Florence, Sodes, and other awesome apps of the week | Cult of Mac

Florence, Sodes, and other awesome apps of the week

By

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

A poignant, beautiful, story-driven game that’s bound to go down as one of the year’s best iOS titles is just one of this week’s “Awesome Apps.”

In addition, we’ve got a great update of a top navigation app, a minimalist podcasting app, and a challengingly entertaining puzzle game. Check out our picks below.

Sodes

sodes podcast app
A brilliant, simple podcast app.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Sodes is an ultra-simple new podcast app from minimalist app developer Jared Sinclair. Your podcast subscriptions are arranged in a grid on the main screen, and you tap one to bring up the available episodes, and then to start listening.

That may sound like a large number of other podcasting apps out there, but what makes Sodes great is the depth of its design. The interface is clean, simple, and –most important of all — easy to use. The buttons are bold and easy to figure out — and there’s a neat emphasis on extras like sharing, visiting the web page of the current podcast, and more.

You can also 3-D press on any episode to reset your progress or mark it as finished. Once an episode is finished, it disappears from your list.

One slight word of caution: one of the unusual aspects of Sodes is the fact that it doesn’t actually download individual episodes, but rather streams them. That’s not great if you use your podcast app for offline listening, but it’s brilliant if you’ve ever wasted tons of storage on your iPhone auto-downloading podcasts you never actually get around to listening to.

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

Florence

Florence
A game about love and loss.
Photo: Annapurna Interactive

Florence is one of those games that is both clearly among the year’s best and also incredibly difficult to describe in a way that gets across just what a profound experience it is.

The debut title of its Australian development studio, it’s a story-driven game following the titular Florence, a somewhat aimless 20-something. Florence’s life changes when she meets Irish, a cellist, who she falls in love with — and then gradually grows out of love with.

In essence, it’s a gamified version of one of those indie movies where nothing much happens, but a lot happens. (Meaning that it focuses on a small episode in which the subtleties are what makes it meaningful.) Think 500 Days of Summer, but as a game. This one is going to heavily featured on lists about the year’s best games.

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

Google Maps

Google Maps Feb 18 update
You can now gain one-tap access to useful commute info.
Photo: Google

Google Maps is already the best navigation app for iOS, but this week it got an update making it even better. A new one-tap access bar at the bottom of the app now allows you to quickly view nearby restaurants and hotels, real-time traffic data, and transit information.

Tapping Explore will present you with nearby places where you can eat, drink, shop, and sleep. Driving displays real-time traffic information, helping you avoid congested roads. The transit tab tells you which buses and trains will soon be departing your area.

Swipe up on any of these menus to expand them and see more information. The update arrived on Android last February, and is certainly a worthy update on iOS.

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

Death Squared (RORORORO)

A brilliant (and challenging) puzzle game for 1 or 2 players, Death Squared is, in the words of its developers, about “coordination, cooperation, and robot explosions.” What’s not to love?

There are 80+ levels in total, through which you guide red and blue cubes with the goal of reaching their same-color circles, while avoiding spikes and lasers. A tricky, innovative puzzler that rewards careful thinking. Recommended — especially if you have a bluetooth controller.

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $6.99
Get it from: App Store