This week, I’m going to tell you about five free or paid apps and mobile games that are worth the detour. In addition to my own findings on the app stores, I’m also going to add the pearls found by the NextPit community and shared on our forum.
From mobile games to productivity apps, here are the five free and paid Android and iPhone apps that made their mark this week at NextPit on the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
Ratio: to ration your home screen
Ratio is the latest launcher which, like many others, is trying to reinvent the wheel. Basically, the goal is to reduce the interface to its minimum by sorting your applications by theme, or rather by use, in order to keep only the most relevant elements for your use on-screen.
In fact, it’s more of an anti-launcher, since customizing the interface is clearly not the goal here. The goal is rather to avoid having to open 15 different apps and to group and prioritize the information of these 15 apps on a single screen.
In addition to the main screen, you have a screen of widgets by swiping to the left, some of which, such as Google or YouTube searches, are not the most visual in the world and are not very interesting. You can pin elements on the screen or simply switch some tiles to ‘Sun’ mode, which will highlight them in neon yellow to create a hierarchy among the apps you use every day.
This is clearly not the type of launcher that I would advise to every user, its interface not being the most ergonomic to set up and customize. But for those of you who want to get to the essentials, Ratio may be worth it.
The application is free, with no ads or in-app purchases. The developers seem to be rather active and invested in the project, so we can expect many updates.
Shortcut Manager is an Android personalization application that allows you to create shortcuts on your home screen for apps or functions that don’t normally have one. For example, you can create shortcuts for volume controls, menu items, or specific settings.
The shortcuts are then pinned to your home screen, like an app. You can customize the icons with an icon pack or an image from your photo gallery. Each smartphone has different features, so you won’t have the same range of shortcuts available from one device to another. The application costs €0.69, with no ads or in-app purchases.
This can be handy for some options in the settings or special features that you use quite often and can be annoying to search for manually in the menus.
Moon+ Reader Pro: the best reading app on the market
Moon+ Reader is one of the most complete reading apps on Android. In addition to the ability to access local files from your SD card or via the cloud, it offers many free ebook catalogs.
Once a book is downloaded, you can choose how you browse and how the book will be laid out (top-down, right-left). While reading, you can highlight, take notes, search in the dictionary, etc.
The only difference moreover: you can access Google or Wikipedia for a word, which is rather convenient. You can also access files in the cloud or external memory if needed.
Among the many, many customization options, you can also set a self-scrolling page speed so that pages scroll down by themselves and don’t have to move your eyes or fingers. In the advanced settings, you can adjust the reading options (font size, color, background image, the spacing of letters, lines, paragraphs, left and right margins, etc, transitions between pages – fade, page turn, etc).
The pro version costs a fiver but is included in the Google Play Pass catalog. If you are already subscribed, it is an application that I recommend with my eyes closed. But you can also opt for the free version whose features are more than enough.
Through the Darkest of Times: the banality of the good
Well, it’s not the happiest game to start my week off, but Through the Darkest of Times still really appealed to me.
You play the leader of a Resistance cell in Berlin in 1933, just after Hitler was elected. Your companions are ordinary people, Jews, Catholics, Communists, or patriots who simply cannot remain passive in the face of the fascist threat.
Your goal is to destabilize the regime in place by dropping leaflets to make people aware of the reality of the Nazis, painting messages on the walls, sabotaging, gathering information, and recruiting more supporters. And all this while remaining incognito of course.
It’s a strategy game and the gameplay is centered around phases of preparation or planning of different missions (recruitment, sabotage, etc…). Each mission requires resources and members to be executed. And each member has stats (strength, etc…). You will also have to manage the morale of your troops while avoiding being spotted by the Gestapo.
The art direction in comic mode is very successful, the static kinematics with a few touches of animation that remind me of some video games like inFamous for example. And the original, dark, and melancholic soundtrack fit perfectly to the atmosphere that one can expect from a game of this genre.
What I like about this game is that you don’t embody an idealized, fantasized vision of the Resistance with a capital R. We’re not a superhero, we’re not going to win World War II by ourselves. And we’re not going to be able to prevent the atrocities of the Nazi regime. We’re an underdog trying to save as many people as we can with our meager means, nothing more. A certain trivialization of the good.
Lineweight: read between the lines
Lineweight is a brand new experience from the indie studio Cipher Prime. Each of its five chapters presents a story with a specific emotional focus, illustrated by the studio’s signature styles of color, light, and music, with synthwave, geometric and abstract forms. In short, a “Cyber” delirium.
Every moment, every word, and every image is controlled by your scanning. The story is literally guided by your movements on the touch screen as you slide your finger to see words, images, and sounds come together in a truly original way. It sounds weird when you say it like that, but it’s really nice and most of all, it’s a change of scenery for a mobile game.
What do you think of this selection? Have you already had a chance to test some of the applications on this list? What would be your apps of the week? Share your opinions in the comments!