This top 5 is not like our selections of free applications that we offer you twice a week. Here, we install the applications on our own smartphones and test them. We check if there are not too many in-app purchases, ads and if the applications respect your personal data more or less.
We try to select useful applications, whether for productivity, personalization of your interface or digital well-being. And, our top 5 always includes at least one mobile game. Applications can be free or paid, with or without a subscription. But, it will always be indicated!
We take issues related to in-app purchases and advertisements seriously. This is why we mention them in the descriptions of the affected applications.
Timed Shutdown (Android)
The telephone has become so omnipresent in our lives that we find it difficult to live without it. However, there comes a time when the phone becomes more of a distraction than a help. Maybe it’s time you put the brakes on your device and take back control of your life.
Timed Shutdown is a simple app that lets you turn off your phone without having to unlock it. It imitates the hand gestures used to turn off the phone. You can also set a timer to turn off your phone.
- Price: Free / Advertisement: None / In-app purchases: None / Account required: No
If you are concerned about your phone’s security settings, be aware that Timed Shutdown requires you to change the security settings before it can work. This is not a major problem, just a small modification and you are good to go.
In theory, this app can still work even if the screen is off, but other variables come into play, like battery optimization, power saving mode, and even phone model. Your mileage may vary here.
Although this app is only intended for Android users, it would be nice to see an equivalent appear on the iPhone. In Europe, this could soon happen, as EU regulations slowly but surely destroy the walled garden.
AppBlock (Android and iOS)
Doom-scrolling is one of the modern discomforts that affects many smartphone users. If you made a resolution to spend less time on your phone in the new year but haven’t been able to keep it, here’s an app that might help.
AppBlock aims to help you control your screen time by reducing all possible distractions. Setting up the app is simple. In just a few clicks, you can block applications on your phone. These apps will then no longer be able to be opened, which also means no more irritating notifications!
You can even schedule specific days or times to block certain apps. I’ve found this to be a great way to increase my productivity, especially when I’m chasing a deadline and would like to stay free from distractions, by blocking all incoming notifications from my social media and my instant messaging applications. If you’re more of a routine type, AppBlock also offers the ability to block notifications based on your location.
- Price: Free / Advertisement: Yes / In-app purchases: Yes / Account required: No
If you feel that you do not have enough self-discipline, the strict mode will help you to impose yourself. It locks application settings to ensure that you can no longer play with blocking programs. Unfortunately, this mode works best with a premium subscription, as the free version is very limited. But desperate situations call for desperate measures, right?
One Punch Man World (Android and iOS)
Are you a big fan of the One Punch Man anime? If so, you should discover a new adaptation of an anime in game. The principle is simple: you accompany the main character, Saitama, who must defeat the bosses one after the other. Fan service is duly respected here, as the Underground King and Mosquito Girl make the villain roster.
- Price: Free / Advertisement: None / In-app purchases: Yes / Account required: Yes
The action and fight sequences are decent enough, but the low-quality English subtitles risk losing the meaning. Long-time anime fans who don’t speak Japanese will be immune to the poor translations (which might even become a meme one day!) and will find them endearing, however. There’s a big download of over 8GB before you can start playing, so be prepared to wait while listening to rock music.
The graphics are excellent in my opinion. It feels like you’re playing in an anime. It’s nice to see that smartphones have such processing power to handle complex animations and computing tasks without breaking a sweat. Additionally, it takes time to explore the different members of your team, their strengths and weaknesses, and find a way to bring them together to defeat evil once and for all.
Unfortunately, the gacha system ruins everything for me. I would have preferred to pay at once for the entire game, rather than relying on random rewards with in-game purchases to get better gear and faster progression.
Bookum (Android and iOS)
Bookum may seem strange at first glance, but it is short for “Book Community”. In other words, it’s a social network for bookworms. It works both ways, whether you are an author or a reader, because you can participate in different clubs, meet community Nooks (live podcasts), and, if the situation is favorable, monetize your bookseller-generated content (BGC ). Basically, you end up here with other book lovers and you just talk about books all day.
However, I have a particular concern. While I haven’t encountered any mean people yet, there might be opposing or divergent opinions on certain books and/or topics that might need moderation.
I think most Bookum users are mature people who can discuss ideas without resorting to personal insults just because someone thinks and reads differently than me. In summary, this is the perfect platform to take your offline book clubs online!
- Price: Free / Advertisement: Yes / In-app purchases: Yes / Account required: Yes
You can always keep your local book club closed to the public, or open it up to everyone to make it more accessible. Who knows ? Maybe there’s a kindred spirit on the other side of the world who’s always wanted to discuss some things about a particular book.
Yes, Your Grace (Android & iOS)
Life is hard enough, and even harder if you are of noble blood. You have to take care of the peasants, not to mention the hellish politics and everything that comes with the weight and responsibility of a ruler.
Yes, Your Grace is full of interesting choices that require you to think carefully before making a choice. After all, not everyone can be happy with every choice you make, and there is always a price to pay. Aesop’s fable about the father, the son and the donkey comes to mind here…
- Price: Free / Advertisement: None / In-app purchases: Yes / Account required: No
This game features very pixelated graphics reminiscent of the early 1990s. This is not a new game. It is a port of the PC platform, but so far it works perfectly on a smartphone. I love the way the lyrics are scrambled, it makes the game all the more endearing. There is definitely some dark humor and witty dialogue to tickle your ribs.
About the tough decisions mentioned above. Should we kill a deserter when we are short of troops and need all the help we can get to defend the city walls? Kill him and morale will be maintained, leave him alive and many others may desert your cause. What would you do ?
Although the game is free, there is a high chance that you will get hooked right from the start, after completing the free mission. You will then have to pay $4.99 to unlock the full game. Right now, if you want to unlock it in the first week, you get a dollar off. It’s a sneaky move, but how far can a few dollars get you these days?
What do you think of the list of applications presented this week? Did you like any of our recommendations? Is there another app you’re dying to share with the rest of the world? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments!