Tag: iPhone apps

HabitRPG

HabitRPG

Last year, a friend showed me HabitRPG, which for me was another in a long string of to-do list and productivity apps that I’d tried. I expected it to have a similar usage pattern to the rest of them: I would use it without fail for a few weeks, if I was lucky a couple of months, and then I’d lose interest. I have abandoned accounts on more apps than I remember exist. HabitRPG however, appears to be sticking.

It’s a gamification app, so I’m willing to try it right out of the gate, of course. I’ve seen a lot of posts out there going over the basics, and there’s an overview video, so I’m not going to go into everything it does.

HabitRPG Tutorial #1: Tasks from Tyler Renelle on Vimeo.

I’ve been trying to figure out why this one’s working for me, but I think in large part it comes down to two things: quests and pets.

Read More Read More

Playing: The Walk

Playing: The Walk

The Walk is a fitness game that came out in December. I picked it up right away, because it’s by Six to Start and Naomi Alderman, who also made Zombies, Run! (which I love). It’s got a similar philosophy behind it: activity and fitness motivated by story. That is, unsurprisingly, a motivation that works rather well for me. It also has many of the same voice actors, which gives it a nice familiar feel. No zombies in this one, but it’s a suspense thriller, so I’m still in.

Expectations are a little different for this game. Zombies, Run! is more of a workout app, where you set aside some time to go on a run. The Walk is more like a pedometer: it uses your fitness level for the entire day to progress through the story. One of the nice things is that you don’t have to listen to the story points right as they unlock. It works well for me, as I alternate between listening to them as soon as I can, and saving them up to blow through whole sections in one go.

iOS Progress

There are also game play elements based on the map: you can choose different paths through the mission to open up collectables which are extra images that add to the world. There are also landscape features, which appear as small squares on the map when you’re in range of them. They usually have little text notes for the scenery, but are sometimes sound files with additional stories. At first the landscape features annoyed me: if you don’t happen to open the app while you’re in range, you can complete the episode with some missing. I’m a bit of a completionist, so I found that frustrating at first. I’ve pretty much gotten over it. I don’t know if they actually increased the range at which the features appear (it feels like it), or I just started checking the app more, but I don’t miss as many as I did at the start. Apparently some of them also depend on the path you take, so I’ve accepted that I’ll have to do some maps more than once (though four times for the one I just couldn’t catch was irritating).

Read More Read More

Playing: Zombies, Run!

Playing: Zombies, Run!

ZOMBIES, RUN!: A running game & audio adventure. You tie your shoes, put on your headphones, take your first steps outside. You’ve barely covered 100 yards when you hear them. They must be close. You can hear every guttural breath, every rattling groan — they’re everywhere. Zombies. There’s only one thing you can do: Run!

Exercise is a lot more interesting lately ^_^

An App for That: Epic Win

An App for That: Epic Win

I am a big fan of to-do lists. They make things easier to keep track of, and there’s the sense of completion you get from crossing an item off. Some of the first apps I downloaded for my phone were to-do lists. Yes, I have more than one 🙂

The one that has taken over the rest, however, is Epic Win (cost $2.99). I think this was the first app I ever wanted to buy before it had even been released. It applies gamification to your every day tasks, giving you XP, coins, and loot as you work through things you need to get done. You start by picking an avatar, and then adding your quest (task). When you enter the task, you also give it a related stat: Strength, Stamina, Intellect, Social, and Spirit. As you complete tasks, your avatars stats go up. You also assign an amount of XP: 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, or 300. The XP will level up your avatar, but also progresses it on the loot path. Loot consists of comedic items. The gold was added after the initial release, and doesn’t have a use yet (at least not that I’ve seen), but that just means I’ll have a stockpile when it does.

They had added a number of features since the release. My favourite is the ability to connect to your Google Calendar. It was a little flaky when it first rolled out, but seems to have been fixed. Events added to your calendar can automatically create a related quest in Epic Win, and an Epic Win task can be added to your calendar. (You still have to go into the calendar to set the time.)

I find the performance a little choppy, but I can’t tell if that’s the app or running the app on an older phone (I have a 3G). Other than that, it adds an extra level of fun an satisfaction to completing the things you need to do anyway.

An App For That: Streaks

An App For That: Streaks

I haven’t had this app long, but I like it. On the list of things that motivate me, being able to mark a day off when I’ve done what I’ve supposed to is pretty high up. Silly, but true. Unfortunately, all my calendars are now digital, and that doesn’t seem to be a typical design feature.

A little while ago I went looking for an app for that, and found Streaks (cost: $1.99). It lets you create multiple calenders, and then you can mark the days off as you complete your goal. At the bottom of the calendar, it keeps track of your streaks, both the current and longest ones. If you have days that you take off (for example, weekends) then you can set the particular calendar to skip them.

There are four different default themes available. I wish you could set a different theme for each calendar, but that’s about the only thing I can think of that I’d like to see added. It’s simple, and exactly what I was looking for.

Read More Read More

On the Web: Instapaper

On the Web: Instapaper

I read Twitter almost exclusively on my iPhone. Given the format, it makes a lot of sense to me to display it that way, and I tend to prefer the Twitter apps to the web site. One of the downsides, however, is that I follow a lot of people because they give links to excellent stories, and I hate surfing the web on my phone. I didn’t really have a satisfactory system of marking things to read later, until I switched to the official Twitter app, which supports another of additions, including Instapaper.

Instapaper is a system of temporarily saving links to read later. For people who skim Twitter or RSS feeds when we don’t have time to sit down an read full articles, they can flag a link a something they want to come back to, and then log into Instapaper to see that list when they have the time to devote to reading.

The site has a bookmarklet that you can add to your browser, so while you’re surfing, you just click the button, and it adds the article to your list. In the Twitter app, you put your account in the settings, and then when viewing a tweet, “Read Later” is one of the options if it contains a link.

Once it’s been added, it shows up in your Instapaper list, with a link to the site, and in this case, with the display text of the tweet that caught your attention.

Read More Read More