‘Under Leaves’ is one of the most relaxing games on the App Store right now

If you want to conquer ancient civilizations, get into a car chase with the cops, or be frightened to death in a haunted kids restaurant that bears a striking resemblance to Chuck E. Cheese’s, there is no shortage of games on the iOS App Store that will satisfy your needs. But what if you just want to explore the world, meet its creatures, and feel closer to nature? That is a market that hasn’t been quite so adequately served — which is precisely what makes Under Leaves so interesting.

Under Leaves is a visual search game, similar to I Spy or those old hidden pictures challenges in Highlights magazines you may remember reading as a kid. There are 21 stages around the world, each situated in the natural habitat of a particular animal. Your job is to help that animal find what they are looking for — flowers, nuts, leaves, you name it.

That is it. No gimmicks, no flash — just a therapeutic game of find the needle in the haystack as the soothing ambient sounds of the world’s most exotic biomes play uninterrupted in the background. It is an elegantly simple concept, and it is one of the more relaxing gaming experiences on the App Store.

It is helped by the beautiful watercolor illustrations that serve as the background to each environment. According to the developer Circus Atos, the story goes that the designer, Barbora Podhorska, would create watercolor paintings to gain some relief from the stresses of working on other projects. These paintings became the inspiration for the game.

Under Leaves is perfect for little kids, too, as it doesn’t feature any text to read, save for numbers to count how many of each item you’ve located. It transcends age and language barriers — though don’t assume that means adults can’t enjoy it too.

Under Leaves is available starting Thursday on the iOS App Store for $2. You can also get it on PC through the Mac App Store for $4, or Steam for $5. There is no word on an Android release just yet.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Hi-viz bike reflectors and a tiny flashlight

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Want to make Netflix browsing even easier? Try this useful trick

If you know exactly what category of film you're looking for on Netflix, you'll find this hack for the streaming service useful. It allows you to manually browse genres and subgenres of interest.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Coffee Meets Bagel dating app data may have been breached

Are you planning on using Coffee Meets Bagel to find love on Valentine's Day? If you've been using the app for a while, you'll probably want to change your password -- the company said a data breach may have taken place before May 2018.

Worried about extra data charges? Here's how to check your usage on an iPhone

It's common to get a little nervous about nearing data limits. Keep your peace of mind by checking how much data your iPhone is using. Our guide on how to check data usage on an iPhone helps you stay in control.

Exclusive: Take a look at what a next-generation 5G phone will look like

With 5G phones debuting at MWC in mere days, there is discussion about whether they will be clunky bricks that die after a few hours? A reference design from Qualcomm offerrs a glimpse of the future: This is what 5G phones will look like.

North Focals smartglasses discount cuts the price by a massive $400

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in late 2018, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto and has made its first shipment.

New Apple patent hints clamshell-style foldable phone may be in the works

Apple has filed a patent for a foldable phone that suggests the company could be following in the footsteps of the likes of Samsung and Huawei. The patent describes a clamshell-style foldable phone with two separate sections.

Xiaomi Mi 9 will be one of the first phones with monster Snapdragon 855 chip

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.

Bag yourself a bargain with the best budget tablets under $200

The battle for your budget tablet affections is really ramping up. Which tablet, costing less than $200, should be commanding your attention? We take a look at some different options for the budget-conscious.

What is Wi-Fi 6? Here's a look at the next evolution of the wireless standard

We're exploring the new naming convention for wireless standards, how it affects the devices you buy, and what the upcoming Wi-Fi generation is changing for the better.