I Try First is a column where I try apps and share with you their taste. It updates at least one time each week.
This time I tried four new apps. They are all either recent releases of former hot app makers or new apps which gained popularity in similar ways as former hits.
Yo Polls: New app produced by the same team who created the simple but unbelievably popular social app “Yo.“.
Clash Royale: Phenomenal new mobile game produced by Finnish game company Supercell, who made the extraordinary Clash of Clans.
Agar.io: New favourite of President Underwood in House of Cards Season 4. In Season 3 he played Monument Valley, which gained huge success after showing up in House of Cards.
Recolor: An mobile version of color filling book Secret Garden. Much more sophisticated.
I still remember Yo. (yes, with a dot). That simple app, which can do nothing except send a “Yo” to my friends, raised $1.5 million in funding after gaining crazy popularity two years ago. After Yo., its developer released another app Yo Status, with its only function to send emojis to others.
Now, here comes Yo Polls. Same design style and a new game play. This time I’m not sending “Yo” or emojis, but a poll.
Once logging in, I was asked to lock my screen – it was telling me I can play Yo Polls on a locked screen. After several either-or questions, I was obsessed. I remember the teenage years when I opened my diary at night but couldn’t think of anything specific to write. These simple polls are great that they can exactly break the deadlock of mind.
Just like Yo. and Yo Status, these polls can be sent to friends via Message or Twitter. The success of the former two apps has proved even a simple “Yo”can be a very good conversation launcher. Yo Polls provides more topics to talk about. I tried sending a poll to my friends, and then surprisingly, none of them kept asking “why”, but all started pleasant conversations as I wished. So amazing!
There are a huge variety of polls, created by anonymous users. I can choose from “Fun”, “Sports”, “Music”, “Tech”, … to control the themes.
So, Yo Polls is not only about polls. As its previous apps, Yo Polls provides a more playful way to start socialising. Sometimes communicating can be easier and more effective when it is without a clear purpose.
Click here to download Yo Polls.
Cost: free (in-app purchase)
Secret Garden was absolutely one of the hottest things in 2015. Yes, people do need some ways to help them release pressure, but for me, I don’t think I can have enough space to open Secret Garden and color it in some really stressful occasions, such as a crowded tube.
Then I found this new app named Recolor.
Once opening it, I saw a countdown on the top. If I could finish any one of the pictures before it ends, all the pics would be unlocked for 24 hours. Of course you can spend money to unlock them instantly.
Good news is that all the free pictures, in rich categories such as human, animals and food, are already enough for me to find one I like.
It’s very easy to color by a simple click. I can also use two fingers to zoom in/out, so iPhone 5/5s/SE users won’t find some blocks too small. Auto-saving is another useful function that enables me to finish part of a picture on the way and continue next time.
Once finishing, I can apply filters, save it or share it to social media. So, don’t worry if you can’t shoot a perfect photo of your Secret Garden work, Recolor is better.
To make it more playful, a “scan” function lies in the upper left corner. It allows me to scan any pictures to color. I tried with 3 ugly birds I drew, and it really worked. Since every Secret Garden is the same, I prefer Recolor.
Click here to download Recolor.
Cost: free (in-app purchase)
Finnish game company Supercell’s last hit Clash of Clans is already well-known, but Clash Royale still wowed me. Being a new game famous even before its release, Clash Royale only spent 12 hours to climb to No.1 in the US app store. After trying it, though I haven’t spent any money on in-app purchases, I have a strong feeling that Clash Royale represents an ultimate form of mobile game today.
First, Clash Royale combines several hottest game types. It is a tower rush game, with 3 towers on each side and the only goal is to destroy the opponent’s towers. It is a card game, containing various cards of roles, which can be unlocked, updated and grouped into a battle deck. It’s also a real-time strategy game played by multiple players. These 3 most popular types are combined very well in one system.
In Clash Royale, each round is within 4 minutes. A proper pace for a mobile game. There’s not much punishment for loss, so I can keep playing again and again. I think this is a key factor contributing to a mobile game’s success. It needs to satisfy users’ desire to play it on and on, at any time anywhere. That’s why many games can earn money by charging users after a number of free entries. Such a “fast food” pace making users wanna keep playing is a must for an ultimate mobile game in my eye.
Clash Royale is friendly to both starters and senior players. For starters, it is very easy to be familiar with through the first 3 matches. For veterans, it’s still full of challenges because of a variety of roles and skills. Every time two players are matched, the system will make sure they are at close levels, avoiding gaps of fighting forces. So players at any stage can enjoy the game.
Click here to download Clash Royale.
Do you remember this 10-sec scene in House of Cards Season 3? The game President Underwood is playing is Monument Valley.
Not only playing by himself, the president also recommended it to his staff. “We need something that will capture the imagination,” he said. After his recommendation, the app soon became a worldwide hit and dominated app stores in many countries.
And now, in the new season of House of Cards, the president is playing a new game, named Agar.io.
It’s very simple to play Agar.io. Basically I just need to control a ball representing myself to swallow up smaller balls and avoid being eaten by bigger ones.
It seems pretty simple, but just like House of Cards, you only get more when you think more.
Each ball is given a nickname by its player. Since Agar.io is a multi-player online mobile game, I can always figure out interesting things due to these nicknames. Within the several days since I started, I have already seen “McDonald” chasing “KFC”, “Obama” surrounded by “China” and other Asian country names (certain key words will trigger certain patterns on the balls eg. China, Mars, Doge). I can even see a group of balls in one language battling balls in another language. Really an eye-opening experience.
Although the rule is pretty simple, it doesn’t mean that large balls can eat up everything. Agar.io keeps a good balance between different players. Smaller balls move faster. Larger ones can only reach a lower speed, but have the ability to ejaculate half of themselves to attain temporary high speed. Smaller players can also make use of tricks on the screen to avoid bigger balls or even settle them.
The best part of Agar.io is that it is interesting in both game plays and players’ states of mind. A nickname can lead to a sense of familiarity, unity or hostility. Very House of Cards.
Click here to download Agar.io.
I Try First is a column where I try apps and share with you their taste.
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