Check out the apps we're using this week
We're back with another round of weekly app recommendations so we can share the apps we love, the new apps we're trying, or the apps we think are worth taking a second look at. In other words, if we think it's interesting, we'll share it here.
Apps are a big part of the smartphone experience, and the Google Play store brings a huge number of them into the mix. Take a look at our picks, then be sure to share your favorites in the comments. We're all in this together!
Phil Nickinson — Hacked (beta)
Continuing my trend of trying apps I don't completely understand, this week I'm taking a look at Hacked, a programming game from Joaquim Verges (the dev behind Falcon Pro) and Fabien Devos. You're going to need some rudimentary programming knowledge — logic classes certainly will help, too — to get anywhere here. Hacked doesn't do too much in the way of hand-holding, so if you're lacking those sort of skills, you're going to be pretty lost.
I am pretty lost.
But for those who live and breathe code, Hacked looks like it should be a fun little diversion, letting you write fun little things in the "H" language while immersed in a game. You'll end up creating your own games which you then can publish, and you can play others' games, too. Very cool. Learn more and join the beta at HackedApp.com.
Andrew Martonik — Fantasy Premier League 2014/15
After a bit of indecisiveness, my brother finally got me to give in to joining an EPL fantasy league. I don't follow the Premier League all that closely, so I need all the help I can get and I've been spending a ton of time on the official fantasy site. Sadly it doesn't actually seem to have a mobile view — a great ploy to get me to spend $1.65 on the official Fantasy Premier League app.
The app isn't fancy or particularly great design-wise, but it does just about anything you'd be able to do on the website in a mobile-friendly way. You can get stats and info on players, check your weekly points, set your lineups, make transfers and look at your standings in other leagues. It's not too late to get into the official EPL fantasy league (if you didn't start at week one it doesn't matter how late you start), and if you do, I'd say it's worth dropping the $1.65 on the official app.
Download: Fantasy Premier League 2014/15 ($1.65)
Ara Wagoner — Lux
My new Moto X 2013 seems brighter than my old one, and so I've used Lux to dim it beyond the natural settings to help save my eyes and my battery. It also has a astronomers mode that will cut the blue light that will damage your night vision, and it also helps you while getting ready for bed as that blue light also prevents your brain from forming melatonin, which tells you it's time to fall asleep. My only complaint is that it doesn't dim the navy keys with the rest of the screen.
Download (Free, $3.80)
Richard Devine - Ticket to Ride
If there's one thing that larger screen phones are really good for, it's gaming. In particular I've been enjoying a couple of digital versions of board games of late, and none more so than Ticket to Ride. If you've never played the actual board game there's a handy tutorial that will guide you through your first go, and while it's easy to pick up it's tricky to master.
The basic premise is that you're tasked with laying down trains on different routes across the United States – or Europe if you buy the European expansion. You get points for laying down trains, you get even more points for completing your routes selected at the start of the game – and the same points are deducted for non-completion – and it's a game you can play solo against the computer, with friends through passing the device around or even online against people playing on different platforms. It's a classic board game that you can play wherever you are.
Download: Ticket to Ride ($6.99)
Jerry Hildenbrand — Twitch
Like playing games? Like watching live streams of other people playing games? Then Twitch is for you.
There's an entire community of folks who stream their game play, from the PC, the PlayStation and the X Box — and millions of folks who enjoy watching them. The Twitch app ties into the the Twitch service, where you can watch and interact with the streamers in real time. The video quality is excellent, and the features that make a great app — things like adding favorites and searching out by title or the producer's channel — are all present and work great. There's even Chromecast support if you want to watch it on the big screen.
If you're itching for a little Vault of Glass run or a Torment VI Rift on your lunch break, or even some relaxing Minecraft world-building, Twitch can get you your fix.
Download: Twitch (Free)