe it's the idea of hurling a 15-pound sphere toward 10 steadfast soldiers. Or maybe it's just the sound of the ball hitting the pins. Or maybe it's the idea that somewhere nearby there's a greasy burger, bad fries and a beer or two. Or maybe I'm just getting a little too caught up in a game.
Whatever. I've been enjoying the hell out of PBA Bowling Challenge. It's full of in-app purchases, which I've completely ignored. But it's also just a solid bowling game, and it's a ton of fun to play on the Nexus Player. (Big screen FTW.) But it's also just fine on smaller devices.
4. Alex Dobie — Tube Map
Tube Map by MXData has always been one of the better Android apps for navigating the London Underground, and with a Material Design overhaul it's now better than ever. Whether you live in London or are just visiting, the app lets you see a high-resolution map of the entire network, including zones, find stations by name or location, and plan the most convenient route around the city. The app also has built-in line status info, so you can be aware of any disruption that might affect you.
The basic ad-supported app is available to download for free, with additional features (and the option to remove those ads) available through in-app purchases. There's no shortage of Tube planner apps, but MXData's offering is one of the most polished and full-featured out there.
5. Justin Duino — Stick Hero
Very rarely do I find the time to play any type of games on my devices but when I do, they're simple yet highly addictive. Stick Hero is a game focused around getting your character from one platform to the next. The challenge comes from each platform being different widths and the gaps between platforms changing every time. To move between them you must hold down on your screen until you have built a stick tall enough vertically that you believe will be long enough horizontally to move your character forward.
Like I said earlier, this game is very simple but highly addictive. Make the stick too short or too long and your character will plummet to its death forcing you to start back over from the start. Stick Hero is free on the Play Store with in-app purchases to remove ads.