The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands, and other awesome apps of the week

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

A brilliant minimalist settler simulation with added monsters is just of one of our picks for this week’s “Awesome Apps of the Week.”

In addition, we’ve got a great new version of The Sims for mobile, and two Google apps which have received big updates. Check out our selections below.

The Sims Mobile

The best mobile version of the classic people simulator game yet, The Sims Mobile finally landed in the App Store this week after a lengthy period in soft launch.

As with its desktop older sibling, there’s an impressive amount of cuustomization on offer. You can tweak your Sim’s personality traits, skills, aspirations and appearance, as well as diving into a bit of in-depth house design.

On the downside, there are in-app purchases on offer, which speed up the rate at which you can advance through the game. That’s annoying, but it is possible to get around it without splashing cash if you’re willing to set a few timers here and there, before returning to the game.

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

Google Duo

The first of our two Google apps for this week, Google Duo is the FaceTime rival video calling app. This week it added an often-requested feature that FaceTime still doesn’t offer: video voicemails.

The feature means that, should you try and video call a person who doesn’t pick up, you can still record up to 30 seconds of video and send it them.

These video messages can easily be played inside the Google Duo app. You can also save the ones you particularly enjoy, along with calling someone back with the tap of a button.

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

Google Maps

Super Mario Google Maps
Celebrate Mario Day in Google Maps.
Photo: Google

Okay, so Google Maps isn’t some obscure app you’re unlikely to have heard of. But this week it got an entertaining new feature which, for a limited time only, lets you navigate the world as Nintendo’s iconic mascot Mario.

Timed to coincide with Mario Day and running for the next week, the update replaces the ordinary blue arrow navigation system with Mario’s red kart, complete with familiar sound effects.

If you’ve already got the app, you’ll have to download an update. Once installed, you can then switch to Mario by selecting the yellow “?” icon that appears alongside the “Start” button when you begin navigation. You’ll then have to confirm you want to enter “Mario time!”

Google Maps isn’t the only Mario Day-themed app special offer this week. The full version of Super Mario Run is also available for just $4.99 between now and March 25.

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

The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands

Reminiscent of the minimalist text adventure A Dark RoomThe Bonfire: Forsaken Lands is a massively immersive game in which you play a settler exploring a scary new land. The decisions you make are based on text options, but there’s a gorgeous graphical element to the game that makes it visually stunning as well.

Your goal is to build a settlement in a snowy encampment and then manage workers and resources to survive monster attacks which take place during the night. It’s a brutal settlement simulation survival game in which your choices have an enormous branching impact on the way the game plays out. Highly recommended!

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $3.99
Get it from: App Store