Quadro, Dungeon Defense, and awesome apps of the week


Awesome Apps
'Appy weekend, everyone!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s the final day of the weekend, which means it’s time for us to share our picks for the week’s most important apps and app updates.

From a nifty Touch Bar-style app for iOS and Mac to a terrific retro-styled dungeon actioner, we’re confident we’ve got something you’ll enjoy. Check out our choices below.

Google Maps

See when local businesses are at their busiest. In real-time.
Photo: Google

With the exception of its unequivocally terrible start, I’ve never been as down on Apple Maps as some people are. With that said, Google Maps is clearly the leader when it comes to innovative features, and this week it added another example of this to its iOS client.

The latest update lets you view “popular times” for local businesses. Refreshed live, this feature makes it possible to see just how busy your favorite coffee shop or the nearest McDonald’s is right this moment, not just by estimating based on averages. It will also tell you how long people typically spend at your chosen location.

This is achieved by taking advantage of anonymized mobile location data to find the number of devices located in one place. Sure, not every shopper is accounted for, but it is enough to give you a good representation of how long you can expect to wait for service.

The Maps update also adds the ability to quickly access addresses copied to your iOS clipboard in the same way that Chrome detects coped URLs. When you begin a search, the app will show the address you have copied, allowing you to find it in just one tap.

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

Ninja Spinki Challenges!!

Get ready for the latest infuriating game from the maker of Flappy Bird.
Photo: Dong Nguyen

Remember Dong Nguyen, developer of wildly popular mobile game Flappy Bird, who reportedly made $50,000 per day before pulling his creation from the App Store? Well, he’s back with a brand new game called Ninja Spinki Challenges!!

Ninja Spinki Challenges!! gives users six different mini-games, requiring you to dodge oncoming objects ranging from rolling bombs and spiked balls to fruit and cannon fire.

It doesn’t have the insanely tricky difficulty curve of Flappy Bird or Nguyen’s more recent Swing Copters, but it’s still got a lot of the ingredients that made both of those gaems so infuriatingly addictive.

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


Quadro is a super-charged Touch Bar that runs on iOS devices.
Photo: Quadro

From the reactions I’ve had from readers, the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is one of Apple’s most divisive innovations in years. But if you like the concept of the Touch Bar, but don’t want to spend money buying a not-exactly-pro MacBook Pro, you may want to try out Quadro, which offers the similar addition of shortcut features inside your favorite apps.

It’s not just a standard shortcut function strip, either, but has the additional ability of offering custom sequences that you can compose yourself — like creating a button that opens Mail and then starts a new email to a specified contact, or one which opens iTunes and starts cranking your favorite playlist.

The basic version of Quadro, which lets you create 50+ templates to control your most-used apps, is completely free, but the ability to create infinite templates and customize their look will set you back $9.99 a year.

Available for: iPhone, iPad, Mac
Cost: Free – $9.99
Get it from: Quadro

Dungeon Defense – Invasion of Heroes

I’m constantly blown away by what solo developers are able to put together on their own. The excellent Dungeon Defense – Invasion of Heroes is just the latest example of this.

It’s a brilliant retro-styled game which reminds me a whole lot of Space Invaders, with gameplay mechanics requiring you to obliterate wave after wave of enemies. It’s addictive playing, and there’s a fun upgrade system that gives it plenty of added depth. Highly recommended!

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $1.99
Get it from: App Store