Screengrab via Blake Patterson

Save the world, save money on meds, and make your head explode with this week’s best apps

Hero Emblems is already one of the best games on iOS.


John-Michael Bond


Posted on May 28, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 5:03 pm CDT

Hero Emblems iOS


On paper Hero Emblems looks like just another Bejeweled clone, but under its deceptively simple look hides a deeply challenging and mind-bogglingly fun riff on the RPG genre. This is easily the best $0.99 you can spend in the app store today. Blending JRPG mechanics with tile matching puzzles, Hero Emblems has created a fresh riff on combat that’s urgent, addictive and fun as hell.

In this game, the titles you match each coincide with one of your party’s heroes, each with their own focus. One heals, one attacks, one handles defense, and the other uses magic. The more tiles you match the more effective you’ll become. Starting off, you’ll destroy everything that comes in your path, but the difficulty quickly ramps up, causing you to juggle between healing your heroes and rebuilding their defenses while desperately hoping you can get a sword swing in.

As you go on you’ll gain new weapons and spells to use in combat, save a princess from evil, and maybe even learn to love a ghost. Best of all, there are no in-app purchases, no “pay $0.99 and get an extra life” cheats, and no paywall before you can get a good weapon. You just buy the full game once and you’re done. This is a great RPG and a Candy Crush killer all in one. Go have fun.

Blink Health (iOS, Android)


Blink Health should be impossible, but it’s not. Instead, this miracle of medical access is available for everyone to use, allowing you to find low prices for generic prescription drugs even if you don’t have insurance. Accepted at over 60,000 pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and Walmart, Blink offers an incredible selection of affordable alternatives to name brand medicine. Blink says 50 percent of the generic drugs it covers are $10 or less per refill.

When you use Blink to purchase a prescription you are given a voucher which you take to the pharmacy. It’s easy as that. You’ll still need a prescription, so you can’t just go find generic Ambien for fun, but for people chronic medical needs living on a budget this could be a literal life saver.  

Google Science Journal (Android)

Google Play

Science fans young and old, professional and amateur, gather round. Google has build you a lovely new app called Science Journal and it wants to help you conduct research from your phone. Science Journal records and measures data in real time, converting your finding into charts and graphs when you’re done. 

It offers an accelerometer reading and meters to measure light and sound. Take notes and collect data on multiple projects, jot down your predictions, and then annotate your results when you’re done. For junior scientists out there, Google has set up an activities page to help you get started on your science adventure.

Pinchworm (iOS)


If you’re still marathoning Flappy Bird, we’ve found your latest throw-the-phone-against-the-wall-and-scream “WHY DO I PLAY THIS” obsession. Pinchworm puts you in control of an adorable little worm. As a worm, you’re obviously in love with another worm, but the early bird arrives and steals her away. You must travel across a field to save your love, but there are plenty of obstacles in your way. You can avoid them by pinching your thumbs in or out you can make your worm jump or burrow underground to avoid obstacles.

It’s as simple as that, until you break your iPhone screen. Pinchworm uses your phone’s settings to match the world to your time of day, leading to some beautiful nighttime, dusk, and morning color schemes.  There’s a surprising amount of story to Pinchworm if you’re good enough to progress in the game, and the unlockable characters add their own silly spin. 

MRRMRR Live Filters and Face Swap iOS


Love selfie filters but hate Snapchat? MRRMRR feels your pain, and is here to bring your animal noses, face swaps, and exploding head effects to Whatapp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. MRRMRR is free to download and use, so get out there and see what your exploding head looks like. 

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*First Published: May 28, 2016, 11:52 am CDT