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The top new tech, reviewed

The top new tech, reviewed

Kidnap yourself into contentment, mindfully nurture a tree, then call on the gods to destroy the imperialist settlers

Kidnap yourself into contentment, mindfully nurture a tree, then call on the gods to destroy the imperialist settlers

Tim Martin | August/September 2018

Relaxation hoodie
Vollebak £220
This wildly original garment from Vollebak, a company that makes experimental clothes, just wants you to chill out…by zipping its mesh hood up over your face and folding your arms into its backwards-facing pockets so that you’re giving yourself a hug. Then surrender to the “privacy” mesh, which comes in calming pink or enveloping black and covers your eyes. Insert headphones through a conduit. Breathe through your nose. And relax. It’s a weird exercise in auto-abduction, somewhere between a gently lowered sack over the head and an overfriendly sleeping bag. But claustrophobia soon turns to cosiness, and nothing says “leave me alone” on a long flight like putting on a terrifying cyclopean bodysuit.

Spirit Island
Greater Than Games £72.99
This delightfully brain-wrenching board-and-card game takes aim at the hoary colonial themes employed by modern favourites such as The Settlers of Catan. You don’t play as European powers intent on destroying native cultures and asset-stripping new territories. Instead, Spirit Island wants you to embody the gods of a remote island and fight them off. You summon ancient and powerful deities. They make the seas swallow up hapless colonists and the jungle seize them with ominous tendrils. This is a complex, dense table-top puzzle.

Forest
iOS/Android £1.99
The mobile app stores are bustling with meditation and wellness apps, each one promising to take you to a happy place. But there’s a certain oddity about seeking peace using a smartphone, mankind’s best-developed tool for timewasting and agitation. The cutesy-stark Forest takes a different tack. You set a timer and it plants a tiny seed, which grows into a tree with every second you manage not to click away from the app. Meditate, work, do what you will, but if you play with your phone the sapling gets it in the trunk. You can earn virtual gold and donate it to a tree-planting charity; repeated losers, however, may need another app to cope with all the anxiety over virtual herbicide.