The weekly Android apps roundup has been on hiatus since the end of 2014 in favour of a monthly collection, but there’ve been plenty of comments on related apps articles requesting a return to a more regular column.
Well, here it is: the revived best Android apps of the week (and the same for iOS) – it will be reverting to a weekly roundup from now on.
As before, apps that use in-app purchases will be marked with (Free + IAP) rather than (Free). Prices are correct at the time of writing, but they can rise or drop at a moment’s notice, so if you’re coming to this feature late, be aware of that.
On with this week’s crop!
Star Walk 2 (£1.96)
While the UK recovers from watching this morning’s sky full of grey cloud eclipse, how about an app for stargazing? Star Walk 2 is a sequel to the popular astronomy app, helping you identify and learn about constellations, planets and satellites. And if your children are interested, there’s also the new Star Walk Kids app.
Tinkerplay is Autodesk’s latest app tapping in to the emerging market of 3D printing. It’s a creative app for creating “fun characters, scary creatures or anything else”, snapping body parts together using the touchscreen interface, then – if you have the necessary hardware – printing them out.
Swipes - Plan Tasks (Free)
I’m constantly in search of the app that will bring order to my work-life chaos. Swipes looks like a fighting contender: a to-do list app that includes a timeline for your daily plans and – uh-oh – the ability to “snooze” tasks for later.
Connect (Free + IAP)
There are quite a few apps trying to replace the default contacts app on your smartphone. Connect, the latest, looks interesting: aggregating your email, phone and social networking contacts, plotting them on a map, and pulling in their social updates too.
Atari Fit (Free + IAP)
Atari may be best known for its arcade games, but this is something of a curveball: a mobile fitness app. It encourages you to work out – with more than 100 exercises included – rewarding you with coins to unlock games like Pong, Super Breakout and Centipede. It’ll also connect to apps like RunKeeper and Google Fit, or activity-tracking devices from the likes of Fitbit and Jawbone.
Dr. Panda’s Ice Cream Truck (£0.79)
Dr Panda has become a familiar brand for tens of millions of children over the last couple of years. Now he’s back with a playful ice-cream-making game that gets kids concocting treats for an array of cartoon animals.
Gojimo: GCSE, A Level Revision (Free)
It’ll soon be exam revision time for teenagers in the UK, and this is one of the apps hoping to help them make the most of their swotting. It covers all the main subjects, maths and English included, with students able to choose their specific exam board to ensure they’re only revising useful information.
Ultimate Fan Live (Free)
This app combines fantasy football – the soccer kind of football, since you ask – and social networking features. Designed to be played along with English Premier League and Champions League matches, you choose players, trigger power-ups during real games and try to beat friends.
Tradiio Music (Free + IAP)
Tradiio isn’t the first app trying to help you discover new music by turning bands into a virtual stock exchange, but it’s good fun. You invest in songs, and earn virtual currency if they catch on with other players. Its long-term success will depend on the quality of the music that it spotlights.
Montessori Math City (£2.49)
Another educational app for children, this. It’s a maths app helping kids learn to count up to 1,000 using Montessori teaching methods. Children mark their progress by collecting items for their virtual city.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 (£2.39)
The Five Nights at Freddy’s games are all excellent: spooky, inventive adventures set in a pizza parlour staffed by animatronic creatures. Horror movie fans will see the flaw in that plan. This latest version refines the formula well.
Stick Cricket 2 (Free + IAP)
The original Stick Cricket game remains a marvellous time-sucker, and while not all App Store reviewers love this sequel, there’s plenty to enjoy. Your job is to batter runs against increasingly talented bowlers, with a varied career mode to work your way through.
Frozen Synapse Prime (£2.99)
Sci-fi strategy game Frozen Synapse is a treat on any platform, including this new “Prime” version for Android. There’s plenty to get your teeth into as you explore its 40 solo missions, learning the best tactics to get the most out of your team.
King of Thieves (Free + IAP)
King of Thieves is the work of Cut the Rope developer ZeptoLab: an action-puzzle game based on stealing gold and setting traps to keep your own loot safe. It’s colourful and the asynchronous multiplayer is well-worked.
Angry Birds Stella POP! (Free + IAP)
Just like the Bubble Witch Saga games, this takes its inspiration squarely from classic console series Bust-a-Move / Puzzle Bobble. You fire coloured bubbles at other coloured bubbles to make matches of three or more, except here (obviously) there are pigs and Rovio’s Angry Birds Stella characters. Unoriginal, maybe, but nicely done.
Dungeon Hunter 5 (Free + IAP)
If swords, monsters and dungeon-crawling are your thing, Dungeon Hunter 5 is well worth a look – as long as you’re not harbouring fond memories of earlier games in this series that weren’t freemium. It looks good and there’s fun to be had, but it can sometimes feel a bit over-aggressive in nudging you to pay.
MiniDrivers (Free + IAP)
Sitting somewhere between Mario Kart and Micro Machines, this pocket-sized racer sees you speeding around 20 tracks grabbing power-ups to see off rival drivers. Neat graphics and unaggressive in-app purchases add up to a satisfying package.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes (£3.30 + IAP)
The latest in Legos line of branded action games is as fun as ever, with a host of Marvel superheroes available to play – from Spider-Man to Wolverine. There are 45 missions to explore, with pixel-perfect graphics and plenty of fun to be had.
Dark Echo (£1.49)
Warning: this game includes “a horrifying evil that devours both sound and souls”. Insert your own UKIP / Justin Bieber / Jeremy Clarkson joke here, obviously. But then explore what’s one of the most innovative Android games this year: 80 levels of creepy sound-visualised adventuring.
Table Tennis Touch (£2.99)
Finally, one of the most playable sports games on iOS makes its way to Android in the form of Table Tennis Touch, where your on-screen swipes translate beautifully to smashes and slices against a series of increasingly-tough opponents.
Those are my choices, now tell me yours. What Android apps and games have been floating your boat this week and/or what do you think of the apps above? The comments section is open for your thoughts.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Friday 20th March 2015 10.55 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010