Sometimes it’s nice to have a snapshot in time to keep track of the flow of apps. There are so many new apps released on such a continual basis that some of the most exciting or relevant ones can fall by the wayside. But just to make sure you don’t miss some of the best ones we’ve seen lately, these are our picks for the top new (or new-ish) apps heading into the summer of 2018.
This is a wonderful app with some potential to really catch on. The entire idea is to incentivize yourself to focus for a set period of time without being distracted by your phone. You open the app, pick an amount of time to focus for, and then simply leave it be, while an egg jiggles on your screen. If you make it through the time period, the egg will break and a cartoon creature will hatch, to be added to your collection. But if you leave the app and use your phone (or press “give up”) you get no creature. It’s actually vaguely reminiscent of how some used Pokémon GO as an incentive for regular walking exercise. The point is a real life benefit, but there’s a creature-collecting game built in.
It’s not often a racing game of any kind really grabs our attention these days. It feels like everything’s been done, and what’s left is only imitation. But Retro Highway nails that imitation so well it’s worth mentioning. As one review put it, this game is like your favorite ‘80s motorcycle racer cranked up to 11. With an old-school arcade design, you take up a third person view behind your motorcycle and use only three controls – left, right, and a turbo booster – to avoid traffic, leap off ramps, collect coins, and stay riding for as long as you can. You can upgrade your bike and enjoy other perks as you go, but the basics are delightfully simple and enjoyable.
In addition to having a really cool zebra logo, NewsPicks: News Digest App actually manages to stand out in the very crowded field of news aggregators. Basically, like so many other apps, it allows you to personalize your news feed with curated content of your choosing. Beyond that however, there’s a system for sharing your own commentary and insights and following your favorite experts that essentially works like a more sophisticated (and less hostile) version of a comment section. It’s definitely an app to try out if you’re a news junkie.
Information about the World Cup is all over the place at this point. You can find basic tournament details at the FIFA website and look into in-depth team previews at any number of sports publications. You can look at odds-based predictions and projections on betting platforms where people want to put a personal stake in the matches. But if you simply want to stay up-to-date on the action as it unfolds throughout the summer, the 2018 FIFA World Cup official app is a no-brainer this summer. You won’t need it after July, but until then it’s a nice pickup.
This is the last game we’ll mention, and it’s a beautiful one. In terms of gameplay, it’s actually not so very different from Retro Highway. Your goal is to direct a spaceship (again from a third person perspective) through an ever-changing landscape, collecting goodies and attempting not to crash. But the aesthetic of this game is totally different. Everything plays out in a sleek and beautiful environment combining darkly shaded surroundings with TRON-like lighting (including a stream of fuel that lights up behind your ship). It’s a hypnotic game, and one that’s a real pleasure to play.
Reddit is one of the better things to happen to the internet in the last 10 years or so (or at least that argument can be made). However, its interface leaves a little bit to be desired, and all of the comments and subreddits and this and that can start to feel cluttered even if you know what you’re looking for. Burst more or less solves this problem by streamlining your Reddit browsing. For one thing, it’s just nicer to scroll through this app than to browse on Reddit. However, the app also does something interesting by roping in comments from various subreddits relevant to the story you’re reading. There are actually several other apps that also seek to simplify and optimize Reddit browsing, but Burst is an exciting new-ish one.
This is a pretty simple one that we just think is cool. Basically, Atlas allows you to look at a map from anywhere in the world, change its appearance with various filters and color schemes, and use it as a background on your phone. It won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s creative in a very simple way, and it’s something new to play with.