Super Mario Run and other awesome apps of the week

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Awesome Apps
'Appy holidays. Almost.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s the week before Christmas and, if you’re tired of buying gifts, decorating trees, or complaining about the weather, why not download some of the week’s hottest App Store titles?

Check out our picks below. From the long-awaited Super Mario Run and beyond, these are the most notable app launches of the past seven days.

Super Mario Run

Let’s be honest: the App Store could have not sold a single other app this week and Super Mario Run, which launched at the end of the week, would still have made it a massive week for Apple’s iOS software store.

Representing Mario’s first official sighting on iPhones and iPads, Super Mario Run reconfigures everyone’s favorite Italian plumber as the star of an endless runner game, in which users’ only job is to tap to jump — thereby allowing Mario to leap obstacles, smash villains, collect coins and other goodies, and select routes.

I’ve always felt that endless runners are a pretty lightweight, fluffy type of iPhone game — which is the opposite from the gorgeously designed, deep gaming experiences of the best Super Mario games.

That’s partly true here: Super Mario Run isn’t going to be challenging any of the series’ best entries for the top spot. However, it is a lot of fun, and captures much of what makes the Super Mario games so great. Oh, and the soundtrack is as wonderful as you’d hope.

(Two words of caution, though: firstly you’ll have the shell out $9.99 to get the full game after a brief three stag demo, and the game also requires “always on” internet connectivity, which is a pain if you’re on limited data or plan to play this on the subway into work.)

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free (with $9.99 in-app purchase)
Get it from: App Store

Tinder for Apple TV

Looking for that special person to share the holidays with? Well, you’re running out of time if there’s no-one on the horizon yet, but your Apple TV may be able to help you.

Tinder for Apple TV puts potential matches on your big screen, and lets you swipe left or right on the touch-sensitive Siri Remote — with the larger screen size meaning that you can solicit opinions from friends as you do. We’re not totally sure why you’d want to do that on your TV, but we guess it’s an alternative to sitting down in front of a movie.

Available for: Apple TV
Cost: Free
Get it from: tvOS App Store

Apple Support

Supportapp
There’s a new way to get help from Apple.
Photo: Apple

Having previously done a soft launch in the Netherland, Apple made its new Support available in the U.S. this week, giving customers the ability to get expert help with devices and software — as well as scheduling repairs at the Apple store if necessary — from the comfort of their iOS device.

Handily, the app also provides a catalog of support articles designed to help users fix common issues. Cleverly, the app knows which Apple products you have (courtesy of iCloud), thereby saving you time entering information about the exact model of iMac, MacBook, iPhone or other device(s) you own.

In addition, the app lets users chat with Apple service experts, and view support case history as well.

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

Minimize

You mean that you want a game to download this week that’s not Super Mario Run?! If so, I’d heartily recommend the excellent Minimize, a soothing minimalist puzzle game that’s bound to find App Store success.

Taking place over 100 colorful, handcrafted levels, the game is a tile-matching game with a gorgeous isometric design. Each swipe you make changes gravity to get the blocks to fit together — and you’ll pick it up in no time.

As games go, this one will keep you going longer than the aforementioned Super Mario game — even if it will receive just an almost impossibly tiny fraction of its publicity. Do an indie developer a favor and download. You won’t regret your decision!

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