Alto's Odyssey, UniChar, and other awesome apps of the week | Cult of Mac

Alto’s Odyssey, UniChar, and other awesome apps of the week


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

A brilliant sandboarding endless runner that’s sure to go down as one of this year’s greatest iOS games is just of one of the picks for this week’s “Awesome Apps of the Week.”

In addition, we’ve got a great Unicode app for iOS, a gambling-centric version of Angry Birds, and a significant update to one of the best image-editing apps available on iPad Pro. Check out our selections below.


Unichar works everywhere
A great new Unicode app.
Photo: Jordan Hipwell

When is the last time you used an ellipsis in a message sent on iOS? One reason the answer is probably “never” may be that not only is the selection of Unicode characters on iOS quite limited, but finding them can be a real mission.

UniChar is a Universal iOS app that promises to change that. Whether it’s Chinese or Arabic symbols to emoji, the app allows you to browse every Unicode character and insert them into standard text fields. This can be done in a range of ways — from typing in a search description to search by drawing.

You can check out a more in-depth review of the app, by my colleague Charlie Sorrel, here. UniChar is free, although a $2.99 in-app purchase will unlock all of its features.

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

Alto’s Odyssey

The long-awaited follow up 2015’s brilliant Alto’s Adventure endless snowboarding game finally arrived in the App Store this week.

Alto’s Odyssey transports the action to a desert sandboarding setting, and adds new elements including wall rides, vortexes that propel you through the air, and aerial obstacles such as hot air balloons that you can propel yourself off.

While it can’t hope to be as groundbreaking as its predecessor (which is one of the greatest and most influential iOS games in history), this is still a sequel that improves on its predecessor in every way. It’s even more graphically stunning, and looks superb on both the larger iPad Pro and the OLED display of the iPhone X.

This will be a top five mobile game in 2018, no question about it.

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

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo was Apple’s pick for “iPad App of the Year” in 2017. This week, it got a massive update, letting users shoot in the RAW or HDR video format, improves the clarity of RAW images, adds personalized fonts, and much more.

Serif is also offering the Luminance Brush Pack, Retouch Brush Pack, and Live Filters Macro Pack for free through March 8. If you’re looking for a legitimate Photoshop replacement for iPad Pro, this is absolutely it — and a great time to acquire it, too.

Available for: iPad Pro
Cost: $19.99
Get it from: App Store

Angry Birds Champions

Ever wish you could be paid for playing Angry Birds? That’s the basis for Champions, a new entry in the Angry Birds franchise, which allows users to earn real money.

You enter a tournament and complete one of two game modes: best-of-three or progression. Your highest or combined score is recorded, and the game then finds another, similarly-skilled player to compete against. Players are matched based on things like the number of games played, performance in other tournaments, their win-loss ratio, and average or best scores.

Whoever achieves the highest score wins a cash prize of a “few dollars,” based on the up-front fee (less than a dollar) that each player contributes to enter.

One final note: Angry Birds Champions isn’t a standalone app, but rather available through the WorldWinner app for iOS, alongside monetized versions of a number of other games. It’s also not available in 10 states (Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee), which ban gambling apps.

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


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