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We’ve published close to a thousand app reviews over the last decade, and we’re feeling reflective – so we’ve asked our brilliant review team to look back over their old articles and each pick three favorites that stood the test of time. It’s a great chance to revisit some amazing titles you might have missed the first time around.
Note that this is not a selection of “the greatest apps ever,” but rather a subjective look at the reviews that felt important to the people who wrote them. Which apps stuck with our team long after the final verdicts were dished out?
Today, we’re looking at the top choices from ex-editor and still-contributor Andy Price. For each choice, he’ll explain what made the app so interesting – and we’ll include links back to the original reviews if you want to read more. Enjoy!
The Silent Age
This was an instant attention grabber for me, and I still think of it fondly every 6 months or so. It physically pains me that the studio that produced it now seems to be dormant. The Silent Age is a point-and-click time travel story about a lowly janitor tasked with saving humanity from an apocalyptic event in 1970s America. What’s not to love? It also came at the height of retro chic and it was one of the few games to do the style justice by providing its own unique story and art design, while managing to avoid leaning too heavily on past influences. Even though it first appeared a quite frankly terrifying 8 years ago, it still stands up – if it stood up any taller it’d be in space. In fact, that would make a good sequel! Why haven’t they made a sequel?
Despite email apps’ constant claims of reinventing email, most email apps are basically the same. If they aren’t, they often unreliable garbage. But there’s a sense of pride in finding an exception to the rule; a needle in a haystack made of apps. Apple has often lagged behind in expanding the capabilities of its own apps, so finding an alternative to the stock Mail app felt like a big deal. Spark plugs into everything, deals professionally with a number of inboxes, and – in what was a new feature at the time – provides smart notifications that only send alerts for the important stuff from real people. It meant the millions of newsletters I subscribed to wouldn’t cause my phone to ping every two seconds. Though Spark’s claim that you will “love your email again” doesn’t quite ring true, the app has done me consistently well in the 5 years since I reviewed it. Oh, and it’s completely free.
Rusty Lake Hotel
Picking a Rusty Lake title is tough. There are 15 of them, many of which I’ve reviewed – but you never forget your first. Rusty Lake Hotel is a 2D room-escape puzzler with as unique an artistic direction as one could hope for. It’s retro, it’s modern, it’s cool, it’s weird, it’s (at times) stupid. But the insistent use of anthropomorphic animals, mysterious family legacies, and occasional suggestions of violence have found their way into my heart and I will always play and love this series. Rusty Lake Hotel tells its tale over 5 nights through a series of dinner party guests and their mysterious deaths – I don’t want to ruin by going into any more detail than that.