From mobile games to productivity and interface customisation applications, I have listed down 5 iOS and Android apps that have made a mark on me as well as other discoveries that the AndroidPIT community shared with us this week.
This top 5 apps of the week section is marked by a whole lot of games yet again, as far as I'm concerned. I also spent the week testing out the Asus ROG Phone 3 gaming smartphone, which is perfect as the majority of my selection is focused on games. Through it all, I also came across a couple of pretty cool interface customisation apps.
Shadow of Naught, a quirky-looking point-and-click adventure game
Shadow of Naught is sold (yes, the app does require you to fork out some money for it) as an interactive adventure game, where the outcome of the story depends on your choices. Multiple-choice scenarios are available to you, from where it increases the replayability by a certain degree which isn't too shabby for a paid game.
Shadow of Naught happens to be available in limited markets on Android, and has yet to be released on the iOS platform. This is a point-and-click game with minimalist graphics, in a style that is reminiscent of those old school ads, such as those found in the Mad Men series.
It looks like a 2D collage that is made up of geometric shapes cut on Canson paper. The clever play of colours and selected gameplay mechanics that have been synchronised to the music give a very pleasant and neat aesthetic look.
You can choose from three scenarios based on a trio of characters: Martin, Andrew, and Anna, who are all linked together in a plot that is full of mystery. Music, cryptic smartphone messages, conversations, and various mini-games will form your experience, where the outcome is determined by your choices.
The app in a nutshell:
- Last updated: July 13, 2020
- Actual size: 103 MB
- OS Versions: Varies by device
- Price: €2.99 ($3.50) with no advertising or in-app purchases.
You can buy Shadow of Naught for €2.99 ($3.50) on the Google Play Store.
The Gardens Between, a puzzle game with beautiful graphics
The Gardens Between is an independent puzzle game that was first released on consoles and the PC, and it has finally arrived on Android.
This is an excellent port, and since it is out on mobile devices, it also comes with the merit of being cheaper compared to purchasing it for play on other platforms. In The Gardens Between, you will need to solve a series of puzzles by following the story of Arina and Frendt, two teenagers who are neighbours and always find themselves in their treehouse before being magically transported to another world that is made up of dreamlike islands inspired by their past experiences.
Each puzzle or each island will inform you more about the characters' background, who must then navigate (literally speaking) in this world that composed of an ocean of memories. Through it all, they need to get to the central island in order to escape from this abstract parallel universe. However, is the real world actually preferable? I will let you discover it for yourself by playing this game that comes with stunning graphics and animations. It is time to choose whether you want the red pill or the blue pill.
The app in a nutshell:
- Last update: July 13, 2020
- Actual size: 31 MB
- OS Versions: Android 7.0 and iOS 11.0 or higher
- Price: €5.49 ($6.40) without advertising or in-app purchases
Spirit Sprint is a running game - think of Maze Runner. Such a genre will see your character moving forward on his own all the time, while you have to make the difficult choices in order to avoid obstacles so that you advance as far in the game as possible. The game is very beautiful to look at, where the graphics happen to be reminiscent of shadow puppets set within a fairytale context. The clever implementation of Japanese music brings about a very zen touch to the overall atmosphere.
You will have to do what it takes: this means running, swimming or flying endlessly, where you embody a spirit that can take on various animal forms. Hence, you will alternate between walking phases, where the mechanics of the game will include jumping over obstacles at the right moment, such as the Google T-Rex Run! dinosaur game.
You will also take a dive into aquatic segments, which reminds me of the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games on the NES or the underwater levels in the old Mario platformers. There are also times where you need to take to the skies, strongly inspired by Flappy Bird.
In short, it is a classic runner in every sense in terms of gameplay but its graphics, soundtrack and overall atmosphere make it quite interesting.
The app at a glance:
- Last updated: July 1, 2020
- Actual size: 106 MB
- OS versions: Android 6.0 and iOS 11.0 or higher
- Price: Free with in-app purchases from €1.49 ($1.70) to €14.99 ($17.40) per item
Access Dots, to detect applications that spy on you
Access Dots is an Android application that provides a user interface similar to iOS 14, where it will show you an indicator whenever your smartphone's camera or microphone is accessed.
This is perfect for those who are concerned about their privacy. The main function of Access Dots is to detect applications that use the microphone and camera on your smartphone, and it will inform you whenever that happens by displaying small coloured dots.
Access Dots will rely on the same colour code (orange for the microphone and green for the camera) for uniformity, with the only difference being that the pixels will light up just below the status bar.
It is possible to change the size of the light points, as well as their position on the screen, although the developer does hope that you can support them through donations in order for them to come up with more additions and enable these changes. Even in the free version, it is a very useful app for those who would like to give more thought for app authorisation management - especially when it is launched for the first time.
The app in a nutshell:
- Last updated: July 19, 2020
- Actual Size: 7 MB
- OS versions: Android 7.0 or higher
- Price: free with in-app purchases from €2.39 ($2.80) to €26.99 ($31.34) per item
You can download the Access Dots application for free (in-app purchases) from the Google Play Store.
Energy Notch, to spice up your naughty notch
Energy Notch is an interface customisation application by a recognized developer over at XDA Developers, jagan2.
Like Energy Ring, which so happens to come from the same developer, which is an integrated battery indicator that wraps itself around the punch or punch hole of your smartphone, Energy Notch does the same for devices with a tear-shaped notch that houses the front-facing camera.
Yes, those nasty notches went out of fashion in 2020 but many smartphones still have them, like my good old OnePlus 7T.
Initially available exclusively for the OnePlus 6T, Energy Notch's developer has extended compatibility to OnePlus 7/7T, Pocophone F1, Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G, Redmi Note 7/7S and Motorola One Power. So you can pimp your notch with a colourful and animated battery indicator.
More customisation options are also available, although those will require some in-app purchases. It is not a must-have app, but it's always nice to be able to customise your smartphone, isn't it?
The app in brief:
- Last updated: July 17, 2020
- Actual size: 5 MB
- OS versions: varies by device
- Price: free with in-app purchases from €2.39 ($2.80) to €26.99 ($31.30) per item
You can download the Energy Notch application for free (in-app purchases) from the Google Play Store.
What do you think of this selection? Have you already had the opportunity to test out some of the applications on this list? What would be your applications of the week? Share your opinions in the comments!
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