This summer we've been joined at our new office by our intern, Eva. With vast numbers of new apps flooding the market every day, it's hard to keep track of the latest and greatest. With this in mind, we set Eva the task of reviewing some of the latest big hitters to see what's hot and what's not:
I'd imagine you would have to be living in a cave, a cave without wifi, not to have heard of Pokémon Go. Originally popular in the '90's, this free-to-download app puts Pokémon and Nintendo back in the public eye through its clever use of augmented reality. (Yes, it's finally arrived) Using information from your phone's GPS and clock, players hunt for Pokémon as they move around the streets, fields and even the beach. Pokéstops are based on real-world locations, offering players a hub in which to interact and the opportunity to purchase items that can lure Pokémon to these locations.
The game throws you straight in with little instruction on how to play, so it feels like it's aimed at past players. When I did encounter a Pokémon for the first time, there were no worded instructions on how to capture it. Instead a little arrow appears that is supposed to show you how to catch the Pokémon. This contrasts with another game I have started playing recently which, although very different in style to Pokémon Go, can be compared from the perspective of a first-time player who is unaware of the content of the game. Playrix’s Township allows you to "Build your dream town!" and involves harvesting foods as well as completing tasks for the residents. From the start and as you move through the levels of the game, written instructions are provided on the new features and how to use them to your benefit.
I found the Pokémon Go game quite glitchy when I started playing it, although, given the massive worldwide hype, it's understandable that Nintendo's servers may be struggling to keep pace with the number of players. Innovative technology in the form of augmented reality is used to merge real life and animation. This is an exciting and interesting concept and hopefully, as the app is developed, will become increasingly sophisticated. However for me, the lagging and glitching is impossible to ignore and becomes increasingly frustrating the more you play.
I rate it 3 out of 5 Poké Balls.
Having seen a sudden rash of artsy looking pictures appearing across social media, a quick bit of detective work led to Prisma, an online iOS photo filter app that offers a selection of art-based filters. However, it uses artificial intelligence to not only drastically change the appearance of your photo of choice, but also scans the data to ensure the style picked is applied appropriately, this increases the effectiveness of the style chosen. This is more advanced than the filters available on popular photography app Instagram, which simply places the filter over the photo.
This app is really fun and easy to use, totally addictive and great to while away any spare time you have (if you're not catching Pokémon). It looks fresh and sleek, effortlessly transforming images into intricate and stylistic photos which can be easily shared and saved. The large variety of adjustable filters means there’s something for everyone and allows for creativity to flow freely, allowing the user to create unique and personal pictures in seconds. A huge downside to Prisma is Android users to do not yet have access to it, limiting a large number of potential users, but it is rumoured to available by the end of July.
I rate it 4 out of 5 triangles.
Another addictive app is Wantfeed, a wishlist app that allows its users to create personal, online wishlists that can be easily viewed and added to. Beginning life as a website, the app was launched due to popular demand in March 2015 and has a steadily growing user base. Like a cross between eBay and Tinder, items are linked to online retailers for swift purchasing, but users are also encouraged to add their own lists and make them shoppable. The swiping action will be familar to many, giving the app an addictive feel and offering real ease-of-use as you scroll through products.
The idea behind this app is ingenious. With the huge number of products now on offer to people, buying Christmas and Birthday presents can be a nightmare. Wantfeed lists can be shown to friends and family and they will know exactly what to get you. As they say on the website, this will "stop you from ever getting socks for Christmas again”. A downside to the app is that you have to have an account to use it (unlike on the website, where items can be bought without being logged in), therefore it may not be ideal for those wanting to buy things online quickly unless they already have an account. It is also disappointing that there is no share function to link your list to your social media, I feel this would help its effectiveness and make it more practical, allowing more people to become aware of the app.
The concept behind Wantfeed is clever and new, resulting in an imaginative and useful app that can be used by people of all ages. The handy sidebar means it’s uncomplicated to navigate around and allows users to easily understand the multitude of functions on offer. It can be slightly slow to load at times, but overall performs well. To enable users to make more use of their wantlists I think that a share option would be helpful.
I rate it 4 out of 5 plusses.