Cola Messenger, Retro City Rampage DX, and other awesome apps of the week

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Awesome-Apps-of-the-Week
Which apps have we chosen this week?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

What better way is there to spend a Sunday than by catching up on the latest great iOS apps?

Whether you’re wanting to transform the way you text with a fantastic new messaging tool, or just fancy unwinding with a top-down, open-world driving game that makes Grand Theft Auto look tame by comparison, you’ve come to the right place.

Check out our top picks below.

Cola Messenger

HEADING
Cola Messenger takes texting to the next level.
Photo: Cola, Incorporated

Cola Messenger cuts down on the number of text messages you need to send by adding interactive “Cola Bubbles” into your chat windows.

In short, it allows you to drop live location tracking, polls, to-do lists, and more into your conversations. Say you’re trying to select a movie to go see tonight with some of your friends? Instead of bouncing around messages looking for a consensus opinion, simply add a poll which everyone can vote on. Want to let people know when you’re free to watch it? Suggest a few types which suit you inside Cola’s calendar.

Perhaps best of all is the fact that — while having everyone use Cola Messenger’s app improves functionality — your friends don’t have to be using it from the get-go for you to take advantage. Just download it yourself and you’ll be able to add polls and the like into text message conversations with your existing contacts.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
Get it from: App Store

Weather by Tinybop

I’ve written before about the challenge of working out just how much time to let your kid use an iPad, but there’s no doubting that a good educational app can work wonders.

Tinybop, a developer of educational apps for kids, recently released its new Weather by Tinybop: providing a gorgeous, activity-based weather app, aimed at kids aged 6-8. With the aid of gorgeous graphics, it teaches the basics of how weather works in different conditions — ranging from run-of-the-mill rainfall to extreme weather events such as tornadoes or hurricanes.

Definitely worth a download for any parents of kids who fall into the app’s target demographic. Or anyone who just wants to see a really good educational app in action.

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $2.99
Get it from: App Store

Dream Machine: The Game

I was inspired to download Dream Machine: The Game after reading a great review of it on App Advice, describing a title more than a bit reminiscent of the wonderful Monument Valley. While it certainly looks (very) similar to that game in terms of visuals, it does stand on its own as a unique puzzle game in its own right.

Your goal is to guide a protagonist through a series of maze-like, M.C. Escher-inspired stages, full of fantastical machinery and optical illusions. En route, you’ll contend with hazardous traps and epic boss battles — all while enjoying the otherworldly charm this game has in spades.

The comparison with Monument Valley may raise fears that Dream Machine is a clone of that iOS classic, but I think fans will find a lot that’s new to enjoy here.

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $0.99
Get it from: App Store

Retro City Rampage DX

A spoof of retro 8-bit games which instantly garnered a fanbase upon its release, Retro City Rampage DX made its debut on Windows, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita way back in 2012. Several years later it’s finally landed on iOS — and it’s just as good as you’d hope.

The game harks back to the early, top-down Grand Theft Auto games, but it’s a lot crazier and even less rooted in the real-world than those titles ever were. If you’re a fan of ’80s and ’90s pop culture — and enjoy the idea of an NES-style anarchic tribute to the movies, games and TV shows of that period, you can’t go wrong with this game.

Seriously.

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $4.99
Get it from: App Store