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App Chat: How to play laser tag with your iPhone on July 4

Screenshot of promo video for EXO: Arena iPhone app.
Screenshot of promo video for EXO: Arena iPhone app.
EXO Games

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It's going to be warm and sunny July 4th weekend, and with the holiday falling on a Friday, it's a great opportunity to take a long weekend and spend it outdoors. 

Whether that means hiking a mountain or hiking to Space Mountain, there are apps out there to help you make the most out of Independence Day. Yes patriots, it's time for App Chat with Take Two's Jacob Margolis. 

Exo: Arena

This fun app turns whatever space you're in, into a virtual laser tag arena. Fire up the app and pair up with two or three other foes and it puts you into an arena with obstacles that you have to move your little guy around to shoot at other people.


While you're navigating on the screen, you're also running around in real life shooting at people with your phone. If the digital bullet hits them, it takes down their health. To dodge bullets from other players you simply move in real life

It's free and it turns a park space into a load of fun. The downside? I wish that the bullets moved faster so that it was a bit more refined.

Roots Rated

This app lets you discover what sort of outdoor activities are around you. The back story is that two friends were driving across the U.S. and wanted to do outdoorsy things, but didn't have any good/reliable way to do so. They decided to make this app and began to source local knowledge about each place.

There are more than 70 things in their app for Los Angeles. So, let's say you're in Pasadena and you're interested in going hiking. You plug in those fields and it pulls up a trail up to Mt. Lukens, which is the highest point in the city of Los Angeles.

The app tells you where the hike is, where it starts and it provides some local knowledge. For instance, that the trail that leads up to Lukens is often used as training for people who want to go climb Mt. Whitney. 

It also covers things like mountain biking, fishing, where to get food, where to go paddle boarding.

The downside is that it isn't extensive enough yet. The stuff on there looks fun, but there are some big holes. If you want to fill those holes you can also check out the app All Trails, if it's just local trails you're looking for.


This is a recipe management app that lets you clip recipes from the web, create shopping lists and schedule meals for different days of the week. It's great for planning for the 4th of July. If you pay for the different services on different platforms, you can sync the recipes to your iPad, iPhone and computer. It's become a life saving program that's kept me organized.

Steak Time by Omaha Steaks

With this app you can input your steak's description, including thickness and how you want it done. Everything's illustrated with pictures. You can even set multiple timers for multiple steaks.