As ever, prices are correct at the time of writing, but may have changed by the time you read this. (Free + IAP) means in-app purchases are used within the app.
Tynker Premium (£2.93)
Tynker is one of a growing number of apps aiming to help children take their first steps in programming. It’s a collection of exercises – or “coding puzzles” – that teach kids about functions, subroutines and conditional logic, before letting them loose on making their own games. Fun and inventive.
Bamboo Paper (Free)
Bamboo Paper is the work of Wacom, and is the Android equivalent of popular iPad app Paper: a collection of virtual notebooks to scribble, take notes, sketch out ideas and then share the results digitally with your other computers, colleagues and/or friends as required. And Wacom, naturally, is happy to sell you a stylus to use with it.
Madefire Motion Books & Comics (Free + IAP)
There’s a lot of work going on around digital comics, with Madefire one of the most interesting companies involved. Now its app is available on Android, selling in-app comics from publishers including DC Comics, IDW and Dark Horse. The famous brands may attract you, but it’s the deeper indie fare that will keep you coming back.
CBeebies Storytime (Free)
This is the BBC’s second official app for its CBeebies pre-school TV channel, and while the first (Playtime) focused on games, this is all about stories. Six stories, in fact, each based on a different show, with voice narration and light interactivity geared towards engaging children in reading.
Isn’t it a bit vain to buy an app specifically to edit your selfie photos before sharing them with the world? Well, modern mobile devices have made plenty of us vain, so the appeal of Facetune isn’t hard to see: an app that offers simple tools to make your portrait photos look just so.
Finding it challenging to get your children to help out with household chores during the summer holidays? ChoreMonster may help: it’s an app that lets you set rewards for children helping around the house, then tick off the tasks – all through a friendly, easy-to-understand monstery interface.
Digify - Share Files Privately (Free)
Digify describes itself as “like an automatic NDA” – a way to share files with friends and colleagues on a read-only basis, with the ability to make them self-destruct whenever you like, Snapchat-style. It also works with cloud storage service Dropbox, if that’s where you keep the files you want to share.
Atlas Web Browser (Free)
There are plenty of web browsers to choose from on Android if you don’t like your device’s default option. The latest contender is Atlas, released as a beta with the promise of ad-blocking, toggling between desktop and mobile versions of sites, and its status as one of the first Android apps using Google’s new Material design guidelines.
NPR One (Free)
This app comes from National Public Radio (NPR) in the US: a new app for finding news and stories based on your preferences. The idea being that you listen to a daily feed of audio reports, tuning the topics to your liking, while sharing the stories you like with friends via social networks.
YoWindow Weather (£0.52)
YoWindow is a neat twist on the crowded weather apps genre, presenting you with a scene that reflects the weather in your location, then letting you swipe to look ahead in the current day and week. A simple, good-looking interface for some complex data.
Thomas Was Alone (£3.59)
Already a hit on browsers, PCs, PS3 / PS Vita and iOS, Thomas Was Alone is now available on Android too. Describing it as a platform game where you play a rectangle called Thomas doesn’t make it sound great, but it most assuredly is great: a proper script and characters, and sublime puzzling.
Modern Combat 5: Blackout (£4.99)
Gameloft’s Modern Combat series is mobile’s answer to Call of Duty: as much military first-person shooting as you can handle, with squad-based action, and a choice of solo or multiplayer online modes. It looks very good, with controls that work on the touchscreen – still not a given for this genre – and plenty of depth.
Broken Sword 5: Episode 2 (£3.99)
If you haven’t yet played the first episode of Broken Sword 5, do that now: it’s brilliant. A classic adventure game made for modern mobile devices, with well-planned puzzles and an equally well-crafted story. And now there’s a second episode which continues that story. Gripping.
Blood Bowl (£2.99)
I went through the Blood Bowl craze as a teenager, just after Dungeons & Dragons and just before Championship Manager, as I recall. Playing this all-new mobile game brought back plenty of memories. If you’re new to it, Blood Bowl is a turn-based virtual sport: essentially American football with more elves, dwarves and monsters. Oh, and on-field deaths. The game does a good job of capturing its appeal.
Traps n’ Gemstones (£2.99)
This may be the slow-burning sleeper hit of the week, judging by early reactions from people playing it. Made by Donut Games, it’s a platform-adventure that has you exploring pyramids in Egypt, recovering relics and fending off enemies. The kind of game where you start playing for a few minutes, and look up half an hour later.
The Inner World (£3.49)
It’s a good week for adventure games: this is another Android title inspired by the heyday of PC point’n’click adventures. It was excellent on iOS, and looks to have made the transition to Android perfectly. The graphics have a style all their own, and there’s plenty of humour mixed in with the exploration and puzzle-solving.
Moshling Rescue! (Free + IAP)
This app comes from Mind Candy, maker of Moshi Monsters, but parents would be advised not to let their children play this new Candy Crush-style spin-off game. It’s a match-three puzzle game with in-app purchases that’s aimed at adults rather than kids.
Batman Arkham Origins (Free + IAP)
KAPOW! THWAPP! VRONK! There’s an amazing beat ‘em up to be made out of the fight words used in the original Batman TV show. This game, however, is based on the grittier modern Batman: a chunky brawler where you battle an array of thugs, earning (or buying) in-app currency to unlock new Batsuits as you go. One for fans.
QuizTix: Video Games (Free + IAP)
There’s been a boom in massively-multiplayer mobile trivia games in recent times: QuizUp being the most prominent. The QuizTix games have been focusing on individual themes: football, films, pop music and now games. You answer questions on gaming history, competing against friends.
The Great Prank War (£1.76)
Finally, a game from Cartoon Network for its Regular Show series: a tower defence game starring Mordecai, Rigby, Muscle Man and other characters from the show. The twist: you can go off sacking enemy towers, rather than just building your own to decimate their armies. Practical jokes are the theme, too: eggs, glue and whoopie cushions all make appearances.
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.
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