It's the beginning of the holiday season for those of us in the states, and that means plenty of time to be on our phones or tablets with some quality apps. What better way to pass the time while a turkey is cooking, right?
We've compiled our short list of apps and games we think you need to try. These are apps that we use and enjoy, and we're pretty sure you will, too. Have a look at our list, then be sure to recommend your favorites in the comments below.
Alex Dobie â"Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores
This past week the first add-on for the excellent dimension-defying puzzler Monument Valley landed on Google Play. Forgotten Shores adds eight extra chapters to traverse in new and increasingly surreal settings, where perspective and the normal laws of physics don't quite apply.
Like the original Monument Valley, Forgotten Shores isn't an enormously difficult or time-consuming experience, but both titles look and sound absolutely gorgeous, with soothing ambient audio and wallpaper-worthy visuals. Both are well worth supporting with your $3.99 and $1.99 respectively.
Richard Devine - Piktures
Bored of the same old gallery app you've been looking at for so long? Then give Piktures a try. Its gesture based navigation and stunning good looks make browsing through your photos a delight. It's completely free, too, with no ads. Besides browsing by gallery, Piktures also has a nifty calendar view to browse through the when as well as the what.
Everything else you'd expect from a gallery app is here, too. Watch your videos full screen, set wallpapers, edit photos, all present. It's just a much nicer looking way to browse through your photos, and it looks great on tablets as well.
Andrew Martonik â" Straw
Straw is a quick way to ask friends, family members or acquaintances questions in a structured poll format via any social network or messaging system of your choice. You can quickly create a poll with several options for people to vote on, set how long it's available for, and share it out in private or public channels â" including Facebook, Google+, Twitter and even LinkedIn. You can also sign in to Straw with any of those services, no need to have a standalone Straw account. You get real time results to the poll, and anyone who has the link can vote without an account.
I had the opportunity to use Straw a bit before it launched on Android , and now a few updates after its release it's been a fun app to keep installed. Use it to pick a dinner spot with friends, get recommendations on a movie night or just figure out what shirt looks best on you â" Straw is a cool app to use for it all.
Jerry Hildenbrand â" Radiant Defense
I'm spending way too much time with an old favorite game again. Radiant Defense is available on just about every screen you could have in your house â" Android (including an excellent Shield portable version), iOS, Windows and OS X (via Steam), and now your TV using the new Nexus Player . And I play it on all of those screens.
It's yet another tower defense game, but has great visuals and a space theme. Build your towers and turrets, start the wave, and hope you come out the winner. Radiant Defense has plenty of different towers to choose from, as well as modules you can use to alter the map. In-app purchases bring even more tower types and upgrades, and keep the Android version ad-free. The base version is plenty of fun, and it's easy to complete the whole thing without spending a penny.