The smartphone doesn't have to be a serious thing in order for it to be useful. It can be just as handy passing the time helping you mess about as it can checking emails. We like to make sure we get a decent balance between the two. 

Apps like Figure fullfil the need to tap away incessantly at your iPhone screen and generate noise. We advise headphones for this one, but believe us, ten minutes in and any boredom will have been instantly destroyed. 


So what exactly is Figure? The closest thing we can compare it to is early music-making games on the Snes, or the clever music bonus game that came with the Game Boy Camera cartridge - which, if you never played it incidentally, was hugely fun. 

In a similar retro style, Figure lets you tap out drums, bass and synth leads, then combine them into one song which ticks over for a few bars. It's not like Garageband, so don't expect to put together huge tracks, more just catchy riffs which can be pieced together instantly. 

You can record, but the emphasis here is on doing things live. Say you want to add another snare into your drum beat for example, you simply hold that icon - removing your finger takes it back out. The whole app works on a slide, swipe or spin approach. You slide to change instruments, swipe to change pitch and spin to change the range and steps of the notes played. It's free form enough to give you plenty of sounds to play with while not being so loose that it requires a lot of practice to master.  

The simplicity of Figure is what makes it worth the download. For 69p it's worth it just for its simple pick up and play approach. Some of the effects are particularly cool and worthy of even the best of electronic music producers. We just wish we could record some of our lengthier train-based jam sessions. 

Like the sound of Figure? Let us know in the comments below ...