20 best Android apps and games this week


It's time for this week's roundup of the best new Android apps and games.

This week sees a mixture of comics, photo-slinging, magazines, basketball, Star Wars and golfing-themed Flappy Birdity.

Prices are correct at the time of writing, with “IAP” indicating whether in-app purchases are used within the app or game. Looking for iPhone and iPad apps instead? That roundup will be published on Monday morning.


Me Comics (Free + IAP)

Aimed at children, this is a collection of digital comics including Transformers, My Little Pony, The Beano and several Disney brands. Parents buy individual issues or bundles via in-app purchases, then children read them and record their own dialogue and sound effects.

Photowall for Chromecast (Free)

Released by Google just in time for the launch of its Chromecast dongle in the UK, this is described as an "experiment". The idea: you install the app, take a photo, then sling it to your Chromecast-equipped TV. Friends do likewise, then the resulting "photowall" is turned into a YouTube video. Why? It's an experiment...

Readly (Free)

Available in Sweden for a while, Readly has now crossed the North Sea to the UK. It's essentially a Netflix or Spotify-style service for digital magazines: you pay a £9.99 monthly subscription for unlimited access to 114 mags. IPC, Haymarket, DC Thomson and Time Out are among the partner publishers at launch.

Timehop (Free)

This is a fun idea: an app that aims to take you back to "celebrate the best moments of the past". Your past, obviously: it jumps back in time and pulls in your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Foursquare activity to play back what you were doing (for example) a year ago.

Link Bubble (Free)

Link Bubble is a more useful app: a mobile browser designed to fit neatly around your app behaviour. The idea: when you click on a link within an app, the web page is loaded in the background then pops up when it's ready. Link Bubble also makes moving between Android apps a bit smoother, and plays nicely with read-it-later services like Pocket too.

Reactr: Messenger + Reactions (Free)

More social fun, here, albeit in an app guaranteed to make readers of a certain age and disposition boggle. It's an app built entirely for sending photos and videos to friends, then getting sent back their reaction to it – shot using their front-facing camera. A novelty, yep, but the kind that might catch on.

iPegs - Form Builder Pro (Free)

Swinging back to the useful end of the apps spectrum, iPegs does what it says in the subtitle: builds forms on your device, whether you're conducting a survey, taking a register or filling in a timesheet. It puts results into charts, and can even be used to digitally sign and date-stamp documents.

Facets (£0.99)

Finally: wallpapers. 365 of them, to be specific, all created by an Australian artist called Justin Maller, who spent a year creating a different image every day. And yes, there are lots of wallpaper apps on Android, but the images here are genuinely the kind of thing you might want on your homescreen – a much rarer quality.


NBA 2K14 (£5.74 + IAP)

2K Games has finally brought its latest mobile basketball sim to the Google Play store, promising spiffing graphics, licensed players and teams, and a thumping soundtrack. There's also a choice of two control methods, including a 'one-finger' mode built for touchscreens.

Star Wars: Assault Team (Free + IAP)

There are a fair few Star Wars games available, including the excellent Tiny Death Star and two Angry Birds Star Wars games. This newest title, from LucasArts, is a turn-based card-battling game featuring a host of heroes and villains from the Star Wars universe, with solo quests and player-v-player online battling.

Epoch.2 (£1.39 + IAP)

The first Epoch game was marvellous, but now it's got a "post-apocalyptic robot combat" sequel. You play robot Epoch, stuck in the middle of a planet-wide robowar (no, not Google's robots versus Facebook's drones) searching for a mysterious princess. Impressive graphics and frenetic action make it hard to put down.

Captain America: TWS (Free + IAP)

Superheroes have proved to be more fertile ground for Android gaming in recent times. This latest game from Gameloft focuses on Captain America and his S.H.I.E.L.D. Strike Team: a tactical combat game starring several Marvel villains, and some striking comic book-like visuals.

Castle Doombad (£1.82 + IAP)

Yes, there are lots of tower defence games for Android, but developers keep managing to come up with new spins on the genre. This is the work of Adult Swim: a game that sees you playing an evil mastermind trying to fend off heroes who want to rescue a kidnapped princess. Your job is to place traps and monsters to ensure they fail, in a cartoonish slice of fun.

Golfy Bird (Free)

If this has you worrying about a golf-themed Flappy Bird clone... well, it kind of is that, but done by Noodlecake Studios, a talented and respected developer. The game applies Flappy Bird's gameplay onto the courses from Noodlecake's Super Stickman Golf 2 game, produced as part of an industry-wide Flappy Jam game jam. It's very fun.

Neon Commander (Free + IAP)

Here's an inventive, modern take on Space Invaders, with the twist that you're using a plasma shield to bounce bullets back at the fleet of alien invaders. Developer HeroCraft describes it as a cross between Pong, Breakout and Arkanoid (the latter two being similar, of course). There's neon all over the shop, too.

Globlins (Free + IAP)

This puzzle game comes from Cartoon Network, and stars more aliens – this time of the brainwashing variety. Your job is to explode grids full of "Globlin-infested brains", with 60 levels to work through, and a decent amount of care put into the puzzle design. In-app purchases are used for power-ups, so parents will need to have The Talk with children playing it alone.

DJMax Technika Q (Free + IAP)

The DJMax games are new to me, but they appear to have a healthy following from their arcade and console versions. This new mobile outing is an entertaining music rhythm game, with social rankings and more than 50 songs to tap along to.

Little Big Adventure (£2.49)

Talking of old games, this is a brand new port of 1994 PC game Little Big Adventure. It may leave some modern gamers cold, but will bathe fans in a warm glow of nostalgia as they return to explore the virtual world of Twinsen. Action and RPG elements are well-honed to give it genuine depth.

Red Bull Racers (Free + IAP)

Here's something thoroughly modern: a branded driving game, released to promote Red Bull's various racing sponsorships. Tight turns and sticking to the track are part of it, but the real fun comes from the jumps and loops. You wouldn't see that in Formula 1...

Noah Should (Free)

Finally, perhaps the most characterful game of this week on Android: a game all about Noah and his ark, albeit not based on the new film. You catch animals, fill up the boat and unlock new powers and vessels. Bags of charm, and no little challenge.

Those are our picks, but what have you been enjoying on Android this week? Post your recommendations (or feedback on these) in the comments section.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Friday 28th March 2014 14.39 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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