New apps show creative strength

Long ago, the board game entertained young college students for hours upon end. With the dawn of the modern technological age came the rise of video games. Now, with portable devices rapidly dominating the market, apps have become a major staple of the entertainment industry, especially among the technologically-savvy members of the modern generation. Because there are just so many little squares of fun from which to choose, we at the Technique have picked five of our favorite new apps to look out for this year.

Appgratis

This app is so useful and popular among Android users that it was taken down from the Apple Store. AppGratis is an Android-only app that searches for and notifies the user of daily free applications, ranging from enjoyable to educational.

Upon installation, AppGratis automatically begins notifying the Android user of free apps on a daily basis. Hitting this notification takes the user to the easily-maneuverable AppGratis interface, which gives the name and description of the app that is currently being advertised. It also keeps a catalog of old apps that may still be free using AppGratis, in case you missed a day. A great way to find new, useful apps free of charge, AppGratis is a must-have for the modern technology buff, opening the doors to new experiences within the electronic world each and every day.

Colormania

For fans of 4 Pics 1 Word and Iconmania, Colormania is another borderline-addicting game for both Android and iPhone users to enjoy. The premise of the game basically reflects that of Iconmania, except with a twist: There are no letters, only colors. This twist means the difficulty level of the app is greatly decreased. Mostly cartoon characters and logos, Colormania brings in new and old icons that hardcore phone gamers can match with colors. The best part? No more having to look up the answers and feel like a cheater.

When a player guesses an incorrect color, that color is eliminated along with one of the player’s limited lives. After all lives are gone, the player just has to wait a specified time to start guessing again. Although it may not be the most revolutionary invention of the 21st century, Colormania is a fun way to pass the time and, therefore, deserves a look from any respectable cellular gamer.

Timely Alarm Clock

Tagged with the title “Beautiful Alarm Clock,” the Timely Alarm Clock app does not lie. It will get you up on time, and it will look gorgeous doing it. The app has beautiful designs and a style which looks stellar on all Android phones great and small (sorry iPhone users, it is an Android exclusive).

Looking past the aesthetics, a person might think, “What is the point of an alarm clock looking good when it’s only used when eyes are closed?” However, this alarm does not just look good—it sounds good too. It has multiple types of unique, melodic alarms plus a timer, stopwatch and clock.

The app has all the benefits of a standard alarm clock with one unique feature: Smart Rise. Based on advanced sleep cycle theory, “Smart Rise causes a soothing melody to play thirty minutes before the actual alarm that will lead into the actual alarm itself.” Its helpfulness will depend on the user, but Timely Alarm Clock is an interesting app to check out and a pleasant way to start the day.

QBOT

The idea behind QBOT was basically a ploy to get new customers to patronize local fine-dining eateries like Subway and Pizza Hut, but recently the app has become an absolute sensation within the dining community.

The premise is simple: In select dining options around campus, students who purchase food can scan a QR code for a point. These points stack up to allow repeat customers to redeem free items from their respective restaurant. Such point systems are especially beneficial to students who rely on these Tech food chains for sustenance; for them, QBOT means free food.

Despite the many benefits and lack of cost that the app boasts, QBOT still has a few weird quirks. Occasionally, the scan does not always work, leading to awkward moments of pointing one’s phone at the cashier while people behind in line are forced to wait. Also, in a possible data-gathering scheme, QBOT requires the current location of the phone to verify the authenticity of the purchase of food. Potential users should be ready to allow the app time to find a location, because without it, the scan will yield no points, meaning no free food.

Overall, QBOT is a smart way for repeat customers of popular food chains to receive extra benefits, but its location gathering and random glitches certainly do not add to the app’s appeal. Then again, if free food is in the mix, college students deserve to know about it.

MiniVolt

Designed by Tech students, this Android-only app is a great game for those who are strategists at heart. If anything, MiniVolt is enjoyable because of its simplicity. The game requires users to direct units from one orb to another in an attempt to take control of all orbs on the map. Using the genre standard of receiving units from bases and then sending them to die, MiniVolt takes an electrical form involving objects such as insulators, mirrors and electric fields to help or hinder the player.

As a credit to its creators, the app is designed well, with an engineer-oriented atmosphere present throughout the game. However, there are a few coding flaws and controls that may frustrate players; it is not uncommon to mis-tap in MiniVolt’s fast-paced levels and accidentally send units flying off the map and into the void.

These controls are coupled with bases that are sometimes too small and have no aim to assist. On rare occasions, the game will not even load level maps and will require the app be closed. But if the user is willing to put up with these slight discrepancies, MiniVolt promises content that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

All in all, although the game is not perfect, MiniVolt makes up for its flaws with a plethora of interesting and diverse levels and AI that will ultimately challenge players.