App Smart: Ways to Tap Into the Force, and Beam Up Your Inner Trekkie


For those who prefer to battle the forces of evil in a more grown-up setting, try Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. This is a turn-based combat game, with 3-D-ish graphics and gameplay set in venues different from those in the movies, prequels and TV shows like “The Clone Wars.”

In the game, you are in control of a team of players, each with a different weapon and combat skills. As you fight against the Empire, you earn rewards and enhance your character’s skills to get stronger weapons. The game has great graphics and sophisticated options for leveling up your characters.

But beware of how this game might affect your wallet. While it is free to download on iOS and Android, you can advance more quickly by buying “crystals” in the app. Though prices start at a few dollars, some options are more expensive.

For more “Rogue One” content, turn to Disney’s official Star Wars app. It has been updated with content from the new movie, including videos and news. My favorite part of the app is the soundboard section where you tap on the screen and are rewarded with samples of speech from your favorite characters or iconic Star Wars sound effects. The app is free on iOS and Android.


Blast is a news aggregator that specializes in sci-fi and real science news.

Blastr is a different kind of science-fiction app, designed to bring together news about sci-fi matters from across the web. The home page contains many thumbnail images that entice you to read more, along with a few introductory words. Tapping on a story preview takes you to the full article to read inside the Blastr app, or click through to read it on the original website.

At the moment, there’s a great deal of “Star Wars” content in the app thanks to “Rogue One,” but you can also find news about comics, genuine science and space technology breakthroughs, and coming films and TV shows. You can filter the news stories to see just trending topics, or search for keywords or specific shows. The app’s interface is easy to navigate and the content is absorbing. It’s a free iOS and Android download.

This year was also important for fans of another big science-fiction franchise: “Star Trek,” which this year celebrated its 50th anniversary since Captain Kirk and company hit our screens. One of my favorite apps celebrating “Star Trek” is the official TrekMoji app. This $2 iOS and Android download contains many different cartoon-drawing-style emojis featuring characters and quotes from “Star Trek.” You can use these emojis in different ways in different apps, but on iOS these integrate with iMessage, so you can easily include Trek-style images in any chat messages.

Lastly, there’s Lifeline, a sci-fi game that pays homage to the early days of computer gaming. It’s a text-based adventure game, and its story takes the form of an incoming text message from a stranded astronaut. The tale then evolves over a number of days. When you have to make a choice, you are offered a few text-based options on screen. Simple fun and $1 to download on iOS.

Quick Call

The new BBC Earth Coloring app lets you take part, in a small way, in the BBC’s nature TV show hosted by the naturalist David Attenborough. Tapping into the trend for adult coloring books, this app lets you color in stunning scenes containing animals from all across the globe. It’s absorbing, beautiful and suitable for all ages. The app is free on iOS and Android.

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