Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The App Bucket

This week we decided to review three apps available on Google Play that, according to us, deserved many more than their current download numbers.


All of us have, at some point or other, learnt to construct and divide shapes using the most basic geometry box instruments — the compass and the straight edge. But if school has tricked you into thinking that these constructions are easy, you are in for a surprise, in fact, a pleasant surprise.

The game consists of thirteen levels, with each of them having several construction problems. Each problem has three main objectives: to complete the problem, to complete them in the given number of edges, and to complete them in the given number of elementary steps—an elementary step is either a circle or a straight line. Some levels also have a variation goal i.e. to identify and construct possible variations of the end diagram. The catch in this goal is that it is hidden: you would have to figure out on your own if variations are possible.

Although starting off with easy questions —60° angles and bisectors, they soon start challenging you. The toughest part is completing the edge and elementary step goals, forcing you to think long and hard (:P) As you progress, you will be given the aid of basic constructions like angle and perpendicular bisectors, but only after you have learnt to construct them yourself.

In order to access each level of the game, save for the first two, you need to complete each goal of the previous level. Similarly, in order to access each question, you should have solved the previous question. Without solutions on the app, it sure gets frustrating at times but that frustration is what increases the appeal of a game for me. Go download Euclidea and surprise yourself with what you can do using just a compass, a straightedge and those little grey cells.

Monument Valley

The beauty of brevity. The pleasure of a paradox.
Eighteen puzzles. Eighteen gorgeous, mind-bending puzzles. This is a video game you will complete. In fact, Monument Valley may be the first video game many will complete after a long period of time.

This is by design and this is where Monument Valley succeeds. Piling mass amounts of beautiful art and ambitious puzzle design into a bite sized experience is the video game equivalent of a decadent cake. Too much is overbearing. Not enough is unsatisfying. There is a balance.

Monument Valley immediately finds it's footing through a rich color palette, a soothing soundtrack, and delicate animation. The player understands this world and its inhabitants. The story is used as a mysterious additive that comes secondary to exploring the gorgeous worlds built on a paradoxical ‘M. C. Escher’isque design. In Monument Valley, you take control of Ida, a silent princess who must travel through abandoned monuments in order to place a geometric figure at the summit of each. Along the way you meet a friendly obelisk called Totem, a cryptic apparition, and the annoying crow people—flightless bird-creatures that can block your path. The game is built around perspective optical illusions, and you'll have to twist architecture with some Escher-esque tricks to guide Ida around obstacles (sometimes, by walking on the ceiling) and reach her goal.

For someone who always loved paradoxes and minimalism as a concept, this game has both of them on point.(and when I say on point it’s on point right up to the level selection interface which in itself is a paradox :P).Sometimes the puzzles don't seem difficult so much as meditative—a sensation enhanced by a distant, soothing soundtrack. Though I may not have convinced you as much as Tom Yates from House of Cards, you would not want to miss this masterpiece.


"The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity."
- Edmund Burke
They say that you learn something new everyday. If you are a daily learner yourself, Curiosity is the app for you. This app provides you with five new "Smart-Memes" everyday, which are informative pieces about anything and everything. It could be an exciting new discovery/invention/breakthrough like this

or just some random trivia like this

If you find the topic interesting, tap on the Smart-Meme to view a small article which gives you more information on the corresponding topic. If you don't feel like reading, no problem! There are related videos at the end of the article which you can watch to get some insight on the topic. You can also bookmark any Smart-Meme by tapping on the heart icon and check it out later under the Likes tab. There is also an option to share any Smart-Meme on various social networks.

If you're obsessed about a particular category of topics and want to explore corresponding Smart-Memes, go to the Discover tab, where you'll find some popular topics and an alphabetical list of limit tending to infinity topics, so you can never get bored with this one.

In the upper right corner, there's a calendar icon so that you can look at Smart-Memes of any date, which comes in handy if you missed out on a particular day. If you're the kind of person who gets really fussy about stuff like this, you can also enable notifications for a reminder at a convenient time everyday. There's also a nice widget that shows Smart-Memes of the day. So, curious much? Then go download the app!

Here are the links to the apps on Google Play