Photo via ビッグアップジャパン (CC-BY 2.0)
1) Reign iOS $2.99
If you’ve ever watched Game of Thrones and thought, “Ugh, I’d never get killed like that,” Reign is ready to make you eat your words. This incredibly deep yet shockingly simple adventure game puts you in the boots of a king desperately trying to keep his kingdom from collapsing. You’re faced with a constant series of questions and conflicts that you answer by swiping right or left. That’s pretty much it, but the end result of your finger swipes has deadly consequences.
Your choices directly impact the strength of the church, military, your population, and your money, leaving you to strike a delicate balance. Empower the people too much and they might realize they don’t need a king. A weak military means you can’t fight wars, but one that’s too strong may kill you and take your throne. It's up to you to make sure no one faction overwhelms you, all while dealing with outside forces.
As you play the game, it keeps track of how many years you’ve remained in power, a score that we found far more satisfying than any simple number. You aren’t the guy who scored 3,000,000 points. You’re a king who reigned for 20 years, or 2 years if you simply can’t get your crap together. Maybe after the peasants tear you apart you’ll finally have a little sympathy for Cersei.
Netflix has a vested interest in making sure you’ve got the bandwidth needed to stream their videos. Accordingly, in May, it launched FAST, a speed-testing website that lets you know what really matters when watching video: your download speed.
Now Netflix brought that same great service to a free iOS and Android app. With FAST you’ll be able to test both your broadband and mobile internet connection, letting you know exactly what your current download speed is like in a simple and easy-to-understand interface. Whether you want to know if you can watch Orange is the New Black in HD or just want to show the guy at the Verizon store you’re not getting the download speeds you’re paying for, this simple free app is well worth keeping tucked away in your mobile device.
3) Wonder iOS
Do you love music, but love being the first to discover a new band or artist even more? Wonder is here to make you the new tastemaker in your circle of friends. Wonder constantly monitors the indie music publishing site SoundCloud for artists who are starting to pop. It still needs work when it comes to discovering sub-genres like punk or metal, but if you’re a fan of rap, pop, or dance music, Wonder is a great tool for discovering new artists. Make your iPhone a little A&R department. Give Wonder a shot.
We know you probably already use Lyft, but make sure you pick up the latest update. Users can now add more than one stop to your route when using the ride-hailing service without hassling their driver. Whether you’re picking up a friend on the way to dinner or sharing a ride home after a show, this new addition to the app is a big helper for scheduling an evening's plans and saving money.
5) Google Maps Android
This last update is strictly for our Android friends, but if you live your life on a budget it’s going to be a big help. Google Maps for Android now allows you to save maps to an SD card, so if you’re running low on data or just taking a trip through an area with crappy service you’ll always be able to find your route. In addition if you’re at the end of your data or you’re just trying to spare those precious drops you have left the app can now be set to only download via wifi. Like Lyft’s update, you might not think this matters but for readers who drive through dead zones a lot or just can’t afford a better mobile plan this is a big deal. Enjoy the extra data—and try not to use it all on Facebook.