Mapsaurus is a rich and easy to use discovery application that presents app recommendations in a rich, visual format. If you are reading this right now, it’s probably safe to assume you take an interest in new and exciting apps and games and, as such, I’m sure you’re already aware of applications that help you find the latest and greatest titles in the Google Play Store.
Mapsaurus is one such application, but instead of insipid lists of apps for you to randomly peruse, it displays recommendations in a really cool way.
Putting the ‘Map’ Into Mapsaurus
In a nutshell, Mapsaurus creates a cool ‘map’ of applications and games that are linked to either something already downloaded and on your Android device or based on generic themes. From the main screen you have a number of sections to scroll down:
- A basic search section
- Start with your apps: this displays all the apps and games already on your device
- Suggested: this presents a variety of themes such as ‘play tower defense games’ which then acts as a starting point for exploring new games
- Games: a dedicated games section which lists various game genres such as casual, arcade & action etc.
- Applications: the same as games but only recommends app types including finance, lifestyle, productivity, entertainment and so on.
These headings are there to give you a place to start. When you select either a specific app or type from any of these sections, the screen slides to reveal the ‘map’.
The map places the chosen genre, application or game in the centre of a ‘mind map’ style display, where similar titles are linked. For example, if you use ‘Play tower defense games’ as a starter the app suggests the following: Lair Defense Dungeon, Tower Defense, Robo Defense FREE and Myth Defense LF free. You can touch on each of these for more details, such as descriptions and screenshots which then appear underneath the main map. Double tapping on the game will use this as a search term and display similar games. Check out the screenshot below to see how this looks.
You can double tap as many apps/games as you like and each time a new set of titles will be displayed, all linked back to the original search term. You can pinch to zoom in and out of the displayed map and search different areas quickly and easily. The display makes it easy for your to identify apps and games you haven’t tried before and, when highlighted there’s a handy ‘Install’ button which links to the Google Play Store.
At any point you can drop the search entirely and go back to the front screen and begin your exploration again. One thing I did find lacking in this app was the basic search function. Sometimes even the most basic terms didn’t display anything at all, or those which did come up were not quite what I was looking for. If, for an example, I enter ‘photography’ it tended to search for apps which had ‘photography’ in the title rather than camera apps or photo sharing applications. I wouldn’t let this put you off though, the app is in beta so will improve over time.
While the search feature was not always successful, it did frequently surprise me with apps I had never heard of. With the Google Play Store growing exponentially, it is easy to miss some real gems and I found that Mapsaurus did a great job of highlighting otherwise ‘invisible’ apps and games.
Given the various headings described above, it’s very easy to begin exploring and uncovering a swathe of new titles. You can view a variety of screenshots and read through the description before heading to the Play Store and overall I found the experience to be very user-friendly and simple to use.
There is an ever growing family of app and game recommendation titles available in the Google Play Store. These include apps which provide mini reviews of each application they recommend, such as Best Apps Market. There are more social applications that allow for user feedback and sharing such as AppAware and Appreciate. One of my favourite apps is called AppSales. This regularly updated app provides an awesome list of titles when they go on sale, which is great for snagging yourself a bargain.
These apps, which essentially aggregate the Google Play Store and its some 700,000 apps and games, are incredibly handy and help you find just what you are looking for, often showing you titles that have received little attention from the Android media. What sets Mapsaurus apart however is its clever design and engaging user interface. It makes exploring a more visual experience and far more interesting than scrolling through lists of recommendations. It should be noted again that the app is still in beta so we can hopefully expect improvements with each update.
Mapsaurus is a free app that is brilliant fun to use and helps you discover apps and games you might otherwise have missed. While there are plenty of similar-functioning services available in the Google Play Store, none feature the clever and intuitive user interface that you have in Mapsaurus. The innovative and visual style of app discovery is certainly original and it makes searching for titles you might be interested in an enjoyable and fun experience. Definitely check it out.
Mapsaurus is an interactive app discovery tool that uses mind-map style structures to explore any kind of app or game you might be interested in. This visual approach is fresh, innovative and worth checking out by anyone interested in the Google Play Store.8