27 Jan 2015
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Android App Review: Forest Live Wallpaper

By Eddie Monotone

In this hectic digital world it can be easy to get caught up in stress and fluster. Luckily there are apps like Forest Live Wallpaper, which help you escape into a semi-animated illustration of nature.

So firstly, I need to say: there are heaps of apps like this. Heaps. And as far as I can tell they all work basically the same way, and the only significant difference is the scene they depict. So when you’re choosing which one you’d like, if in fact you’d like one, remember that this is a situation where looks are basically everything.

(Side note: if I ever review a dating app I’m going to reuse that exact line.)

Anyway. Live wallpapers sit somewhere between a photo and an animation, I guess. You have a static scene of some nice scenery (a forest, in this case) with a little bit of animation to make it look alive and interesting (here it’s a few leaves that float around on the breeze). This particular app lets you choose between half a dozen or so forests, and adjust the quantity and speed of leaves floating through it. Once you’ve set it up, it behaves just as you’d expect a wallpaper to behave – it sits behind your icons and looks nice, and when your phone is locked it fills the screen.

The thing I struggle with about live wallpapers is how passive they are. Once you’ve set it up you don’t do anything. And it doesn’t do anything. It’s just there, and you just … appreciate it? Which goes against everything I understand about owning a device – isn’t this a box of quick distractions and hyperbolic clickbait headlines? I mean Forest Live Wallpaper doesn’t even try and get me to scroll. It just sits there looking pretty, and that’s nice. The pictures look good, and there is something nice about a slow-moving app that doesn’t demand anything from you.

Forest Live Wallpaper obviously doesn’t compare with sitting and looking at an actual forest. But we don’t always get the opportunity to do that, and while a digital illustration on a screen will never be confused for the real thing, it can perhaps give you some fraction of the stress relief and peace that the real thing provides.

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