This week’s Marketplace highlights included the arrival of brand-name apps from Amazon and MSN, as well as a pair of games that are already proven hits on other platforms.
I also noticed another eagerly-anticipated app that briefly made an appearance in Marketplace—and then quickly disappeared. I won’t say any more until it’s back and officially available for download. But it’s one gadget geeks like me are eagerly looking forward to seeing.
Here are my five picks this week. Let me know what new apps you’ve grabbed lately and loved!
Old news, perhaps. But still easily the Marketplace highlight of the week.
I wouldn’t even want to guess how much I’ve spent at Amazon over the years. I should just have my paycheck forwarded there. If you’re also a frequent Amazon shopper—or just like to sanity check prices you’re seeing at the mall—the free Amazon Shopping app is the way to go. The app also provides easy access to your Amazon shopping cart, wish lists, order history and tracking, 1-Click settings, and more.
Released: Feb. 10. Price: free.
The Moron Test
So you think you’re pretty sharp, eh? Well, this app will fix that. The Moron Test presents you with a series of deceptively simple questions and tasks. Your job: complete them as quickly as possible.
And therein, of course, lies the rub. What’s great about The Moron Test is that there aren’t really any funny tricks. “First press the red button, then the blue one, then the green one” means exactly what it says. A kindergartner could answer it, right? So you’d think. Which is why this aptly-named app will have you coming back for more each time you stumble over the obvious. The game features 7 levels of difficulty, more than 400 tests, and global leader board so you can see how you stack up against all the other addicted dolts out there.
Received: Feb. 15. Price: $2.99 + free trial
If you’re a fan of complex strategy games like Age of Empires or Civilization, Haypi Kingdom is for you. Set in the Middle Ages, this massively multiplayer online strategy game—or MMOG as they say—challenges you to build a kingdom from scratch.
Starting out, you have to make all the headache-inducing choices of your typical wanna-be despot: how to make money, where to spend it, what to build, which neighboring ruler to conquer. I was only able to scratch the surface of the game, which looks incredibly nuanced and complex. If you’re the type of gamer that needs constant jolts of dopamine, you might want to look elsewhere: you’ll spend lots of time waiting for your carefully laid plans to unfold. But if you’re more cerebral—and like the idea that you’re competing against real people—then Haypi Kingdom could keep you happy for weeks. I also recommend checking out the developer’s website, which offers tutorials, tips, and more game info.
Released: Feb. 10. Price: free
Always wanted to get tatted but not sure where to put it or how it will look? Tattoo Tester can potentially save you a lifetime of embarrassment (or a painful removal procedure).
Just choose a picture of yourself (or snap a new one), pick a tattoo from the app’s extensive library, and drag it to the spot where you’d like to see your new body art. Using your fingers, you can then rotate, enlarge, or shrink the image until it looks just right. The paid version of the app features more tattoos and also lets you save the final image back to your camera so you can show it off. Tattoo Tester isn’t just fun for grown ups: My kids also loved this app.
Released: Feb. 12. Price: $1.99 + free trial.
Some of us don’t have the time to invest in a game like Haypi Kingdom. Enter Triangula. This variation on Dots and Boxes is easy to learn yet devilishly hard to master. (It’s also got a genius name.)
The object of Triangula, which has options for one or two players, is to connect the dots and form triangles. Trust me, it’s harder than it looks. Your line can’t pass through a line or other dots. Each time you successfully complete a triangle, you can take an extra turn. The player whose triangles cover the largest area at the end of the game wins.
Received: Feb. 9. Price: free