We’re only days away from Thanksgiving, which means now might be the time to stock up on apps to enjoy while zoning out amidst dull dinner-table conversation, or after sneaking away for a breather from the family. Might we suggest Horizon Chase? This slick little racer hearkens back to arcade classics, albeit with modern flair. Other top game releases this week include the completed first season of Telltale’s Game of Thrones series and the serene space exploration of Last Horizon. It’s a good week for all things Horizon, apparently.
Not into games? Fair enough: we’ve also got a pair of new apps that help you be more productive on the run. Dragon Anywhere brings Nuance’s celebrated dictation software to Android, while Stagelight is a pro-level music production suite squeezed onto your phone or tablet. We’re off next Friday for the holiday, but we’ll be back in December to catch you up on the latest and greatest Android releases. Until then, give these a look.
Racing games have evolved dramatically since the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but if you still have a fondness for Out Run or Top Gear, take notice: Horizon Chase – World Tour looks and plays like a love letter to that era. It offers the same kind of arcade-style racing feel, with plenty of big turns and emphasis on avoiding collisions: success is found primarily through agile steering and picking the correct lane before a curve. Also, picking up gas icons so you can use boosts and not sputter out halfway.
Horizon Chase is gorgeous, too, with the cars and vivid, low-polygon environments expertly shaded in a way that recalls past eras—plus the ‘80s-inspired soundtrack is dead on. And the campaign offers a load of content to dig into, including 73 tracks across 32 cities. It’s a free download with a single $3 in-app purchase to unlock the full game, so you can try out a few races before dropping your cash.
Nuance rules the PC and Mac dictation market with its Dragon software, and now it finally has a voice-to-text Android app designed for professionals on the go. Dragon Anywhere just hit the Play Store this week, and so long as you have an active Internet connection on your phone, it promises to translate an unlimited amount of talking into text. Composing a book on the fly, or giving a lecture you want to immediately have as text? Dragon is up to the task.
The recognition is very accurate in my initial testing, and will only improve with use: Dragon Anywhere learns your speaking habits, plus you can manually add your own words. But while the app is free—and there’s a 7-day trial available through Nuance’s website—Anywhere costs $15/month to use, and it doesn’t appear to be a free add-on for desktop subscribers either. Discounted three-month and yearlong plans are available, however.
Telltale’s Game of Thrones episodic series premiered before Five to Try began, so we didn’t cover any of the middle entries along the way. But as of this week, the last episode of season one is now available, which means you can now experience the whole story on Android. It’s based on the smash TV series and begins at the end of season three, with a concurrent tale that could well spoil parts of the show—be sure you’re caught up before playing.
Like the studio’s other great games, including The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones lets you shape the storyline by your dialogue choices, key decisions, and how you fare in tap-and-swipe action sequences. And it’s appropriately grim and very gory from the outset, doing a good job of matching the show for tone. Episode one is free, letting you enjoy the first couple hours, with the five remaining episodes sold for $20 together within.
Got an itch to lay down some beats wherever you are? Stagelight can help with that. This loop-centric software comes over from PC, and the free download gives you a fair amount of functionality, including various loops, instruments, and effects. The interface still seems like it’s made for bigger screens, with tiny buttons and a bit of fumbling needed to get where you need to go. But to its credit, Stagelight comes with tutorials that teach you how to get a track up and running pretty quickly.
And it’s expandable. While the free version is plenty fine for basic tinkering, you can get a starter kit with extra functionality and effects for $10, or spring for the higher-end bundles that have fancier, pro-level features. Also, artists like Linkin Park and Timbaland have their own premium sound bundles, letting you emulate their style with relative ease.
Are you the last human floating around out in space? Time to find out. You’ll blast off and navigate your ship from planet to planet, harvesting resources and terraforming the terrain along the way. Landing gently is crucial, as is avoiding asteroids and other space debris, as you only get one shot at this: bust up your ship and the run is over.
Last Horizon ($3) requires a bit of precision as you explore around the procedurally generated planets, attempting to go as far as you can with each new run while keeping an eye on your limited fuel and oxygen supplies. It’s a serene jaunt, too, despite the frequent crash-and-burn endings, and the game offers four different adventures to take on—the last of which promises something totally fresh each time you play.