The world of digital entertainment is expansive. That might be an understatement; it’s beyond expansive. And it’s always growing to encompass more entertainment options you can download right to your phone.
It’s easy to get lost in the sauce (in this case, “the sauce” is the ever-growing pool of entertainment apps). It can be overwhelming to peruse even the top 100 apps in any category.
In short, it’s difficult to suss out the good apps from the duds, which means you’re probably unaware of a handful of amazing apps you can download that provide hours of entertainment. Here are five of our favorites.
Legal Sports Betting Apps
Online sports betting is legal in more than two dozen states, and more are constantly on the way. For example, Maryland sports betting apps are expected to launch before the end of this year.
Legal sports betting apps (in the states that allow them) have a ton of entertainment value. You can bet on your favorite sports or players, sure. That’s the baseline level of engagement they provide. But some apps also let you live stream games directly to your phone so you never miss a second of the action. Additionally, there are free-to-play pools where you can make picks from a number of selections and potentially win prizes.
Every sportsbook app has something unique to offer. PointsBet has a special bet type called PointsBetting. DraftKings has Daily Fantasy Sports and various free-to-play pools, and FanDuel has one of the best user experiences in the business.
Plus, if you’re in a state with legal online casino gaming, you can use a sports betting app to play casino games, too.
The New York Times Crossword
If you’re a fan of word games, the New York Times has you covered. The app contains a free daily “mini” crossword, usually 5×5 (7×7 on Saturdays). It also includes Wordle, which the NYT bought after it became a viral success.
If you pay for a monthly subscription to NYT, you get many more games to enjoy. The big crossword is part of the subscription, and the Spelling Bee is a daily favorite of mine. The Spelling Bee has you make words using predetermined letters.
There are other games available through the subscription if you go to the NYT desktop site.
It’s a solid app that can provide hours of daily entertainment for wordsmiths.
Here’s where things get a bit weird. Do you want the instant rush you get from scrolling and posting on social media but without the actual engagement? Binky might be for you.
Binky looks and feels like a social media feed, complete with images and text captions. You can “post” or “comment” on Binky, but every letter you type simply adds to a string of nonsense words.
Binky is perfect if you’re trying to kick one or more social media sites to the curb. Its flippant design and functionality will tune you into the ridiculousness of most social media sites. You might close the app thinking “why did I just open this,” and hopefully that helps you fine-tune your social media use. At the very least, Binky is entertaining to try for a few minutes. After all, it’s the “app that does nothing.”
oddFlex is a free-to-play sportsbook. You can buy credits and use them to place wagers on markets, but your winnings are virtual credits with no cash value. The best part? It’s live in every US state. Because you’re not risking real money, you can use it everywhere.
Thanks to its free-to-play status, oddFlex is also allowed to offer markets based on politics and pop culture. You can even create your own betting markets for your local bowling league, the beer pong tournament at a party, or anything else you can drum up.
Additionally, oddFlex has rankings and shows you all your betting data. You can prove your mettle and back it up with stats! OddFlex is a great way to practice sports betting without the financial risk of a real-money app.
The 7 Wonders app is based on the award-winning board game of the same name. Or rather, it is a digital version of the game. You can play online with random players or with friends. It’s an excellent choice because it does much of the math and logistical work without requiring a lot of table setup. Plus, if you have 7 Wonders rookies, you can use the app to teach them how the game works.
7 Wonders beats out many of its board game brethren because games only take 15-20 minutes in the app. It’s not the same commitment as a Monopoly or Risk outing. But it also has a deep meta-game requiring a ton of critical thinking, strategy, and resource management. It’s worth having in your app library.