Flipboard, Stagehand, and other awesome apps of the week | Cult of Mac

Flipboard, Stagehand, and other awesome apps of the week

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

It’s the weekend, which means that it’s time to ditch all the chores you had planned and instead sit down and try out some of the week’s most significant new apps.

From a tremendous “reverse platformer” to a nifty attempt at revolutionizing your magazines-reading experience, here are the apps and app updates that intrigued us this week.

Malovolent Machine

If you like your endless runners with a dose of run-and-gun action and a sprinkle of retro, steampunk-inspired style, you may well get a kick out of Goodnight Games’ Malevolent Machines.

Making a successful appeal to my misspent youth playing Metal Slug and Altered Beast, it offers up a bevy of super-powered weapons — ranging from nuclear lasers to blaster cannons — with which you get to destroy endless “hordes of… malformed creatures”. The boss battles are particularly epic!

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

flipboard
Flipboard wants to reinvent your magazine reading experience.
Photo: Flipboard

Flipboard

Flipboard rolled out a big update this week in the form of Smart Magazines, a feature that lets you put the best stories from your favorite sources in one place. Given that Flipboard now features an astonishing 34,000 different topics and more than 30 million magazines, it’s a way to make the content a bit more manageable to users.

Smart Magazines are tailored to your own personal interests and are completely customizable, so you get the content you’re most interested in more easily.

To create a Smart Magazine, use the Passion Picker to identify your favorite topics. You then customize your magazine by specifying your favorite publications, YouTube channels, and Twitter accounts and hashtags. After that, Flipboard pulls all the info together into one place, making it easier to find and digest.

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

Pinterest

Like Flipboard, Pinterest certainly isn’t a new app, but its creators did make a significant announcement this week. In Pinterest’s case, that’s a new “Lens” visual search tool, which lets users snap a photo of a real-world object and then finds related images on Pinterest.

Certainly Pinterest’s not the only company to embrace similar tools (Amazon long ago adopted a related visual search), but Pinterest’s structure and mission objective makes it a great fit. You can go a bit further than other similar tools, too, by letting you use your photos as a color or pattern guide to take you off down some very weird — and occasionally fruitful — rabbit holes.

(Note: this app update is still in beta, so you may not be able to use it right away, although it should have rolled out everywhere within the next few weeks.)

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

Stagehand: A Reverse Platformer

There are plenty of good retro platformers on the App Store, but Stagehand — my pick for “game of the week” — offers an intriguing twist.

Instead of controlling the character in the game, you instead control the stage. This means raising and lowering platforms to help the hero reach the end of the level intact, without crashing into a cliff, plunging into lava, or meeting an untimely demise in some other way.

It’s a lot of fun, and one of those ideas that’s so ingeniously simple you wonder why it took until 2017 for someone to implement it!

I’ll have a more in-depth look at Stagehand this week, so check back in on Cult of Mac for more details.

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