It’s time for our weekly roundup of the best Android apps, with another crop of 30 apps for you this week.
The roundup includes apps and games, with the prices in brackets referring to the initial download – so there may be in-app purchases involved when you see (Free), particularly for games.
The weekly iOS roundup will follow later in the day. For now, let’s start with…
Epic Citadel (Free)
No, Infinity Blade still isn’t available on Android, despite plenty of requests. But Epic Games has released Epic Citadel, an Unreal Engine 3-powered chance to explore the Infinity Blade games’ fantasy town. It’s a technical showcase rather than a game, but you’d hope it’s a positive sign for the full IF experience coming to Android sooner rather than later.
BT Cloud (Free)
British ISP BT has quietly launched its own cloud storage service, just for its residential broadband customers. They can upload their photos, videos and other files to a central server, then access them from various devices – including, through this app, Android devices. It also backs up content from the device to the cloud.
NFL Quarterback 13 (£1.39)
Just in time for the Super Bowl, Full Fat’s excellent NFL Quarterback game gets a 2013 version. As last year, your job is to fling passes to your wide receivers while avoiding getting sacked or intercepted – with fluid touchscreen gestures controlling the action.
Wombi Treasures (£2.29)
Swedish children’s apps publisher Wombi is on a bit of a roll at the moment, with Wombi Treasures its latest engaging Android app for kids. It gets children exploring the world for buried treasure, learning to read maps as they go. Playful and very fun.
Gigs and Tours (Free)
For too long, many ticketing services have been frankly rubbish when accessed through a phone. That’s changing: here’s the official Android app from British tickets site Gigsandtours, for finding gigs and buying tickets, as well as some fun features to use while there. Virtual klaxon anyone? Oh.
RBS 6 Nations Championship App (Free)
Rugby’s 6 Nations tournament is about to kick off, and yes, there’s an official app for that – on Android as well as iOS this year. Expect news, team lineups and match previews before games, plus live commentary during them and ideo highlights and analysis afterwards.
Carbon – App Sync and Backup (Free)
This looks a useful tool for Android owners: a way to backup apps and data to the SD card or to cloud services including Dropbox, Box and Google Drive, without needing to root the device first. Full features require a £3.17 upgrade to the premium version, though.
Foursquare for Business (Free)
This is Foursquare’s equivalent of Facebook’s Pages Manager app: a tool for business use rather than consumers. In this case, it’s for venues who want a mobile way to monitor their Foursquare visitors, while also posting their own updates and special deals to the social location service.
Madagascar: My ABCs (£1.85)
Another children’s app here, starring some familiar characters from the Madagascar films. It focuses on the alphabet and letter sounds, including getting kids to practise writing upper and lower-case letters.
Wowmum Maps UK (Free)
And now something for parents – dads as well as mums, despite the name. It’s an app to find “child-friendly places” around the UK, based on your current location. Divided into Eat, Play and Pamper categories, it covers more than 10,000 places from pram-friendly restaurants to soft-play centres.
Dream House Days (Free)
I am one of a growing number of mobile gamers who repeatedly run their batteries into the ground playing any new game from Japanese developer Kairosoft. This latest is a freemium title where you play “both architect and landlord”, building your own real estate then attracting tenants.
Sketch O Paint (Free)
This looks good fun: a drawing app for Android smartphones and tablets with an emphasis on ink’n'line art, with digital brushes and nibs, and the ability to save and share the sketches you create to your device’s gallery.
EverClip Pro: Web Clipper (£1.99)
Evernote has its own very-popular Android app, but this is a third-party app designed to help you “clip” images, text and websites to your Evernote account through simple touchscreen controls. It’s the paid version of an existing free app.
Scoopt is the latest attempt to nail the social-location-recommendations app genre, promising to help you “find the right place fast, at home or abroad”. Shopping, restaurants and bars are all included, with integration of Instagram for visual flair, and Facebook for sharing your discoveries.
Angela’s Valentine (Free)
Millions of people are still going bonkers for the Talking Friends apps, and this Valentine’s spin-off has already topped 500k Android downloads in its first week. The app is a mixture of postcard templates to send to loved ones, music videos starring feline characters Angela and Talking Tom Cat, and suitably romantic animations.
More restaurant-hunting appage here, but this time focused on the US. This app uses data from Factual.com, which pulls in restaurant details from 40 sources including Yelp, Foursquare and Zagat. The idea: quick recommendations for places to eat, with aggregated reviews.
Dungeon Quest (Free)
You can’t beat a good dungeon-based action-RPG, which is exactly what Dungeon Quest looks like. Available in beta, it sees you playing a wizard and exploring 100 dungeon levels battling monsters, collecting treasure and then upgrading it. The full version of the game is due in the next couple of months.
Cracking Sands (£3.11)
Another game here: “an action-packed racer featuring a band of merry lunatics driving small vehicles fitted with big guns”. Which just about summarises it. The joy isn’t just in the racing, but in the customisation as you tweak your kart and its weapons for maximum speed and destruction.
AppLock Pro (£1.27)
The free version of AppLock has been really popular on Android, passing 5m downloads with its ability to lock individual apps on your device using passwords or patterns. This is the paid version, promising extra features and customisation.
Cubes vs. Spheres (£0.61)
This shape-based physics-action game is a port from iOS, and sees you flicking spheres at waves of onrushing cubes, blowing them up, freezing them and generally playing havoc. Spiffing 3D visuals teamed with intuitive touchscreen gestures make this perfect for mobile play.
“Have you ever asked yourself: where did I spend my time last month?” asks the Google Play listing for this app. In my case, the answer is invariably “digging through listings on Google Play and the App Store”. Enough flippancy though: this is a “time-tracking app” that runs in the background recording how much time you spend in specific locations, then displays it on a map.
Kal Virtual Trainer (£0.63)
The great big muscly arm on this app’s icon leaves you in no doubt about its fitness focus: it’s a workout app with 200 resistance, cardio and flexibility exercises, offering step-by-step text instructions and video demos. A separate feature generates workout plans for you based on your goal, level of fitness, available equipment and available time, stringing exercises together accordingly.
Do Not Disturb (£1.57)
Meet the “21st century answering machine” for Android, which intercepts incoming calls and texts when directed to send a text response explaining why you’re not picking up / replying. More than 150 reasons are grouped into categories to ensure people know exactly what you’re up to.
The Kissing Hand (Free)
This is the latest storybook-app for children from Oceanhouse Media, but unlike most others, it’s free – as part of a campaign for the print version in aid of kids in Newtown, the US town where 20 children and six teachers were killed by a gunman in December 2012. The story is about a young raccoon called Chester, and his mother’s love for him. Voice narration and word-highlighting helps young readers get to grips with the story.
Questionary Free (Free)
Everyone wants to be the next Draw Something or SongPop in the mobile social gaming world at the moment. Questionary is one of the games looking for a big audience – in this case with questions about films, sports, music, TV and media with which you can challenge Facebook friends and strangers alike.
RetroArch Android (Free)
Game emulation? It’s a controversial subject with plenty of legal nuances, so take this as information rather than recommendation. RetroArch is a well-regarded emulator for vintage consoles and handhelds, including Sony’s first PlayStation and Nintendo’s NES. It’s now made its Android debut.
Guess The Movie (Free)
Guess The Movie is off to a very strong start with more than 50k Android installs so far. It gets you guessing films from “simplified posters” of them, with hundreds to guess from, and Hangman-style hints if you’re struggling.
I’m still a bit hazy on why you’d want to “weather stamp” the photos you take on your smartphone, but if the idea appeals, InstaWeather HD at least looks like a slick way to do it. The app shares photos in high-resolution to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other services.
Tiny Phone People (£0.99)
Or, as one of its developers puts it: “Just like Little Computer People from the olden days”. Which is a comparison to conjure with, if you remember that game from the mid-to-late 1980s. Tiny Phone People is less a game and more an interactive Live Wallpaper for Android, with a male or female character wandering around the virtual house eating, sleeping and performing other activities.
Valentine’s day: 14 Free Apps (Free)
Another Valentine-themed app, but no cats this time. Instead, this is an app recommending 14 other Android apps, all free, “to get you ready for the romantic mood”. It’s survey-based model is a potentially-interesting take on app discovery, although its appeal will obviously depend on the quality of the apps recommended.
That’s this week’s 30 best Android apps roundup, but what have you been using on your device? Make your recommendations, or give your views on the apps above, by posting a comment.