Old Man's Journey, Google Assistant, and other awesome apps of the week | Cult of Mac

Old Man’s Journey, Google Assistant, and other awesome apps of the week

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

A gorgeously illustrated, story-driven game with an utterly unique gameplay mechanic is just one of the titles we’ve picked out for this week’s “Awesome Apps” roundup.

We’ve also got Google’s AI assistant, a classic Capcom game finally landed in the App Store after almost 30 years, and a third party keyboard that’s gotten even better. Check out our picks below.

Old Man’s Journey

You won’t have played a game like Old Man’s Journey before. Describing itself as a “soul-searching puzzle adventure game about life’s precious moments, broken dreams, and changed plans,” you guide the titular “old man” through a world by manipulating the environment around him.

It’s a dreamlike adventure, with stunning sun-kissed graphics, and a truly unique gameplay mechanic I’ve never seen before. The idea of having to physically manipulate the landscape to move about and solve puzzles sounds complicated, but you’ll catch on pretty quickly.

The relative brevity of the game means it won’t keep you playing indefinitely. However, for the length of time this lasts, you’ll have a magical time. Highly recommended!

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

Google Assistant

Google Assistant
Google Assistant is here to battle Siri on its home turf.
Photo: Google Assistant

Google’s answer to Siri, Google Assistant finally arrived on iOS this week to do battle with Siri on its home turf.

Google Assistant can make table reservations, order takeaway, compose your shopping list, fetch information, answer questions, and find places nearby. It also has the ability to interact with and control other smart devices around your home.

Assistant’s latest update additionally borrows a feature from Samsung Bixby, allowing users to identify objects in the real world. With Google Lens, it can translate foreign text, identify signs and objects, and more. You can even point it at the sticker on the back of your router to grab your Wi-Fi password.

The fact that you can’t access Google Assistant as easily as Siri (you have to open the app, rather than use your voice or tap the Home button) is a minor irritation, but Assistant is definitely worth checking out. Its chatbot-style, text-based conversation option — which is something Apple has started to explore, but hasn’t yet implemented — is also pretty great, and shows off its impressive capabilities.

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

Ghouls’n Ghosts

cap
A Capcom classic has landed on iOS.
Photo: Capcom

Capcom’s classic Ghouls’n Ghosts first landed in video arcades in 1988, and almost 30 years later it’s finally arrived on iOS — opening it up for both a whole new generation of gamers, and anyone wanting to get a quick nostalgia boost on their commute to work.

For those who have never played it before, the game is a side-scrolling Capcom platformer in which you take control of the knight Arthur, with the mission of hacking and slashing your way through hordes of demons and the undead.

I’d recommend this game, but with one big caveat. Ghouls’n Ghosts is obviously a gaming classic, and worth playing for that reason. The port is solid, and the title itself stands up remarkably well considering that so much time has passed. The big downside is that it’s not particularly well-suited for touch controls, and there’s currently no MFi support for third-party controllers.

If you’re willing to accept that compromise, and can hold out for a future update adding MFi at a later date, this is a great pick — especially at just 99 cents.

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

SwiftKey

SF
SwiftKey’s default themes are now even prettier.
Photo: SwiftKey

SwiftKey, one of the most popular third-party keyboards on iOS, got an update this week designed to make using it a more enjoyable experience.

For those who haven’t used it before, SwiftKey is an incredibly accurate and intelligent smart keyboard offering features like rapid swipe-typing. Thanks to its latest update, it now offers more languages than any other iOS keyboard, with 106 in total. The update also added two new animated themes called Cogs and ZigZag, a cleaner look for the default Nickel Light and Nickel Dark, and more.

Well worth a download — particularly given that it’s totally free.

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