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. Phil Nickinson — Plunder Pirates
If Clash of Clans (and its many, many imitators) is too landlocked for your taste, perhaps it's time to set sail on the high sees with Plunder Pirates. This one's from Rovio — you know them from Angry Birds of course — and is the same sort of attack-and-defend strategy game that actually predates mobile devices by a long shot. And it's certainly got its moments. The graphics are crisp, the animations fluid and the gameplay solid. (And, yes, it's got in-app purchases a'plenty.) Chances are your kids will discover this one sooner rather than later.
2. Alex Dobie — Mailbox
Some weird Gmail compatibility issues with a phone I'm reviewing made me look at alternatives to Google's email app, and so far I've been impressed with what the Dropbox-owned Mailbox app has to offer. The app supports all your Gmail and other email accounts through a clean Material Design interface, with a focus on productivity and managing your inbox as a sort of todo list. It's easy to reschedule stuff to grab your attention at various points in the future, and dismiss spammy or unimportant content with swipe gestures.
If you're looking for something more task focused than the bundled Gmail app, Mailbox is definitely worth a look. Best of all, it's free to download on Google Play.
3. Russell Holly — Marvel Unlimited
I usually save my digital comic book reading for the tablet, since all of the swiping around to see the text in a reasonable size takes away from the fun of reading a comic for me, but I discovered this is way less of a problem on the absurdly high resolution screen offered by the Galaxy S6 edge. As a result, Marvel Unlimited now travels with me wherever I go instead of sitting on my couch waiting for a binge reading session.
For the uninitiated, Marvel Unlimited is like Netflix for comic books. You pay a yearly subscription to access Marvel's massive backlog of content, but the regular weekly push of new comics takes a while to hit the service. With all the noise surrounding Star Wars right now, Marvel is offering the first month of the service free to anyone looking to check it out.
4. Andrew Martonik — TuneIn Radio Pro
For as much as I love Google Play Music for specific albums and playlists, sometimes I appreciate radio-style services where I don't have to do any kind of tweaking — just listen. Along with Pandora and Milk Music, I've also been using TuneIn Radio Pro for some listening on the desktop and my phone. Not only can you listen to internet streams of radio broadcasts from around the country, you can also get internet-only stations that have put their listings inside TuneIn. The app's design has come a long way since I first started using it — it's quick, sleek and functional.
At $9.99 it isn't cheap as far as apps go, but not having to look at advertisements and being able to save stations for playback later is pretty awesome. Give the free version a try, and if it appeals to you the $10 one-time purchase is going to be worth it.
5. Jerry Hildenbrand — Does not Commute
In this very cool driving/simulation/puzzle/chaos game from Mediocre (the folks who brought us Granny Smith, Sprinkle and Smash Hit) you control all the traffic in a small town. The twist — you don't control it all at once.
Things start out peaceful enough — you help Dr. Schneider get to his office by tapping left or right to control his sedan. Next up, you help people like the Mail Delivery person, or a student, or a zoned out office worker get from point A to point B using the same controls. All the while the other characters are in play and travelling along the path you sent them on. Fast forward a bit and you've got ambulances, mail trucks, mopeds and even hot dog carts all moving along the quiet streets at the same time. It gets a bit hectic, which is the reason it is so fun.
Does not Commute is free to play, and a one-time $1.99 in-app purchase allows you to save your progress at checkpoints versus the need to complete a level. The graphics and audio are great, and the gameplay is smooth. Give it a try!